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God; it gives us to understand that God is Incomprehensible, not to be fully understood by us.
A great and useful principle begetting in us an holy Modesty, Sobriety and Reverence in all our enquiries after him.
And this is that which the Scripture now read, informs as of. Great is our Lord, and of great power ; his understanding is infinite.
In which words we have three of God's Attributes, His Greatness, his Power, and his Knowledge ; and though only the last of these be exprefly said to be Infinite, yet is the same implyed also of the two former; for all the perfections of God being Essential to him, must needs be Infinite as he himself is; and therefore what is affirmed of one, must by a parity of reason be extended to the rest.
The two former, the Greatness or Immensity and Power of God, I shall not at present treat of; The third, the Knowledge of God, is that unto which I have confined my Meditations.
But you will say, the Infiniteness of God's understanding which this Text afferts, may seem to prohibit any at
tempt to look into it, and to command an humble and silent veneration of those things which are so far above our comprehension. To this I Answer,
1. That an attempt to comprehend those things that are exaldanale Incomprehensible, and fully to decláre those things that are ávéiváanle and äpinles, unutterable, were both vain and impious. But tó look modestly and soberly into those things that yet cannot be fully comprehended, so far as God hath been pleased to Reveal them, and so far as such an imperfect knowledge of them as we are capable of, may be useful to us; this is not only allowable, but our Duty.
2. There is nothing in God but is Incomprehensible by the Creature, that · is, the Creature cannot fully take it in, according to its whole Extent and Latitude : and if for that reason we might not Imploy our understanding about so Transcendent and Incomprehensible an Object, to what end hath God Revealed any thing concerning himself in the word ?
3. Add hereunto, that as 'tis high presumption to pry into what God hath not Revealed, so 'tis great unthankfulness not to receive and improve K k 2
for our good, what he hath been pleased to impart concerning himself.
4. 'Tis the highest and most noble use of our understanding to be exercised about God; and one great design of God in bestowing reason upon Man, is, that he might Contemplate and Praise his Creator. And this may I hope fuffice for my Apologie.
I come now to the words. His Understanding is Infinite. 1001X, There is no number of his understanding, faith the Original ; And so the Vulgar Tranllation following the letter of the Original renders it, Sapientia ejus non eft numerus, as do also the Seventy, the Chaldee Paraphrafe, and the Arabick Version. Which Immanuel Sa, and Simeon de Muis undrestand with Rela-. tion to the Object ; there is not the number of the things which he hath known, Taith the one, which he doth understand, saith the other : And so a Learned Paraphraft of our own, there is no Number or Computation of his understanding.
But Menochius and some others, seem rather to have taken it with relation to the act of understanding than the Object there is no numbring of his
numbring af big
Wisdom; Which also the Syriack Vera sion intends, expressing it by a word that signifies the Term or Bound of any thing.
There is no Term or Bound of his understanding, i. e. 'tis Immense and Infinite. All amounts to this, that God's Knowledge, take it which way you please, either with relation to the Act or Object or both, is an immense and boundless Knowledge.
In handling of which point, seeing our finite and narrow understanding is not able fully to comprehend God's Infinite Knowledge as it is in it felf. I shall only speak of it by way of comparison with our knowledge, and shew how many ways it doth excel and surpass it ;
and so I hope we shall see enough to admire it, and to make fome other useful Application of it to our selves though we cannot comprehend it
'Tis a most rare, and truly wonder-. ful perfection which God hath endued Man withal in his Reason and Intelle&ual Faculty. By this he is enabled to discourse of those things that are moft Sublime and Excellent ; to look into those things that are most deep K k 3
and profound. By this he is here at present considering the things that lye before him, and are the Objects of his senses, which he sees, which he handles, which he tastes; and in a moment he is in the ends of the Earth, he converseth in his thoughts with the East-Indians, with the Antipodes, with the Americans : By this noble Faculty while he is confined, it may be to his Prison, to his Chamber, to his Closet, to his Bed, he traverseth the World, and passeth from the North Pole to the South : By this he represents to himself, the Transactions and Affairs of former Ages and Generations as if they had been but Yesterday : By this he consults and adviseth, holds Correspondence and Converse with all those Wise and Learried Men of fornier times who were in their Graves many Hundred, yea fome Thousand Years before he himself was born : By thiş noble Faculty in the twinkling of an Eye he takes Wing and mounts up to Heaven, and there Contemplates those Glorious Bodies in their Magnitudes, their Distances, their Motions, their Influences : And thence he penetrates and pierceth