MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA TREATISE I. 6. THE INFINITY OF GOD.
BEINASCHI, Giovan Battista
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA
6. THE INFINITY OF GOD.
I. God is infinite in the number of His perfections. It is true that, by virtue of the divine simplicity, the attributes of God are all one and indistinguishable ; yet we perceive Him, not as He is, but as our limitations permit. No concept of ours can represent adequately that which is at one and the same time every perfection. We must then view God, now as this perfection, now as that, though all the time we are conscious that all perfections are identified in Him; and that He not only has them all, but further is them all, in the indivisible simplicity of His essence. God is far more than the sum of all the perfections we can conceive. We can imagine only the perfections which we find in creatures ; but God could go on creating for ever more and more perfect beings, without exhausting the revelation of His own perfections. The prophet babbled helplessly, unable to con vey a fraction of the mysteries made known to him. "A a a Lord God ! Behold I cannot speak : for I am a hild" (Jer. i. 6). St. Paul also saw secret things which cannot be uttered in human speech (2 Cor. xii. 4). How many things you have seen and enjoyed ! Yet they are nothing to the wonders of this earth ; and they in their turn are nothing to the wonders of the wider universe ; and they again are nothing to the marvels of the angelic world ; and the whole sum of all is but the flash of a single ray proceeding from the intense brilliancy of the Divinity. "There are many things hidden from us that are greater than these ; for we have seen but a few of His works" (Eccli. xliii. 36). Adore the Infinity of God.
II. Furthermore, each one of the innumerable perfections of God is infinite in its range and its intensity. Each one is supreme ; it cannot be increased by any addition ; neither is it subject to the limitations which beset all things within our experience ; nor can any perfection fall short or fail. Thus, strictly speaking, the patience of God can never fail, nor does His mercy come to an end. When we use such expressions, it is to indicate a permanent change which man by his obstinacy and rejection of God works in himself. God cannot be limited by time, for He is eternal ; nor by space, for He is immense ; He is not limited by the measure of our intelligence (as many would seem to think when they pass judgment on His decrees), for He is incomprehensible; still less is God expressed adequately by the terms we use to describe Him, for He is ineffable. Neither can our hearts fathom the delights of His love. Thus every perfection of God surpasses all understanding. "We shall say much and yet shall want words ; but the sum of our words is, He is all" (Eccli. xliii. 29). How miserable are you before these awful infinities! Humble yourself in silence before this greatness, which your words cannot describe and your mind cannot imagine.
III. God is infinite in magnificence and grandeur. "The Lord is terrible and exceeding great, and His power is admirable " (Eccli. xliii. 31). How can we possibly form any idea to ourselves of this? We can only heap up words indefinite, that convey only the idea that we have no adequate idea of God. We can only picture to ourselves the trivial scenes of grandeur that we know on earth, the angry sea, a thunder-storm in the tropics, a great battle, the triumphant reception of a conqueror, an Oriental pageant, the ancient glories of Egyptian architecture, the inaccessible heights of a wilderness of snow-clad mountains. These absorb all our faculties and fill us with awe and speechless admiration. They are but little after all, and yet we cannot rise beyond them in our present life. What adoration and awe are due to God ! How wonderful is His presence ! We are actually in that presence when we kneel before the silent tabernacle ! Let not the lowly surroundings diminish your awe of the; Majesty that dwells there
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA BY THE RIGHT REV. JAMES BELLORD, D.D.