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of infinite intelligence; and that a power which has never been suspected of building the cottage of a peasant, has built the Universe!
We have thus taken a general survey of the proofs, on which the belief of the Theist is founded. These arguments would receive infinite force, could the immense extent of the subject permit us to particularize. Nay, a minute attention to any part of this vast creation, which might be selected for our researches, would manifest to us innumerable traces of exquisite skill, to effect the purposes of benevolence. There is not any one subject of knowledge, in which the attentive and unprejudiced mind does not perceive the marks of wisdom, at every stage of its progress; and the greatest proficients will be the most forward to confess, that evidences multiply beyond the power of calculation. All the occupations of intellect consist in making perpetual discoveries in the state, properties, relations, connexions, accordances, and beneficial influences, which exist in the subjects of every branch of science.
But we shall content ourselves with simply referring to the subject which has been occupying so much of our attention; in treating of which, every page is replete with evidences that a Being
exists infinitely superior to man. The whole history of human beings, and of the develope ment of their moral and intellectual powers ;— their primitive state of imbecility and ignorance, contrasted with their ability to make unlimited advances in every thing desirable and useful, and to work their way through numberless impediments, to those improvements which ornament and dignify their nature ;—the passions and affections with which they are endowed, to imulate them to action; the provision made for the remedy of those errors and evils, which an ignorant or a perverse abuse of their free agency occasion;-their intellectual powers, and the nice adaptations of these to the many contingencies to which they are subjected;—the infinite superiority of Man to every other being on the globe, approaching to the dignity of superior intelligences;-the rich abundance of the means of good, which is spread before him, and the diversified sources of his enjoyment; his being constituted a moral agent ;— and his perceptions of that line of conduct, and of those duties, which constitute individual and social welfare;—the refined affections of which he is made susceptible, by which he is attached to his associates by the most delicate ties, and which are in exercise according to the degrees of merit in the object, expectancy of good, or
sense of obligation ;-his capacity to search after a great first Cause, and to entertain conceptions of him in the plenitude of excellence, arrayed in such attributes of power, wisdom, and goodness, as are calculated to inspire the, love and admiration of all intelligent creatures; such as implant confidence in seasons of difficulty and danger, and encourage the brightest hopes, under the deepest sense of demerits;—are phænomena not to be explained by any other principle, than by the admission that we were created, and thus richly endowed, by an intelligent, wise, and beneficent FIRST CAUSE!
ON THE DISTINCTIONS, AND GRADATIONS OF EXCELLENCE, IN THE DIVINE ATTRIBUTES.
ACCORDING to the view we have taken of the Nature and Attributes of God, a distinction presents itself, between the attributes essential to his being, and mode of existence; such as eternity, or self-existence, spirituality, omnipresence; and the attributes which belong to him in the character of Creator. He possesses the former, by what may be termed a physical necessity, unconnected with his productions, or with any plan respecting creation. The others are strictly relative; for they belong to him solely as they relate to some exertions, or proposed exertions, of the divine energy; or to beings whose existence is actual or pre-ordained. Of this kind are the Power, the Knowledge, the Wisdom, and the Goodness of God. Power expresses actual exertion, or the capacity of exertion. It is seated
in some cause manifesting its own existence by its operations. The power of the Deity must be irresistible, because he is the source of power, and of every other being invested with it. Every exertion of irresistible power must produce an effect. Hence we form the idea of that connexion which subsists between cause and effect; and which is so intimate, that the one cannot subsist without the other. Infinite Knowledge expresses the divine perception of the whole chain of effects in their causes, and a perfect acquaintance with all actual existence, and every possible existence in nature. Infinite Wisdom refers to plans worthy of its author, and to the best mode of executing these plans. Goodness has objects whose benefit it promotes or consults. All these attributes have a manifest reference to existences. They are in their very nature relative; for we cannot suppose them to exist, or to be possessed, totally unconnected with their objects, real or proposed. According to these positions, the great Creator, although he exist distinct from, and independent of, the works of his hands, has, notwithstanding, instituted the most intimate connexion between himself and all his creatures, in this his relative character: the exercise of these perfections neeessarily implies the existence of created beings.