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thing must have made itself, or something must come into being of itself, all of which, we have clearly proved to be impossible ; now, from the plain fact, that something exists, no other conclusion can remain, but that something always was, or is eternal, and never began to be. That something always was, or existed from eternity, is, therefore, as certain, and rests upon as sure a foundation, as that something now is. Whoever admits the latter, must be obliged to admit the former. There is no possible evading this conclusion, that something existed from eterniö ty, never began to be, but by denying that any thing now exists. And where any thing is made so evident, that it cannot be evaded by a person, but by renouncing all his senses, his reason, and his own existence, it may be justly said to be strict and proper demonstration. From the preceding propositions, it follows, with the utinost certainty, in the
Fourth place, That soine being was uncaused, or was from eternity of itself, without a cause. Attention to the preceding propositions, will administer the fullest conviction of this truth. For what always was, and never began to be, but was from eter. nity, can have no cause of its existence. To say that
any being has a cause of its existence, is the saine thing as to say, that such a being was produced; but to say a being that always was, and never begun to be, was produced, is a gross contradiction. Because, saying that a being is produced, is the same thing as saying that once it was not, or that antecedently to this production, it did not exist. Whereas this Being is eternal, did always exist, and never had a beginning.-Besides, all beings had a cause of their existence, or some being is uncaused. If it be said that all beings had a cause of their existence, then it is plain that some being must have caused or produced itself. The first being that existed, at least, must have come into being of itself, or liave been the cause of its own existence, which returns us to the old absurdity, of some being making itself. Therefore, it is absolutely certain, that some being is uncaused, or exists eterzally, without a cause of its existence, and this being is God.
It may be proper here to observe, that this being without any cause of its ezistence, is a part of the idea intended to be expressa ed, when we say, that God is self-existent. It does not mean that he came into being of himself, or was the cause of his own existence, but it is used to signify, that he is not of another, nor of himself as a cause, but that he is a Being of so peculiar, exalt. ed, transcendent, and incomprehensible a nature, as renders it impossible that he should ever not have existed.
From these foregoing principles, it follows,
If there be some being which exists without a cause, then it is undeniable, that in regard to its existence, this being must be independent, he exists in an inconceivable manner, in and of himself. And he who is independent as to his being, must be equal. ly so with respect to the continuance of his existence, and all that he is. For there can be no possible reason, why the continuance of his being should be dependent, whose existence itself is inde. pendent. He who receives not his existence from another, but has it in himself, cannot be dependent on another for the continuance of it. . Because, to have his existence in himself, and yet to be dependent on another, is a plain contradiction. Moreover all being is dependent, or some one being is independent. To say that any being is dependent, necessarily implies, that there is some one on which he depends ; for he, who depends on no one, does not depend, or he is independent. Therefore, it is perfectly certain, that there is some being, which is simply and absolutely independent, the cause of all other beings, and on which all other things depend, and this independent Being is God. Thus far, the deinonstration is clear. Hence we proceed to add,
Sixthly, That some being exists necessarily, or which is the same thing, is self-evident.
He who is an eternal, uncaused and independent being, nus, needs be a necessary or self-existent being. For such an one could not be produced by another; it is eternal, and never began to be. . It could not make itself for this supposes it did not always exist, but had a beginning, the contrary of which, has been already proved. If, therefore, it did not come into existence by its own will, nor by the will of any other, it is undeniable, that it must be self-existent į and the true and proper notion of selfexistence is necessary existence, that cannot but be, and it is im. possible, it should not have always existed, or should cease to exist.
Now for a being to exist necessarily, is to be all that it is by the necessity of its own nature. This is plain from this consideration. Because if there exists not such a being, there never possibly could have been any thing. And there is no way of avoiding the force of this conclusion, that some being exists by an esseiltial and absolute necessity of nature, but by denying the existence of any thing and every thing, than which,' we have seen, nothing can be more absurd.
When we say that a being exists by an absolute necessity of nature, it means that its nature is of such a kind, it is impossible but that it must exist, or that its nature implies existence, as much as any one proposition or truth implics another..
With regard to a being, whose essence is simply necessary, all the attributes, properties, and perfections which belong to his being must be necessary also, in the same absolute manner as his
To suppose otherwise, is to suppose he is not necessaris ly what he is. But the weakness and inconsistency of this, has been before shown.
From this character of a necessary, self-existent, and independent being, it is easy to demonstrate his almighty and eternal power. Contemplate the things which you see, hear, feel and understand contemplate your own existence, the world on which you dwell, with all its furniture and inhabitants, and lift up your eyes and behold the heavens, the sun, moon and stars, those ima
mense and annumbered orbs which roll around us, and scepticisin itself cannot deny infinite, almighty, and eternal power. But f do not mean at present to discourse of the astonishing a:tributes of the most higli.
I proceed, therefore, to say,
Seventhly, That the being whose existence hath been demona strated, must be a self-active being.–Activity must be essens tial to his nature, or he mast aecessarily possess a power of action in and of himself, underived and independent.
In order to evince this matter, let it be considered, that it is altogether unreasonable to suppose, that the only being who can be proved eternal and independent, should be an inactive being, destitute of all ability to do or effect any thing. Such a being could be of no service whatsoevers the existence of such an one could answer no purpose there could be nothing desirable or ex cellent in the existence of such an inert and sluggish being. It would be as fit a thing in itself, that there should be no being, or nothing whatsoever, as one perfectly incapable of doing any thing. A being that can do nothing, is plainly no better than non-entity. Therefore, to suppose the only being who can be demonstrated to be eternal, is an inert or inactive being, one destitute of all power of action, is very little short of an express contradiction. Can any thing be more absurd, than to suppose that a being which is eternal, and exists by the necessity and fullness of his own nature, should, notwithstanding, be destituto of that which only can make his existence better than non-ex" istence.
It is very clear that something tiow exists, and, therefore, that something has always existed, or been from cternity, without beginning, and exists necessarily and of itself, because, otherwise there could have been nothing that how is. For as nothing could make itself, the things which are, must necessarily be made by some one wbo is unmade and self-existent. It is impossible to ac
count for the existence of things in any other way. It is impose sible that any thing should exist, if there be not some being who exists necessarily and eternally. But let it be supposed that this eternal and necessarily existent being is not self-active, is desti. tute of all power of action, we are where we were, as to any possible account for the existence of things. For if this self-existent being be without a power of action in and of himself, it is inanifest such an existence can contribute nothing towards an explication of the original of all things. Because a being who has not a power of action can do nothing, and, therefore, cannot be the author of any thing. Such a being could never be the cause of other things, for an inactive or inefficient cause cannot be said to be any cause at all. That which is inert cannot do any thing—for doing always supposes activity. So that to imagine an eternal, self-existent, inactive being, can signify no more towards accounting for the existence of all other things, than if it were imagined that there is no self-existent being whatsoever. It appears, therefore, from the present existence of things, that the only eternal, uncaused, independent, self-existent being must be indued with a power of action in and of himself.
There is no relief from the force of this reasoning, but by supposing all things were eternal and necessary as they now are, which is nothing less than supposing that all the things we see are eternal, that I am eternal, and each of you eternal, which surely would be folly, madıress and absurdity in the extreme.
Upon the whole, we conclude on the most certain grounds, that there is a God, nay, we are obliged to yield to this conclusion, or to renounce our reason, our senses, and even our own existence. Every thing about us, and in us, forces this conclusion upon us in the inost irresistable manner.
Let us now, as rational creatures, set our hearts to the consideration of this most important matter. Let this great truth, God. is, attend us at all tinies, in all places, and in all our transactions