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OF THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD.
FAITHULNESS is an attribute that belongs to God; from whence he is denominated the faithful God, Deut. vii. 9. ; an unfaithful God would be no God at all; it is great, like himself; yea, it is infinite; Great is thy faithfulness, Lam. iii. 23. The faithfulness of God chiefly lies in the performance of his word : and appears,
I. In the performance of what he has said with respect to the world in general; as, that it shall never more be destroyed by a flood; that the ordinances of heaven, the sun, moon, and stars, shall not de part; that the revolutions of time, and seasons of the year, should keep their constant course ; and from all this it may be strongly concluded, that whatsoever God has said concerning the world, which is yet to be fulfil. ed, shall be most certainly done ; as the judgment of it, the end and consummation of all things in it, the conflagration of it, and the making new heavens and a new earth, wherein will dwell righteousness, 2 Pet. iii. 7--13.
II, The faithfulness of God appears in the fulfilment of what he has said with respect to Christ; indeed, the faithfulness of God is displayed in Christ as in a mirror. 1. In the performance of what he has said of him; as that he should be of the sed of Abraham, spring from the tribe of Judah, arise out of the family of David, be born of a virgin at Bethlehem, and converst much in Galilee, Gen. iii. 15. and xxii. 18. and xlix. 10. 2 Sam. vii, 12, 13. Mic. y. 2. Isai. vii. 14. and ix. 1, 2. all which has been fully accomplished. 11. In the perfor. mance of what he said to Christ, or promised to him, see Psal. xvi. 10. Hos. vi. 2. 1 Cor. xv. 4. III. In the person, office, and works of Christ. Moses was faithful in the house of God, as a servant; but Christ as a Son over his own house, Heb. iii. 246. and whose faithfulness may be observed. 1. In the performance of his engagements : he engaged to be the Surety of his people; he engaged to be the Saviour and Re. deemer of them; he engaged to come into the world, in or.
der to do this work; he engaged to fulfil the law, both in its precepts and its penalty: he engaged to pay off the debts of his people, which was done to the utmost farthing; and has shewn himself to be the good and faithful one. II. In his discharge of the truth reposed in him, which is very large and great ; the Father hath given all things unto his hand, John iii. 35. Yea, the glory of all the divine perfections, as con. cerned in the salvation of men, was entrusted with Christ; and he has been faithful in things pertaining to God, as well as in making reconciliation for the sins of the people ; and in doing the one, he has taken care of the other. In the exerci.. ces of his offices : in his prophetical office; all that he heard of the father he made known to his disciples ; John i. 18. He is the Amen, and faithful Witness, Rev. iii. 14. In his priest. ly office, he is faithful to him that appointed him; and rightly bears the character of a faithful high-priest, Heb. ii. 17. And in the exercise of his Kingly office ; all whose administrations in it are just and true ; with great propriety is he called faith. ful and true, since in righteousness he doth judge and make war, Rev. xv. 3. and xix. 11. Isai. xi. 5. In the fulfilment of his promises, which he made to his disciples; as that he would not leave them comfortless, that they should receive the gift of the holy spirit; that he would be with them in the admin. istration of his word and ordinances; to the end of the world, he makes his word good. The faithfulness of Christ may be observed in his concern with the covenant of grace, and the promises of it: by whose blood the blessings and promises of it are ratified and confirmed. By the faithfulness of Christ thus manifestly displayed, may be learned somewhat more of the attribute of faithfulness, as it is in God.
III. The faithfulness of God in the performance of what he has said in the covenant, and the promises of it: every cove. nant God has made with man, he has been faithful in ; he made a covenant with Adam: Adam broke the covenant ; but God was faithful to it. He made a covenant with Noah, and all the creatures; and he has faithfully kept it. He made a covenant with Abraham, and he made a covenant at Sinai, with all the people of Israel. But the grand and principle co. venant, is the covenant of grace; which God has made in Christ, and which also he will never break; there are promises of various sorts, which God has gracļously made to his people.
1. Some of a temporal nature ; for godliness and godly men have the promise of the life that now is, of things belonging to it, as well as of that wh his to come, 1 Tim. iv. 8. II. Others are of a spiritual nature ; and the principal of these is, and which is the sum of the covenant, They shall be my people, and I will be their God, Jer. xxxii. 38. This pro. mise is expressive of their enjoyment of God here, and for evermore; and he is their shield, and exceeding great reward; their portion in life, at death, and for ever; their ALL INALL. The faithfulness of God appears in fulfiling his threatenings, as well as his promises. As God has threatened men with the burning of the world, and the works of it, and the wicked in it; and damnation to all unbelieving and impenitent sinners, they may be assured of it, and expect it; for as it is most true and may be depended upon, that he that believeth, and is baptised, shall be saved; so it is equally as true and as surely to be depended on, that he that believeih not, shall be damned, Mark xvi. 16. OF THE SUFFICIENCY AND PERFECTION OF
GOD. THREE things may be observed under this attribute, I. That God is a self-sufficient Being, and needs not any thing from without himself to support himself, or to make himself happy. If there was any excellency in another, which is not in him, he would not be infinite, and so not God. God is the chief good, and therefore must have a fullness of goodness in him sufficient for himself, as well as for his creatures; he is the Fountain, creatures, and what they have, are streams; and it would be as absurd for him to need them, or any thing from them, as for the fountain to need its streams. As he
does not stand in need of the creation in general, so not of men and angels in particular ; not of
men, nor of
any sirvices of theirs, which can add nothing to his perfection and happiness : not of their worship, for he is not worshipped with mens' hands, as though he needed any thing. Can a man be profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable to himself, or others? is it any pleasure to the Almighty that thou art righteous ? or is it gain to him that thou makest thy ways perfect 2 Job xxii. 2, 3.
II. God is an all-sufficient Being, and has enough within himself to communicate to his creatures. 1. In his gifts of nature and providence; for he gives life and breath, a'd all things to his creatures, Acts xvii. 25. A painter may paint as near to lite as can be, and a sculptor may give a statue its just features, and frame its limbs in proper symmetry and proportion, but neither of them can give life and breath; Gud is sufficient to do this, and he is sufficient to support, maintain, and preserve the life he has given, and does, as long as he pleases, Job x. 12. II. God appears to be all-sufficient in the communications of his grace ; he has a sufficiency of it to communicate at all times, when his people are called to ser. vice, ordinary or extraordinary, to do or suffer for his name's sake: in times of affliction, temptation, desertion, and in the hour of death, to bear up under, and carry them through all, and bring them safe to his kingdom and glory, John j. 14, 16.
III. God is a perfect Being ; entirely perfect, and wanting nothing. There are some things which are excellencies in creatures, as the reasoning faculty in men, and faith in the christian, which properly speaking, cannot be said to be in God; these are such as would be imperfections in him ; since the former supposes some want of knowledge, which the rea. soning power is employed to find out, and the latter is but obscure knowledge, and proceeds upon the authority of ano. ther; the w..ni of them infers the highest perfection.
OF THE BLESSEDNESS OF GOD. HE in whom no perfection is wanting, must needs be com. pletely blessed. The blessedness of God may be considered,
1. As it is in himself; and lies chiefly in these two things, in a freedom from all evils, and in the possession of all good things. 1. In a freedom from all evils particulariy, from sin; and so from all the consequences of it, there is no iniquity is him, Deut xxxiii. 4. no darkness of this kind at all to eclipse his light, glory, and felicity: he is so happy as not to be tempt. ed with the evil of sin, nor can be, James i. 13. 11. His blessedness lies in the possession of all good. He has all good in him ; name whatsoever it may be thought happiness consists in, and it will be found in God in its full perfection. Does it lie in grandeur and dominion ? with God is terrible majesty. Dnes it lie in wealth and riches? The Gold is mine, and the Sil. ver is mine, saith the Lord, Hag. ii. 8. Does it lie in wisdom and knowledge O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! Rom. xi. 33. Does it lie in might, power, and strength, as Sampson's excellency did? Who is a strong Lord like unto thee? Psal. Ixxxix. 8. Does it lie in pleasure; at his right hand are pleasures for evermore, Psal. xvi. 11. Does it lie in fame, his glory is above the heavens.
II. What may serve further to prove and illustrate the blessedness of God, is that he is the cause of all blessedness in his creatures, angels and men. Now if such blessedness comes from God, how blessed must he be in himself!
III. God is his own blessednes; it is wholly within him. self.
IV. God is pronounced, declared, and owned to be blessed, by all his creatures; hence the frequent form of blessing him used, Blessed be the Lord God, &c. Gen. ix. 26. without all contradiction, the less is blessed of the greater ; the creature of the Creator, and not the Creator of the creature, this is done by congratulating his greatness and blessedness, and praising him for all blessings, temporal and spiritual which, as they come from him, are proofs of the blessedness that is in him. Here ends the account of the attributes of God; which all center and terminate in his blessedness.