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Catholic Doors Ministry
presents

THE MANUAL
OF THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH


God The Creator.
CHAPTER I


THE EXISTENCE OF GOD EXPLAINED.


Q. Who is God?

A. The Creator and Sovereign Lord of all things.

Q. What is God?

A. God is a spirit infinitely perfect.

Q. What do you mean by a Spirit?

A. An immaterial being, quite distinct from body. God is a most pure uncrated Spirit, without any body; and those expressions of scripture where mention is made of the hands of God, or his feet, or the like, are only figurative ways of speaking.

Q. What do you mean by infinitely perfect?

A. I mean that all possible perfections essentially belong to God, and are in him in an infinite degree, without bounds or limitations.

Q. What are the perfections of God?

A. Power, wisdom, goodness, justice, mercy, holiness, truth, beauty, eternity, immensity, and numbers of others, of which we can have no idea. So that God is infinitely powerful, infinitely wise, infinitely good, infinitely just, infinitely merciful, infinitely holy, infinitely true, infinitely beautiful, eternal and immense, and unchangeable.

Q. What do you mean by infinitely powerful?

A. I mean that God can do all things whatsoever he pleases, and in what manner he pleases; so that nothing is impossible or difficult to him.

Q. How does this appear from scripture?

A. On this head the scripture declares, First, That "with God all things are possible," Matt. xix. 26; and that "no word shall be impossible with God," Luke i. 37.

Second, That he created this world, and all that it contains, out of nothing, by his word alone; for, "in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," Gen. i.1. "He made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all things that are in them," Psal. cxlv. 6. "In him were all things created, in heaven and in earth, visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominations, or principalities, or powers, all things were created by him and in him," Col. 1. 16. "He spoke the word, and they were made, he commanded, and they were created," Psal. cxlviii. 5.

Third, That he can do in all creatures whatsoever he pleases; for "whatsoever the Lord pleased, he hath done in heaven, in earth, in the sea, and in all the depths," Psal. cxxxiv. 6.

Fourth, That "all things are in his power, and that there is none that can resist his will," Esther xiii. 9.; for "he alone is mighty, the King of kings and Lord of lords," Tim. vi. 15.

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GOD'S INFINITE WISDOM.


Q. What do you mean by infinitely wise?

A. I mean that God knows all things, past, present, and to come, even the most secret thoughts of the heart of man, and all things that possibly can be.

Q. How is this proved?

A. His holy word declares, that "there is no creature invisible in his sight; for all things are naked and open in the eyes of him with whom we speak." Heb. iv. 13. "The works of all flesh are before him, and there is nothing hid from his eyes; he sees from eternity to eternity, and there is nothing wonderful before him," Ecclus. xxxix. 24. "For the eyes of the Lord are far brighter than the sun, beholding round about all the ways of men, and the bottom of the deep, and looking into the hearts of man, into the most secret parts; for all things were known to the Lord God before they were created; so also after they were perfected, he beholdeth all things," Eccles. xxiii. 28. "The heart is perverse above all things, and unsearchable, who can know it? I am the Lord who search the heart and prove the reins," Jerm. xvii. 10.

Q. What do you mean by infinitely good?

A. I mean, that as God is infinitely perfect and infinitely happy in himself; so he has the most earnest desire of communicating himself and his happiness to his creatures; and, in consequences of this, is continually bestowing good things upon them, according as they are capable of receiving them; for "every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of lights," Jam. i. 17. And God "giveth to all abundantly, and unbraideth not," Jam. i.5. All the creatures by whose means we receive any benefit, are but the instruments God makes use of to communicate good things to us; for "there is none good but God alone," Luke xviii. 19.

Q. What do you mean by infinitely just?

A. I mean that God gives to all men the necessary means of saving their souls, and will never require anything of us above our strength; so that we only are to blame, if we fail in our duty to him; that, therefore, he will exercise the most impartial justice on all men, according to their deserts, without respect of persons; for, as St. paul assures us, God will "render to every one according to his works; to them indeed who, according to patience in good works, seek glory, and honor, and incorruption, (He will render) eternal life; but to them who are contentious, and obey not the truth, but give credit to iniquity, (He will render) wrath and indignation," Rom. ii. 6. That "He will not judge according to the sight of the eye, nor argue according to the hearing of the ear, but will judge in justice." Is. xi. 3. and that "He will not accept of any person, nor receive any gift," Deut. x. 17.

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GOD'S TENDER COMPASSION.


Q. What do you mean by infinitely merciful?

A. I mean that God has the most tender compassion for the miseries of his creatures, knowing their frailty and their weaknesses, and is most desirous and ready to deliver them from them; "he wills none to perish, but that all should come to repentance," 1 Pet. iii. 9.; "for, as I live, saith the Lord, I will not the death of a sinner; but rather that he should turn and live," Ezech. xxxiii. 11. Hence, "the Lord is gracious and merciful, patient and plenteous in mercy: The Lord is sweet to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works," Psal. cxliv. 9.; and "his mercy endureth for ever," Psal. cxxxv. Yea, in the midst "of anger he will remember mercy," Hab. iii. 2. For, "as a father hath compassion on his children, so hath the Lord compassion on them that fear him; for he knoweth our frame, he remembereth that we are dust - But the mercy of the Lord is from eternity and to eternity, upon them that fear him,"Psal. cii. 13. Hence, "thou hast mercy upon all, because thou canst do all things, and winkest at the sake of repentance; for thou lovest all things that are, and hatest none of the things that thou has made; for thou didst appoint, or make any thing, hating it. - But thou sparest all, because they are thine, O Lord, who lovest souls," Wisdom xi. 24.

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GOD IS TRUTH ITSELF.


Q. What do you mean by infinitely holy?

A. I mean that God is holiness itself, infinitely pure, and free from every spot or stain, or shadow of imperfection. Hence he is called in scripture, the Holy of Holies, and the blessed in heaven continually adore him under this title, saying, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts," Isaiah vi. 3.

Q. What you mean by infinitely true?

A. I mean that God is truth itself; that he never can be deceived himself, and that it is impossible he should deceive his creatures; for "God is true, but all men are liars," Rom. iii. 4. "God is not like men, that he should lie," Num. xxiii. 19. "God is faithful in all his words, Psalm cxliv. And "heaven and earth shall pass away; but my words, says he, shall not pass away," Luke xxi. 33

Q. What do you mean by infinitely beautiful?

A. I mean that God is beauty itself, infinitely lovely, infinitely excellent: That all the beauty of perfections which we see in creatures, are but emanations of his divine beauty; and though all the beauties of the whole universe were called together in one, it would be infinitely less than a spark of fire is to the sun, or a drop of water to the ocean, if compared to the beauty of God. "Let them know how much more the Lord of them is more beautiful that they; for the first author of beauty made all those things." Wisd. xiii. 3. "For from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof, out of Sion the loveliness of his beauty," Psalm xlix. 1. This divine beauty is so great, that all the blessed saints and angels in heaven are enraptured with inexpressible delight in the contemplation of it, and the enjoyment of it makes God himself infinitely and essentially happy. Hence the scripture says, "O taste and see how sweet the word is; blessed is the man that hopeth in him," Ps. xxxiii. 9. "They shall be inebriated with the plenty of thy house, and thou shalt make them drink of the torrent of thy pleasures; for with thee is the fountain of life, and in thy light we shall see light," Psalm xxxv. 9. "O how great is the multitude of thy sweetness, O Lord, which thou hast hidden from them that fear thee! - Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy face," Ps. xxx. 20, 21.

Q. What do you mean when you say God is eternal?

A. I mean that God hath no beginning, and will have no end; that he always was, is, and ever will be;for "thus sayeth the High and the Eminent who inhabiteth eternity," Isa. lvii. 15. "Thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail," Heb. 1.12. "I am the first and the last, - and behold I live for ever and ever," Rev. i. 17.

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GOD IS SELF EXISTENT.


Q. Had God no beginning?

A. No: God is a self-existent, necessary being; from himself alone, and wholly independent on any other; and, therefore, never had, nor could have any beginning, but must have been from all eternity. Hence he says of himself to Moses, "I am who am; thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel, He who is hath sent me to you," Exod. iii. 14. To show that he alone is essential, and that all things else are a mere nothing in comparison to him, according to that, "Behold the nations are a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the smallest grain of a balance; behold the islands are as a little dust - all nations are before him as if they had no being at all, and are counted to him as nothing, and vanity," Isa. xl. 15, 17.

Q. What do you mean by the immensity of God?

A. I mean that God filleth all places and all things, and that he is intimately present in all creatures; for "in him we live, and move, and have our being," Acts xvii. 28. "He is higher than the heavens, and what wilt thou do? he is deeper than hell, and how wilt thou know? the measure of him is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea," Job xi. 8. "Am I, think ye, a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off! Shall a man be hid in secret places, and I not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill the heaven and the earth? said the Lord," Jer. xxiii. 23, 24. Hence the royal Prophet cries out, to God, "If I ascend up to heaven thou art there; if I descend into hell, thou art there; if I take to me the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there also shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me," Psalm cxxxviii. 8. "O Israel, how great is the house of God, and how vast is the place of his possession! It is great, and hath no end; it is high and immense," Bar. iii. 24.

Q. Is it possible for us to comprehend God?

A. No, no; It is impossible for any creature to comprehend God; for how can finite comprehend what is infinite? how can the creature comprehend the Creator? Hence the scripture says, "O most mighty, great and powerful, the Lord of hosts is thy name; great in counsel, and incomprehensible in thought;" Jer. xxxii. 18. "Behold God is great, exceeding our knowledge, the number of his years is inestimable," Job xxxvi. 26. He dwelleth in light inaccessible, whom no man hath seen, nor can see;" 1 Tim. vi. 16. "The Lord is the everlasting God, who hath created the ends of the earth; he shall not faint nor labour, neither is there any searching out of his wisdom," Isa. xl. 28. "We shall say much, and yet shall want words;" but the sum of our words is "He is all. What shall we be able to do to glorify him? For the Almighty himself is above all his works. The Lord is terrible, and exceeding great, and his work is admirable. Glorify the Lord as much as ever you can, for he will yet far exceed; and his magnificence is wonderful. Blessing the Lord, exalt him as much as you can, for he is above all praise. When you exalt him, put forth all your strength, and be not weary: for you can never go far enough," Ecclus. xliii. 29. &c.M.

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GOD IS UNCHANGEABLE.


Q. Is God capable of changing?

A. No; God is always the same, and altogether incapable of any manner of changing whatever. Thus the holy scripture declares "God is not as man that he should die, nor as the son of man that he should be changed;" Num. xxiii. 19. And God himself says, "I am the lord, and I change not," Malch. iii. 6. Hence the royal Prophet shows this great difference between God and creatures, that "They shall perish,: says he to God, "but thou remainest; and all of them shall grow old like a garment, and as a vesture thou shalt change them, and they shall be changed; but thou art always the self same, and thy years shall not fail," Psal. ci. 27. And St. James declares, that with "God there is no change nor shadow of alteration," James i. 17.

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FIGURATIVE EXPRESSIONS.


Q. Why then is God said to be sorry, to repent, to be angry, or the like?

A. These are only figurative expressions, accommodated to our way of conceiving things, and only mean, that god so acts in his external conduct as if such changes actually happened in him; but, as "the works of all flesh are before him, and there is nothing hid from his eyes, and as he sees from eternity to eternity, and there is nothing wonderful before him," Ecclus. xxxix. 24.; so nothing can be new to him; past, present, and to come, are all continually present to him; nothing can happen in time, but he sees from eternity; hence nothing can make any new impression in him, or cause any change to sorrow, anger, or repentance in him.

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