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are agreeable to them, by this divine energy. Man only, who does not cooperate with this holy Spirit, and is unattentive to his presence, receives none of those advantages from it, which are perfective of his nature, and necessary to his well-being. The divinity is with him, and in him, and every where about him, but of no advantage to him. It is the same thing to a man without religion, as if there were no God in the world. It is indeed impossible for an infinite Being to remove himself from any of his creatures, but though he cannot withdraw his essence from us, which would argue an imperfection in him, he can withdraw from us all the joys and confolations of it. His presence may perhaps be necessary to support us in our existence; but he may leave this our existence to itself, with regard to its happiness or misery. For, in this sense, he may cast us away from his presence, and take his holy Spirit from us.
This single consideration one would think fufficient to make us open our hearts to all those infusions of joy and gladness which are fo near at hand, and ready to be poured in upon us ; especially when we confider, Secondly, Î'he deplorable condition
of an intellectual Being, who feels no o. ther effects from his Maker's presence, but such as proceed from divine wrath and indignation !
We may assure ourselves that the great Author of nature will not always be as one, who is indifferent to any of his creatures.
Those who will not feel him in his love, will be sure at length to feel him in his displeasure. And how dreadful is the condition of that creature, who is only sensible of the Being of his Creator by what he suffers from him! He is as essentially present in hell as in heaven, but the inhabitants of those accursed places behold him only in his wrath, and Ihrink within the flames to conceal themselves from him. It is not in the power of imagination to conceive the fearful effects of Omnipotence incensed.
But I shall only consider the wretchedness of an intellectual Being, who, in this life, lies under the displeafure of him, that at all times and in all places is intimately united with him. He is able to disquiet the soul, and vex it in all its faculties. He can hinder any of the greateft comforts of life from refreshing us, and give an edge to every one of its slightest calamities. Who then can bear F 2
the thought of being an out-cast from his presence, that is, from the comforts of it, or of feeling it only in its terrors ? How pathetic is that expoftulation of Job, when, for the trial of his patience, he was made to look upon himself in this deplorable condition! W by bast thou fet me as a mark against thee, so that I am become a burden to myself? But, Thirdly, how happy is the condition of that intellectual Being, who is sensible of his Maker's presence, from the secret effects of his mercy and loving-kindness.
The blessed in heaven behold him face to face ; that is, are as fenfible of his presence as we are of the presence of any person whom we look upon with our eyes. There is doubtless a faculty in fpirits, by which they apprehend one another, as our senses do material objects ; and there is no question but our fouls, when they are disembodied, or placed in glorified bodies, will by this faculty, in whatever part of space they reside, be always sensible of the divine presence. We, who have this veil of flesh standing between us and the world of spirits, nust be content to know that the Spirit of God is prefent with us, by the effects which he produceth in ys. Our outward senses are
too gross to apprehend him ; we may however taste and see how gracious he is, by his influence upon our minds, by thofe virtuous thoughes which he awa. kens in us, by those secret comforts and refreshments which he conveys into our souls, and by those ravishing joys' and inward satisfactions, which are perpetually springing up and diffosing themfelves among all the thoughts of good men. He is lodged in our very essence, and is as a foul within the soul, to irradiate its understanding, rectify its will, purify its paffions, and enliven all the powers of man. How happy therefore is an intellectual Being, who, by prayer and meditation, by virtue and good works, opens this communication between: God and his own foul! Tho' the whole creation frowns upon him, and all nature looks black about him, he has his lighc and support within him, that are able to cheer his mind, and bear him up in the midst of all thofe horrors which incompafs him. He knows that his helper is at hand, and is always nearer to him than any thing else can be, which is capable of annoying or terrifying him. In the midst of calumny or contempt, he attends to that Being who whispers better
things things within his soul, and whom he looks upon as his defender, his glory, and the lifter-up of his head. In his deepest solitude and retirement, he knows that he is in company with the greatest of Beings; and perceives within himself such real sensations of his presence, as are more delightful than any thing that can be met with in the conversation of his creatures. Even in the hour of death, he considers the pains of his diffolution to be nothing else but the breaking down of that partition, which stands betwixt his soul, and the sight of that Being, who is always present with him, and is about to manifeft itself to him in fulness of joy.
If we would be thus happy, and thus sensible of our Maker's presence, from the secret effects of his mercy and goodness, we must keep such a watch over all our thoughts, that, in the language of the scripture, his soul may have pleasure
We must take care not to grieve his holy Spirit, and endeavour to make the meditations of our hearts always acceptable in his fight, that he may delight thus to reside and dwell in us. The light of nature could direct Seneca to this doctrine, in a very remarkable passage among his epistles, Sacer inest in nobis fpi