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the foundation of all religious worship and obeiien.ce. But, in order to venerate God aright, we must know him; and, in order to acquire the true knowledge of him, we must contemplate him throughl the medium of those works and dispensations, by which he displays the glories of his nature to the inhabitants of our world. I hare already exhibited a few specimens of the stupendous operations of his power, in that portion of the system of the universe which lies open to our inspection; and there is surely no mind in which the least spark of piety exists, but must feel strong emotions of reverence and awe, at the thought of that Almighty and Incomprehensible Being, who imnels the huge masses of the planetary globes witn so amazing a rapidity through the sky, and who has diversified the voids of ■pace with so vast an assemblage of magnificent worlds. Even those manifestations of Deity which are confined to the globe we inhabit, when attentively considered, are calculated to rouse even he unthinking mind, to astonishment and awe. The lofty mountains, and expansive plains, the mass of water in ihe mighty ocean, the thunders rolling along the sky, the lightnings flashing from cloud to cloud, the hurricane and the tempest, the volcano vomiting rivers of fire, and the earthquake shaking kingdoms, and levelling cities with the ground—all proclaim the Majesty of Him, by whom the elements of nature are arranged and directed, and seem to address tho sons of men in language like this: "The Lord reigneih, he is clothed with majesty; at his wrath the earth trembles; a fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies."—" Let all the earth fear the Lord, let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him."

There is one reason, among others, why the bulk of mankind feel so little veneration of God, and that is, that they seldom contemplate, with fixed attention, "the operations of his hands." If we wish to cherish this sublime sentiment ir\ our hearts, we must familiarize our minds to frequent excursions over all those scenes of Creation and Providence, which the volume of nature, and the volume of inspiration unfold to view. We must endeavour to assist our conception* of the grandeur of these objects, by every discovery which has bron or may yet be made, and by every mode of illustration by which a sublime and comprehensive idea of the particular object of contemplation may be ohtained. If we would wish to acquire some definite, though imperfect, conception of the physical extent of the universe, our minds might be assisted by such illustrations as the following:—Light flies from the sun with a velocity of nearly two hundred thousand miles in a moment of time, or, about 1,400,000 times swifter than the motion of a cannon ball: Suppose thai one of the highest order of intelligences is endowed with a power of rapid motion superior to that of light, and with a corresponding

degree of intellectual energy ; that he has bwn flying without intermission, from one province of creation to another, for six thousand years, and will continue the same rapid course for a thousand millions of years to come ; it is highly probable, if not absolutely certain, thai, at the end of this vast tour, he would have advanced no further than "the suburbs of creation"—and that all the magnificent systems of material and intellectual beings he had surveyed, during his rapid flight, and for such a length of ages, bear no more proportion to the whole Empire of Omnipotence, than the smallest grain of sand does to all the particles of matter of the same size contained in ten thousand worlds. Nor need we entertain the least fear, that the idea of the extent of the Creator's power, Conveyed by such a representation, exceeds the bounds of reality. On the other hand, it must fall almost infinitely short of it. For, as the poet has justly observed—

"Can man conceive beyond iehat God can do'

Were a seraph, in prosecuting the tour of creation in the manner now stated, ever to arrive at a limit beyond which no farther displays of tho Divinity could be perceived, the thought would overwhelm his faculties with unutterable anguish and horror; he would feel, that he had now, in some measure, comprehended all the plans and operations of Omnipotence, and that no farther manifestation of the Divine glory remained to be explored. But we may rest assured, that this can never happen in the case of any created intelligence. We have every reason to believe, both from the nature of an Infinite Being, and from the vast extent of creation already explored, that the immense mass of material existence, and the endless variety of sensitive and intellectual beings with which the universe is replenished, are intended by Jehovah to present to his rational offspring a shadow, an emblem, or a represent ion, (in so far as finite extended existence can be a representation,) of the Infinite Perfections of his nature, which would otherwise have remained for ever impalpable to all subordinate intelligence.

In thismanner,then, might we occasionally exercise our minds on the grand and diversified objects which the universe exhibits ; and in proportion as we enlarge the sphere of our contemplation's, in a similar proportion will our views of God himself be extended, and a correspondingsentiment of veneration impressed upon the mind. For the soul of man cannot venerate a mere abstract being, that was never manifested through a sensible medium, however many lofty terms may be used to describe his perfections. It venerates that Ineffable Being, who conceals himself behind the scenes of Creation,through the medium of the risible displays he exhibits of his Power, Wisdom, and Beneficence, in the Economy of Nature, and in the Records of Revelation. Before the universe was formed Jehovah existed alone, possessed of every attrlbute which he now displays. But, had only one solitary intelligence been created, and placed in the infinite void, without a material substratum beneath and around him, he could never have been animated with a sentiment of profound veneration for his Creator ; because no objects existed to excite it, or to show that his Invisible Maker was invested with those attributes which he is now known to possess. Accordingly,we find, in the sacred writings, that, when a sentiment of loverence is demanded from the sons of men, those sensible objects which are calculated to excite the emotion, are uniformly exhibited. "Fear ye not me ? saith the Lord. Will ye not tremble at my presence? who have placed the sand for the bound of the sea, by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it; and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet they cannot prevail; ihough they roar, yet can they not pass over it.*' "'Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? Thou art the true God, and an everlasting King. Thou hast made the earth by thy power, thou hast established the world by thy wisdom, thou hast stretehed out ihe heavens by thy discretion. When thou utterest thy voice, there is a noise of waters in the heavens, thou causest the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth, thou makest lightnings with rain, and bringest forth the winds out of thy treasures."*

But, however enlarged and venerable conceptions of God we may derive from the manifestations of his power, they must fait infinitely short of what is due to a being of boundless perfection. For there may be attributes in the Divine Essence, of which we cannot possibly form the least conception—attributes which cannot be shadowed forth or represented by any portion of the material or intellectual world yet discovered by us, or by alt the mighty achievements by which human redemption was eflected—attributes wMch have not been yet displayed, in their effects, to the highest orders of intelligent existence. And, therefore, as that excellent philosopher and divine, the honourable Mr. Boyle, has well observed—" Our ideas of God, however so great, will rather express the greatness of our veneration, then the Immensity of hia perfections \ and the notions worthy of the most intelligent men are far short of being worthy the incomprehensible God—the brightest idea we can frame of God being infinitely inferior, and no more than a Parheiioni in respect of the sun ; for though that meteor is splendid, and resembles the sun, yet it resides in a cloud, and is not only much beneath the sun , in distance, but inferior in bigness and splendour." j

• Jerem. x. 7—13.

* A ParhsUonor Mock-Sun, Is a meteor in the form of a very bright light, appearing.on one side of the sun, and somewhat resembling the appearance: Of that luminary. This phenomenon is supposed to be produced by the refraction and reflection of the sun's rays from a watery cloud Sometimes three or four of those parIielia.aH of them bearing a certain resero ilance to the real sun.have been seen at one time.

In short, were we habitually to cherish tin* profound veneration of God which his works are calculated to inspire, with what humility would we approach the presence of this august Being ( with what emotions of awe would we present our adorations! and with what reverence would we talk of his inscrutable purposes, and incomprehensible operations ! We would not talk about him, as some writers have done, with the same ease and indifference, as a mathematician would talk about the properties of a triangle, or a philosopher about the effects of a mechanical engine ; nor would we treat, with a spirit of levity, any of the solemn declarations of his word, or the mighty movements of his providence. We would be ever ready to join with ardour in the sublime devotions of the inspired writers, " Great and marvellous are thy woiks, Lord God Almighty, just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. VVho would not fear thee. O Lord, and glorify thy name? Let all the earth fear the Lord, let all the inhabitants of the world stand in aw e of him."

Lastly, the views we have taken of the omnipotence and grandeur of the Deity are calculated to inspire us with Hope and Confidence in Me prospect of that eternal existence which lies before us. The period of our existence in this terrestrial scene will soon terminate, and those bodies through which we now hold a correspondence with the visible creation, be crumbled into dust. The gradual decay, and ihe ultimate dissolution of human bodies, present a scene at which reason stands aghast; and, on a cursory survey of the chambers of the dead, it is apt to exclaim, in the language of despair, " Can those dry bones live?" A thousand difficulties crowd upon the mind,which appear repugnant to the idea that " beauty shall again spring out of the ashes, and life out of the dust." But, when we look abroad to the displays of Divine power and intelligence, in the wide expanse of Creation, we perceive that

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Has done mnch more; nor Is his arm impaired Through length of days. And what he can. ho will His faithfulness stands bound to see it done/'

We perceive that he has created systems in such vast profusion, that no man can number them. The worlds every moment under his superintendence and direction, are unquestionably far more numerous than all the human being* who have hitherto existed, or will yet exist till the close of time. And, if he has not only arranged the general features of each of these worlds, and established the physical laws, by which its economy is regulated, but has also arranged the diversified circumstances, and directs the minutest movements of the myriads of sensitive and intellectual existences it contains, we ought neve* for a moment to doubt, that the minutest particles of every human body, however widely separated from each other and mingled with othei extraneous substances, are known to him whose presence pervades all space; and that all the atoms requisite fur the construction of the Resurrection body will be reassembled for this purpose ** by the energy of that mighty power, whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself." If we suppose that a number of human beings, amounting to three hundred thousand millions, shall start from the grave into new lite, at the general resurrection, and that the atoms of each of these bodies are just now under the special superintendence of the Almighty—and that at (east an equal number of worlds are under his particular care and direction—the exertion of power and intelligence, in the former case, cannot be supposed to be greater that what is requisite in the latter. To a Being possessed of infinite Power, conjoined with boundless Intelligence, the superintendence of countless atoms, and of countless worlds, is equally easy, where no contradiction is implied. For as the poet has well observed,—

"He summons Into being, with like ease,
A whole creation, and a single grain."

And since this subject tends to strengthen our hope of a resurrection from the dead, it in also calculated to inspire us with confidence in the prospect of those eternal scenes which will burst upon the view, at the dissolution of alt terrestrial things. Beyond the period fixed for the conflagration of this world, " a wide and unbounded prospect lies before us ;" and though, at present, '' shadows, clouds, and darkness rest upon it," yet the boundless magnificence of the Divine empire which science has unfolded, throws a radiance over the scenes of futurity, which is fraught with consolation in the view of " the wreck of matter and the crush of worlds." It' opens to us a prospect of perpetual improvement in knowledge and felicity; it presents a field in which the human faculties may be for ever expanding, for ever contemplating new scenes of grandeur rising to the view, in boundless perspective, through an interminable succession of existence. It convinces us that the happiness of the eternal state will not consist in an unvaried repetition of the same perceptions and enjoyments, but that new displays of the Creator's glory will be continually bursting on the astonished mind, world without end. And as we know tho same beneficence and care which are displayed in the arrangement of systems of worlds, are also displayed in supporting and providing for the smallest microscopic animalcule, we have no reason to harbour the least fear, lest we should be overlooked in the immensity of creation, or lost amidst the multiplicity of those works among which the Deity is incessantly employed; fir, as he is Omnipresent and Omniscient, his care and influence must extend to every creature he has formed. Theref-*e, though "the elements, shall melt with fer

vent heat, and the earth, and all the works therein be dissolved, yet we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwellcth righteousness."

SECTION III,

On the 1Visdom and Intelligence of the Likit r

In surveying the system of nature with a Christian and a Philosophic eye, it may be considered in different points of view. It may be viewed either as displaying the power and magnificence of the Deity in the immense quantity of materials of which it is composed, and in the august machinery and movements by which its economy is directed;—or, as manifesting his Wisdom in the nice adaptation of every minute circumstance to the end it was intended to accomplish ,—or as illustrating his unbounded beneficence in the provision which is made for the accommodation and happiness of tho numerous tribes of sentient and intelligent beings it contains. Having, in the preceding section, endeavured to exhihit some of those objects whieh evince the Omnipotence of Deity, and the pious emotions they are calculated to excite, I shall now offer a few popular illustrations of Divine Wisdom, as displayed in the arrangements of the material world—which shall chiefly be confined to those objects which are mu*t prominent and obvious to the vulgar eye.

fVisdom is that perfection of an intelligent agent, by which he is enabled to select and employ the most proper means in order to accomplish a good and important end. It includes the idea of knowledge or intelligence, but may be distinguished from it. Knowledge is opposed to ignorance, wisdom is opposed to folly or error in conduct. As applied to God, it may be considered as comprehending the operations of his Omniscience and benevolence, or, in othor words, his knowledge to discern, and his disposition to choose those means and ends which are calculated to promote the order and the happiness of the universe.

The Wisdom of God is, doubtless, displayed in every arrangement he has made throughout all the provinces of his immense and eternal kingdom, however far they may be removed from the sphere of human observation. But it is only in those parts of the system of nature which lie open to our particular investigation, that the traces of this perfection can be distinctly perceived. The Heavens declare the glory of God's Wisdom, as well as of his Power. The planetary system—that portion of the heavens with which we are best acquainted-^lisplays both the magnificence and the skill of its Divine Author, in the magnitudes, distances, revolutions, proportions, ami uses of the various globes of which it is composed, and m the diversified apparatus by which light and darkness are alternately distributed. The sun, an immense luminous world, by far the largest body in the system, is placed in the centre. No other position would have suited for an equable distribution of illumination and heat through the different parts of the system. Around him, at different distances, eleven primary planets revolve, accompanied with eighteen secondaries, or moons, —all in majestic order and harmony, no one interruptingthe movements of another, but invariably keeping the paths prescribed them, and performing their revolutions in iheir appointed times. To all these revolving globes, the sun dispenses motion, light, heat, fertility, and other unceasing energies, for the comfort and happiness of their respective inhabitants—without which, perpetual sterility, eternal winter, and eternal night, would reign over every region of our globe, and throughout surrounding worlds.

The distance at which the heavenly bodies, particularly the sun, are placed from the earth, is a manifest evidence of Divine Wisdom. If the sun were much nearer us than he is at present, the earth, as riow constituted, would be wasted and parched with excessive heat; the waters would be turned into vapour, and the rivers, seas, and oceans, would soon disappear, leaving nothing beliind them but frightful barren dells and gloomy caverns; vegetation would completely cease, and the tribes of animated nature languish and die. On the other hand, were the sun much farther distant than he now is, or were his bulk, or the influence of his rays, diminished one half of what they now are, the land and the ocean would soon become one frozen mass, and universal desolation and sterility would overspread the fair face of nature, and, instead of a pleasant and comfortable abode, our globe would become a frightful desert, a state of misery and perpetual punishment.* But herein is the wisdom of God displayed, that he has formed the sun of such a determinate size, and placed it at such a convenient distance, as not to annoy, but to refresh and cheer us, and to enliven the soil with its genial influence ; so that we plainly perceive, to use the language of the prophet, that " He hath established the world by his wisdom, and stretehed out the heavens by his understanding."

* It forms no objection to these remarks, that colaic, or the matter of heal, does not altogether depend upon the direct influence of the solar rays. The substance of caloric may be chiefly connected with the constitution of the globe we inhabit But still, il Is quite certain that the earth, as presently cmtatituttd, would suffer effects most disastrous to sentient beings, were it removed much nearer to, or much farther from the cent nil luminary. Tliosc planets wnlch are removed several hundreds of millions of miles farther from the sun than our plobe, may possibly experience a degree of heat much greater then ours ; but. In this case, the constitution of the solid parts of these globes, and of their surrounding atmospheres, must be very different from what obtains 111 the physical arrangements of our glube.

The rotation of the several planetary glcbex around their axis, to produce the alternate . uccession of day and night, strikingly demonstrates the wisdom and benevolence of their great Author. Were the earth and the other planetary worlds destitute of a diurnal motion, only one half of their surfaces could be inhabited, and the other half would remain a dark and cheerless desert. The sun woud be the only heavenly orb which would be recognized by ihe inhabitants of each respective world,as existing in the universe; and that scene of grandeur which night unfolds in the boundless expanse of the sky, would be fur ever veiled from their view. For, it appears to be one grand design of the Creator, in giving these bodies a diurnal motion, not only to cheer their inhabitants with light and warmth, and the gay colouring produced by the solar rays, but also to open to them a prospect of other portions of his vast dominions, which are dispersed m endless variety throughout the illimitable regions of space ; in order that they may acquire a more sublime impression of the glory of his kingdom, and of his eternal Power and Godhead. But, were perpetual day to irradiate fhe planets, it would throw an eternal and impenetrable veil over the glories of the sky, behind which, the magnificent operations of Jehovah's power would be, in a great measure, concealed. It is this circumstance which we should consider as the principal reason why a rotatory motion has been impressed on the planetary globes; and not merely that a curtain of darkness might be thrown around their inhabitants, during the repose of sleep, as in the world in which wo dwell. For in some of the other planetary worlds belonging to our system, the intelligent beings with which they are peopled may stand in no need of that nocturnal repose which is necessary for man; their physical poweis may be incapable of being impaired, and their mental energies may be in perpetual exercise. And in some ofthose bodies which are surrounded with an assemblage of rings and moons, as the planet Saturn, ihe diversified grandeur of their celestial phenomena, in the absence of the sun, may present a scene of contempationand enjoyment, far more interesting than all the splendours of their noon-day. Besides, had the planets no motion round their axis, and were both their hemispheres supposed to be peopled with inhabitants, their physical slate and enjoyments would be as opposite to each other, as if they lived under the government of two distinct independent beings. While the one class was basking under the splendours of perpetual day, the other would be iuvolved in all the horrors of an everlasting night. While the one hemisphere would be parched with excessive heat, the other would be bound in the fetters of etrrnaJ ice; and, in such a globe as ours, the motion of ihe tides, the ascent of the vapours, the current* of the atmosphere, the course of the winds, u*

benign influences of the rains and dews, and a thousand other movements which produce so many salutary and beneficial effects, would be completely deranged. Hence we find that in all the planetary bodies on which observations can conveniently be made, a rotatory motion actually exists, in the secondary, as well as in the primary planets, and even in the sun himself, the centre, and the mover of the whole: in which arrangement of the Almighty Creator, the evidences of'wisdom and design are strikingly apparent.

This amazing scene of Divine workmanship and ikill,which the planetary system exhibits, we nave reason to believe, is multiplied, and diversified, to an indefinite extent, throughout all the other systems of creation, displaying to the intelligences of every region," the manifold wisdom of God." For there can be no question, that every star we now behold, either by the naked eye, or by the help of a telescope, is the centre of a system of planetary worlds, where the agency of God, and his unsearchable wisdom, may be endlessly varied, and, perhaps, more strikingly displayed than even in the system to which we belong. These vast globes of light could never have been designed merely to shed a few glimmering rays on our far-distant world; for the ten-thousandth part of them has never yet been seen by the inhabitants of the earth, since the Mosaic creation, except by a few astronomers of the past and the present age; and the light of many of them, in all probability, has never yet reached us; and perhaps never will, till the period of " the consummation of all terrestrial things." They were not made in vain ; for such a supposition would De inconsistent with every idea we can form of the attributes of a Being of infinite perfection. They were not intended merely to diversify the voids of infinite space with a useless splendour, which has no relation to intellectual natures ; fot this would give us a most distorted and inconsistent idea of the character of Him who is '1 the only-wise God ;" and we are told,by an authority which cannot be questioned, that " by his wisdom he made the heavens, and stretehed them out by his understanding." The only rational conclusion, therefore, which can be deduced, is that they are destined to distribute, illumination and splendour, vivifying influence, and happiness, among incalculable numbers of intelligent beings, of various degrees of physical, moral, and intellectual excellence. And, wherever the Creator has exerted his Almighty energies in the production of sensitive and intellectual natures, wo may rest assured, that there also his infinite wisdom and intelligence, in an endless variety of arrangements, contrivances, and adaptations, are unceasingly displayed.

But, after all, whatever evidences of contrivance and design the cerestiol globes may exhibit, it is not in the heavens that the most striking displays of Divine wi$dtrm can be traced

by the inhabitants of our world. It is only a few general relations and adaptations that can be distinctly perceived among trie orbs of the firmament; though, in so far as we are able to trace the purposes which they subserve, the marks of beauty, order, and design are uniformly apparent. But we are placed at too great a dis* tance from the orbs of heaven, to be able to investigate the particular arrangements which enter into the physical and motal economy of tht* celestial worlds. Were we transported to the surface of the planet Jupiter, and had an opportunity of surveying, at leisure, the regions of that vast globe, and the tribes of sensitive and intellectual existence which compose its population—of contemplating the relations of its moons to the pleasure and comfort of its inhabitants—the constitution of its atmosphere as to its reflective and refractive powers, in producing a degree of illumination to compensate {or the great distance of that planet from the sun—its adaptation to the functions of animal life—the construction of the visual organs of its inhabitants, and the degree of sensibility they possess corresponding to the quantity of light received from the sun—the temperature of the surface and atmosphere of this globe corresponding to its distance from the central source of heat, and to the physical constitution of sensitive beings—in short, could we investigate the relations which inanimate nature, in all .its varieties and sublimities, bears to the necessities and the happiness of the animated existences that traverse its different regions, we should, doubtless, behold a scene of Divine Wisdom and intelligence, far more admirable and astonishing that even that which is exhibited in our sublunary world. But since it is impossible for us to investigate the economy of other worlds, while we are chained down to this terrestrial sphere, we must direct our attention to those arrangements and contrivances in the constitution of out own globe, which lie open to our particular inspection, in order to perceive more distinctly the benevolent designs of Him "in whom we live and move, and have our being.'' And here an attentive observer will find, in almost every object, when minutely examined, a display of goodness and intelligence, which will constrain him to exclaim," Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God.''

Wisdom, considered as consisting in contrivance, or the selection of the most proper means in order to accomplish an important end, may be exemplified and illustrated in a variety of familiar objects in the scene of nature.

The earth on which we tread was evidently intended by the Creator to support man and other animals, along with their habitations, and to furnish those vegetable productions which are necessary for their subsistence; and, accordingly, he has given it that exact degree of consistency

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