Can you by searching find out God? can you find out the Almighty to perfection?
I. AS TO THE CREATION. That work of God is perfect, with regard to the ends for which it was designed. But our wisdom is not sufficient always to trace out the Divine.
1. We cannot perfectly understand the production and disposal of things at the beginning. Creation is of two kinds: out of nothing, and out of pre-existent matter. Of creation out of nothing, it is not possible that we should form the least conception. Of creation out of preexistent matter we can have some idea, but only an inadequate one.
2. We cannot perfectly understand the causes of things in the stated course of nature. A thousand questions might be started, about which the wisest philosophers can only offer their conjectures. The way of God is too deep and winding for us to find out. We have no reason to boast of our knowledge of the works of God, since what we know not is much more considerable than what we know.
3. We cannot perfectly understand the reasons and ends for which all things are what they are, and their exact adjustment and correspondence to these ends. The general and ultimate end of all things is the glory of God. And we can perceive that things are admirably fitted to answer this end. Yet we do not clearly understand in what manner each thing contributes to this purpose. We should be cautioned against censuring any of the works of God in our thoughts, because we are not able to tell what good they answer.
II. AS TO PROVIDENCE. We can easily demonstrate that there is a providence, and this, in all its dispensations, consonant to the perfections of God, but we can by no means fathom all the depths of it. Some instances may be given in which the unsearchableness of the ways of providence appears. Such as —
1. God's manner of dealing with the race of mankind, especially in suffering it to be in a state so full of sin and confusion, of imperfection and misery.
2. The providence of God, as exercised over His Church, is beyond our deciphering. Why is the Church so small; and why has it been so overrun with errors and corruptions?
3. The providence of God in weighing out the fates of kingdoms, nations, and families. Baffled as we are in our attempts to solve a thousand perplexing difficulties which present themselves to our minds, we should inquire with modesty, judge with caution, and always remember that God is not bound to give us any account of His matters.
4. The providence of God in relation to particular persons will be forever inexplicable. Some reasons why the ways of providence are inscrutable may be given. We have not a thorough insight into the nature of man. God governs man according to the nature He has given. The ends of providence are unknown to us, or known very imperfectly; therefore they appear to us so perplexed and intricate.
5. Only a small part of providence comes under our notice and observation. How then can we know the beauty of the whole? The subject teaches the greatest resignation both of mind and heart.
Parallel VersesKJV: Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?