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On Acquaintance With God

On Acquaintance With God

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"Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace, so shall good come
unto thee. " Job xxii. 21.

"Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace, so shall good come
unto thee. " Job xxii. 21.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Nov 15, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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O ACQUAITACE WITH GODBY JOH HOWARD HITO. "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace, so shall good come unto thee. " Job xxii. 21. I AM not about to do battle with the atheist. ot because I have no compassion for him, nor because I am doubtful of the force of the arguments which might be adduced against him ; but I content myself, in relation to that whole contro- versy, with one observation. The question whetheu there is a God has never, in this world, stood in the position of a question for argument. It has, indeed, from ancient times, been made the matter of argument, and the acuteness of modern metaphysicians, whetted in some instances by the prospect of a pecuniary recompense, which serves, perhaps, chiefly to supply periodically to a controversy which might well be suffered to expire an artificial stimulus, is still largely expended upon it; the discussion, however, seems to be as far from a final settlement as ever it was, and the world, according to all appearance, may come to an end before the most primary element of human wisdom, the existence of God, shall be conclusively established by it. We attach little value to this discussion, at once endless and objectless ; and we repeat' our assertion that, whether the existence of God can be argumentatively demonstrated or not, the fact has never, in this world, stood in the position of a question for argument. According to the scriptural narrative, to our first parent God personally and directly manifested himself; with him, consequently, argument of every kind, inferential or otherwise, was simply impossible. To him the existence of God was a fact as patent and unquestionable as any other, 8 ACQUAITACE WITH GOD
and as a fact it lias come down to his posterity, taught by father to son through all generations. Whatever be the force of argument, no mau has ever been dependent upon argu- ment for his knowledge of God's existence; every man has been taught it long before he could prove it, or even could question it. o man has either to infer it from nature, with Paley, or to reason it out & priori, with Clarke; it is handed down to him from his ancestors. All but universally mankind have accepted and appro- priated the tradition. Here and there, indeed, is found a recalcitrant child of Adam, who, in words at least, denies it. On what ground 1 He does not see sufficient evidence, he tells us, that a God exists. But can he deny or disprove the fact? Without the incredible assumption of a universal tradition without a basis, he cannot; and it is nothing, even if it be time, that he is not convinced by evidence, in a case in which to evidence, however conclusive, the task of con- vincing him was never committed. The existence of God, then, is not a doctrine to be proved, but a fact to be accepted as an original and universal tradi- tion. So we accept it, not as taught in the Bible (for, by a wonderful and inexplicable omission if it required such teaching, it is not taught there), but as handed down to us from the first parent of our race. o fact in the history of our kind has either a surer testimony, or a more wide and universal acceptance. The object of the course of Lectures I am now commencing is but to enlarge our acquaintance with him whom we thus know; and in the present Lecture I shall speak, first, of the IMPORTACE of such acquaintance, and, secondly, of its SOURCES. I. I offer, in the first place, some observations on THE IMPORTACE of acquaintance with God. Under this head I might not uunaturally suggest, that the character and attributes of God constitute, not merely a noble and elevating theme of human contemplation, but immeasurably the most noble and elevating theme to which
the mind of man can be directed. Itself a mystery, indeed, but this property it has in common with all other objects either of thought or of perception; its invaluable peculiarity is this, that it is the mystery by which all other mysteries are solved, and by the comprehensiveness of which the mul- titudinous mysteries of the universe, otherwise utterly in- ITS IMPORTACE AD SOURCES. 9 scrutable, are reduced to one, while itself is more easy to be admitted than any mystery besides. Believing in God you believe one mystery, but then every other mystery can be explained because all can be resolved into this, and you have thus one mystery instead of millions; while it is easier to believe in God and in all things with him, than in anything without him. To be unacquainted with God is to be, in the moral world, in a position similar to that of a Inan in the physical world who should close his eyes against the sun- beams, and wrap all things in an artificial and gratuitous darkness. My object, however, is rather practical than speculative, and I pass on, therefore, to the statement of two practical grounds on which the importance of acquaintance with God may be shown to rest. First, the importance of acquaintance with God arises out of the general nature of our relations to him. In the words of an apostle, he is a being "with whom we have to do," and this in respects far too important to allow us wisely to remain in ignorance of his character. 1. On the one hand, something must be due to him. ft cannot be that we have been brought into being by his power, and made the objects of his perpetual benignity, without coming under obligations of some amount to a corresponding and grateful return. The undutiful child is, by the universal sentiment of mankind, reckoned worthy of the severest reprehension which the heart of man can cherish; and it cannot be that the heavenly Father, " in whom we

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