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No. 58. Friday, August 13.

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Si verbo audacia detur,
Non metuam magni dixiffe palatia Cæli.

SIR,

I

Ovid. Met.

Confidered in my two laft Letters that awful and tremendous Subject, the Ubiquity or Omniprefence of the divine Being. I have fhewn that he is equally prefent in all Places throughout the whole Extent of an infinite Space. This Doctrine is fo agree ⚫ able to Reason, that we meet with it in the Writings of the enlightened Heathens, as I might show at large, were it not already done by other Hands. But tho' the Deity be thus effentially prefent, through all the Immenfity of Space, there is one Part of it in which he difcovers himself in a moft tranfcendent and ⚫ vifible Glory. This is that Place which is marked out in Scripture under the different Appellations of Paradife, the third Heaven, the Throne of God, and the Habitation of his Glory. It is here where the glo rified body of our Saviour refides, and where all the 'celeftial Hierarchies, and the innumerable Hofts of Angels, are reprefented as perpetually furrounding the Seat of God with Hallelujahs and Hymns of Praise. This is that Prefence of God which fome of the Divines ⚫ call his glorious, and others his majeftick Prefence. 'He is indeed as effentially present in all other Places as in this, but it is here where he refides in a fenfible Magnificence, and in the midst of all thofe Splendors which can affect the Imagination of created Beings.

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Ir is very remarkable that this Opinion of God Almighty's Prefence in Heaven, whether difcovered by the Light of Nature, or by a general Tradition from our first Parents, prevails among all the Nations of the World, whatfoever different Notions they entertain E 3

⚫ of

⚫ of the Godhead. If you look into Homer, that is, the moft antient of the Greek Writers, you fee the fupreme Powers feated in the Heavens, and encompassed with ⚫ inferior Deities, among whom the Mufes are reprefented as finging inceffantly about his Throne.

Who

does not here fee the main Strokes and Outlines of · this great Truth we are speaking of? The fame Doctrine is fhadowed out in many other Heathen Authors, tho' at the fame time, like feveral other revealed Truths, dashed and adulterated with a Mixture of Fables and human Inventions. But to pafs over the Notions of the Greeks and Romans, thofe more enlightened Parts of the Pagan World, we find there is fcarce a People among the late difcovered Nations who are not trained up in an Opinion, that Heaven is the Habitation of the Divinity whom they worship. As in Solomon's Temple there was the Sanctum Sanctorum, in which a vifible Glory appeared among the Figures of the Cherubims, and into which none but the High Priest himself was permitted to enter, after having made an Atonement for the Sins of the People; fo if we confider the whole Creation as one great ← Temple, there is in it this Holy of Holies, into which the High-Priest of our Salvation entered, and took ⚫his Place among Angels and Archangels, after having ⚫ made a Propitiation for the Sins of Mankind.

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WITH how much Skill muft the Throne of God ⚫ be erected? With what glorious Defigns is that Habitation beautified, which is contrived and built by him who infpired Hyram with Wisdom ? How great must be the Majefty of that Place, where the whole • Art of Creation has been employed, and where God has chosen to fhow himself in the moft magnificent • manner? What must be the Architecture of infinite Power under the Direction of infinite Wifdom? A Spirit cannot but be transported after an ineffable manner, with the Sight of thofe Objects, which were made to affect him by that Being who knows the • inward Frame of the Soul, and how to please and ravifh it in all its moft fecret Powers and Faculties. It is to this majestick Presence of God, we may ap

ply

ply those beautiful Expreffions in holy Writ: Behold even to the Moon, and it shineth not; yea the Stars are not pure in his Sight. The Light of the Sun, and all the Glories of the World in which we live, are but as 'weak and fickly Glimmerings, or rather Darkness it felf, in comparison of thofe Splendors which encompaís the Throne of God.

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As the Glory of this Place is tranfcendent beyond Imagination, fo probably is the Extent of it. There is Light behind Light, and Glory within Glory. How far that Space may reach, in which God thus appears in perfect Majefty, we cannot poffibly conceive. Tho' it is not infinite, it may be indefinite; and though not immeasureable in it felf, it may be fo with regard to any created Eye or Imagination. If he has made thefe lower Regions of Matter fo inconceivably wide and magnificent for the Habitation of mortal and perifhable Beings, how great may we fuppofe the • Courts of his Houfe to be, where he makes his Re⚫fidence in a more especial manner, and displays himfelf in the Fulnefs of his Glory, among an innume⚫rable Company of Angels, and Spirits of just Men. • made perfect ?

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THIS is certain, that our Imaginations cannot be • raised too high, when we think on a Place where Omnipotence and Omniscience have fo fignally exerted themselves, becaufe that they are able to produce a • Scene infinitely more great and glorious than what we are able to imagine. It is not impoffible but at the • Confummation of all Things, thefe outward Apart" ments of Nature, which are now fuited to those Beings who inhabit them, may be taken in and added to that glorious Place of which I am here fpeaking; and by that means made a proper Habitation for Beings who are exempt from Mortality, and cleared of their Imperfections: For fo the Scripture feems to in⚫timate when it fpeaks of new Heavens and of a new Earth, wherein dwelleth Righteousness.

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I have only confidered this glorious Place, with regard to the Sight and Imagination, though it is high. ly probable that our other Senfes may here likewise enjoy

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enjoy their higheft Gratifications. There is nothing which more ravishes and tranfports the Soul, than Harmony; and we have great Reason to believe, from the Defcriptions of this Place in Holy Scripture, that this is one of the Entertainments of it. And if the Soul of Man can be fo wonderfully affected with thofe Strains of Mufick, which Human Art is capable of producing, how much more will it be raised and elevated by thofe, in which is exerted the whole Power of Harmony! The Senfes are Faculties of the Human Soul, tho' they cannot be employed, during this our vital Union, without proper Inftru. ments in the Body. Why therefore fhould we ex'clude the Satisfaction of these Faculties, which we find by Experience are Inlets of great Pleasure to the Soul, from among thofe Entertainments which are to make up our Happiness hereafter? Why fhould we fuppofe that our Hearing and Seeing will not be gratify'd with thofe Objects which are most agreeable to them, and which they cannot meet within these lower Regions of Nature; Obje&s, which neither Eye hath feen, nor Ear beard, nor can it enter into the Heart of Man to conceive? I knew a Man in Chrift (fays St. Paul, fpeaking of himself) above fourteen Years ago (whether in the Body, I cannot tell, or whether out of the Body, I cannot tell: God knoweth) fuch a one caught up to the third Heaven. And I knew fuch a Man, (whe ther in the Body, or out of the Body, I cannot tell: God knoweth) how that he was caught up into Paradife, and beard unspeakable Words, which it is not poffible for a Man to utter. By this is meant, that what he heard was fo infinitely different from any thing which he had heard in this World, that it was impoffible to exprefs it in fuch Words as might convey a Notion of it to his Hearers.

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IT is very natural for us to take Delight in Enquiries concerning any foreign Country, where we are fome Time or other to make our Abode ; and as We all hope to be admitted into this glorious Place, it is both a laudable and useful Curiofity, to get what • Informations we can of it, whilst we make use of

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Revelation for our Guide. When thefe everlasting • Doors fhall be open to us, we may be fure that the • Pleasures and Beauties of this Place will infinitelytranfcend our prefent Hopes and Expectations, and that the glorious Appearance of the Throne of God,⚫ will rife infinitely beyond whatever we are able to ← conceive of it. We might here entertain our felves with many other Speculations on this Subject, from those several Hints which we find of it in the Holy Scriptures; as whether there may not be different • Manfions and Apartments of Glory, to Beings of different Natures; whether as they excel one another in Perfection, they are not admitted nearer to the Throne of the Almighty, and enjoy greater Manifeftations of his Prefence; whether there are not folemn Times and Occafions, when all the Multitude of Heaven celebrate the Prefence of their Maker in more extraordinary Forms of Praise and Adoration; as Adam, tho' he had continued in a State of Innocence, would, in the Opinion of our Divines, have kept holy the Sabbath-day, in a more particular Manner than any other of the feven. Thefe, and the like Speculations, we may very innocently indulge, fo long as we make Ufe of them to infpire us with a Defire of becoming Inhabitants of this delightful Place.

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• I have in this, and in two foregoing Letters, treated on the most ferious Subject that can employ the Mind of Man, the Omniprefence of the Deity; a Subject which, if poffible, fhould never depart from our Meditations. We have confidered the Divine Being as he inhabits Infinitude, as he dwells among his Works, " as he is prefent to the Mind of Man, and as he difcovers himself in a more glorious Manner among the Regions of the Bleft. Such a Confideration Thould be kept awake in us at all Times, and in all Places, and poffefs our Minds with a perpetual Awe and Reverence. It should be interwoven with all our Thoughts and Perceptions, and become one with the Confciouf⚫ nefs of our own Being. It is not to be reflected on in ⚫ the Coldness of Philofophy, but ought to fink us into the lowest Proftration before him, who is so astonishingly Great, Wonderful and Holy.

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Monday,

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