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dinate beings. On the benign affections which all admire, it is unnecessary to descant; nor is it essential to the object which we have now peculiarly in view, namely, tracing to their origin those wonderful capacities and powers which fit the evil agent for his malignant enterprizes, distinctly to treat on each attribute of the Deity. On his Omniscience, therefore, we shall only and but briefly speak.
We find in ourselves a small degree of wisdom and
power, and can pretty accurately guess how persons, with whose character and conduct we are well acquainted, may be expected to act under any specific circumstances that may lie before them; we also frequently discover, through the same medium, the motives by which their converse and actions are guided, and the ends they have in view. Now, if our very limited faculties, and local observation, can thus almost unerringly foresee and decide,-if we, who are lower than the angels—if human creatures, the greatest among whom is less than the least in the kingdom of heaven, (Luke vii. 28,) are gifted with such a prescience,—may we not hence be fully persuaded, first, that this “ penetrative power of judging probabilities, possessed by man, is increased to certainty in God ;"* and that the Almighty mind includes at one grasp a perfect knowledge of all that is past, present, and to come ? that the infinite and eternal intelligent is a minute discerner and searcher of the inmost
thoughts and intents of the heart; that He sees our thoughts afar off; that there is no creature who is not manifest in his sight; and that all things are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do? (Heb. iv. 13.) And, secondly, by attending to the apostolic caution, that we err not for want of due reflection on the unchangeableness of the divine nature, of that Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning; from whom is derived every good and perfect gift, (James i. 16,) which, however diversified, proceed from the same spirit, how different soever in their opera. tions and administrations, do all descend from that God wbo divideth unto every man, and unquestionably to every other being severally as He will, (1 Cor. xii. 4,) and who worketh all in all; (1 Cor. xii. 6;) we may most certainly conclude, a regularity similar to that which marks the natural world and its appendages, and the gracious dispensations of our celestial Sovereign to man, to be gradually pervading the intellectual system throughout the boundless universe, in infinite progression; and likewise, that the all wise and invariable Former of all things, whose perfect plans require not change, admit not of improvement; “ who has ordained and constituted the services of angels and men in a wonderful order ;** should have dispensed throughout these myriads of intelligents a general analogy in their faculties and moral endowments, however
* Collect for St. Michael and All Angels.
amazing may be their expansion and multiplication, as they approach in nearness and resemblance unto Deity. Though between them and the Supreme Being an inconceivable and infinite distance may still be preserved.
The crystal springs from whence proceed the smallest rills, unite to form the limpid streams which run meandering into many a winding rivulet; murmuring along, till their augmented currents join those majestic rivers, unto whom, lakes, fountains, cataracts, floods, descending torrents, pour in contributary: whose clear pellucid waters, serenely gliding down through ambient, long, circuitous courses, breathing in gentle zephyrs, and diffusing richness o’er the meads they lave; their far out-stretched reaches all pressing onward to their great reservoir, the mighty ocean—that grand, immense, vast, widelyspreading element, whose magnitude, extending to the varied points of Oriens, Occidens, Septentrio, Meridies, covers a space surpassing calculation; its floating sea waves rolling out waves o'er waves in endless infinite succession, sublime emblem of its eternal Former : and like that parent source of good, welcomes its members as they near approach, comes out to meet them, and imparts participation of that first and best of gifts, its own perfection; impregnating the saline virtue, which acts as nature's great preservative in saving from corruption, salubriates each wafting breeze, then ebbs a-back, not without faithful promise of a sure return, fresh flowing in to dispense daily blessings. But, when at awful
periods, high blowing winds tempestuous dare assault, evinces power terrific-opposes storm by storm, its raging waves upraising instantaneous mountainous billows, opening devouring gulphs of dashing foam infuriate, roaring aloud, and with tremendous threats awarning foes, to awaken timely fear, lest with destruction irresistible, it should at length o'erwhelm them; yet soon appeased, and hushing into peaceful stillness, elemental strife gently subsides into its calm best loved estate—benignant mercy; varying its pledge by springing at elative seasons lofty tides ; who, blown by freshening gales, impetuous rush with rapid strides to invigorate its friends or deluge its opponents; while the sincere adherents, who, with undeviating course, have ever bent towards it, ere they complete their junction, dilate with joy; swelling triumphant in our southern hemisphere, ev'n to the vast expansion of an hundred leagues ;* then fall, like as a drop, in the profound abyss.
The greatest of all naturalists remarks, that though all the rivers run to the sea, yet the sea is not full: unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again, (Eccles. i. 7,) and they are alike composed of the same aquatic fluid. So also the intellectual system of the boundless universe proceedeth from one source, for all things are of God. And all intelligents, if tending towards happiness, are like to the rivers of the natural world, reflowing to the all-perfect
source from whence they did proceed, and are all alike composed of the same one spiritual nature. (John xvii. 11.)
By the sketch adumbrated, we have further sought, not only to illustrate the general analogy of, and gradual progression in capacities and powers which pervade the intellectual system of the universe, but also, that however various and wonderful may be the talents and endowments with which the highest orders of created beings have severally been gifted, though “ their intelligence and quickness of observation are described in Scripture by the hieroglyphical representation* of creatures full of eyes both before and behind;” and though they are therein said to be stationed in the midst
* Hieroglyphical representation. “It is well known that the ancients (borrowing them, I suppose, from the Egyptians) dealt much in hieroglyphics, by which natural and moral truths were expressed. Dr. Middleton, in his curious Collection of Antiquities, presents us with one so remarkable, that I cannot forbear mentioning it here. It is a copy of a gem, in which a man's face, an elephant's head, a peacock, and a sceptre, are joined together. He thinks it was intended as an hieroglyphic or emblematical representation of Socrates, as the face bears a strong resemblance to the pictures usually given of him. He supposes the human face to represent that of Socrates, and the other figures those beautiful and divine images which were in his mind. The peacock, being the most beautiful bird, may denote the beauty of his virtues; the sceptre, his majesty and authority; the elephant, the strength and fortitude of his mind : and, for the same reason, he observes it might be used to express the character of a philosopher in general, but especially the Stoic's wise man, who was furnished with all kinds of virtues and perfections, being the only beautiful and valiant man, and a king, whatever his circumstances might happen to be."-Doddridge's Expositor, vol. vi. p: 468. Middleton's Antiquities, Table xvi. 10, pp. 243, 245.