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ence? Shall we deem it impossible, or even highly improbable, that the first human beings, with whom generation began, were the same in shape and organical structure with those who are now produced by the established process ? The question with the atheist relates to creation, and those who hold the affirmative, can as easily suppose that trees and vegetables were formed at once in all their luxuriance, as that the impregnated seeds of these, or principles sufficient to generate such seeds, were originally dispersed in the soil. In like manner, till it shall be proved either that formations, such as appear in the present structure of the globe, could not be produced by the sudden combinations of creative power,-or that, even supposing a creation, it is highly improbable that the first constituted state of the earth would resemble what it presently is, comprising strata and minerals similar to those which may now result from chemical or physical action, and thus adapted to the laws which were afterwards to operate for the preservation of the system,—there is nothing to prevent us from holding that the present structure of the globe was originally determined and secondary, as well as primary mountains and strata formed at once, when the laws which are now in operation were established, -and from holding in addition to this, that no legitimate conclusion can be drawn even against the late origin of the world, from the incalculable period which might have been requisite to form its present structure by the processes now going on.*

These statements on the late origin of the world, and the present structure of the globe, were made without reference to Orgmic Remains, and the geological theories founded on them, because at the time when the Essay was composed, neither had greatly attracted the attention of the public. However adverse to the Mosaic account some may suppose them to be, and what. ever interpretation of Gen. i. 1, 2, they may require of those who hold it, they are clearly of no avail to the Atheist, who would still have to account for the origination both of the animals indicated by the fossil remains, and of the present state of the world with its inhabitants.

The statements are retained, without entering into the geological question, Ist, Because the seeptic is not entitled, on his principles, to assume that the world ever was different from what it presently is as to physical structure and inhabitants, without specifying the natural causes which could give rise to its present state,—which the demonstrative part of the essay undertakes to shew is impossible. The Theist ean readily account for Organic Remains, and all other appearances; and will only find some difficulty in admitting that the Deity proceeded by a series of tentamina in bringing his work to its present state of perfection, as seems to be suggested by the geological enumeration of prior states of the world. From this idea, apparently so unworthy of the wisdom and power of God, the Christian Theist is relieved by analogical reasoning on the Mosaie account. For if prior states of the world must be admitted, the Deity, in the formation of these, may have acted just

VIII.—The general course of things in the moral world, and the indications of an all-controlling retributive justice, may complete the head of presumptive evidence.

Human power and wisdom are plainly unequal to the task of upholding the moral constitution of things. How imperfect must the administration of justice ever be, while even in the cases to which it applies, the utmost vigilance will often be defeated, and the utmost exertions fail to detect the offenders ! How inadequate are the laws of men for accomplishing all the purposes even of civil government, and much more for securing the blessings of an effective morality! What shall prevent the “ foundations of the earth” from being frequently moved out of “ their course,” so as to endanger the stability of the wisest civil constitutions, and of the whole fabric of organized and well-regulated society ? May not corruption seat itself in the very tribunals of justice ? and have not demagogues

and tyrants arisen, who have not only set at defiance the laws of their country, bụt trampled on the more general principles of the social compact which constitute the law of nations ?

When we think of the pride, the ambition, the covetousness, and even the mistaken notions of liberty, which tend to counteraet all human provisions for the peace and order of society,—when we retrace the great public commotions in which these and similar propensities have been so fearfully developed,—to what shall we ascribe the prevention of universal anarchy, but to some unseen Power who hath hitherto “ upheld the pillars of the world ?"

as he did in bringing the world to its present state, according to the Mosaie account of a six days' gradual process,—with this sole difference, that after each of the alleged prior states had been allowed to exist for a considerable time, he was pleased to annul it, that it might give place to something superior. However long the intervening chaotic states, such as described, Gen. i. 2, might continue, there is still recognised the superintendence of one supreme Being acting according to his pleasure.

The statements are retained, 2d, As serving to sustain the credibility of the Mosaic accounts relative to the present constitution of the world, wbich is apt to be weakened in some minds, unnecessarily, by the geological theories,—and which scepticism, both in ancient and modern philosophers, has assailed by appealing to the Egyptian records and monuments, the Chinese annals, and especially the Indian Tables. Now that the credibility of the Mosaic records be sustained, is favourable to our purpose two ways. If we resort to them as containing the earliest tradition, we find it is that of a Creation,—an original formation of the heavens and the earth by an Almighty Agent, and also of the present form and order of the world at no very distant period, by a process of which the inemorial has been perpetuated by the Sabbath, and the very general division of time into weeks. And then, by accrediting the books of Moses, we provide for the recourse, permitted in framing this Essay, to them and the Scriptures in general, for solving difliculties as to Providence, and the origin of moral evil.

Do criminals elude the vigilance of law ? Nothing is more common than to solace ourselves with the thought that justice will not suffer them entirely to escape. If at any time a tyrant arises, who is placed beyond the reach of law, and whom success in arms seems to secure from the humiliation and punishment he deserves ; do we not trust, that notwithstanding his triumphs he will meet with his doom, and that the secular evils produced by his domination will sooner or later be undone? Whence this confidence? Why are these hopes so universal? Is it not because the facts which have fallen under the observation of mankind, and are recorded in history, or perpetuated by tradition, are so numerous, and so striking, that they have been deemed sufficient not merely to suggest, but even prove and confirm the grand proposition “ that an allcontrolling justice exists ?” If there be exceptions, these only serve to shew that this justice is not invariable in its operations, like the laws of nature, but voluntary ; and therefore the attribute of a wise and active Governor, who, while he leaves room for a due development of the moral qualities of his subjects, at the same time accommodates his procedure to their ever-varying state, and delights to display his supreme control over every species of evil by frequently bringing

66 order out of confusion."

Amidst all the inequalities, which must be supposed to obscure to a certain degree the evidence arising from facts, so plain are the traces of retribution, and so numerous the instances in which it has been marked, that the monitory saying has become familiar almost to every people, “ you may read the sin in the punishment.” To detail the many well authenticated cases in which a singular concurrence of circumstances has led to the detection of criminals, would not be expedient, otherwise indications of the agency of a Supreme Ruler, as convincing as can reasonably be expected on this head of evidence, might easily be adduced. Who has not reflected on the manner in which concealed murders, and other enormous crimes, have been brought to light on the confessions of those, who, while they protested their innocence of the crimes for which they were condemned, have yet declared themselves malefactors who in justice deserved to die, on the diseases connected with certain vices, the calamities which have pursued the oppressors of the poor, the curse which has visibly entered into the house of the thief and consumed all his ill-gotten wealth ? These,

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and a thousand similar facts, might induce the most atheistical sceptic at least to presume “ that verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth.”—The historians of nations are usually more occupied in tracing the political concatenation of events, than in marking their moral relations ; but every one has it in his power, by examining their statements, to increase, on a still grander scale, the mass of presumptive evidence under this department,

SECT. II.

DEMONSTRATION OF A FIRST CAUSE.

By a First Cause is meant not simply an original cause, some power or agent who brought all things into being, but also an ultimate cause to whom all present phenomena must be traced, whatever secondary means or causes be employed, and who though the last at whom we arrive by induction, is the first in the order of operation.

The term Demonstration is not to be understood strictly in a mathematical sense, nor even of a dependent chain of logical reasonings all tending to one conclusion which is not made out till the process is completed, but of a series of propositions supported by appropriate arguments, and many of them singly conclusive. Taken together they form a system of proof wholly irresistible.

The following principles, which are either axioms, or will be admitted as soon as explained, are the basis of all reasoning on this part of the subject.

1. Er nihilo nihil fit ;—that is nothing can never give being to something, or something can never spontaneously spring from nothing. This axiom cannot be opposed to the operation of an Almighty power in producing that which did not exist before, for in this case a previously existing and sufficient cause is supposed

2. A thing cannot in the same instance be both cause and effect ;-or in other words, the cause of itself. This would imply activity prior to the subject in which it existed.

3. That which is contingent must have had a cause. To

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