Imatges de pàgina
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VOL. other? this spirit, than that shape of a man which I.

merely lives? But yet even this more excellent creature which we have been supposing, is somewhat diminished, and falls beneath a brighter order of beings, by its being proportioned to a human body. And upon this account man is said to be a little lower then the angels, at least this is one account that may be given of this passage ; for it is a diminution of the spirit of a man, that it is proportioned to its habitation, the body. But then consider those purely intellectual creatures, of whom we know not how to form a notion which shall be more expressive than to call them INTELLIGENCES; in as much as they are, as far as we can apprehend them, beings of knowledge and light, and also of goodness and love proportioned to that light of theirs; what can match the excellency of such creatures as these, among the whole sphere of visible beings?

But let us further consider how vastly numerous that order of creatures is, as we may very well suppose, and partly collect from intimations of Scripture, where they are said to be innumerable. The innumerable company of angels, and the Spirits of just men mode perfe&tb. How much of glory and excellency must then be in the invisible world, beyond what we can possibly conceive of in this lower visible region! If we do but bethink our felves and consider what a mere punctilio, a little point, this earth is in which we dwell, in comparison of that vast expanse that doth surround

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and encompass it about; how unspeakably, how SERM. inconceivably more numerous muft we suppose VII. the inhabitants to be, that replenish those vast superior regions quite out of sight, than those which inhabit and replenish this point of earth? How vast, I say, must we suppose the invisible world to be, if we consider the number of its inhabitants who are parts of God's creation, whom we have reason to think do competently replenish all those vaster regions that are, when our eye has gone as far as it can, far more exceeding the reach of our thoughts. What limits can we set to the creation of God in our most enlarged thoughts? Finite we must suppose it to be, but alas, we are never capable of measuring the bounds! And we have reason to believe it is every where replenished with such glorious invisible creatures as we speak of, in comparison of whom all the inhabitants of the earth, that ever were or shall be, are but an inconsiderable handful. Are we not then to think that the invisible world is far more excellent than that which is visible?

But then if we ascend to the great. Author of all things, the blessed invisible object that we are concerned to speak about, that valt profound abyss of all excellencies, perfection, and glory, how much more must we conclude there is of excellency in that sort of being in general which is invisible, than in that which is visible! If we consider him inhabiting his own eternity, if we consider his immensity who was before all time, whom heaven and the beaven of heavens cannot

contain,

VOL. contains, every where existing, and never not 1. existing ; in whom there is an infinite fullness, a drich fountain of being, life, wisdom, power, goods

ness and holiness, and whatsoever we can conceive under the notion of excellency and perfection: to think of such a Being that was every where before all time was, and continuing to be the same when time shall be no more, where no worlds are, and where never any shall be, replenishing all the space that we can imagine, and that we cannot imagine, all, every where, and eternally full of being, life and glory! what an object have we now to contemplate, and think of in the invisible order of beings! And what? would we confinc all excellency as well as reality to this little, minute, inconsiderable earth! the things that sense can reach unto! As if our senses were to be the measure of all excellency, perfection, and reality, and it was the same thing for any thing to be nothing, or at least worth nothing, as to be out of our fight.

How unreasonable were such an imagination sitthis! And indeed well might we be ashamed, and count it a reflection upon our profession of ahe Christian name, that we may so often read Pagans discoursing in transports of the IntelLECTUAL PULCHRITUDE, of the beauty and excellency of mental and invisible things; while our hearts, in the mean time, are taken with nothing but what our eyes can reach to fee, or our fenses judge of. With what raptures do fome

of 4.1 Kings vill. 27.

of them speak of the first pulchritude, and the Serm. felf-pulchritude, or that which is lovely of it self. VII. Plato in particular calls him, “ The Being that " is with it felf, always agreeing to it self, always existing

existing uniformly, never varying from “ it self, and lasting always.Thus he speaks of the first ORIGINAL BEAUTY, meaning the great object that we now speak of, to wit, the INVISIBLE GOD. But what a degeneracy is it to measure the objects of our love by the sight of the eye! whereas there is nothing fair or good, as philosophers speak, but what hath its derivation from the first pulchritude; or as it hath a kind of precarious beauty and comeliness derived to it from him, who is the first and original BEAUTY. If then we seriously bethink our selves of this, we cannot but acknowledge, that the prime object of our love lies among the invisible things. If we will but use our thoughts, we must say thus : this, I say, must be the conclusion, if we will not profefs brutality, and renounce our humanity ; that is, deny that we are human, and reasonable creatures.

But because here it may possibly be said, “ That admitting there be so great excellency " and glory in the invisible sort of beings, yet “ we are to love where we are concerned; we “ are to place our love among things with which

we have to do, and upon which we have de

pendence; but how little can we have to do “ with things invisible, and out of our sight? " Therefore I add, Vol. I.

I

[3.]

VOL. [3.] We are a great deal more concerned 1. about invisible, than visible things. They are

of much more importance to us, as well as of greater excellency considered in themselves. It will certainly be found one day, that faith, holiness, humility, meekness, mortifiedness to this world, a mastery over insolent and brutish parsions, tranquility, peace, and composure of spirit, those great ornaments of the hidden man of the heart, are of unspeakably more concernment, than all the things of the visible world besides. These are of greater importance to our present comfort, and to our future and eternal wellbeing, than whatsoever our senses can bring to our notice. But the invisible God is so most of all, who is infinitely beyond and above all.

And what! will any pretend, that they have no concern with God, because they cannot see him? no concern with Him, in whom we live, and move, and have our being, and in whose hand our breath is, without whom we cannot move a hand, or lift a foot, or think a thought, or live a moment? Have we no concern with him? none, in this present state? Or are we the less concerned with God, because we see him not? May we not be convinced, if we will allow our selves to think, that it is somewhat invisible, which our life and being depend upon ? For we know our selves to be depending beings. We do know and feel, yea our own thoughts and hearts must instruct us in this, that we are not felf-fubfiftent. We have not in our own hands

the

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