SECRET THINGS BELONG UNTO THE LORD
Deuteronomy 29:29 say, "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed blewong unto us and our ch8ildren for ever , that we may do all the words of this law."God has favored man with the noble faculty of reason. This faculty, unaided by revelation, discovers many important truths, and many important duties, both to God and man. The wisdom of the heathen philosophers, inperfect as it was, affords ample proof of this remark. Tradition, no doubt, assisted their inquiries; but to account for their wisdom, solely on this principle, is wild and visionary. Nevertheless, they stood indebted to God for every ray of light which shined upon them. It is he who enables man to discover the glories of creation, through the medium of the eye; only enables him, through the medium of reason, to discover many wonderful things, which are far beyond the reach of his sight, his hearing, or any other of his senses.But, by revealed things, we understand those ings which God has made known, in different ages of the world, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. These things are recorded in the sacred Scriptures; and every part of that book belongs to us and to our children. It was written, and it has been reserved, for our learning It is a light shining in a dark place; and, if followed, will lead us to a glorious day. Those who deny its inspiration, are in darkness and in death. The perfections of God are stamped upon the sacred pages of the written word. There a pious man discovers God, as clearly as he does in the works of creation; nor need we wonder at this, for the sameGod is the author of both. In what follows, therefore, we a take the scriptrures as our guide. Moses, in our text, referred to those truths which were then revealed we shall refer to the truths which have been revealed from the beginning, to the time when the Holy Book was perfected. The doctrines belong unto us and unto our children. We are required to search them out; to examine them with care; and to believe them without wavering. Though we may not be able to comprehend every doctrine of Divine revelation, yet, upon the authority of God, we are bound to believe it. Thus, for instance, we must believe that God made the world, and that he will raise the dead; though, how he did the one, or how he will do the other, is incomprehensible. The doctrine belongs to us; the manner to him. The same may be affirmed of every other doctrine; for if we have a "Thus saith the Lord" to support it, we should believe it ourselves, and teach it to our children. We have an interest in these doctrines, and our children will have an interest in them when we are dead and gone. Every generation of men should teach the rising generation, that these pure doctrines may be preserved to the end of time.But revealed duties, especially, belong to us and our children, revealed in the holy Scriptures.
Useful knowledge, like hidden treasure in a field,cannot be purchased at too high a price. In this world of darkness and misery, it is the guide, consolation, and support of man: It opens the way to substantial happiness, extensive usefulness, and high reputation. But there is a vain and uselessknowledge, which only dazzles the eye, excites curiosity, and feeds presumption. Therefore, while we steadily pursue useful knowledge, let us carefully guard against vain uriosity; not presuming to pry into those secret things which "belong unto the Lord our God." That this may be the case, let us inquire into those secret tilings which belong unto the Lord our God; and then point out the revealed things, which belong unto us and unto our children.
I. The secret things which belong unto the Loud our God.The perfections of the Divine nature, are secret thingswhich belong unto the .Lord our God. ilis being is fully revealed; but his attributes, in their vast extent, never were, nor ever can be, made known to any of his creatures. It would require an infinite mind to comprehend infinity: Hence it clearly follows, thatGod only knows the absolute perfections of his own nature. He has not told us how he existed from all eternity; how his Son was begotten; how the Holy Spirit proceeded ; or how these three are one. Who can understand the vast extent of his wisdom, power, and presence? Our views of his purity, justice, mercy, and love, are limited in very narrow bounds. Blessed be his name, we may know what is necessary to beknown. The rest we leave, humbly adoring, and deeply reverencing him, as the incomprehensible Jehovah.
Creation belongs unto the Lord our God. Thosee works which are visible to us, produces wonder and astonishment; how wonderful then, and astonishing are his works in boundless space! But, even the earth which we inhabit, is full of wonders! Innumerable effects appear, which we cannot trace to their proper causes. A worm, a fly, a flower, present insurmountable difficulties to the eye of investigation; and loudly proclaim the wisdom of God, and the ignorance of man.God, who made the world, has not left it to chance, but wisely governs it from age to age. Every particle of matter is under his eye Men, and all other creatures of every description, are under his government. But who can declare all his ways? Who canfathom the depth of his plans ? He has neither fullymade known to us the reasons why the wicked prosper in the earth; nor why the pious suffer adversity. Who can account for the great variety of outward situations in which men are placed? One struggles with poverty and want; while another, perhaps less deserving, enjoys a large portion of wealth and affluence. The lot of one is cast in burning regions with savage tribes; another spends his days in the dark and dreary regions of the frigid zones; while a third lives in a temperate and pleasing climate, surrounded with every blessing that nature can bestow. Again, some are favored with Gospel day, while others remain in the darkness of pagan night. The premature death of some wise and good men, and the protracted lives of some who are neither wisenor good, is another mystery in the Divine government. Wars, pestilence, and famine, .in many instances, are awful but mysterious visitations. The bold and presumptuous may pry into these things; but the humble and the prudent leave them unto the Lord. Are not many of the eternal purposes of God, respecting this lower world, .profound secrets which the human mind cannot penetrate ? If so, to pry into them, as some have presumed to do, must be vain and useless. We must suppose that God has had purposes and has made decrees; but his purposes and decrees are worthy of himself, and, when fully revealed, will reflect everlasting honors on his name. The end of time will develop all His plans and purposes relating to the human race. In the mean time, let us not perplex ourselves with subjects so profoundly deep.
If we think at all upon his eternal decrees, let our thoughts be guided by plain revelation. Had men followed that unerring guide from the beginning, little would have been thought, and less would have been said on the subject of who
God predestine to be saved and losl , There are many mysteries in the mediatorial undertakings of Christ, which are only known to God. It is clearly revealed that he saw fit to redeem the world by his Son; but who can assign a satisfactory reason why he did so? Can any one state the reasons why Divine justice demanded innocent blood as the price of human redemption? Or why that blood must be the blood of God's Son?( Acts 20:28). To deny this truth, would clash with revelation; to attempt a full explication, would argue uncommon presumption. That no one on earth could be accepted but, that the Son of God, who made the world, must quit his heavenly throne; be clothed with a human body; and die on a cross, to redeem and save a ruined world, are deep mysteries, which we shall never understand on this side eternity. We know the work was done by a fit person, and we know he is still engaged for us in the courts above. We havie a saving interest in His glorious undertakings, and we are acceepted by the beloved Son of God. The rest we neither know nor wish to know. They are secret things which belong unto the Lord our God. We have g a saving interest in his gracious undertakings, and we are accepted by the beloved Son f God. The: rest we neither know nor wish to know: They are secret things which " belong unto the Lord our God."There are impenetrable secrets in the experience.
Who canexplain the origin of the Holy Spirit? We know that He works though the educational method. He brings us to Christ through His written word, and He educates us in truth and knowledge by His written words in the New Testament. The events of the future are secret things which belong unto the Lord. He has made many things known by his holy prophets; but innumerable events to come, are hidden from the view of man. Vain are the attempts of men to find them ut. The whole tribe of astrologers false teacherss, and wise men of the world , are shameful deceivers , imposing on the ignorance of man. Created beings, of the highest order, are totally ignorant of all future events, except those which God has been pleased to reveal. Rational conjectures of the tfuture maybe formed by events which are past, but absolute foreknowledge is an incommunicable attribute of the Deity.What we shall be in the invisible world is a profound secret. Who knows how the mind can exist when separated from the body? Who knows how the dead will be raised? Who can declare what man will be in the resurrection state? Where is the world of spirits ? How do angels serve the heirs of salvation ? How do evil spirits gain cess to the hearts of men ? How do glorified bodies exist ? Have they' food and raiment? Have they separate habitations? How do separate spirits see, without the medium of the eye ? How do they hear, without the medium of the ear ? How do they converse and sing, without the organs of speech? Is matter open to their view? Have they any knowledge of men? With these, and similar questions, we might puzzle and perplex ourselves; but we stop our foolish inquiries, when we recollect, that, "secret tilings belong unto the Lord our God." Leaving this part of our subject, we now proceed to considerof the future,
.II. THE REVEALED THINGS WHICH BELONG TO US AND TO OUR CHILDREN.
Man knows but little in this lower world. Hereafter he will know much. This is the world where we must acquire goodness, and do good. In the next world we shall acquire more knowledge than we can now conceive. One pure principle planted in the soul, is of greater value man all the theoretical knowledge in the universe. One good action in the life, is of greater worth than a knowledge of the whole circle of Arts and sciences. God knew, from the beginning, what line of conduct would best promote the happiness of man, and he graciously condescended to point out his various duties. Do we wish to know our duties towards God? Let us look into the written Word. Do we wish to know our duties towards men? The Book will inform us. Lastly, while we pass over that which belongs unto the Lord, let us carefully improve what belongs to ourselves. When de don't have plain scripture to support our opinions, let us be modest and humble in what we affirm, but when plain scripture will bear us out, let us boldly affirm and steadily maintain what God has revealed. We may err when left to ourselves, but under His guidance, we cannot err.*
By revealed thlings , we understand those things which God has made known in different ages of the world by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Bibe says that all scripture is inspired of God.." These things are recorded in the sacred scriptures, and every part of that Book belongs to us and our children. It was written , and it has been preserved for our learning. It is a light shining in a dark world., and if it is followed, will lead us to a glorious day. Those who deny its truth and inspiration are in darkness and are spiritually and religiously dead. The perfections of God are stamped uponthe pages of the wortten word. There an honest-minded man discovers God, as clearly as he does the works of creation.. No need we t wonder at this , for the same God is the Author of bptj.
In what follows therefore we take the scriptues as our guide, Moses, in our text, referred to thos truths which then were revealed , bu we shall learn the truths which have been revealed from the beginning to the time when the Holyd Book was perfected during the first century A.D. The doctrines revealed in the New Testament belong to us and to our children. Jesus said, "The heavens and earth will pass away but My words shall not pass away." We are required to search them out, to examine them with care, and believe and obey them without wavering or doubt. We must believe that God the Son made the world; that He died as a sin offering to save the world and reconciled Christians to God. We must believe and be baptizied and have our sins washed away in the blood of Christ. God sent a preacher to Saul who had repented for three days and three nights. The preacher said to Paul;. "Wjat are you waiting fpr? Arise amd be baptized amd wasj away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord." Go and do likewise if you are not a Christian.
*Many thoughts and ideas in this message are s taken from a sermon preached by Jonathan Edmondson in England in the 1800's,