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not be missed more than a grain of sand upon the sea-shore. The space they possess is so exceedingly little in comparison of the whole, that it would scarce make a blank in the creation. The chasm would be imperceptible to an eye that could take in the whole compass of nature, and pass from one end of the creation to the other; as it is possible there may be such a sense in ourselves hereafter, or in creatures which are at present more exalted than ourselves. We see many stars by the help of glasses which we do not discover with our naked eyes; and the finer our telescopes are, the more still are our discoveries. Huygenius carries this thought so far, that he does not think it impossible there may be stars whose light has not yet trayelled down to us since their first creation. There is no question but the universe has certain bounds set to it; but when we consider that it is the work of infinite power prompted by infinite goodness, with an infinite space to exert itself in, how can our imagination set any bounds to it?
To return, therefore, to my first thought; I could not but look upon myself with secret horror as a being that was not worth the smallest regard of one who had so great a work under his care and superintendency. I was afraid of being overlooked amidst the immensity of nature, and lost among that infinite variety of creatures which in all probability swarm through all these immeasurable regions of matter.
In order to recover myself from this mortifying thought, I considered that it took its rise from those narrow conceptions which we are apt to entertain of the divine nature. We ourselves can not attend to many different objects at the same time. If we are careful to inspect some things, we must of course neglect others. This imperfection which we observe in ourselves is an imperfection that cleaves in some degree to creatures of the highest capacities, as they are creatures; that is, beings of finite and limited natures. The presence of every created being is confined to a certain measure of space, and consequently his observation is stinted to a certain number of objects. The sphere in which we move, and act, and understand, is of a wider circumference to one creature than another, according as we rise one above another m the scale of existence. But the widest of these our spheres has its circumference. When, therefore, we reflect on the divine nature, we are so used and accustomed to this imperfection in ourselves, that we can not forbear in some measure ascribing it to Him in whom there is no shadow of imperfection. Our reason indeed assures that his attributes are infinite, but the poorness of our conceptions is such, that it can not forbear setting bounds to every thing it contemplates, until our reason comes again to our succour, and throws down all those little prejudices which rise in us unawares, and are natural to the mind of man.
We shall, therefore, utterly extinguish this melancholy thought of our being overlooked by our Maker, in the multiplicity of his works and the infinity of those objects among which he seems to be incessantly employed, if we consider, in the first place, that he is omnipresent; and, in the second, that he is omniscient.
If we consider him in his omnipresence, his being passes through, actuates, and supports the whole frame of nature. His creation, and every part of it, is full of him. There is nothing he has made that is either so distant, so little, or so inconsiderable, which he does not essentially inhabit. His substance is within the substance of every being, whether material or immaterial, and as intimately present to it as that being is to itself. It would be an imperfection in him were he able to remove out of one place into another, or to withdraw himself from any thing he has created, or from any part of that space which is diffused and spread abroad to infinity. In short, to speak of him in the language of the old philosopher, he is a being, whose centre is everywhere, and his circumference nowhere.
In the second place, he is omniscient as well as omnipresent. His omniscience, indeed, necessarily and naturally flows from his omnipresence: he can not but be conscious of every motion that arises in the whole material world, which he thus essentially pervades; and of every thought that is stirring in the intellectual world,
to every part of which he is thus intimately united. Several moralists have considered the creation as the temple of God, which he has built with his own hands, and which is filled with his presence. Others have considered infinite space as the receptacle, or rather the habitation, of the Almighty. But the noblest and most exalted way of considering this infinite space is that of Sir Isaac Newton, who calls it the sensorium of the Godhead. Brutes and men have their sens sensoriola, or little sensoriums, by which they apprehend the presence, and perceive the actions of a few objects that lie contiguous to them. Their knowledge and observation turn within a very narrow circle. But as God Almighty can not but perceive and know every thing in which he resides, infinite space gives room to infinite knowledge, and is, as it were, an organ to omniscience.
Were the soul separate from the body, and with one glance of thought should start beyond the bounds of the creation-should it for millions of years continue its progress through infinite space with the same activity-it would still find itself within the embrace of its Creator, and encompassed round with the immensity of the Godhead. While we are in the body, he is not less present with us because he is concealed from us. 'Oh that I knew where I might find him!' says Job. 'Behold I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I can not perceive him: on the left hand where he does work, but I can not behold him he hideth himself on the right hand that I can not see him.' In short, reason as well as revelation assures us that he can not be absent from us, notwithstanding he is undiscovered by us.
In this consideration of God Almighty's omnipresence and omniscience, every uncomfortable thought vanishes. He can not but regard every thing that has being, especially such of his creatures who fear they are not regarded by him. He is privy to all their thoughts, and to that anxiety of heart in particular which is apt to trouble them on this occasion: for as it is impossible he should overlook any of his creatures, so we may be confident that he regards with an eye of mercy those who endeavour to recommend themselves to his notice, and in an unfeigned humility of heart think themselves unworthy that he should be mindful of them.
Ambrose and John Philips, Thomas Parnell, William Somerville, and Thomas Tickell next claim our attention.
AMBROSE PHILIPS was of an ancient Leicestershire family, and was born in 1671. He was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge, and while at the university acquired some notoriety as a writer of Pastorals. On leaving the university he repaired to London, and soon became conspicuous among the wits of the town. Sir Richard Steele was his particular friend, and inserted, with unmeasured praise, the following poem in the 'Tatler,' written by Philips at Copenhagen, in 1709, and addressed to the Earl of Dorset:
TO THE EARL OF DORSET.
From frozen climes, and endless tracts of snow,
By snow disguised, in bright confusion lie,
No gentle-breathing breeze prepares the spring,
And spout his waters in the face of day.
And yet but lately have I seen, even here, The winter in a lovely dress appear,
Ere yet the clouds let fall the treasured snow,
The stag, in limpid currents, with surprise
The frighted birds the rattling branches shun,
When, if a sudden gust of wind arise,
The crackling wood beneath the tempest bends
And by degrees unbind the wintry charm,
And journeys sad beneath the dropping trees:
Like some deluded peasant, Merlin leads
Through fragrant bowers, and through delicious meads;
While here enchanted gardens to him rise,
Philip's pastorals, though more natural, are, in every other respect, much inferior to those of Pope. But he was an elegant versifier, and the following fragment, translated from Sappho, is a poetical gem so brilliant that Warton thought Addison must have assisted in its composition:
Blessed as the immortal gods is he,
'T was this deprived my soul of rest,
My bosom glowed; the subtle flame
In dewy damps my limbs were chilled,
On the accession of George the First to the throne, Philips was made commissioner of the collieries; and when Dr. Boulter became archbishop of Armagh, in Ireland, the poet accompanied the prelate to that country, and there soon after rose to very considerable preferments. In 1748, having acquired some property, he purchased an annuity of four hundred pounds, and returned to London, there to pass the remainder of his life in ease; but his health soon after failed, and he died in the following year.
Besides various other poems and translations, Philips was the author of three dramas, The Distressed Mother, The Briton, and Humphrey Duke of Gloucester; But as their merit is not above mediocrity, they require no farther notice.
JOHN PHILIPS was the son of Dr. Stephen Philips, and was born at Bampton, in Oxfordshire, on the thirteenth of December, 1676. His father was archdeacon of Salop, and minister of Bampton; and after the future poet had received the rudiments of his education, he was sent to Westminster school, where he was soon distinguished, not only for the superiority of his exercises, but for his civility and good-nature, which soon made him the idol of his school-fellows. While at school he became acquainted with the poets, both ancient and modern, and particularly admired Milton.
In 1694, Philips entered Christ Church College, Oxford, and soon became distinguished as an eminent genius, even among the most eminent of his college. His reputation was, however, confined to his friends and to the university, until he published, in 1703, the Splendid Shilling, which extended it to a much wider circle. This performance, by its novel character, raised his fame so high, that when all Europe resounded with the victory of Blen
heim, he was, probably through indirect opposition to Addison, engaged, by the Tory party, to celebrate that great event for them. He would willingly have declined this task, but his friends insisted that he should perform it. The next year he produced his great work, the poem on Cider, in two books. This production was unusually successful, and continued long to be read as a happy imitation of Virgil's Georgics.' Becoming now more confident in his own abilities, Philips began to meditate a poem on the Last Day. This work he did not, however, live to finish. His diseases,' in the language of Dr. Johnson, 'a slow consumption and an asthma, put a stop to his studies, and on the fifteenth of February, 1708, at the beginning of his thirty-third year, put an end to life.' He was buried in the cathedral of Hereford; and a monument was afterward erected for him in Westminster Abbey, by Sir Simon Harcour, afterward lord chancellor of England.
Philips' life was brief, and his works few. The 'Splendid Shilling,' written to burlesque the style of Milton, has the merit of original design, but little more can be said in its praise; and to assert that 'Blenheim' is not below mediocrity, is as much as can be said in its favor. To the poem on 'Cider,' may be given this peculiar praise, that it is based in truth; that the precepts it contains are exact and just; and that while it is a book of entertainment, it is at the same time, a good manual for a gardener. It remains only for us to present a passage from this author's poems to complete the present sketch. We select the closing part of the 'Splendid Shilling.'
So pass my days. But when nocturnal shades
In vain; awake I find the settled thirst
Thus do I live, from pleasure quite debarr'd,