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Law, or beheld by the piercing Eye, of the fupremely glorious GOD.
Ther. Methinks, this Notion confounds the Difference of Good and Evil; and, by rendering all our Actions blameable, would render them all alike. This is levelling with a Witnefs!
Afp. It only fhews, that there are Blemishes in all. Whereas, Some are Flaw and Blemish all over. Is there no Difference between the Leopard's Spots, and the Æthiopian's Soot? If I maintain, that neither of them are perfectly white, does this imply, that both are equally black?
I am only alledging, That all We perform, however fpecious it may feem, is very far fhort of our facred Rule; and therefore cannot procure the divine Favour, or intitle Us to the Kingdom of Heaven.-Nay, that if GOD should enter into Judgment with Us, on the Foot of our own Performances; He would difcover fuch Defects, even in the choiceft Instances of our Obedience, as would render them Matter of Condemnation*, not meritorious of Applaufe.
*To this Affertion St. Cyril, in Concert with feveral other Fathers, bears a very express Testimony: Auto nuwv και το ορθώς εργασθαι δοκον, μομφης και αιτιας αμοιρησειεν αυ ε τι πο περιεργαζόμενο τε και βασανιζοντΘ Θεό. Even thofe of our Actions, which feem to be performed in a right Manner, could not efcape Cenfure and Blame, if GOD fhould examine, and bring them to the Teft.
Be pleased to observe this Penknife—What can be more exquifitely keen, than the Edge; or more nicely polished, than the Blade? But, how do they appear, when beheld through one of those Microscopes?
Ther. The Edge lefs fharp than the Woodman's Ax, or rather more blunt than his iron Wedge. The Polish resembles a Mass of coarse Metal, rudely hammered on the Anvil.
Afp. How very delicate is the Cambric, that forms your Ruffles; and gives fuch an ornamental Air to your whole Drefs! Nothing can be finer, than the Threads; or more exact, than the Texture. But what is their Appearance in a microscopic View?
Ther. You would take the fine Threads for hempen Cords; and would almost be positive, that they had been wattled together, by the clumfy Hands of the Hurdle Maker; rather than curiously wove, in the Artist's Loom.
Afp. That lovely Piece of Enamel, which makes a Part of your Lady's penfile Equipage, quite charms the Spectator, with the Juftness of its Figure, and the Radiancy of its Colours. But
Ther. Under the Scrutiny of this fearching Inftrument, it lofes all its Elegance; and instead of winning our Admiration, provokes our Contempt. It looks like a Heap of Mortar, plaistered on by the Mafon's Trowel.
Afp. You fee then, Theron, what gross Indelicacies, what bungling Inequalities, this fupplementary Aid to our Sight discovers, even in the most finished Works of human Art. So, and abundantly more, does the immaculate Purity of GOD, difcern Imperfections in our most upright Deeds, and moft guarded Hours.
I faid, immaculate Purity-For, GOD is not only unerringly wife to detect, but infinitely pure to abhor, all Contamination. Have You confidered this Attribute of the GODHEAD, Theron?
Ther. I have; and not without Amazement at the charming, the awful Defcriptions of it, which occur in the facred Writings.—GOD is not only holy, but, as the Lawgiver of the Jews very fublimely expreffes Himself, glorious in Holiness*. The facred Penmen, treating of this illuftrious Perfection, feem to labour the important Point. They indulge the loftieft Flights of Imagination; they employ the boldest Figures of Speech; and add the most glowing Colours of Eloquence; not without frequent Acknowledgments, that all the Force of Language, is abundantly too feeble, for the unutterable Subject.
One of the Prophets, addreffing the KING eternal, immortal, invifible, breaks out into this
*Exod. xv. II,
this extatic Exclamation; O LORD, my GOD, my HOLY ONE, Thou art of purer Eyes, than (to allow, fhall I fay? This is an Afcription of Praise, unspeakably too mean for thy furpaffing Excellency. Thou art of purer Eyes, than) to look upon Evil, and canft not behold Iniquity *.—Another, wrapt into a prophetic Vifion, fees the Seraphim veiling their Faces, in Token of profound Humiliation; hears those Sons of Ardour and Love, crying, in loud refponfive Strains; Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD GOD of Sabaoth +†.-Nay, so tranfcendently holy,
*Hab. i. 13.
+ Ifai. vi. 3. The Poets, and Writers of a bold Imagination, are particularly fond of Machinery; of introducing celeftial Beings, in order to give some peculiar Dignity to their Plan, or fome additional Strength to their Sentiments. With inimitable Propriety, aud furprifing Emphafis, is this Species of fine Writing used in Scripture. Efpecially in the Paffage quoted above.
Let us only confider-The Perfonages. These are the Seraphim; pure and active Spirits. Likened, by the Pfalmift, to Flames of Fire; ftyled, by the Apoftle, Dominions and Principalities of Heaven. Who excel in Strength and Wifdom, in every high and bright Accomplishment.-Their Attitude. They wait around the KING immortal, seated on his exalted Throne. They ftand; are in a Pofture of Service with their Wings outstretched, ready to fly at the first Signal, and execute whatever is commanded. They stand, not with their Eyes reverently caft down; but with their Faces covered, to denote the deepest Self-Abafement: as Creatures, that are confcious and ashamed of their own Meannefs; or as overcome with the infupportable Glories, which beam from uncreated Majefty.-Their Action. They celebrate, not in cold Converfation, but with rapturous Songs, not with fingle Voices, but in a grand Choir, (8 fee
holy, fays another devout Worshipper, that all created Glory is totally eclipfed in his Prefence. He looketh to the Moon, and it shineth not; yea, the Stars are not pure in his Sight*. And
Pfal. lxxxvii. 5, 6) the amiable yet tremendous Sanctity of the LORD Almighty.-Their Manner of Expreffion. Though filled and penetrated with the prodigious Theme, they attempt not to defcribe it. Impracticable that, even by the Tongues of Angels! They exprefs themselves, therefore, in the Language of profound Admiration; in repeated, in reiterated Acclamations to the wonderful Attribute; Holy! Holy! Holy!-The Effects of this auguft Appearance. The Pofts of the Door, shake at the Voice: the ponderous and magnificent Pillars of Brafs, (fee 2 Chron. iii. 17.) tremble like a Leaf. The spacious and beautiful House, is filled with Tokens of the divine Indignation; is involved in Clouds of Smoke; and joins with the trembling Columns, and adoring Seraphs, to tell the thoughtlefs World, What a fearful Thing it is to fall into the Hands of the living GOD! The Prophet himself is ftruck with Aftonifhment; is overwhelmed with Awe; and cries out, "as a Woman in her Pangs."-Can any Thing be more inlivened, impreffive, and alarming?
If I fhall not trefpafs upon the Reader's Patience, I would beg Leave to add a Remark, concerning the Word Sabaoth : which, though a Hebrew Expreffion, is retained in that excellent Hymn, intitled Te Deum; and which some People, I am inclined to believe, inadvertently confound with Sabbath. -The latter fignifies the Reft of the feventh Day; and, in this Connection, yields a Senfe, not very appofite, and comparatively mean. Whereas, the former denotes Armies or Hofts; and furnishes Us with an Image, truly grand and majeftic; worthy to be admitted into the Songs of Seraphs.It celebrates GOD, as the great, univerfal, uncontroulable SOVEREIGN: who exercifes a fupreme Dominion over all the Orders of Being, from the loftieft Archangel that fhines in Heaven, to the lowest Reptile that crawls in Duft. Who fays to a Legion of Cherubs, Go; and they go-to a Swarm of Infects, Come; and they come :-to any, to every Creature, Do this; and they do it. See Matt. viii. 9.
Job xxv. 5.