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of cheerfulness, in the consideration of his own pature, and of that Being on whom he has a dependence. If he looks into himself, he cannot but rejoice in that existence, which 'was so lately bestowed upon him, and which, after millions of ages, will be still new, and still in its beginning. How many self-congratulations naturally arise in the mind, when it reflects on this its entrance into eternity ; when it takes a view of those improvable faculties, which in a few years, and even at its first setting out, have made so considerable a progress, and which will be still receiving an increase o perfection, and consequently an increase of happiness! The consciousness of such a being causes a perpetual diffusion of joy through the soul of a virtuous man; and makes him feel as much happiness as he is capable of conceiving.
The second source of cheerfulness to a good mind, is, its consideration of that Being on whom we have our dependence, and in whom, though we behold him as yet but in the first faint discoveries of his perfections, we see every thing that we can imagine as great, glorious, or amiable. We find ourselves every where upheld by his goodness, and surrounded with an immensity of love and mercy. In short, we depend upon a Being, whose power qualifies him to make us happy by an infinity of means ; whose goodness and truth engage him to make those happy who desire it of him; and whose unchangeableness will secure for us this happipess to all eternity.
Such considerations, which every one should perpetually cherish in his thoughts, will banish from us all that seeret heaviness of heart, which unthinking men are subject to when they lie under no real affliction ; all that anguish which we may feel from any evil that actually oppresses us : to which I may likewise add, those little cracklings of mirth and folly, that are apter to betray virtue than support it; and establish in us so even and cheerful a temper, as will make us pleasing to ourselves, to those with whom we converse, and to Ilim whom we are made to please. ADDUON.
SECTION . . Happy effects of contemplating the works of nature. With the Divine works we are in every place surrounded. We can cast our eyes no where, without discerning
the hand of Him who formed them, if the grossness of our minds will only allow us to behold Him. Let giddy and thoughtless men turn aside a little from the haunts of riot. Let them stand still, and contemplate the wondrous works of Ghod; and make trial of the effect which such contemplation would produce. It were good for them that, even indepen. dently of the Author, they were more acquainted with his Works ; good for them, that from the societies of loose and dissolute men, they would retreat to the scenes of nature; would oftener dwell among them, and enjoy their beauties. This would form them to the relish of uncorrupted, inno. cent pleasures ; and make them feel the value of calm enjoyments, as superior to the noise and turbulence of licen. tious gaiety. From the harmony of nature, and of nature's works, they would learn to hear sweeter sounds than those which arise from “ the viol, the tabret, and the pipe."
But to bigher and more serious thoughts these works of nature give occasion, when considered in conjunction with the Creator who made them. Let me call on you, my friends, to catch some interval of reftection, some serious moment, for looking with thoughtful eye on the world around you. Lift your view to that immense arch of heaven which encompasses you above. Behold the sun in all his splendour rolling over your head by day; and the moon, by night, in mild and serene majesty, surrounded with that host of stars which present to your imagination an innumerable multitude of worlds. Listen to the awful voice of thunder. Listen to the roar of the tempest and the ocean. Survey the wonders that fill the earth which you inhabit. Contemplate a steady and powerful Hand, bringing round spring and summer, autumn and winter, in regular course; decorating this earth with innumerable beauties, diversifying it with innumerable inhabitants ; pouring forth comforts on all that live ; and at the same time, overawing the nations with the violence of the elements, when it pleases the Creator to let tem forth. After you have viewed yourselves as surrounded with such a scene of wonders ; after you have beheld, on every hand, so astonishing a display of majesty united with wisdom and goodness; are you not seized with solemn and serious awe? Is there not something which whispers within, that to this great Creator reverence and homage are due, by all the rational beings whom he has made ? Admitted to be spectators of his works, placed in the midst of so many great and interesting objects, can you believe that you were
brought bither for no purpose, but to immerse yourselves in gross and brutal, or, at best, in trifling pleasures ; lost to all sense of the wonders you behold; lost to all reverence of that God who gave you being, and who has erected this amazing fabric of nature, on which you look only with stupid and unmeaning eyes ?-No: let the scenes which you behold prompt correspondent feelings. Let them awaken you from the degrading intoxication of licentiousness, into nobler emotions. Every object which you view in nature, whether great or small, serves to instruct you. The star and the insect, the fiery meteor and the flower of spring, the verdant field and the lofty mountain, all exhibit a supreme Power, before which you ought to tremble and adore; all preach the doctrine, all inspire the spirit of devotion and reverence. Regarding, then, the work of the Lord, let rising emotions of awe and gratitude call forth from your souls such sentiments as these : “ Lord, wherever I am, and whatever I enjoy, may I never forget thee, as the Author of nature! May I never forget that I am thy creature and thy subject! In this magnificent temple of the universe, where thou hast placed me, may I ever be thy faithful worshipper; and may the reverence and the fear of God be the first sentiments of my heart !"
• Reflections on the universal presence of the Deity.
In one of my late papers, I had occasion to consider the ubiquity of the Godhead, and at the same time to show, that as he is present to every thing, he cannot but be attentive to every thing, and privy to all the modes and parts of its existence; or, in other words, that his omniscience and om. nipresence are co-existent, and run together through the whole infinitude of space. This consideration might furnish. as with many incentives to devotion, and motives to morality;. : but as this subject has been handled by several excellent writers, I shall consider it in a light in which I have not seen it placed by others. . First, How disconsolate is the condition of an intellectual, being, who is thus present with bis Maker, but at the same time receives no extraordinary benefit or advantage from his presence !
Secondly, How deplorable is the condition of an intellecó tual being, who feels no other effects from his presence, than such as proceed from divine wrath and indignation !
Thirdly, How happy is the condition of that intellectual being, who is sensible of his Maker's presence, from the secret effects of his mercy and loving-kindness!
First, How disconsolate is the condition of an intellectual being, who is thus present with his Maker, but at the same time receives no extraordinary benefit or advantage from his presence! Every particle of matter is actuated by this Almighty Being which passes through it. The heavens and the earth, the stars and planets, move and gravitate by virtue of this great principle within them. All the dead parts of nature are invigorated by the presence of their Creator, and made capable of exerting their respective qualities. The several instincts, in the brute creation, do likewise operate and work towards the several ends which are agreeable to them, by this divine energy. Man only, who does not co. operate with his holy spirit, and is inattentive to his prez sence, receives none of those advantages from it, which are perfective of his nature, and necessary to his well-being. The Divinity is with him, and in him, and every where about him, but of no advantage to him. It is the same thing to a man without religion, as if there were no God in the world. It is indeed impossible for an infinite Being to remove himself from any of his creatures ; but though he cannot withdraw his essence from us, which would argue an imperfection in him, he can withdraw from us all the joys and consolations of it. His presence may perhaps be necessary to support us in our existence ; but he may leave this our existence to itself, with regard to its happiness or misery. For, in this sense, he may cast us away from bis pre- sence, and take his holy spirit from us. This single con-sideration one would think sufficient to make us open our - hearts to all those infusions of joy and gladness, which are
so near at hand, and ready to be poured in upon us : espe. cially when we consider,
Secondly, The deplorable condition of an intellectual being, who feels no other effects from bis, Maker's presence, than such as proceed from divine wrath and indignation. We may assure ourselves, that the great Author of nature will not always be as one wbo is indifferent to any of his crea: tures. They who will not feel him in his love, will be sure at length to feel him in his displeasure. And how dreadful is the condition of that creature, who is sensible of the being of his Creator, only by what he suffers from him! He is as essentially present in hell as in heaven ; but the inbabitants of those dismal regions behold him only in his wrath, and shrink within the flames to conceal themselves from him. It is not in the power of imagination to conceive the fearful effects of Omnipotence incensed.,
But I shall only consider the wretchedness of an intellec- · tual being, that, in this life, lies under the displeasure of him, who, at all times, and in all places, is intimately united with him. He is able to disquiet the soul, and vex it in all its faculties. He can hinder any of the greatest comforts of life from refreshing us, and give an edge to every one of its slightest calamities. Who then can bear the thought of being an outcast from his p 'esence, that is, from the comforts of it, or of feeling it on v in its terrors ? How pathetic is that expostulation of Job, vhen for the real trial of his pa. tience, he was made to look upon himself in this deplorable condition ! " Why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am become a burthen to myself ?".
But, thirdly, how happy is the condition of that intellectual being, who is sensible of his Maker's presence, from the secret effects of his mercy and loving-kindness! The blessed in heaven behold him face to face, that is, are as sensible of his presence as we are of the presence 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 objects, 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 reside, be always sensible of the divine presence. We, who have this veil of flesh standing between us and the world of spirits, must be content to know that the spirit of God is present with us, by the effects which he produces 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 be awakens in us ; by those secret comforts and refreshments which he conveys into our souls, and by those ravishing joys and inward satisfactions which are frequently springing up, and diffusing themselves among the thoughts of good men. He is lodged in our very essence, and is as a soul within the soul, to irradiate its understanding, rectify its will, purify its passions, and eoliven all the powers of