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appeal be made to consciousness. Go forth and bury yourself in the bosom of some lonely forest, in one of those rare moments of the hushed silence of nature, which frequently precedes the most frightful storms of thunder. Not a sound breaks upon the solemn stillness. Not a breath of air is in motion. “Not a leaf has leave to stir.” Look and listen. There is no motion, but it is not the stillness of death. There is no audible sound. Yet listen again. Silence itself has found a voice, which seems to steal upon
the ear, as it were a tone from the world of spirits, awakening in the soul responsive echoes, and undying aspirations. In scenes like this, the soul does not feel itself alone. It recognizes a living presence and power in the scene, before which it stards in silent adoration.
Go forth on some calm sunny morning, when the stern visage and rough voice of winter are just giving place to the kindly greetings of spring. As your mind
" Drinks at every pore
The spirit of the season,"
nature will seem pervaded with the spirit of beneficence, and to respond in gentle sympathy to your own grateful emotions. You will feel that
" There is a blessing in the air
That seems a sense of joy to yield
And grass in the green field.”
the shore of the mighty ocean, and contemplate it in all its mingled elements of sublimity and beauty,--its broad expanse its rainbow diadem-its voice of many waters-and you will feel that you are in the presence –nay, within the grasp
that is the pervading, ruling, and harmonizing spirit of the
of a power
It is not to be supposed that this appeal to the inner consciousness will be appreciated by those in whom the frosts of selfishness
“Have frozen the genial current of the soul,”
and severed the continuity of their existence, cutting them off from sympathy with those emotions which this appeal is designed to recall. And yet, if the cold worldling could only live again in the memory of childhood, he too would know what it is to sympathize with the unseen power
that rules in nature. He too could say,
“ There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
It is not claimed that the mind, in its converse with nature, is always impressed with a distinct notion of Deity. It is, however, maintained, that communion with nature gives rise to those impressions and awakens those feelings, which are essential elements in the idea of a God, and necessarily grow up into such an idea very early in the history of the mind. The mind may feel the presence of God in nature, without forming a distinct notion of a being corresponding to the feeling
Such are a few of the arguments and illustrations which have been employed to show how the idea of a God originates in the human mind. Let us now proceed to consider how the existence of a God may be demonstrated. The existence of a God may be proved in the following manner.
In the universe without us, and in the little world within us, we see a great variety of effects, produced by some cause adequate to the production of them. Thus, the motions of the heart, and other vessels ; of the blood and other juices; of the tongue and other members; the storm, the lightning, and the volcano; the growth of the vegetable world; the diffusion of light, and the motions of the heavenly bodies ; —these all are effects produced by some cause adequate to the production of them. And if we consider the things around us, we also
perceive that they are all well-fitted for the objects and purposes for which they were intended, and this is a proof of intelligence and design. Thus we see that grass is well-fitted to adom the earth with beauty, and to become food for the support of animals. Thus fruits, grain, and various kinds of animals, are fitted to become food for mankind. Thus the earth, the air, the rain, and the sunshine, are suited to the production of vegetable life, of warmth, and comfort. Thus the sun is fitted to shine, the planets to receive light from his beams; and the whole system to move on with regularity and harmony, and to accomplish all the great purposes for which it was contrived.
The question then occurs, Did the things around us come into existence of their own accord, and arrange themselves in such beautiful order, and do they carry on their own operations? It is impossible to believe anything so absurd. For, as Tillotson truly observes, "How often might a man, after he had jumbled a set of letters in a bag, fling them out upon the ground before they would fall into an exact poem, yea, or so much as make a good discourse in prose! And may not a little book be as easily made by chance, as this great volume of the world? How long might a man be in
sprinkling colours upon a canvass with a careless hand, before they could happen to make the exact picture of a man ? And is a man easier made than his picture ? How long might twenty thousand blind men, which should be sent out from the several remote parts of England, wander up and down before they would all meet on one spot, and fall into rank and file in the exact order of an army? And yet this is much more easy to be imagined, than how the innumerable blind parts of matter should come together and form themselves into a world.”
If then, the world could not come into existence, and arrange itself in order by chance, what Being formed and arranged it? Who gave motion to those immense globes of light in the superb vault of heaven? Who commanded the masses of matter to assume so many and various forms ? Whence are derived the connection, beauty, and harmony of every thing we see around us ? Who has determined their
proportions, and set limits to their number? And who preserves them all in uninterrupted progression ? All these questions lead us to God—to Him who is the self-existing, infinite being! To his intelligence and almighty power all things owe their existence, their laws, arrangements, force, and influence.
“This mode of reasoning,” says Dr. Dwight,