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št be asserted of the Creator that he is a simple unextend ed existence!
But all this, you are ready to tell me, does not lead you one step toward a correct apprehension of the Divine omnipresence. You wish to know how the Supreme Being exists, if he does not exist throughout extended space: You wish to form at least a faint conception of that myste rious presence which it is your duty to realize. My brethren, we did not undertake to discover to you things unsearchable. We should deserve your contempt and abhorrence, not your attention and confidence, did we even propose to meddle with things too high to understand. We know nothing of the mode in which any unembodied or disembodied spirit exists and operates: why should a more tal then think of entering on such enquiries? If you have been so happy as to correct any of your misapprehensions on this subject, that of itself has been a great atchievement; and it is almost every thing which we could hope to do.
There are, however, one or two considerations that may be named, as throwing some additional light-all the light we are able to furnish on the subject of spiritual ef istence.
You will readily grant the assumption formerly made, that even in the case of spirits united to organized bodies, it is the spirit that perceives, and feels and acts, and not those bodily organs which are the seat of its operations. Thus, for example, it is not the eye that sees, or the ear that hears; but it is the intelligent inhabitant which sees and hears through the medium of the impressions made on these organs. Suppose then these organs removed, and the kenant of flesh uncased, so that all impressions were made
directly on itself, without the aid of any medium. Then it would follow, that as the whole spirit sees, and hears and feels through the medium of any one sense, so it must see, and hear and feel, or receive any other impressions made upon it without the intervention of such media. Then you have a being who is all perception: all eye, all ear, all tact. And you at once pronounce this being to be present to every thing which it perceives and every thing which it influences, as you account yourself present to every thing which falls immediately under your eye, or which you handle and control. Thus then spirit is present to spirit, when they mingle thoughts and feelings. Spirits are present to body when they contemplate or control it. They are present to all things which direetly excite op af fect their perceptions, as body is present to all that direete ly excites or affects sensation.
Once more. As all the various degrees of sensation de pend on the perfection or defect of the bodily organs, or on the momentum of the impression, or on the quality of the medium through which it is conveyed; it is plain that done of these things can affect the impressions made on spiritual beings; consequently, in their mere perceptions there are nothing like degrees. Whatever they see, they see distinetly. Whatever they hear, they hear perfectlyWhatever they feel, they feel exquisitely. Wheresoever they are present, they are intimately present.
“But,' it may be said but if these are the attributes of unembodied spirits, it would seem to follow that all of them, all finite spirits, are also omnipresent: For they do not occupy space-their existence has no relation to it,and they are wall eye, all ear, all tact.”—The inference is not sound. Recur to our first principle. Unembodied
spirits both perceive and influence objects directly, with: out the intervention of material organs; and immediately, without the aid of any interposing medium. It therefore unquestionably does follow that they may take a very rapid survey of God's wide empire, and become intimately acquainted with the condition of his works. To one, and then another, and another they may turn, and be intimately present to them, without change of place, and with the rapidity of thought. And accordingly we do find intimations in scripture that happy spirits know all that is transacting in heaven and earth and hell. And even the tenants of the pit have glimpes of heaven's happiness and glory. Thus the rich man saw Lazarus in Abraham's bosom. And Abraham could talk to him about the misery of his state. But this is not omnipresence: it is nothing like omnipresence. To be omnipresent is at once to perceive all things, and act upon all things. To this the tallest seraph advances no pretensions. Created minds are limited in the exercise of their powers. No two things can at the same instant occupy thought or engage effort. Multiplicity distracts, confounds, paralizes. God only possesses the Infinite Understanding. All things are sustained by him-in him. He therefore sees all, directs all, controls all. He only can be regarded as the OMNIPRESENT. spirit,
Of what service then are our remarks on the presence of created spirits? They are intended to promote in this particular respect the same effect which all the attributes of created being are employed in producing:-they are intended to furnish a faint and partial adumbration of the presence of that being whose "image,” in other respects, creation reflects feebly. We cannot shew you God bimr
self: we cannot throw aside the clouds and darkness" which constitute "his pavilion,” and say to you 'behold the omnipresent God. We can partly tell you how created spirits are present, and faintly as they bear, in every respect, his "image,” we can say “lo! these are parts of his ways.” To give you any conception even of created vastness, we must have recourse to a similar method. Suppose we would have you form conceptions of the vast extent of creation. High-sounding epithets-all-grasping adjectives would shed no light upon our path. We would first take you to some object--stupendous indeed, but nevertheless of such dimensions that the eye could scale its heights, and the mind grasp its circumference. Let it be for example some snow cap't mountain whose summit cleaves “the lazy pacing clouds.” You would gaze with trepidation at the amazing height to which it lifts its awful head. Around its ample base the cultivated fields, and wide spreading lawns would almost seem to invite you to take their dimensions with a span: Magnific castles, and mountain rocks just dot it sloping heights like flocks of speckled birds: Its yawning abysses seem like highways to earth's centre; and its thundering cascades appear to shake the poles. O how pitiful, you cry, are the mightiest works of man when placed in competition with the works of God! What is there-what is there under the whole face of heaven so awfully magnificent, só unutterably vast as this amazing pile. Its precipices mount to heaven; its abysses lead down to the realms of ancient night; in its compass there is a vastness which no language can ex. press.—Earth, then! what is earth! Her broad surface is studded with thousands of such mountains. And could you take your station at some distance, and see her as she
wends her annual round, and spinning on her axis, turns in succession all her broad oceans and continents to the sun-your mountains would at once lose all their charac. ter of vastness; they would shrink; they would disappear; they would not roughen her vast surface; the mightiest chain that frowns acros her continents would be but as a molehill on the sides of Chimborazo.And your world, with all its mountains, and continents and oceans, were it to plunge toward the sun, would be an atom on its surface. Should it lie among its mountains or float upon its lava, it would be undistinguished as a pebble or a pumice stone. 's And what is your sun but an atom in creation! And what the material universe but a point in immensity! God fills immensity. God only is great. We but chatter when we give these swelling titles to any of his works.
Judge then as you can of the omnipresence of the Dei. ty. We have no language to express it-no faculties to conceive of it. By the presence of body, and of unembodied spirits, by things which we know or of which we can imagine something, we would lead you to a faint appre hension of God's omnipresence; as mountains, worlds and systems lead you step by step to catch a glimpse of that immensity which is “unspeakable, unknown.”
Take then the apostle Paul's idea, to which we have already adverted. God is the great reality--the only stable and underived existence. Matter is less stable; it a.. rose from nothing; God sustains it in being, and were the cause to cease the effect must cease; were he to cease up holding, it would cease to be. Created spirit is less stable; it once was not; it has life only in God's life; and were he to retire into himself, it too would cease to be. "He is not far from every one of us," says Paul: "for in him we live