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Serm. be far from thinking there are any such emoIV. tions in his most blessed and perfect mind, as
we feel in ourselves arising from things surprizing or disagreeable to us. A little reflection would convince us that such passions show the imperfection of our state, and a mixture of unhappiness in it; and therefore they cannot possibly affect the infinite selffufficiency, the undisturb'd rest and the
pers fect felicity of the supreme independent Being, When therefore he is spoken of as having indignation, compassion, anger or grief, it is only to be understood as an analogical representation of his conduct as governor of the world towards his creatures. What men would do when they are compassionate, angry or grieved, that God does, or produces a similar effect, with unerring wisdom, perfect tranquillity and goodness, without the weakness of pity, the sensation of sorrow, or perturbation of wrath.
Again, an unchangeable life or absolute immortality is a property belonging to the Divine nature as it is spiritual. Our spirits are subject to pains and changes in their condition, from the body and otherwise; other fpirits of a higher order may be fo too in various degrees; but the most perfect Spirit is infinitely above the reach of sufferings, and infi
nitely remote from all possibility of change. SERM. Such is the absolute fimplicity of his Being, IV. free from any mixture or composition, there are no feeds or principles of decay within him, nor can he suffer from any thing without. We find by experience, that our compounded natures, made up of different parts, are liable to diffolution ; it is the more simple fpiritual part of our constitution that shall outlive the present state, and being dislodg'd of the earthly tabernacle, shall sublist separately. But there is a great difference between our immortality and God's: Ours, as we were created for bis good pleasure, continually depends upon it, and may cease if he pleases; but it is impossible he should not be the living God, the same immutable Spirit, yesterday, and to day and for ever.
I shall only add, as the foundation of the improvement I propose to make of this subject, and which the text leads us to, namely, the regulating of our worship; That the Deity is not resembled by any sensible forms ; His nature and attributes are alike effentially different from all the properties and qualities of matter; and no one part of it makes any nearer approaches to him than another. He is not to be touched or handled, and no man hath seen him at any time, nor can see him. The most subtle æther, or the purest light, is no VOL, I.
Serm.image of his spiritual substance ; and the huIV. man hape is no more a true representation of
God than the fhape of any other animal, nay, than a clod of earth or any other inanimate thing. It was therefore wisely provided by the Lawgiver of the Jerus, (whose principal care seems to have been the preserving of their worship from idolatry) that no image should be made of the Godhead; and he gives the Teason for it, that in all the miraculous appearances and extraordinary manifestations God had ever vouchfafed to them, (and they were very many) they had never seen any familitude; there was never any handle given them for so absurd and gross a conceit, as that the Deity is like any visible being in the whole world. We read often of God's discovering his glory to them, as at the giving of the law, by a prodigious tempest, thunder and fire; and in their march through the wilderness, by a cloud in the day, and a pillar of fire in the night, which were called the tokens of his -prefence; tho' really he is alike present in all places. Such astonishing things were apt to Atrike the minds even of very ftupid people with a sense of his interposition in their behalf; and that his care and power were employ'd for them. But still there was no determinate thape, 119 figure of any abiding senGble object,
imitable by human art, whereby they should SERM, have the least countenance or occafion given IV. them, to make an image of their God, or change bis glory into tbe likeness of any creature. It is true, we read sometimes in the Old Testament of divine appearances in a human form. Thus God is said to have spoken to Mofes face to face as a man speaks to bis friend; and of the three angels which appeared to Abraham in the likeness of men, before the destruction of Sodom, one was distinguish'd by the peculiar veneration of that eminent saint, as of a fuperior character. But this seems to be rightly understood by interpreters concerning the Mefias, that divine Person who was in the form of God, before his incarnation. Several passages of the Old Testament and the New compar'd together, plainly intimate that he was with the Ifraelites, conducting them as the divine Presence, and the Angel of the covenant, in whom the name of God was. St. Stephen, in the 7th of the AEts, speaking of God's appearing to Moses in the burning bush, and saying with an audible voice, I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob; St. Stephen, I say, expressly attributes this to the person whom he calls the Angel of the Lard, and who was with Mofes in the church in the wilderness. And the Apostle
Serm.Paul* mentioning the fins and punishments of
tion to us on whom the ends of the world are come,
I shall in the next place, confider the practical purpose to which our Saviour has gone before us, 'in applying this important doctrine of natural religion asserted in the text, namely, the regulating our worship. First of all
we may see the absurdity of that practice which great multitudes of mankind have run into, the forming corporeal images of the Deity as mediums of Worship. The worThipping of false gods, that is beings, whether