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God's Witnesses.

God's Witnesses.

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Published by glennpease

IsA. xliii. 10. — Ye are my witnesses^ saith the Lord.

IsA. xliii. 10. — Ye are my witnesses^ saith the Lord.

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 17, 2013
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GOD'S WITESSES.BY REV. JOSIAH D. SMITH, D. D.,IsA. xliii. 10. — Ye are my witnesses^ saith the Lord.All creatures that God has made, and all the operations of his hands, are his " witnesses." In different forms and varyingdegrees, they testify somewhat concerning the invisible God,whom no man hath seen or can see. The sun, the moon, thestars, bear witness to "the Father of lights," who kindled thesecelestial lamps, and hung them out in the visible heavens as thesymbols of himself.All that has been given to them they impart, declaring the*' eternal power and Godhead" of Him who dwells above themin the insufferable light of the ' ' third heavens. ' ' And not thesemighty orbs alone, but all creatures, down to the blade of grassand the lily, which divine art has painted, fulfil the same greatoffice. Whatever of divinity is impressed upon them, that theyshow to all beholders, and thus render the tribute of their testi-mony to Him who " made them all." And not the creatures inthemselves, but their order, their relations one to another, andtheir movements, — in a word. Providence, as well as Creation., — brings its offering of testimony to the Being and Character of Him who rules the worlds.Even in the absence of a direct and verbal revelation, "He204 TRUTH I LOVE. [Ser.hatli not left himself without witness, in that he giveth us rainfrom heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with foodand gladness."And while all outward and material things give concurrent
evidence of His existence, power, wisdom, and goodness, a testi-mony comes up from the depths of the human soul to his charac-ter as a moral Governor^ the lover of righteousness, and theavenger of sin. "When the (heathen), which have not the law,do by nature the things contained in the law, these having notthe law are a law unto themselves, who show the work of thelaw wi'itten in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness,and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing, or else excusing oneanother. ' 'The testimony which is obtained in these different forms fromnature, is fundamentally important : without it there could beno religion ; yet it alone is not sufficient to lead men to the sav-ing knowledge of God. The testimony is true, but it is not ade-quate.either creation, nor providence, nor conscience, nor all of them together, make known the whole character of God. Theview presented is correct as far as it goes, but it is partial andincomplete ; and being taken from the stand-point of sinners, itis obscured and distorted by the blindness of their hearts. If,therefore, it is the will and pleasure of God that men shouldcome to the true and saving knowledge of himself, — as from theveiy perfection of his character we are warranted to believe, — afurther testimony is necessary. He gives it in the revelationsof his word, wherein all things which pertain to life and godli-ness are sufficiently made known ; and above all, in the missionand ministry of his Son, whose coming and kingdom, Messiah-ship and Godhead, were "witnessed beforehand by the law andXIIL] god's witnesses. 205tlie prophets," and at the tune of his appearing were attestedby signs in heaven and wonders on earth. To prepare his wayand point him out, was the pecuhar office of John the Baptist,of whom it is said that he ' ' came for a witness, to bear witnessof the Ught, that all men through him might believe. ' '
Of himself, Jesus declared — ' ' To this end was I born, andfor this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witnessunto the truth. ' 'After he had accomplished the work which his Fathergave him to do, and had returned to his glory, "the word"which had -begun to be spoken by " the Lord" was "confirmedunto men by them that heard him, Grod also bearing them wit-ness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles andgifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will. ' 'In view of all this, it might seem reasonable to ask — " Is notthe gospel sufficiently attested? What further need have we of witnesses?"The gospel and its Divine Author have already received greaterwitness than that of men, and as when Jesus was on earth, so nowthere is a sense in which he ' ' receives not testimony from man. ' 'His own mighty deeds were the credentials which accredited himas God's ambassador to the world, and now it is his own omni-potent grace that ' ' confirms the word with signs following' ' itsministration in souls redeemed from iniquity. Without this di-rect testimony of Jesus to his own gospel, it would quickly van-ish from the faith of the world.But this, so far from displacing and rendering all inferior tes-timony needless, prepares the way for it — in fact, creates it : andhe now says to his church, and to every company of believers — "Ye are my witnesses." It is a position of the highest honourand most solemn responsibility. Witnesses for God, his charac-18206 TRUTH I LOVE. [Ser.ter, his honour, and the interests of his kingdom on earth, de-pend on the testimony we bear. The image of the text repre-sents him as in some sort on trial before the jury of an unbe-

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