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himself. This wrought the greatest confufion in the unbelieving Jews, and the greatest conviction in the Gentiles, who every where speak with astonishment of these truths they met with in this new magazine of learning which was opened to them, and carry the point so far as to think whatever excellent doctrine they had met with among Pagan writers, had been stole from their conversation with the
Jerus, or from the perusal of these writings, which they had in their custody.
ADDITIONAL DISCOURSE S.
. SECT. I.
Temperat boris :
TIMONIDES being ask'd
by Dionysius the tyrant what God was, desired a day's time
to consider of it before he
or made his reply. When the day was expired, he desired two days ; and afterwards, instead of returning his answer, demanded still double the time to consider of it. This great poet and philosopher, the more he contemplated the nature of the Deity, found that he
waded but the more out of his depth : and that he lost himself in the thought, instead of finding an end of it. .
If we consider the idea which wife men, by the light of reafon, have framed of the Divine Being, it amounts to this : That he has in him all the perfection of a spiritual nature ; and since we have no notion of any kind of spiritual perfection but what we discover in our own souls, we join Infinitude to each kind of these perfections, and what is a faculty in an human soul, becomes an attribute in God. We exist in place and time, the Divine Being fills the immensity of space with his presence, and inhabits eternity. We are poffeffed of a little power and a little knowledge, the Divine Being is Almighcy and Omniscient. In short, by adding Infinity to any kind of perfection we enjoy, and by joining all these different kinds of perfections in one Being, we form our Idea of the great Sovereign of nature.
Though every one who thinks must have made this observation, I shall produce Mr. Locke's authority to the fame purpose, out of his essay on human understanding. "If we examine the Idea
6 we have of the incomprehenfible su
preme Being, we shall find that we come by it the same way ; and that the
complex ideas we have both of God • and separate fpirits, are made up of the < simple ideas we receive from reflektion : sv. g. having, from what we experiment . in ourselves, got the ideas of existence < and duration, of knowledge and power,
of pleasure and happiness, and of se
veral other qualities and powers, which e it is better to have, than to be with5 out; when we would frame an idea - the most suitable we can to the supreme 6 Being, we enlarge every one of these (with our idea of infinity, and so put
ting them together make our complex • idea of God.
It is not impossible that there may be many kinds of spiritual perfection, besides those which are lodged in an human soul ; but it is impossible that we should have ideas of any kinds of perfection, except those of which we have some small rays and short imperfect strokes in ourselves. It would be therefore a very high presumption to determine whether the supreme Being has not many more Attributes than those which enter into our conceptions
of him. This is certain, that if there be any kind of spiritual perfection which is not marked out in an human soul, it belongs in its fulness to the Divine Nature,
Several eminent Philosophers have imagined that the soul, in her feparate ftate, may have new faculties springing up in her, which she is not capable of exerting during her present union with the body, and whether thefe faculties may not correspond with other attributes in the Divine Nature, and open to us hereafter new matter of wonder and adoration, we are altogether ignorant. This, as I have said before, we ought to acquiesce in, that the Sovereign Being, the great Author of Nature has in him all possible perfection, as well in kind as in degree; to speak according to our methods of conceiving. I shall only add under this head, that when we have raised our notion of this infinite Being as high as it is possible for the mind of man to go, it will fall infinitely short of what he really is. There is no end of his greatness : The most exalted creature he has made, is only capable of adoring it; none but himself can comprehend it.