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COMPEND OF BIBLE TRUTH.
BEING OF GOD.
Of all conceptions of the human mind, the idea of God is the most sublime. It is not only sublime, but awful. Every thing else appears diminutive while the mind is occupied with this thought. Though the idea of an eternal and infinite being is too great for the grasp of the human intellect, yet it is suited to the human mind. It fills it, and produces a feeling of reverence, which is felt to be a right emotion. If there is no such being, this is the grandest illusion which ever possessed the imagination of man. If it be an error, then error is preferable to truth; for on this supposition, truth in its whole compass has nothing in grandeur to compare with illusion. Remove this idea, and the mind is confounded with an infinite blank. Deprived of this, the intellect has no object to fill it : it is confounded and distressed with the retrospect of the past, and prospect of the future. But it cannot be, that this noblest of all conceptions of the human mind should be false : the capacity of the soul of man to form such a conception is a proof of the existence of a great and good and intelligent First Cause.
God has not left himself without a witness of his being and his perfections. It may well be doubted whether the evidence of a divine existence, the Author of all things, could be clearer and stronger than it is. A display of exquisite skill in every organized body around us is far better evidence than any extraordinary appearance, however glorious, or the uttering of any voice, however tremendous. Such miraculous phenomena would indeed powerfully excite and astonish the mind, and would be a certain proof of the existence of a superior being; but would, in reality, add nothing to the force of the evidence which we already possess, in the innumerable curiously and wisely organized animal bodies by which we are surrounded. And if we were confined to the examination of our own constitution of mind and body, the innumerable instances of manifest wisdom in the contrivance of the several parts, their exact adaptation to one another, and their wonderful correspondence with the elements of the external world without us, the evidence of an intelligent cause is irresistible. If any man surveys the structure of the human body, its bones and joints, its blood vessels and muscles, its heart and stomach, its nerves and glands, and all these parts put into harmonious action by a vital power, the source of which is not understood if he surveys the adaptation of light to the eye, of air to the ear and to the lungs, and of food to the stomachs of different animals, and notices the exact correspondence between the appetites of animals, and the power of their stomachs to digest that food and that only which is craved by their appetites respectively; and considers what wonderful provision has been made for the preservation and defence of every species; how much wisdom in their covering, instruments of motion and defence; in the propagation of their respective species, and the nourishment
of their young--I say, if any man's mind is so constructed as to see all these things, and yet remain sceptical respecting the existence of an intelligent cause, the conclusion must be that such a mind is destitute of reason, or has not the capacity of discerning evidence and feeling its force.
In prosecuting the argument from the evident appearance of wisdom in the structure of animal and vegetable bodies, it is not necessary to multiply these cumulative proofs; for as one watch, or one telescope would prove the existence of a skilful artist, so the careful examination of a few specimens of animal or vegetable organization will satisfy the mind, as well as the minute survey of thousands of similar organizations. The attempts of ingenious and scientific men to account for these appearances, so evidently indicative of design, without the supposition of an intelligent Creator, are so replete with folly, that we cannot but think such men abandoned of God to believe a lie, because they liked not to retain the knowledge of God in their thoughts; so that it is still true, that it is the fool who hath said in heart, “there is no God.”
If all other arguments for the being of God were wanting, the truth might be inferred with strong probability from our moral feelings. Every man feels himself bound by a moral law; he cannot but see the difference between right and wrong, in many actions. The former he feels to be obligatory the latter not. Whence this binding internal law, so deeply engraven on the heart of every man, that he cannot escape from the feeling of its obligation? Does it not clearly intimate that there is a Lawgiver, who has provided a witness of his right in every bosom? Where there is a moral law there