Skeletons of a Course of
By Charles G. Finney
Moral Attributes.--No. 5.
Wisdom Of God.
First. Define Wisdom.
1. Wisdom is the most benevolent use of knowledge and power.
2. The attribute of wisdom in God, is his disposition to use his knowledge and power in the most benevolent manner. In other words, to exercise his natural attributes for the promotion of the highest good.
3. It is the choice of the best or most benevolent ends, and of the most suitable means for the accomplishment of those ends.
Second. Wisdom is an attribute of God.
1. The benevolence of God has been established. Benevolence is good willing, or the love of being and of happiness. The exercise of benevolence, together with its carrying out, or its gratification, constitutes the happiness of God.
2. God's happiness is infinitely the greatest good in the universe. It is plainly the greatest possible good. To purpose to do what he most loves to do, and thus promote his own happiness by the exercise and gratification of his infinitely benevolent disposition, is certainly the perfection of wisdom. His supreme end must have been the promotion of his own glory and happiness, as this was the highest, most worthy, and desirable end that he could propose to himself. A subordinate end, is the virtue and happiness of his creatures. Their happiness is not regarded as a mere means of promoting his own, but as an end, something chosen for its own sake. Yet an end subordinate to his own glory and happiness, as the virtue, glory, and happiness of all creatures, is infinitely less valuable than the glory and happiness of God.
3. The Bible declares that God made all things for himself.
4. The Bible declares that God governs all things for his own glory. This certainly is wise.
5. The means which he has selected and which he uses for the promotion of these ends declare his wisdom.
(1.) The creation of the material universe must have been
a source of enjoyment to him. At the end of every day's labor, he declared
his satisfaction by pronouncing it good.
(2.) In the works of creation all his natural attributes were exercised and reflected upon him.
(3.) His providential government is a continued exercise and reflection upon himself of his natural and moral attributes.
(4.) If an artist takes pleasure in imitating the works of God, what must have been God's happiness in creating, and what must now be his happiness in sustaining the universe. Every moral being is in some degree sensible of the pleasures of taste. There is reason to believe that the taste of God is infinitely refined and exquisite. The beautiful and diversified scenery of the world and of the universe--the exquisite and inimitable penciling of the flowers--the colors and sweet sublimity of the rainbow, and a countless number of grand, sublime, beautiful, and exquisite things in the creation of God, render it manifest that he not only possesses taste of a most refined character, but that he has given himself full scope in its exercise and gratification. The great western prairies are his flower gardens. He has scattered a profusion of beauties, not only wherever there are mortal eyes to behold them, but also where no eye but his own beholds them.
(5.) His happiness must have been still more refined and exquisite in the creation and government of sentient beings, and in the numberless adaptations and contrivances for the promotion of their happiness.
(6.) The providential care of them must also be a source of continual enjoyment to him.
(7.) But most of all, the creation, government, and happiness of moral beings, afforded him exquisite enjoyment. When he had made man, he manifested his supreme pleasure in this work by pronouncing it "very good." Moral beings are capable of sympathizing with him, of being governed by the same motives, of forming the same character, of enjoying the same kind of happiness, capable of understanding his works and word, and of holding communion and fellowship with him. Thus it appears that God has chosen the highest ends, and the best means of accomplishing them, which is the perfection and the whole of wisdom.
6. The Bible every where ascribes wisdom to God, and affirms that all wisdom belongs to him. It speaks of him as "God only wise," and "the only wise God," and affirms that wisdom is an eternal attribute of God.
1. In the material and moral universe, God has spread out before himself a vast field of usefulness.
2. In the works of creation he has opened to himself an endless source of enjoyment.
3. He takes more pleasure in giving than we do in receiving.
4. All that he has done and is doing for sinners must afford him great satisfaction.
5. The more we depend on him to do for us, the more highly we please him.
6. We can be truly happy only as we imitate God.