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Of the OMNISCIENCE of
Job xxxvii. 16. last part, Of Him that is perfect in Knowledge.
HESE words are a Declara- SER M, tion of that Divine Attribute, XI. the Perfection of Knowledge. In difcourfing upon which Subject, I fhall 1ft endeavour to prove plainly and intelligibly, that God who is the Governour and Judge of all, must be a Being indued with perfect Knowledge. 2dly, I fhall offer fome Obfervations concerning the particular Nature and Circumftances of the divine KnowR 4 ledge.
SER M. ledge, And 3dly, I fhall make some praXI. ctical Reflections upon the whole.
I. In order to prove plainly and intelligibly, that God is a Being which must of Neceffity be indued with perfect Knowledge; 'tis to be observed, that Knowledge is a Perfection, without which the foregoing Attributes are no Perfections at all, and without which thofe which follow can have no Foundation. Where there is no Knowledge, Eternity and Immenfity are as nothing; and Juftice, Goodness, Mercy, and Wisdom can have no place. The Idea of Eternity and Omniprefence devoid of Knowledge, is as the Notion of Darkness compared with That of Light; 'tis as a Notion of the World, without the Sun to illuminate it; 'tis as the Notion of inanimate Matter, (which is the Atheists fupreme Cause,) compared with That of Life and Spirit. And as for the following Attributes, Justice, Goodnefs, Mercy, and Wisdom; 'tis evident that, without Knowledge, there could not possibly be any fuch thing as These at all.
AGAIN: That God must be himself a Being indued with perfect Knowledge, appears from his having to other Beings communicated certain degrees of that Perfection.
For whatever Perfection is in SER M. any Effect, must of Neceffity have been XI. much more, in the Caufe that produced it. Nothing can give to Another, that which it hath not itself: And therefore from the Figure and Motion, from the Compofitions and Divifions of lifeless Matter, 'tis evident nothing could ever have arifen, but lifeless Matter. Wherefore fince in Created Beings there are many degrees of Knowledge, it follows neceffarily that the Perfection of Knowledge, must be in Him that created them: P. xciv. 8, Ye Fools, when will ye be wife? He that planted the Ear, fhall He not hear? He that formed the Eye, fhall He not fee? -be that teaches man Knowledge, fhall not He know? In the cafe of Imperfections indeed, the Argument lies otherwise: Thefe may be in the Effect, though they were not in the Caufe: And the reafon is evident; Because though nothing can give what it has not, yet any caufe may forbear to give all that it has; Though nothing can communicate more, than it has itself; yet it may communicate as much less, as it pleases. Finitenefs therefore, which is but a Negation; and all the confequences of
SER M. being Finite, fuch as Figure, Motion, XI. Compofition, Divifion, and the like; may be in the Creature, though they are not in the Creator. But whatsoever is a real pofitive Perfection, as Knowledge is; must have been firft and perfect in the original Caufe, or else it could never have been tranfmitted to any thing that was produced.
Laftly, To conclude this First Head, as needing not much inlargement; From the Immenfity or Omnipresence of God, may the fame Truth be likewise clearly evinced For from thence it follows, if he is an Intelligent Being at all, (as has already been proved by the foregoing Arguments;) it follows, I fay, from his Omniprefence, that his Knowledge mut be Infinite and Perfect. For where-ever Himfelf is, his Knowledge is, which is infeparable from his Being, and must therefore be infinite; And where-ever his infinite Knowledge is, 'tis plain it muft neceffarily have a thorough profpect of the inmoft nature and effence of every thing; fo that nothing can be concealed from his Infpection.