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SERMON I.

GOD ALMIGHTY.

GENESIS IVii. 1. I am the Almighty God.

MATTER is powerless; itself moves, and also moves other things, only as it is moved by mind. We do indeed see prodigious agencies in the material world. There is the agency of the mechanical powers; the agency of steam, and of the elements. But they are all to be traced up to the prior agency of thought, of contrivance, of intellectual effort and impulse. Apart from these, every species, every form, and every combination of matter would be perfectly inert and motionless.

The mind of man accomplishes wonders; the mind of the Deity, himself a pure Spirit,—all Mind, is inifinitely powerful; it is almighty, and able to do all things. "He speaks, and it is done; he commands, and it stands fast." He wills, and the object he wills is produced; his very choice is agency: his mere will is omnipotent. "What his soul desireth, that he doeth." It costs him no trouble, no effort. To determine is with him to perform. Every thought, every desire, every purpose of this Infinite Mind is pure, omnipotent power, beyond resistance, obstruction, or control.

Let us then contemplate the extent and greatness of God's almighty power.

I. In the first place, we see it in the works of creation.

There is no higher act of power than that of causing positive existence. No creature has the power to create-no not a worm, nor a pebble on the shore. Creation is God's work alone. That atom that floats on the breeze, whence was it? Those orbs that light up the azure sky, that sky itself, how came they into being? They were not always. Almighty God made them, and gave them existence, where there was nothing before. He stretched out the heavens by his.discretion, and garnished them by his Spirit. He spake and decided the number, the magnitude, the distances, the influence of the unnumbered hosts of stars and planets. He set all the borders of the earth, and fastened its foundations, and laid the measures thereof, and stretched out his line upon it. He stretched out the north over the empty place, and hung the world upon nothing. The fertile plain and the barren desert, the lofty mountain and the humble valley, and the rivers that roll between them, are all his workmanship. And this vast extent of ocean, these deep blue waters, whence were they? who laid them up in store-houses, and made the cloud a garment, and thick darkness a swaddling band for them? Who shut them up with doors, and set bars for them, that they should not break through their decreed place? Well may we say with Job, "I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought is hidden from thee!" Truly "he doeth great things! unsearchable, marvellous things, and that without number!" "Marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; in wisdom hast thou made them all!"

II. In the second place, there are equal exhibitions of God's almighty power in the works of his providence.

He is not only the Maker, but the upholder of all things, and their director and governor. His providence is a sort of second creation-creation constantly continued. And throughout the whole of it, there is one continued expression of omnipotence. Men speak of the laws by which the natural world is governed, as though they were something apart from God; while they are God himself, working after the counsel of his own will. They do but unfold the way and manner in which he works in order to accomplish his own wise and benevolent designs. When the earth quakes, men attribute the phenomenon to mere natural causes; but the Scriptures attribute it to God. "He toucheth the hills and they smoke, the mountains, and they break in pieces;" the rocks, and "they melt away like wax;" the earth, and "all its foundations are out of place." Men have their theories to account for storms and tempests; the Scriptures account for them in another way. "His way is in the whirlwind, and the clouds are the dust of his feet." "The mountains saw thee, and they trembled; the overflowing of the water passed by; the deep uttered his voice and lifted up his hands on high." The regular succession of day and night, summer and winter, seed-time and harvest; the rain, the drought, the dew, are familiarly traced by the philosophy of this world to other causes than God. But the Scriptures adopt another and a different philosophy. "Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days, and caused the day-spring from on high to know his place, that it might take hold of the uttermost parts of the earth? Hast thou divided a water-course for the over

flowing of the waters; or a way for the lightning of thunder, to cause it to rain on the earth where no man is, and on the wilderness where there is no man? Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of the dew? Out of whose womb came the ice, and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it?" Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power and judgment."

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And as it is in the natural, so is it in the moral world. God is its governor, and all the affairs of men are controlled by him. "He is the judge; he setteth up one, and he putteth down another." There are many devices in a man's heart; but the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand." When empires are to be founded, he founds them; when they are to be overthrown, he diminishes and brings them low. Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, and all the departed nations, have passed away, because his unseen hand had written their doom. His arm disconcerts the schemes of the wise, breaks the confederacies of the great, and scatters the combinations of all who set themselves to contend with their Maker. We look for them, but they are not to be found. We do but pass by, and they are no more. The only remembrance of them is contained in the history of the past, and that remembrance is pre-eminently the record of the Almighty power that levelled them with the dust. A single look from God, and they were no longer to be found. It is impossible for us to conceive the amazing power with which the Divine administration in the government of this world moves forward. The vast machinery is kept in motion by an invisible, but Almighty hand; "there is a wheel within a wheel; and 'the living creature is within the wheels."

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