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achievements by which human redemption was effectedattributes which have not yet been displayed, in their effects, to the highest orders of intelligent existence. And, therefore, as that excellent philosopher and divine, the honourable Mr. Boyle, has well observed-" Our ideas of God, however so great, will rather express the greatness of our veneration, than the immensity of his Perfections; and the notions worthy the most intelligent men, are far short of being worthy the incomprehensible Godthe brightest idea we can frame of God being infinitely inferior, and no more than a Purhelion* in respect of the sun for though that meteor is splendid, and resembles the sun, yet it resides in a cloud, and is not only much beneath the sun in distance, but inferior in bigness and splendour."
In short, were we habitually to cherish that profound veneration of God which his works are calculated to inspire, with what humility would we approach the presence of this August Being! with what emotions of awe would we present our adorations! and with what reverence would we talk of his inscrutable purposes and incomprehensible operations! We would not talk about him, as some writers have done, with the same ease and indifference, as a mathematician would talk about the properties of a triangle, or a philosopher, about the effects of a mechanical engine; nor would we treat, with a spirit of levity, any of the solemn declarations of his word, or the mighty movements of his providence. We would be ever ready to join with ardour in the sublime devotions of the inspired writers, "Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty, just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who would not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name?
*A Parhelion or Mock-Sun, is a meteor in the form of a very bright light appearing on one side of the sun, and somewhat resembling the appearance of that luminary. This phenomenon is supposed to be produced by the refraction and reflection of the sun's rays from a watery cloud. Sometimes three or four of these parhelia, all of them bearing a certain resemblance to the real sun, have been seen at one time.
Let all the earth fear the Lord, let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him."
Lastly, the views we have taken of the omnipotence and grandeur of the Deity are calculated to inspire us with HOPE and CONFIDENCE in the prospect of that eternal existence which lies before us. The period of our existence in this terrestrial scene will soon terminate, and those bodies through which we now hold a correspondence with the visible creation, crumble into dust. The gradual decay, and the ultimate dissolution of human bodies, present a scene at which reason stands aghast; and, on a cursory survey of the chambers of the dead, it is apt to exclaim, in the language of despair, "Can these dry bones live?" A thousand difficulties crowd upon the mind which appear repugnant to the idea, that " beauty shall again spring out of ashes, and life out of the dust." But, when we look abroad to the displays of Divine power and intelligence, in the wide expanse of Creation, we perceive, that
Has done much more; nor is his arm impaired
We perceive that he has created systems in such vast profusion, that no man can number them. The worlds every moment under his superintendence and direction, are unquestionably far more numerous than all the human beings who have hitherto existed, or will yet exist till the close of time. And, if he has not only arranged the general features of each of these worlds, and established the physical laws, by which its economy is regulated, but has also arranged the diversified circumstances, and directs the minutest movements of the myriads of sensitive and intellectual existences it contains, we ought never, for a moment, to doubt, that the minutest particles of every human body, however widely separated from each other, and mingled with other extraneous substances, are known to him whose presence pervades all space; and that all the atoms requisite for the construction of the Resurrection
body will be re-assembled for this purpose" by the energy of that mighty power, whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself." If we suppose that a number of human beings, amounting to three hundred thousand millions, shall start from the grave into new life, at the general resurrection, and that the atoms of each of these bodies are just now under the special superintendence of the Almighty-and that, at least an equal number of worlds are under his particular care and direction-the exertion of power and intelligence, in the former case, cannot be supposed to be greater than what is requisite in the latter. To a Being possessed of Infinite Power, conjoined with boundless Intelligence, the superintendence of countless atoms, and of countless worlds, is equally easy, where no contradiction is implied. For, as the Poet has well observed,
"He summons into being, with like ease
And, since this subject tends to strengthen our hope of a resurrection from the dead, it is also calculated to inspire us with confidence in the prospect of those eternal scenes which will burst upon the view, at the dissolution of all terrestrial things. Beyond the period fixed for the conflagration of this world,—“a wide and unbounded prospect lies before us ;" and though, at present, "shadows, clouds, and darkness rest upon it," yet the boundless magnificence of the Divine empire, which science has unfolded, throws a radiance over the scenes of futurity, which is fraught with consolation, in the view of “the wrecks of matter, and the crush of worlds." It opens to us a prospect of perpetual improvement in knowledge and felicity; it presents a field in which the human faculties may be for ever expanding, for ever contemplating new scenes of grandeur rising to the view, in boundless perspective, through an interminable succession of existence. It convinces us, that the happiness of the eternal state will not consist in an unvaried repetition of the same perceptions and enjoyments, but that new displays of the Creator's glory will be for ever bursting on the astonished mind,
world without end. And as we know, that the same beneficence and care which are displayed in the arrangements of systems of worlds, are also displayed in supporting and providing for the smallest microscopic animalculæ, we have no reason to harbour the least fear, lest we should be overlooked in the immensity of creation, or lost amidst the multiplicity of those works among which the Deity is incessantly employed; for, as he is Omnipresent and Omniscient, his care and influence must extend to every creature he has formed. Therefore, though "the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and the earth, and all the works therein be dissolved, yet, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."
On the Wisdom and Intelligence of the DEITY.
IN surveying the system of nature with a Christian and a Philosophic eye, it may be considered in different points of view. It may be viewed either as displaying the power and magnificence of the Deity, in the immense quantity of materials of which it is composed, and in the august machinery and movements by which its economy is directed;—or, as manifesting his Wisdom, in the nice adaptations of every minute circumstance to the end it was intended to accomplish;-or, as illustrating his unbounded beneficence in the provision which is made for the accommodation and happiness of the numerous tribes of sentient and intelligent beings it contains. Having, in the preceding section, endeavoured to exhibit some of those objects which evince the Omnipotence of Deity, and the pious emotions they are calculated to excite, I shall now offer a few popular illustrations of Divine Wisdom, as displayed in the arrangements of the material world—which shall chiefly be confined to those objects which are most prominent and obvious to the vulgar eye.
Wisdom is that perfection of an intelligent agent, by which he is enabled to select and employ the most proper means in order to accomplish a good and important end. It includes the idea of knowledge or intelligence, but may be distinguished from it. Knowledge is opposed to ignorance, Wisdom is opposed to folly or error in conduct. As applied to God, it may be considered as comprehending the operations of his Omniscience and Benevolence, or, in other words, his knowledge to discern, and his disposition to choose those means and ends which are calculated to promote the order and the happiness of the universe.
The Wisdom of God is, doubtless, displayed in every arrangement he has made throughout all the provinces of his immense and eternal kingdom, however far they may be removed from the sphere of human observation. But it is only in those parts of the system of nature which lie open to our particular investigation, that the traces of this perfection can be distinctly perceived. The Heavens declare the glory of God's Wisdom, as well as of his Power. The planetary system-that portion of the heavens with which we are best acquainted-displays both the magnificence and the skill of its Divine Author,-in the magnitudes, distances, revolutions, proportions, and uses of the various globes of which it is composed, and in the diversified apparatus by which light and darkness are alternately distributed. The sun, an immense luminous world, by far the largest body in the system, is placed in the centre. No other position would have suited for an equable distribution of illumination and heat through the different parts of the system. Around him, at different distances, eleven primary planets revolve, accompanied with eighteen secondaries, or moons,—all in majestic order and harmony, no one interrupting the movements of another, but invariably keeping the paths prescribed them, and performing their revolutions in their appointed times. To all these revolving globes, the sun dispenses motion, light, heat, fertility, and other unceasing energies, for the comfort and happiness of their respective inhabitants-without which, perpetual sterility, eternal winter, and eternal night, would reign over every region of our globe, and throughout surrounding worlds.