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hills in a balance. Who, says he, has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor has taught him ? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him knowledge, and shewed him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are as the drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance. Behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. All nations before him are as nothing, and they are counted to him as less than nothing, and vanity. To whom then will ye liken God, or what likeness will ye compare unto him? Have ye not known, have ye not heard, has it not been told you from the beginning? It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the heavens, and the inhabitants of the earth are as grashoppers, who stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in. Haft thou not known, haft thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding
What a sublime idea doth Solomon give of the attributes of God, on occasion of the dedication of the temple, 1 Kings viii. 27. But will God indeed dwell on earth? Behold
the heaven, and the heaven of heavens, cannot contain thee. How much less this house which I have built? In the prophet Jeremiah, the divine Being is represented as saying, Am I a God at hand, and not a God afar off? Can any person bide himself in secret places that I cannot find him? saith the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? faith the Lord. The secrets of the hearts of men are represented as known to God.
9, I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give to every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
Where shall we find in any of the Greek or Latin poets such an idea of any of the heathen gods as David gives us of the God of the Hebrews in the cxxxix. Pfalm. O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowejt my downsitting, and my uprising. Thou understandejt my thoughts afar off. Thou compaleft my path, and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue but lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou haft beset me behind and before, and hast laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy Spirit, or whither shall I flee from thy pre8
sence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there. If I make
behold thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, or dwell in the utter most parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right band shall hold me. If I say, surely the darkness shall cover me, even the night shall be light about me. rea, the darkness bideth not from thee, but the night shineth 'as the day. The darkness and the day are both alike to thee.
The absurdity of the heatheri worship, and the vain pretensions of the heathen gods, are finely ridiculed by the Hebrew prophets. Isaiah, foretelling the destruction of Babylon, a city peculiarly devoted to the worship of idols, says, chap. xlvi. I, “Bel boweth down, “ Nebo stoopeth. Their idols were upon the “ beasts, and upon the cattle; your carriages “ were heavy laden, they are a burden to the
weary beast. They stoop, they bow down
together, they could not deliver the burden, “ but themselves are gone into captivity.” Jeremiah expresses equal contempt of them, when he says, chap. viii. 1, “ Thus says faith " the Lord, Learn not the ways of the hea“ then, and be not dismayed at the signs of 6 heaven, for the heathen are dismayed at
66 them. For the customs of the people are 66 vain. For one cutteth a tree out of the “ forest (the work of the hand of the work“ man) with the ax. They deck it with • silver and with gold, they fasten it with “ nails and with hammers, that it move not. “ They are upright as the palm-tree, but “ speak not. They must needs be borne, beso cause they cannot go.
Be not afraid of " them, for they cannot do evil, neither is 6. it in them to do good. Forasmuch as there " is none like unto thee, O Lord. Thou art
great, and thy name is great' in might, " Who would not fear thee, O King of na- tions, for to thee doth it appertain."
4. Considering the shockingly cruel and abominable customs of the heathens, we do not wonder that such worship as theirs was most strictly forbidden to the Israelites. Indeed, to preserve in the world the knowledge and worship of the one true God, was the great object of the institutions of Moses; and a greater and more worthy object cannot be cyaceived. In the directions that Moses gives his countrymen, how they should conduct themselves in the land of Canaan, he says, Deut. xii. 2,
shall utterly destroy
" all the places wherein the nations that
ye “ fhall possess served their gods, upon high “ mountains, and upon hills, and under green
shall overthrow their altars, 6 and break their pillars, and burn their groves “ with fire. And ye shall hew down the
graven images of their gods, and destroy the “ names of them out of their places.” No idolater was permitted to live in the country of the Hebrews, which was appropriated to the worship of the one true God; and every Jew conforming to the heathen worship was to be put to death without mercy. It is to be observed, however, that the Israelites were not directed to propagate their religion by the sword, and compel other nations to conform to their worship. Their conquests, and the extirpation of idolatrous worship were confined to the boundary of the land of Canaan, the country promised by God to Abraham. Accordingly when David, who had more zeal for his religion than any of the kings of Ilrael, conquered all the neighbouring nations, he did not compel any of them to change their religion for his
5. The characters of the principal of the heathen gods we have seen to have been stain