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new and untried*? Wherefore does every object, with which we are conversant here, so soon grow familiar to the sight, and pall upon the enjoyment? Why does the soul desire to give unconfined range to her flight, and pry into every nature through the immense of being? Why, when she has travelled as far as thought can reach, or time itself permit, is she still unsatisfied, crying “ farther! yet a little farther!”
Whence all this, but because, in this mortal state, she is, as it were, confined from home, from the immediate vision of him who is her true delight, the great model and source of all perfection? Whence, but because in all things else, she discovers marks of imperfection; and the new, the great and the wonderful in them, are soon exhausted? Nothing can be a God to the mind of man, in which any defect or ble- . mish can be discovered.
'Tis fatally true that souls grovelling in sin and folly may, for a while, lull their best faculties asleep, and rest satisfied without thinking of God, or by making gods of his creatures. Yet this is but a very transient rest, disturbed by every cross accident, that is capable of rousing and keeping up reflection. Then all that we trusted to is vanished; and the mind, if it would shift and turn forever, can find no more ease till it has come to its true God; till it has conceived a being, able to save to the uttermost all who put their trust in him!
• See some beautifui passages to this purpose, in Dr. Akenside's sublime poem, on the Pleasures of Imagination.
But having once fied to this being, in the methods appointed by his grace, we can rest fully satisfied; through the eye of faith in him, though we find it in vain to look for his uncircumscribed essence here, or there; in this region, or among that order of beings. For it is high as the heavens, what can we do? And deeper than hell, what can we know? It is longer than the earth and broader than the sea! He is all! He is every where! And, though in that all, and, this every where, the soul be swallowed up and lost, yet there it can rest; fearing his power, adoring his wisdom, and trusting his goodness!
Here at last is firm footing! Almighty wisdom to contrive, almighty goodness to influence, and almighty power to execute, what is best on the whole! Under such a governor, virtue may safely trust all her concerns both now and for ever! What need man to u know more for the present, but that such a being exists over all, and independent of all?
Yet though this be our main business, still it may neither be improper nor presumptuous to look forward, with an earnest longing, to that time when we shall see and known and love him more abundantly
Oh for a glimpse of him my soul adores! &c.
But while I meditate on these glorious and rap turous subjects, I am carried beyond the usual length of a single essay. Yet-Oh! that I could meditate upon them for ever! Oh! that they were become the chief joy of all mankind, and that every reader could, for himself, say Amen!
THE reader will easily see, that the HERMIT's labours terminate abruptly in his foregoing No. VIII. when he was just opening himself for their continuation, in subsequent numbers, to treat, as occasion might offer, “ on the Being and Attributes
of God, and the most useful topics of true, practical, and “ evangelical religion;" which God has been since pleased to spare him to handle more at large, and prepare for the public, in the volumes now in the press.
With the HERMIT's labours, the publication of the AMERICAN MAGAZINE, the vehicle of their conveyance, ceased also. The cause of this was some very arbitrary proceedings of the Assembly, or Legislature of Pennsylvania, of that day; which necessitated the author to undertake a voyage to Great-Britain, of which an account will be given, in a volume of his works, more immediately connected, than the present, with civil and political concerns.
His associates, therefore, in carrying on the MAGAZINE, (most of whom were among his ingenious young Pupils, whose talents he wished to encourage and cultivate, both in sentiment and composition) declined the weight of continuing the work, in his absence, or without his aid and direction.
Some idea of the Hermit's political principles, may be formed, from his No. III, above; containing “ advice to the authors of the Magazine ; not very acceptable to some of the little tyrants of that day; and which foreboded opposition, and destruction, if possible to the work.-But I forbear further remarks for the present.
A PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATION,
SUPREME BEING. *
O ETERNAL Source of Life, Light and Love; that permittest thy reasonable creatures to open their souls to Thy divine influence by Prayer! compose my thoughts, raise my affections, and grant that I may approach Thy awful Presence, with an humble sense of my own indigence, and with worthy
This piece was one of the earliest of the author's compositions. It was written for the use of young Students in Philosophy, and published, in London, 1754, at the end of a book of Ethics, and on the plan of the same. The Ethics were written by the Rev. Dr. Samuel Johnson the Father, first President of the college of New-York.
Hence this Composition consists of the same parts with the treatise on Ethics itself, viz.
First, Speculative and Religious Truths relating to God, which make the Address and Acknowledgment of Him; and Truths relating to our. selves, which make the Confession.
Secondly, The Practical duties that result from these To hs, which are Moral, Divine and Social. Petitions for Grace to discharge these aright make the Petitory parts.
apprehensions of Thy all-sufficiency. As thou hast given me the means of knowing, in some degree, the relations which I sustain, and hast also given me reason to deduce from thence my various duties; permit me to fly to Thine Almighty Grace and Aid, to enable me to put these duties in practice: For, without this, I know how insufficient I am, by my own natural strength, to do any thing that is truly acceptable to: Thee,
THE SPECULATIVE PART OF CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY.
1. In the course of my researches, what first of all appears to me is—that Thou art from everlasting 1. Truths to everlasting, completely happy in Thy
self, perfect in Goodness, Power and Wisdom.
Thy, Goodness spoke creation into birth, with no other view but to communicate to finite natyres, from that unbounded ocean that flows forever undimi. nished round Thy Throne, the greatest possible sum of happiness that such natures can possibly share! Thy power governs Thy universal Family, both in Heaven and Earth, as best suits the ends of their various natures, and Thy gracious designs towards them! And Thy Wisdom, so conducts the Eternal Scheme, that, however it may now appear to Thy
The author, however, does not offer this as a complete form. For Intercession, Thanksgiving, and some other parts of Prayer, could no otherwise make a part on this plan, than by petitioning for the regular discharge of them, considered as Duties.
Having explained the first intention of this piece, the author is now willing to preserve it in a collection of his own; hoping that the same ca Ardour, which he will stand in need of for the other parts on the present work; will suifice for tliis.