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consideration and belief of other doctrines depending upon, and inseparable from it.
Admitting the External Existence of a God, you necessarily proceed to acknowledge him as the Author of all Creation. As the world is nothing but mere matter, which has in it no principle of motion or activity, it could not have created itself; and as matter could not have existed from all eternity, it must have been created by some Pre-existing Cause. Hence we conclude, that God, having alone been from everlasting, must have made all matter, and consequently the world. was that Pre-existing Cause, *"who spake, and it was done, who commanded, and it stood fast."
Considering him as the Creator of the world, as the Prime Cause of all existence, it necessarily follows, that we must allow him to be possessed of Infinite Power. For can that Power be less than infinite, by which so beautiful, so various, so stupendous a creation arose, and arose
*Psalm xxxiii. 9.
too out of nothing? Can that Power be less than infinite, which by a multiplicity of co-operating instruments moves, directs, and sustains so harmonious a system of animate and inanimate being, and whose operations embrace an extent, of which the world we inhabit, and the worlds we indistinctly contemplate, occupy but a small proportion? The hand, that made all things in Heaven and in earth, that gave angels their peculiar properties and their spiritual being, that endowed man with intellectual energies and corporeal capacities, that formed a chain of systems separately existing, but no doubt intimately connected, in the immensity of space, and that in every work produced a miracle, cannot be less than Omnipotent. The great Creator is, as he assured Abraham and Jacob, "the Almighty God."+" He alone is clothed with majesty and strength." He alone is able to save, as he declared, when out of the whirlwind he questioned Job; ‡ “Hast
*Gen. xvii. 1. XXXV. 11. Job, xl. 9.
Psalm xciii. 1.
thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?" He is, as he has informed us by his servant John, *Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."
The next step is, to believe that the Eternal and Almighty Creator of the world, governs and preserves by his wisdom and goodness every thing that he has made. After having contemplated, as far as our limited capacities will permit, the whole system of creation, from the most minute and insignificant objects in nature to the most vast and sublime, its mysterious elements, its wonderful contrivances, its admirable order, the intimate connection and mutual dependence of all its parts, as so many links in one great chain, and the astonishing adaptation of means to the most wise, beneficial, and glorious ends, can you help exclaiming in the expansion and elevation of your hearts, +"O Lord, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all! The
earth is full of thy riches!" Survey all nature, and all nature's operations,-observe her in her mysterious progress,-view her in her most evident motions,-consider the excellence of your own formation, the arrangements that are made for your subsistence, and the subsistence of every creature, and the providence that pervades the whole system of animate and inanimate being, preserving each in its proper sphere, out of which it cannot move, and subjecting it to its appointed laws, which it cannot transgress; and if you have any feeling of piety, any grateful sense of benefits received, you cannot but attest, *" the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God." He is almighty, all-wise, all-good. Believe that he is so with all your hearts, and souls, and strength; and never suffer yourselves one moment to doubt, that there is the slightest tendency to error in any thing that he has done or ordained. It is wrong and dangerous to suppose, that he has not at all times, and on every occasion, acted
*Rom. xi. 33.
for the best. It is highly impious to ques tion the word of Him, whose grand Attribute it is, that he is all truth. *"It is impossible," says St. Paul," for God to lie."
"His faithfulness," says the Psalmist, "reacheth unto the clouds, and his truth endureth from generation to generation."
Having fully established in your minds the belief in an Almighty and All-perfect God, great in wisdom, and rich in goodness, and laid therein a foundation of true piety, you are required to put your faith in his Revelations. The book that contains these Revelations is the Bible. That this Book is authentic, that it was written by men evidently inspired by the Holy Ghost, and that there is not in it the smallest error, are truths confirmed by
*Heb. vi. 18.
+ Psalm xxxvi. 5.-c. 5.
A few verbal inaccuracies in translations, and some defects of expression arising from the difficulty, and often the impossibility, of giving in one language the full sense and force of the idioms of another, we must expect to meet with. But the facts, the doctrines, and the precepts, all that is material to know, and believe, and do, have suffered nothing by transla