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an infinite variety; that is, he must be serm. every where present.
But farther, it is evident, that being every where present is the highest degree of perfection; because if it is a perfection to exist at all, and a greater to exist through longer periods of time, it must also be a perfection to exist in larger portions of space, and so on, till we arrive at the notion of a boundless being that is every where. Therefore, if God is not every where present, he cannot be infinitely perfect, but must only be a finite being, confined within certain limits, and his powers determined, which feems contrary to the natural notion of a first and necessary cause; and then we might also imagine another being more perfect and of superior attributes, which is a plain absurdity; for is it not abfurd to imagine, the possibility of a being more perfect than the cause of all things?
It is true, it is difficult for us, from our weak and narrow notions, to ima. gine, how this can be an attribute of the Divine nature, but we see that it must be so, because it is impossible for his power to act where he is not, and because without this he could not be all7
SER M. powerful and infinitely perfect. Howi ever, we may conceive of it faintly in this
As we fee that inferior creatures, of less perfect powers than burfelves, have a less sphere of activity, in which they act and exert their powers at a less distance, and can attend to fewer things than we; fo we may imagine, that there
be other beings more perfect than us, which use their powers at a greater distance, and attend to more things in greater variety. And by enlarging our imagination, we may still conceive, that there may
be incomparably more perfect beings than these, that can use their faculties at greater distances, and upon a greater variety of things, and so on; till by thus afcending in our thoughts, we may conceive a being infinitely perfect, whose powers are exerted every where, upon an infinite variety of things, through the immensity of space. And this is God, who by the necessity of his nature exists every where, and fills all things; or, as the scripture expresseth it, in whom we live, move, and have our being.
I might also mention, that fome have endeavoured to illustrate the notion of
God's being every where present with his SERM,
VI. works, by the comparison of a soul that animates a body: Not that they supposed God to be the soul of the world, for that is too gross; but only, that as the soul gives life and motion to the body, and is sensible of whatever happens to it, fo God acts upon his works, and pera ceives all occurrences among them.
I come now to the
II. Thing I propofed ; to mention some general consequences of this doctrine of God's being every where present. And
1. We see plainly from 'hence, the unity of the Divine nature, and the absurdity of Polytheism. For if there could be more Gods than one, then each of thefe must be infinite, and every where present, or else each of them must exist within certain limits, and be confined to particular regions of the universe. Now in the first case, if there could be a plurality of infinite beings, then each of them must exist together in every part of space, and operate together in the various productions of nature; so that to every effect, there would be more than one in
SER M. finite cause to produce it : and besides
this, their natures must be so blended together, that there must be confusion ; for how is it possible, without confusion, to imagine different beings of the fame kind, each of them having immenfity, and fill. ing all things. And we can no more conceive, how more beings than one, of the same kind, can have immensity, or be
every where present, than that more bodies than one, can be in the one and the same place. But if in the other case, we could suppose each of them to be confined within certain limits and regions of the universe, and their powers restrained to some particular things, which was the notion of the heathens ; then these must be imperfect beings, of limited powers, separated from, and independent of one another, and each of them incapable of doing a variety of things; and then there could be no infinitely perfect, fupreme, and necessary cause of all things; and consequently, there could be no proper object of supreme worship and adoration, because each of these, might occasionally, be unable to affist their votaries. So that God's being every where present, shews plainly the unity of the
Deity; which is the foundation of all true SERM. and rational religion.
2. From hence it is evident, that God must be also infinite in knowledge. For if he is every where present, if he exists in every part or portion of space, all things, and their properties, and circumstances must be known unto him, and he must see them distinctly, in whatever way they may be involved together. Nothing can be hidden from him or kept secret; all things must be within the reach of his view. And therefore, all the actions of all moral agents, however dispersed through the universe, must be perfectly known unto him; he must know their down-fitting and up-rising, and understand their thoughts afar off. The in, most and essential parts of their nature must be known unto him, and be continually before him. They cannot dissemble with him, nor conceal their most inward motions from him.
3. If God is every where present, we may see also, that his providence must extend to all, even the minutest things. For if he exists in every part of infinite space, what alteration, what movement can there be of any the least particle of