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RESULTS OF READING.
I HAD rather believe all the fables in the Legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoran, than believe that this universal frame is without a mind."
None deny that there is a God, but those for whom it maketh that there were no God.?
Something, of necessity, must be eternal, otherwise nothing could have been at all; other things show themselves to have proceeded from the wisdom, power, and goodness of One — whence that One is eternal; and so all nations have concluded that God is.3
To believe a God is to believe the existence of all possible good and perfection in the universe; it is to believe that things are as they should be, and that the world is so well framed and governed, as that the whole system thereof could not possibly have been better. ... There is nothing, which can
not be hoped for, by a good man, from the Deity; whatsoever happiness his being is capable of, and such things as eye hath not seen nor ear heard, nor can now enter into the heart of man to conceive.'
The visible marks of extraordinary wisdom and power appear so plainly in all the works of the creation, that a rational creature, who will but seriously reflect on them, cannot miss the discovery of a Deity.”
It is as certain that there is a God as that the opposite angles, made by the intersection of two straight lines, are equal."
The ordinary, and, I believe, the just idea entertained of God, is, that he is an infinite, eternal, incorporeal, and all-perfect Being. *
I believe that whoever turns his thoughts inward will evidently know, without being able to have the shadow of a doubt of it, that from all eternity there has existed an intelligent Being.'
We have not, as it appears to me, a greater certainty of any matter of fact than of the existence of the Deity. It is at least equal to the certainty we have of external objects, and of the constancy and uniformity of the operations of nature, upon the faith of which our whole schemes of life are adjusted.
We have a more certain knowledge of the existence of a God, than of any thing our senses have
2 Locke. 1 Cudworth
5 Locke. 6 Essays on the Principles of Morality and Natural Religion, 336. (1751.)
not immediately discovered to us: nay, I
may say, that we more certainly know there is a God, than that there is any thing else without us.'
The Deity has not left his existence to be gathered from slippery and far-fetched arguments. We have but to open our eyes to receive impressions of him, almost from every thing we perceive. We discover his being and attributes in the same manner that we discover external objects. We have but to appeal to our perception; and none but those who are so stubbornly hypothetical as to deny the existence of matter, against the evidence of their senses, can, seriously and deliberately, deny the existence of the Deity.
As his disease increased upon Waller, he composed himself for his departure; and, calling upon Dr. Birch to give him the Holy Sacrament, he desired his children to take it with him, and made an earnest declaration of his faith in Christianity. It now appeared what part of his conversation with the great could be remembered with delight. He related that, being present when the Duke of Buckingham talked profanely before King Charles, he said to him, “ My Lord, I am a great deal older than your Grace, and have, I believe, heard more arguments for atheism than ever your Grace did; but I have lived long enough to see there is nothing in them, and so, I hope, your Grace will."3
3 Johnson's Life of Waller.
? Essays (quoted, p. 2.).
Le Dieu que j'ai juré connoit tout, entend tout;
There is a God, and a just God—a judgment and a future life; and all who own so much, let them act according to the faith that is in them.”
For my own part, I think the being of a God is so little to be doubted that it is almost the only truth we are sure of, and such a truth as we meet with in every object, in every occurrence, and in every thought.
Truly there goes a great deal of providence to produce a man's life unto threescore: there is more required than an able temper for those years. Men assign not all the causes of long life that write whole books thereof..... There is some other hand that twines the thread of life than that of Nature: our ends are as obscure as our beginnings; the line of our lives is drawn by night, and the various effects therein by a pencil that is invisible, wherein, though we confess our ignorance, I am sure we do not err if we say it is the hand of God.
If, nevertheless, any one shall be found so senselessly arrogant as to suppose man alone knowing and wise, but yet the product of mere ignorance and chance, I shall leave with him that very em
1 Corneille (La Théodore). 3 Spectator, No. 381.
2 W. Scott, Diary, vi. 157.
phatical rebuke of Tully (L. 2. De Leg.) to be considered at his leisure. 66 What can be more sillily ignorant and misbecoming than for a man to think that he has a mind and understanding in him, but yet, in all the universe besides, there is no such thing: or that those things which, with the utmost stretch of his reason, he can scarce comprehend, should be moved and managed without any reason at all.” 1
The more a man is versed in business, the more he finds the hand of Providence every where. There is no such a thing as chance: it is the unaccountable name of nothing. All is Providence, whose favour is to be merited by virtue.?
As to chance, 'tis evident, that is nothing but a mere word, or an abstract notion in our manner of conceiving things. It has itself no real being; it is nothing, and can do nothing 3
The argument concerning that great fundamental truth, the existence of God; that is, of one incomprehensibly excellent Being, the Maker and Governor of all things, is that, as Lactantius speaks, universal and unanimous testimony of people and nations, through all courses of time, who, otherwise differing in language, custom, and conceit, have, in this one matter, not disagreed.4
1 Locke. ii. 241. (Hum. Und.) 2 Lord Chatham's (then Mr.Pitt) Speech. See Walp. Mem. ii. 390. 3 Clarke, Serm. i.
4 Barrow, Serm. viii. (vol. ii, fol.) The words of Lactantius are, “ Testimonium populorum atque gentium in unâ hac re non dissis dentium.”