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SER M. Samaritans, which of the Two professed V.
the truer Religion; ver. 20. : To This, our Saviour gives her a twofold Answer. First, that the Fewish, and not the Samaritan, was the true Religion, ver. 22. for that in Jerusalem God had chosen to place his name; and in matters of Religion, the Command of God only, and not the Institutions of Men, are the Rule of Right. But then Secondly he tells her in the next place, that neither the one nor the other of these Religions were to continue long, but that Both of them were quickly to give place to the more excellent and spiritual Institution of the Gospel : ver. 21, 23, 24. The Hour cometh, says he, when ye all neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father; But the true worshippers hall worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth; For the Father. seeketh such to worship bim: God is a Spirit; and they that dworship him, must worship line in Spirit and in Truth. In the following Discourse upon
which Words, I shall ist endeavour to explain, what is meant by God's being a Spirit ; or how we are to understand That Attri
bute of the divine Nature, which we call Serm.
V. his Spirituality : And 2dly I shall consider what our consequent Duty is, of wor shipping him accordingly in Spirit and in Truth.
I. I AM to endeavour to explain, what is meant by God's being a Spirit, or how we are to understand that Attribute of the divine Nature, which we call his Spirituality. And here 'tis to be observed, that the Scripture, as it does not much insist upon proving to us the Being of God, but rather always supposes. That to be already known by the Light of Nature ; fo also, when it mentions any of the natural Attributes of the Divine Essence, it does not usually enlarge either upon the Proof or Explication of them, but generally makes mention of them occasionally only, and as presupposing them beforehand well known by men's Reason. Wherefore though the Scripture no where expressly stiles God a Spirit, but in this one single Passage only; yet since in numberless places it does by consequence suppose him to be fo, and founds cur Duty to him often upon That Supposition ; 'tis very reasonable for us to VOL. I.
into the true Notion of so excellent an At-
ift, The first and lowest particular that is included in the Notion of God's being a Spirit, is, that we are to conceive of him as of a Being infinitely removed from all those grofs Properties, which constitute the Nature of Matter or Body. Thus, for Instance, the nature of Matter or Body, is, that it is Tangible, and may be felt, of discerned by the Touch; which a Spirit cannot be: This Distinction our Saviour takes notice of, Luke xxiv. 39, Handle me and fee; for a Spirit bath not Flesh and Bones, as ye fee me bave.
THE Nature of Matter is, to be Divifible into Parts, and to have its Frame dissolved; which a Spirit cannot be: This also is taken Notice of by our Saviour, Matt. X. 28. Fear not them which kill the Body, but are not able to kill the Soul.
The Nature of Matter is, to be Visible to the Eyes : But a Spirit, is absolutely Invisible.
The Nature of Matter is, to be passive only, or act only by necesity, that is, (pro
perly speaking) not to aɛt at all, but only Ser M.
V. to be acted upon : But a Spirit, is in its nature a Living, Intelligent, Active Being.
And This is the first and lowest particular, included in the Notion of God's being a Spirit.
2dly, By the Scripture's affirming God to be a Spirit, we are directed to conceive of him, as of a Being not limited by human skape, or included under any other Form, whatsoever. In the darker and more ignorant Ages of the Church, there was a Sect of men, who received their denomination from the Notion they had, that God was to be understood as having really a Human Form.
Yet perhaps it was not their intention to set up a particular Sect, but might possibly be merely an effect of their Ignorance, and want of Learning, or of their inability only to express themselves properly. Or perhaps more probably, it was nothing more, but that other people mifunderstood their manner of expressing themselves, and ascribed to them an
opinion which they meant not to maintain. However That be, it is certain that there are None Now so ignorant, (who are arrived at years of any Understanding, ) as
SERM. to think that God has really a human or V.
any other Shape. Yet because in exprefsing the several Powers of God, and his different manners of acting, all language is so deficient, that we are forced to make use of figurative ways of speaking, and of fimilitudes drawn from our own manners of acting to represent our conceptions of these divine Powers, to which the Faculties of Man bear but a very small and imperfect Analogy; it is therefore
very necessary, for preventing mistakes in this matter, that we attend with some Care to the true Meaning of those many passages in Scripture, which, in condescension to the Vulgar, do speak concerning God after this figurative manner. For Example ; When the Scripture, speaking of Him, who, being an infinite Mind, is therefore really present in every place alike, yet represents him as being in Heaven, as dweling or fitting there, and having the Earth for his footstool ; This ought to be understood only as a Description of his Supreme Autkority and Dominion over all. When mention is made of the Eyes, of Him who has no Parts; This must be understood of his perfect Knowledge and