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until in the series we reach the first | eternally existed. Nothing short of this,

link, which we must admit to depend upon nothing. Now, if this first link be not dependent upon any thing, it must be independent; for whatsoever has any existence, must be either dependent or independent. It cannot be dependent, because, being the first link, there is nothing on which it can depend; and even if this absurdity were set aside, we should be compelled to admit that it is an effect without a cause. It is equally certain that it cannot be independent; because it partakes of the same common nature with those links, which, without dependence, can have no existence. It must therefore be dependent and not dependent at the same time.

If the first link in an infinite series be independent, it must be eternal, for we have already seen, that nothing could have made itself, since this implies action prior to existence. But to ascribe eternity of existence to a first link in an infinite series of dependent beings, is to make it eternal and not eternal at the same time.

can extricate our reasonings from those absurdities which we have already perceived attaching themselves to an infinite series of dependent beings. It is of no consequence to the present argument, whether we call the primary cause of finite existence, human, angelic, or divine; or whether intelligence be supposed to be incorporated in its essence or excluded from it. These inquiries may be of much importance hereafter; but in the present stage of the argument all that we require is, to ascertain whether the primary cause of human existence be in itself dependent or independent.

That it cannot be dependent, has already been proved in the preceding paragraphs. Its independence therefore follows as a necessary consequence; it being the only alternative of the general proposition, which includes every possibility within its wide embrace; and the instant we admit the absolute independence of any given cause, we must necessarily admit it to be eternal. For since its actual existence could not have been imparted by itself, and its absolute independence precludes the possibility of its existence being derived, it must be in the possession of underived existence; and that existence which is underived, could never have known a commencement or beginning.

There seems to be but one way through which the absurdity of the above conclusions can be obviated, and that is, only by removing the difficulty to another stage, in which we shall again meet it in its last retreat. It may perhaps be asserted, that "To suppose an infinite series, is to suppose an aggregate from which a first link is necessarily excluded; and consequently, where no first link exists, no absurdity can be attached to it." Against this objection we would beg leave to assert, That this infinite series must either have a first link, or it must not: If it have a first link, the whole cannot be infinite, for nothing can be infinite that is placed within the reach of numbers. But if it have no first link, it can have no second, because it has no first; and no third, because it has no second; and consequently, it can have no successive There are but two primary modes of link whatever. The supposition, there-existence within the reach of possifore, of an infinite series of dependent beings, in what light soever it may be viewed, appears evidently to be pregnant with absurdity.

We have now arrived at a stage in this chain of argumentation, in which two points are clearly ascertained; namely, that something must have existed from eternity; and that this something could not be the human race, whether we view them as individuals or generations, or embrace, in one comprehensive survey, the aggregation of the species. But in what manner this something exists, which we must allow to be eternal, must be the subject of our next inquiry.

bility, and these are necessary and contingent. That existence is said to be contingent, which might have had a commencement, and which, without inBut if an infinite series of finite and volving any contradictory ideas, may dependent beings be totally impossible, have a termination. It follows, thereit follows, that the human race must fore, that every being and thing which necessarily be dependent for their pri- is finite, can have nothing more than a mary existence, upon some cause which contingent existence: On the contrary, is absolutely independent; and conse- that existence is said to be necessary, quently, on some cause that must have ] which is not derived from any source,

which is not dependent on any cause, and which is placed beyond the influence of all foreign power. It appears from this definition of these modes of existence, that the primary cause of finite being, cannot be contingent; and, therefore, it must include necessary existence in the essence of its own nature.

It is not, however, to be imagined, that when any being is said to have a necessary existence, its existence is necessary to the production of any given effects. In this respect it may be said, that the sun is necessary to give us light, and that its light is necessary to render things visible; but, in themselves, there is no absolute necessity that things should be rendered visible, that light should emanate from the sun, or that the sun itself should exist; since the total absence or non-existence of all these can easily be supposed, with out involving any contradictory ideas.

But when we rise from these modes of existence, which are thus relatively necessary, though only contingent in themselves, to contemplate that existence which we have already proved to be both independent and eternal, we behold an exalted mode of being, wholly distinct from every thing that is finite, including in its own nature the essence of independent and absolute existence.

it applies, exists necessarily, even while it is destitute of being. Nothing, therefore, can be said to exist necessarily, but that which cannot possibly cease to exist.

But, although necessary existence must be admitted, it is totally impossible for us to allow it in the mere abstract. Existence, in all the possible forms which it can assume, must necessarily be connected with some substance or essence, from which it is inseparable, unless it cease to be. Necessary existence, therefore, implies the actual existence of some substance or essence; and, consequently, some necessarily existent substance or essence must actually be in existence.

But as this something, to which necessary existence applies, must be allowed to have an actual being, it is totally impossible that it should be located to any portion of space or duration; because universality of existence is an undeniable consequence of necessary existence. If the absence of a being, of any description whatever, from any given portion of space, can be admitted, without involving any contradictory ideas, no reason can be assigned why it may not, on the same principle, be absent from all other portions of space; and the same modes of reasoning will hold good with regard to every portion of infinite duration. And so far as the possibility of this absence is admitted, the evidence arising from this admission is decisive, that such beings can have nothing more than a contingent existence.

Nor can it with any propriety be urged, that what is said to exist thus necessarily, is simply necessary to give being to that which is finite. Finite existence, it will readily be admitted, could not have been, if necessary existence had not preceded it. But whether any thing finite existed or not, this cannot alter the nature of that existence which is necessary in itself; otherwise it would cease to be independent. Necessary existence, therefore, must include in its own essence the reason of its being; nor can we suppose its non-existence, without including contradictory ideas in the supposition. As every thing cannot exist contingently, something must exist necessarily but if that which ex-fountain of all power. ists necessarily, could cease to exist, it would include and not include necessary existence in its essence at the same time. And if we proceed from simple possibility to fact, and admit the actual non-existence of that being or thing which we grant to exist necessarily, we must then allow, that necessary existence is become non-existent; and, consequently, that the something to which

Existence, on the contrary, which is absolutely necessary, is not confined either to time or place: it is dependent on nothing, and knows no bounds. Universality of existence is therefore its necessary concomitant; and hence, that being who exists necessarily, cannot but be omnipresent.

As all contingent existence must have been derived from that which is neces sary, the being who includes necessary existence in his essence, must be the

No energy,

therefore, of any description whatever, whether muscular, intellectual, or spiritual, can have any existence that was not primarily derived from this primitive source of all. This being must therefore possess all power; and whereever all power is concentrated, there we find Omnipotence. A power that is omnipotent must necessarily extend, not only to all realities that ever began to

exist, but likewise to all possibilities. | Can, then, two atoms, which are essen
Nothing finite could have been what it
is, had it not been the effect of power;
and no power can possibly be conceiv-
ed, but that which omnipotence has
primarily supplied. To assert that
any thing is possible that does not actu- |
ally exist, is in effect to assert, that an
adequate power must somewhere exist,
capable of turning possibility into reality;
and, consequently, every thing must be
absolutely impossible, which a power that
is infinite is totally unable to accom-
plish. Nothing, therefore, can bound
the physical operation of omnipotence,
but that which involves a palpable con-

tially unintelligent, give birth to intelli-
gence by their being combined? If this
were admitted, we must conclude, that
these atoms had derived from their com→
bination, a degree of perfection, which
no one among them, and which not all,
separately taken, could be said to pos-
sess. That which is true of two atoms,
with regard to the production of intelli-
gence, is equally true of three, of three
hundred, of three thousand, or of three
million; and of any assemblage that is
placed within the reach of numbers.
Matter, therefore, cannot be God; and,
consequently, God is not a material

Nor can we, with any greater degree
of reason, imagine matter to be neces-
sarily existent, than we can suppose it
to be intelligent. We have already


As this first cause of all finite being must exist universally, because it exists necessarily, it must uniformly have the power of knowing its own energies; for this power to know must be includ-seen, that whatsoever is necessarily exed in our idea of omnipotence. But a istent, must exist universally. being that has power to know the extent if matter had existed universally, no of its own energies, must necessarily interstices could have existed between possess knowledge; and that which pos- the parts into which it is capable of sesses knowledge must be intelligent in being divided; neither could motion proportion to its knowledge. Now, if have been possible. No two atoms can this intelligence be in proportion to its occupy, in one and the same instant, knowledge; and the knowledge of any the same portion of space. Matter, in being be commensurate to its power; and its own nature, cannot but be impenethis power extend to all realities and trable. If the universe were absolutely all possibilities; it follows, that its in- filled with matter, a body put in motion telligence, its knowledge, and its power, must move through solidity; and, conmust be alike without limits; and, con- sequently, must enter that space which sequently, this being must possess pow- another body occupied in the same iner, knowledge, and intelligence, which stant; which is wholly inconsistent with are alike infinite. It is this glorious the impenetrability of its nature. If, assemblage of necessary existence, of therefore, the existence of motion prove omnipresence, of omnipotence, and of that matter does not exist universally, infinite knowledge, from which we de- and the want of universality of existrive our idea of GOD. ence prove that matter does not exist necessarily, it follows, that matter itself, together with all the forms which the modifications of its parts assume, can have nothing more than a contingent existence; and, consequently, that it must be indebted for its existence to that Being whom we denominate God.

As this glorious Being, whom we denominate God, must necessarily include in his essence those perfections, which we have seen combined in this assemblage, it is totally impossible that he should be material. It is evident, that matter does not include either intelligence or knowledge within its essence; for, if this were admitted, it would follow, that intelligence and knowledge are essential to matter; and, consequently, that every atom must possess these sublime perfections. But, as these perfections are not essential to matter, so neither can any combinations which matter can assume, give being to an exalted property, which no atom in the combination can possess. If one atom be destitute of intelligence, another must be equally destitute for the same reason.


Ir is generally admitted by all religious
professors, who realize in their hearts
the blessings promised in the Gospel,
that the truly pious of every denomina-
tion, differ more in non-essentials, in
terms, and in phrases, than in those
fundamental truths which they all allow

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At one of these Union Prayermeetings held in Plymouth, a preacher, in connexion with the Wesleyan Methodists, was requested, about three years since, to deliver an address, in a place of worship belonging to the Independents. This he undertook; and having in the course of his observations expatiated at some length on the excellence of a catholic spirit; and recommended those essential truths which all allowed to be fundamental, he concluded his address in nearly the following language :

to be necessary to salvation. That such | currences the connexions ought not to trifles should estrange from one another, be destroyed; and, in the present inso many branches of one common stance, the preservation of them is family, is an evil which Christianity essentially necessary, to place the Allesurveys with sorrow, and which men of gory in its proper light. liberal minds have attempted to remove. To accomplish an object so desirable, Monthly Prayer-meetings have been established in several towns in this kingdom, on appointed days; when all, of every sect, who feel themselves disposed, have an opportunity of attending in some particular chapel, the other places of worship being at that time shut. In this manner they proceed in regular rotation throughout the whole. The principal object of these meetings is, to bring the pious members of different communions acquainted with each other;-to recommend such topics as are best calculated to promote the conversion of sinners, and the welfare of the church; and finally, to disarm bigotry of its formidable power, or at least to prevent the anti-christian spirit of its gloomy empire from extending.

In what light soever we may view the influence of bigotry, no man has ever yet had the hardihood openly to avow himself its advocate, unless it appeared in some imposing shape, which concealed its deformity. And we may charitably hope, that among the diversities in which the human character appears, we shall search in vain, to find an individual who would rejoice in beholding its universal establishment.

It is scarcely to be supposed, that selfishness and bigotry are to be found among the inhabitants of the celestial regions; or, that there is to be discovered in these abodes of glory, a single bosom which genuine benevolence does not warm. If, therefore, the church militant may be considered as emblematical of the church triumphant, nothing can be more desirable, with regard to bigotry, than to promote its excommunication, if we cannot light up its funeral pile.

In conducting the Union Prayermeetings alluded to above, the general rule is, for some minister present, who does not belong to the place of worship in which they then assemble, to deliver an address on the occasion. Every person knows, that there are times and seasons, when a particular representation of truth will assume an attitude of importance, and excite an interest, which, under other circumstances, it cannot command. Under such con

"Permit me now to call your attention to the principles and practice which I have endeavoured to recommend ; while I place before you an interesting object, which I will call

66 TRUTH, AN ALLEGORY. "When Truth, which was a native of the celestial regions, became embodied, and descended from heaven to visit the habitations of men, it assumed the form of a beautiful cone, Of this cone, the base rested on the earth; while its summit, rising from an extensive plain, was buried in the clouds; and on every side it was illuminated with rays of the divine glory. The nations of the earth, struck with a spectacle so magnificent and splendid, gazed upon it with astonishment; and being enamoured with its symmetry and lovely appearance, the more thoughtful and serious gathered round it from every quarter, by a kind of involuntary impulse. On approaching this singular phenomenon, astonishment gave place to admiration; and this was finally succeeded by rapture; notwithstanding many characters appeared among the group, distinguished in their appellations by some peculiar features in their natural dispositions.

"Amidst this assembly, the Independents went on one side, the Baptists on a second, the Quakers on a third, the Episcopalians on a fourth, and the Methodists on a fifth; while others stood aloof, suspended between their own incredulity, and the charms of that splendid object which they were invited to embrace.

"Pleased with the magnificence which operated on their senses, each remained

immoveable in his primitive position, | awakened no remorse, soon taught them

without walking round the sacred figure, to survey the glories which arose from the symmetry of all its parts. In every view, truth has its beauties; but those which arise from a survey of detached portions, are less brilliant and diversified, than those which result from a comprehensive survey of the whole system. No party, however, had views sufficiently expanded and comprehensive, to embrace the excellencies which resulted from the combined effect of all; and the melancholy disasters which followed, were the fatal consequences of this contracted observation.


Unhappily, in this state, the selfish passions began to operate; and each party, willing to possess a prize that appeared to be of inestimable value, seized with eagerness the portion of truth that was exhibited to immediate inspection; determining, if possible, to bear the splendid cone to their respective camps, regardless of the privations which others must suffer from their selfish violence. In so large and diversified an assembly, it is difficult to say by which party the assault was made. But be this as it may, the outrage which was begun by one class, was succeeded by that of a second, and it was continued by a third, till a strong attachment to truth degenerated into a fierce contention, and finally involved the whole company in indiscriminate confusion.

"It is well known, that whatsoever approaches nearest to a state of perfection, is most susceptible of a tarnish, and is most likely to suffer from the effects of violence. In the conflict which took place at the foundation of this cone, the injuries it received became conspicuous; but this, instead of causing the contending parties to desist from committing depredations, which no human efforts could repair, only stimulated them to renewed exertions, until the cone of truth was divided into splinters, and actually rifted from its base to its summit.

"On beholding the fatal effects of their own indiscretion, each of the parties determined to preserve the portion that had fallen to their lot; and elated with success, instead of being overwhelmed with sorrow at their folly, they bore in triumph to their respective friends, such fragments as they had been able to secure. The impulse of passion, how ever, beginning to subside, was soon followed by reflection; which, if it

by sad experience, the evils resulting from their indiscretion; and all perceived, that the parts which had been obtained, were less beautiful than the cone appeared, when all its fragments were united together.

"On inspecting the parts, deficiencies were soon discovered, which nothing but the portions that had been seized by others, were able to supply. But since these could on no account whatever be procured, the more considerate among them, hastened to employ their most skilful workmen, who, with much industry, ingenuity, and care, collected a quantity of untempered mortar, and giving it a consistency and colour, resembling as nearly as possible the cone which was to be repaired, endeavoured at least to give completion to its form, by the doubtful materials which were thus supplied.

"The cone of truth was now multiplied into many; and these exhibited on their first appearance, such incongruities, that several portions were placed under a second, and a third repair; and so badly executed were some, that in process of time they were abandoned by their warmest advocates, and finally consigned over to oblivion. Among those that have survived the lapse of time, and the wreck of things, several have undergone considerable alterations; so that the mortar which was primitively supplied, retains at present but little of its original shape, consistence, or colour. In other instances, as some features of peculiar excellence appeared on the parts of the real cone which had been preserved, but which no art could imitate, several have been compelled to resort to the dishonourable expedient, of throwing over truth itself a deceitful varnish, that consistency of colour might appear, even though it should be purchased at the expense of integrity.

"Since this melancholy disaster happened, a long period has elapsed, during which the most celebrated artists of every party have been employed in polishing, in painting, in burnishing, and in giving new lustre to their respective cones. But, notwithstanding this waste of time and talent, many vacancies still appear in each, which no ingenuity has hitherto been able to supply. Even the tints of colouring exhibit to an observing eye certain portions of light and shade, which are evidently of artificial origin;

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