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doctrine, if once permanently engraven on the tablet of the heart, is admirably calculated to strike at the root of all manner of sin and evil; and though it may not altogether prevent the forbidden thought, yet must it act as a powerful check on the commission of wickedness. For what, my brethren, is the information, the instruction herein delivered to us? but that the Almighty is at all times and in all places present with us, present to hear, present to behold our every word and action; that no darkness can be so thick as to be impenetrable to his sight, and no distance so great as to be beyond the reach of his immeasurable grasp. "Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places, that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord." 1 This, even God's infinite and all-pervading knowledge is, moreover, not to be confined
1 Jer. xxiii. 23, 24.
by us to mere external things; it is not to be restricted to the power of discerning only the outward actions of men. We
are to know and to feel convinced that it extends much farther and more amazingly; that it reaches unto, and is thoroughly conversant with, the most secret and hidden recesses of the human heart. Almighty is indeed to be considered and acknowledged by us as "a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." 2
Judging, however, from what we see and hear around us in the world, it might perhaps become a question, how far this sublime, this awful attribute of the Lord Jehovah is practically believed, or rightly remembered. It may not, surely it cannot! be fearlessly denied; but then the question arises as to its influence in the 2 Heb. iv. 12, 13.
regulation of our every-day conversation and behaviour. The inattention and the thoughtlessness which the many betray in their words, the impudent defiance, and apparent recklessness as to future consequences with which men treat the solemn commandments of Heaven, might naturally lead to the conclusion, that the impious imagination wherewith the wicked in the Psalmist's days sought to encourage themselves in their licentiousness, was the prevailing opinion now; "Tush, say they, the Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it." But, as the inspired writer instantly and unanswerably demands, "Take heed, ye unwise among the people; O ye fools, when will ye understand? He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? or he that made the eye, shall he not see?" Surely, my brethren, it must be a dangerous thing, and fraught with bitter consequences, to forget, habitually and perversely to
3 Psalm xciv. 7-9.
forget, that "He is about our bed, and about our path, and spieth out all our ways." "Woe unto them," as we read in Isaiah, "that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? Shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?" 5 Such is the beautiful and lofty language of Holy Scripture, at once reproving and instructing mankind concerning the stupendous nature, intelligence, and power of the great and almighty Father of the universe. And sober reason, the natural dictates of our conscience, must come to the same irrefutable conclusion, that the Creator and Governor of the Universe must necessarily possess wisdom and discernment, knowledge and power, in an infinite and surpassing degree.
But, my brethren, as believers in the
4 Psalm cxxxix. 2.
5 Isaiah xxix. 15, 16.
glorious truths revealed unto the world in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as believing in that all-glorious revelation whereby "life and immortality have been brought to light," there is to us, if we may so say, an absolute necessity that the Divine Intelligence, God's knowledge and acquaintance with every thing, with even the most secret thoughts of the heart, should exist in boundless perfection, without limit, and without end. For take away this consummate attribute of the Deity; deny the doctrine of the Lord's omniscience; and how then shall an equitable decision be made hereafter; how shall a judgment in truth and righteous. ness be hereafter had upon all flesh, without respect of person? In what other manner shall the hidden thought of wickedness, and the evil deed of darkness, the guilt which the eye of man detecteth not, and the crime which cannot on earth be brought home to the wary and cool-blooded perpetrator; by what other means than