Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTION-THE EXISTENCE OF GOD.

THE means which unto man is lent
God to behold, is on his works to look,
Which he hath made in beauty excellent,
And in the same, as in a brazen book,
To read enregistered in every

nook
His goodness, which his beauty doth declare ;
For all that's good is beautiful and fair.

SPENSER.

THE word GOD, which denotes the great First Cause of all things, is from the Saxon language, and among our ancestors signified not only the Divine Being, now commonly known by the word, but also Good, and when they thought or spoke of the Divine Being, they were ever led by the word itself, to consider him as the Good BEING,—a fountain of goodness to his creatures.

But how do we know there is a God? For,

B

“No man hath seen God at any time.” “He dwelleth in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see.” Yet, mankind in every age and country have had the idea of a Supreme Being, and have universally acknowledged his existence. Indeed, so deeply rooted is a sense of Deity in the minds of men, that, rather than have no God, they have chosen false ones. Having forgotten the true object of worship, they have substituted in his place the sun, moon, and stars; the earth, fire, water, and other objects,--so strong is the tendency of human nature to seek for some object of supreme attachment and confidence.

Now, whence could a notion so universal arise ? If we examine our own minds, we shall find, that it could arise from nothing but consciousness--a certain irresistible persuasionthat there is a Great First Cause of all things.

Some have endeavoured to trace the origin of our idea of a God to our feeling of dependence ; which feeling, as they suppose, has stimulated the mind to create for itself, in the notion of Deity, an object on which it may repose its own weakness with trustful reliance. But it may be remarked here, that this feeling of dependence rather

proves, that we already have some idea of a God, than constitutes the medium through which we arrive at the idea.

Again, it has been supposed that the idea of a God originates in a process of reasoning, from effect to cause, and from design to a designer. Upon the principle, that every effect must have a cause, and every thing which manifests design must have a designer, and as the world manifests design in all its arrangements, there must have been a designer--who is God.

It is true that the existence of a God may be proved by such a process of reasoning. But let it be remembered, that this process of reasoning must always start with the idea of a God. Hence the idea must have had some other origin. What other origin can it have, than the spontaneous, or intuitive recognition of Deity through nature? This we believe to be the origin of the idea of God. The mind is not obliged to go through the argument from effect to cause, from design to a designer, in order to arrive at the idea. The mind feels, if we may so express ourselves, the presence and operation of the divine attributes in the midst of the grand and moving spectacles of nature. There is not a phenomenon in nature, which is capable of exciting an emotion of beauty, grandeur, or sublimity, that does not breathe with the divine presence, and dispose the mind as it were to worship

To prove the truth of these remarks, let the

« PoprzedniaDalej »