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perfect enjoyment that can poffibly fall to the fhare of any created being. Sceptics may wrangle, and mockers may blafpheme; but the pious man knows by evidence too fublime for their comprehenfion, that his affections are not misplaced, and that his hopes fhall not be difappointed; by evidence which, to every found mind, is fully fatisfactory; but which, to the humble and tender-hearted, is altogether overwhelming, irrefiftible, and divine.

That many of the objects in nature have had a beginning, is obvious to our own fenfes and memory, or confirmed by unquestionable teftimony: thefe, therefore, according to the axiom we are here confidering, must be believed to have proceeded from a caufe adequate at least to the effects produced. That the whole fenfible univerfe hath to us the appearance of an effect, of fomething which once was not, and which exifts not by any neceffity of nature, but by the arbitrary appointinent of fome powerful and intelligent caufe different from and independent on it; that the univerfe, I fay, has this appearance, cannot be denied: and that it is, what it appears

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appears to be, an effect, that it had a beginning, and was not from eternity, is proved by every fort of evidence the fubject will admit. And if fo, we offer violence to our understanding, when we attempt to believe that the whole univerfe does not proceed from fome caufe; and we argue unphilofophically and irrationally, when we endeavour to difprove this natural and univerfal fuggeftion of the human mind.

It is true, the univerfe is, as one may fay, a work fui generis, altogether fingular, and fuch as we cannot properly compare to other works; becaufe indeed all works are comprehended in it. But that natural dictate of the mind by which we believe the universe to have proceeded from a caufe, arifes from our confidering it as an effect; a circumftance in which it is perfectly fimilar to all works whatsoever. The fingularity of the effect rather confirms (if that be poffible) than weakens our belief of the neceffity of a caufe; at leaft it makes us more attentive to the cause, and interefts us more deeply in it. What is the universe, but a vast fyftem of works or effects, fome of them great and others


others finall, fome more and fome lefs confiderable? If each of thefe works, the least as well the greateft, require a caufe for its production; is it not in the highest degree abfurd and unnatural to fay, that the whole is not the effect of a caufe?Each link of a great chain must be fupported by fomething, but the whole chain may be fupported by nothing:-Nothing lefs than an ounce can be a counterpoife to an ounce, nothing lefs than a pound to a pound; but the wing of a gnat, or nothing at all, may be a fufficient counterpoife to ten hundred thousand pounds: are not thefe affertions too abfurd to deferve an answer?

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The reader, if he has the misfortune to be acquainted with Mr HUME's Effay on a particular providence and a future ftate, will fee, that thefe remarks are intended as an answer to a very firange argument there advanced against the belief of a Deity. "The univerfe," we are told, "is an object quite fingular and unparallelled; no other object that has fallen under our obfervation bears any fimilarity to "it; neither it nor its caufe can be com prehended under any known fpecies;


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" and therefore concerning the cause of "the univerfe we can form no rational "conclufion at all."-I appeal to any man of found judgement, whether that fuggestion of his understanding, which prompts him to infer a caufe from an effect, has any dependence upon a prior operation of his mind, by which the effect in question is referred to its genus or fpecies. When he pronounces concerning any object which he conceives to have had a beginning, that it must have proceeded from fome caufe, does this judgement neceffarily imply any comparison of that object with others of a like kind? If the new object were in every respect unlike to other objects, would this have any influence on his judgement? Would he not acknowledge a caufe to be as neceffary for the production of the most uncommon, as of the most familiar object? - If therefore I believe, that I myself owe my existence to fome caufe, because there is fomething in my mind which neceffarily determines me to this belief, I must alfo, for the very fame reason, believe, that the whole univerfe (fuppofed to have had a beginning) proceeds from fome caufe. The evidence of both is the


fame. If I believe the firft and not the fecond, I believe and difbelieve the fame evidence at the fame time; I believe that the very fame fuggeftion of my underftanding is both true and falfe.

Though I were to grant, that, when an object is reducible to no known genus, no rational inference can be made concerning its caufe; yet it will not follow, that our inferences concerning the caufe of the univerfe are irrational, fuppofing it reafonable to believe that the univerfe had a beginning. If there be in the univerfe any thing which is reducible to no known genus, let it be mentioned: if there be any presumption for the existence of fuch a thing, let the foundation of that prefumption be explained. And, if you pleafe, I fhall, for argument's fake, admit, that concerning the cause of that particular thing, no rational conclufion can be formed. But it has never been afferted, that the existence of fuch a thing is either real or probable. Mr HUME only afferts, that the univerfe itfelf, not any particular thing in the univerfe, is reducible to no known genus. Well then, let me ask again, What is the univerfe? A word? No;

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