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God Dwelling With Men.

God Dwelling With Men.

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"But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth ?"
2 Chron. vi. 11.

"But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth ?"
2 Chron. vi. 11.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on May 10, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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GOD DWELLIG WITH ME.BY JOH STYLES, D.D."But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth ?"2 Chron. vi. 11.What an imposing scene of awful grandeurrises before the imagination as we endeavour torealize the situation of Solomon when he utteredthese words ? And could such a scene be favour-able to the abstraction and spirituality of the mostelevated devotion ?Large assemblies either damp and depress theardours of piety, or invigorate and sustain them ;but this depends altogether upon their characterand object. The object had been often revolvedas one of the utmost importance to their well-being and happiness : the people were preparedfor a day of high and solemn enjoyment, such asthey had never known, by the long and unreservedconcentration of all their resources for the purposeof its attainment. To this was directed a profuseliberality which spared no cost, which shrunk fromno sacrifice : labours, personal, arduous, and un-remitting — fervent, united, and persevering sup-plications, anticipating the event as one peculiarlyhallowed and fraught with divine and spiritualcommunications.The text is the lowliest and loftiest expressionof devotion that is probably to be found in all therecords of religion. Let us endeavour,92 GOD DWELLIG WITH ME.I. To trace the sentiments and feelings in whichit originated : II. To exhibit the delightful ideaswhich it conveys; and, III. To state the groundswhich may induce us to conclude that God in verydeed thus dwells with men upon earth. And,I. Let us trace the sentiments and feel-
ings I WHICH THE QUESTIO I THE TEXT ORI-GIATED.1. Enlarged and comprehensive vieivs, with a deepimpression of the majesty and glory of God. At asuperficial glance, the question would seem to im-ply notions of the Divine nature and attributesthe very opposite of these views and these impres-sions ; as if God, the infinite and the omnipresent,could be essentially in one place more than an-other; and though the heavens, and the heaven of heavens, could not contain him, yet that he mightbe invited to and dwell in a house upon earth, or atemple made with hands; thus attaching to hispresence the idea of limitation and locality. ButSolomon had not to learn what was the commonfaith of the nation and the doctrines of the Scrip-tures concerning the infinite fulness of Him whofilleth all in all, and who is in the Hebrew lan-guage described by a name (Hammakom) con-veying the very idea of the universality and infini-tude of his being.All things are full of God, and he is every where :" If I climb up into heaven, thou art there : if Igo down to hell, thou art there also !" ay, wemay go beyond these positive realities, and main-tain that he dwells in the imaginary regions of GOD DWELLIG WITH ME. 93immeasurable space — that he is there where no-thing else is, and nothing else is there where he isnot.The king of Israel, at this solemn moment, whenthe cloud of ineffable glory filled the temple, spokeunder the powerful influence of the gracious pre-sence of the Divine Majesty, well assured that itwas no derogation of the immensity of his being tosuppose that he could be differently present insome places or alike in all — that at one and thesame moment he was filling heaven, earth, andhell; but conveying to each very different impres-sions of his presence.
" If God," says an acute and learned dialecticianof a former age, " is equally present on earth andin hell, in the church and in the prison of Tophet,wherein consists the difference which in the onemakes it desirable and in the other intolerable?Are we to think," he asks, " that we men have hiscompany but as the devils have, to tremble at ?o. The cry in Tophet is, i What have we to dowith thee, thou Son of the Most High ?' ot sohere on earth ; but, c Why art thou so far from me,O my God !' The finger of God is there (in hell)as in the plagues of Egypt ; but his right hand ishere, that right hand with which he doeth glo-riously. With them, that is, with the evil spirits,God is almighty — with us he is God all-sufficient :there he is a consuming fire — here, Immanuel,God with us. Therefore it is, that, though he werehere before, yet is he said to bow the heavens andcome down.'*94 GOD DWELLIG WITH ME.The king of Israel was awe-struck with theamazing condescension which had so visibly chosena building on earth as the medium throughwhich to display to the guilty sons and daughtersof Adam the glories of his infinite perfections ; — ¦that every where he should be God, the Creator andthe upholder of all things, the Source of being andof bliss, through innumerable worlds and systems of worlds ; but that for the earth and its human inha-bitants he should reserve such a manifestation of himself as should give both the pre-eminence overan entire and boundless universe — this it was thatfilled the royal mind with that adoring amazementwhich breaks forth in the exclamation, " Will Godin very deed dwell with men upon the earth !"2. This devout interrogatory may be traced, se-condly, to lofty ideas of the extent and grandeur of the universe as contrasted icith the insignificanceof man, and the degradation of his state and cha-racter.

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