MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA TREATISE I. 7. THE IMMENSITY OF GOD.
Saint Michael the Archangel
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA
7. THE IMMENSITY OF GOD.
I. Immensity is an aspect of God s Infinity; it is the boundless diffusion of the Divine Essence ; and in virtue of this, God is ubiquitous or actually present in all created space. Consequently God does not move from place to place. To do so would be to change, which is contrary to His immutability ; and it would be acquiring something, certain relations for instance, not already possessed. God is not comprised within the dimensions of space, but He is at once in the whole of creation. In those great expanses beyond our solar system which surpass the capacity of arithmetic to describe, and which the swift rays of light take thousands of centuries to traverse, God is present throughout. He is above all things, not as being locally elevated, but as presiding over all : He is under all things, not as being abased, but as sustaining all : He is within all, not as being enclosed, but as filling them : He is outside all things, not as being excluded, but as enveloping them. Most literally then " in Him we live and move and be " (Acts xvii. 28). The whole of visible creation up to the remotest nebula is overwhelmed and lost in His immensity, like a microscopic animalcule in the depths of the ocean. Re member always this all-absorbing presence of the infinite God, and be ever full of respect for Him in all your words and thoughts and actions. What an outrage it is to sin against Him when actually living by His support and in Him!
II. God may be considered as universally present in three different ways. 1. He is present substantially, by His Divine Essence actually being here and everywhere. 2. He is present everywhere, in that He sees and knows all things ; and nothing escapes His watchfulness, even to the most secret thoughts of our souls. 3 He is present as ruling and guiding all things irresistibly, and operating in them by His power. Further, God is specially present with His elect. 1. The Apostle says : " Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (1 Cor. iii. 16). 2. There is a special watchful providence over the just, and predestination of them to grace and glory. 3. There is a special supernatural operation of God in the soul, including justifying grace, and the infusion of virtues, and help in all natural and spiritual duties. How wonderful it is that you should thus possess the kingdom of God within you ! This presence of God is your greatest treasure ; it gives you strength for every emergency, companionship in loneliness, cheerfulness as against depression, indomitable faith and confidence ; it is your happiness and your glory. Value it as such.
III. Although God is actually present in every place and is a witness of every event, yet He contracts no defilement from scenes of sin, He is not hurt by any outrage, He is not dishonoured by any blasphemy on earth or in hell. It is with Him as with the bright, pure rays of sunlight ; they shine upon every kind of foulness, but never become unclean or contaminated. God is present to all our sins, yet " He inhabiteth light inaccessible " (1 Tim. vi. 16) at the same moment. He is with us by His immensity and is far above us by His infinity. Nothing can pain Him. Nothing can touch His sanctity, His beauty, His perfect felicity. It is only God who can know of evil and not suffer the penalty of knowledge. We cannot pass through it or live amongst it without imminent peril, if not actual corruption. Keep far away from evil ; else, it is tempting God to ask Him to preserve you from it. You must encounter evil, but you need not therefore fall. If God be with you, you can do your duty in the world and still keep yourself unspotted from it. " I set the Lord always in my sight : for He is at my right hand, that I be not moved " (Ps. xv. 8).
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA BY THE RIGHT REV. JAMES BELLORD, D.D.