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at least it is highly probable, the sensible object, the image of the metaphor, could be nothing less than uniVERSAL SPACE.* The apostle had such enlarged and exalted ideas of the love of God, that he considered our solar system, and all other systems of beings superlatively insignificant to represent and illustrate such an ineffable and glorious subject; and was therefore under the necessity of ascending on the scale of nature to the very summit. What other part of nature indeed is there, that can furnish a figure in the least degree appropriate to the dignity of the subject; or represent to the human understanding such a comprehensive view of the immensity of that love "which passeth knowledge!"
“Earth is too narrow to express
Leaving these collateral observations, it remains to be examined, whether the assumed object be truly appropriate. In order to convey to the mind consistent ideas of the dimensive terms in question, it is necessary first to consider, that in the mensuration of an edifice, or other regular geometrical bodies, we use three lineal dimensions, generally making the boundary that portion of the horizon which we inhabit. But while we possess our terrestrial abode, and indulge a mental flight, taking enlarged views in all directions into universal all-sur
• Mr. Locke has concluded that space is infinite; and his arguments have generally been admitted as conclusive.
Essay on Human Understanding, vol. i. p. 169.
rounding space, there is another lineal dimension, ano. ther term of extension presented to our perception, viz. depth, equally unlimited in extent with height. If, however, in our mental excursion we still soar at large, and rise in imagination superior to locality, it is true, that in the contemplation of universal space, as in the mensuration of limited bodies, we can form some consistent ideas of it by the subservience of the three common terms of extension only; conceiving of them as three central, or diametrical right lines, boundless, in extent, intersecting each other in one point, at right angles; two horizontal, breadth and length, and the other perpendicular, height.* But as we cannot help conceiving, while forming notions of universal space, that the point we occupy in it is the centre, the last view therefore produces the same general idea as the former; as we are by it led to consider that the perperdicular line according to our local conception, is bisected by our horizon; the upper half (as before intimated) we may with propriety term height, the lower half depth; which in union with the other two, viz. breadth and length, are by the apostle chosen as very appropriate metaphoric allusions, and lead the mind indicatively to universal space, as the representative object.
Probably it may be remarked, that in this view of the subject, we equally bisect the two horizontal lines. This is readily granted; but from our more familiar concerns with extension on our horizon, and not being confined to a point on it, as it may be conceived we are on the perpendicular line, is perhaps the most probable reason which can be assigned, why we do not, even in speaking of boundless space, express horizontal extension by only those two terms of length and breadth, the same as we do when describing limited magnitude; although space is as immensely extensive in those directions, as perpendicularly upwards or downwards.
* The Investigator is aware of the incongruity of this language, and how little it comports with his present ethereal excursion; and that the local terms above, below, lateral, horizontal, perpendicular, &c. &c. are in these regions nullities. But he trusts it will be duly considered, that while a foreigner is a strange land, and ignorant of the current language, he is necessitated to make use of his own, although it may but feebly convey his ideas.
In addition to the foregoing remarks, we may obserye, that there is one instance, (Rom. xi. 33.) where the apostle has employed the single term depth, to eluci. date the subject of immensity, as applied to the perfections and attributes of Jehovah; and from every due consideration, it appears to be an allusion to that one part of universal space, on which we have been meditating; that which we locally conceive to be beneath us. Admitting this, it is indeed, in what it represents, more than enough for the most exalted, the most sanctified human intellect to contemplate. For though in the glorious attributes of Jehovah, as manifested in a time, state to his people, there is to their experience a point, which is to them a beginning of the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God;" yet the continuation of it, the extension of it, through time and to eternity, is an infinite, immeasurable line; an unfathomable
------------DEEP, Where all our thoughts are drowned.'
Of all writings, ancient or modern, the sacred Scriptures afford us the highest instances of the sublime.
Novelty is the source,whence a great part of our pleasure flows. It not only gives a relish to the pleasures of sense, but to those of a superior nature. It not only affects giddy youth, but even dotard age. The scientific sage is influenced by it, as well as the unlettered peas. ant. Hence the reason why an Indian discovers attractive qualities in an English pebble: hence also the anxiety for the daily nugae, and the success of modern and periodical publications. We do not say that novelty is inseparably connected with the sublime, but that it very much heightens it; and upon principles opposite to that of novelty do we account for many who have had a religious education, but who see little of the beauty, the harmony, the sublimity of the sacred Scriptures.
The subject of the sublime has employed many authors of bright genius, acute reason, lively imagination, correct taste, and profound learning: yet this should not discourage those who are not possessed of these talents. The stately oak, which adorns the mountain's brow, was
The landscape is much beautified with the help of the bramble: and the eagle, which now scans the ethereal summits, was once unfledged.
The first instance of sublimity in the sacred writings, is, according to many authors, in Gen. i. 3; “And God said, let there be light, and there was light.” Here our thoughts are led to the sublimity of the passage by an idea of the quickness of darkness vanishing, and light instantaneously supplying its place. The concise
once an acorn.
ness and simplicity of the passage will appear to greater advantage, if we compare it with one from Milton's Paradise Lost:
“Let there be light, said God; and forthwith light
Here the conciseness is lost in his description of light; the simplicity in the transposition of words to suit the
The song of Moses, in Exod. xv, furnishes us with some very sublime strokes. Let us select the 8th verse: “And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together.” As God is frequently represented as having bodily powers; so Moses describes him as using the least effort to divide the waters. The sublimity would have been lost, had he said, “Thou didst blow with thy mouth;' because this would have been the greatest effort that could have been made in blowing
Virgil represents the horses of the sun, as breathing day. But in one respect the sublimity of the passage is lost, inasmuch as his horses make their greatest effort in breathing, i. e. through their nostrils; as every one knows that horses breathe strongest through their nostrils.
“Postera rix summos spargebat lumine montes
En. lib, 12.