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bodies ?. how adjust with furrounding bodies : without parts ? how contist of parts without being corporeal ? Buc if you ascribe a real and proper extenfion to a fpirit, every thought of that spirit would be a separate portion of that extension, as every part of the body is a separate portion of the whole body, every operation of Spirit would be a modification of that extension, as every operation of body is a modification of body; and, were this the cafe, there would be no abfurdity in saying that a thought is round, or fquaře, or cubic, which is nothing less than the contounding of spirit with matter. Thus the idea, which our imagination forms of the omnipresence of God, when it represents the ef fence of the Supreme Being filling infinite fpaces, as we are lodged in our houses, is a false idea that ought to be carefully avoided.
II. What notions then most: we form of the inmenfity of God? In what sense do we'cona ceive that the infinite Spirit is every where prefa eno? My brethren, the bounds of our knowla. edge are fo ftrait, our sphere is fo contracted, we have such imperfect ideas of spiritsi even of our own fpirits, and, for a much stronger - réafon, of the Father of spirits, that no
genius in the world, however exalted you may suppose him, after his greatest efforts of meditation, can fay to you, Thus far extend the attributes of God; behold a complete idea of liis immenfity and omnipresence. . Yet,. by the help of found reason, above all by the aid of revelations we may give you, if not complète, at least distiną ideas of the fubje&: it is possible, if rot to indicate all the fenfes in which God is immenfe, at least to point out some : it is possible, if not to fhew you all the truth, at least to discover it in part:
Let us not conceive the omnipresence of God. as a particular attribute (if I may venture to say fo) of the Deity, as goodness or wisdom, but as
the extent or infinity of many others. The om. nipresence of God is that universal property by which he communicates himself to all, diffuses himself through all, is the great direc:or of all, or, to confine ourselves to more distinct ideas Rill, the infuite spirit is present in every place.
1. By a boundless knowledge.
God is every where, because he seetab all, because he influenceth'all, because he directerb all, This we must prove and establish. But if you would judgę rightly of what you have heard, and of what.you may still hear, you must remember that this subject hath no relation to your pleafures, nor to your policy, nor to any of those objects which cecupy and fill your whole fouls ; and consequently, that if you would follow us, you must Itretch your meditation, and go, as it were, out of yourselves.
1. The fipt idea of God's omnipresence is his omniscience. God is every where present, deCause he secth all. This the prophet bad princi- , pally in view.., “O Lord, thou hast searched
ine, and known me.. Thou kuoweit my dowo-fitting and mine up-rising, thou understandelt my thoughts afar off. Thou compaffet my path and any lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.. For there is no: a word in my tongue, but lo, O Lord, thou knowcft is altogether. Thou hast befét me behind and before. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, 1 cannot attain unto it,” ver. 1, 2, 3, &c. Then follow the words of our text : “ Whither Mall I go from thy spirit,” and so on.
Let us not then consider the Deity, after the exampie of the schoolinen, as a point fixed in the univerfality of beings. Let us confider the univerfality of beings as a point, and the Deity as an immense eye, which fees all that passes in C 2
that point, all that can possibly pafs there ; and which, by an all-animating intelligence, , makes an exact combination of all the effects of matter, and of all the difpofitions of spirit.
* 1. God knows all the effects of matter. Ar expert workman takes a parcel of matter propora tioned to a work 'which he meditates, he makes divers wheels, difp-fes them properly, and fees, by the rules of his, art, what must result from their affeniblage. Suppofe a fublime, exact geni. us, knowing how to go from principle to princió ple, and from confequence to confeqoence, after foreseeing what must result from two wheels joined together, fhould imagine a third, he will as certainly know what must refült from a third, as from a first and fecond ; after imagining a thiird, he may imagine a fourth, and properly ar. range it with the rest in' his imagination ; after a fourth a fiftli, and so on to an endless number. Such a man could mathematically demonstrate,
an exac! and infallibie manner, what must rem fult from a work composed of all thefe different wheels. Suppole further, that this workman, having accurately confidered the effects which would be produced on these wheels, by that fubtle matter which in their whirlings continually furrounds them, and which, by its perpetual action and motiòn, chafes, wears; and diffolves all bodies ; 'this workman would tell you, with the fame exactness, how long each of these wheels would wear, and when the whole work would be consumed.' Give this workman life and industry proportional to his imagination, furnish him with materials proportional to his ideas, and he will produce a valt, immense work, all the different motions of which he can exaélly, combi's ; all. the different effects of which he can evidently foiofee, He will fee, in what time motion will be communicated from the first of these wheels' to the second, at what time the second will move
the third, and so of the rest :- he will foretel áll their different motions, and all the effects which muft result from their different combinations..
Hitherto this is only fuppofition, my brethren, but it is a fuppofition that conducts us to the most certain of all facts. This workman is God. God is this fublime, exact, infinite genius. He calls into being matter, without motion, and, in fome sense, without form. He gives this matter form and motion. He makes a certain number of wheels, or rather he makes them without number. He disposes them as he thinks proper. He communicates a certain degree of motion, agreeable to the laws of his wisdom. Thence arifes the world which strikes our eyes.
By the forementioned example, I conceive, that God, by his own intelligence, saw what must result from the arrangement of all the wheels that compose this world, and knew, with tbe utmost exactnes all their combinations. He saw that a certain degree of motior, impárted to a certain portion: of matter, would produce water';, that another degree of motion, communicated to another porsion of matter, would produce fire ; that another would produce earth, and fo. of the rest. He forefaw, with the utmost precision, what would result from this water, from this fire, from this earth when joined together, and agitated by such a degree of motion as lie should conmunicate. By the bare inspection of the laws of motion, he forefaw fires, he foresaw shipwrecks, he forefaw earthquakes, he foresaw all the vicissitudes of time, he foresaw those which must put a period to time, when tbe beavens shall pass away with a great noise, wben ibe elements sball melt. with fervent heat, when the earth witb. all the works ibat are in it shall be burnt'up, 2 Pet. ixi. 10.
2. But, if God could combine all that would result from the laws of motion communicated to matter, he could also combine all that would real
fult from intelligence, freedom of will, and all the faculties which make the essence of spirits ; and, before he had formed those fpiritual beings, which compofe the intelligent world, he knew wbat all their ideas, all their projets, all their deliberations, would for eyer be
I am aware, that a particular consequence, which follows this doctrine, bath nade some divines exclaim against this thesis, and, under the fpecious pretenee of exculpating the Deity: from the entrance of fin into this world, they have affirmed that God could not foresee the detere: minations of a free agent ; for, fay, they, had he foreseen the abuse which man would have made of his liberty, by, refolving to fin, his love to holiness would have engaged him to prevent it.. But to reason in this manger is, in attempting tofolve a difficulty, to leave that difficul:y in all is force..
All they say on this article, proceeds from this: principle, that a God infinitely just, and infinite. ly powerful, ought to display (if it be allowable to say: 10); all the infinity of his attributes to prevent hin. But this principle is notorioudly falfe.. Witness that very permission of Sin which is ob-jected to us. You will not acknowledge that God fortfaw. man's fall into fin : acknowledge,. at lealty that he forefaw the possibility of man's. falling, and that, in forming a creature free, he knew that such a creature might chule virtue or vice ; acknowledge, at leaft, that God could have created man with so much knowledge, and could have afforded him so many fuccours ; he could have presented such powerful motives to holiness incessantly, and discovered to him the dreadful consequences of his rebellion so effe atually; he could have united obedience to his commands with so many delights, and the most distant thought of disobedience with so many difgufts ; he could have banished from man every tempta