Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Discernment of all things; who, havingSerm. made the Eye, cannot but have in himself That Power in a much perfecter and {^>^S^ higher manner, of which the Eye made by him is only an Instrument proportionate to the other short Faculties of weak and finite Creatures. His looking down upon the Earth, signifies, not any Posture, ( which is the property of Bodies only,) but his watchful Providence and continual Inspection over all Events. When mention is made of his Ear, and of his bowing down his ear towards menj This sets forth to us his Willingness and Readiness to be moved by the Prayers of his Servants j which Prayers, he, who made the Ear, knows and understands by the lame perfect Power, by which he ducerns the Heart as well as the Mouth', which Power nevertheless, we, through defect of language, can no otherwise express, than by faying that he hears us. Arms and Hands, being in Men the Instruments of Action, and the Seat of Strength, signify, when applied to God, his Power and Might. Smelling a sweet savour is nothing but a Hebrew phrase, drawn ,from the Law of H 3 Sacrifices,

Sr Em.Sacrifices, to express God's Acceptance x>t V- the Services of his sincere Worshippers.

V^"^ And the mention of his Mouth, or Lips, so frequently found in Scripure, is evidently nothing else but a* familiar Metaphor, to signify his Revealing, in what manner soever it be, his Will to his Servants. Indeed, such figurative ways of speaking as these, are so common in all languages, and so well understood upon numberless occasions even in common Speech, that the bare mention of them is sufficient to prevent their being mistaken, even by the meanest Capacities. There is much greater Difficulty in explaining those passages of the Old Testament, wherein God is represented as appearing 'visibly, and as it were face to face, to Holy men of old; when yet both in the nature of Things, 'tis certain, that the Essence of a pure Spirit is absolutely impossible to be seen; and moreover in Scripture the God and Father of all, is peculiarly distinguished by that particular Attribute, that he is the Jjvoifble God, whom no man hath seen at' any time, whom no man hath seen or can 'see, and of whom our Saviour affirms to

the Jews, that they had neither seen hisSerm. shape nor heard his voice; Joh. v. 37. Con- ^. cerning the appearance therefore of God^"^*' in the Old Testament, 'tis observable that generally and for the greater part, in order to prevent mistakes, and that men might not imagine it was God himself that appeared, but only a Glory to represent his appearance; there was no particular Shape or Form seen in that Glory. Thus to Moses at the burning Bush, there seems to have been the appearance only of Fire .* To the whole people of Israel in the Wilderness, the glory of the Lord that appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation and upon the Mount, was the appearance only of a Cloud and Fire 1 and therefore Moses exhorts them, Deut. iv. 1j. 'Take good heed unto yourselves, lest you wake a graven image, the similitude of any figure i for ye few no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb, out of the midst of the fire: To Moses, desiring to see the Face of Godx it was denied as a request impossible to be. granted, Exod. xxxiii. 20. To Æraham, the word of the Lord seems to have come H 4 most

-S E R M. most frequently without any visible apV. pearance at all; and in the Temple between the Cherubims, which was the Seat wherein he had placed his Name, and the Throne where he would receive the Worship and Homage of his people; there never was any other appearance but of a Cloud and Fire. This (I fay) was generally and most usually the Case, of the appearances of God under the old Testament. But yet, because it sometimes was plainly otherwise; and the Lord, that appeared, is in some places undeniably represented as under a human shape; As when Adam heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the gar~ den in the cool of the day, Gen. iii. 8; And Abraham talked with the Lord, as with one of the three men, whom he faw going towards Sodom. Gen. xviii; And of Moses it is related, Exod. xxxiii, n, That the Lord spake unto him face to face, as a man speaketh unto his Friend; And of the Elders of Israel, Exod. xxiv. 10, that they - saw the God of Israel, and there was under his feet as it were a paved-work of Sapphire-stone, and as it were the Body of Heaven in its clearness; And the Prophets,

Micaiah% Micaiah, -saiah, and Daniel, faw in theirSerm. visions the Lord fitting upon his Throne, and all the hojl of Heaven standing about him, on his right hand and on his left; For the full explication therefore of this matter, and the clear reconciling These Texts of Scripture with other express Texts and with the Reason of Things, which do both of them undeniably prove that the Essence of the God and Father of all, cannot but be absolutely invisible; 'tis here further to be observed, that all these appearances of God in the Old Testamen, wherein he seems to have been represented as in a human Form j and all those other appearances also, wherein there was seen only a Glory; were in reality no other than the Angel of the Covenant, even Christ himself; who from the Beginning appeared in a bodily Glory, having (as St Paul expresses it) the form of God, and being the visible Image of the Invistble God, representing the Supreme Majesty of the Father, and acting in his Name and as his Word. Thus St Stephen expreslly, A5ts vii, 30. There appeared to Moses in the Wilderness, the Angel of the Lord in a fame of fire in a Bush; The Angel of the

« AnteriorContinuar »