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I wish you all eternal life;
be makes my poon ; My day shall never change to night.
Adieu to all things here below;
Temptations, troubles, griefs, adieu ;
Father, I come to thee above ;
SERMON, NO. V. Rom. i. 20. 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.
When we view a piece of buman architecture, we are sensible, it must have been erected by an architeci, tho we never saw him, por have any other knowledge of him, than what we learn from beholding his work. We are also fully persuaded that he must have had, not only a theoretic but practical knowledge of all the workmanship, which the building exhibits. We have no idea that the various tenons and mortises, which compose the joints of the building, were unwittingly made to suit each other; nor that the length of each piece of timber, was decided by guess.
And in the same proportion as we are able to examine and comprehend the skill displayed in a building, are we able, by the eyes of the understanding, to see the perfection of the builder. In this way God manifests himself. The Jovisible is seen from the works of creation, by being understood by the things that are made. The apostle says, we clearly see, 'even bis eternal power and Godhead."
As nothing can act before it exists, so no being can possibly possess the power of self-creation. Each must derive its existence from another. This world could no mo e come into existence of itself, than man could create bimself. its own laws must confessedly justify the author of our text, in calling it a creation, and if it be a creation or creature, it must have had a Creator. As Christians, (or if rational Deists) we hereby maintaia, in opposition to Atheism, that this Creator is GOD. There are but few, that would maintaiu the eternity No. 2. Vol. II.
of the present system of the world, or the eternal operation of nature, without a ruler. The nature of all, terrestrial things affords evidence, that they had a beginning. The various species of sensitive beings, which derive their existence immediately from others of their own species, cannot, for some evident reasons, be the offspring of beings, whose species has been protracted from all past eternity. A circumstance, which however may not be considered full proof, is the improbability of any race of beings, so transitory as all are, surviving eternally all the ravages of time. The Mammoth is now extinct.
And should but one species of being become extinct in a thousand years, it would in time depopulate the globe. Did the earth spontaneously produce new kinds of beings, it might, in this manner, continue to be inhabited ; but since the history of man, we know of no such productions.
Another argument is afforded us from the consideration of the improvement of latter ages on the past, in scientific and other knowledge. The treasures of nature are no richer, nor more copious, than they were in the remotest periods of antiquity, the history of which has come down to 119; nor do we suppose the intellects of modern generations superior to those who have long gone before them. Were, then, mankind a race of beings from eternity, it would be natural to conclude, they would have discovered from those treasures, all that comes within the compass of human understanding. No time could have been wanting for such an attainment. But instead of this, we behold them now rapidly progressing. Political science was not anciently understood so well as it is now ; hence one reason for the more frequent revolutions than in later periods. The art of printing, one of the most useful of human inven. tions, was discovered long since the commencement of the Christian era. As in other inventions of importance, a long train of circumstances led to its discovery. as also to its improvement, till it arrived to the perfretion to which it is now brought. The pred men had of such an art, led them to improve the circumstances (hat led to it. Had our race of men been from all past duration, is it not as probable the art of printing would have been discovered ten thousand years ago, as that it should be discovered at a period so near the age in which we live? Is it not more probable that the train of circumstances that led to its discovery, would naturally have occurred and produced this effect at some remote period of ancient date, tho it look ifree times six thousand years, than that it should have been protracied to the time it was? Evidently more probabie, on the supposition of an endless succession of beings. The same is true of other important inventions and discove. ries. The progression of human knowledge is therefore a strong evidence that our race of men had a be. ginning. If it had a beginning, it leads to the conclusion, that the same is true of every species of terrestrial beings. We may compare the world to an individual. He remembers his years of puberty and days of youth, and has some faint ideas of childhood. He knows not when he was born. neither does he absolutely know that he had a beginning; bui lie is confident he was a child, he knows he was a you:li, and that hy degrees he arrived to the age of manhood. These circunstances lead him to believe that he had a beginning, and to acquiesce in the account that gives the date of his birth. So of the world. We know not absolutely, that it had a beginning ; but we know from well authenticaied his. tory that in comparison with its present state, it was a youtlı ; and we know, through this medium, that it was once ignorant of almost all the knowledge that it pow possesses. We know that it has progressed, by degrees, in the knowledge of things, and in the economy of life. We can give an account of nearly five thousand years, and of course have no reason to dispute the scripture account of its origin, both as to the manner and time. It follows, then, that it had a beginning; and, as nothing can give rise to its own existence, it must be the creation of a mighty and intelligent Creator. These things are clearly seen by the understanding.
Should it be urged in opposition to these arguments that the ancients were acquainted with many important discoveries, that are now lost; such as the Egyptian method of embalming; and, among others, that of moving large rocks, mentioned by Rollin in his ancient history, it will not materially affect the object of our labor; unless those that are lost, were equal in number and importance to those, with which the world are now acquainted.
We now proceed to argue from the creation of the world, that there must exist a being, who was uncreat. ed, and, consequently, existed from all past eternity. If we be correct, as there can scarcely remain a doubt, it must be, at least, there was one man and one woman, who did not receive their existence, as did their descendants. They must have been created by a being, who possessed means and skill, fully competent to the accomplishment of such a work. That being must be vastly superior to what our eyes have seen, or our bands have bandled. Now, if we suppose - such a being to have a received existence, we must likewise suppose another, that gave him this existence. If this other have a received existence, we must suppose a third, superior to him ; and so we must consider a succession of anterior causes, or rather creators, each superior to his succesui, uli infinitum. But this supposition involves absurdity in itself. Nothing is capable of endless diminutions, consequently, cannot admit an endless progression. If we could suppose it were possible for almighty power to divide a hair, once a year, for a million of years, it would afford no argument, that it would be capable of being thus divided eternally. If a hair be incapable of such divisions, eternity would be too long to continue the divisions of the largest object in creation. So on the other hand, we cannot conceive, that the smallest object in creation will admit an increase or addition, without interruption, eternally. There is a fulness for every thing that can be measured, and when that fulness is attained, it can have no more. Ao endless succession of anterior causes or creators, without an original uncanged, uncreated, and underived, seems