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cause," as the source of all things past and all things yet to be. Go back, and realize that period when the voice of one Almighty Being gave the command Be light! and darkness rolled away before infinity of power.
After pursuing such a retrospective course of reflection, you cannot fail to acknowledge the proposition—There is a God. Any other train of thought, without a ray of light or vestige of probability, can only perplex. To suppose no God, is repulsive to what may be called natural feeling. It is impossible but that consideration must bring you (should you unhappily doubt the being of a God) to the conclusion of Aristotle-"As nothing could happen without a cause, chance is an unmeaning expression when employed in speaking of effects." Yet never forget that this knowledge of Deity, attained by logical process, is quite distinct from spiritual perception. You may acknowledge with the understanding, that there is a God—that He is our heavenly Father ; and have no heart-felt acquaintance with Him. A knowledge of the proclaimed characteristics and attributes of any being does not imply that you personally know that being so as to possess any individual interest in him, or any title to his adopting love.
There can be no necessity, surely, for abstractedly proving, in detail, the oft repeated arguments that commend themselves to the natural understanding of the atheist ;* for where there is a series of things depending one upon another, there must necessarily be a cause in nature prior to the rest, and uncaused ;
* The following mode of reasoning is quoted, by memory, from Woollaston's arguments for the being of a God.
there must be some independent Being upon
whom it all originally depends. A being unproduced and independent must be self-existent-the root of being can be found nowhere but in Himself; and, consequently, He must be both eternal and infinite-eternal, for existence is His essence—I AM is His name; infinite, because no limits can be assigned to His existence.
The definition of Jehovah is beyond human intelligence. Neither the essence of spirit, nor the substance of matter is comprehended; and this led Hume to deny the one, and Berkeley the other. But our ignorance as to the primary nature of spirit and matter does not affect their existence. Our not attempting to define God, cannot, in the consideration of the most determined atheist, prove that God is not. We have the evidence of our senses that many things exist which we cannot define; and, in the zoological world, whole tribes exist, of which we can know nothing; but, say, does our ignorance annihilate their existence? Does the non-comprehension of Deity
prove no God?
If an unholy curiosity to see how the mysteries of revelation are treated has prompted you, unhappy reader, to open this little book, the mode of existence of the Father of heaven, we at once admit, is beyond our conception: “Canst thou, by searching, find out God?" or canst thou find out the fundamental process of thine own existence-the human breath; which, withdrawn by an unseen hand, leaves thee a lifeless fabric-a mass of flesh and bones that crumble into particles ? What, though we know not, bodily see not, God, nor the mystery of His existence,
“ No more can we behold the busy soul
The being of a God ?” How can the created fathom the CREATOR? A finite being form adequate notions of the INFINITE? But rest assured, by the results of reasoning, that there is a God, who exists in a manner which is perfect, for perfection is within Him; and, although we see Him not, yet the universe proclaims His existence, quite apart from logical acumen.
Can you take a solitary walk, hear the rustling of the trees, and feel the refreshing breeze, without a holy confidence in the being of One who is good to all-even to the inanimate produtions of His Almighty power? Can you behold the glow of spring, the summer's pride, the flowery bed and grassy field, without feeling and adoring an over-ruling Providence? If, indeed, you are habitually dead to the lively feelings which a contemplation of nature thus inspires, you must be lost to God; every amiable emotion of the heart must be obliterated, every noble feeling expunged, the mind itself a dreary waste, and life a wretched vac ity. Who can behold the charms of Creation rescued from winter's cheerless grasp,
without emerging from self-hood to rejoice in the reviving sight? Yes--the desolate heart bounds forward to immortality, amid such bright, but earthly scenes; and, through the dark vista of the grave, looks to the resurrection of the body, when those, whom death has severed from us here, will be again our companions—yes, again and for ever! These are the consolations which the created world suggests to the bereaved mind—to “look through nature up to nature's God.” For-O! it is scarcely possible to imagine an atheist
“There is a voiceless eloquence on earth,
But nature owns Thy plastic influence there." A morally beautiful creature when he issued from the hands of his Maker, of all created beings tending to shew forth the praises of their Creator, the most calculated was man. With a heart to feel, faculties to understand, a tongue to proclaim Almighty love, one would have imagined that with such united intelligence, energy, and capacity-he would have outshone the very firmament, surpassed the fruitfulness of earth, and been for ever the adoring, the devoted servant to his God. But alas ! every sense is beclouded, every affection tarnished; the most lofty natural reason is enshrouded in the density of Egyptian darkness, and the brightest genius is but as a particle of glass which only glitters in the dust. Man has marred every blessing of his Creator ; and, instead of living to His glory, dishonours God who made him and all the world.
II. The Father, of heaven. These words of heaven -form an attribute of God the Father, corresponding to, in the two following petitions—Redeemer of the world, and Proceeding from the Father and the Son, which are respectively applied to God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost; so that, in the three leading sections of this magnificent form of prayer, God is petitioned as, Ist, The Father, of heaven ; 2dly, The Son, Redeemer of the world ; and, 3dly, The Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son. And the young Christian is called on to make a practical use of that which he has often declared to be, what he chiefly learns in the articles of his belief.
The three characters, or persons,* of the Holy Trinity in unity, are successively added to the name of the Deity, according to that priority of order, which not only naturally obtains in our minds, but which is also consistent with all Scripture declarations. This order of seeming precedence in the three equal persons of our Triune God, constitutes the chief mystery; but, though above reason, there is nothing contrary to reason; and we are bound to consider that the language of Scripture, from which our Creeds are scrupulously derived, in word, in spirit, and in sentiment, is adapted to the comprehension, so far as mysteries may be, of those to whom the revelation of such mysteries is made.
Remarks upon the Trinity will properly fall under the fourth petition, which sums up the whole homage in one comprehensive sentence. We may, however, observe here, that the creative power of even many things in nature, obviously takes precedence in our thoughts; though, in feeble resemblance to the
• Lat. Persona. Sustineo UNUS TRES personas, meam, adversarii, judicis.-CICERO.