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subject had been copiously discussed, the Work would have been considerably too large for general use.
The Author most fervently prays that the blessing of Almighty God may attend the perusal of these Discourses, so as to render them instrumental to the salvation of all who may read them. But, should the instructions which they contain guide only a single wanderer from the fold of happiness, into the paths of righteousness and peace, or afford the least consolation to the household of faith, the Writer will derive the highest satisfaction from the bare contemplation of such a result of his labours.
ON THE EXISTENCE OF GOD.
Romans i. 19, 20. Because that which may be known of God,
is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.
That there is a God, all nature cries aloud." The existence of a Deity, who is the proper object of worship, lies at the very foundation of all religion, which presupposes that there is some wise and
holy Being, to whom we are responsible for our actions.
Though God has not shewn himself to his rational creatures in a visible manner, for the sight would be too dazzling-for mortals in an embodied state to contemplate, yet he has furnished them with the means of clearly ascertaining his existence and perfections : and if we will but employ our senses, perception, and reason, for the purposes for which they were given to us, they will afford conclusive evidence of the important point which we are now endeavouring to establish. « God has not left himself without witness, in that he continually doeth good, giving us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that
· Acts xiv, 17.
they,” who pertinaciously deny his Being,“ are without excuse" for their impious unbelief
It does not accord with the plan of this work to enter at large into the several arguments which might be advanced to demonstrate the existence of a God: nor is it necessary, since it has been already done, in the most satisfactory manner, by learned men, to whose writings I refer the reader . Yet I cannot persuade myself to omit a brief statement of those reasons which are generally urged in its defence.
1. It may be observed, then, that there evidently must have been from all eternity some intelligent first cause of all things; otherwise no rational account can be given of the existence of those things which we now behold. They could not have occasioned their own existence: indeed, there was a time when they had no being at all. And it is obvious, that what has no existence cannot possess a power to act or produce
any other thing similar or dissimilar to itself : unless it can be supposed possible for a thing to be, and not to be, at the same time; which is a palpable absurdity. It follows therefore, from these premises, that there is an eternal efficient active cause, from whence every natural object, which the world presents to our view, proceeds; and that this cause is selfexistent, and totally independent of every thing created by it. Now this original all-sufficient cause is what we denominate God,who gives life and energy to all things; "for in Him we live and move, and have our being.” In Him all conceivable perfections centre; and whatever moral excellence is found in any finite creature, was first communicated to it by the ineffable source of all good.
This capital doctrine is compendiously exhibited • Romans i. 20. · See Grotius and Paley.
d Acts xvii. 28.