« PreviousContinue »
On the power and mercy of the Almighty.
Ecclesiasticus. He that liveth for ever created all things in general. 'The Lord only is righteous, and there is none other but he, who governeth the world with the palm of his hand, and all things obey his will : for he is the King of all, by his power dividing holy things among them from profane. To whom hath he given power to declare his works? and who shall find out his noble acts ? Who shall number the strength of his majesty ? and who shall also tell out his mercies? As for the wondrous works of the Lord, there may nothing be taken from them, neither may any thing be put unto them, neither can the ground of them be found out. When a man hath done, then he beginneth; and when he leaveth off, then he shall be doubtful. What is man, and whereto serveth he? what is his good, and what is his evil? The number of a man's days at the most are an hundred years. As a drop of water unto the sea, and a gravel stone in comparison of the sand; so are a thousand years to the day of eternity. Therefore is God patient with them, and poureth out his mercy upon them. He save and perceived their end to be evil; therefore he multiplied his compassion. The mercy of man is toward his neighbour ; but the mercy of the Lord is upon all flesh : he reproveth, and nur. tureth, and teacheth, and bringeth again, as a shepherd his flock. He hath mercy on them that receive discipline, and that diligently seek after his judgments.
Book of Wisdom.
Surely rain are all men by nature, who are ignorant of God, and could not out of the good things that are seen know him that is : neither by considering the works did they acknowledge the workmaster : but deemed either fire, or wind, or the swift air, or the circle of the stars, or the violent water, or the lights of heaven, to be the gods which govern the world. With whose beauty if they being delighted took them to be gods ; let them know how much better the Lord of them is: for the first Author of beauty hath created them. But if they were astonished at their power and virtue, let them understand by them, how much mightier he is that made them. For by the greatness and beauty of the creatures proportionably the maker of them is seen.
Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counseller hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance : behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity. To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him ? It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers ; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, that spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in : that. bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the: judges of the earthas vanity. Yea, they shall not be planted ; yea, they shall not be sown; yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth : and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take thein away as stubble. To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal ? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in pover; not one faileth. Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God? Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength ; they shall mount up with wings as eagles ; they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint.,
Behold, God exalteth by his power: who · teacheth like him? Remember that thou mag
nify his work, which men behold. Every man may see it ; man may behold it afar off. Behold, God is great, and we know him not; neither can the number of his years be searched out. Heark. en unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God. Dost thou know when God disposed them, and caused the light of his cloud to shina? Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds; the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge? Also can any understand the spreading of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle? Put ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee : or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee : and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of aii maukiud. With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding. With him is wisdom and sirength, he hath counsel and understanding. Behoid, he withhold«th the waters, and they dry up : also