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riety of creatures, which in all probability swarm through all these immeasurable regions of matter.
In order to recover myself from this mortifying thought, I considered that it took its rise from those narrow conceptions, which we are apt to entertain of the divine nature. We ourselves cannot attend to many different objects at the same time. If we are careful to inspect some things, we muft of course neglect others. This imperfection which we observe in ourselves is an imperfection that cleaves in some degree to creatures of the highest capacities, as they are creatures, that is, beings of finite and limited natures. The presence of every created being is confined to a certain measure of space, and consequently his observation is ftinted to a certain number of objects. The sphere in which we move, and act, and understand, is of a wider circumference to one creature than another, according as we rise one above another in the scale of existence. But the widest of these our spheres has its circumference. When therefore we reflect on the die vine nature, we are so used and accustomed to this imperfection in ourselves, that we cannot forbear in some measure ascribing it to him in whom there is no fhadow of imperfection.
Our reason indeed assures us that his attributes are infinite, but the poorness of our conceptions is such that it cannot forbear setting bounds to every thing it contemplates, till our reason comes again to our succour, and throws down all those little prejudices which rise in us unawares, and are natural to the mind of man.
We shall therefore utterly extinguish this melancholy thought, of our being overlooked by our Maker in the multiplicity of his works, and the infinity of those objects among which he seems to be incessantly employed, if we consider, in the first place, that he is omniprefent; and, in the second, that he is omniscient.
If we consider him in his omnipresence: his being passes through, actuates, and supports the whole frame of iture. His creation, and every part of it, is full of him. There is nothing he has made, that is either fo. B 2
diftant, so little, or fo inconsiderable, which he dces not effentially inhabit. His substance is within the substance of every being, whether material, or immaterial, and as intimately present to it, as that being is to itself. It would be an imperfection in him, were he able to remove out of one place into another, or to withdraw himself from any thing he has created, or from any part of that space which is diffused and spread abroad to infinity. In short, to speak of him in the language of the old philosophers, he is a being whose centre is every-where, and his circumference no-where.
In the second place, he is omniscient as well as omnipresent. His omniscience indeed necessarily and naturally flows from his omnipresence. He cannot but be conscious of every motion that ari:es in the whole materiál world, which he thus efsentially pervades; and of every thought that is stirring in the intellectual world, to every part of which he is thus intimately united. Several moralists have considered the creation as the temple of God, which he has built with his own hands, and which is filled with his presence. Others have considered infinite fpace as the receptacle, or rather the habitation of the Almighty: but the noble it and most exalted way of confidering this infioite space is that of Sir Isaac Newton, who calls it the sensorium of the Godhead. Brutes and men have their sensoriola, or little fenforiums, by which they apprehend the prefence and perceive the actions of a few objects, that lie contiguous to them. Their knowledge and observation turn within a very narrow circle. But as God Almighty cannot but perceive and know every thing in which he resides, infinite fpace gives room to infra nite knowledge, and is, as it were, an organ to omniscience.
Were the foul separate from the body, and with one glance of thought Mould fart beyond the bounds of the creation, Mould it for millions of years continue its progress through infinite space with the same actio. vity, it would fill find itself within the embrace of its Creator, and encompassed round with the immenfi y.
of the Godhead. While we are in the body he is not Jess present with us, because he is concealed from us. Obthat I knew where I might find him! says Job. Bebold I go forward, but he is not there.; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: on the left hand, where he does work, but I cannot behold him : he hideth himself on the right hand that I cannot see him. In short, reason as well as revelation affures us, that he cannot be absent. from us, notwithstanding he is undiscovered by us.
In this confideration of God Almighty's omniprec sence ani omniscience, every, uncomfortable thought vanishes. He cannot but regard every thing that has being, especially fuch of his creatures who fear they are not regarded by him. He is privy to all their thoughts, and to that anxiety of heart in particular, which is ape to trouble them on this occasion : for, as it is im. poflble he should overlook any of his creatures, so we may be confident that he regards, with an eye of mercy, thofe who endeavour to recommend themselves to his notice, and in unfeigned humility of heart think themselves unworthy that he thould be mindful of
Motives to piety and virtue, drawn from the Omniscience and Omnipresence of the Deity. [Spect. No. 571.]
N your paper of Friday: the 9th intant, you had and at the same time, to shew, that as he is present to every thing, he cannot but be attentive to everything, and privy to all the modes and parts of its existence : or, in other words, that his omniscience and omnipresence are coexistent, and run together through the whole infinitude of space. This consideration might furnish us with many incentives to devotion, and mogives to morality; but as this subject has been handled 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 intellectual being who is thus present with his Maker, but at the same time receives no extraordinary benefit or advantage from this his presence !
Secondly, How deplorable is the condition of an intellectual 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 fenfible of his Maker's prefence from the secret effects of his mercy and loving-kindness!
First, How disconfolate is the condition of an intellectual being, who is thus present with his Maker, but at the same time receives no extraordinary benefit or advantage from this his presence! Every particle of matter is actuated by this Almighty being which passes 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 nature are in. vigorated by the presence of their Creator, and made capable of exerting their respective qualities. The several instincts, in the brute creation, do likewise operate and work towards the several ends, which are agreeable to them, by this divine energy. Man only, who does not co-operate with his holy spirit, and is unattentive to his presence, receives none of these advantages from it, which are perfective of his nature, and necessary to his well-being. The divinity 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 the world. It is indeed impossible for an infinite Being to remove himself from any of his creatures; but though he can. not withdraw his essence from us, which would argue an imperfection in him, he can withdraw from us all the joys and confolations of it. His presence may perhaps be necessary to support us in our existence; but he may leave this our existence to itself, with regard to its happiness or misery. For, in this sense, he may
eaft us away from his presence, and take his holy spirit from us.
This single consideration one would think fufficient to make us open our hearts to all those infufions of joy and gladness which are so near at hand, and ready to be poured in upon us; especially when we consider, secondly, the deplorable condition of an intellectual being who feels no other effects from his Maker's presence, but such as proceed from divine wrath and indignation !
We may affure ourselves, that the great author of nature will not always be as one, who is indifferent to any of his creatures. Those who will not feel him in his love, will be sure at length to feel him in his displeasure. And how dreadful is the condition of that creaturę, who is only sensible of the being of his Creator by what he suffers from him! He is as essentially prefént in hell as in heaven ; but the inhabitants of those accursed places behold him only in his wrath, and fhrink within the flames to conceal themselves from him. It is not in the power of imagination to conceive the fearful effects of Omnipotence incensed:
But I shall only consider the wrecchedness of an intellectual being, who, in this life, lyes under the displeasure of him, that at all times, and in all places, is intimately united with him. He is able to disquiet the foul, and vex it in all its faculties. He can hins der any of the greatest comforts of life from refreshing us, and give an edge to every one of its slightest calamities. Who then can bear the thought of being an out-cast from his presence, that is, from the comforts of it, or of feeling it only in its terrors'? How pathetic is that expoftulation of job, when, for the seat trial of his patience, he was made to look upon himself in this deplorable condition! Why haft tbou set me. as a mark against thee, so that I am become a burden to myself? But, 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!