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impossible in the very nature of things. Not to insist on the inconceivable difficulty of such a series of beings continuing to exist, it is impossible for us to imagine how they could become, as individually they are all derived from the power and energy of another. The conclusion, then, is unavoidable, that there must exist a Being uncreated, underived, wise, and intelligent. All this we plainly see from the creation of the world, it being understood by the things ihat are made.
The Being that is uncreated must exist independently. As nothing is the cause of his existence, so his exislence cannot be supported or injured by any created or dependent being. “If thou sinpest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him? If thou be righteous, what givesi thou hin? or what receiveth be of thine band ?" Job xxxv. 6, 7.
Being that exists independent and uncreated, must exist of necessity. The principles of his existence are indissoluble. The arguments, therefore, that prove his existence from all past eternity, prove his future endless existence, from the very nature of his being. "I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." Mal. jjj. 6.
This Being must possess intelligence, or he could not give it to man. “Yet they say, The Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard. Understand, ye brutish among the people; and, ye fools, when will ye be wise ? He that planted the ear. shall he not hear? he that sormed the eye, shall he not see? He that chastiseth the heathen, shall he pot correct? he that teacheth man koowledge, shall he not know ??? Ps. xciv. 7, 8, 9, 10.
We will dow inquire concerning three great attributes of the Supreme, wisdom, power, and goodness, "from the creation of the world,?? or from visible objects.
1. We see no portion of creation, but what we can discern in it a greater display of wisdom, than we can fully comprehend. We see means applied to the accomplishment of ends, which we could neither devise por comprehend. It is said, man is formed of the dust of the ground; but, tho we bave dust of the ground, we cannot make a man. And if we could, the next difficulty would be, to breathe into his nostrils the breath of life, and make him a living soul. In short, we call the wisdom of God omniscience, and leave it as a subject, in which we cannot discern any bounde.
2. Respecting the power of God, nothing can be more visible. The source from whence all the power in creation originated, must be superior to the power itself. It must be a power that resolves itself in omnipotence, and exceeds the utmost stretch of human imagination.
3. It may appear more difficult, from the works of creation, to illustrate, or make evident, the goodness of God, than his other perfections of wisdom and power; for here are things, which, to weak mortals, may seem to oppose his goodness. Such are sickness, pain, misesy, &c. It is evident on this subject, we need the light of divine revelation. But, for the present, we will try the question, from the appearance of providence and the works of creation. Admit that there can be arguments used with plausibility on both sides of the question, we will then adopt that side which preponderates the bal
We cannot here call to our aid a future state of blessedness, because for the evidences of this, we are indebted to revelation. But if it can be made to appear, that there is more felicity in the world than misery, it will turn the balance in our favor; otherwise, we know not that we are able to maintain the question. Here we remark that both man and beast appear formed, in every constituent part, for convenience and happipess. The senses which aid in preserving existence, are likewise admirably calculated for enjoyment. If we beard more corroding sounds, than those which are agreeable, and sounds which give more pain than those afford, wbieh give us pleasure, could we value the sense of hearing to be a blessing? We not. The same is equally true of the others. Pain comes from disorder, and pot from health. Had our bodies been desigoed mostly for misery, they would have been so con'stituted that the greatest health and strength would have been conducive to the most pain or distress. But instead of tbis, we see a merciful design in the constitutional frame of all creatures. We may also observe that those miseries, which are the product of sin, are the effect of moral disorder. They are from the perversion of the din rect rules, and commands of the law of God. Were it otherwise, we might account holy men to be the most mišon erable. The nearer they kept the law of God, the more they would suffer in their minds, as well as by outward circumstances. But still it may be a query in some minds whether, disorder is not sufficiently prevalent to occasion as much misery, if not more, than there is felicity in the world. Tho it may be hard to convince some of the most unfortunate and melancholy of the human family, of the balance of felicity; yet to make it evident to most people, the task is not hard. To most beings, life, with all its misfortunes and miseries, is more desirable than death. Could man or beast die, as it
seems some do, without any suffering; still there are • comparatively but few exceptions to a desire for the continuance of life.
The fruit of these queries I think must be greatly on the side of felicity, and affords a strong argument in favor of the goodness of God. And when we decide that God is good, we can attribute to him nothing less than infinite goodness; for such is the perfection of his nature, that he can possess pothing in part. Thus the invisible things of bim are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made. His necessary existence, his infinite wisdom, power, and goodness can be nothing else, than “bis eternal power and godhead, ;" which the apostle reckons clearly seen from the works of creation. But for a greater display and clearer manifestation of these, we are indebted to revelation.
In revelation we learn, that "the wisdom that is from above is first pore, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." James iii. 17. His porv. er is taught us in that God is able to make all grace abound toward you ; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.” 2 Cor. ix. 8, 11. The goodness of God is declared in scripture, in the use of many terms.
1. By the word itself: "The Lord is good to all, and his leader mercies are over all his works. Ps. cxlv. 9.
2. By the word grace : • But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the sefering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man." Heb. ji. 9. "By grace are ye saveil through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Elrh. ii. 8. "For the favor race of God hath appeared, which bringeth salvation to all men, teaching us that we should deny ungodliness and worldly desires, and live soberly, and righteously, and religiously, in this present world.” Titus ii. 11, 12. Improved Version.
3. By the word will: "Who will [thelei, vull] have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." 1 Tim. ii. 4.
4. His good pleasure: “Having mare known unto-us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure, which he hath purposed in himself: that, in the dispensation of the fulness of time, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him.” Eph. i. 9, 10.
In this manner we discover the accordance of the two great books of our Creator, namely, of nature and revelation; and while we discern in the latter, more than can be clearly seen in the former, we admire their voited testimony, in manifesting his eternal power and godhead.
OF THE SCRIPTURE ACCOUNT OF
[Concluded.] With respect to the second objection, that inasmuch as the old er nine commandments are confessedly of moral and universal obligation, it may reasonably be presumed that this is of the same;---we answer, that this: argument will have less weight, when it is considered, that the distinction between positive and patural duties, like other distinctions of modern ethics, was onkaown to the simplicity of ancient language ; and that there are various passages in scripture, in which duties of a political, or ceremonial, or positive nature, and confessedly of partial obligation, are enumerated, and without any mark of discrimination, along with others which are natural and universal.
This may be observed of the apostolic decree recorded in the fifteenib chapter of the Acts.--"It seemed good to ihe Holy Ghost and to us, to lay upon you no. greater burden than these necessary things; that ye abstain from meats offered to idois, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication : from which, if ye keep yourselves, yo ohail iù well."
If the law by wbich the sabbath was instituted, was a law only to the Jews, it becomes an important question with the Christian inquirer, whether the Founder of his religioo delivered any new command upon the subject; or, if that should not appear to be the case, whether any day was appropriated to the service of religion, by the authority or example of his Apostles ?
The practice of holding religious assemblies upon the first day of the week, was so early and so universal in the Christian church, that it carries with it considerable proof of having originated from some precept of Christ, or of bis Apostles, tho none such be now extant. It was upon the first day of the week that the disciples were asse
when Christ appeared to them for the hrst time after his resurrection; "then the same day at evening, being the first day of the rucek, when the doors