Page images
PDF

rational soul, being spiritual, is indestructible—not of itself—not that it possesses essential immortality: no, in this sense, the ETERNAL JEHovAH alone, who is the fountain of all existence, is immortal. All that is here intended is, that when the Almighty formed the rational spirit in man, his will ordained that it should be, imperishable, immortal. But, as it may be thought that we are anticipating an important conclusion, which ought rather to be proved, than taken for granted, we recall your attention more particularly to a further consideration of the qualities and attributes peculiar to matter. — MATTER, we have said, in the abstract, is destitute of intelligence; it cannot beget thought. Whatever form matter may assume — however refined or attenuated matter may become — you may make it vast or luminous, opaque or transparent, yet will you never, by all your combi- . nations, advance one single step towards producing among the mighty mass, one spark of latent feeling, or one act of thought. In meeting the atheistic principle therefore, which asserts that the world which we inhabit is selfderived, and consequently eternal, what is the province of right reason 2 It is to argue thus – ‘I exist’ —This is self-evident. “I am not the author of my existence.” This is also self-evident. ‘I, therefore, must be a created being.' This, also. Hence I argue as follows: That being to whom I owe. my existence, derives his from himself, or, like me, owes it to another. If he exist of himself, he must be the ETERNAL God. If not, I argue about him, as about

the former. Thus I ascend, thus I am constrained to ascend, till I arrive at that being who does exist of himself, and who hath always so existed." It only remains that I now transfer this species of reasoning from myself as a creature, to the world which I inhabit. My first remark under this category is, that the creation of this material world, argues design; design argues intelligence. That I am an intelligent being, is as self-evident as that I exist. Now, whence this intelligence? Whence is it, that I am endowed with the faculties of reason, judgment, the will, conscience, memory, and the imagination ? Then, too, I ask, which is the nobler endowment? The material, or the rational 2 And if the rational, and, if matter, of itself, could not give existence to the former, how, to the latter? By the same process of reasoning, therefore, as

* “Absolute eternity is necessary in the divine nature, and unavoidably included in the idea of God: . He is “from everlasting to everlasting.” If there had been a point of duration, wherein there had been no being, there never could have been any being. For how could there have been any thing, if once there had been nothing? Could nothing have made any thing, when even God could not make himself? The Christians creed is, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.” The Atheist's creed is, “I believe in nothing, the origin of all things.” Which do you think is most philosophical ?” (Dr. Grosvenor.) .

“The late Dr. Nisbet, celebrated for his profound erudition and ready wit, being asked, how he would define modern philosophy, replied, that “it consists in believing every thing but the truth, and exactly in proportion to the want of evidence; or, to use the words of a poet, “in making windows that shut out the light, and passages that lead to nothing.” - • * . . .

adopted under the former argument, I am irresistibly led from myself and nature up to natures God, and discover in HIM, supreme, infinite, eternal intelligence. And, as such, he is not, upon the atheistic hypothesis of Spinoza, diffused, so to speak, through the various parts of the universe; but, that “he possesseth all the perfections of that universe.” Yes, “he is the beauty of the stars, the brightness of the sun, the subtlety of etherial matter, the expanse of heaven, and the law of fate.” And, “if among these qualities there be any incompatible with the purity of his essence, and therefore inapplicable to him, yet in this sense they belong to him all are subject to his empire, and act only by his will.” Yes, it was by this self-evistent, infinitely intelligent, Eternal, great first cause of all, even he who is “wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working,” that “the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath (spirit) of his mouth.”.” “IN (not before) THE BEGINNING, God CREATED THE HEAvens AND THE EARTH.”* Yes, “He gathered the waters of the sea together, as an heap; He layeth up the deep as in store-houses.” “ “Of old hath He laid the foundations of the earth.”.” “In the heavens hath He set a tabernacle for the sum.”” “He hath appointed the moon for seasons,”’ and “maketh Arcturus, Orion and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.” “He hath created the morth and the south.” He maketh “the weight for the winds,” ” “and bringeth them out of his treasures.” “ “He covereth the heavens with clouds,” “and bindeth up the waters with his thick clouds.” “He made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder; ”’ “and causeth the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth.” “The day is his, and the might also ; he hath set all the borders of the earth: he has made summer and winter.”” It was by the word of his mouth that “the waters were commanded to bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life,” "in which “is that leviathan he hath made to play therein; ”" also, that “the AIR was filled with fowl that fly above the earth, in the open firmament of heaven.”.” And, that “the EARTH should bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping things, and beasts of the earth, after his kind; ” among which are “Behemoth, which eateth grass as an ox.” ” By the same word of his power, for the sustenance of ANIMAL life, he said, “let the earth bring forth grass, and the herb, yielding seed after his kind, and the tree, yielding fruit, whose seed is in itself, after his kind.” “ He also made “the flower of the field,” and “his voice discovereth the forest.” Finally, God created Man, in his own image &c. * Thus, Christian believer, is it, that our God hath “founded the EARTH upon the seas, and established it upon the floods;” “ yea, that “hangeth the earth upon NoTHING ;”" while he, as the great creator of all, “RIDETH IN HIs ExcelleNCY on THE sky.” " “It was a celebrated saying of Tertullian, that every mechanic among Christians knew God, and could make him known to others. Tertullian thus spoke, by way of contrast to the conduct of the philosopher, Thales, towards Croesus the king. Croesus asked this philosopher, “what is God?” Thales required one day to furnish an answer. Croesus, receiving no answer, asked him again, “what is God?” Thales then asked for two days. Failing still to furnish a reply, he asked for four days, then for eight, then for sixteen; until the king, “impatient of further delay, desired to know the reason of it. ‘O king, said Thales, be not astonished that I defer my answer. It is a question in which my insufficient reason is lost. The oftener I ask myself, what is God? the amore incapable I find myself of answering. New difficulties arise every moment, and my knowledge diminisheth as my inquiries increase.” “Tertullian hereupon takes an occasion to triumph

1. Isa. xxviii. 29. 2. PS. xxxiii. 6. 3. Gen. i. 1. 4. Ps. xxxiii. 7. 5. PS. cii. 25. 6. Ps. xix. 4.

- 7. Ps. civ. 19. *

1. Job. ix. 9. 2. Ps. lxxxix. 12. 3. Job. xxviii. 25. 4. Ps. cxxxv. 7. 5. Ps. cxlvii. 8. 6. Job. xxvi. 8. 7. Job. xxviii. 26. 8. Jer. x. 13. 9. Ps. lxxiv. 16, 17. 10. Gen. i. 20. 11. PS. civ. 26. 12. Gen. i. 20, 21. 13, Gen. i. 24, 25. Job. xl. 15. 14. Gen. i. 11, 12.

1. Isa. xl. 6. 2. Ps. xxix. 9. 3. Gen. i. 26. 4. PS. xxiv. 2. 5. Job. xxvi. 7. 6. Deut. xxxiii. 26.

« PreviousContinue »