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such pursuit, I have thought it might be to give my hearers an idea of either part before mentioned, that they may know how far to pursue the Object proposed, and how to pursue it, dividing accordingly what I am to remark on the knowledge and enjoyment of God, with the particulars of each. For according to the particular end of our inquiry after God must our preparation and method be; as for example, whether the end be only by searching to "find out God," or to "find out the Almighty unto perfection" in other words; whether it be 1, only the Knowledge of God; or 2, his Enjoyment also, that forms the specific end of our inquiry.
§ 1. If it be only the Knowledge of God that we are in pursuit of, the same may be had to a certain extent, without looking for, and too often without desiring, also much farther than ordinary by good scholarship. Indeed this is a work of the will almost, with a little capacity; "made so plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it." (Habbak. ii. 2.) The evidences of the Deity are so scattered over the face of the heavens and the earth, as well as in books of divine revelation, that one can hardly miss finding his knowledge by the means that are positively at our command, if, as I before signified, we can only think it worth having, and will condescend to apply such means fairly to the pursuit. But most assuredly, if we call another train of evidence to our aid, may we find out God by searching, and find him without a miracle, in one of two worlds, or in both; 1, the World without us: 2, the World within: so that they who either will not find him, or do not think him worth finding out, "which made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein-themselves among others, and has never left himself without witness," (Acts xiv. 15, &c.,) in respect of this particular help especially-will be" without excuse."
1. First, therefore, let us cast our look abroad, and sur
vey the Author of good in that outer world or creation *: look at the glorious scene by which you are surrounded, the work of six divine days; consider each day's production attentively, and behold how full of good every one of them is.
1, 2, The blessed light which we see by; God made that; and who does not feel it? Moisture and drought are also his witnesses: he made them both; this solid earth also on which we stand, and that fair sky by which it is enveloped; together with the lucid wave, that lies so wide, and rages so at times between them: all three of these, the upper, lower, and medium, or air, earth, and water, clearly bespeak the being of their Great Creator; but more clearly their respective contents, the glittering treasures of the sky, the beauties of the earth, the wonders of the deep, all proclaim his goodness to each other; the sky reflects it on the earth, the earth extols it to the sky: "deep calleth unto deep;" (Ps. xlii. 9;) and again it is reflected in the lower abyss. Cast your regards
3, 4, To the greatest distance: look upward and behold. the multitude of the stars, which glow "like living sapphires" in the firmament; it may be presumed, each with his peculiar company of attendant gems: forget your earthly cares a moment, and allow your spirit to enjoy this great and tranquil scene: conceive, if you can, the variety and extent of their orbits; with the truth, symmetry, and elegance of their general description: consider the wonderful motion of those heavenly bodies: how silent, how sure they proceed! What a powerful host is here held together by the invisible chain of attraction, and approximate by the commerce of light! What an expansive field is here for the Author of goodness to operate in! One should think it almost impossible to wonder at any thing after this: but so it is not; for
5, What may be wanting to the lower spheres in gran
i. e. Our solar system; an infinity of others probably existing before.
See v. 16.
deur, is made up to them in acquaintance, by which the beauties of nature are chiefly embellished. We admire great things at a distance in nature, and little things, near, as far as we are able to observe them. Thus, if the contents of the two succeeding spheres, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea, are not to be admired for their grandeur like the stars above, they are, however, on account of other properties, which our nearer acquaintance with them enables us to discover. In our contracted view, I say, the total of these two tribes, when we consider their various forms, habits, and endowments, will appear to be equally an object of admiration with that of the starry host; though God knows, perhaps, that on many of his stars, if not on all, he has laid out equal riches with those of the middle spheres, and of the lowest also, which are still more admirable to our minds, because better known.
6, And here another volume is opened to our observation: behold, in these diversified tenants of the earth the production of another day! Yet known as these creatures are to us individually, and relatively, too, in some manner, who may be able to comprehend their general effect, with their orderly gradation and government? Who -but their Author? Who-but he who has measured out their abilities to each; who poised their authority for them, and combined their various and often opposing instincts into an harmonious whole, and general pursuit? He knows their united importance; and as he made them all for their own good, if they have no objection, he has also shewn them the wisdom of desiring, and taught them where to look for it. "The eyes of all wait upon thee, O Lord." (Ps. cxlv. 15.) Every creature that moves upon the earth is a monument of divine goodness: there is not an individual among them but feels his existence a blessing, and will do his utmost to preserve it,-a few only in our sophisticated species excepted.
Ungrateful man, the only creature in the world that
ever despised its Author's most excellent gift; think of it, and say if thou have not so much more reason to be satisfied therewith, as thou art more discontented than the rest. All the enjoyments that they can have thou hast also, or mayest have, in an equal degree if thou wilt: and other enjoyments thou hast too-distinct from them, and in common with angels. Every living creature upon earth, or in this lower sphere, is stamped with good; but thou art written Good all over, both within and without, if thou didst but know it. Thy production alone cost as much as the sun, moon, and stars,-as all the fowls of the air and fishes of the sea, or all thy fellow creatures upon earth put together! For these two great days' works or productions cost but a word each; and thine cost the same.
Now" these are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens." (Gen. ii. 4.) What a week's work is here! What a display of might! Here is a glorious token of the Creator; " whereby the invisible things of him from the creation of the world-his eternal power and Godhead,-may be clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made;" (Rom. i. 20 ;) a week's work for the Deity,-to men and angels a tale of wonder for ever: and I have barely time to enumerate its leading features! We have let out our thoughts to the utmost verge of creation, 'tis true, and brought them back again by sphere after sphere to ourselves; and here let our thoughts be allowed to range for a few moments, while they are here; here let us take another view of this last, best part of God's work which he created and made.
The way that men come to observe and reflect on the creation and its Author is gradual we know, invariably,— sometimes, even slow and imperfect: and sometimes, indeed, it is no way at all. For the minds of some men appear to have been stunted at the birth; so that, after a tolerable residence for length, perhaps, they shall go out of the world no wiser than they came into it, though they
were as cunning as serpents in their generation. But where that has not been the case, and some progress is made, the expansion of intellect will admit of the same comparison that our Saviour has applied to the growth of his kingdom. "It is as if a man should cast seed into the ground; and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how." (Mark iv. 26, 27.) But let us suppose, for argument's sake, such a case as that of a man's arriving suddenly at the perfect use of his sentient and reflective faculties without any of that gradual development before signified and if his mind did not absolutely fail under the shock of the first impression he would be apt to feel and reflect on the Author of his existence compared with himself and the things around him, as we should on the same when we came to years of discretion, if our feelings were not blunted before by habit, and our understanding preoccupied by matters of less importance.
This extraordinary guest of nature no sooner wakes into life than a stream of pleasure which his bountiful Creator has provided at hand begins to flow in upon his soul through the channel of the senses, and to set it in motion like the main-wheel of some rare machinery which shall be impelled by steam. Every surrounding object is fraught for him with delight, and every sense that he enjoys is occupied in its conveyance. First, the ambient air delights him by its action on the outer nerves; then a multitude of congenial objects present themselves before his eyes, and send in their united charms by these two avenues. In the same instant his ears are occupied by an harmonious variety of sounds issuing from many different sources, as well dead as living at once; and his nostrils admit as harmonious a mixture of perfumes. It is well, that there are two avenues for the objects of either sense; or they could never gain admittance for their respective contributions, so many as they are. And very admirable indeed it is, that so many delightful im