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grade, who knows by experience, that from nothing nothing can come. He sees a lamb; but it came from the ewe: he sees a chicken; but it came from the parent hen: and he sees a crop of corn; but it came from the seed that was sown in the earth.
III. That which existed from eternity was either matter or mind. If mere matter, there never could have been mind, because a thing cannot give what it has not in itself; but if an all-powerful mind existed from eternity, matter might be created out of nothing, by his omnipotent power.
Matter has not either thought, or will, or power; and how could it, by any possible combination, produce pure intellectual faculties? We might as well assert, that a tree may produce a bird, or that a stone may produce an angel. Matter cannot move until it be moved; it cannot produce any thing but what is material; nor even that, without the influence and direction of some intelligent power. But the case is widely different in a perfect spiritual Being, who has both wisdom and power to do whatsoever he pleases: and, therefore, though matter could not create mind, yet a spirit of unlimited wisdom and power might create
IV. If that which existed from eternity be mind, we discover an intelligent Being, who never began to be, and who will exist for ever
and ever; and that Being, whom none can comprehend, is God.
This glorious and Almighty Being could create matter, and every rank and order of intellectual beings, by the word of his power. He is a Being who never began to be, who depends on none, but upon whom all other beings depend. His name is JEHOVAH, which implies, He who is, He who was, and He who will be. Him we adore as the supreme Lord of heaven and earth, and of all worlds in the immeasurably wide universe.
V. The works of creation, including the heavens and the earth, prove his existence.
Universal nature proclaims the being of a God. From east to west, from north to south, men of all nations are favoured with sufficient proofs of this important truth. Reason, when assisted by revelation, discovers God in his glorious works. Let us open our eyes, and view, with deep attention, the heavens and the earth. Then ask ourselves, Who made these? Did they make themselves? Or did they come by chance?* Impossible. They were created
* Ned Craven, a plain Yorkshire man, once met an atheist, when the sun shone in his strength; and pointing to that bright luminary, put this question, "What dost thou call that thing there?" The atheist replied, "I call it the sun." "Well," said the honest rustic, "how did it come?" The atheist answered, "It came by chance." Then Ned asked him, how it was that another sun had not come
by an all-wise, all-powerful, and all-gracious God. If these works made themselves, they existed before they began to exist; and if they came by chance, wondrous things were done by that which was not; for chance is nothing but a name, or some imaginary cause that has no existence; and it is absolutely certain that there never was an effect without a real
There is satisfactory proof of design in all the works of creation; and where there is design, there must be an intelligent Being; and that Being, whose wisdom meets the eye in every direction, is the God whom we adore. In a well-built house, we see a fine display of mind; but much more so in the visible world, which is the house of God. Nothing has been left to chance or hazard; but all, things have been contrived to answer most valuable purposes; and all things move to their proper end, with a constant and steady aim. View the regular course of the planets and the tides; examine the regular succession of the seasons; and reflect on the unvarying return of day and night. Then consider the fowls of the air, the fishes of the sea, and the beasts of the field; all are fitted for their rank and station, and all are provided with
by chance; observing, that there might have been two or three by chance before that time. To this the atheist made no reply, well knowing, that the regular and steady order of nature cannot possibly be the effect of chance.
suitable food, and amazing instincts, exactly adapted to their varied states and circumstances. Take a view of the unnumbered tribes of insects and reptiles, many of them extremely beautiful, and all of the most curious mechanism. Some so extremely small that they are almost invisible; but all furnished with a multiplicity of parts curiously contrived to answer the purposes of life. And did they make themselves? Or did they come by chance? Again: look at the earth, covered with a beautiful verdure. What a vast variety of plants, trees, flowers, and fruit, contrived for the use of the living, plainly proving that they are the works of a wise and benevolent Being.
But man is the greatest work of God in this lower world. Survey his astonishing powers, both of body and mind; and you will be convinced that he stands related to some superior Being who made him what he is, and who upholds him by his power. His body is "fearfully and wonderfully made;" and his mind is nearly allied to angelic intelligences. But did he come by chance? We are aware that he now comes into the world by a natural birth, and owes his being to the instrumentality of his parents; but this instrumentality may be traced up to a first pair, who were created by an almighty hand. Thus a tree may grow from a species; but how was the first
seed of its own
tree produced? Did man make himself? The
question is absurd; but it may be put to an atheist. Either man created himself, or he was created by another. "He who makes himself, must be said to do one of these two things, that is, either to have made himself before he existed, or else to have made himself after he existed, either of which is impossible." But if men were created by some other being, the question is, who was that being? It is absolutely certain, that no creature, of any rank or order, can create any thing at all. The Archangel, with all his power and glory, could not create the most insignificant weed that grows; nor could men, with all their wisdom and power, create the smallest particle of matter. This affords indubitable proof that the Creator of man, whose powers surpass all other beings in our world, is the Lord God Almighty. To him the work was easy; for he is a Being of unlimited and unchangeable perfections.
VI. The consent of all nations, whether barbarous or civilized, is an argument of great weight for the being of a God.
Wise men, in every age of the world, have believed in the existence of an invisible Being; a Being of infinite wisdom, almighty power, and boundless goodness. And those senseless mortals who worship idols, imagine that there is a divinity in those idols, whose wrath they dread; but who, when pleased, has power to save. This is a sad corruption of the original