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British and Foreign Bible,. 288
Church of England Missionary,. 298
Tower of St. Nicholas Church,
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Typhus Fever, recipe to prevent the,.... 171 Rees, Dr. Cyclopedia, on,.
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OR, COMPENDIUM OF
RELIGIOUS, MORAL, & PHILOSOPHICAL KNOWLEDGE.
66 THE VALUE OF A BOOK IS TO BE ESTIMATED BY ITS USE."
THOUGHTS ON THE NECESSARY EXIST- given aggregate, and all the parts of
ENCE OF THE GREAT FIRST CAUSE
WHEN We contemplate our own existence, it is natural for a thinking mind to inquire, whence did I come,-to what primary power am I indebted for my being, and by what modes of reasoning and inquiry, shall I obtain a satisfactory knowledge of that primitive Cause from which I have derived those bodily powers, and mental energies, which I possess?
That I am in existence, is a truth too plain to require proof, or to admit denial. I could not have imparted that existence to myself; for this would imply action prior to being, which is absolutely impossible; because action, which necessarily presupposes existence, can never be its primary cause. The same truth which is conclusive with regard to myself, is equally applicable to every creature and thing within the vast empire of Being. If, therefore, I could not have imparted existence to myself, so neither could any of my progenitors have imparted existence to themselves. This truth being granted, one of the two following propositions must be admitted: first, either the ancestors of human nature, must, in a vast chain of retrogression, have existed without a beginning; or, secondly, man must be primarily indebted to some independent power, for that existence which he enjoys. Now, if out of two given propositions, one of which must be true, we can prove one to be false, the truth of the other will be clearly de
It is a self-evident fact, that all individuals of the human race, as well as all the generations of these individuals, are limited as to the duration of their existence. Each has had a commencement of being; and, in those that are now no more, that commencement has been succeeded by a termination, so far as it respects our present state. Hence all the parts are necessarily finite; and no accumulation of finites can ever make an infinite. The whole of any No. 1.-VOL. I.
which that whole is composed, must necessarily be the same. If, therefore, all the parts are finite, so also must be the | whole, which is formed of these parts."
In addition to the preceding observations, all the generations of men, as well as the individuals which compose them, are dependent upon those which immediately preceded them. If, therefore, we allow the whole, to form in the aggregate an infinite series, we must suppose the existence of an infinite series of dependent beings to be not merely abstractedly possible, but to be in a state of actual existence. Now if this series be actually infinite, it follows, that it must also be independent, for no series can be strictly infinite, that is not absolutely independent. But how an infinite series can be constituted by an accumulation of finite links; or how the whole can include independence in its nature, when all the parts of which it is composed are actually dependent; we can never hope to know, until we can reconcile contradictions.
Admitting an infinite series to exist, we would ask-Suppose, as all the parts of which it is composed are finite, one individual generation were subtracted from the general mass, would that which remains be finite or infinite? If infinite, it must have been more than infinite before the subtraction was made, which is impossible. But if it be finite, as that which is supposed to be subtracted is finite also, it is equally impossible to imagine, with any consistency of thought, that the union of two parts, each of which is avowedly finite, can ever constitute that which is infinite. And to suppose the whole to be infinite, while all the parts, of which that whole is composed, are finite, is to make the whole to be infinite and not infinite at the same time.
The supposition that the whole may be independent, while all the parts of which it is composed are dependent, is attended with consequences not less absurd. In this case, we must suppose, that all the parts are dependent upon each other in eontinued retrogression, B