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Of THEOLOGY, or the EXISTENCE of a DEITY; and the FIRST PRINCIPLES of NATURAL RELIGION.
AN only, of all other Beings, Man only rais able fo to view and confider tional and able Things which appear all around to discover the Being of a God. him, that by duly comparing one with another, and a juft Method of Arguing, or Reafoning from Effects to their Caufes, he can at laft easily arrive to, or make a Difcovery of a Prime or First Caufe, the Great Author and Maker of all Things, and which, by us, is called GOD.
AND as the whole Frame and Order of Things, which we bebold, is what we call Nature; fo that Nature. Act of the Mind whereby we confider and compare Things, according to their various Natures and Relations, and deduce from thence the Exiftence of a God, is what we call Reafon. And the Reafon. Arguments and Motives which are afforded us from the View and Profpect of Nature in her feveral Parts, and whereby we are induced and inclined to give our Affent to the Doctrine of the Being of a God, is what we call the Light of Light of
AND e'er we reckon fix, eight, or ten Years of difcovering from our Births, we are able, in fome Degree, to exert this noble Faculty of Reason, and make fome Progress in the divine Discovery aforefaid, viz. of God's Existence and moral Qualities: And this Faculty of Reafon, as we grow in Years, becomes more strong and perfect, and works on the pure and untainted Mind with native Force, and fuch powerful and clear Proof, as we can neither deny nor withstand. And thus, as Saint Rom. i. 19, Paul has obferved, what is neceffary to be known
The Voice of Nature univerfal,
Pfal. xix. 1,
and loudly proclaims a
of God, (or indeed can be known of him by us) is manifeft in the Works of Creation; even his eternal Power and Godhead is clearly feen, being understood by the Things which are made. So that all Perfons, capable of Reason, are without Excufe, who do not readily acknowledge the Being and Glory of God.
NOR is there any Part of Nature within our View, (nor any Place where there is not fuch a View of Nature) which doth not loudly call upon us to receive and confefs this great and divine Truth. The Heavens declare the Glory of God; and the rich Furniture thereof, the Sun, the Moon, and Stars, fhew themselves to be his Handy-work: Day unto Day uttereth Speech, and Night unto Night fheweth Knowledge. There is no Nation on the Face of the whole Earth, where their Voice is not heard; for it is gone thro' all the Earth, and their Words to the End of the World.
FROM hence we are naturally led to furvey Sorts of created and make a proper Distinction and Arrangement Beings. of the Works of Nature: We fee all Things confift of Matter, which is for the most part obvious to our Senfes; and we are most agreeably furprised with a wonderful and infinite Variety of First Class. Forms, Conditions, and Qualities of natural Substances.
ftances. Some Parts of Matter we obferve to be without Motion, Senfe, or Life, as Stones and Earth. Others we fee are endued with a Power of growing and extending themselves into special Forms and Sizes, as Herbs and Trees, which there- Second Clafs. fore have innate Motion, and may, in some Senfe, be faid to live or have Life, tho' in the lowest Degree. The next Clafs of Beings which prefent themselves, is in a Degree much fuperior Third Class, to the foregoing, the Subjects of which are all endued with native Motion, Life in the most perfect Degree, and the Quality of Senfation; that is, they are capable of Seeing, Hearing, Tafting, Smelling, and Feeling of all thofe Objects which come within the Reach of any of these five Senfes. These Creatures are therefore called. Animals, because they have the Faculty of Life, or are endowed with a living Soul. And of all Animals, Man is the Head and Ruler, on account most perfect of the far more perfect and excellent Faculties of all others. and Powers of his Mind, and especially that of Reafon, by which he is diftinguifh'd from, and fet above and over all the other Creation, as King and Lord of all; and from hence he is called a Rational Animal; not but that Reason, in various inferior Degrees, may be very juftly allow'd to other Animals, who, on divers Occafions, give very convincing Proofs thereof.
BUT Man alone is capable of ufing his Reason The principal to the nobleft Purpofes, to wit, the finding out Argument the Being and Perfections of God, his Provi-proving the Being of a God. dence, and the Certainty of a future State after Death. For he can thus reafon or argue: Every Thing that is, or doth exift, receives its Being either from itself, or fome other Principle or Caufe; but nothing can be the Cause of itself, for that implies, that while it is not, it is capable of acting, or producing its own Being, which is evidently