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The Authority of Holy Scripture is supreme in the Church. Cap. 10. . The authority of Holy Scripture is believed to
be so great, that no excellence of any creature is
to be preferred before it, or to be placed upon an ; equality with it.
Recourse is to be had to Hebrew Versions of the 2. Old Testament, and to Greek ones of the New. - Cap. 12.
But in the reading of the Holy Scriptures, if any passages occur which are ambiguous or ob* scure in the Old Testament, their interpretation
is to be sought at the fountain of Hebrew truth;
but in the New Testament the Greek Versions . are to be consulted. * The Creeds are useful in the Interpretation of * Scripture. Cap. 13.
Moreover the chief heads of faith (which we call Articles) taken from the plainest texts of Holy Scripture, and briefly comprehended in the Creeds, are always to be kept in view in expounding the Sacred Writings, lest we should ever interpret or define any thing inconsistently with them,
of the Nature and Attributes of God.
SECTION 1. FROM the Holy Scriptures, and by the exercise of Reason, we obtain such a Knowledge of the Divine Nature and Attributes (or qualities), as is necessary to us in the present life. Our finite faculties cannot comprehend that which is infinite: it is, therefore, presumptuous and in vain to enquire into the mysterious Essence of the Deity, or his Secret Counsels, beyond what is written as his word, or manifested by the works of his hands. The Knowledge of God, however, which is thus supplied, is the foundation of Religion; and, for this cause, it is to be sought with humility and diligence.
82. GOD, entitled in the Old Testament, JEHOVAH, is One God, self-existing, supreme, simple, indivi! sible ;-a Spirit, immaterial, invisible, without body, parts or passions ;-eternal, immutable, incorruptible ;-infiuite, omnipresent ;--the fountain of life;- ! omniscient, all-wise ;--omnipotent;-perfectly happy, holy, good, just, true, and glorious. .
$ 3. The first of those Attributes, which are deno. minated incommunicable, or peculiar to the Divine Essence, is that of-Unity. That God is One undi
vided Being, is plainly declared in Scripture, and attested by reason, which unitedly instruct us that necessary self-existence, perfection of nature, omnipotence, consistency of willing, and concord of action, are incompatible with a plurality of gods, or that these properties, which are essential to the Divine Nature, cannot subsist in more gods than one.
§ 4. Spirituality,—the being, in a peculiar manner, a pure immaterial Essence, invisible and incapable of representation. God is known to be a Spirit, because a Spirit is of the highest order of existence, and He who created the Angelic Spirits cannot be their inferior. The invisible God was pleased to manifest himself in former times by assumed appearances, such as those of the Shecinah, the forms of Angels, the human Figure ; and in Dreams and Visions. :? $ 5. The Eternity of God implies, not only his in
finite duration, his being without beginning and without end, but also his immutability, or being incapable of change, and his perfect independence. He who exists of himself, must have existed from all eternity, and must still continue to do so without end, as there is no cause of termination in his nature. From God all things are derived, and on him all things depend.
$6. Immensity, Omnipreseuce, or that infinite, unlimited property, by which God fills all space, and is every where, at all times and in all places, is a necessary Attribute ; because, wherever his power or providence extends, there is his inseparable Essence : and the whole created universe is subject to his guidance, and upheld by his support; as it was originally called into existence by the Word of his Power.
$7. Of the Conmunicable Properties (or those in which inferior beings may participate), the first, ascribed to God is that of Life--the perfection of the Divine Nature, in consequence of which, God is not only himself pre-eminently a living and incorruptible Being, but is also the Author and Preserver of 1 Life to all beings which are endued with it.
$ 8. The Omniscience, or infinite Knowledge of God, is that faculty by which he considers and un. derstands all things absolutely and infallibly. It is a faculty intimately connected with the other Divine Attributes, especially those of Omnipotence and Omnipresence. God gives knowledge, and what he confers he must himself possess in an unlimited degree.
As Knowledge is the speculative, so Wisdom is the practical act of the Divine Mind. The latter is the application of the former to certain objects. Perfect Wisdoın directs the fittest means to the best purpose ; such means and purpose as are suggested by perfect Knowledge. The works of Creation, of Providence, and of Redemption, afford abundant evidence of the · exercise of consummate Wisdom.
iş 9. The Omnipotence, or Mighty Power of God, is capable of effecting all things which do not contradiet his other Attributes, or imply a contradiction in themselves. God is the origin of all power, and must, therefore, excel in power all other beings, even so as to be irresistible, uncontroulable, and able, without effort, to execute the sentence of his own will. Without this Omnipotent Authority, the most perfect Knowledge and unerring Wisdom, would not have availed in the construction and support of the created Universe.
* $ 10. Happiness, in its most exalted degree, as it i is to be considered with reference to the Deity, arises
from the possession of infinite excellence, or the perTill fection of His other Attributes. His Knowledge, Wis
dom, and Power, ensure the attainment and permai dency of entire and unalloyed felicity. Absolutely
and independently happy in Himself, He must needs - be so in an infinite degree. In Him is the source
of Happiness, and the Divine Happiness can receive no increase or diminution from exterior causes.
$11. The Holiness of God, implies that He is entirely free from every thing which partakes, be it ever so slightly, of evil or moral imperfection; and is intrinsically possessed of every pure and holy quality in the fullest measure. Were He not thus holy, His
other Attributes might tend to evil ;--which we may - not suppose possible of God.
12. Infinite Goodness consists in that benevolent desire to impart to all His creatures whatever is exa pedient for them, and may contribute to their hap
piness and welfare, which the Deity alone can exercise without restraint or error. The bestowing of a spiritual or temporal benefit by God, without merit in the receiver, is Grace; contrary to merit, Mercy; in alleviation of distress, Pity; in the supply of want, Bounty; in support of the innocent, Righteousness ; in pardon of sin, Forgiveness ; in bearing with sin, Long-suffering, or Patience. Of all the Attributes of the Deity, no one is more universally declared in his
dispensations of Providence and Grace, than this most he amiable, most consoling property of Perfect Good