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every part of creation. The motions and revolutions of the heavenly bodies are uniform, though extremely various. There is uniformity amidst variety in every species of grain, of grass, of flowers, of trees and of animals. There is a great uniformity among the many millions of mankind, yet an almost infinite variety. The human body is a most curious piece of machineту. Its various parts are not only well proportioned, but nicely constructed and situated, to answer their various purposes. The feet are admirably fitted for walking, the hands for laboring, the eyes for seeing, the ears for hearing, and the mouth for both feeding and speaking. Indeed, not only the human frame, but the whole creation, appears to be made for use. All the luminaries of heaven serve many and important purposes. They not only afford light to the earth, but divide time into days, months, and years, and a happy variety of seasons. Air and earth, fire and water, are all necessary to support and preserve the lives of men, of animals, and vegetables. The seas which divide, at the same time, unite the numerous nations of the earth. The lower species of animals appear to be made for the service of the higher; the higher and lower species appear to be made for the service of man; and man, a rational and noble creature, appears to be made for the service of his Maker. Such variety, uniformity, regularity, and intelligence in the effect, clearly demonstrate intelligence and wisdom in the Cause. The world bears stronger marks of the design of the Creator, than a clock, or watch, or any other curious machine, bears of the ingenuity of the artificer. Indeed, it is easier to conceive, that houses should be framed; that cities should be built; and all the arts and sciences carried to the highest pitch of improvement by mere chance; than that this beautiful,
regular, and useful world should have been framed by any other cause, than a wise intelligent Being, who resolved and adjusted, in his own mind, every part of it before he called it into existence. When we survey the order, usefulness, and intelligence of the things that are made, we as clearly see and understand the manifold wisdom, as the eternal power of the God; head.
3. The Builder and Upholder of the world must be every where present. : It is the nature of all created beings and objects, to be constantly and absolutely dependent upon their Creator. But if he constantly upholds all his creatures and all his works, then he must be constantly present in every part of his wide creation. We cannot conceive, that any cause can operate where it does not exist; and of course, we cannot conceive, that the Creator and Preserver of the world should exert his power beyond the limits of his presence. But it is certain, that his preserving and governing power extends to eyery creature and every object, whether great or small, through every part of the created universe; and therefore it is equally certain, that his presence constantly fills and surrounds the whole creation. And this gives us the highest possible idea of the immensity of the divine presence.
· 4. The Maker and Governor of the world must be a Being of boundless knowledge.
: He must necessarily know himself, and be intuitively acquainted with all his natural and moral perfections. And by knowing these, he must necessarily know all possibles; that is, all things which lie within the limits of omnipotence to produce. This is that knowledge, which constitutes one of the essential attributes of the great first Cause. And besides this, he must necessa
rily have the knowledge of his own purposes and dedgns, which is properly termed fore-knowledge. For, by knowing his own decrees, he necessarily knows allactuals; that is, all things that ever will exist. Hence it appears, that his understanding is infinite, and his knowledge boundless. His great and capacious mind comprehends, at one view, all things past, present, and to come.
And more than this, cannot be known. 5. The first, supreme, and intelligent Cause of all things must be Eternal. To suppose the first Cause had a cause of his existence, is to suppose there was a cause before the first Cause. Or to suppose he was the cause of his own existence, is to suppose that he existed and operated, before he did exist. Or to suppose that he came into existence without any cause, is to suppose what has been proved to be impossible. Hence we are constrained to suppose, that there is something in his nature, which renders his existence absolutely necessary and eternal. And though we cannot explain the necessity and eternity of the divine existence; yet this is no real objection against it, because it is reasonable to suppose, the great Creator should exist in a manner, which surpasses the comprehension of all his creatures.
6. The Framer of our bodies and the Father of our spirits must be a Being of moral rectitude.
He hath engraven the evidence of this upon the minds of all intelligent creatures. For, when he made them, “he bent them to the right;" or gave them a capacity of discerning the moral beauty or deformity
every moral agent. But can we suppose, the Creator would furnish his creatures with a faculty, by which they could discover his own moral character, unless he knew himself to be possessed of perfect rectitude and spotless purity? For, if he were not of such
a character, his creatures whom he endued with moral powers would be capable of discovering it; and whenever they should discover it, they would be under moral obligation to hate and detest the Author of their existence. Hence the moral faculty in man carries in it a clear demonstration of the moral rectitude of his Maker. Besides, the whole world bears innumerable marks of the divine goodness. It is every way adapted to satisfy the reasonable desires of all reasonable creatures. And the more the works of God have been explored, by the most inquisitive and discerning minds, the more of his goodness, as well as of his wisdom, has been discovered. All the works of creation and providence have such a natural and direct tendency to promote the holiness and happiness of mankind, that, notwithstanding the prevalence of natural and moral evil, there is abundant reason to conclude that he, who built all things, is Good. And it is well known, that goodness is the sum and comprehension of all moral excellence. Thus it appears, by the most natural and conclusive mode of reasoning, that there must be a first and supreme Cause of all things, who is possessed of every natural and moral perfection. It now remains to make a few deductions from the subject.
1. If it be true, that the visible world displays the being and perfections of the Deity; then all who rea. son themselves into atheism, are guilty of extreme folly. Those who assume the name of Atheists, generally profess to be masters of superior knowledge and penetration, and affect to despise the rest of mankind, as weak, ignorant, superstitious creatures. But if the world in which we live, and all the objects which come to our view, bear clear and obvious marks of the supreme power, wisdom, and goodness of their Author; then the imputation of folly and weakness must re,
bound upon those, who, in defiance of reason and common sense, deny the being and perfections of the first and supreme Cause, who hath impressed his own great and amiable character upon all his works. Professing themselves to be wise, they become fools, and expose their folly to all men, who make a proper use of their rational powers. It requires much learned labor in any of mankind, to become Atheists in
speculation. They must stifle the plain dictates of reason and the common feelings of humanity, by deep and subtile sophistry, before they can renounce the idea of the necessary connexion between cause and effect, which is the last step in the road to Atheism. But when they have taken this step, they have leaped over all the principles of fair reasoning, and put it out of their own power to prove the existence of any other intelligent being, beside themselves. For, if it be once allowed, that any thing can begin to exist, and consequently continue to exist, without a cause; then the actions of men are no evidenee of their intellectual powers. And the Atheist, who makes this concession, has no principle left, upon which he can justly conclude, that there is any being in the universe, except himself, who possesses the least degree of perception or intelligence. He, therefore, who says and believes that there is no God; must, in order to be consistent, say and believe, that there are no men. But is it not
. extreme folly in any man to say and believe, that all mankind are fools, but himself? Such shame must be the promotion of learned and voluntary fools. - It behoves those, therefore, who are leaning toward Atheism, and laboring to reason themselves into the disbelief and denial of the Deity, to turn from their dangerous folly, and employ their noble powers to the better purpose of pursuing the chief end of man, which is to glorify God, and enjoy him for ever.