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of retarning bis answer, demanded still double tine to consider of it. This great poet and philosopher, the more he contemplated the nature of the Deity, found that he waded but the more out of his depth; and that he lost himself in the thought, instead of finding an end of it.
If we consider the idea which wise men, by the light of reason, have framed of the Divine Being, it amounts to this: That he has in him all the perfection of a spiritual nature; and since we have no notion of any kind of spiritual perfection but what we discover in our own souls, we join infinitude to each kind of . these perfections, and what is a faculty, in an human soul becomes an attribute in God. We exist in place and time, the Divine Being fills the immensity of space with his presence, and inhabits eternity. We are possessed of a little power and a little knowledge, the Divine Being is almighty and omniscient. short, by adding infinity to any kind of perfection we enjoy, and by joining all these different kinds of perfections in one being, we form our idea of the great Sovereign of Nature.
Though every one who thinks must have made this observation, I shall produce Mr. Locke's authority to the same purpose, out of his Essay on Human Understanding. “If we examine the idea we have of the incomprehensible Supreme Being, we shall find, that we come by it the same way; and that the complex ideas we have both of God and separate spirits, are made up of the simple ideas we receive from reflection, v. g. having, from what we experiment in our. selves, got the ideas of existence and duration, of knowledge aud power, of pleasure and happiness, and of several other qualities and powers, which it is better to have than to be without; when we would frame an idea the most suitable we can to the Supreme Being, we enlarge every one of these with our idea of infinity; and so putting them together, make our com. plex idea of God.”
It is not impossible that there may be many kinds of spiritual perfection, besides those which are lodged in an human soul; bot it is impossible that we should bave ideas of any kinds of perfection, except those of which we have some small rays and short in perfect strokes in ourselves. It wonld be therefore a very high presumption to determine whether the Supreme Being has not many more attributes than those which enter into our conceptions of him. This is certain, that if there be any kind of spiritual perfection which is not marked out in an human soul, it belongs in its fulness to the Divine Nature.
Several eminent philosophers have imagined that the soul, iu her separate state, may have new faculties springing up in her, which she is not capable of exerting (uring her present union with the body; and whether these faculties may not correspond with other attributes in the Divine Nature, and open to us hereafter new matter of wonder and adoration, we are al. together ignorant. This, as I have said before, we ought to acquiesce in, that the Sovereign Being, the great Author of Nature, has in him all possible perfection, as well in kind as in degrees; to speak according to our methods of conceiving. I shall only add under this head, that when we have raised our na tion of this infinite Being as high as it is possible for the mind of man to go, it will fall infinitely short of what he really is. There is no end of his greatness : the most exalted creature he has made is only capable of adoring it, none but himself can comprehend it.
The advice of the son of Sirach is very just and sublime in this light.“ By his word all things consist. We may speak much, and yet come short: wherefore in sum, be is all. How shall we be able to magnify him? For he is great above all his works. The Lord is terrible and very great ; and marvellous in his power. When you glorify the Lord, exalt him as much as you can : for even yet will he far exceed. And wben you exalt bim, put forth all your strengthe
and be not weary; for you can never go far enough. Who bath seen him, that he might tell us? And who can magnify him as he is? There are yet hid greater things than these be, for we have seen but a few of his works.
I bave here only considered the Supreme Being by the light of reason and philosophy. If we would see him in all the wonders of his mercy, we must have recourse to revelation, which represents him to us, not only as infinitely great and glorious, but as intinitely good and jnst in his dispensations towards man. But as this is a theory which falls under every one's con. sideration, though indeed can never be sufficiently considered, I shall here only take notice of that habitual worship and veneration which we ought to pay to this Almighty Being. We should often refresh our minds with the thought of him, and annibilate our. seļves before him, in the contemplation of our own worthlessness, and of bis transcendent excellency and perfection. This would imprint in our minds such a constant and uninterrupted awe and veneration as that which I am here recommending, and which is in reality a kind of incessant prayer, and reasonable humiliation of the soul before him who made it.
This would effectpally kill in us all the little seeds of pride, vanity, and self-conceit, which are apt to shoot up in the minds of such whose thoaghts turn more on those comparative advantages wbich they enjoy over some of their fellow creatures, than on that infinite distance which is placed between them and the supreme model of all perfection. It would likewise quicken our desires and endeavours of uniting our. selves to him by all the acts of religion and virtue.
Such an habitual homage to the Supreme Being would, in a particular manner, banish from among us that prevailing iinpiety of nsing his name on the most trivial occasions.
I find the following passage in an excellent sermon, preached at the funeral of a gentleman who was an honour to his country, and a more diligent as well as successful inquirer into the works of nature, than any other onr nation has ever produced : “ He had the profoundest veneration for the great God of heaven and earth that I have ever observed in any person. The very name of God was never mentioned by him without a pause, and a visible stop iu his discourse; in which, one that knew him most particularly above twenty years, has told me, that he was so exact, that he does not remember to have observed him once to fail in it."
Every one knows the veneration which was paid by the Jews to a Name so great, wonderful, and holy. They would not let it enter even into their religious discourses. What can we then think of those who make use of so tremendous a Name in the ordinary expressions of their anger, mirth, and most impertinent passions? Of those who admit it into the most familiar questions and assertions, ludicrous phrases and works of humour; not to mention those who violate it by solemn perjuries? It would be an affront to rea. son to endeavour to set forth the horror and profaneness of such a practice. The very mention of it ex. poses it sufficiently to those in whom the light of Natore, not to say religion, is not utterly extinguished.
AFFECTATION OF FASHION.
Nitor in adversum ; nec me, qui cætera, vincit Impetus; et rapido contrarius evehor orbi.
OVID. I steer against their motions, nor am I Borne back by all the current of the sky.
REMEMBER a young man of very lively parts,
and of a sprightly turn in conversation, who had only one fault, wbich was an inordinate desire of appearing fashionable. This ran him into many amours, and consequently into many distempers. He never went to bed until two o'clock in the morning, because he would not be a queer fellow, and was every now and then knocked down by a constable, to signalize his vivacity. He was initiated into half a dozen clubs before he was one-and-twenty, and so improved in them his natural gaiety of temper, that you might frequently trace him to his lodging by a range of broken windows, and other like inonaments of wit and gallantry. To be short, after having fully established his reputation of being a very agreeable rake, he died of old age at five-and-twenty.
There is indeed nothing which betrays a man into so many errors and inconveniences, as the desire of not appearing singular; for which reason it is very necessary to form a right idea of singularity, that we may know when it is laudable, and when it is vicious, In the first place, every man of sense will agree with me, that singularity is laudable, when, in contradiction to a multitude, it adheres to the dictates of conscience, morality, and honour. In these cases we ought to consider, that it is not custom, but duty, which is the rule of action; and that we should be only so far sociable, as we are reasonable creatures. Truth is never