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“ naries, of which some have thought fit to make
deities, had, in themselves, neither that precious " and shining matter, whereof they were compo“ sed, nor the admirable form to which we fee " them reduced p."
It was held in a great part of the East, that there were two first principles; the one, the cause of good; the other, of evil; the one presiding over light, and the other over darkness. But the facred historian declares that light and darkness are equally under the power of the God of Ifrael 4. The language of God in his prophetical address to Cyrus, contains a beautiful illustration of this history. Its force and beauty especially appear, when we reflect that Cyrus was the leader of that very people who zealously adhered to the doctrine of two first principles, and with whom it seems to have originated. “ I am JEHOVAH, " and there is none else, there is no God besides
me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known “me: that they may know from the rising of the
sun, and from the west, that there is none be“ fides me, I am JEHOVAH, and there is none else. “ I form the light and create darkness : I make "peace and create evil : I JEHOVAH do all these
The heathen nations “ changed the glory of the “ uncorruptible God, into an image made like to “corruptible man, and to birds and four-footed beasts, and creeping things s." The worship of
Universal Hist. Vol. i. Part 2. : Ifa. alv. 5.-7.
9 Gen. i. 3.-5. s Rom. i. 23•
the Egyptians was uncommonly vile. They wor. shipped the ox, the lion, the dog, the cat, the goat, the ape, the crocodile, the ichneumon, &c. The Ifraelites, who had sojourned so long among this idolatrous race, were deeply tainted with their pollutions. To pour contempt on this debasing worship, God carries his people back to the beginning of all things ; and shews them the fowl generated from the waters, and the quadruped and reptile rising from the earth, at his command. If the body of man himself was formed from the dusts, it must be a very unfit image of its Former: as it afterwards appears, from the denunciation of the sentence of death, that nothing could be more absurd than to deify and adore a dead man. Well, therefore, may we say with He
“ O JEHOVAH of hosts,—thou art the “ God, even thou alone of all the kingdoms of “ the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth !.”
11. He records the wonderful works which he performed, and the temporal deliverances which he gave to his Church, as proofs of his being the only true God. She, on this ground, acknowsledges his unity: “ Thou art great, and doft won“ drous things : thou art God alone u.” He appeals to the redemption which he should give his people from Egypt, in proof of his claim to the character of JEHOVAH, and of his peculiar relation to them ; “I will redeem you with a stretch"ed-out arm, and with great judgment. And I * will take you to me for a people, and I will be “ to you a God: and ye shall know that I am JE
66 will $ Gen. ii. 7. t Ifa. xxxvii. 16.
u Pral. lxxxvi. 10,
HOVAH your God, which bringeth you out from " under the burdens of the Egyptiansy.” It was his will that his unity should appear from these works. Therefore he thus addresses Ifrael: “ Hath God af
sayed to take him a nation from the midst of ano“ther nation, by temptations, by signs and by won“ders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a "stretched-out arm, and by great terrors, accord“ing to all that Jehovah your God did for you “ in Egypt before your eyes ?' Unto thee it was “ fhewed, that thou mightest know that JEHO
VAH he is God; there is none else besides bina" By the record of these illustrious facts, he would have his people perpetually reminded of this fundamental doctrine, and confirmed in the belief of it. For he adds: “ Know therefore this day, " and consider it in thine heart, that JEHOVAH he " is God in heaven above, and upon the earth be“ neath: there is none else w.
1. With this view were thofe works recorded, which immediately displayed the mercy of God towards his people. For they were recorded for the use of the church in all ages, with the very same design with which they were at first performed. Were the Israelites miraculously preserved in the desert? It was to prove, that their God alone was worthy of faith and adoration ; “ I " have led you forty years in the wilderness : your “ clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy “ shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot. Ye have “ not eaten bread, neither have you drunk wine, “ or strong drink: that ye might know that I am ' JEHOVAH your God *.” Did the waters of Jordan divide before them, as soon as the feet of the priests rested in them? It was that they might know, that “ the living God was among them;" and that the ark which passed over before then, was " the ark of the covenant of the LORD of all “ the earthy."
" clothes 7 Exod vi. &, 7.
w Deut. iv, 54, 35. 39.
2. His works of judgment have the same end. When he confounds his enemies, and troubles them for ever; when he puts them to shame, and makes them to perish ; it is that“ men may know, " that he whose name alone is JEHOVAH, is the “ most high over all the earth ?," It is his pleasure, that even his incorrigible adversaries may have such ample evidence of this, that they shall either acknowledge it, or be left without excuse. He therefore says to Pharaoh ; “ I will send all
my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy fer
vants, and upon thy people : that thou mayest o know that there is none like me in all the “ earth a." Is Nebuchadnezzar driven from his dignity ? Hath he a beast's heart given unto him? It is “ to the intent that the living may know “ that the Most High ruleth 'in the kingdom of
3. From the wonderful works recorded in Scripture, it is evident, that the power of Jehovah is alike in all the regions of the earth. The heathen had strange ideas of divine power. They not only affixed limits to it; but supposed that the power of one god was confined to one territory, and that of another to another. A people who, according to their vain imaginations, were perfectly safe under the protection of their tutelar deity, could derive no benefit from one who was a stranger to their country. If worshipped by a hostile nation, they frequently viewed him as their enemy. They indeed considered their deities in the same light with their earthly princes, whose dominions had certain boundaries, and who protected their subjects at the expence of their neighbours. They seem to have imagined, that the power of particular deities bore an exact proportion to the comparative strength or weakness of the people that worshipped them; or to the grandeur or apparent meanness of their worship. When God sent lions among the heathen who had been placed in the land of Israel by the king of Affyria, they considered the visitation as a token of his displeasure, and therefore of his power; but liad no idea that this extended beyond the limits of Palestine. They supposed that he had sent these lions to “ slay them, be“ cause they knew not the manner of the God of the land."
Why c 2 Kings xvii. 26.