« ForrigeFortsett »
apt to entertain of the Divine NATURE. We ourselves cannot attend to many different objects at the same time. If we are careful to inspect some things, we must of course neglect others, This imperfection, which we observe in ourselves, is an imperfection that cleaves in some degree to creatures of the highest capacities, as they are creatures, that is, beings of finite and limited natures. The presence of being is confined to a certain measure of space, and consequently his observation is stinted to a certain number of objects. The sphere in which we move, and act, and understand, is of a wider circumference to one creature than another, according as we rise one above another in the scale of existence. But the widest of these our spheres has its circumference. When therefore we reflect on the divine nature, we are so used and accustomed to this imperfection in ourselves, that we cannot forbear" in some measure ascribing it to him in whom there is no shadow of imperfection. Our reason indeed afsures us that his attributes are infinite, but the poorness of our conceptions is such that it cannot forbear setting bounds to every thing it contemplates, until our reason comes again to our succour, and throws down all those little prejudices which rise in us unawares, and are natural to the mind of man.
We shall therefore utterly extinguish this mclancholy thought, of our being overlooked by our Maker in the multiplicity of his works, and the infinity of those objects among which
he seems to be incessantly employed, if we consider, in the first place, that he is Omnipresent; and, in the second, that he is Omniscient.
If we consider him in his Omnipresence: His being passes through, actuates, and supports the whole frame of nature. His creation, and every part of it, is full of him. There is nothing he has made that is either so distant, so little, or so inconsiderable, which he does not essentially inhabit. His substance is within the substance of
every being whether material or immaterial, and as intimately present to it as that being is to itself. It would be an imperfection in HIM, were he able to remove out of one place into another, or to withdraw HIMSELF from any thing he has created, or from any part of that space which is diffused and spread abroad to infinity. In short, to speak of him in the language of the old philosopher, he is a being whose centre is every where, and his circumference no where.
In the second place, he is Omniscient as well as Omnipresent. His Omniscience indeed necessarily and naturally flows from his Omnipresence; he cannot but be conscious of every motion that arises in the whole material world, which he thus essentially pervades, and of every thought that is stirring in the intellectual world, to every part of which he is thus intimately united. Several moralists have considered the creation as the Temple of God, which he has built with his own hands, and which is filled with his presence. Others have considered in
finite space as the receptacle, or rather the habitation, of the ALMIGHTY ; but the noblest and most exalted way of considering this infinite space is that of Sir Isaac Newton, who calls it the Senforium of the GoD-HEAD. Brutes and men have their Sensoriola, or little Sensoriums, by which they apprehend the presence and perceive the actions of a few objects that lie contiguous to them. Their knowledge and observation turn within a very narrow circle. But as God Almighty cannot but perceive and know every thing in which he resides, infinite space gives room to infinite knowledge, and is, as it were, an organ to Omniscience.
Were the foul separate from the body, and with one glance of thought should start beyond the bounds of the creation, should it for millions of years continue its progress through infinite space with the same activity, it would still find itself within the embrace of its CREATOR, and encompassed round with the immensity of the God-HEAD. Whilst we are in the body HE is not less present with us because he is concealed from us. “O that I knew where I might “ find him!” says Job.“ Behold I go forward, but “ He is not there; and backward, but I cannot from us, notwithstanding he is undiscovered by us.
perceive him: on the left hand, where he “ does work, but I cannot behoid him: HE “ hideth HIMSELF on the right hand that I can“6 not sce um*. In short, reason as well as revelation assures us that he cannot be absent * Job xxiii. &, &c.
In this consideration of God Almighty's Omnipresence and Omniscience every uncomfortable thought vanishes. He cannot but regard every thing that has being, especially such of His creatures who fear they are not regarded by
He is privy to all their thoughts, and to that anxiety of heart in particular which is apt to trouble them on this occasion: for, as it is impossible he should overlook any of his creatures, so we may be confident that he regards, with an eye of mercy, those who endeavour to recommend themselves to his notice, and in an unfeigned humility of heart think themselves unworthy that he should be mindful of them*.
Monday, July 12, 1714.
Militiæ species amor est.-Ovid. Ars Am. ii. 2 33. Love is a kind of Warfare.
S my correspondents begin to grow pretty
numerous, I think myself obliged to take some notice of them, and shall therefore make this Paper a miscellany of letters. I have, since my re-assuming the office of SpecTATOR, received abundance of epistles from gentlemen of the blade, who I find have been
By Addison. See Spect. Nos. 571, 580, 590, and 628.
fo used to action that they know not how to lie still. They seem generally to be of opinion that the Fair at home ought to reward them for their services abroad, and that, until the cause of their country calls them again into the field, they have a sort of right to quarter themselves upon the Ladies. In order to favour their ap
. proaches, I am desired by some to enlarge upon the accomplishments of their profession, and by others to give them my advice in the carrying on their attacks. But let us hear what the gentlemen say for themselves.
• Mr. SPECTATOR,
HOUGH it may look somewhat per
verse amidst the arts of peace to talk • too much of war, it is but gratitude to pay • the last office to its manes, since even peace • itself is, in some measure, obliged to it for
• its being.
• You have, in your former Papers, always • recommended the accomplished to the favour • of the Fair ; and I hope you will allow me ' to represent some part of a Military life not altogether unnecessary to the forming
a gen5 tleman. I need not tell
I need not tell you that in France, whose fashions we have been formerly so • fond of, almost every one derives his pretences
to merit from the sword; and that a man has • scarce the face to make his court to a Lady, 6 without some credentials from the service to • recommend him.
As the profession is very " ancient, we have reason to think some of the