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peculiar residence of God, his true palace; the temple of the Divine MAJESTY, the sacred man. sion of light and joy and glory, and of which, with more of poetic fancy than philosophic truth, the stars have been called the pavement. We shall greatly err if we take our notions on these subjects from the literal tenor of scripture expressions. We are not to look into these books for lectures on astronomy, or other branches of natural philosophy. When commonly received opinions on natural appearances did not militate against the faith and worship of the true God and the grand principles of morality, they were with great propriety taken up by revelation just as it found them; and it was left to time and the progress of human science to produce more correct ideas. Gallileo was imprisoned by the inquisition for doctrines and as. sertions which directly contradicted the express words of scripture, and yet Gallileo was in the right, and the inquisition in the wrong.
With the like limitation we are to understand any thing that is said in the bible concerning the local residence of the Deity. It was entirely conformable to the spirit of the Mosaic dispensation, and the frequent appearances of divine giory in the earlier periods of it, that God should be represented as dwelling among the people of Israel, or in this or that particular place; as standing, sitting, walking, Aying, looking down, &c. But there are not wanting, in their sacred writings, expressions of grander and more extensive import. Solomon, in his sublime prayer at the dedication of the temple, says,
“ Behold heaven, and the heaven of heavens, cannot contain thee-how much less this house which I have built!" So the psalmist, “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's.”
And the prophet Jeremiah, speaking in the name of the Most High, “Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him ? Do not I fill heaven and earth, saith the Lord ?" We shall then do well to dismiss the idea that there is any particular place, either within or without the bounds of the universe, where the Almighty sits upon a throne and holds a splendid court. It is not only unworthy of his nature, but unnecessary to any purpose respecting the happiness of his creatures. Consi. dering his unbounded spirituality, his universal, unlimited presence and agency,
and the knowledge of his works and ways, either obtained by actual discovery or warranted by obvious analogy, it seems most rational to believe that there may be as many local heavens as there are habitable worlds; that in any, or in all of them at once, he can manifest his glory so as to communicate the highest degrees of bliss which they are capable of receiving, to the creatures of his power. O what a magnificent, what a transporting view here at once opens upon the mind! how worthy of the infinite perfections of the Almighty! Countless millions of worlds, with all their countless myriads of inhabitants—all happy in the smiles of their Creator-all enjoying the ple. nitude of felicity, all employed in the contemplation of the divine attributes, continually advancing
of them— perfect in holiness and love-and possessed of IMMORTALITY! Is it not so in our world? Well then, let us believe that here only natural and moral evil exist; that sin and death are unknown in any part of God's creation except on this little ball of earth. If this be an error, it is at least an innocent one; it does no dishonour to the greatest and best of Beings; it gives to the benevolent feelings of the soul their widest expansion.
The apostles Peter and John speak of new heavens and a new earth when the former constitution of things shall have passed away. The possibi. lity of a vast change in the globe which we inhabit may be inferred from its present appearance. It certainly has, at some former period, been very different from what we now behold. There are all the marks of a prodigious and universal convulsion. The irregular positions of the strata found on digging into its bowels, the vast fissures in its rocks and mountains, and the variety of marine fossils found even at their summits, furnish abundant proofs of this; nay, there is scarcely a stone which we take up from the ground that has not the appearance of a shattered fragment. Another change equally great may await it. It may become that paradise which we have been accustomed to think it would have been, had not sin and death found their way into it-one of those blissful abodes which we have just now ventured to suppose every other world in the universe of an all-powerful and all-benevolent God actually is; and his will may
literally be done on earth as it or heaves weaven. It will then enjoy the smiles, the immediate communications and glorious presence of the Eternal Father of all.
Here then probably will be the period when the mediatorial office and kingdom of Christ, having answered all the purposes of the divine love in his appointment to it, will be laid down. Yet it is not necessary to suppose that he will retain no preeminence among the happy inhabitants of the fu. ture world; the contrary will probably be the case, and he will still appear invested with peculiar dignity as the first born among many brethren. “Fa. ther! I will that those whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold the glory which thou hast given me.” He will take up his abode among his redeemed, the object of their love, gratitude, and veneration, and receive their joyful and triumphant ascriptions of glory for the great work of their salvation. “The Lamb that is towards the midst of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall lead them to living springs of water, and God will wipe away all tears from their eyes." To some most glorious consummation the lofty descriptions of sacred writ evidently direct our views. But human language is inadequate---after all that can be said by the tongue, or written by the
pen of inspiration itself, “ eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive the things which God hath pre. pared for them that love him.”
SALVATION OF SINNERS
Free Grace of God:
AN ATTEMPT TO EXPLODE
THE PROTESTANT, AS WELL AS POPISH, NOTION OF SAL
VATION BY HUMAN MERIT, AND TO PROMOTE THE PRIMITIVE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF THE SUFFICIENCY OF
DIVINE MERCY FOR ALL WHO ARE PENITENT.
BY RICHARD WRIGHT.
Prove all things.
PAUL. Truth is mighty, and, whatever be its consequences, must always
prevail. SIR WILLIAM JONES.