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In the illustration of this noble fubject, we shall point out to you those things only, which are daily obvious to every one of us, and which a man, that has any curiosity at all, must often have reflected on in his own mind: and he must be weak indeed, that cannot demonftrate to any one, who denies à Supreme Being, fuch as we have before described, that he must do it in open defiance to reafon and common sense. For it is fo loudly proclaimed by the voice of universal nature, and engraven in fuch deep and legible characters on the minds of mankind, that all their expreffions; nay, all the most exalted ideas their imaginations can poffibly entertain, fall vaftly short of what every object they behold discovers at one glance to their awakened fenfes.
If we look up, we view with a delightful amazement the numetous celeftial bodies, the fun, moon, and stars, which notwithstanding their almoft infinite motions, do not in the leaft clash, or interfere with one another.-If we look down, the sea, which every moment threatens the land with a fecond deluge, and yet obeys that irrefiftible command of its awful creator; "Hitherto fhalt thou come, "but no farther; and here fhalt thy proud waves be stayed:" and the earth on which we live are the furprising profpects that lie before us. These contemplations naturally elevate our thoughts, and infenfibly lead them to the notion of a God; and the exact order of the feemingly irregular parts of the vaft univerfe, the beautiful harmony which they all obferve among themfelves, and one with another would foon be unhappily interrupted to our inevitable deftruction, if infinite goodness did not fuperintend what infinite power had formed. But when we descend into ourselves, and examine man, that microcofm, or little world, and contemplate his body, adapted to various actions; and his foul, which, though invisible, directs the motions of the body as it pleafes, and is endued with a rational faculty; to which paft, present, and future are at once the objects of confideration, and which weighs all our actions
actions in the balance of moral rectitude, either accufing or excufing us; we cannot, but admit, that he, in whom we live, move, and have our being, not only framed our bodies, after the model of the ideas in his all-comprehending mind, but our fouls after his own divine image. This made an antient philofopher very well obferye, "that the first thing we conceive is the Deity, which we rather "feel, by a divine contact, than know; and that this knowledge "is the most certain." Another goes ftill further, and boldly afferts, "that he, who denies a Supreme Being, is not only devoid of rea- · "fon, but sense itself."-Now, if the fenfes, those doors at which knowledge enters, give us fuch incontestable proofs of his divine effence, and we are fully convinced that an object exifts, if we touch it; when we feel a Deity, to talk in the language of these philofophers, in the world in general, and what he is, in ourselves in particular; then this must be laid down for a first principle, that there is a God, infinitely wife, powerful and good:-And that man who fhall dare to call fo evident a truth into question, must offer violence to his own nature, muft render himself more vile and fenfelefs than the brutes that perish.
It is much to be lamented, that men, whofe thoughts are continually employed in the contemplation of the things of this world should be fo obftinate and confirmed in infidelity, as not to grant what the curious frame of that ftupendous fabric, if duly confidered, would inconteftibly demonftrate to them.
If we begin with the lefs curious parts of the creation, and thence proceed to those that bear the greater marks of artful contrivance, whether we confider them in general or particular, with regard to themselves, or the creatures about them, our thoughts cannot but gradually lead us to him, who, as he formed all things by the word of his power; fo governs all, by the word of his goodness, in fuch a manner as is most confiftent with the general benefit and happiness.
Let us, in the first place, take a tranfient view of the world in general. Now there are four fpecies, which gradually afcend in the scale of exiftence. Some have. only being; others being and life; fome being, life and sense; and others being, life, fense and reason. The air, fea, and earth, though they fupport all living, fenfitive, and rational creatures, have only being; that is, border the nearest on non-existence. Plants, though they owe their nutriment to the earth, and refreshment to the air, have being and life. The brutes, though obliged to the elements and plants for their fubfiftence, have being, life and fenfe. Man is endued with being, life, fense and reason: to him the elements and plants are created fubfervient: he has an uncontroulable power given him over the brutal world: he can exercise his rational faculties in the delightful contemplation of the wonderful works of his great Creator: he can dif cover his wisdom in contriving, his power in effecting, and his benevolence in every thing. From whence proceeds this orderly gradation and distinction between one rank of beings and another?Why have fome of them existence only, when others have existence, life, fenfe, and reafon; fome in a higher, others in a lower degree? -Was this owing to themselves, or whence came it to pafs?-How came fuch small and inconfiderable beings as animals, if compared with the heavenly bodies, to excel them in fo many refpects? -Why has fuch an impotent creature as man a fovereignty over the elements, plants, and most savage beafts? Can these effects be produced without fome caufe ?-It is the height of abfurdity to admit the fuppofition. There is,-there neceffarily must be fome fuperior being, who divided the creatures into these several claffes, and originally had, and still preferves an indifputable fovereignty over them;-and he must be almighty; becaufe though they differ fo. widely in point of proportion, there is a perfect and uninterrupted harmony between them. He must be all good; because they are mutually fubfervient to the general benefit. That, which has only
existence, could not produce itfelf; fince it is deftitute of those perfections, which other beings enjoy; much less could it create another. And fince man is happily endued with all those excellent faculties abovementioned, there must be a power without him, the fountain of all perfection, that gave being, and a moral apprehenfion to him, who once did not even exift, and made each order of creatures perfect in its kind; otherwife nothing must for ever have continued to be nothing: but there is an infinite distance between the moft fimple being and non-existence. There was therefore a firft caufe, whom we adore under the moft venerable title of the infinitely glorious JEHOVAH ;-the Lord God, bleffed for ever.
But now let us take a furvey, firft of the heavenly bodies, which, though they have a perpetual and rapid motion, obferve the greatest regularity imaginable. Can this be owing to chance?-If so, why have they not, through chance, ftood ftill in the revolution of fo many ages? Befides, chance creates nothing but confufion ;Whereas they observe an exact order in all their motions.-What! do they move themselves?-Doubtless, no; it would be the groffeft abfurdity to fuppofe they could. They are in the lowest scale of existence, and have neither life, fenfe, or reason, and must therefore be actuated by some powerful and intelligent being, in whose hands they are mere machines, and whofe attributes they atteft. Thus to compare great things with fmall, whenever we examine the workmanship of any curious piece of mechanism, our admiration rifes from one fpring to another, til at laft we are gradually brought to reflect on the art and contrivance of the man by whom it was made.
So these confiderations naturally and neceffarily lead us to a firft mover, and this harmony to a Being infinitely regular, and thefe finite bodies to an infinite fpirit, the Father of lights, and foul of the universe, in comparifon of whom all the nations of the
earth are as the drop of the bucket, and the small duft of the balance. Yes!
"These are thy glorious works, parent of good,
"Thus wondrous fair; Thyfelf how wondrous then!
Thy goodness beyond thought and power divine."
Such must be the voice of univerfal reason, whenever we confider the heavens, the work of his fingers, the moon and ftars which he hath ordained.
IF we defcend to this earth, that comparatively little fpot, we cannot but observe, that the grafs, trees, fruits, fishes, reptiles, birds, and each creature is fo complete in its kind, that nothing is either deficient or redundant.-Is this owing to the elements? Can they give life and fenfe, which they want themselves ?-Or, did the. fun communicate to them thefe excellencies ?-Evidently, no.Here the voice of gratitude muft inceffantly proclaim to man, furrounded with all things conducive to his comfort, convenience and pleasure ;-BEHOLD THE GOODNESS OF THY GOD!-Surely vain,. and utterly inexcufable are all men, who do not, out of thefe good. things, that are every moment felt and feen, know him that is,. and alone neceffarily exifts; neither, by enjoying the works, acknowledge the work-mafter; but abfurdly reft in fecond caufes; either fire, or wind, or the fwift air, or the circle of the ftars, or the violent water, or the lights of heaven; with whofe beauty and usefulness, if they be delighted, let them know how much better the. Lord of them is.-For by these is the maker of them seen.
To all this, new and irrefiftible force will be added, if we confider how almost infinitely the creatures around us are varied and