Vital Godliness: A Treatise on
Experimental and Practical Piety

By William S. Plumer


In closing this work, attention is asked to a few general observations. These may aid in rightly understanding and applying the weighty truths already considered.

I. The Symmetry of Christian Character.

Whoever has one Christian grace is sure to have others. In the genuine child of God, all the elements of piety are united. He who has strong hope, and no holy fear of God, will soon become presumptuous. He who has strong fears, but no hope in God, will be desperate. Without reverence, love degenerates into fondness; and without love, dread degenerates into aversion. Faith that is not humble can never lay hold of the most precious truths of the gospel; and humility that does not rely on God is but abjectness. Joy that is not chastened with mourning for sin becomes giddy and trifling; while sorrow for sin that joys not in God works death. Peace which, when called to contend for the faith, refuses to stand up for the truth, would betray the cause of Christ; while he who loves contention and hates peace, is carnal and odious. Meekness without courage is but childishness; and courage without meekness is brutality.

There is a close connection between all the qualities that form the Christian character. The elements of one good trait contain the germ of others. Paul speaks of Christian character as a unit: "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." John says the same: "everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him" No man can love the Father without loving the Son, who was sent by him. He who loves the image of God in the Son, loves the image of God whenever discerned in the humblest Christian. It cannot be otherwise. Anything contrary to this makes hypocrisy and formalism as precious as true piety.

The great defect in all who make a spurious profession of religion is, not that they have not some things about them that look well, but all is out of proportion. They have zeal, but not gentleness; they have boldness, but not meekness. They pretend to more than they actually experience. With all their ardor they display vain-glory and self-sufficiency. Sometimes they excuse iniquity—and smile at sin. Their charity does not "bear all things." They incline to censoriousness. To some they behave crudely; to others they will not speak a civil word; to others they have real hatred. In the beatitudes Jesus Christ described but one character. Where poverty of spirit, mourning for sin, meekness, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, mercifulness, purity of heart, and love of peace are genuine—they are found together. Circumstances will call one grace into more vigorous exercise than another. But if we have truly passed from death unto life, God will enable us in due time to exhibit every Christian temper. Human features out of all proportion are hideous. The same is true of any of the Christian graces.

II. A Holy Life Alone, Proves Piety Genuine.

'Words are cheap.' Edwards.

'Actions speak louder than words.' Proverbs.

'Practice is the life of piety.' Thomas Watson.

'Even a child is known by his doings.' Solomon.

'Everyone that does righteousness is born of him.' John.

'As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.' James.

'If you love me, keep my commandments.' Jesus Christ.

1. No man is better than his life proves him to be. The best part of mankind are slow in making professions, because they know how hard it is to perform what we promise. The last to engage is often the first to fulfill. The very existence of such words as truth, frankness, honesty, integrity, faithfulness; and their opposites, falsehood, deception, fraud, and faithlessness—shows that the judgment of mankind on these points is harmonious. All men know that words are mere breath, and deeds only are realities. Profession is not principle. Practice is the best expounder of the heart.

2. God constantly guards men against the sin of not performing their promises. Joshua warned the Israelites on this subject Josh. 24:16, 19. Indeed in so many words Solomon says, "Be not rash with your mouth, and let not your heart be hasty to utter anything before God." Eccles. 5:2. See context. Compare Matt. 7:21-27, and 1 John 3:18, 19.

3. As holiness is not natural to man, the Scriptures say explicitly that whoever does righteousness is born of God. 1 John 2:29. He has a new nature, obtained in regeneration. He has the life of God in his soul. Only that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. When we see a man working righteousness, warring against sin, and heartily doing the will of God, we know that an almighty power has changed his nature. He is a new creature.

4. Whatever does not lead to a holy life is worthless in the sight of God. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. David walked before God in truth and righteousness, and in uprightness of heart. All religious profession which ends in mere show, is at the best Pharisaism dressed up in evangelical attire. If the heart is not swayed by it, the heart is unchanged. "Little children, don't let anyone deceive you. The person who practices righteousness is righteous, just as he is righteous. The person who practices sin belongs to the evil one, because the devil has been sinning since the beginning." (1 John 3:7-8). All pretenses to piety which do not lead to a godly life are utterly vain. Men people do not obey God—because they do not love God. They hearken not—because their ears are uncircumcised. There is no folly greater than double-dealing with God. "A hypocrite is hated by the world for pretending to be a Christian; and hated of God for not being one."

All external religious acts may be performed without a spark of love to Christ. "To attend upon public worship is a form complied with, by thousands of the unconverted." How few heartily engage in the work of mortifying sin. When men are this moment devout, and the next carnal; when today they are all zeal for God, and tomorrow all zeal for politics; when they have not respect unto all God's commandments, but seek laxity; when their religious raptures are followed by fleshly frolics—then their religion is vain. Men should therefore be very careful lest they deceive themselves respecting both the reality and the strength of their own piety.

The daily business of a Christian is to resist the devil, deny himself, overcome the world, crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts, imitate Christ, walk with God, and strive to enter in at the strait gate. It is the heartless who turn back in the day of battle. "The Christian gains no victories without combat." On the other hand, he whose life is holy has the fabric of his peace built upon a rock. God cannot deny him, for that would be denying his own work in the man's soul. Although we do not enter heaven for our good works, yet we do not enter heaven without good works.

III. True Christians Are Greatly Blessed.

As the greatest curses are spiritual, so the greatest blessings are also spiritual. Our great needs must be supplied out of God's treasury, or we must suffer eternal loss and undoing. Paul uses no better designation of the privileges of believers, than when he speaks of spiritual blessings. God's mercies to his children are sometimes catalogued. In Psalm 103, David puts forgiveness of sins as the first and pre-eminent blessing. It is entitled to that place. Without pardon we are under an awful curse. God never bestows saving good, on souls left in the chains of condemnation. In more than one place Paul seems to favor the same arrangement. With forgiveness is always connected acceptance in the Beloved. Eph. 1:6. So that believers are no more aliens, strangers, foreigners—but sons, heirs, fellow-citizens. We are brought near by the blood and righteousness of Christ, and so "have right to the tree of life." Rev. 22:14. From our justification flows peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom also we have access into all needed grace, joy, hope, triumph in tribulation, patience, experience, boldness, the love of God, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and salvation full and complete.

Peter gives a catalogue in which he mentions "faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, charity." Well does he add, "If these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." Blessed treasury of spiritual good things! Who can tell its value? It is the proof of a godlike temper—and a godlike destiny! Sure of spiritual blessings, men may live in poverty—yet they make many rich. They may have nothing—yet they possess all things. They may be sorrowful—yet they are always rejoicing. They may be dying daily—yet behold, they live. They may be chastened—but they are not killed. Their affections are set on things which do not perish in the using. Their crown is not the less bright or imperishable because it is seen by faith alone. They are sure of wearing it in due season, if they faint not.

Any spiritual blessing is worth more than the most costly temporal good. A devout thought, a pious desire, a holy purpose—is better than a great estate or an earthly kingdom. In eternity it will amount to more, to have given a cup of cold water with right motives to a humble servant of God, than to have been flattered by a whole generation. God often gives the larger portion of His common bounties to the unconverted. Spiritual blessings are put into elect vessels only. God's people share the good things of this world with the wicked; but the world has no lot nor part in spiritual good things. The unbelieving sinner has never been pardoned, renewed, sanctified, or savingly taught of God.

The good things of time will soon be gone forever. The very memory of them will embitter the future existence of all who die in their sins. But spiritual blessings will last eternally. Though faith will give way to vision, and hope to fruition, yet fruition and vision are the legitimate consequences of hope and faith. Temporal blessings come in the channel of nature; but spiritual blessings in the channel of grace. The former are of the earth, earthy; the latter are from heaven. God bestows temporal blessings on those who hate him all their days; but spiritual blessings come to believers only, through our Lord Jesus Christ. They cost his life, his toil, his sweat, his agony.

We may form some estimate of the value of spiritual blessings by the promises of the covenant which secures them. Long after his ascension to heaven, Jesus Christ promised to him who overcomes, that he should eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God; that he should be clothed in white raiment; that he should be a pillar in the temple of God, and go no more out; that he should sit with him in his throne; that he should eat of the hidden manna; that He should give him a white stone. How soon our faculties are overcome by attempting to comprehend the fullness of such promises. Let us dwell a moment on the last, "I will give him a white stone."

Blunt thus explains it: "It is generally thought by commentators that this refers to an ancient judicial custom of dropping a black stone into an urn when it is intended to condemn, and a white stone when the prisoner is to be acquitted; but this is an act so distinct from that described, 'I will give you a white stone,' that we are disposed to agree with those who think it refers rather to a custom of a very different kind, and not unknown to the classical reader, according with beautiful propriety to the case before us. In primitive times, when traveling was rendered difficult from lack of places of public entertainment, hospitality was exercised by private individuals to a very great extent; of which indeed we find frequent traces in all history, and in none more than the Old Testament. People who partook of this hospitality and those who practiced it, frequently contracted habits of friendship and regard for each other; and it became a well-established custom among the Greeks and Romans to provide their guests with some particular mark, which was handed down from father to son, and insured hospitality and kind treatment whenever it was presented. This mark was usually a small stone or pebble cut in half, and upon the halves of which the host and the guest mutually inscribed their names, and then interchanged them with each other. The production of this stone was quite enough to insure friendship for themselves or descendants whenever they traveled again in the same direction; while it is evident that these stones required to be privately kept, and the names written upon them carefully concealed, lest others should obtain the privileges instead of the people for whom they were intended. How natural then the allusion to this custom in the words, 'I will give him to eat of the hidden manna!' and having done so—having make himself partaker of my hospitality, having recognized him as my guest, my friend, I will present him with the white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows, but he who receives it. I will give him a pledge of my friendship sacred and inviolable, known only to himself."

IV. Unbelievers are poor indeed.

It is a dreadful thing to lack bread. Yet man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. It is sad to see a human being without reason. Yet some godly people have become insane, and never waked up in their right mind until they were in the presence of the Lamb. But in his unregenerate state, man's case is far more pitiable. Of all such, Paul says they are without Christ. They have no Savior, no infallible Teacher, no atoning High-priest, no Advocate with God, no King ruling in righteousness over them and their enemies. Without Christ, sinners are nothing. He is all and in all. Well did an ancient say, "I had rather fall with Christ than reign with Caesar." Nonexistence is not so dreadful as a Christless state. "We are captives, and cannot be delivered without the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. Fools as we all are, we cannot be instructed without wisdom, and all the treasures of wisdom are hidden in Christ Jesus. All plans and hopes not built on him must fall, for there is no other foundation. All working without him, will be cast into the fire, where it will be consumed. Without him, all riches make themselves wings and fly away. A dungeon with Christ is a throne; and a throne without Christ, hell."

He is life and light, and the delights of the sons of men. Yet unconverted sinners are without him. They are also aliens from the commonwealth of Israel. They have no lot in Jacob. Christ's cause may advance, but it brings no joy to them. His kingdom may be set up in a whole nation, but they care not for that. His honor may be great, but they have no share in it. His praise may be sung in high anthems and hallelujahs, but to them it is as the voice of foreign minstrels. Prayer may be offered for him, but they never heartily join in it. They are not at home in secret devotion, in public worship, or in the celebration of the ordinances. They would be even less at home in the adorations of heaven. They have no inheritance in the church. They are outcasts, castaways, reprobate silver. They are not sons of God. They are not heirs. Their prospects for eternity are no better than if God had no church at all. And so they are strangers from the covenants of promise. They have nothing to rely upon for time, nothing for eternity; nothing for this life, nothing for that which is to come. Their heavens are never spanned by the rainbow of a rich variety of promises, divinely girt together by the faithful word and unimpeachable oath of Him who cannot lie.

One of the most gifted among them, even while living in a gospel land, said, "The present is a fleeting moment, the past is no more, and our prospect of futurity is dark and doubtful." Such men are lost. They have no heavenly guide, no safe rules of conduct, no sure word abiding forever. Of course they are without hope. They may have false dreams of future good, but these will all vanish like the mist. Their delusive expectations are constantly failing. They indulge them only to awake to a keen sense of agonizing misery. They are like the vine of Sodom and the fruit of Gomorrah. To hope, as an anchor to the soul; sure and steadfast; to hope, as entering within the veil; to hope, that does not mock our miseries; to hope, that shall not perish—they are utter strangers. One half hour's exercise of such hope as animates the believer would bring more that deserves the name of happiness, than all the poor sinner has ever enjoyed. Now without gospel hope, at any moment he may be in total and absolute despair.

Such are also without God in the world. A godless man is an undone man, and has a rueful eternity before him, whether he is a godless tyrant, a godless slave, or a godless noble; whether he glitters in gold or crawls in debasement. He has no communion with his Maker, no confidence in Jehovah, no blessing from the Lord, and no righteousness from the God of salvation. When nature is falling headlong, or is smitten with affliction, the believer exults, and shouts, "My Lord and my God!" The poor sinner cannot do this. He has no God; he knows no God; he loves no God; he trusts in no God; he has no hope in God.

How poor and wretched and miserable and lost is an unconverted sinner! How rich and free and undeserved is the mercy which saves sinners! How loud is the call, and how great is the obligation—to do all we can to save dying sinners! How inconceivably, dreadful it will be to go to eternity an unrenewed sinner! How infinite is the debt we owe to him who has given us access to God by his own most precious blood! Were there ever such needs among mortals as the needs of a perishing soul? Oh, sinner, turn and live!

V. Is there not a low state of piety among professing Christians?

We must answer the question in the affirmative. It cannot be called a distorted view of things to say that piety is in a low state generally, and that in many places truth is fallen in the streets. Among the causes of this state of things, we may notice,

1. The commotions among the nations. "Wars and rumors of wars" mightily distract public attention from all the concerns of eternity. Piety must have time for contemplation. We cannot profitably wait upon God unless we can do so without distraction.

2. Politics. Andrew Fuller says that many "have sacrificed their souls, to take an eager and deep interest in political disputes." He speaks of some whose "whole heart has been engaged in this pursuit. It has been their food and their drink; and this being the case, it is not surprising that they have become indifferent to piety; for these things cannot consist with each other." This is sound speech that cannot be condemned.

3. Love of money. This root has struck very deep into many hearts. Nor are its evil consequences even yet fully seen. The worst is probably yet to come. Without checking any sober, lawful endeavor to secure competence and independence, it must yet be said that a people eagerly pursuing wealth cannot be a very pious people. "If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." "You cannot serve God and mammon."

4. Fanaticism. Nothing is more opposed to true piety than a wild, heated, ignorant, and furious zeal. It has brought vast discredit on true religion, and has driven many into infidelity and practical atheism. It is like a flame driven by fierce winds through a forest. It consumes whatever it meets. Its unhappy effects are seen and felt for half a century. It brings true religion into disrepute. It awakens distrust of experimental piety. It clothes with suspicion every extraordinary endeavor to promote the knowledge and love of God. It creates a necessity for most painful acts of church discipline, and its whole tendency is to disorder and impiety. To be zealously affected always in a good thing is a great attainment; but a fanatical, fiery, bitter zeal is always followed by evil consequences.

5. The attention of pastors and churches has been unduly withdrawn from their chief work. Pastors are often overworked. Consequently they come not to their work with joyous elasticity of mind. And churches sometimes meddle with things quite out of their line; so that a minister who labors in word and doctrine, who gives himself entirely to prayer and the ministry of the word, is regarded as not up to the times.

6. A low standard of evidence of Christian character. It is our duty to "feed the lambs" and to "comfort the feeble-minded." But the lambs should grow to be sheep. A word to the weary is excellent, if it be in season; but the church should never be so addressed as to make her rest satisfied with low attainments. If the babes are fed on milk all their days and never get a taste of strong meat, they will never be strong men, full of vigor. Scriptural marks of a change of heart should be clearly stated.

7. The neglect of social prayer and godly conference. Have not Christians too much forsaken the assembling of themselves together, that they might speak often one to another?

8. But our greatest lack is in fervent, importunate, united prayer. Oh for a spirit of strong crying unto God! Would the heavens in so many places be as brass if they were pierced by the hearty cries of God's people? There is no substitute for fervent prayer. Let that cease—and religion must decline.

VI. Time and eternity.

Formerly it was customary at public executions to bring an hour-glass to the scaffold with the sand all at one end, and when the prisoner had taken his position, to set the glass before him inverted, and the sands of the last hour of his life began to run. Sometimes the executioner would say to the unhappy man, "Your sands are almost run out!" From this the phrase was transferred to the pulpit, and men were exhorted to speedy repentance because their sands were almost run out. Oh that men would candidly look at the nearness of death and lay hold on eternal life while it is called today.

An old writer says, "I stopped in Clerkenwell churchyard to see a grave-digger at work. He had dug pretty deep, and was come to an old coffin which was quite rotten. In clearing away the moldering wood, the grave-digger found an hour-glass close to the left side of the skull, with the sand in it." This was telling the dead that to them time was no longer. How much more fit to put the hour-glass before the living, and remind them that their hours will soon all be gone. Why will not men be warned? Why will not the living lay to heart the things which belong to their peace? Between the longest human life and eternity, there is no proportion whatever. "I have lost a day" is a dreadful sound in the ears of one who has a tender conscience. Nothing but a slighted Savior seems to press so heavily on dying sinners as 'murdered time'.

God of mercy, give us grace to improve each hour, so to number our days as to apply our hearts unto wisdom, and to be always doing some good. Let madness no longer reign within us. The night comes—when no man can work.

VII. Heaven.

All the souls that God has made are in heaven, earth, or hell. We who are in earth know something about it. Oh that we may never know by experience, the nature of the woes of the pit! If we would be saved, we must learn as we can something of heaven, must breathe something of its spirit, must long for its blessings.

Heaven is a place. Jesus so calls it. It is a city. It is a heavenly country. It is a better country than any known on earth. It has locality. Of its position in relation to the sun, moon, and planets, we have no information; and we need none; but heaven exists in reality, not merely in imagination.

Heaven is also a state, exceedingly pure, holy, excellent. Angels themselves have never attained to a better state. The spirits of just men made perfect, can rise no higher.

The inhabitants of heaven have large measures of clear and certain knowledge of the most excellent things. They see God. They see Jesus. They know as they are known. They do not see through a glass darkly, but face to face. They are not liable to errors, mistakes, or misapprehensions. The Lamb himself feeds them, and leads them to fountains of living waters.

The inhabitants of heaven are happy. They are full of joy. They never sin, and they never sigh; they never pity one another, nor envy one another, nor grieve at one another, nor are mortified by each other's follies or weaknesses. Their warfare is ended, their turmoils are over, and their conflicts past. They weep no more. Jesus wipes tears from off all faces of his redeemed, and the holy angels never did weep.

Heaven is full of variety. It is not all one house; there are many mansions and many holy characters there. The dwellers therein praise much, they exult much, they admire much. They have rest; they never leave; they serve God day and night. In heaven fellowship is perfect, though constantly receiving new and desirable accessions. All unite in loving the Lamb that was slain. Yet there is a great variety in the history and character of its inhabitants. There are angels, who have great power and wisdom and experience. There are patriarchs and prophets and apostles and martyrs and confessors and reformers and kings and shepherds and feeble-minded folk and little children. There the choirs of those redeemed by atoning blood are arrayed in linen white and clean. Choice spirits are constantly joining this throng above.

Let a few words be said of two who have lately passed from earth. One was a dear, talented little creature. Before her departure she said, "I am not afraid to die. I have committed all to Christ. There is in the Bible no phrase so precious to me as, 'the Lord our righteousness.' My pastor is partial to me. Let him not praise me at my burial; let him exalt the Lord's righteousness. When I committed myself to Christ, I did it wholly and unreservedly. I never doubted him since. I may be self-deceived, but of Christ I have no doubt. When I appear at the judgment-bar of God, if I should hear the word, 'Depart,' I would turn with astonishment to Christ, and say, 'Dear Savior, there must be a mistake here. Did I not commit all to you?' Again she said, "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly." Her last words were, "While I have voice and memory left, I wish to say—the Lord our righteousness. It is sufficient for you all. It is all you need."

In the year 1839, a family was made glad by the birth of a little daughter. Father, mother, two elder sisters, and a large circle of friends rejoiced together. The babe was a bud, promising beauty and fragrance. Early in life, by her charm and warmth of affection, she attached many to her. In her teens, her schoolmates saw her worth, admired and imitated. Her education at school being finished, she noiselessly began to move in the best circles of pious fellowship. Here she attracted the love of aged men and women, and of those pressed with the cares of middle life, no less than of the young. Without a dash of forwardness, she was often the companion of people thrice her age. Before long divine grace began its blessed work, and on this lovely stock engrafted the Rose of Sharon. Still artless and natural, the work of God's Spirit heightened in her all that was previously charming, and sweetly chastened the exultant joyousness of her youth. Elder sisters married and left the paternal roof. She remained greatly to honor father and mother, and light up the boyhood of a younger brother. On a visit to a friend, she began the ailment that removed her from earth. Her constitution being good, she buffeted disease for a while; but at last she was shut within doors. Her kind and skillful medical attendant for a season thought the danger slight; but God's will was to take her to himself. Alarming symptoms appeared, and about eight o'clock in the morning of a blessed Sabbath day, her good physician found her sinking, and in the sweetest manner told her that she was entering upon her eternal rest. Surprised, but not terrified, she calmly inquired when the change had taken place. At once the work of life rose before her mind. She thought of the Industrial school and of the Sabbath-school. She said, "I have so much work to do; but God knows best." To her brother, who has since followed her, she made the kindest little address. Then turning to her father, she said, "It is sad for you all." On his assenting, and saying, "Yes, my child, but I feel I shall soon meet you in heaven," she said in a clear, audible voice, "I hope so," and gently fell asleep as the Sabbath bells began to ring. One of her pastors says, "This coincidence reminds us of Bunyan's expression respecting what followed the entrance of Christian and Hopeful into the heavenly Jerusalem: 'Then I heard in my dream that all the bells in the city rang again for joy, and that it was said unto them, Enter into the joy of your Lord.' The last earthly sound which echoed in the ear of this dying believer was that of the church-bell; the first which met her ransomed spirit on high was the peal of welcome from the blood-washed throng before the throne."

Dear child, until the heavens be no more, we shall not again see your charming face; but you shall see the face of Jesus. Our hearts were knit together. I love your memory. I love your sincerity. I love the paths marked by your footsteps. "I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me—Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. Yes, says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them." The names of these young heroes of the cross need not be given. They are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Into the lips of a glorified spirit in heaven Matthew Henry puts these words: "Would you know where I am? I am at home in my Father's house, in the mansion prepared for me there. I am where I would be, where I have long and often desired to be; no longer on a stormy sea, but in a safe and quiet harbor. My work in time is done, I am resting; my sowing time is done, I am reaping; my joy is as the joy of harvest. Would you know how it is with me? I am made perfect in holiness; grace is swallowed up in glory; the top-stone of the building is brought forth. Would you know what I am doing? I see God; I see him as he is; not as through a glass darkly, but face to face; and the sight is transforming; it makes me like him. I am in the sweet employment of my blessed Redeemer, my Head and my Husband, whom my soul loved, and for whose sake I was willing to part with all. I am here bathing myself at the spring-head of the heavenly pleasure, and joy unutterable; and therefore weep not for me. I am here singing hallelujahs incessantly to him who sits upon the throne, and I rest not day or night from praising him. Would you know what company I have? Blessed company, better than the best on earth. Here are holy angels and the spirits of just men made perfect. I am set down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of God, with blessed Paul and Peter and James and John and all the saints; and here I meet with many of my old acquaintances that I fasted and prayed with, who got here before me. And lastly, would you consider how long this is to continue? It is a garland that never withers; a crown of glory that fades not away; after millions of millions of ages it will be as fresh as it is now—and therefore weep not for me."

Grace is glory begun; but glory is grace matured, completed, crowned with the fullness of beatific vision. Now unto the king eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever! Amen!