« AnkstesnisTęsti »
Yea, this presence, being essential, is also necessary; so that it is simply impossible, that God should not be wheresoever the creature is. By the World, I mean whatsoever was at the beginning created by the power of God; the heavens, the air, the earth and sea, and all things visible and invisible: God is with them and in them all. .,
There are Three things briefly to be touched upon here. 1. That God is intimately present with the creatures.
He passeth through their very beings and inward parts; he is in the very centre of their essence; and this flows from the spirituality of his essence. From hence it is, that it is impossible that he should be excluded out of the most close compacted being. Bodies cannot thus enter one another, because of their gross and material substances; they can only stand without, and knock for admission : they cannot enter into the substance one of another: water, when sucked up by a spunge, doth not pass into the substantial part of it; but only fills up those caverns and hollow pores, which were before filled with air: the air we þreathe in cagnot enter into the substance of our bodies; but only into those pores and hollow recesses, which are by nature fitted to receive it: so of all other corporeal beings. But spirits are not tied up to this law: the soul of man, because it is a spirit, resides not only in the empty void spaces of the body, but also in the midst of the most solid and substantial part of it: angels, who are a degree of spiritual beings above the soul, cannot be excluded from being present in the most condensed bodies ; and we know not how often they are in us; we know not how often they pass through us, nor how many of them are now present with us: we read of no less than a legion, which is six thousand, that quartered themselves together in one possessed person, Mark v. 9: then, certainly God, between whom and the angels there is infinitely more distance than between-angels and bodies, cannot possibly be shut out of any being, but diffuseth himself to every part of his creatures. His
2. God is not only intimately present with his creatures, because as he is a spirit be passeth through the most inmost part of them, but he is intimately present with all his creatures at
And, therein, is his presence distinguished from the presence of angels. They, indeed, pass from one to another, and be one in another: they may, possibly, stretch and dilate thenselves to a great compass; but they cannot stretch themselves to an ubiquitariness, to be in all beings at once: if an angel suddenly dart himself from one point of the heavens, through the centre of the earth, to an opposite poiiit of the heavens, and by a motion of insinuation,'without impelling or driving the air before him, yet he is not in heaven and earth at once; but, when he is in one place, he ceaseth to be in another. But it is not so with God, for he is every where and in all things at oncé for ever : therefore God asks us, Do not I fill heavm and earth? Jer. xxiii. 24: he is so in them, as that he doth not leave
any one place void or empty of himself; for, were there any places where God were not, then it could not be properly said to be filled with him.
3. This: Omnipresence of God is simply necessary, not only for the preserving and upholding of his creatures in their beings and operations, but necessary to our very beings. • For his own essence is simple ; and he cannot withdraw from nor forsake any place or any thing, with which his presence now is : God cannot contract and lessen himself, nor gather up his essence into a narrow room and compass; but, as he is here in this very place which we now take up, so he must and will be here to all eternity: Nor is this any imperfection, as if God were not an infinite perfection and excellence; for this flows from the immutability of bris nature and essence: for, should God remove himself, he were not altogether unchangeable; bat, with him, there is neither change nor shadow of turning : James i. 17. What the Heathens thought of this Immensity and Omnipresence of God is somewhat obscure. Some of them confined him to heaven; and were so far from affirming bim present in all things, that they thought he took no care of any thing below, as being too mean and too unworthy for God to regard ; this was the opinion of the Epicureans, Acts xvii. 183 others thought, indeed, that the care and providence of God reached to these ordinary things, but not his essence; and the ground of their efror' was, because they thought it most befitting the Majesty of God, to sit only in heaven, a glorious and a becoming place, and not to make himself so cheap and so common, as to be present with men and the vile things of the world; but this is a weak reason, as I shall shew anon. Some others among the Heathens had righter apprehensions of this divine attribute: one of them, being to give a description what
God was, tells us most admirably, “God is a sphere, whose centre is every where, and whose circumference is no where:” a. raised apprehension of the divine nature in a Heathen ! and another, being demanded what God was, made answer, that “ God is an Infinite Point;" than which nothing can be said more (almost) or truer, to declare this Omnipresence of God. It is reported of Heraclitus the philosopher, when his friend came to visit him, being in an old rotten hovel, “ Come in, come in," saith he, “ for God is here :” God is in the meanest cottage, as well as in the stateliest palace: the poorest beggar cohabits with God, as well as the greatest princes; for God is every
where present and sees all things.
POSITION ï. GOD IS NOT ONLY PRESENT IN THE WORLD, BUT HE IS INFINITELY EXISTENT ALSO WITHOUT THE WORLD, AND BEYOND ALL THINGS BUT HIMSELF.
He is in all that vast tract of nothing, which we can imagine, and beyond the highest heavens.. What reason can say for this, I shall anon shew. In the mean time, see that one positive place of Scripture, 1 Kings viii. 27. Behold, the heaven, and heaven of heavens, cannot contain him: and if God be not contained in them, certainly he then must be infinitely beyond and above them: he surmounts the heaven of heavens, that is, the very highest and uppermost heavens, which St. Paul calls the third heaven : 2 Cor. xii. 2. that glorious place, in which God doth most specially manifest himself, and will do to all eternity. The Scripture tells us, that, though the heaven of the glorified angels and saints be the place in which God will especially manifest his presence, yet it is not that place unto which God will or doth confine his presence: Isai. Ixvi. 1, 2. Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool : where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made : as if God should have said, “ Do not think to cloister me up within the walls of the Temple: no; I am set upon the highest heavens, as upon my throne; and they are all under me, and I am exalted far above them.” Many such glorious expressions there are of God's infiniteness and immensity scattered up and down the Scripture, which I shall not now spend time to recollect. The Scripture, you see, owns it for a truth, that God is infinite in his essence, beyond the whole world : which is one of those divine properties, the possibility whereof it poseth reason to conceive; that since, beyond the world there is nothing, God should exist there. ' But, though reason cannot apprehend it, yet from reason, as well as from Scripture, it appears it must
Position iii. AS GOD EXISTS EVERY WHERE, SO ALL AND WHOLE GOD EXISTS EVERY WHERE. So that all God is here, and all God is there, and all God is in every place and in every thing.
This is, indeed; a great and most inconceivable mystery: but yet it must needs be so; because God is indivisible and simple, and not compounded, of parts: and, therefore, wherever there is any of God's essence, there is all his essence; otherwise, part of his essence would be here, and part there, and part of it elsewhere, which would be utterly repugnant to the simple and uncompounded nature of God. God's attributes are his essence: now there is no where, where God is, but there are all his attributes; and, therefore, where God is, there is all his essence. He is a spirit, most wise, most powerful, most just, and the like; here, and there, as well as in heaven above. Yea, and what is more, to the astonishment of reason, than all this, God is
every where omnipresent, and in every place. And, though it be common to all spiritual beings, because they have no parts, to have a totality in the whole and a totality in every part : (indeed it is expressed in the Schools, that spirits are all in the whole, and all in every part ;) yet, herein, God hath a peculiar way of subsisting from other spirits, that not only his essence alone is in every part of the world, but also his presence is in all and every part of the world; so that God is every where present: which is beyond the reach of our apprehensions; yet it is undoubtedly true, for God's omnipresence being that attribute which belongs to him, he is present every where and
in all things.
II. Now for the rational DEMONSTRATIONS, whereby it may be evinced, that God is omnipresent.
i. That God is PRESENT EVERY WHERE IN THIS WORJ.D I shall make good by these arguments :
1. From his unchangeableness.
If there be any place where God is not, then God may be there, because he is omnipotent; but if God may be there,
where he is not actually also, then it must be by motion to that place: but it is impossible that God should be able to move from one place to another, because he is immutable: therefore, hence it clearly follows, that there is no place, where God is not; and where he was not from all eternity.
2. It may be demonstrated, that God is omnipresent from his preservation of all things in their beings.
God is present with whatsoever he preserves : but he preserves every thing in its being : therefore he is
present every where. There is required as great a power to preserve creatures from falling back into their first nothing, as there was to make them at first out of nothing; for preservation, as the philosopher speaks, is nothing else but a continued and a prolonged creation: now he cannot create any thing at a distance from it, because no creature is fit to convey a creative action, and because also whatever virtue or power is in God it is his essence: therefore, if he create or preserve by his power,
he creates and
preserves immediately by his essence, and so his essence must be whatsoever his operations are.
ii. But God exists not only in the world, but INFINITELY BEYOND THE WORLD ALSO. That
From his Eternity
That nature, which is infinite, cannot be bounded or limited: but God's nature is infinite: therefore, it cannot be bounded. But if God were only present in the world, and did not exist infinitely beyond it, then his being and nature could not be infinite as a spirit is infinite; therefore, if God should be included in the world, he would also be but infinite as the world.
2. From the Infiniteness of his Perfections, we may argue thus :
That, which is infinitely perfect, must be infinitely great: but God is infinitely perfect; so that there is no perfection, which we can imagine, but is eminently in God: therefore he must be infinitely great; so as there can be no space which we can imagine, bat he must be present in it. But we can imagine an infinité space beyond this world: therefore God is there;