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and yet imperceivable to us, no motion here below comparable, and yet they seem not to stir at all. And in all, their great Lord and ours so conspicuous ! And yet who looks on them with such an eye as to behold Him, as David here, When I consider Thy heavens, the work, &c. He is admirable in all : the very
lowest and smallest creatures have their wonders of Divine wisdom in their frame, more than we are able to think. Magnus in minimus-He is great in the least of His works. The smallest flies, how strange the fashioning of the organs of life and use in so little room ! The man who is still in search of wisdom will find a school and a lesson in all places, and see every where the greatness and goodness of his God. If he walk forth in the evening, when this lower world is clothed with the dark mantle of the night, yet still he can look upwards to the pavement of the throne of God, and think how glorious it is on the other side, when the moon and stars make this side, even in the night, so beautiful. And this of David's, looks like a night meditation by the view of moon and stars. Thy heavens, these Thy works so glorious, Thou, therefore, infinitely more glorious ; then can I not but increase in wonder, that, dwelling above these heavens, Thou regardest so poor a worm as man creeping on this earth.
What is man! Enosh,” weak, mortal man; and “ BenAdam,” the son of earth, the earthly man. David was taught so to look on his mean part and low condition, and on his better part, as follows, ver. 5, as a sort of divinity being freely conferred upon him.
Thus men should learn to view themselves in this two-fold light. By the grace of God I am that I am, saith St. Paul. Truly man is a wretched and proud creature, a bundle of vanity and vileness; and yet he thinks himself some great matter while God is hid from him, and he is ignorant of his greatness.
No discourse or reasoning will humble the foolish heart of man: though he be even of the most worthless and basest sort Vol. II.
of men, and hath in this condition nothing but what is despicable, yet he flatters himself with some fancy or other, some imagined advantage that swells him. He cannot be truly vile in his own eyes till they look up to the excellency of God, and return from that down upon himself. Then he is forced to bow, and fall low, and abhor himself in dust and ashes. Once he was wise and powerful, or some way deserving (as he thought) to be respected; but now the glory and sublimity of God make him to be as nothing in his own eyes.
What is man! David, a great and a good man, a king and a prophet, and yet a man, viewing and comparing himself with his own eyes, in respect of the great King of all the world, he cries out, What is man, that Thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that Thou visitest him? These words deserve to be considered. Thou mindest him in all these things, the works above him, even in the framing of these heavens, the moon and the stars, designing his good ; Thou makest all attend and serve him. It is not an empty visiting of him, but Thou seest all his necessities, and providest for them. He sets his heart on man, and all his delights are with the sons of men. Prov. vii. 31.
But above all visits, that visit is to be remarked and admired, when the Eternal Word, by whom this world was made, came down, and was made flesh; came from His glorious palace, from the bosom of the Father, to visit man in that deep and profound abyss of misery into which he was fallen, and to lift him out of it, and cleanse, and clothe, and dignify him; came to make the slaves of Satan, sons of God. And the Psalmist points at Christ, as the following words are applied, Heb. ii. 9. This is a descending indeed, which the angels are still prying into, looking into for the bottom, and cannot see it, for it hath none. Oh, that Christ should be disregarded, and His love slighted! He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew him not. John i. 10. He, the same who became like unto us, and united our flesh to His blessed deity, did give a being to all things, and by Him all things consist. Colos. i. 17.
Our Head and Saviour is no less than the Mighty Power, Creator of the world. He who is our flesh, He who had His
. arms wrapped up in swaddling clothes, and afterwards stretched upon the cross, He it was who stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundation of the earth. The weight of the love of so great a King should press us low. And then, the persuasion of His almighty power assures us of complete redemption; for our salvation is in a sure and strong hand. We have a mighty Redeemer: Thy Maker is thy husband, The Lord of Hosts is His name, and thy Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel, the God of the whole earth shall he be called.
When I behold, says the Psalmist.
The carnal mind sees God in nothing, not even in spiritual things, His word and ordinances. The spiritual mind sees Him in every thing, even in natural things, in looking on the heavens and the earth, and all the creatures,—The heavens ; sees all in that notion, in their relation to God as His work, and in them His glory appearing ; stands in awe, fearing to abuse His creatures and His favours to His dishonour. The day is Thine, and the night also is Thine; therefore ought not I to forget Thee through the day, nor in the night.
All that I use, and all that I have, is not mine, but Thine, and therefore all shall be for THEE; Thou art my aim and scope in all. Therefore God quarrels with His people, because they had forgotten this. Hos. ii. 8, 8c. The most are strangers to these thoughts ; they can eat, drink, and sleep, lie down and rise up, and pass one day after another, without one reverend or affectionate thought of God. They may give Him a formal good morrow, and then farewell for all the day long ; they offer up their prayers, (as they speak,) and think they have done enough, and that afterwards their hearts may go whither they will, provided they escape grosser sins; they never check themselves in wandering from God all the day, if they fall not into some deep mire.
But even they who are somewhat more mindful of God, and see Him in His works, and consider them so as to observe Him
in them, yet are very faulty in thinking of Him seldom, and in the slightness of such thoughts; they are not deep in them. We do not accustom ourselves to walk with God, to a continued and delightful converse with Him, to be still with Him. We can turn our eyes no way but He is visible and legible ; and if He were our delight, and His name sweet to us, we should eye that more in everything, than the things themselves.
The heart will readily espy and take hold of every small occasion of remembering that which it loves. That which carries any impression of the person on whom the affection is set is more looked upon on that side, and in that reference, than
Certainly, were God the choice of our hearts, our natural use and enjoyment of things would not relish so much with us, nor take us up so much, as the viewing of Him in them all. In our affairs and our refreshments, in company and the beholding of heaven and earth, and all that is round about us, our eye would be most on Him whom our soul loveth. What a pity, and what a shame is it, that we who profess ourselves to be His children, and even they who truly are so, should so little mind our Father and His greatness and glory, who is continually minding us and our good! It is indeed a double standing wonder in the world which he hath made, that God should take so much notice of Man, and Man should take so little notice of God.
Were this known truth of the creation wisely improved, we should find much in it that we commonly observe not, at least that we use not. This one thing, surely, it might gain upon us, to fear His displeasure who is so great, and so powerful, who hath the whole host of heaven, and the great army of all creatures, at His command.
What he commands they must obey; for He commanded and they were made: they have their being from His command. How quickly can He crush those who proudly rebel against Him! How easily can He shake them to pieces, the greatest and the strongest of them! He poureth contempt upon princes. Yea, what are they? Base potsherds of earth striving with their Maker, though somewhat bigger than others, yet as easily broken by His sceptre. O you that, after all warnings, dare walk on in your wicked ways, in drunkenness, or swearing, or any secret heart wickedness, you know not who is your party; the great God, the Former of all things. Who would not fear Thee, 0 King of nations ? You who do not fear Him are in a fearful estate. Learn to know Him, and seek unto Him. Seek the Lord, and ye shall live. Seek Him who hath the seven stars, and Orion; who turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark 'with night. Amos, v. 8.
There is in this a strong ground of spiritual confidence, both for the Church's concernment and our own in every estate. This first work of God rightly looked on, answers all the difficulties of the greatest works we can expect at His hands. Let Zion's enemies grow to their highest, they cannot rise so high as to be above this Almighty God, who framed the heavens. Let the Church be brought to the lowest depths of distress, yet cannot she fall so low, but His everlasting arm is long enough to reach her, and draw her out of it, which drew the whole world out of nothing. He doth therefore often represent, by His prophets, this very work as a certain evidence of His unbounded power. See Isa. xliii. 13 ; xliv. 24; and li. 12, 13. Jer. li. 19, 20. Zech. xii. 1. What task can be so great as to surcharge Him, who so easily brought forth a world ? What number can be too small, what instrument too weak in His hand, for the greatest work, who, without either working instrument or materials, built such a palace ?
Fear not, thou worm Jacob, aud ye men of Israel-Why? Wherefore have they no reason to fear, they being but as a worm ?-I will help thee, saith the Lord. Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument with teeth, and thou shalt thresh the mountains, and make the hills chaff. Isa. xli. 15. A worm in thyself, but in My hand a threshing instru,