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aberrations from the great mass of mankind prove that there are established laws, from which they deviated; and they prove that there may be monsters no less in the intellectual, than in the brutal world. The general sentiment of mankind furnishes abundant proof that there is a God; and that he has given evidence of his existence.
The sacred scriptures not only declare that there is a God, but they are themselves an evidence of his existence. In every production we look for an adequate cause. What is not superior to human power may be attributed to that power. But what far exceeds human exertion must be traced to a higher cause. That system of religion, recorded in the Bible, infinitely exceeds any human production. The ingenuity of man has often been tried to form a system of religion; but their best productions have betrayed the weakness, or baseness of their authors. But the christian system displays a depth of wisdom, to which human ingenuity can never attain, and which it can never fathom. Its morality is unblemished. Its piety is pure and fervent. Its exhibitions of the Deity are indescribably sublime. Its method of salvation embraces, at once, the most striking displays of wisdom, power, and goodness. Its retributions are admirably calculated to animate the hopes and rouse the fears of the human soul. The more its parts are examined and compared, the more visible will be their harmony. The more minutely it is investigated, the more clearly will its perfection appear. The deeper researches are made into this system, the more amazing will appear its length and breadth, its height and depth. When human wisdom has gone to its utmost extent, it can only stand on the borders of this divine system; admire its amazing dimensions; and exclaim, "O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!"
In the formation of substance out of nothing, and in the support of the universe are the highest conceivable
displays of power. Almighty power alone could create and support the world. The organization of the universe; its regulations; the correspondence and subserviency of its various parts; the control of events, by which important ends are attained by indirect means, manifest a wisdom unlimited in degree, and in its operation. The abundant means of support, convenience and delight, which are bestowed on mankind; the connexion of the highest happiness with duty; the means, which are employed to repair the ruins of human nature; the sacrifice which was made for rebellious creatures, and the provision, which is made for their future enjoyment, are the most striking displays of benevolence and goodness. Nothing but mercy and love, which knew no bounds, could have made such communications to this ungrateful, this rebellious world. The Being, in whom these infinite perfections dwell, is the Creator, the Governor and Savior of the world. He is God.
THE UNITY OF GOD.
THE existence of God is the foundation of religion. He is the Author of all other beings. He supports all the works of creation. His will is the law of his creatures. His law is not established by an arbitrary decree; but it is founded on those principles of moral fitness, which are coincident with the relationship of beings; and which are immutable. To do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly, did not become duties because they were required; but they were required because they were duties. Had there been no God, there would have been no beings; no relationship between beings; no moral fitness connected with such relationship. But as there is a God, and he is the Author of all creatures, he is the foundation of the connexion subsisting between beings; he is the foundation of the principles of moral right which are inseparable from such connexion. Agreeably to the nature of his creatures, and agreeably to his own holy nature, he formed a system of religion. He established in human nature a perceptibility of the divine Existence; and implanted in the soul a sense of moral obligation.
Mankind are conscious of responsibility. They perceive that they did not originate themselves; their possessions; their privileges; their enjoyments. They perceive that the Being, who made these communications, has a just claim on them; and that they are under a correspondent obligation. This general sen
timent of responsibility was impressed upon the mind by the Creator; and proves that he is not only the Author of a system of religion; but proves that he is the Author of religious sentiment in the heart.
The opinions which men form of God, give a decisive character to their religious system. If they form correct ideas of his nature, character, government and offices, they form, generally, correct ideas of the whole system of religion. If they have incorrect ideas of the Deity, they are generally defective in their religious sentiments. If they believe that he is the only living and true God, they believe that he alone is entitled to religious homage. If they have exalted ideas of the divine nature, they have humiliating conceptions of humanity. If they believe divine sovereignty, they believe human dependence. If they believe that God is the only Savior, they trust only in him. On the other hand, if they believe there is a multiplicity of deities, they divide their religious homage among them. They practise idolatry. If they believe that God does not notice the affairs of mortals, they do not venerate the divine law; their hopes and fears are not excited by the promise, or threatening of retribution. The Heathen have generally, if not universally, believed the existence of a multiplicity of gods. They have ascribed to them various natures and characters; and they have varied their worship and service according to the ideas they had formed of their respective natures. To one they have offered the fruits of the earth. To another they have made presentations of indecency. To another they have offered human sacrifices; varying their offerings according to the supposed nature and pleasure of their deities.
Those, who believe Christianity is a divine revelation, form various ideas of God. This variety of sentiment upon this fundamental article of religion affects their creed through the whole system. The guilt of sin is measured by the dignity and holiness of that
Being, against whom it is committed. The value of the atonement is estimated not only by the evil of sin; but by the excellence and capacity of him, who made the sacrifice. The ideas formed of future reward and punishment correspond with the sentiments entertained of the Deity. Trace all human creeds, and it will be found that all their features take their peculiarities from the belief of the first article of religion.
It is of the highest importance, therefore, to form correct ideas of God. It is not expected that finite minds can form adequate conceptions of the divine nature; or of the infinitude of his attributes. But it is necessary to believe there is such a nature possessing such attributes. The deity is the basis of religion; and the opinion formed of him is the chief corner stone in a believer's creed.
In the formation of every argument it is necessary to lay down correct premises; because on them the conclusion depends. In every science it is necessary to have a knowledge of its first principles. These are the basis of the whole system. In the science of Theology, as in all other sciences, there are fundamental truths, which must be admitted or proved, before inquiries can be prosecuted with success. The most important of these, and which claims the first attention, is, the unity of God.
1. The first argument, which offers itself in proof of this truth, is, there appears to be no need of more than one God. In treating subjects philosophically it is correct to admit no more causes, than are necessary to account for the effects produced. One Being of almighty power is sufficient to create the world. One Being of infinite wisdom is sufficient to organize it, and form a constitution for its government. One Being of infinite goodness is competent to the administration of its laws. The same Being, who created, organized and supports one world, can multiply them to any extent he pleases. It is no harder to conceive