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1o. God must be present wherever His action is; for because of His infinite perfection, His substance and His action are one and the same. Now, God's action is everywhere, for in all places we find its effects; viz., the works of creation.
As the motive-power is present with the thing moved, and fire with the material which it consumes; and the wind with the ship that it propels; so is God ever necessarily present with His works. One might as well expect an engine to run without steam, wood to burn without fire, a ship to sail without wind, as to conceive any creature to exist in the absence of the Creator; for, the relation of a mover to motion, or of fire to heat, is not more intimate than is God's relation to everything that exists. The Apostle says: "In Him we live and move and have our being.":
There is, therefore, an essential difference between a human architect and the Divine Architect. When a house is constructed, it stands without the aid of the builder; but the works of God must always lean on God for support. They cannot subsist without Him, because they depend on Him as much for their conservation as they did for their creation; so that every fresh moment of their existence may be said to imply a renewed act of creation.
Cast your eyes upward, and contemplate the starry firmament. Consider that immense space above and around you between heaven and earth.
1 Acts XVII., 28.
Cast your eyes downward, and behold in imagination the bottom of the deep underlying countless fathoms of water. I tell you that there is not an inch of space in the heavens above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth that is not filled with God's presence. "Do not I fill heaven and earth, saith the Lord?" In the sublime words of Isaias, "Thus saith the Lord: Heaven is My throne, and the earth My footstool." Though God fills all space, He is circumscribed by none. He is not divided nor dismembered; He is not partly here and partly there, but entire everywhere. Hence, Solomon exclaims: "Heaven and the heavens of heavens cannot contain Thee." "He is higher," says Job, "than heaven. He is deeper than hell. The measure of Him is longer than the earth and broader than the sea.” 4
Stretch forth your hand, and He is there. He is present with you at every step you take. He envelops the seat that you occupy. He dwells within your beating heart. You are more thoroughly penetrated by the Divine Presence than is the sponge by the water that it soaks. You are more completely surrounded by Him than is the fish by the waters of the sea, or the bird by the air which it cleaves in its flight.
2o. God is intimately present with you not only by His essence, but also by His omniscient intelligence, which beams upon you more luminously
3 III. Kings, VIII., 27.
1 Jer. XXIII., 24. 2 Isaias LXVI., 1.
* Job XI., 8, 9.
than the noon-day sun in his cloudless splendor. God cannot exist without seeing all things, since infinite knowledge is one of His essential attributes. If any one object were unknown to Him, His knowledge would be finite. The past, the present, and the future are all manifest to Him; or, to speak more correctly, He has no past or future. He lives in the eternal present.
The congregation assembled at the Sermon on the Mount is as present before Him as a congregation assembled at this moment. A man wedged in a crowd could barely see the part of the procession passing immediately before him on Inauguration Day; but a spectator on Washington's Monument could, at one and the same moment, see the whole line from end to end. In like manner, we behold the events of life only as they pass in review before us. The past and the future are separated from us by an impenetrable barrier. But God, who dwelleth on high, beholdeth at the same instant the beginning and the end of all things. "He telleth the number of the stars, and calleth them all by their names. There is not a star in the firmament of heaven, there is not an atom in the air, there is not a leaf in the forest, there is not a grain of sand on the sea-shore, nor a creeping insect in the bowels of the earth, that is not observed by your Heavenly Father. Even "the very hairs of your head are all numbered."2.
1 Ps. CXLVI., 4.
2 Matt. X., 30.
There is no secret measure discussed in the cabinets of kings and rulers, there is not a word uttered by the children of men, there is not a thought concealed in the human heart, that is not visible to the searching eye of God. "Shall a man lie hid in secret places and I not see him, saith the Lord?"1 "There is no creature invisible in His sight: but all things are naked and open to His eyes." "2 "The eyes of the Lord in every place behold good and evil." All the ways of men are open to His eyes. The Lord is the Searcher of spirits. How eloquently does the Royal Prophet give expression to this great truth in the following words: "Lord, Thou hast known my sitting down and my rising up. Thou hast understood my thoughts afar off. My path and my line Thou hast searched out. And Thou hast foreseen all my ways.... Behold, O Lord, Thou hast known all things, the last and those of old.... Thy knowledge is become wonderful to me it is high, and I cannot reach to it. Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy face? If I ascend into
heaven, Thou art there. If I descent into hell, Thou art present. If I take my wings in the morning and dwell in the uttermost part of the sea, even there also shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me." The carnal man may, indeed, succeed in concealing his crimes from the eyes of men. He may say with the fornicator
1 Jer. XXIII., 24. 'Heb. IV., 13.
3 Prov. XV., 3.
The Most High And he understandeth things, . . . and he
in the Scripture: "Who seeth me? Darkness compasseth me about, and the walls cover me, and no man seeth me: whom do I fear? will not remember my sins. not that His eye seeth all knoweth not that the eyes of the Lord are far brighter than the sun, beholding round about all the ways of men and the bottom of the deep, and looking into the hearts of men, into the most hidden parts. For all things were known to the Lord God before they were created: so also after they were perfected, He beholdeth all things."1
Do not imagine that this universal knowledge involves any labor or study on the part of God. As the sun, at the same instant and without fatigue, gilds the clouds, illumines the mountain-peak, and reveals the pebbles at the bottom of the stream, so without effort of will does God observe the great and small things in heaven and on earth.
3o. Not only is God everywhere present by His essence, not only does His infinite knowledge penetrate into our inmost thoughts, but He exists also in all places by His superintending power. "He is not far from every one of us.' "2 We can perform no work, we can utter no word, we can conceive no thought without the concurrence of God. His presence is so necessary for our very existence that were He to withdraw His protecting hand from us for one instant, we should be utterly annihilated. He
1 Ecclus. XXIII., 25–29.
Acts XVII., 27.