MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA TREATISE I. 18. THE TRUTH OF GOD.
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA
18. THE TRUTH OF GOD.
I. The first kind of truth to be considered is meta physical truth, or truth of essence, or truth of nature. We assert this of a being when we say that it is true to its nature ; and we mean thereby that it possesses all the qualities that belong to its nature, and that it is a full and complete member of its class. This kind of truth God possesses eminently, as having all the perfections proper to the Infinite God. He possesses spirituality, immortality, eternity, omnipotence, independence. All that we can conceive of good qualities and perfections He has in an infinite degree. All that His infinite intelligence can conceive in the way of perfection He possesses. He is true to Himself as God. Further, God not only has, but He is this perfect transcendent truth. For all that is in Him is Himself. There is no division in Him of qualities as distinct from His being. The infinity and the goodness of God are God Him self: and so the truth of God is God. You should be like God as possessing all the truth of your being, all the perfection and virtue which God has decreed to be proper to human nature. If you are sensual, worldly, proud, you are not true to the ideal of perfect man as it exists in God and is manifested in Jesus Christ. Adore the truth of God and cultivate it in yourself.
II. A second kind of truth is attributed to God as being the only solid and perfect reality, the only necessary and abiding substance. Compared with His reality, man and all creatures are mere nothingness. " All nations are before Him as if they had no being at all, and all are counted to Him as nothing and vanity" (Isa. xl. 19). Vanity is that which has no substance, which cannot be grasped, does not satisfy, does not sustain, produces no fruit. Such is the whole of creation. It proceeds in some incomprehensible way out of nothingness, it is supported by the breath of God, without Him it would sink back into nonentity. " All flesh is as grass, and all the glory thereof as the flower of the grass. The grass is withered and the flower thereof is fallen away, but the word of the Lord endureth for ever " (1 Peter i. 24, 25). And again, life " is a vapour which appeareth for a little while, and afterwards shall vanish away " (James iv. 15). Adore God as the sole reality that abides. Do not be so shortsighted as to spend all your energies and set all your hopes on shadows unsubstantial and transient. " How long will you be dull of heart ? Why do you love vanity and seek after lies ? " (Ps. iv. 3).
III. There is a third kind of truth or rather truthfulness. It is a quality of the intelligence, and consists in ideas being conformable to realities. God sees all truth in Himself, and all creatures as they really are, without any deception. This knowledge is His truth ; it is the perfect correspondence of subject with object; and He is Himself this truth. Further, His words to us correspond to the ideas of the divine mind ; they convey truth to us far more certainly than any words of men, any evidence of our senses, any conclusions or any prejudged opinions of our minds. These words of God are not merely true, they are the truth ; and though heaven and earth pass away, they will never pass away. So perfect is this veracity of God that the Apostle comparing us with Him says, " God is true and every man a liar" (Rom. iii. 4). Worship God as the Supreme Truth. In homage to Him cultivate truth in all its forms. Let no doubts or sophisms turn you from the most absolute reliance on the word of God ; be careful not to overlay it with your own false ideas and attribute divine veracity to them. Strive for true views of all things ; and confess the truth without timidity or compromise.