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531. Saturday, November 8.
Qui mare & terras variifqué mundum
Temperat boris: Unde nil majus generatur ipso, Nec viget quicquam fimile aut secundum.
IMONIDES being asked
by Dionysius the Tyrant what S God was, desired a Day's
time to consider of it before
he made his Reply. When the Day was expired, he desired two Days; and afterwards, instead of returning his Answer, demanded still double the Time to consider of it. This great Poet and Philosopher, the more he contemplated the Nature of the Deity, found that he waded but the more out of his Depth; and that he lost himfelf in the Thought, instead of finding an End of it.
IF we consider the Idea which wise Men, by the Light of Reason, have framed of the Divine Being, it amounts
to this: That he has in him all the Per-
ritual Perfection but what we discover 8.
in our own Souls, we join Infinitude
Almighty and Omniscient. In fhort, | by adding Infinity to any kind of Per
fcction we enjoy, and by joining all
one Being, we form our Idea of the di great Sovereign of Nature.
THOUGH every one who thinks must have made this Observation, I shall produce Mr. Locke's Authority to the same purpose, out of his Effay on Human Understanding. "If we examine the Idea we have of the incomprehensible Supreme Being, we thall find,
that we come by it the same way;
have both of God and separate Spi-
we receive from Reflection: v.g. hav• ing from what we experiment in our selves, got the Ideas of Existence and Duration, of Knowledge and Power, of Pleasure and Happiness, (and of several other Qualities and • Powers, which it is better to have, than (to be without; when we would
frame an Idea the most suitable we can to the supreme Being, we enlarge
every one of these with our Idea of * Infinity; and so putting them toge& ther, make our complex Idea of God.?
IT is not impossible that there may be many kinds of spiritual' Perfection, besides those which are lodged in a human Soul; but it is impoflible that we hould have Ideas of any kinds of Perfection, except those of which we have fome small Rays and short imperfect Strokes in our selves. It would be therefore a very high Presumption to determine whether the Supreme Being has not many more Attributes than those which enter into our Conceptions of him. This is certain, that if there be any kind of spiritual Perfection which is not marked out in a human Soul, it belongs in its fulness to the Divine Nature.
SEVERAL eminent Philosophers have imagined that the Soul, in her separate State, may have riew Faculties springing up in her, which she is not capable of exerting during her present Union with the Body; and whether these Faculties may not correspond with other Attributes in the Divine Nature, and open to us hereafter new matter of Wonder and Adoration, we are altogether ignorant. This, as I have said before, we ought to acquiesce in, that the Sovereign Being, the great Author of Nature, has in him all possible Perfection, as well in Kind as in Degree; to speak according to our Methods of conceiving. I Mall only' add under this Head, that when we have raised our Notion of this Infinite Being as high as it is poslible for the Mind of Man to go, it will fall infinitely short of what he really is. There is no end of his Greatness: The most exalted Creature he has made, is only capable of adoring it, none but himself can comprehend it.
THE Advice of the Son of Sirach is very just and sublime in this Light. By his Word all things consist. We may Speak much, and yet come mort: wherefore in G 2
fum, be is all. How fball we be able to magnify him? For he is great above all his Works. The Lord is terrible and very great, and marvellous in his Power. When you glorify the Lord, exalt him as much as you can; for even yet will he far exseed. And when you exalt him, put forth all your strength, and be not weary; for you can never go far enough. Who bath seen him, that he might tell us ? And who can magnify him as he is? There are yet bid greater things than these be, for we have feen but a few of bis Works.
I have here only considered the Supreme Being by the Light of Reason and Philosophy. If we would see him in all the Wonders of his Mercy we must have recourse to Revelation, which represents him to us, not only as infinitely Great and Glorious, but as infinitely Good and Juft in his Dispensations towards Man. But as this is a Theory which falls under every one's Confideration, though indeed it can never be fufficiently considered, I shall here only take notice of that habitual Worthip and Veneration which we ought to pay to this Almighty Being. We should often refresh our Minds with the Thought of him, and annihilate our