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THE EXISTENCE OF GOD DEMONSTRATED.
ROMANS, 1. 20.
For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world
are clearly seen, being understood from the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.
ALL nature declares there is a God. If any thing which is seen, felt, or understood exists, then there exists a first cause, and that cause is God. If we are sure that we ourselves are, and that we see, hear and understand, it is equally certain to the niost perfect demonstration, that God exists. If we and all around us are non-entities, and there is nothing in the universe, then it will be granted, that there is no God. Persons who are under such derangement of mind, as to argue that they themselves are nothing, that they have no such thing as are called senses, that there is no feeling, seeing, sinelling or tasting, that this world, and all its inhabitants, furniture, order, and beauty are nothing, no man, unless equally deranged, would enter into reasoning or argument with such. Where nothing is, the attempt to originate an argument, must be both foolish and contradictory.
A leading doctrine of Saint Paul, in this epistle to the Ro. mans, was, to prove the absolute necessity of the justification of sinners before God, by the atonement of a Mediator, or by the righteousness of Jesus Christ alone. And as a master reasoner, he demonstrates every proposition advanced, as he passes along,
that his doctrine miglit come home to the judgment and collacience of every one, with the most perfect certainty, and highest conviction of its truth. Hence he first proves that all, Jew and Gen. tile, were sinners, under the wrath of God, and liable to be punished with everlasting destruction. He opens and produces his proofs in the first place against the Gentile world, and aftertvards against the Jew, and undeniably establishes this melancholy and awful truth, “ There is uone righteous, no not one."* In rese: pect to the Gentiles, lie declares, “ The wrath of God is revealed “ from leaven, against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of “inen, who hold the truth in unrighteousnesse" The particular instance here assumed, in order to convict them of ungodliness and unrighteousness, is, that they stifled, suppressed, and counteracted those notions of right and wrong, and that knowledge of God which they had. “ They held the truth in unrightcoustiess," that is, they wickedly and wilfully acted contrary to what they knew to be just, reasonable, and proper with regard to GodTo support the charge of acting contrary to the knowJedge they had of God, it was necessary to prove they had some knowledge of bin hence he declares, “ That which may be “kuown of God is manifest in them ; for God hath showed it sunto thein." The existence and some of the perfections of God were displayed among them, for he had given abundant and clear evidence hereof; he bad shewed it unto them in every tiring they beheld, in all the works of creation.
In the words of the text, the Apostle proceeds particularly to state that knowledge which was attainable, and which they had froni thus source, to wit. the knowledge of his being, and supreme and eternal power :
" For the invisible things of him from the “creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the
things that are made, even his eternal power and godhead, so " that they are without excuse." The plain sense of these words, and the evident design of the Apostle is, to establish this trutit,
That the existence of God, and some of his perfections, mar Rom.ii. 10.-Verse 13, Verse 19,
be learned or deduced, with the highest certainty, from the works of creation.
What is intended at present, is a brief and rational demonstration of the being of God, after the manner of arguing his existence here proposed by the Apostle, to wit. from his works.
By the name God, is meant an eternal, uncaused, independent, necessary, active, infinitely powerful, and intelligent Being. This description is sufficient for my present purpose. If the existence of such a Being be proved, the existence of God is proved, For such an existence is God, in all rational enquiries after or respecting the reality of his Being.
There are various topics or heads of argument, from whence this truth may be solidly evinced, but I mean to pursue one simpie chain of reasoning founded on an undeniable fact, which cannot be controverted or contradicted by the greatest sceptic. Ini this way, I suppose the existence of the Being described, is capable of strict and perfect demonstration. And this is the way ia which the Apostle proceeds in our text--For he makes it manifest, that the Gentiles, who were destitute of a divine revelation, were, or at least might be assured of the existence of God, froni the works of creation ; but if the works of creation, or the things clearly seen, would not afford undeniable and satisfying evidence to the mind of this truth without revelation, tlrere could be no assurance of the divine existence and power-and, consequently, the heathens would have a just excuse for their atheisin and wickedness ; whereas the Apostle argues, that they are without excuse.
That such a Being does exist, which we signify by the term God, is now to be proved. And that all may understand and have conviction hereof, I slvall proceed, by the most easy and gradual steps, laying the foundation of the reasoning in the most plain, obvious, and incontestible facts and principles. Where fore observe,
First, That something does now cxist, cs that some externa:
objects, and obvious to our senses, now are. Nothing can be more evident or certain than this. This is a fact, of which every person is perfectly assured. We are as sure of this, as that we have senses or understanding. No one doubts of the existence of the things without him, and around him. No one doubts that the world in which he lives, is something. Every one is assured, that it is replenished with inhabitants, and those he daily converses with, are real existences. At least, every one is convinced of his own existence. Every one is sure that he himself is. If he be not sure of this, he car, be sure of nothing. There can be no such thing as assurance, or evidence of any fact. In a word, the present existence of something, of this world, and of our selves is so clear, as not to permit us to reason upon it, in order to make it clearer. One who denies this, cannot be reasoned with at all about any thing whatsoever. Because it is one of the first and most evident of all truths. It is so evident, that it cany admit of no additional evidence. It is a self evident and notorie ous fact. A man cannot open his eyes, nay, he cannot think one thought, or speak one word, but he must receive irresistible conviction, that something now is, or docs exist. Therefore, I observe,
Secondly, No being or thing, which now exists, could make itself, or come into being of itself. Consider the terms in which this proposition is expressed, and every one must inmediately be convinced of its truth. Is it not impossible that any thing should make itself, or give being to itself, when as yet it was a nonentity, or nothing? Is it not self evident, that which is nothing, can neither act nor do any thing ? Now for a thing to make itself, or come into existence of itself, is certainly to do something ; therefore, it must be, and not be, that it must be something and nothing, act and not act, at the same time. In order to make itself, it must be—for surely what is not, cannot do any thing; and yet it must not be or exist–for if it already exists, it cannot now begin to be, or come into existence; because that which already has obtained existence, cannot have existence
given to it; nothing that now has had a beginning, could, there fore, have made itself. Thus far the proposition must be evident.
Though it is clear to all, that nothing could make itself, yet it may not be equally clear to all, that no being could come into existence of itself. Let this matter be now particularly attended to.
The supposition is, that some being or thing, which now exists, did, at some certain period, begin to be, or came into ex. istence of itselt. Before this period it was not, and there was nothing existing. Let it only be contemplated, that every thing which begins to be, must have some ground or reason of its beginning to exist ; but in this case, there could be no reason, cause, or ground of its existence. Because, to suppose this, will be to return back to the former absurdity of its inaking itself, or of being and not being, at the same time. There also could be no ground or cause of its beginning to be, in any other being or thing-because, on the supposition, there was no other being or thing existent at the time it began to be, of consequence, no other being or thing could have contributed to its existence, but itself ; neither could itself, for antecedently to the particular time it began to be, it was hothing, and, therefore, could do nothing in any respect whatever; it is, therefore, evident, with the greatest certainty, that nothing that now exists, could come into existence of itself.-- From hence, it necessarily follows,
Thirdly, That something always was, or some being is eternal, and never began to be.
This proposition is as evident as either of the former, and fol. lows from them as an absolutely necessary inference. Because they are true, this must be true also. For seeing something now is, it is plain something always was, or that some being is eter. nal. Because, on the supposition that at some certain period there was nothing, it has been demonstrated, there never could have been any thing. For if at any time there was nothing, and now there is something in existence, then, necessarily, somc