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From observations in a former chapter, we have already inferred its being wholly improbable that our infantine sight should have been now so formed, as to explore the infinitude of space. (p. 4.) Dr. Watts very justly remarks, that “ wheresoever God displays his glory, that is heaven.” The prophetic and apostolic writers describe the Deity as filling heaven and earth with his presence, as a being whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain, and as the high and lofty One who inhabiteth eternity. These sublime descriptions are eminently calculated to convey vast ideas of the immensity and omnipresence of God. But though the whole creation is ever visible unto Him, and He is not far from any one of us, yet still we know that He does not reveal his glories to every order of created beings. We find Adam, even in his holy, honourable, and innocent estate, only blessed with occasional visits; and from the parity observable between the nature of our world, and the other globes of our solar system, there is much reason to suspect that their inbabitants may be similarly circumstanced with
ourselves in this most important particualr, and that they are not
so favoured as constantly to behold their God. Their habitations, like ours, are each of them opaque bodies
; they are, if we may be permitted to use the appellation, our near allies in the universe, as we undoubtedly stand in a mutual relation to them, as they to us. They perform their stated periodical revolutions with unvaried exactness, around the same glorious body of light and heat as we do, having their days and nights, their years and seasons, produced and determined by this cause in the same manner as are ours-like us they are cheered and illumined by his beams; and on this account must doubtless have been created at one and the same juncture.
Scriptural information abundantly confirms the justness of these observations; truly philosophic is its relation of the stupendous work, creation ; for when God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years; each planet of our system was equally interested in, and included in this command as we were. When it is further recorded that God made two great lights, it is immediately subjoined, that He made the stars also. The annexed remark on the grand performance is, Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. A wonderful work, that could alone be effected by a most benevolent and omnipotent hand. And when our extended contemplation observes that general analogy which so perspicuously pervades almighty operations throughout our starry heavens -its countless hosts—its numberless constellations of fixed stars, resembling in their nature our great celestial luminary and each other-converting supposition almost into certainty, that their invariable and perfect Maker has ordained them for the illumination of worlds far remote from us, though formed in elementary similitude ; these considerations point not only at a possibility, but also a very high degree of probability, that none of the inhabitants of this lower district are now so blest as always to enjoy God's blissful pre
But if to constantly behold the visible presence of the greatest, wisest, best of beings, beaming with benignant love and approbation, is the most exquisite felicity which intelligents can experience ; if, to contemplate infinite perfection be a source of the highest delight; and if the happiness of the Deity does consist in imparting happiness ;-then is our unassisted reason still more fully confirined in the persuasion, that far beyond our sight vast regions stretch-far and distant countries, (Luke xix. 12,) immense districts of the universe, where highest orders of created beings, archangels, ministering spirits, cherubim, and seraphim, continually do dwell; where our kind guardians always behold the universal Father; (Matt. xviii. 10;) where God does ever manifest his more immediate presencefor in that is fulness of joy; at his right-hand are pleasures for evermore. (Psalm xvi. 11.) These blessed realms are probably those which St. Paul distinguishes by the appellation of the third heavens: this implies a second division, and perhaps these lower heavens which we behold may be denominated the first. That these contain abodes innumerable, well suited for the accommodation of intelligent creatures, is a position already advanced, and which we think no rational or philosophic mind can disbelieve; leaving no room for doubt, but that those remoter climes are replete with buildings of the great Artificer's erection-houses not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (2 Cor. v. 1.)
But the information given us by our blessed Lord forms a still more striking coincidence with the foregoing reasoning. He, as the Archbishop of Cambray beautifully observes, speaks of the celestial regions with a holy familiarity quite unlike the apostolic writers.
In my Father's house are many mansions. (John. xiv. 2.) Amidst the vast expanse his presence fills, are worlds not to be numbered but by the great Omniscient, for He alone does tell their number, calling them all by name. (Psalm cxlvii. 4.) But, immense as his dominions are, and infinite as He is who governs them, let not your hearts be troubled who rely on me: I go to prepare a place for you. (John xiv. 1.) And this place, we are expressly told, is within the veil-whither the forerunner is entered for us. (Heb. vi. 20.) Now the strong and forcible language in which these emblematic veils were directed to be made, fully evinces the importance of the objects they were intended to represent; for we find Moses not merely commanded, but even admonished, to see that He made all things according to the pattern showed him in the mount, (Heb. viii. 5,) where the Lord spake unto him, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel that they bring me an offering; of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart, ye shall take my offering; and let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell amongst them. (Exod. xxv. 2. 8.) St. Paul observes, “ Then verily the first covenant (or tabernacle for the word oknun, as Doddridge remarks, in his Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, signifies tabernacle, and the tabernacle here spoken of is in the Old Testament denominated the court of the congregation,) had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary; for there was a tabernacle made; the first,* wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shew bread, which is called the sanctuary; and after the second veil, the tabernacle which was called the holiest of all.”
The symbolic patterns delineated by the Mosaic dispensation unquestionably teem with import, and these distinctly describe the temple as containing three separate divisions ; namely, first, the court of the tabernacle, (Exod. xxvii. 9,) in which was placed the brazen altar for burnt offerings; secondly, the holy place, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and
By the first, as here used, is meant the first of the holy places; this the ensuing passage clearly proves, by recording that after the second veil was the tabernacle, which was called the holiest of all,