Sunday, October 12, 2008

The ocean in a nut-shell

In an effort to please C.S. Lewis, who instructed us to avoid "chronological snubbery", I've been reading some 18th century Jonathan Edwards sermons. Talk about a different world and a different language, but also an older world. Or a younger one--you know what I mean. Edwards knew God and experienced God; and he preached God.

Here are some lines that hit me from his sermon on Psalm 46.10.
What are we? and what do we make of ourselves, when we expect that God and his ways should be upon a level with our understandings? We are infinitely unequal to any such thing, as comprehending God. We may less unreasonably expect that a nut-shell should contain the ocean: Job xi. 7. "Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven, what canst thou do? deeper than hell, what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea." If we were sensible of the distance which there is between God and us, we should see the reasonableness of that interrogation of the apostle, Romans ix. 20. "Who are thou, O man, that replies against God?"
The sermon ends with even less foolin' around:
You shall consider it; you shall know it; God will make all men to know that he is God. You shall either know it for your good here, or to your cost hereafter.

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