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it did begin to exist. And the bare possibility of its beginning to exist, by a cause, amounts to a demonstration, that there was some cause of its beginning to exist.
IV. The Cause which produced this world, must be equal to the effect produced. No cause can produce an effect superior to itself. This is no less impossible, than that an effect should exist, without a cause. For just so far as an effect surpasses the cause, it ceases to be an effect, and exists of itself. To suppose, therefore, that the world owes its existence to any cause inferior to itself, involves the same absurdity as to suppose, that it began to exist, without a cause. It requires a greater cause to produce a great, than a small effect. This we know by our own experience. We can produce small effects. We are able to move or new-modify some things around us; but we cannot give existence to the smallest atom. To produce something out of nothing requires a far greater cause, than it does merely to move, or newmodify things which already exist. Hence the character and perfections of the first and supreme Cause, may be fairly argued from the things which he hath made.
Here, then, I would observe,
1. The Creator of all things must be possessed of almighty power. This is the first attribute of the first Cause, which his great and marvellous works impress upon the mind. In surveying the works of creation, their greatness constrains us to conclude, that no less than Almighty power could bring them out of nothing into being. It is true, our imagination is here apt to get the start of our reason, and we are ready to apprehend, that the power of preserving, is greater than the power of creating the world. Preserving power
seems to admit of different degrees of effort, in proportion to the different degrees of magnitude in the objects preserved. It seems to require a greater effort in the Supreme Being to support a mountain, than a mole-hill; or to support the ponderous earth, than the light and flying clouds. But this is altogether owing to a delusive imagination. In the eye of reason, whatever the Supreme Power can do, he can do with equal ease. It requires no more effort in the great first Cause, to support and preserve the world, than it did to call it into existence at first. He spake, and it was done: he commanded, and it stood fast. This facility of his operation displays the greatness of his power, in the production of the world. He, who produced an Angel as easily as a man; a Man as easily as a worm; and a World as easily as an atom, must be a Being of unbounded power. His power of creating surpasses the powers of all dependent beings. For, were all their powers united, they could not create a fly, nor a worm, nor produce the least particle of matter. We cannot conceive of any power greater, than that which can give existence, or produce something out of nothing. The Being, therefore, who created this world, must be able to do every thing, which lies within the limits of possibility. By creating one world, he has displayed a power sufficient to create as many worlds, as space itself can contain. And, therefore, if we may judge of the cause by the effect, we may safely conclude, that the first and Supreme Cause of all things is necessarily Omnipotent.
2. The Author and Framer of the world must be supremely wise and intelligent. Mankind have always admired the beauty of the world. The Greeks, that learned and refined nation, called it beauty in the abstract. Uniformity amidst variety appears through
every part of creation. The motions and revolutions of the heavenly bodies are uniform, though extremely various. There is uniformity amidst variety in every species of grain, of grass, of flowers, of trees and of animals. There is a great uniformity among the many millions of mankind, yet an almost infinite variety. The human body is a most curious piece of machinery. Its various parts are not only well proportioned, but nicely constructed and situated, to answer their various purposes. The feet are admirably fitted for walking, the hands for laboring, the eyes for seeing, the ears for hearing, and the mouth for both feeding and speaking. Indeed, not only the human frame, but the whole creation, appears to be made for use, All the luminaries of heaven serve many and important purposes. They not only afford light to the earth, but divide time into days, months, and years, and a happy variety of seasons. Air and earth, fire and water, are all necessary to support and preserve the lives of men, of animals, and vegetables. The seas which divide, at the same time, unite the numerous nations of the earth. The lower species of animals appear to be made for the service of the higher; the higher and lower species appear to be made for the service of man; and man, a rational and noble creature, appears to be made for the service of his Maker. Such variety, uniformity, regularity, and intelligence in the effect, clearly demonstrate intelligence and wisdom in the Cause. The world bears stronger marks of the design of the Creator, than a clock, or watch, or any other curious machine, bears of the ingenuity of the artificer. Indeed, it is easier to conceive, that houses should be framed; that cities should be built; and all the arts and sciences carried to the highest pitch of improvement by meré chance; than that this beautiful,
regular, and useful world should have been framed by any other cause, than a wise intelligent Being, who resolved and adjusted, in his own mind, every part of it before he called it into existence. When we survey the order, usefulness, and intelligence of the things that are made, we as clearly see and understand the manifold wisdom, as the eternal power of the Godhead.
3. The Builder and Upholder of the world must be every where present.
It is the nature of all created beings and objects, to be constantly and absolutely dependent upon their Creator. But if he constantly upholds all his creatures and all his works, then he must be constantly present in every part of his wide creation. We cannot conceive, that any cause can operate where it does not exist; and of course, we cannot conceive, that the Creator and Preserver of the world should exert his power beyond the limits of his presence. But it is certain, that his preserving and governing power extends to every creature and every object, whether great or small, through every part of the created universe; and therefore it is equally certain, that his presence constantly fills and surrounds the whole creation. And this gives us the highest possible idea of the immensity of the divine presence.
4. The Maker and Governor of the world must be a Being of boundless knowledge.
He must necessarily know himself, and be intuitively acquainted with all his natural and moral perfections. And by knowing these, he must necessarily know all possibles; that is, all things which lie within the limits of omnipotence to produce. This is that knowledge, which constitutes one of the essential attributes of the great first Cause. And besides this, he must necessa
rily have the knowledge of his own purposes and degns, which is properly termed fore-knowledge. For, by knowing his own decrees, he necessarily knows allactuals; that is, all things that ever will exist. Hence it appears, that his understanding is infinite, and his knowledge boundless. His great and capacious mind comprehends, at one view, all things past, present, and to come. And more than this, cannot be known.
5. The first, supreme, and intelligent Cause of all things must be Eternal. To suppose the first Cause had a cause of his existence, is to suppose there was a cause before the first Cause. Or to suppose he was the cause of his own existence, is to suppose that he existed and operated, before he did exist. Or to suppose that he came into existence without any cause, is to suppose what has been proved to be impossible. Hence we are constrained to suppose, that there is something in his nature, which renders his existence absolutely necessary and eternal. And though we cannot explain the necessity and eternity of the divine existence; yet this is no real objection against it, because it is reasonable to suppose, the great Creator should exist in a manner, which surpasses the comprehension of all his creatures.
6. The Framer of our bodies and the Father of our spirits must be a Being of moral rectitude.
He hath engraven the evidence of this upon the minds of all intelligent creatures. For, when he made them, "he bent them to the right;" or gave them a capacity of discerning the moral beauty or deformity of every moral agent. But can we suppose, the Creator would furnish his creatures with a faculty, bý which they could discover his own moral character, unless he knew himself to be possessed of perfect rectitude and spotless purity? For, if he were not of such