Графични страници
PDF файл
[ocr errors]

: The blefied in heaven behold him face to face, that

is, are as sensible of his presence as we are of the pre-
sence of any person whom we look upon with our eyes.
There is doubtless a faculty in spirits, by which they
apprehend one another, as our senses do material ob-
jects; and there is no question but our souls, when
they are disembodied, or placed in glorified bodies,
will by this faculty, in whatever part of space they re-
fide, be always sensible of the divine presence. We,
who have this veil of flesh itanding between us and the
world of spirits, must be content to know the spirit of
God is present with us, by the effects which he pro.
duceth in us. Our outward senses are too gross to
apprehend him; we may however taste and see how
gracious he is, by his influence upon our minds, by
those virtuous thoughts which he awakens in us, by
those secret comforts and refreshments which he con.
veys into our souls, and by those ravishing joys and
inward satisfactions which are perpetually springing
up, and diffusing themselves among all the thoughes
of good men. He is lodged in our very essence, and
is as a soul within the soul to irradiate its understand-
ing, rectify its will, purify its passions, and enliven all
the powers of man. "How happy therefore is an intel-
lectual being, who by prayer and meditation, by vir-
fue and good works, opens this communication be-
Iween God and his own soul! Though the whole crea-
tion frowns upon him, and all nature looks black
about him, he has his light and support within him, that
are able to chear his mind, and bear him up in the midst
of all those horrors which encompass him. He knows
that bis helper is at hand, and is always nearer to him
than any thing else can be, which is capable of annoy-
ing or terrifying him. In the midst of calumny or con
tempt, he attends to that Being who whispers better
things within his soul, and whom he looks upon as
his defender, his glory, and the lifter-up of his head.
In his deepest solitude and retirement, he knows that
he is in company with the greatest of beings; and per.
ceives within himself such real sensations of his pre-


fence, as are more delightful than any thing that can. be met with in the conversation of his creatures. Even in the hour of death, he considers the pains of his dir. solution to be nothing else but the breaking down of that partition, which stands betwixt his soul, and the Sght of that Being who is always present with him, and is about to manifeft itself to him in fulness of joy.

If we would be thus happy, and thus sensible of our Maker's presence, from the secret effects of his' mercy. and goodness, we must keep fuch, a watch over all our thoughts, that in the language of the Scripture, his soul may have pleasure in us. We must take care not to grieve his holy spirit, and endeavour to make the meditations of our hearts always acceptable in his fight, that he may delight thus to reside and dwell in us.. The light of nature could direct Seneca to this doctrine, in a very remarkable passage among his epifetles ; Sacer inest' in nobis spiritus, bonorum malorumque. cuftos et observator ; et quemadmodum nos illum tračtamus, ita et ille nos. There is a holy spirit residing in • us, who watches and observes both good and evil • men, and will treat us after the same manner that

we treat him. But I shall conclude this discourse. with those more emphatical words in divine revelation. If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father. will love him, and we will come unto bim, and make our. abode with him.

Refle&tions on the Third Heaven.. [Spect. No. 580.]. "I CONSIDERED in my two last letters that awful, "I and tremendous subject, the ubiquity or omni• presence of the divine Being. I have shewn that he • is equally present in all places throughout the whole,

extent of infinite space. This doctrine is so agree• able to reason, phat we meet with it in the writings.

of the enlightened heathens, as I might fhew at: *- large, were it not already done by other hands. But

B 5


tho' the Deity be thus effentially present through all ' the immensity of space, there is one part of it in ' which he discovers himfelf in a most transcendent and • visible glory. This is that place which is marked

out in Scripture under the different appellations of Paradise, the third heaven, the throne of God, and

the habitation of his glory. It is here where the glo

rified body of our Saviour resides, and where all the • celestial hierarchies, and the innumerable hofts of "angels, are reprefented as perpetually surrounding • the seat of God with hallelujahs and hymns of praise.

This is that presence of God which some of the di. ( vines call his glorious, and others his majestic pre• sence. He is indeed as essentially present in all • other places as in this ; but it is here where he re• fides in a sensible magnificence, and in the midst of • all those splendors which can affect the imagination < of created beings.

• It is very remarkable that this opinion of God • Almighty's presence in heaven, whether discovered • by the light of nature, or by a general tradition from

our first parents, prevails among all the nations of • the world, whatsoever different notions they enter• tain of the God-head. If you look into Homer, that • is, the most ancient of the Greek writers, you see the fupreme power feated in the heavens, and encompas. sed with inferior deities, among whom the muses are • represented as singing incessantly about his throne. • Who does not here see the main strokes and out.

lines of this great truth we are speaking of: The o fame doctrine is Shadowed out in many other hea. • then authors, tho' at the same time, like several other • revealed truths, dashed and adulterated with a mix• ture of fables and human inventions. But to pass • over the notions of the Greeks and Romans, those ' more enlightened parts of the pagan world, we find • there is scarce a people among the late discovered • nations, who are not trained up in an opinion that • heaven is the habitation of the divinity whom they ' worship.


As in Solomon's temple there was the Sanétum Sanétorum, in which a visible glory appeared among " the figures of the cherubims, and into which none • but the high-priest himself was permitted to enter, • after having made an atonement for the fins of the • people ; so if we consider this whole creation as one • great temple, there is in it the Holy of Holies, into • which the high priest of our falvation entered, and. I took his place among angels and archangels, after " having made a propitiation for the sins of mankind.

" With how much kill must the throne of God be: • erected ? With what glorious designs is that habita• tion beautified, which is contrived and built by him: ' who inspired Hiram with wisdom? How great must • be the majesty of that place, where the whole art of: • creation has been employed, and where God has * chosen to Thew himself in the most magnificent manI ner? What must be the architecture of infinite power s under the direction of infinite wisdom? A spirit can-o not but be transported after an ineffable manner with • the fight of those objects, which were made to affects « him by that Being who knows the inward frame of . a soul, and how to please and ravish it in all its most • secret powers and faculties. It is to this majestic: s presence of God, we may apply those beautiful ex-. • pressions in holy writ: Behold even to the moon, and it ... lineth not; yea the stars are not pure:in his fight. The • light of the sun, and all the glories of the world in ( which we live, are but as weak and sickly glimmer. • ings, or rather darkness itself, in comparison of those • fplendors which encompass, the throne of God.

As the glory of this place is transcendent beyond • imagination, lo probably is the extent of it. There • is light behind light, and glory within glory. How • far that space may reach, in which God thus apa: • pears in perfect majesty, we cannot possibly conceive. • Tho' it is not infinite, it may be indefinite; and tho' " not immensurable in itself, it may be so with regard • to any created eye, or imagination. If he has made these lower regions of matter so inconceivably wide

B. 6

• and


• and magnificent for the habitation of mortal and pe

rishable beings, how great may we suppose the courts of his house to be, where he makes his residence in"

a more especial manner, and displays himself in the . fulness of his glory, among an innumerable company

of angels, and spirits of just men made perfect ! ** This is certain that our imaginations cannot be. * raised too high, when we think on a place where

i omnipotence and omniscience have so signally exere • ted themselves, because that they are able to pro.

duce a scene infinitely more great and glorious than o what we are able to imagine. It is not impossible but • at the consummation of all things, these outward"

apartments of nature, which are now suited to thofe. 6 beings who inhabit them, may be taken in and added

to that glorious place of which I am here fpeaking; and by that means made a proper habitation for be.' .ings who are exempt from mortality, and cleared of 4 their imperfections; for fo- the Scripture seems to. « intimate when it speaks of new heavens and of a. & new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

"I have only considered this glorious place with “. regard to the fight and imagination though it is. * highly probable that our other senses may here like. f wise enjoy their highest gratifications. There is no.' 6. thing which more ravishes and transports the soul, sthan harmony; and we have great reason to believe, • from the descriptions of this place in holy Scripture,

that this is one of the entertainments of it. And if t the soul of man can be so wonderfully affe&ted with. 6those strains of music, which human art is capable : • of producing, how much more will it be raised and" s'elevated. by those, in which is exerted the whole: * power of harmony! The senses are faculties of the • human soul, though they cannot be employed, during ...this our vital union, without proper instruments in. • the body. Why therefore should we exclude the fatis.• 'faction of these faculties, which we find by expe. * rience are inlets of great pleasure to the soul, from: ''among those entertainments which are to make up."

. . Dits.

« ПредишнаНапред »