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would his hand lay hold of us, and lead us as a conqueror triumphing over a captive, Psal. cxxxix. 8–10. Nay, if we could leap out of the compass of heaven and earth, we should find as little reserves from him. He is without the world in those infinite spaces which the mind of man can imagine. In regard of his immensity, nothing in being can be distant from him, wheresoever it is.

Use (2.) For comfort. That God is present every where, is as much a comfort to a good man as it is a terror to a wicked one. He is every where for his people, not only by a necessary perfection of his nature, but an immense diffusion of his goodness. He is in all creatures as their Preserver, in the damned as their terror, in his people as their Protector. He fills hell with his severity, heaven with his glory, his people with his grace. He is with his people as light in darkness, a fountain in a garden, as manna in the ark. God is in the world as a spring of preservation, in the church as his cabinet, a spring of grace in consolation. A man is present sometimes in his field, but more delightfully in his garden. A vineyard, as it has more of cost, so more of care, and a watchful presence of the owner. “I the Lord do keep it;" namely, his vineyard; “I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day," Isa. xxvii. 3. As there is a presence of essence which is natural, so there is a presence of grace, which is fæderal; a presence by covenant, “I will not leave thee, I will be with thee:" this latter depends upon the former; for take away the immensity of God, and you leave no foundation for his universal gracious presence with his people in all their emergencies, in all their hearts. And therefore where he is present in his essence, he cannot be absent in his grace from them that fear him. It is from his filling heaven and earth he proves his knowledge of the designs of the false prophets; and from the same topic may as well be inferred the employment of his power and grace for his people.

[1.] The omnipresence of God is comfort in all violent temptatior.s. No fiery dart can be so present with us, as God is present both with that and the marksman. The most raging devils cannot be so near us, as God is to us and them. He is present with his people to relieve them, and present with the devil to manage him to his own holy purposes: so he was with Job, defeating his enemies, and bringing him triumphantly out of those pressing trials. This presence is such a terror, that whatsoever the devil can despoil us of, he must leave this untouched. He might scratch the apostle with a thorn, but he could not rifle him of the presence of Divine grace, which God promised him, 2 Cor. xvii. 7. 9. He must prevail so far as to make God cease to be God, before he can make him to be dis

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tant from us; and while this cannot be, the devils and men can no more hinder the emanations of God to the soul, than a child can cut off the rays of the sun from embellishing the earth. It is no mean support for a good man, at any time buffeted by a messenger of Satan, to think God stands near him, and beholds how ill he is lised. It would be a satisfaction to a king's favourite in the midst of the violence some enemies might use to him upon a surprise, to understand that the king who loves him, stands behind a curtain, and through a hole sees the injuries he suffers; and were the devil as considerate as he is malicious, he could not but be in great fear at God's being in the generation of the righteous, as his serpentine seed is: “ There were they in great fear; for God is in the generation of the righteous," Psal. xiv. 5.

[2.] The omnipresence of God is a comfort in sharp afflictions. Good men have a comfort in this presence in their filthy prisons, oppressing tribunals; in the overflowing waters or scorching flames, he is still with them, Isa. xliii. 2; and many times by his presence keeps the bush from consuming, when it seems to be all in a flame. In afflictions God shows himself most present, when friends are most absent: “When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up,” Psal. xxvii. 10; then God will stoop and gather me into his protection: (Hebr. will gather me;) alluding to those tribes that were to bring up the rear in the Israelites' march, to take care that none were left behind, and exposed to famine or wild beasts, by reason of some disease that disabled them to keep pace with their brethren. He that is the sanctuary of his people in all calamities, is more present with them to support them, than their adversaries can be present with them to afflict them: “A very present help in trouble,” Psal. xlvi. 2. He is present with all things for this end: though his presence be a necessary presence, in regard of the immensity of his nature; yet the end of this presence, in regard that it is for the good of his people, is a voluntary presence. It is for the good of man he is present in the lower world, and principally for the good of his people

, for whose sake he keeps up the world, his eyes “run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him," 2 Chron. xvi. 9. If he does not deliver good men from afflictions, he will be so present as to manage them, as that his glory shall issue from their sufferings, and their grace be brightened by them.

What a man was Paul when he was lodged in a prison, or dragged to the courts of judicature! when he was torn with rods, or laden with chains! then did he show the greatest mira

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cles, made the judge tremble upon the bench, and brake the heart, though not the prison, of the jailor; so powerful is the presence of God in the pressures of his people. This presence outweighs all other comforts, and is more valuable to a Christian than barns of corn or cellars of wine can be to a covetous man, Psal. iv. 7. It was this presence was David's cordial in the mutinying of his soldiers, 1 Sam. xxx. 6. What a comfort is this in exile, or a forced desertion of our habitations! Good men may be banished from their country, but never from the presence of their protector. Ye cannot say of any corner of the earth, or of any dungeon in a prison, God is not here. If you were cast out of your country one thousand miles off, you are not out of God's precinct; his arm is there to cherish the good as well as to drag out the wicked; it is the same God, the same presence in every country, as well as the same sun, moon, and stars: and were not God every where, yet he could not be meaner than his creature, the sun in the firmament, which visits every part of the habitable world in twenty-four hours.

[3.] The omnipresence of God is a comfort in all duties of worship. He is present to observe, and present to accept our petitions, and answer our suits. Good men have not only the essential presence, which is common to all, but his gracious presence; not only the presence that flows from his nature, but that which flows from his promise; his essential presence makes no difference between this and that man in regard of spirituals, without this in conjunction with it; his nature is the cause of the presence of his essence; his will, engaged by his truth, is the cause of the presence of his grace. He promised to meet the Iraelites in the place where he should set his name, and in all places where he does record it: “In all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee,”! Exod. xx. 24; in every place where I shall manifest the special presence of my Divinity. In all places, hands may be lifted up, without doubting of his ability to hear; he dwells in the contrite heart, wherever it is most in the exercise of contrition; which is usually in times of special worship, Isa. lvii. 15, and that to revive and refresh it. Habitation notes a special presence; though he dwell in the highest heavens in the sparklings of his glory, he dwells also in the lowest hearts in the beams of his grace: as none can expel him from his dwelling in heaven; so none can eject him from his residence in the heart. The tabernacle had his peculiar presence fixed to it, Lev. xxvi. 11; his soul will not abhor them as they are washed by Christ, though they are loathsome by sin. In a greater dispensation there cannot be a less presence, since the church under the New Testament is called the temple of the Lord, wherein he will both dwell and walk, 2 Cor vi. 6: or, “I will ind well in them;" as if he should say, I will dwell in and in them; I will dwell in them by grace, and walk in them by exciting their graces. He will be more intimate with them than their own souls, and converse with them as the living God, that is, as a God that has · life in himself, and life to convey to them in their converse with hiin; and show his spiritual glory among them in a greater measure than in the temple; since that was but a heap of stones, and the figure of the Christian Church, the mystical body of his Son. His presence is not less in the substance than it was in the shadow; this presence of God in his ordinances, is the glory of a church, as the presence of a king is the glory of a court; the defence of it too, as a wall of fire, Zech. ii. 5, alluding to the fire travellers. in a wilderness made to fright away wild beasts. It is not the meanness of the place of worship can exclude him. The second temple was not so magnificent as the first of Solomon's erecting; and the Jews seem to despond of so glorious a presence of God in the second, as they had in the first; because they thought it not so good for the entertainment of him that inhabits eternity; but God comforts them against this conceit again and again; “ Be strong-be strong-be strong -I am with you,” Hag. ii. 4; the meanness of the place shall not hinder the grandeur of my presence. No matter what the room is, so it be the presence-chamber of the King, wherein he will favour our suits; he can every where slide into our souls with a perpetual sweetness, since he is every where, and so intimate with every one that fears him. If we should see God on earth in his amiableness, as Moses did, should we not be encouraged by his presence, to present our requests to him, to echo out our praises of him. And have we not as great a ground now to do it, since he is as really present with us, as if he were visible to us? He is in the same room with us, as near to us as our souls to our bodies; not a word but he hears, not a motion but he sees, not a breath but he perceives; he is through all; he is in all.

[4.] The omnipresence of God is a comfort in all special services. God never puts any upon a hard task, but he makes promises to encourage them and assist them; and the matter of the promise is that of his presence: so he did assure the prophets of old when he set them difficult tasks: and strengthened Moses against the face of Pharaoh, by assuring him he would be with his mouth, Exod. iv. 12: and when Christ put his apostles upon a contest with the whole world, to preach a gospel that would be foolishness to the Greeks, and a stumbling-block to the Jews; he gives them a cordial composed only of his presence, I will be with you, Matt. xxviii. 20. It is this presence scatters by its light the darkness of our spirits; it is this that is the cause of what is done for his glory in the world; it is this that mingles itself with all that is done for his honour; it is this from whence springs all the assistance of his creatures, marked out for special purposes.

[5.] This presence is not without the special presence of all his attributes. Where his essence is, his perfections are, because they are one with his essence; yea, they are his essence, though they have their several degrees of manifestation. As in the covenant, he makes over himself as our God, not a part of himself, but his whole Deity; so in promising of his presence, he means not a part of it, but the whole, the presence of all the excellencies of his nature to be manifested for our good. It is not a piece of God is here, and another parcel there; but God in his whole essence and perfections; in his wisdom to guide us, his power to protect and support us, his mercy to pity us, his fulness to refresh us, and his goodness to relieve us. He is ready to sparkle out in this or that perfection, as the necessities of his people require, and his own wisdom directs for his own honour: so that being not far from us in any excellency of his nature, we can quickly have recourse to him upon any emergency; so that if we are miserable, we have the presence of his goodness; if we want direction, we have the presence of his wisdom; if we are weak, we have the presence of his power: and should we not rejoice in it, as a man does in the presence of a powerful, wealthy, and compassionate friend?

Use (3.) For exhortation.

[1.] Let us be much in the actual thought of this truth. How should we enrich our understandings with the knowledge of the excellency of God, whereof this is none of the least; nor has less of honey in its bowels, though it be more terrible to the wicked than the presence of a lion. It is this that makes all other excellencies of the Divine nature sweet. What would grace, wisdom, power, signify at a distance from us? Let us frame in our minds a strong idea of it; it is this makes so great a difference between the actions of one man and another; one maintains actual thoughts of it, another does not, though all believe it as a perfection pertaining to the infiniteness of his essence. David, or rather a greater than David, had God always before him; there was no time, no occasion wherein he did not stir up some lively thoughts of him, Psal. xvi. 8. Let us have right notions of it; imagine not God as a great King, sitting only in his majesty in heaven; acting all by his servants and mipisters. This, saith one, is a childish and unworthy conceit of God, and may in time bring such a conceiver by degrees to deny his providence. The denial of this perfection is an axe at the root of religion; if it be not deeply imprinted in the mind, personal religion grows faint and feeble. Who would fear that

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