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excite us to the practice of them. Such are the duties of gratitude, charity, and compassion : such are the amiable obedience and love of children to their parents.
Can reason be so depraved as to admit the supposition, that God formed us thus, without intending we should live suitably, or be accountable to himself ?-The conscience of all mankind, the fears and remorse which inseparably accompany every wilful deviation from the law written in our hearts ; that self-applauding fatisfaction which is the companion of virtue:-These sentiments, of which we ourselves are not masters, clearly demonstrate, that the great author of them is perfect in holiness, justice, and mercy, the same in nature though different in degree : because his vicegerent conscience approves, or condemns us, in proportion as we obey the dictates of those immutable virtues. What then, if, in his dispensations with the sons of men, his juitice be sometimes hidden behind the veil of his providence; yet must it be clearly seen, as being understood by his works in the human soul from the creation of the world.
What can we say suitable to the dignity of the subject ? --Thou inexhaustible fountain of infinite perfection! God the Lord every where revealed !-Shall we contemplate thee in things above, or in things below ?-Thou hast made all, and the universe is but a transcript of thyself: “ Bless the Lord, says David, all his works, ye “ heavens, waters, winds, thunder, rains, rivers, and seas; and " chiefly thou, O my soul, praise his holy name for ever.”
To offer all the proofs which this subject would admit of, would be to attest every atom in creation ; a labour as superfluous, as it is endless ; since even savages by the mere force of innate religion can spell something of a Deity in every page, in every line of the vast volume of the universe.
The most barbarous nations have had different ideas of God, different indeed according as their different imaginations could make room to entertain them. In every part of the habitable
world, the natives have always had, and still profess some fort of religion, have proper times set apart for prayer, sacrifices, and other holy rites and ceremonies ; and though they differ according to the various countries in which they are observed; yet all agree to own, at least to mean one all-knowing, all-powerful, and Supreme Being: and the very diversity of them is an undeniable argument that this notion is co-extensive with human nature, and not the effect of example or tradition.
Within these two last centuries several considerable places have been found out, and the curious traveller is daily making new difcoveries ; and though in some places the barbarous natives have no established laws for the punifhinent of vice, or the reward of virtue ; but live in the open air, ignorant of all the arts of life; yet even these have certain indisputable notions, though dark and imperfect, both of God and religion ; as if it was even more natural to mankind to acknowledge the Deity than to form themselves into focieties, to secure from the injuries of the weather, or make provision for their daily subsistence. · Unfophisticated reason, however weak and unimproved, has, in the most barbarous nations, been ever capable of inferring this prime and fundamental principle. Such universal consent, prior to all instruction, must be admitted to be the voice of nature. And though many of the heathen philosophers, in the pride of disputation, affected to deny almost every popular tenet; yet we do find but few even nominal Atheists recorded in the annals of the antients; and these, it appears, rather expofed the numerous train of false deities, than denied the existence of a true God: as many amongst us content themselves with knowing what is falfe, without enquiring what is true ; and ridicule superstition, without examining into the merits of their most holy religion.
* The sceptics were the only persons who profeffedly suspended their 'afsent to the being of a God: but they affected even a doubt
of what was immediately evident to sense ; the real existence of what they saw and felt ;-nay, of their own bodies. . Our modern sceptics talk much in the same trifling strain.--How, fay they, can we acknowledge a God; when we never saw him? - Ridiculous !-Do not you, though blind or in a dungeon, believe there is a sun?-Andi when God is to be feen in every pile of grafs, or atom of dust, can you doubt of his existence?-Do you not, on the first sight of a tree, naturally suppose it has a root; though the earth covers iti?-Do you not trace a river to its head, though never fo distant from it?-Suppose you were travelling through some defert and in your progress Mould cast your eyes on a regular cottage, would you not readily infer, that the place had once been inhabited, from the visible marks of human contrivance ?-And when you take. a: survey of a multiplicity of objects surpaffing the most exalted conceptions of men, muft you not conclude ;--" This is the Lord's “ doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes ?”—How many things do we firmly believe, which we do not see ?-Do we not allow that plants and animals have a fort of souls, though we cannot discover their hidden qualities and originals ? —That we have a raticnal faculty, whereby we contemplate on ourselves and our fellow-creatures ?-Now since both the external and internal parts of the body are the same after death as they were before, where is the foul ?-When did you see it?-If in its effects, in that sense we see God.—You discern nothing but with your eyes, and by the influence of your soul, which is of too refined a nature to be difcerned by human fight. You believe you have a face; yet you can only see the resemblance of it in a glass; and will you not believe there is a God, the bright characters of whose divinity are so legible in the various and inimitable works of the creation?
Here then we rest ;--for though infinitely. more might be said on this moft copious subject ; yet may we safely defy the subtileft infidel, armed with all the sophiltry of habitual wickedness whicli
unakes it his interest to disbelieve, to evade the force of what has been already offered. And though it it is possible nothing new has been advanced on the subject; yet if these considerations have the power to remove the thick veil of worldly-mindedness and sensu. ality from the eyes of one fellow-creature ;- if they should induce but one thoughtless finner to appeal from his heart to his head, to confult his reason instead of his paflions; his bosom must that momnent travel with repentance, and feel a vigorous resolution forming within him to devote himself for the future to an upright and an holy life; since, as we have already intimated, it is as easy to de. monstrate, that God certainly will, and necessarily must be a rewarder of the good and a punisher of the wicked, as that he really exists; which truth even these few obvious reflections have, it is humbly presumed, put beyond the reach of contradiction and rational doubt.- Finally brethren, seeing there assuredly is a God above us, the creator and preserver of the universe, the great searcher of all our thoughts, the liberal rewarder of all our good words and works, to HIM, and him only in humble strains of unfeigned thankfulness and fervent devotion
LET US PRA Y. “ Almighty God, who hast manifested thyself to all mankind by • the various works of thy creation, we thine unworthy servants, • firmly believing that thou art the supreme Preserver of the uni“ verse, beseech thee of thy gracious goodness to strengthen our “ faith. All our expectations are from thee, do thou confirm our “hope. We love thee, do thou inflame our affections; we are “ sorry for our manifold sins; do thou increase our repentance. We " adore thee as our first principle ; we desire thee as our last end. “ We thank thee as our perpetual benefactor, and we call upon “thee as our supreme defender. O God be thou pleased to guide “ us by thy wisdom, rule us by thy justice, comfort us by thy mer"' cy, and keep us by thy power. To thee we dedicate our thoughts,
" words and actions; that from henceforth we may think of thee, “ speak of thee, and act according to thy will. We beseech thee “ to enlighten our understandings, to purify our bodies, and fanctify “our souls. Enable us, o God, sincerely to repent of our past “ offences, to conquer our future temptations, to reduce our passions “ which are too strong for us, and to practise the virtues that be" come us. Fill our hearts with a tender remembrance of thy fa“ vours an aversion to our infirmities, a love for our neighbours, “ and a contempt of the world. Let us always remember to be “ submissive to our superiors, faithful to our friends, charitable to " our enemies, and indulgent to our inferiors. Enable us, o God, “ to overcome pleasure by mortification, covetousness by alms, an“ ger by meekness, and luke-warmness by devotion. Make us pru“ dent, O God, in all our undertakings, patient under disappoint“ments, and humble in success. Let us never forget to be ferven't “ in prayer, temperate in our food, and diligent in our employments. “ Enable us, o God, to be modest in our deportment, regular in “our conduct, and exemplary in our lives and conversations.-Let “ us always apply our minds to resist nature, affist grace, keep thy “commandments, and labour to be saved, convince us of the vani" ty of all earthly enjoyments, the transports of those above, the " shortness of time, and the duration of eternity. Grant that we “may be ever prepared for the day of our dissolution, that we. “may dread thy judgments,—escape thy wrath, and be admitted at “ last into thy heavenly rest,—and this we humbly beg of thee, O “ holy Father! Almighty everlasting God !not trusting in our “own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies--“ Wherefore thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour, “ and power ; for thou hast created all things; and for thy pleasure: “ they are and were created.”.