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when its displacemeni would occasion the downfall of periods of time which geology demands for its chemical other masses which are placed upon it.(5) Such are processes, are rendered unnecessary. From first formathose lofty and ancient mountains, the first and most tions, Mr. Penn proceeds to oppose the notion that the solid bones, as it were, of this globe,-les premiers, les earth has undergone many general revolutions, and plus solides ossemens,--which have merited the name thinks that all geological phenomena may be better of primitive, because, scorning all support and all explained by the Mosaic record, which con fines those foreign mixture, they repose always upon bases similar general revolutions to two. Mr. Penn's course of ob. to themselves, and comprise within their substance no servation will be seen by the following recapitulation matter but of the same nature.(6)— These are the of the second and third parts of his work : primordial mountains; which traverse our continents “That this globe, so constructed at its origin, has unin various directions, rising above the clouds, separating dergone two, and only two, general changes or revoluthe basins of rivers one from another; serving, by tions of its substance; each of which was caused by means of their eternal snows, as reservoirs for feeding the immediate will, intelligence, and power of God the springs, and forming in some measure the skeleton, exercised upon the work which he had formed, and or, as it were, the rough frame-work of the earth.(7) directing the laws or agencies which He had ordained These primitive masses are stamped with the character within it. of a formation altogether crystalline, as if they were “ That, by the first change or revolution [that of really the product of a tranquil precipitation.'(8) gathering the waters into one place, and making the

“ Had the mineral geology contented itself with this dry land appear] one portion or division of the surface simple mineralogical statement, we should have thus of the globe was suddenly and violently fractured and argued, concerning the crystalline phenomena of the depressed, in order to form, in the first instance, a first mineral formations; conformably to the principles receptacle or bed for the waters universally diffused which we have recognised. As the bone of the first over that surface, and to expose the other portion, that man, and the wood of the first tree, whose solidity was it might become a dwelling for animal life; but yet, essential for giving shape, firmness, and support to with an ulterior design, that the receptacle of the waters their respective systems, were not, and could not have should eventually become the chief theatre of animal been, formed by the gradual processes of ossification existence, by the portion first exposed experiencing a and lignification, of which they nevertheless must have similar fracture and depression, and thus becoming, in exhibited the sensible phenomena, or apparent indica- its turn, the receptacle of the same waters; which tions; so, reason directs us to conclude, that primitive should then be transsused into it, leaving their former rock, whose solidity was equally essential for giving receptacle void and dry. shape, firmness, and support to the mineral system of “That this first revolution took place before the this globe, was not, and could not have been, formed by existence, that is, before the creation, of any organized the gradual processes of precipitation and crystalli- beings. aation, notwithstanding any sensible phenomena, appa- " That the sea, collected into this vast fractured cavity rently indicative of those processes, which it may of the globe's surface, continued to occupy it during exhibit; but that in the mineral kingdom, as in the 1656 years (from the creation to the deluge); during animal and vegetable kingdoms, the Creating Agent which long period of time, its waters acted in various anticipated in his formations, by an immediate act, modes, chemical and mechanical, upon the several soils effects, whose sensible phenomena could not determine and fragments which formed its bed; and marine the mode of their formation; because the real mode was organic matter, animal and vegetable, was generaled in direct contradiction to the apparent indications of the and accumulated in vast abundance. phenomena.

“That, after the expiration of those 1656 years, it “But the mineral geology has not contented itself pleased God, in a second revolution, to execute his ulte. with that simple mineralogical statement; nor drawn rior design, by repeating the amazing operation by the conclusion which we have drawn, in conformity which he had exposed the first earth; and by the diswith the principles, and in observance of the rules, or ruption and depression of that first earth below the Newton's philosophy. It affirms, that the characters level of the bed of the first sea, to produce a new bed, by which geology is written in the book of nature, in into which the waters descended from their former bed, which it is to be studied, are minerals ;'(9) and it sees leaving it to become the theatre of the future generanothing in that book of nature but precipitations, tions of mankind. crystallizations, and dissolutions ;' and therefore, be- "That THIS PRESENT EARTH W&3 THAT FORMER BED. cause it sees nothing else, it concludes without hesita- “That it must, therefore, necessarily exlıibit manifest tion, from crystalline phenomena to actual crystalli- and universal evidences of the vicissitudes which it has zation. Thus, by attempting the impossibility of undergone; viz. of the vast apparent ruin occasioned deducing a universal principle, viz. the mode of first by its first violent disruption and depression; of the formations, from the analysis of a single individual, presence and operation of the marine fluid during the viz. mineral matter, separate from co-ordinate animal long interval which succeeded ; and of the action and and vegetable matter; and concluding from that defective effects of that fluid in its ultimate retreat. analysis, to the general law of first formations; it set out “ Within the limits of this General Scheme, all specuwith inadequate light, and it is no wonder that it ended lations must be confined which would aspire to the in absolute darkness; for such is its elemental chaos, quality of sound geology; yet vast and sublime is the and its chemical precipitation of this globe: a doctrine field which it lays open, to exercise the intelligence and 80 nearly resembling the exploded atomic philosophy experience of sober and philosophical mineralogy and of the Epicurean school, that it requires a very close chemistry. Upon this legitimate ground, those many and laborious inspection to discover a single feature, by valuable writers, who have unwarily lent their science which they may be distinguished from each other." to uphold and propagate the vicious doctrine of a chaotic

This argument is largely supported and illustrated in geogony, may geologize with full security; and may the work, and thus by referring first formations of there concur to promote that true advancement of naevery kind to an immediate act of God, these immense tural philosophy, which Newton holds to be inseparable

from a proportionate advancement of the moral. They (5) D'Aubuisson, i. p. 272.

must thus at length succeed in perfecting a true philo. (6) Saussure, Voyages des Alps, Disc. Prel p. 6,7. sophical geology; which never can exist, unless the (7) Cuvier, 07, p 39 (8) D'Aubuisson, ii. p. 5. principle of Newton form the foundation, and the rela(9) Ibid, p. 29

tion of Moses the working-plan."





This is the most ample and particular description of

the character of God, as given by himself, in the sacred The Existence of God.

records; and the import of the several titles by which The Divine Authority of those writings which are

he has thus, in his infinite condescension manifested received by Christians as a revelation of infallible truth himself, has been thus exhibited. He is not only Jehaving been established, our next step is seriously, and Hovah, self-existent, and Eu, the strong or mighty with simplicity of mind, to examine their contents, and God, but “Din Rochum, the merciful being, who to collect from them that ample information on religious is full of tenderness and compassion. 13n Chanun, and moral subjects which they profess to contain, and in which it had become necessary that the world should

the gracious one, he whose nature is goodness itselfbe supernaturally instructed. Agreeably to a principle the loving God. D'OX 778 Erec Apayim, longwhich has already been laid down, I shall endeavour, suffering, the being who, because of his tenderness, is as in the case of any other record, to exhibit their meaning by the application of those plain rules of in- not easiiy irritated, but suffers long and is kind. terpretation which have been established for such pur- Rab, the great or mighty one. 701 CHESED, the poses by the common agreement of the sober part of bountiful Being; he who is exuberant in his benefimankind. All the assistance within reach from critics, commentators, and divines shall however be resorted

cence. nOX EMETH, the Truth, or True One, He to; for, though the water can only be drawn pure from alone who can neither deceive nor be deceived. 733 the sacred fountain itself, we yet owe it to many of these TON NOTSER CHESED, the Preserver of bountifulness, guides, that they have successfully directed us to the he whose beneficence never ends, keeping mercy for openings through which it breaks, and led the way thousands of generations, showing compassion and into the depth of the stream.

The doctrine which the first sentence in this Divine mercy while the world endures. yob) 1W XV} Revelation unfolds is, that there is a God, the Creator Noni Nose avon vapeshâ vechataah, he 'who bears ef heaven and earth; and as this is fundamental to the away iniquity, transgression, and sin ; properly the whole scheme of duty, promise, and hope which the REDEEMER, the PARDONER, the FORGIVER, the Being books of Scripture successively unfold and explain, it whose prerogative it is to forgive sin, and save the soul. demands our earliest consideration.

op' x5 077) Naken lo yinnakeh, the righteous In three distinct ways do the sacred writers furnish Judge, who distributes justice with an impartial hand. us with information on this great and essential subject, the existence and the character of God ;-from the And ju po Paked âvon, &-c., he who visits iniquity, names by which he is designated; from the actions he who punishes transgressors, and from whose justice ascribed to him; and from the attributes with which no sinner can escape: the God of retributive and vinhe is invested in their invocations and praises; and in dictive justice.”(2) those lofty descriptions of his nature which, under the The second means by which the Scriptures convey inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have recorded for to us the knowledge of God, is by the actions which the instruction of the world. These attributes will be they ascribe to him. They contain indeed the important afterward particularly considered; but the impression record of his dealings with men in every age which is of the general view of the Divine character, as thus comprehended with the limit of the Sacred History; revealed, is too important to be omitted.

and by prophetic de ration they also exhibit the prinThe names of God as recorded in Scripture convey ciples on which he will govern the world to the end of at once ideas of overwhelming greatness and glory, time; so that the whole course of the Divine adminismingled with that awful mysteriousness with which to tration may be considered as exhibiting a singularly all finite minds, and especially to the minds of mortals, illustrative comment upon those attributes of his nature, the Divine essence and mode of existence must ever which, in their abstract form, are contained in such be invested. Though One, he is 01177* Elohim, declarations as those which have been just quoted. The

first act ascribed to God is that of creating the heavens Gods, persons adorable. He is 17177' JEHOVAH, self- and the earth out of nothing; and by his fiat alone eristing. 58 Eu, strong, powerful; 'nx Enen, arranging their parts, and peopling them with living I am, I will be, self-existence, independency, all-suffi- creatures. By this were manifested-bis eternity and ciency, immutability, eternity; 70 SHADDAI, Al- self-existence, as he who creates must be before all creamighty, all-sufficient; 198 Adon, Supporter, Lord, derive it from none :-his Almighty power, shown both

tures, and he who gives being to others can himself Judge. These are among the adorable appellatives of in the act of creation and in the number and vastness God which are scattered throughout the revelation of the objects so produced :-his wisdom, in their arwhich he has been pleased to make of himself: but on rangement, and in their fitness to their respective ends :one occasion he was pleased more particularly to declare and his goodness, as the whole tended to the happiness “his name," that is, such of the qualities and attributes of sentient beings. The foundations of his natural and of the Divine nature, as mortals are the most interested moral government are also made manifest

his crein knowing; and to unfold, not only his natural, but ative acts. In what he made out of nothing he had an those also of his moral attributes by which his conduct absolute right and prerogative of ordering and disposal : towards his creatures is regulated. “And the Lord so that to alter or destroy his own work, and to propassed by and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, scribe the laws by which the intelligent and rational merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant part of his creatures should be governed, are rights in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, which none can question. Thus on the one hand his forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin, and that character of Lord or Governor is established, and on will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity the other our duty of lowly homage and absolute obeof the fathers upon the children, and upon the child dience. ren's children, unto the third and fourth generation."(1) Agreeably to this, as soon as man was created, he (1) Exodus xxxiv.

(2) Dr. A. Clarke in loc.

was placed under a rule of conduct. Obedience was turning.” That" he is the fountain of Life," and the to be followed with the continuance of the Divine fa- only independent Being in the Universe, “who only vour; transgression with death. The event called hath immortality.That every other being, however forth' new manifestations of the character of God. exalted, has its existence from him; "for by him were His tender mercy, in the compassion showed to the all things created, which are in heaven and in earth, fallen pair; his JUSTICE, in forgiving them only in the whether they are visible or invisible.That the existview of a satisfaction to be hereafter offered to his jus- ence of every thing is upheld by him, no creature being tice by an innocent representative of the singing race; for a moment independent of his support; "by him all his love to that race, in giving his own Son, to become things consist," upholding all things by the word of this Redeemer, and in the fulness of time to die for the his power.” That he is OMNIPRESENT: “ Do not I fill sins of the whole world; and his HOLINESS, in con- ven and earth with my presence, saith the Lord necting with this provision for the pardon of man the That he is OMNISCIENT, “ All things are naked and means of restoring him to a sinless state, and to the open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do." obliterated image of God in which he had been created. That he is the absolute LORD and Owner of all things: Exemplifications of the Divine MERCY are traced from The heavens, even the heaven of heavens, are thine, age to age, in his establishing his own worship among and all the parts of them.". The earth is thine, and men, and remitting the punishment of individual and the fulness thereof, the world and them that dwell therenational offences in answer to prayer offered from peni- in.He doeth according to his will in the armies of tent hearts, and in dependence upon the typified or heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth.actually offered universal sacrifice :--of his CONDE- That his PROVIDENCE extends to the minutest objects : SCENSION, in stooping to the cases of individuals; in The hairs of your head are all numbered.

" Are his dispensations both of providence and grace, by not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them showing respect to the poor and humble; and, princi- shall not fall on the ground without your Father.pally, by the incarnation of God in the form of a ser- That he is a being of unspotted Purity and perfect vant, admitting men into familiar and friendly inter- RECTITUDE: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts !" course with himself, and then entering into heaven to “ A God of truth, and in whom is no iniquity.Of be their patron and advocate, until they should be re- purer eyes than to behold iniquity.” That he is JUST, ceived unto the same glory," and so be for ever with in the administration of his government: “ Shall not the Lord;"--of his strictly RIGHTEOUS GOVERNMENT, the Judge of the whole earth do right ?" Clouds and in the destruction of the old world, the cities of the darkness are round about him; judgment and justice plain, the nations of Canaan, and all ancient states, are the habitation of his throne.That his wisdom is upon their “filling up the measure of their iniquities; unsearchable: “O the depth of the wisdom and knowand, to show that "he will by no means clear the ledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, guilty;" in the numerous and severe punishments in- and his ways past finding out!And, finally, that he flicted even upon the chosen seed of Abraltam, because is Good and MERCIFUL: Thou art good, and thy of their transgressions :--of his LONG-SUFFERING, in mercy endureth for ever.His tender mercy is over frequent warnings, delays, and corrective judgments, all his works.” “ God, who is rich in mercy, for his intlicted upon individuals and nations, before sentence great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were of utter excision and destruction :--of FAITHFULNESS dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ.and TRUTH, in the fulfilment of promises, often many

God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, ages after they were given, as in the promises to Abra- not imputing their trespasses unto them.God hath ham respecting the possession of the land of Canaan given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son." by his seed; and in all the “promises made to the fa- Under these deeply awful, but consolatory views, do thers" respecting the advent, vicarious death, and illus- the Scriptures present to us the supreme object of our trious offices of the Christ, the Saviour of the world :- worship and trust, dwelling upon each of the above of his IMMUTABILITY, in the constant and unchanging particulars with inimitable sublimity and beauty of lanlaws and principles of his government, which remain guage, and with an inexhaustible variety of illustrato this day precisely the same, in every tliing universal, tion; nor can we compare these views of the Divine as when first promulgated, and have been the rule of Nature with the conceptions of the most enlightened his conduct in all places as well as through all time:- of pagans, without feeling how much reason we have of his PRESCIENCE of future events, manifested by the for everlasting gratitude, that a revelation so explicit predictions of Scripture;--and of the depth and sta- and so comprehensive should have been made to us on bility of his COUNSEL, as illustrated in that plan and a subject which only a revelation from God himself purpose of bringing back a revolted world to obedience could have made known. It is thus that Christian phiand felicity, which we find steadis kept in view in the losophers, even when they do not use the language of scriptural history of the acts of God in former ages; the Scriptures, are able to speak on this great and which is still the end towards which all his dispensa- mysterious doctrine in language so clear, and with contions bend, however wide and mysterious their sweep; ceptions so noble; in a manner too so equable, so difand which they will finally accomplish, as we learn ferent to the sages of antiquity, who, if at any time from the prophetic history of the future, contained in they approach the truth when speaking of the Divine the Old and New Testaments.

Nature, never fail to mingle with it some essentially Thus the course of Divine operation in the world erroneous or grovelling conception. “By the word has from age to age been a manifestation of the Divine God," says Dr. Barrow, “we mean a being of infinite character, continually receiving new and stronger illus- wisdom, goodness, and power, the creator and the trations to the completion of the Christian revelation governor of all things, to whom the great attributes of by the ministry of Christ and his inspired followers, and eternity and independence, omniscience and immenstill placing itself in brighter light and more impressive sity, perfect holiness and purity, persect justice and aspects as the scheme of human redemption runs on veracity, complete happiness, glorious majesty, and to its consummation. From all the acts of God as re- supreme right of dominion belong; and to whom the corded in the Scriptures, we are taught that he alone is highest veneration and most profound submission God; that he is present every where to sustain and and obedience are due."(3) “Our notion of Deity," govern all things; that his wisdom is infinite, his coun- says Bishop Pearson," doth expressly signify a Being sel settled, and his power irresistible; that he is holy, or nature of infinite perfection; and the infinite perfecjust and good; the Lord and the Judge, but the Father tion of a Being or nature consists in this, that it be and the Friend of man.

absolutely and essentially necessary; an actual Being More at large do we learn what God is, from the de- of itself; and potential, or causative of all beings clarations of ihe inspired writings.

besides itself, independent from any other, upon which As to his SUBSTANCE, that "God is a Spirit.As all things else depend, and by which all things else are to his DURATION, that from everlasting to everlasting governed.”(4) "God is a Being, and not any kind of he is God;" “ the King, eternal, immortal, invisible." being; but a substance, which is the foundation of other That, after all the manifestations he has made of him beings. And not only a substance, but perfect. Yet self, he is, from the infinite perfection and glory of his many beings are perfect in their kind, yet limited and nature, inCOMPREHENSIBLE; “ Lo, these are but parts finite. But God is absolutely, fully, and every way

ways, and how little a portion is heard of him!” | infinitely perfect; and therefore above spirits, above Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out." That be is UNCHANGEABLE, the Father of Lights,

(3) Barrow on the Creed. wir whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of

(4) Pearson on the Creed.

of his

angels who are perfect comparatively. God's infinite cord revelations received from this newly discovered perfection includes all the attributes, even the most Being, and to enforce laws uttered under his command. excellent. It excludes all dependence, borrowed exist- Nothing of this kind is attempted ; and the sacred his. ence, composition, corruption, mortality, contingency, torian and lawgiver proceeds at once to narrate the acts ignorance, unrighteousness, weakness, misery, and all of God, and to declare his will. The history which imperfections whatever. It includes necessity of being, he wrote, however, affords the reason why the intro. independence, perfect unity, simplicity, immensity, duction of formal proof of the existence of one true eternity, immortality; the most perfect life, know- God was thought unnecessary. The first man, wo ledge, wisdom, integrity, power, glory, bliss, and all are informed, knew God, not only from his works, but these in the highest degree. We cannot pierce into the hy sepsible manifestation and converse; the same divine secrets of this eternal Being. Our reason comprehends appearances were made to Noah, to Abraham, to Isaac, 10 but little of him, and when it can proceed no farther, Jacob; and when Moses wrote, persons were still living, faith comes in, and we believe far more than we can un- who had conversed with those who conversed with derstand: and this our belief is not contrary to reason; God; or were descended from the same families to but reason itself dictates unto us, that we must believe whom God "at sundry times” had appeared in visible far more of God, than it can inform us of.”(5) To these glory, or in angelic forms. These divine manifestations we may add an admirable passage from Sir Isaac New- were also matters of public notoriety among the primiton: “ The word God frequently signifies Lord; but tive families of mankind; from them the tradition was every lord is not God; it is the dominion of a spiritual transmitted to their descendants; and the idea once Being or Lord that constitutes God; true dominion, communicated, was confirmed by every natural object true God; supreme, the supreme; feigned, the false which they saw around them. It continued even after God. From such true dorninion it follows, that the true the introduction of idolatry, and has never, except God is living, intelligent and powerful; and from his among the most ignorant of the heathen, been to this other perfections, that he is supreme, or supremely per- day obliterated by polytheistic superstitions. It was fect; he is eternal and infinite; omnipotent, and om- thus that the knowledge of God was communicated to niscient; that is, he endures from eternity to eternity; the ancient world. No discovery of this truth, either and is present from infinity to infinity. He governs all in the time of Moses, or in any former age, was made things that exist, and knows all things that are to be by human research ; neither the date nor the process of known: he is not eternity or infinity, but eternal and it could therefore be stated in his writings; and it would infinite; he is not duration or space, but he endures and have been trifling to moot a question which had been is present; he endures always, and is present every so fully determined, and to attempt to prove a doctrine where; he is omnipresent, not only virtually, but also universally received. substantially; for power without substance cannot That the idea of a Supreme First Cause was at subsist. All things are contained and move in him; first obtained by the exercise of reason, is thus contrabut without any mutual passion; he suffers nothing dicted by the facts, that the first man received the knowfrom the motions of bodies; nor do they undergo any ledge of God by sensible converse with him, and that resistance from his omnipresence. It is confessed, that this doctrine was transmitted, with the confirmation God exists necessarily, and by the same necessity he of successive visible manifestations, to the early ancesexists always and every where. Hence also he must tors of all nations. Whether the discovery, therefore, be perfectly similar, all eye, all ear, all arm, all the of the simple truth of the existence of a First Cause power of perceiving, understanding and acting; but be within the compass of human powers, is a point after a manner not at all corporeal, after a manner not which cannot be determined by matter of fact; because like that of men, after a manner wholly to us unknown. it may be proved that those nations by whom that docHe is destitute of all body, and all bodily shape; and trine has been acknowledged, had their origin from a therefore cannot be seen, heard, or touched; nor ought common stock, resident in that part of the world in he to be worshipped under the representation of any which the primitive revelations were given. They thing corporeal. We have ideas of the attributes of were therefore never in circumstances in which such God, but do not know the substance of even any thing: an experiment upon the power or weakness of the huwe see only the figures and colours of bodies, hear only man mind could be made. Among some uncivilized sounds, touch only the outward surfaces, smell only tribes, such as the Hottentots of Africa, and the Aboriodours, and taste tastes; and do not, cannot, by any gines of New South Wales, the idea of a Supreme Besense, or reflex act, know their inward substances; ing is probably entirely obliterated; some notions of and much less can we have any notion of the sub- spiritual existences, superior in power to man, and stance of God. We know him by his properties and possessed of creative and destructive powers, do howattributes."

ever remain, naturally tending to that train of reflecIt is observable that neither Moses, the first of the tion, which in better instructed minds issues in the inspired penmen, nor any of the authors of the suc- apprehension of one Supreme and Divine intelligence. ceeding canonical books, enters into any proof of this But no instance has been known of the knowledge of first principle of religion, that there is a Gov. They God having thus, or by any other means, originating in all assume it as a truth commonly known and admitted themselves, been recovered ; if restored to them all, it There is indeed in the sacred voliime no allusion to the has been by the instruction of others, and not by the existence of atheistical sentiments, till some ages after rational investigation of even superior minds in their Moses, and then it is not quite clear whether speculative own tribes. Wherever there has been sufficient mental or practical atheism be spoken of. From this circum- cultivation to call forth the exercise of the rational stance we learn, that, previous to the time of Moses, faculty in search of spiritual and moral truth, the idea the idea of one supreme and infinitely perfect God of a First Cause has been previously known; wherever was familiar to men; that it had descended to them that idea has been totally obliterated, the intellectual from the earliest ages, and also that it was a truth of powers of man have not been in a state of exercise, original revelation, and not one which the sages of pre- and no curiosity as to such speculations has been ceding times had wrought out by rational investigation awakened. Matter of fact does not therefore support and de:luction. Had that been the fact, we might have the notion, that the existence of God is discoverable by expected some intimation of it: and that if those views the unassisted faculties of man; and there is, I conof God which are found in the Pentateuch were dis- ceive, very slender reason to admit the abstract procovered by the successive investigations of wise men bability. among the ancients, the progress of this wonderful dis- A sufficient number of facts are obvious to the most covery would have been marked by Moses; or if one cursory observation, to show that, without some degree only had demonstrated this truth by his personal re- of education, man is wholly the creature of appetite. searches, that some grateful mention of so great a sage, Labour, feasting, and sleep divide his time, and wholly of so celebrated a moral teacher, would have been made. occupy his thoughts. If therefore we suppose a First A truth too so essential to the whole Mosaic system, Cause to be discoverable by human investigation, we and upon which his own official authority rested, had must seek for the instances among a people whose civi. it originated from successful human investigation, lization and intellectual culture have roused the mind would seem naturally to have required a statement of from its torpor, and given it an interest in abstract and the arguments by which it had been demonstrated, as a philosophic truth; for to a people so circiimstanced fit introduction to a book in which he professed to re. as never to have heard of God, the question of the

existence of a First Cause must be one of mere philo(5) Lawson's Theo-Politica.

sophy. Religious motives, whether of hope or fear,

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have no influence where no religion exists, and its very but who has received no idea of God by any revelation,
first principle is here supposed to be as yet undisco- whether from tradition, Scripture, or inspiration, how
vered. Before, therefore, we can conceive the human is he to convince himself that God is, and from whence
mind to have reached a state of activity sufficiently en is he to learn what God is? That of which as yet he
ergetic and curious even to commence such an inquiry, knows nothing, cannot be a subject of his thought, his
we must suppose a gradual progress from the uncivi- reasonings, or his conversation. He can neither aflirm
lized state to a state of civil and scientific cultivation, nor deny till he know what is to be affirmed or denied.
and that without religion of any kind; without moral From whence then is our philosopher to divine, in the
control ; without principles of justice, except such as first instance, his idea of the infinite Being, concern-
may have been slowly elaborated from those relations ing the reality of whose existence he is, in the second
which concern the grosser interests of men, if even place, to decide ?"(8)
they be possible; without conscience; without hope or “Would a single individual, or even a single pair of
fear in another life. That no society of civilized men the human race, or indeed several pairs of such beings as
has ever been constituted under such circumstances, we are, if dropped from the hands of their Maker in the
is what no one will deny; that it is possible to raise a most genial soil and climate of this globe, without a sin-
body of men into that degree of civil improvement gle idea or notion engraved on their minds, ever think
which would excite the passion for philosophic inves- of instituting such an inquiry; or short and simple as
tigation without the aid of religion, which, in its lowest the process of investigation is, would they be able to
forms of superstition, admits in a defective degree what conduct it, should it somehow occur to them? No
is implied in the existence of God, a superior, creative, man who has paid due attention to the means by which
governing, and destroying power, can have no proof all our ideas of external objects are introduced into
and is contradicted by every fact and analogy with our minds through the medium of the senses; or to
which we are acquainted. Under the influence and the still more refined process by which reflecting on
control of religion, all states, ancient and modern, have what passes in our minds themselves, when we com-
hitherto been formed and maintained. It has entered bine or analyze these ideas, we acquire the rudiments
essentially into all their legislative and gubernative in- of all our knowledge, of intellectual objects, will pre-
stitutions; and Atheism is so obviously dissocializing, tend that they would. The efforts of intellect neces-
that even the philosophic atheists of Greece and Rome sary to discover an unknown truth, are so much greater
confined it to their esoteric doctrine, and were equally than those which may be sufficient to comprehend that
zealous with others to inaintain the public religion as a truth, and feel the force of the evidence on which it
restraint upon the multitude, without wh; 5 they clearly rests, when fairly stated, that for one man, whose in-
enough discerned that human laws, and merely human tellectual powers are equal to the former, ten thousand
motives, would be totally ineffectual to prevent that are only equal to the latter."(9)
selfish gratification of the passions, the enmities, and “ Between matter and spirit, things visible and invi-
the cupidity of men, which would break up every com- sible, time and eternity, beings finite and beings infinite,
munity into its original fragments, and arm every man objects of sense and objects of faith, the connexion is
against his fellow.

not perceptible to human observation. Though we
From this we may conclude, that man without reli- push our researches therefore to the extreme point,
gion cannot exist in that state of civility and cultiva- whither the light of nature can carry us, they will in
tion in which his intellectual powers are disposed to, the end be abruptly terminated, and we must stop
or capable of such a c urse of inquiry as might lead short at an immeasurable distance between the creature
him to a knowledge of God; and that, as a mere bar- and the Creator."(1)
barian, he would be wholly occupied with the gratifica- These observations have great weight, and though
tion of his appetites or his sloth. Should we however we allow, that the argument which proves that the
suppose it possible, that those who had no previous effects with which we are surrounded must have been
knowledge of God, or of superior invisible powers, caused, and thus leads us up through a chain of sub-
might be brought to the habits of civil life, and be en- ordinate cause to one First Cause, has in it a simplicity,
gaged in the pursuit of various knowledge (which it- an obviousness, and a force, which, when we are pre-
self however is very incredible), it would still remain viously furnished with the idea of God, makes it at first
a question, whether, provided no idea from tradition or sight difficult to conceive, that men, under any degree of
instruction had been suggested of the existence of spi- cultivation, should be inadequate to it; yet, if the human
ritual superior beings, or of a supreme Creator or Ruler, mind ever commeneed such an inquiry at all, it is
such a truth would be within the reach of man, even highly probable, that it would rest in the notion of an
in an imperfect form. We have already seen, that a eternal succession of causes and effects, rather than
truth may appear exceedingly simple, important, and acquire the ideas of creation, in the proper sense, and
evident, when once known, and on this account its de- of a supreme Creator. Scarcely any of the philoso-
monstration may be considered easy, which neverthe- phers of the most inquisitive ages of Greece, or those
less has been the result of much previous research, on of their followers at Rome, though with the advantage
the part of the discoverer.(6) The abundant rational of traditions conveying the knowledge of God, seem to
evidence of the existence of God, which may now be have been capable of conceiving of Creation out of no-
so easily collected, and which is so convincing, is there thing,(2) and they consequently admitted the eternity
fore no proof, that, without instruction from Heaven, the of matter. This was equally the case, with the theist-
human mind would ever have made the discovery. ical, the atheistical, and the polytheistical philoso-
“God is the only way to himself; he cannot in the least phers.(3) It was not among them a subject of dispute;
be come at, defined, or demonstrated by human reason; but taken for a point settled and not to be contradicted, that
for where would the inquirer fix his beginning? He matter was eternal, and could not therefore be created.
is to search for something he knows not what; a nature Against this notion, since the revelation of truth to
without known properties; a being without a name. man, philosophy has been able to adduce a very satis-
It is impossible for such a person to declare or imagine factory argument; but, though it is not a very recon-
what it is he would discourse of, or inquire into; a na- dite one, it was never discovered by philosophy while
ture he has not the least apprehension of; a subject he unaided by the Scriptures. In like manner philosophy
has not the least glimpse of, in whole or in part; can now furnish cogent arguments against an infinite
which he must separate from all doubt, inconsistencies, succession of causes and effects; but it does not appear
and errors; he must demonstrate without one known probable that they could have been apprehended by
or sure principle to ground it upon; and draw certain
necessary conclusions whereon to rest his judgment, (8) Hare's Preservative against Socinianism.
without the least knowledge of one term or proposition (9) Gleig's Stackhouse Intro.
to fix his procedure upon; and therefore can never (1) Van Mildert's Discourses. (2) Vide Part 1. c. iv.
know whether his conclusion be consequent, or not con- (3) “Few, if any, of the ancient pagan philosophers
sequent, truth or falsehood, which is just the same in acknowledged God to be, in the most proper sense, the
science, as in architecture, to raise a building without Creator of the world. By calling him anulspyos "the
a foundation."(7)

Maker of the world,' they did not mean, that he brought " Suppose a person, whose powers of argumentation it out of non-existence into being; but only that he are improved to the utmost pitch of human capacity, built it out of pre-existent materials, and disposed it

into a regular form and order.” See ample proofs and (6) Vide Part 1. c. iv.

illustrations in c. 13, Part 1. of LELAND's Necessity of (7) Ellis's Knowledge of Divine Things,


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