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exercised in a holy manner.
The almighty power of God is a natural attribute. But this is holy. He
. never exerts, this attribute, but in a holy manner, or to answer some holy and benevolent purpose.
Hence his omnipotence is represented as an holy omnipotence. “O sing unto the Lord a new song ; for he hath done marvellous things : his right hand and his holy arm hath gotten him the victory.” The wisdom of God is one of his natural attributes, by which he is capable of forming the best designs and devising the best means of accomplishing them. This natural perfection is always under the influence of perfect holiness ; and is never exercised to form any other but holy and benevolent purposes.
It is said, “He is a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” Job demands, “Doth God pervert judgment ? or doth the Almighty pervert justice ? Elihu says, “Far be it from God that he should do wickedness and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity.” The perfect holiness of God governs his unerring wisdom and disposes him to devise and adopt none but perfectly holy, just and benevolent designs, which render his wisdom a perfectly holy wisdom.
And for the same reason, his sovereignty is a holy sovereignty. Though he has a natural right to do what he will with his own; yet his perfect holiness renders it morally impossible for him to exercise his sovereignty, in a manner contrary to the eternal rule of right. The Sovereign of the universe, who is perfectly holy, cannot do wrong.--Though he may have mercy on whom he will have mercy and whom he will he may destroy ; yet in forming the vessels of mercy and vessels of wrath, he exercises no other but a holy and benevolent sovereignty.
Thus all the natural perfections of God are glorious in holiness.
2. God is holy in all his purposes, as well as in all his essential attributes. He designed from eternity to exert and display all the perfections of his nature. It was the benevolence of the Deity, which prompted him to form any designs and to pursue any course of external conduct. The great plan, which he formed before the foundation of the world, is a scheme of perfect holiness ; and designed to promote the largest measure of holiness in the universe, that infinite wisdom and power can produce. All his designs, strictly speaking, are only so many constituent parts, or branches of his one great design. They all centre in the highest good of the intelligent universe. And this renders every one of his designs, as really holy as another. They all originate in holiness and tend to promote it.
3. God is holy in his word; which is an expression of his holy heart, from beginning to end. All his commands are holy, just and good and expressive of his love to holiness. His laws require nothing but holiness of mankind and forbid nothing but what is unholy and sinful. His promises are all holy and designed to manifest his cordial approbation of the holy affections of his dutiful creatures. All his threatenings are also holy ; and designed to reveal his holy displeasure and wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of
God has said nothing in his word, but what flowed from a holy heart and tends to promote some holy purpose. The whole word of God is perfectly holy and adapted to promote holiness in the hearts and lives of all to whom it is given. Accordingly, Christ in his prayer to his Father for his disciples, said,
Sanctify them through thy truth ; thy word is truth.” And with this agree the declarations of David. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul : the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The judgments of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.”
4. God is holy in all his works. So says the psalmist. " The Lord is righteous in all his ways and holy in all his works.” The works of the Lord are great and numerous and wonderful ; and all the fruits and effects of his holiness. God was holy in ereating the heavens and the earth and in forming angels and men. He was holy in calling into existence every created object. His holiness was as really concerned and displayed in creating things without holiness and without life, as in creating those, which pos. sess both.
He created just so many creatures of just such a nature, of just such a size and of just such a duration, as would best subserve the purposes of his holiness. He made every thing in weight and in measure and holiness determined what these should be. He made nothing to no purpose and nothing to an ill purpose. He had a holy, benevolent and important
a purpose in every thing he made. And though all things, that he has made, are not holy, yet he is holy in making all things.
This leads me to observe further, that God is holy in governing whatever he has made. He upholds and directs all things by his constant and powerful agency. He causes the regular succession of day and night, summer and winter, seed time and harvest. He hears the
young ravens when they cry and satisfies the desires and supplies the wants of every living creature. fixes the bounds of every one's habitation and orders all the circumstances of human life. In a word, he exercises a universal providence over all his works. And he is holy, as well as wise and powerful, in his universal government. As the work of redemption is the most glorious and important of all his works, so he displays the most holiness in carrying it on. To this work he makes all his other works subservient. For the sake of bringing home many sons unto glory and making them perfectly holy, he has given his Son to suffer and die on the cross ; published the gospel of his grace; appointed man to preach it; and set apart a day to hear it; while at the same time, he operates on the human heart, to produce the effect he designs. He opens the hearts of some to receive it, and shuts the hearts of others against it. And in doing all this, he acts from the same holy and benevolent design, which he had in view, in forming the great scheme of redemption and in choosing the subjects of his from the early days of eternity. His holy heart governs all his conduct, in the works of creation, providence and grace. Thus he is perfectly and universally holy, in all his affections, in all his attributes, in all his laws, and in all his works. It now remains to show,
III. That since God is holy, it highly concerns men to be holy. This is the reason he gives for commanding them to be holy. “ Be ye holy; for I am
; holy.” The perfect holiness of the Deity lays all mankind under a moral obligation and necessity of being conformed to his holy and amiable character. This will appear from various considerations.
1. It is absolutely necessary that men should be holy, in order to discover the supreme excellence and glory of an holy God.
Holiness is the supreme glory and perfection of the Deity ; but without holiness no man can see his supreme beauty and moral excellence. It is impossible, that those, who are wholly destitute of every holy and benevolent feeling, should know how a boly and benevolent being feels. This is the general representation of scripture. Our Lord says, “ Blessed are the pure in heart : for they shall see God.” The apostle John says, “He that loveth not knoweth not God ; for God is love." And the apostle Paul says on the one hand, “The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God : for they are foolishness unto him ; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. And on the other hand he says, “ Those, who are rooted and grounded in love, are able to comprehend, with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.” Men must possess real holiness, in order to see the beauty of holiness in the divine character. But as soon as they become holy as God is holy, they can discern the beauty and glory of divine holi
“For love is of God; and every one, that loveth, is born of God and knoweth God.” Without such a peculiar knowledge of the only true God, none can inherit eternal life
2. It is absolutely necessary that men should be holy, in order to obey an holy God. This we are expressly told in his word.
“ The carnal mind is enmity against God, not subject to his law neither indeed can be.” And when the unholy Israelites publicly said,