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creation, and in its established laws, the more conspicuous is the union of benignity with wisdom, in the productions of an intelligent agent.
Not being in subjection to his own productions, being superior to all foreign opposition, and his wisdom invariably discerning what is best, the Will of this intelligent cause must be wise, immutable, and above controul.
Being incapable of deceiving or of injuring the meanest or the most exalted of his creatures; having a right, by the law of creation, to obedience to every duty enjoined upon his intelligent creatures; knowing the full extent of their powers, and viewing them with the eye of a benevolent source of their existence, he cannot be unjust, either in his requisitions or his punish
Not deriving his perfections from any one; knowing, without possibility of mistake, in what perfection consists, and possessing wisdom to give it the preference to the contrary,
perfections must be as boundless and uninterrupted,
as his knowledge, bis wisdom, and his will. Thus as no interposition of matter can circumscribe his existence; as no part of space can refuse his presence; as no intellectual defect can obscure his knowledge; as no power can resist the source of all power; as no will can controul his, who gave to every being the power to will; as he must prefer perfection to imperfection, as decidedly as he discerns the distinctions; the necessary result is, that this great first Cause must possess every possible perfection.
As to enjoy existence is the incessant desire of every created being; for it is this enjoyment alone which renders existence a blessing; as he himself has implanted these desires in all sensitive and conscious beings, and has pointed out to intelligent beings the way to procure it; this Being must know in what happiness consists; he must know its indispensable value, and he must enjoy it to an extent as unbounded as his own perfections.
These attributes and perfections prove to us the unity of the divine nature. The supposition of two or more eternal, self-existent, neces
sarily existent, independent, omnipresent beings; possessing equal power, wisdom, and goodness, is absurd and contradictory. If one be equal to every possible production, the others would be unnecessary; might remain inert without any deficiency in the creation ; and the attribute of necessary existence, respecting thein, would be annihilated.
Although our minds be lost in wonder and astonishment, when we employ their faculties upon the unoriginated existence, the spirituality, omnipresence, omniscience, and universal irresistible energy of the one intelligent Cause, yet our embarrassment is the natural, and necessary result of the infinite disproportion between our powers, and the subjects they contemplate. Fi. nite conceptions cannot possibly grasp the whole of what is infinite. But incomprehensibility implies no other contradiction, than that which would consist in pretending to fathom it. These sentiments oppose not any one principle of rea,
Our reason confesses the necessity of admitting them, in order to explain the phænomena of the natural and moral world. The more we exercise our rational faculties; the more we attend, inquire, reflect, investigate, contemplate, the more clearly shall we discover the necessity of a first Cause; the more numerous will be the proofs of his existence; and with the greater confidence will our judgements decide that there is a God, possessing every natural and moral excellence. These sentiments are founded upon the indisputable axioms, that every effect must have a cause ; that the cause must be adequate to the effect; and that the nature of the cause is known by the nature of the effect. Such are the principles universally received, whenever human plans, and human inventions, become the subjects of investigation. In no case whatever, do we refuse to acknowledge the hand of an intelligent agent, where the workmanship abounds with marks of intelligence and design : and as the signatures of skill, in the most exquisite productions of the human species, are confessedly inferior to the lowest productions in nature, the arguments in proof of the operations of an intelligent first cause, acquire a force proportionate to the difference.
The above concise summary is sufficient to show, that a belief in a great first Cause, possessing every possible perfection, and the source of all
existence, is not an irrational belief;that it has not the character or appearance of being the creature of the imagination, or a mere vision of the brain ;-that it is founded upon much surer principles, than those which peopled the Heathen nations with multitudes of deities, of various and opposite powers and propensities ;-that such a being is not the production of fear, nor is he a frail creature, elevated to deification by servile flattery, or even by a spirit of gratitude; nor is he the personification of qualities and attributes, which ignorance had finally mistaken for real existences; nor can the existence of such a being be ascribed to any other cause of credulity, which had such an empire over the regions of Paganism. Our belief is founded on rational principles; will stand the test of reason; and is surrounded with evidences, of which every other hypothesis is totally destitute. The notion that the universal system of nature exists, by an eternally blind, unintended succession, is as extravagant as it is hypothetical. It is a mere assertion without a single argument for its support, and it is inconsis. tent with every phænomenon in nature. To assert that the world was made by chance, is to attribute an infinitude of power to a word without a meaning. It is to suppose that a fortuitous concurrence of atoms, possesses all the secrets