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but one universal and unchangeable law of all rational beings; that in every nation, they who truly fear thee, and, according to the degrees of light and the advantages which they severally enjoy, work righteousness, may find acceptance with thee.-To thee, therefore, with whom alone is the fountain of life, who causest order to spring from confusion, and good from evil, and hast so graciously established one certain method, by which all mankind may secure thy favour ; to thee, who ever livest and reignest, the one God, I desire, as thy reasonable creature, and in the name of Christ, to ascribe supreme, unrivalled, and everlasting praises. Amen.
ON THE SPIRITUALITY OF
O God, in this imperfect, limited state of our knowledge, and surrounded as we are with darkness, I desire always to seek after thee with reverence and humility, and to continue iny inquiries with ardour and earnestness of spirit ; that I may trace some of thy footsteps, and get glimmering notices of thee, where I can never fully comprehend thee.
I am, notwithstanding this, thankful for the rank of my nature, which thou hast placed amongst the noblest orders of thy creatures. And, that I may not err through the weakness of my reason, being placed at such a distance from the light of thy throne, may I take the utmost care never to ascribe to thee any properties that have the least appearance of limitation or defect. I see nothing in the whole material world, that can give me the faintest idea, or yield the most distant resemblance, of what thou art, or of the sublime, ineffable manner in which thou existest. All these scenes, so astonishing, grand, and splendid, replete with numberless beauties, are unintelligent, inactive, fading, transitory, and liable to an entire decay and dissolution; and reasonable beings alone bear any impressions of thy inage. I am led, therefore, in order to express in the most just and proper manner the exalted veneration which I have of thy matchless glory, to adore thee as a pure and perfect spirit.
Othou great incomprehensible! whom no man hath seen, nor can see, whose voice no one hath heard at any time, nor seen thy shape, suffer me not to be so wilfully infatuated, as to worship thee, who art a pure and infinite spirit, by sensible images, or visible symbols of thy presence, which thou hast not prescribed. But conceiving of thee, as incapable of being in the least degree imprest by outward show and ostentation, let me worship thee with an enlightened understanding, and an uncorrupted sincerity; and recommend all
adorations, prayers, and thanksgivings, to th, acceptance and favourable regard, by the purity of my soul, and the strict and constant virtue and goodness of my life. Let all the acts of devotion, which I presume to offer up unto thee, not consist in mere bodily prostrations and services, nor in the heat of fancy, and the raptures of wild enthusiasm ; but in the serious and honest expressions and resolutions of a sober, calm, and rational mind. religious services be in all respects so formed, and so conducted, as to be worthy to be presented to a being of unerring and boundless wisdom. Thus, O Father of my spirit, may I be of the number of those, whom thou seekest
and requirest to worship thee. above all, that my most solemn offices of religion may not, by corrupt views, or impure mixtures of dissimulation and hypocrisy, be rendered an abomination in thy sight; but let me offer up continually holy, sublime, and spiritual sacrifices, acceptable through Jesus Christ, to thee, O King eternal, immortal, and invisible ; to whom belong universal dominion and praise. Amen.
ON THE OMNISCIENCE OF GOD.
O Lord, most wonderful in all thy perfections ! Thou not only art present, and always must be present with every part of the universe, and wherever any part of thy own creation subsists ; but thy preserving providence, thy animating spirit, thy efficacious influence diffused through the whole, supports the worlds which thou hast made. Thou existest in the infinite spaces beyond the utmost bounds of all the worlds, and art capable of unlimited exertions of thy power and good. ness, and of creating new orders of intelligent beings to praise thee, and to be made happy by thee for ever.
And, as inseparably connected with thy omnipresence, I adore thy amazing knowledge, which reaches to, perceives with an infallible certainty, and thoroughly comprehends all subjects, and which is completely acquainted with whatever does, or can exist.
I acknowledge, in this respect, as well as in all others, the infinite distance there is between thee and us; and that the most exalted of mankind, from their own experience, and the operations of their own powers, cannot rise to the least distinct conception of the manner, in which thy infinite understanding discerns the most minute parts of nature, and much less, how it takes in at once the vast expanse of the creation, and in one view comprehends all the possibilities of things. I acknowledge, that by what passes within myself, I can learn little more, than that the wonderful ways of thee, O God, who art perfect in knowledge, are by us inscrutable, and infinitely remote