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CHAPTER IV

THE RELATION OF MAN TO GOD.


1. In what relation do we stand to God?

God is our Father, and we are his children.

"You are children of the Lord your God." Deut. xiv. 1.

"For Thou art our Father; for Abraham knoweth nothing of us; Israel recogniseth us not; Thou, O Lord! art out Father; our Redeemer is from everlasting thy name." Isaiah lxiii. 16.

"But now, O Lord! Thou art our Father; we are the clay, Thou art our Former, and we all are the work of thy hand." Ibid. lxiv. 8.

2. What is accordingly the conduct of God towards us?

God loves us as a father loves his child, and He desires only our welfare. Every created thing on earth is for our benefit; the ground is for our labour that it may produce bread for our support; the light of the sun is to gladden our eyes, and to bring to ripeness the labour of our hands; so are also the various animals destined to aid man in his work and pursuits, or to benefit him in various other ways, (if even the method is unknown to him,) or they serve him as food: in short, all nature is so organized as to sustain, assist, or gladden the heart of, the son of man.

"And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. and God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree on which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food." Genesis i. 28,29.

3. What is, therefore, required of us?

that we should repay the love of God with sincere love on our part, and return Him our heartfelt thanks for his many benefits. For as the child ought to love the father from whom he receives his daily food, the garments which cover him, and the instruction which teaches him the righteous way: so ought we to love our heavenly Father and Benefactor for his innumerable acts of goodness, and thank Him daily for the bounties which He so graciously bestows on us, although we be unworthy of his favour.

"He giveth food to all flesh; for his mercy endureth for ever. O! give thanks unto the God of heaven; for his mercy endureth for ever." Psalms cxxxvi. 25,26.

4. In what manner can we display our love to God?

By using the gifts which He has given us for the best purposes. To hold whatever we possess as liable to be at all times taken back, when He in his wisdom may see fit to take it away from us. To devote our possessions to acts of benevolence towards other human beings, who are, like ourselves, children of the same great Father.

"For all things come from Thee, and of thy own have we given thee." 1 Chronicles xxix. 14.

5. How can we thank God?

By impressing on our mind the great goodness which we receive from the Supreme Being.

"Bless the Lord, O my soul! and all that is within me bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul! and forget not any of his benefits." Psalms ciii. 1,2.

6. How should we express by outward conduct this inward gratitude?

By prayer.

"A Psalm of Thanksgiving.--Shout unto the Lord, all inhabitants of the earth. serve the Lord with gladness, come into his presence with a song. Know ye that the Lord is God alone; it is He who hath made us, and His we are--His people and the sheep of his pasture. Enter ye his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise; be thankful unto Him, and bless his name. for good is the Lord; his mercy is everlasting, and his truth endureth to all generations." Ps. c.

7. What is prayer?

The raising of our thoughts to God, and the expressing of the feelings of our hearts in words addressed to our Maker. That is to say, when we see how many benefits we receive from the Lord, and discover how great is his power, we should reflect and think that to Him, therefore, is our gratitude due; and we should say to Him, by words of our mouth, that we sincerely feel that we are so indebted, and that it is not through our own exertions, but through his blessing, that we enjoy the good we have received.

"But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God; for it is He who giveth thee power to get wealth." Deut. viii. 18.

"O Lord! open thou my lips, and my mouth shall declare thy praise." Ps. li. 15.

"Trust in him at all times, O ye people! pour out your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us." Ibid. lxii. 9.

8. But is prayer intended only for the purpose of returning thanks?

No; we should also pray when we are in trouble and danger, in which case we should express before God the things we stand in need of, in the hope that He may grant us what we ask of Him; also, when we have sinned; when, feeling the unworthiness of our conduct, and the ingratitude with which we have offended our great Benefactor, we should express our regret to God, and ask of Him to forgive us, because He is merciful, the sins we have committed.

"But if from there thou wilt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find Him, if thou seek Him with all thy heart and all thy soul." Deut. iv. 29.

"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will pardon abundantly." Isa. lv. 6,7.

"But in my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God, and he heard my voice from his temple, and my cry came before Him, into his ears." Ps. xviii. 6.

"With a loud voice I call unto the Lord, with a loud voice I make supplication unto the Lord. I pour out my complaint before Him, tell my trouble before Him. I cried unto Thee, O Lord! I said, Thou art my refuge, my portion in the land of life." Ibid. cxlii. 2,3,6.

9. What effect has prayer upon ourselves?

It teaches us our dependence on God, and impresses on us that we are his servants, with whom He may act at pleasure; and that consequently He may take from us to-day what he bestowed on us yesterday. If we, therefore, pray when we are in joy, we will not be too much carried away by our prosperity, but be humble before our Maker, who is the Author of our happiness. but if we are in affliction, the pouring out of our heart will remove the load of sorrow and distress which otherwise might make our life bitter and unhappy. We say, therefore, that prayer is necessary to the nature of man.

"O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good; for his mercy endureth forever." Ibid. cvii. 1.

"In distress I called on the Lord, and the Lord answered me with enlargement." Ibid. cxviii. 5.

10. Has prayer any other beneficial effect upon us?

Prayer makes us cheerful, resigned to God, and gives us hope and confidence in his protection and assistance. for if we are in sorrow and express our pain before God, then it is absolutely necessary that we must feel that He has power to assist us; and we must consequently be made more cheerful and resigned, knowing that our case is in the hands of the Almighty, who can save us if He deems us worthy.

"And Hannah answered and said, No, my Lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. so the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad." 1 Sam. i. 15-18.

"And I have trusted in thy mercy, my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation: I will sing unto the Lord, because He hath dealt bountifully with me." Ps. xiii. 6.

"I know that Thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withheld from Thee." Job xlii. 2.

11. Does God grant the prayer of man, or, as it is commonly called, answer his prayer?

Yes; when the prayer is offered up in truth and sincerity, and in true confidence upon Divine grace and assistance; of which we have many examples in Scripture. Nevertheless, if our petition be not granted, we should not complain of the want of mercy, but ascribe it to our own unworthiness, or to the probable fact, that what we asked might have been injurious to ourselves or others if it had been granted.

"The Lord is near unto all those who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and save them." Ps. cxlv. 18,19.

12. What do you mean by saying, "To call upon God in truth?"

It is our duty to be earnest and sincere in our prayers; to feel at heart what we utter with our lips, and to do carefully whatever we promise during the moments of devotion.

"That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform, even a free-will offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the Lord thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth." Deut. xxiii. 23.

13. Do Scriptures speak against praying without devotion, or without repentance? And what is said of sincerity?

Of deceitful prayer we read:

"And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide my eyes from you: yea, when ye multiply prayer, I will not hear, your hands are full of blood." Isa. i. 15.

"And they remembered that God was their Rock, and the most high God their Redeemer; nevertheless, they did flatter Him with their mouth, and with their tongue they lied unto Him. When God heard this He was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel." Ps. lxxviii. 35,36,59.

but of a sincere prayer it is said:

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God! Thou wilt not despise." Ibid. li. 19.

14. What is the object of prayer?

It is chiefly intended, since God needs not to be told of our wants, that we may be sanctified by our approaching, as it were, nearer to god when we are praying, than we are at those times when we are engaged in pursuits of pleasure or profit.

"Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, and cry unto the Lord." Joel i. 14.

"Therefore, thus will I do unto thee, O Israel; and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel." Amos v. 12.

15. What do you understand by "That we may be sanctified?"

By this I understand that we should endeavour to become like God, who is the most perfect and holiest of beings; that is to say, we ought to be, as near as possible for human nature, like Him in his qualities of mercy and goodness.

"And you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." Exod. xix. 6.

"And God spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the congregation of the children of Israel and say unto them, You shall be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy." Lev. xix. 1,2.

16. Is it possible for man to be like God?

Already, from the nature of his soul, man is like his Creator; for, to use the language of Scripture, "God created man after his own image."

"And god created man after his own image; in the image of God created He him, male and female created He them." Gen. i. 27.

17. What do you mean by the "image of God?"

By these words I do not mean to say that the body of man has any similarity to God; for the blessed One has no corporeal figure, no outline of body, to which we could liken any thing; He being a pure spirit, not subject to measure of space and time, like ourselves. But God imparted to the body of man a living principle, a part of his own spirit, which living principle we call soul, and this is the image of God.

"And the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became an animated being." Ibid. ii. 7.

18. In what light then is man to be regarded?

By the possession of the soul man is endowed with power, wisdom, and goodness, and these qualities make him the image of his Creator.

"And Thou madest him but little less than angels, and didst crown him with honour and glory; Thou gavest him dominion over the works of thy hands, and didst place all beneath his feet." Ps. viii. 6,7.

19. In what consists the power of man?

The power of man consists chiefly in his having freedom of will to do good or evil, and next, in doing whatever is agreeable, and to avoid what is disagreeable to his inclinations and feelings.

"Behold, I lay before thee this day life and the good; also, death and the evil." Deut. xxx. 15.

20. In what consists the wisdom of man?

In the possession of reason, by which he is enabled to distinguish the true from the false, and the good from the evil.

"For God knoweth, that on the day ye eat thereof, your eyes will be opened, and you will be as angels, knowing good and evil." Gen. iii. 5.

21. In what consists the goodness of man?

Man has a consciousness to understand and to value, and a will to desire and to exercise the good, and to dislike and avoid the evil.

"I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you: I have set before you life and death, blessing and the curse; but do thou choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live." Deut. xxx. 19.

22. You understand then by the "image of God" a state of goodness and intelligence: what do you call a man who acts in accordance with these qualities?

I call him innocent and perfect. Innocent, because he then must be free from guilt; and perfect, because he is just as his Creator intended he should be.

"And when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God: walk before me and be perfect." Gen. xvii. 1.

23. Did man always maintain his innocence, or the image of God, as you call it?

No; he lost his state of purity and innocence by voluntary transgression and disobedience.

24. What is the present state of man?

Man is in a state of sin; and we may freely say that we all are sinners before the Lord.

"There is no man so righteous on earth, who would do the good, and never sin." Eccles. vii. 20.

25. How did this state originate, since man was created with the great endowments you have mentioned?

The sinful transgression of the parents of the human race, or the fall of Adam, as it is called, caused a state of sin to be the portion of all mankind, the descendants of the first parents.

"Thy first father sinned, and they that plead for thee have transgressed against me." Isa. xliii. 27.

"Is one clean among the unclean? not one." Job xiv. 4.

26. What is the present state of man in consequence of the fall of Adam?

He is from his earliest infancy inclined to do the evil, and disinclined to do the good.

"For the desire of the heart of man is evil from his youth." Gen. viii.21.

"Lo! I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." Ps. li.7.

27. What is sin?

Every action and thought which are against the will of God, and the commandments which He gave us in his law.

"After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye have dwelt, shall ye not do; and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do; neither shall ye walk in their ordinances. Ye shall do my judgments, and keep my ordinances, to walk therein: I am the Lord your God." Lev. xviii. 3,4.

"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy might." Deut. vi. 5.

"Thou shalt not do so unto the Lord thy God; for every abomination of the Lord, which He hateth, have they done unto their gods." Ibid. xii. 31.

28. What causes this inclination to sin?

Man is created of a twofold nature, one intellectual, or the soul; the other sensual, or the body. Now, as far as the soul, the intelligent spirit, is concerned, he feels pleasure and satisfaction in obeying the will of God, which is, in other words, doing good; but as regards the body, which was, like that of other animals, formed out of the dust of the earth, and is liable to decay and death, he is subject to sensual desires, defects, and weakness; or, what is the same, he is, because of the formation of his body, drawn to sin, in disobedience to the will of God.

"For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust." Ps. ciii. 14.

"Remember, I beseech Thee, that Thou hast shaped me like clay, and wilt cause me to return unto dust. Behold, Thou didst pour me out like milk, and curdle me like cheese; clothe me with skin and flesh, and cover me with bones and sinews." Job. x. 9-11.

29. Can we escape the power of sin?

We are constantly and at every point incited to sin; but we have the power, and are therefore bound, as intelligent creatures of God, to resist the inclination which would mislead us to forsake the law of God.

"The sin will rest at the door: to thee is its desire, but thou shalt rule over it." Gen. iv. 7.

"For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. for all his judgments were before me; and from his statutes I did not depart. I was also upright before Him, and guarded myself from my iniquity." Ps. xviii. 22-24.

30. But how can we control this inclination to sin?

By the fear of God. We should reflect, as has been said in the verses from the 18th Psalm, just quoted, that we are accountable to God for whatever we do; that He always sees us, and watches our conduct; that we cannot hide our doings from Him, no matter how secretly we commit wickedness; and that, lastly, we cannot escape his punishment, which will surely overtake the sinner, if even it be a long while delayed.

"I have always set the Lord before me, that being at my right hand, I might not be moved." Ps. xvi. 8.

"Be not wise in thy own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil." Prov. iii. 7.

31. How do we obtain the fear of God?

When we consider how great our Maker is; when we seriously reflect how little we can accomplish without his assistance, and that we are his creatures, with whom He can act at pleasure: we must be filled with reverence for his goodness, and with fear at the great power He has over us; these feelings will next teach us that it is necessary that we should endeavour to do nothing to displease Him. In this fear there is nothing mean or unworthy of the character of an intelligent creature; for by it we merely acknowledge the supreme power of our Maker, and that his wisdom is the origin of our wisdom; we submit to One greater and wiser than we are, who is only solicitous for our happiness.

"Out of heaven He caused thee to hear his voice, that He might instruct thee; and upon earth He showed thee his great fire, and his words thou didst hear out of the midst of the fire." Deut. iv. 36.

32. What is the fear of God as displayed in our conduct?

We should fear the Lord our God above all; we should regard no danger or worldly inducements, when these would mislead us from the laws of God; but we should strictly obey his will, and adhere unto Him under every difficulty.

"The Lord thy God thou shalt fear, Him thou shalt serve, to Him thou shalt cleave, and by His name thou shalt swear." Ibid. x. 20.

33. What do you call the fear of God when actively displayed in our conduct?

Virtue, pity, or righteousness.

"And it will be righteousness unto us, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He hath commanded us." Ibid. vi. 25.

34. In what consists this feeling?

By letting our reason have the victory over the passions, the spirit over the flesh, and duty over inclination; that is to say, we should not be anxious to do what we might resolve on at the impulse of passion and hasty resolution; we should submit the body, even if it causes pain and inconvenience, to our calmer resolution and serious reflection, and to place the will of God above every inducement which interest, or pleasure, or inconvenience, might hold out to us.

"He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city." Prov. xvi. 32.

35. What is the will of God concerning us?

We should observe the commandments of God, which He gave to us for our own happiness only.

"And now, O Israel, what doth the Lord thy God ask of thee? Only to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul. To observe the commandments of the Lord thy God, and his statutes which I command thee this day, that it may be well with thee." Deut. x. 12, 13.

36. You said, The law was given for our happiness: how do you understand this?

The fear of God as displayed in obedience to the law is the only thing which enables us to fulfil our destiny, that is to say, to accomplish those duties for which we were created, and it is only by fulfilling these duties that we can be truly happy.

"Fear God, and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." Eccles. xii. 13.

37. What is this destiny?

Perfection and similarity to God.

"Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God." Deut. xviii. 13.

"When thou observeth the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walkest in his ways." Ibid. xxviii. 9.

38. How do we obtain similarity to God?

We ought to acknowledge with the utmost sincerity his power and goodness, search into his attributes and ways of mercy, and endeavour to act according to the example which He hath set us.

"For the Lord your God is the God of gods; and the Lord of lords, the great, mighty and terrible God, who hath no regard to persons and receiveth no bribes; who executeth justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loveth the stranger to give him food and raiment. Love ye then the stranger." Deut. x. 17-19.

"In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will not direct thy paths." Prov. iii. 6.

39. What do we now learn from the almighty power of God, one of his attributed?

That we should not trust in, nor boast of our own strength and power, nor despond when we discover our own means to be insufficient for our intended actions; nor dare we despair when we are beset with difficulties and dangers too great to be overcome by our feeble efforts; it is also sinful to fear or to confide in any other being more than the Almighty our god, or to put any such being upon an equality with Him in our thoughts; for all are like ourselves far beneath Him, and equally dependent on his power and benevolence.

"The Lord is for me, I will not fear; what can man do unto me?" Ps. cxviii. 6.

"Put not your trust in princes, in the son of man in whom there is no salvation. His spirit goeth away, he returneth to his native earth, in that very day all his thoughts perish. But happy is he who hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God." Ibid. cxlvi. 3-5.

40. What do we learn from the justice of God?

We should endeavour to be like God, just in our dealings and conduct; we should without regard to persons love the good and abhor the evil.

"Thou shalt not pervert judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a bribe; for a bribe doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous. The just, the just alone thou shalt pursue, that thou mayest live." Deut. xvi. 19,20.

"Thou shalt not have in thy bag different weights, a great and a small one. Thou shalt not have in thy house different measures, a great and a small one. But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure thou shalt have, that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. For all who do such things are an abomination unto the Lord thy God, all who do unrighteousness." Ibid. xxv. 13-16.

41. What do we learn from the goodness of God?

We shall, like God, act and think with love, affection, and goodness towards all mankind; not hate any one who may even injure us, and not think any man, however mean and unknown, unworthy of our regard and kindness. Does not god let his sun shine to all the world? Are not the great and the small, the good and the bad, alike fed and sustained by his bounty? We ought, therefore, like our great Teacher, to act benevolently towards every one as far as our means go, without regarding whether he be an Israelite or not, whether he be a stranger to us or not; nay, even the wicked should be relieved and instructed by us; perhaps they may repent and be again taught to love God, whom their sins have displeased.

"If a stranger sojourneth with thee, in your land, you shall not oppress him. Like a native born among you shall the stranger who sojourneth with you be unto you, and thou shalt love him like thyself." Lev. xix. 33,34.

"It has been told thee, O man! what is good, and what the Lord asketh of thee: to exercise justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before thy God." Micah vi.8.

42. What farther do we learn from the goodness of God?

Never to despair of God's mercy, even if we have sinned against his commandments. Let no man say, that he is cast off because he has transgressed; or that his sins are too great for forgiveness. for to argue in this manner would be to set limits to the mercy of God, and to doubt of his goodness, which is without end. But if we are conscious that we have sinned, we should pray God to forgive us our sins; and we should alter our conduct, and endeavour to merit in future the favour of the Lord by a careful observance of the precepts of the bible.

"For thus saith the High and Holy One, who inhabiteth eternity, and whose name is Holy, The high and holy place I inhabit, yet also with the contrite and humble of spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to give life to the heart of the contrite. For I will not always contend, neither will I be wroth for ever: when the spirit from before me is overwhelmed, and the souls which I have made." Isaiah lvii. 15,16.

"Thou turnest men to contrition, and sayest, Return, ye children of man." Ps. xc. 3.

43. What do we learn from the grace and mercy of God?

As god the Lord has compassion over all his works, so shall we exercise mercy and kindness toward all our fellow-creatures.

"He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth; but happy is he that hath mercy on the poor?" Prov. xiv. 21.

"He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and He will pay him what he hath given." Ibid. xix. 17.

44. What do we learn from the eternity and immutability of God?

That, as God is no man that He should deceive, no son of man that He should repent; should He say and not do it? promise and not fulfil it?" Numb. xxiii. 19.

"Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that you might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: that thou mayest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life." Deut. vi. 1,2.

45. What do we learn from the universal knowledge, or omniscience, as it is called, of God?

We should do the good, and avoid the evil, and abstain from sinning, even if no one be present to see us; for the eye of the Lord sees whatever we do.

"If a man even conceal himself in a secret place, should I not see him? saith the Lord: do I not fill the heaven and the earth?" Jer. xxiii. 24.

"The Lord looketh down from heaven; He beholdeth all the sons of men. From the place of his residence He superintendeth all the inhabitants of the earth. He fashioneth all their hearts, and understandeth all their works." Ps. xxxiii. 13-15.

"For high is the Lord, and regardeth the low, and chastiseth afar the exalted." Ibid. cxxxviii. 6.

46. What do we learn from the omnipresence of God?--that is to say, what effect should the knowledge we have of the Lord's being present everywhere have upon us?

That God is everywhere present and ready to assist us, whenever we call upon Him; but so is the sinner likewise everywhere under the observance and cognizance of God; and, consequently, he can do nothing which can escape the knowledge and the visitation of his Maker.

"In every place where I will permit my name to be mentioned I will come to thee, and I will bless thee." Exod. xx. 21.

"There is no darkness, no shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity can hide themselves." Job xxxiv. 22.

47. What else do we learn from the omnipresence of God?

Not to rely upon any mediator to pray for us, or to make an atonement for our sins before God. But whenever we pray, we should speak directly to Him, who is always near to hear us, and who exists to all eternity; and if we have sinned there is no being but God alone, who in his mercy can or will remove our transgression, in case we repent and alter our conduct.

"For what nation is there so great, that hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is, whenever we call on Him?" Deut. iv. 7.

"You are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servants whom I have chosen, that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am He; before me no god was formed, and after me there shall be none. I, I am the everlasting One; and beside me there is no saviour." Isaiah xliii. 10,11.

48. What do we learn from the supreme wisdom of God?

That we cannot search out nor fully understand the ways of God; we should therefore confide in the Lord, and unhesitatingly place our entire trust in Him, that He will do every thing wisely and for a good end.

"Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will bring it to pass." Ps. xxxvii. 5.

"Trust in the Lord with all thy heart, and depend not upon thy own wisdom. Be not wise in thy own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil." Prov. iii. 5-7/

49. What else do we learn from the wisdom of god?

that whatever the Lord has commanded is just and true, even if we cannot discover the reason for its being so ordained; and that the wisdom of man is of no value, if it is not founded upon the fear and love of god.

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and good success attendeth all who keep his commandments; his praise also endureth for ever." Ps. cxi. 10.

"Open Thou my eyes, that I may behold the wonders of thy law." Ibid. cxix. 18.

"And He said to man, Behold! to fear the Lord is wisdom, and to eschew evil is understanding." Job xxviii. 28.

50. What does Holy Writ teach with regard to the difference between the wisdom of God and that which He has given to man?

That man can only look to the outside of things, but that the Giver of wisdom understands every thing which is said, done, or even thought of.

"The secret things belong unto the Lord our god; but those things which are revealed belong unto us, and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law." Deut. xxix. 28.

"But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or the height of his stature, because I have refused him; for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for the man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh at the heart." 1 Sam. xvi. 7.

51. You said, "That we may do all the words of this law;" which law is here spoken of?

The law which God made known unto us through Moses and the prophets, whom He selected to make his will known to the children of man.


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