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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 confidered that it took its rife from thofe narrow conceptions, which we are apt to entertain of the divine nature. We ourselves cannot attend to many different objects at the fame time. If we are careful to inspect fome things, we must of courfe neglect others. This imperfection which we obferve in ourselves is an imperfection that cleaves in fome degree to creatures of the highest capacities, as they are creatures, that is, beings of finite and limited natures. The prefence of every created being is confined to a certain meafure of space, and confequently his obfervation is ftinted to a certain number of objects. The fphere in which we move, and act, and understand, is of a wider circumference to one creature than another, according as we rife one above another in the scale of existence. But the wideit of these our spheres has its circumference. When therefore we reflect on the divine nature, we are fo ufed and accustomed to this imperfection in ourselves, that we cannot forbear in fome measure afcribing it to him in whom there is no fhadow of imperfection. Our reafon indeed affures us that his attributes are infinite, but the poornefs of our conceptions is fuch that it cannot forbear fetting bounds to every thing it contemplates, till our reafon comes again to our fuccour, and throws down all those little prejudices which rise in us unawares, and are natural to the mind of man.
We fhall therefore utterly extinguish this melancholy thought, of our being overlooked by our Maker in the multiplicity of his works, and the infinity of thofe objects among which he feems to be inceffantly employed, if we confider, in the first place, that he is omniprefent; and, in the fecond, that he is omniscient.
If we confider him in his omniprefence: his being paffes through, actuates, and fupports the whole frame of nature. His creation, and every part of it, is full of him. There is nothing he has made, that is either fo distant,
diftant, fo little, or so inconfiderable, which he does not effentially inhabit. His substance is within the substance of every being, whether material, or immaterial, and as intimately prefent 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 fpeak of him in the language of the old philofophers, he is a being whofe centre is every-where, and his circumference no-where.
In the fecond place, he is omnifcient as well as omniprefent. His omniscience indeed neceffarily and naturally flows from his omniprefence. He cannot but be conscious of every motion that arises in the whole material world, which he thus effentially pervades ; and of every thought that is ftirring in the intellectual world, to every part of which he is thus intimately united. Several moralifts have confidered the creation as the temple of God, which he has built with his own hands, and which is filled with his prefence. Others have confidered infinite space as the receptacle, or rather the habitation of the Almighty: but the noble it and most exalted way of confidering this infinite space is that of Sir Ifaac Newton, who calls it the fenforium of the Godhead. Brutes and men have their fenforiola, or little fenforiums, by which they apprehend the piefence and perceive the actions of a few objects, that lie contiguous to them. Their knowledge and obfervation turn within a very narrow circle. But as God Almighty cannot but perceive and know every thing in which he refides, infinite fpace gives room to infi-' nite knowledge, and is, as it were, an organ to omnifcience.
Were the foul feparate from the body, and with one glance of thought fhould start beyond the bounds of the creation, fhould it for millions of years continue its progrefs through infinite space with the fame activity, it would fill find itself within the embrace of its Creator, and encompaffed round with the immenfi y
of the Godhead. While we are in the body he is not lefs prefent with us, because he is concealed from us. Oh that I knew where I might find him! fays 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 fee him. In fhort, reafon 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 omnipres fence and 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 apt to trouble them on this occafion: for, as it is impoffible he fhould overlook any of his creatures, fo 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 should be mindful of them.
Motives to piety and virtue, drawn from the Omniscience and Omniprefence of the Deity. [Spect. No. 571.}.
N your paper of Friday: the 9th inftant, you had occafion to confider the ubiquity of the God-head, and at the fame time, to fhew, that as he is prefent to every thing, he cannot but be attentive to every thing, and privy to all the modes and parts of its existence: or, in other words, that his omnifcience and omniprefence are coexiftent, and run together through the. whole infinitude of space. This confideration might furnish us with many incentives to devotion, and motives to morality; but as this fubject has been handled by feveral excellent writers, I fhall confider it in a light wherein I have not feen it placed by others.
Firft, How difconfolate is the condition of an intellectual being who is thus present with his Maker, but at the fame time receives no extraordinary benefit or advantage from this his prefence!
Secondly, How deplorable is the condition of an intellectual being, who feels no other effects from this his prefence, but fuch 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 fecret effects of his mercy and loving-kindnefs!
First, How difconfolate is the condition of an intellectual being, who is thus prefent with his Maker, but at the fame time receives no extraordinary benefit or advantage from this his prefence! Every particle of matter is actuated by this Almighty being which passes through it. The heavens and the earth, the ftars and planets, move and gravitate by virtue of this great principle within them. All the dead parts of nature are invigorated by the prefence of their Creator, and made capable of exerting their refpective qualities. The feveral instincts, in the brute creation, do likewise operate and work towards the feveral 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 neceffary 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 fame thing to a man without religion, as if there were no God in the world. It is indeed impoffible for an infinite Being to remove himself from any of his creatures; but though he cannot withdraw his effence from us, which would argue an imperfection in him, he can withdraw from us all the joys and confolations of it. His prefence may perhaps be neceffary to fupport us in our exiftence; but he may leave this our existence to itself, with regard to its happiness or mifery. For, in this fenfe, he may
caft us away from his prefence, and take his holy fpirit from us. This fingle confideration 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; efpecially when we confider, fecondly, the deplorable condition of an intellectual being who feels no other effects from his Maker's prefence, but fuch 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 fure at length to feel him in his difpleafure. And how dreadful is the condition of that creature, who is only fenfible of the being of his Creator by what he fuffers from him! He is as effentially prefent in hell as in heaven; but the inhabitants of those accurfed 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 incenfed.
But I fhall only confider the wretchednefs 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 difquiet the foul, and vex it in all its faculties. He can hin der any of the greatest comforts of life from refreshing us, and give an edge to every one of its flighteft calamities. Who then can bear the thought of being an out-caft from his prefence, 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 real trial of his patience, he was made to look upon himelf in this deplorable condition! Why haft thou fet me. as a mark against thee, fo that I am become a burden to myself? But, thirdly, how happy is the condition of that intellectual being, who is fenfible of his Maker's prefence from the fecret effects of his mercy and< loving-kindness!