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own arm to work our deliverance, according to his word. Blind man looks so much upon instruments, that he hardly takes notice of God, either in afflictions or mercies, and this is the cause that robs God of so much prayer and praise in the world.

“ He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds," ver. 3. He has now restored those who had no hope but in his word; he has dealt with them as a tender and skilful Surgeon; he has applied his curing plasters, and dropped in his sovereign balsams; he has now furnished our fainting hearts with refreshing cordials, and comforted our wounds with strengthening ligatures.

How gracious is God, that restores liberty to the captives, and righteousness to the penitent! Man's misery is the fittest opportunity for God to make his mercy illustrious in itself, and most welcome to the patient.

He proceeds.—Wonder not that God calls together the outcasts, and singles them out from every corner, for a return; why can he not do this, as well as tell the number of the stars, and call them all by their names? ver. 4.

There are none of his people so despicable in the eye of man, but they are known and regarded by God; though they are clouded in the world, yet they are the stars of the world; and shall God number the inanimate stars in the heavens, and make no account of his living stars on the earth? No, wherever they are dispersed he will not forget them, however they are afflicted he will not despise them: the stars are so numerous, that they are innumerable by man; some are visible and known by men, others lie more hid and undiscovered in a confused light, as those in the milky-way; man cannot see one of them distinctly.

God knows all his people. As he can do what is above the power of man to perform, so he understands what is above the skill of man to discover; shall man measure God by his scantiness? Proud man must not equal himself to God, nor cut God as short as his own line.

“He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.He has them all in his list, as generals the names of their soldiers in their muster-roll, for they are his host, which he marshals in the heavens, as Isa. xl. 26, where you have the like expression; he knows them more distinctly than man can know any thing, and so distinctly as to call them all by their names. He knows their names, that is, their natural offices, influences, the different degrees of heat and light, their order and motion; and all of them, the least glimmering star as well as the most glaring planet. This man cannot do; “ Tell the stars, if thou be able to number them," Gen. xv. 5, says God to Abraham (whom Josephus represents as a great astronomer:) yea, they cannot be numbered, Jer. xxxiii. 22; and the uncertainty of the opinions of men, evidences their ignorance of their number; some reckoning one thousand and twenty-two, others one thousand and twenty-five, others one thousand and ninety-eight, others seven thousand, besides those that, by reason of their mixture of light with one another, cannot be distinctly discerned, and others perhaps so high, as not to be reached by the eye of man. To impose names on things, and names according to their natures, is both an argument of power and dominion, and of wisdom and understanding: from the imposition of names upon the creatures by Adam, ihe knowledge of Adain is generally concluded, and it was also a fruit of that dominion God allowed him over the creatures. Now he that numbers and names the stars that seem to lie confused among one another, as well as those that appear to us in an unclouded night, may well be supposed accurately to know his people, though lurking in secret caverns, and know those that are fit to be instruments of their deliverance; the one is as easy to him as the other; and the number of the one as distinctly known by him as the multitude of the other.

For "great is our Lord, and of great power: his understandstanding is infinite,” ver. 5. He wants not knowledge to know the objects, nor power to effect his will concerning them. Of great power. Much power, plenteous in power; so this word is rendered, Psal. Ixxxvi. 15. A multitude of power, as well as a multitude of mercy; a power that exceeds all created power and understanding.

“ His understanding is infinite.” You may not imagine how he can call the stars by name; the multiiude of visible being so great, and the multitude of the invisible being greater; but you must know, that as God is almighty, so he is omniscient; and as there is no end of his power, so no account can exactly be given of his understanding. “His understanding is infinite;" no number or account of it, and so the same words are rendered Joel i. 6. “ A nation-strong, and without number:" no end of his understanding, (Syriac,) no measure, no bounds. His essence is infinite, and so is his power and understanding: so vast is his kuowledge, that we can no more comprehend it than we can measure spaces that are without limits, or tell the minutes or hours of eternity. Who then can fathom that whereof there is no number, but which exceeds all, so that there is no searching of it out? He knows universals, he knows particulars. We must not take understanding here as noting a faculty, but the use of the understanding in the knowledge of things, and the judgment in the consideration of them; and so it is often used.

In the verse there is a description of God-In his essence, great is the Lord.”—In his power, "of great power."--In bis knowledge, “his understanding is infinite;" his understanding is his eye, and his power is his arm.-Of his infinite understanding I am to discourse.

Doctrine. God has an infinite knowledge and understanding: all knowledge. Omnipresence, which before we spake of, respects his essence; omnisciencé respects his understanding, according to our manner of conception.

This is clear in Scripture; hence God is called a God of knowledge, 1 Sam. ii. 3. “ The Lord is a God of knowledge,(Heb.) knowledges, in the plural number, of all kind of knowledge. It is spoken there io quell man's pride in his own reason and parts. What is the knowledge of inan but a spark to the whole element of fire, a grain of dust, and worse than nothing in comparison of the knowledge of God, as his essence is in comparison of the essence of God? All kind of knowledge. He knows what angels know, what man knows, and infinitely more; he knows himself, his own operations, all his creatures, the notions and thoughts of them; he is understanding above understanding, mind above mind, the Mind of minds, the Light of lights: this the Greek word Oeds signifies in the etymology of it; of Oriobau, to see, to contemplate; and dainwr, of daiw, scio. The names of God signify a nature viewing and piercing all things; and the attributing of our senses to God in Scripture, as hearing and seeing, which are the senses whereby knowledge enters into us, signifies God's knowledge.

The notion of God's knowledge of all things lies above the ruins of nature; it was not obliterated by the fall of man. was necessary that offending man should know that he had a Creator whom he had injured, that he had a Judge to try and punish him; since God thought fit to keep up the world, it had been kept up to no purpose, had not this notion been continued alive in the minds of men; there would not have been any practice of his laws, no bar to the worst of crimes. If men had thought they had to deal with an ignorant Deity, there could be no practice of religion. Who would lift up his eyes or spread his hand towards heaven, if he imagined his devotion were directed to a God as blind as the heathen imagined fortune? To what boot would it be for them to make heaven and earth resound with their cries, if they had not thought God had an eye to see them, and an ear to hear them ? And indeed the very notion of a God at the first blush, speaks him a Being endued with understanding; no man can imagine a creator void of one of the noblest perfections belonging to those creatures that are the flower and cream of his works.

Therefore all nations acknowledge this, as well as the existence and being of God. No nation but had their temples,


particular ceremonies of worship, and presented their sacrifices, which they could not have been so vain as to do without an acknowledgment of this attribute. This notion of God's knowledge owed not its rise to tradition, but to natural implantation; it was born and grew up with every rational creature. Though the several nations and men of the world agreed not in one kind of Deity, or in their sentiments of his nature or other perfections, some judging him clothed with a fine and pure body, others judging him an uncompounded Spirit; some fixing him to a seat in the heavens, others owning his universal presence in all parts of the world, yet they all agreed in the universality of his knowledge: and their own consciences reflecting their crimes, unknown to any but themselves, would keep this notion in some vigour whether they would or not. Now this being implanted in the minds of all men by nature, cannot be false; for nature imprints not in the minds of all men an assent to a falsity. Nature would not pervert the reason and minds of men: universal notions of God are from original, not lapsed nature, and preserved in mankind in order to a restoration from a lapsed state. The heathen did acknowledge this:' in all the solemn covenants, solemnized with oaths and the invocation of the name of God, this attribute was supposed. They confessed knowledge to be peculiar to the Deity; Scientia deorum vita, “Knowledge is the life of the gods," says Cicero. Some called him Nấs, Mens, Mind, pure understanding, without any mote; Exórens, the Inspector of all. As they called him Life, because he was the Author of life; so they called him Intellectus, because he was the Author of all knowledge and understanding in his creatures. And one being asked, whether any man could be hid from God? No, says he, not so much as thinking. Some call him the Eye of the world, and the Egyptians represented God by an eye on the top of a sceptre, because God is all eye, and can be ignorant of nothing.

And the same nation made eyes and ears of the most excellent metals, consecrating them to God, and hanging them up in the midst of their temples, in signification of God's seeing and hearing all things; hence they called God Light, as well as the Scripture, because all things are visible to him.

For the better understanding of this, we will inquire_What kind of knowledge or understanding there is in God-What God knows—How God knows things—The proof that God knows all things—The use of all to ourselves.

1. What kind of understanding or knowledge there is in God? 1 Agamemnon, making a covenant with Priam, invocates the sun;

“Ηελιος ος πάντ' έφοράς και πάντ' έπακέεις.-Homer II. 3. ν. 6. 2 Gamach. in 1 Pa. Aqui. q. 14. cap. 1. p. 119. Clem. Alexand. Strom. lib. 6.

The knowledge of God in Scripture has various names, according to the various relations or objects of it: in respect of present things, it is called knowledge or sight; in respect of things past, remembrance; in respect of things future or to come, it is called foreknowledge or prescience, 1 Pet. i. 2. In regard of the universality of the objects, it is called omniscience; in regard of the simple understanding of things, it is called knowledge; in regard of acting, and modelling the ways of acting, it is called wisdom and prudence, Eph. i. 8. He must have knowledge, otherwise he could not be wise; wisdom is the flower of knowledge, and knowledge is the root of wisdom.

As to what this knowledge is; if we know what knowledge is in man, we may apprehend what it is in God, removing all imperfection from it, and ascribing to him the most eminent way of understanding, because we cannot comprehend God but as he is pleased to condescend to us in his own ways of discovery, that is, under some way of similitude to his most perfect creatures. Therefore we have a notion of God by his understanding and will; understanding, whereby he conceives and apprehends things; will, whereby he extends himself in acting according to his wisdom, and whereby he does approve or disapprove. Yet we must not measure his understanding by our own, or think it to be of so gross a temper as a created mind; that he has eyes of flesh, or sees or knows as man sees, Job x. 4. We can no more measure his knowledge by ours, than we can measure his essence by our essence: as he has an incomprehensible essence, to which ours is but as a drop of a bucket; so he has an incomprehensible knowledge, to which ours is but as a grain of dust, or mere darkness: his thoughts are above our thoughts, as the heavens are above the earth.

The knowledge of God is variously divided by the schools, and acknowledged by all divines.

(1.) A knowledge visionis, et simplicis intelligentiæ: the one we may call a sight, the other an understanding; the one refers to a sense, the other to the mind.

A knowledge of vision or sight.-Thus God knows himself, and all things that really were, are, or shall be in time; all those things which he hath decreed to be, though they are not yet actually sprung up in the world, but lie hidden in their causes.

A knowledge of intelligence or simple understanding.The object of this is not things that are in being, or that shall by any decree of God ever be existent in the world; but such things as are possible to be wrought by the power of God, though they shall never in the least peep up into being, but lie for ever wrapped up in darkness and nothing. This also is a

| Suarez de Deo, lib. 3. cap. 4. p. 230.

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