« FöregåendeFortsätt »
sence are co-existent, and run together through the whole infinitude of space. This consideration might furnish us with many incentives to devotion, and mo. tives to morality; but as this subject has been bandled · by several excellent writers, I shall consider it in a light wherein I have not seen it placed by others.
First, How disconsolate is the condition of an in. tellectual being, who is thus present with his Maker, but at the same time receives no extraordinary bene. fits or advantage from this his presence!
Secondly, How deplorable is the condition of an in. tellectual being, who feels no other effects from this his presence, but such as proceed from divine wrath and indignation !
Thirdly, How happy is the condition of that intellectual being, who is sensible of his Maker's presence from the secret effects of his merey and loving kind. ness!
T'irst, how disconsolate is the condition of an intel. lectual being, who is thus present with his Maker, but at the same time receives no extraordinary benefit or advantage from this bis presence! Every particle of matter is actuated by this Almighty Being which passés through it. The heavens and the earth, the stars and planets, move and gravitate by virtue of this great principle within them. All the dead parts of na. ture are invigorated by the presence of their Creator, and made capable of exerting their respective qnalities. The several instincts, in the brute creation, do likewise operate and work towards the several ends wbich are agreeable to them, by this divine energy. Man only who does not co operate with his holy spi. rit, and is unattentive to his presence, receives none of those advantages from it, which are perfective of his nature, and necessary to his well-being. The divis nity is with him, and in him, and every where about him, but of no advantage to him. It is the same thing to a man without religion, as if there were no God in VOL. I.
the world. It is indeed impossible for an infinite being to remove himself from any of his creatures; but though he cannot withdraw his essence from us, which would argue an imperfection in him, he can withdraw from us all the joys and consolations of it. His pre. sence may perhaps be necessary to support us in our existence; but he may leave this our existence to it 4 self, with regard to its happiness or misery. For, in this sense, he may cast us away from his presence, and take his boly Spirit from us. This single consideration one would think sufficient to make us open our hearts to all those infusions of joy and gladness which are so near at hand, and ready to be poured in upon : especially when we consider, secondly, the deplorable condition of an intellectual being, who feels no othe effects from his Maker's presence, bat such as process from divine wrath and indignation.
We may assure ourselves, that the great Author nature will not always be as one who is indifferent any of his creatures. Those who will not feel him his love, will be sure at length to feel him in his o pleasure. And how dreadful is the condition of creature, who is only sensible of the being of his ator by what he suffers from him! . He is essentia present in hell as in heaven; but the inhabitants of former behold him only in his wrath, and shri within the flames to conceal themselves from him. is not in the power of imagination to conceive fearful effects of omnipotence incensed.
But I shall only consider the wretchedness of an tellectual being, who in this life lies under the disp, sure of him, that at all times and iu all places is mately united with him. He is able to disquiet soul, and vex it in all its faculties. He car hin. any of the greatest comforts of life from refreshing and give an edge to every one of its slightest cali ties.
Who then can bear the thought of being outcast from his presence, that is, from the core of it, or of feeling it ovly in its terrors !
tic is that expostulation of Job, when for the trial of his patience he was made to look upon himself in this deplorable condition ! " Why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am become a burden to myself?” Bat thirdly, how happy is the condition of that intellectual being, who is sensible of his Maker's presence from the secret effects of his mercy and loving kindness!
The blessed in heaven behold him face to face, that is, are as sensible of his presence as we are of the presence of any person whom we look upon with our eyes. There is doubtless a faculty in spirits, by wbich they apprehend one another, as our senses do material objects; and there is no question but our souls, whey they are disembodied, or placed in glorified bodies, will, by this faculty, in whatever part of space they reside, be always sensible of the divine presence. We, who bave this veil of flesh, standing between us and the world of spirits, must be content to kpow that the spirit of God is present with us, by the effects which he produceth in us. Our outward senses are 100 gross to apprehend him; we may however taste and see how gracious be is, by his influence upon our
minds, by those virtuoos thoughts which he awakens in us, by those secret comforts and refreshments which he conveys into our souls, and by those ravishing joys and inward satisfactious wbich are perpetually spring ing op, and diffusing themselves among all the thonghts
of good men. He is lodged in our very essence, and is as a soul within the soul to irradiate its understanding, *rectify its will, purify its passions, and epliven all the
powers of man. How happy therefore is an intellecal ptoal being, who, by prayer and meditation, by virtue i ble en and good works, opens this communication between
He God and his own sonl! Though the whole creation sie from frowns upon him, and all patgre looks black about
bim, he has bis light and support within him, that are thought able to cheer bis mind, and bear him up in the midst
from the eners!
sence, as are more
delightful than any thing that can
of all those horrors which encompass him. He knows
OMNIPRESENCE OF GOD.
If we would be thus happy, and thus sensible of our
Could direct Seneca to this
*vbo watches and observes
and will treat us after tbe
Maker's presence, from
to grieve his holy Spirie
the secret effects of his mercy keep such a watch over all our as.
Wemast take care not and endeavour to make the
always acceptable in his chas to reside and dwell in
us. The light of nature
holy spirit residing in us,
and make our abode with hi
The doctrine of the omnipresence of the Divine Bes ing is so agreeable to reason, that we meet with it in the writings of the enlightened heathens, as I might sbow at large, were it not already done by other bands. But though the Deity be thus essentially present through all the immensity of space, there is one part of it in which he discovers himself in a most transcendant and visible glory. This is that place which is marked out in scripture under the different appellations of “ Paradise, the third heaven, the throne of God, and the habitation of his glory.” It is here where the glorified body of our Saviour re. sides, and where all the celestial hierarchies, and the innumerable hosts of angels, are represented as perpe. tually surrounding the seat of God with hallelujahs and bymns of praise. This is that presence of God wbich some of the divines call his glorious, and others his majestic presence. He is indeed as essentially pre, seut in all other places as in this; but it is here where he resides in a sensible magnificence, and in the midst of all those splendors which can affect the imagination of created beings.
It is very remarkable that this opinion of God Almighty's presence in Heaven, whether discovered by the light of nature, or by general tradition from our first parents, prevails among all the nations of the world, whatsoever different notions they entertain of the godhead. If you look into Homer, the most ancient of the Greek writers, you see the supreme power seated in the heaveus, and encompassed with inferior deities, among whom the Muses are represented as singing incessantly about his throne. Who does not here see the main strokes and outlines of this great truth we are speaking of? The same doctrine is sha. dowed out in many other heathen autbors, though at the same time, like several other revealed truths, dashed and adulterated with a mixture of fables and