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of infinite attributes residing in one Being, than to conceive of them residing in many beings. As all the effects, which are visible, or fall within the compass of human apprehension, may be traced to one Cause, possessing infinite perfections, there is no necessity of inferring more than one.
2. The unity of God is argued from the harmony and mutual subserviency of different parts of the world; and from the uniformity of its government. There is a just proportion between the various parts of the world. The elements are so adjusted, that one does not prevail against another. The globe is wisely balanced with earth and water. The spheres, which compose this system, are so exactly proportioned as to size and distance, that they perform their revolutions with the greatest precision. There is a remarkable correspondence and subserviency between the different parts of the world; between different classes of animals; and between the brutal and the intelligent creation. The face of the earth is agreeably and usefully variegated with hills and vallies. There
happy subserviency between the atmosphere, earth, and water. The different parts of this system so correspond that they are mutually beneficial. The sun enlightens and warms the earth. The moon and the host of heaven, not only adorn the canopy of the skies, but they shed their milder rays. The regular succession of day and night promotes the growth of the vegetable kingdom; and affords a pleasing and refreshing variety to human nature. The rotation of the seasons is wisely calculated to bring forward and mature the productions of the earth, and to restore its wasted strength.
The vegetable world affords support to a great part of the animal kingdom. Every class of animals finds subsistence in its natural situation. Different species of animals are mutually useful. Some afford support to others. If the Author of nature had paused here; and had gone no further, his work might have ap
peared marvellously great, but he would have manifosted no wise, nor important design. The vast apparatus of the natural world is calculated and appears to be designed ultimately for the use and enjoyment
The vegetable and animal part of the world afford their productions for his service, convenience and delight.
There is a uniformity of government in the natural world. The herb yieldeth seed after its kind. Every class of animals preserve their similarity of appearance, nature and habits. They also retain distinguishing peculiarities. Seed time and harvest, summer and winter, heat and cold, are established by a perpetual decree. If, from year to year, there be some difference in the time of productions, and some slight variations from the ordinary course of events, it does not militate against the uniformity of divine government; but it only proves that the world is governed by general laws. In all the works of nature, and in those laws which regulate the world, there appears to be only one design, the manifestation of divine excellence in promoting the happiness of human nature.
Had there been two artists engaged in creating and organizing the world, it could not be expected there would be a perfect correspondence and subserviency of various parts. It could not be expected there would be a unity of design running through the whole system. It is not probable that two separate powers would perfectly harmonize in any one method of government. They would, undoubtedly have their favorite plans; and pursue their favorite courses. Consequently there would not be harmony between the different parts of the world; nor uniformity in the effects of their administration. Jealousy might rise between these rival sovereigns, and instead of uniting to promote harmony, uniformity and tranquillity through the system, they might tħrow the whole into commotion, and produce the greatest disorder. They of parts;
might forget the interest of their subjects, and attempt to establish their individual superiority. If the two artists and sovereigns were of one design, and possessed equal perfections, they consequently would possess an infinitude of attributes. They being distinct and separate beings, each would possess one half of this infinitude. This supposes that infinite power, wisdom and goodness are individually capable of division, and separation; that they are made
up and that they may be formed by a progressive series of finite qualities. If these two possess the same kind of nature; are united in design, and in operation, and constitute only one infinitude, they would not be two distinct and separate existences, but they would be literally one nature.
3. There is abundant evidence that there is one God, eternal, self-existent and independent. He exists of necessity; that is, it is impossible that he never should have existed; and it is impossible that he should cease to exist. There is a primary power in the universe. It is impossible that this power should have created itself; and it is equally impossible that it should destroy itself; for this would suppose a power superior to the highest power. These things cannot be predicated of more than one power. There can be only one power necessarily existing. If an equal power be supposed to exist, it must depend on the will and pleasure of the first power for liberty of the least operation. If equals cannot destroy equals, they can counteract and neutralize each other. Consequently there cannot be two separate independencies; two separate self-existencies, nor two separate eternals.
It is equally absurd to suppose there are inferior divinities. A divinity has a divine nature and divine attributes. What is divine is not circumscribed; and consequently is infinite. What is infinite is not capable of degrees of comparison. Consequently there cannot be superior and inferior divinities.
deity be supposed, which is inferior to the supreme God, he is inferior in nature and attributes. Duration, which is inferior to eternity, is temporal. Power and wisdom which are inferior to infinity, are finite. A temporal finite being is a creature, consequently he is not truly a deity.
The Heathen admit a multiplicity of gods.. But they esteem one superior to the rest. They vary their religious honors in quality and degree according to the supposed excellence of their respective deities. It is not doubted that the Creator can and does deputize his creatures to act with a limited authority. He has constituted man lord of this lower world. But this does not vest him with a claim to divine hon
The prince of the power of the air has authority to work in the children of disobedience. But this prerogative does not entitle him to divine worship. The inferior gods of the Heathen, whether they be works of their own hands, objects of nature, or creatures of their imaginations, bear no comparison with real Divinity; and they are not entitled to divine hon
In view of the one God they are a vanity and a lie.
Mankind, ever since the apostasy, have been inclined to make lords many and gods many; and to practise idolatry. Even those, who enjoyed some rays of revealed light, loved darkness rather than light; and in the shades of nature they fancied similitudes of the Deity; or with an artist's skill they contrived forms, which called forth their devotional feelings. One great object of divine revelation was to correct the world of this error, and lead them to the knowledge of the only living and true God. So important was this subject that the first command of the decalogue was directed to this very point; “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” God has often declared in his word that there is no other god. “Unto thee it was shewed that thou mightest know that the Lord he
is God, there is none else besides him.” Solomon, in his address to the people after his consecrating prayer in the temple, uses almost the same language: “that all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God; and that there is none else.” Similar language is repeatedly used in the Old Testament. Christ, who bore testimony to the truth, taught the same doctrine, the unity of God. His language is, There is but one good, that is God. In the language of the Old Testament, he said, “The Lord our God is one Lord.” Again he said, This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God. In all his devotions he addressed but one God.
4. The coincidence of the various parts of the sacred scriptures is a strong argument in favor of the unity of their Author. This volume was written by many hands; at distant periods; and at places remote from each other. Had the objects of the inspired writers been different, or had they been under the guidance of different spirits, a striking contrariety would have appeared in their writings. But, as their object is evidently the same, as there is a remarkable coincidence in their relation of the same things, as there is a perfect agreement between the prophetic writings and the history of subsequent events, there is the strongest evidence that their authors were under the direction of one and the same Spirit.
Some parts of the sacred scriptures appear, at first view, to be inconsistent; and other parts appear to be dark. But when they are investigated, they appear consistent, and the religion of the Old Testament was remarkably well calculated for the Jewish nation till the advent of the Messiah. A knowledge of the ancient customs of the Jews, a knowledge of the idolatries of neighboring nations bring to view excellences of the Jewish religion, which are not discovered by a superficial observer. Those parts of God's word, which seem to militate against each other, are found