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"isles as a very little thing. All nations “ before him are as nothing, and they are “ counted to him as less than nothing, and “ vanity. To whom then will ye liken God? (or what likeness will ye compare unto
The arguments of scripture, however forcible, make no impression upon the atheist. The deductions of reason are his weapons; and miserably does he use them, when he thus fights against heaven. But scripture itself refers to reason for the acknowledgment of this great truth. The legislator of the Jews opens his important history with great sublimity of language. He does not languidly commence his narrative with a laboured proof of what no man ought to dispute ; but at once boldly asserts the creation of a magnificent world, proceeding from an acknowledged and infinite Creator-"In the beginning God created " the heavens and the earth.”
As it is the interest of a good man that there should be a supreme Ruler of the universe, for a supreme Being cannot but be infinitely good, and a rewarder of virtuous
actions; so it is the interest of the wicked, arguing upon their own principles, that there should be no superintending power over the conduct of mankind. Can we be surprized then that perverted reason, operating upon habitual wickedness, should blind the eye of the understanding, and ascribe to chance, to any thing, the construction of a world which nothing but the highest wisdom could produce, nothing but the most consummate power could perpetuate? The atheist is afraid to trust himself with a chain of reasoning which would overturn his false principles and deceitful pleasures; and therefore buries himself in tenfold darkness, in the miserable and melancholy shades of unbelief. But reflection will arise in the most impenetrable breast. By night an atheist half believes a God. The silence and solitude of the night, which exclude the external solicitations of pleasure, oblige the mind to a greater degree of recollection, a greater intenseness of thought, There is something awful in the surrounding darkness, something more than human in the prospect of the luminaries of the
night. The splendid orbs in the firmament of heaven appear sparks of divinity; we imagine them connected with some unknown order of beings. In such a moment, the Deity bimself seems present. In such a moment, conscience, which no reasoning can totally subdue, will produce some glimmerings of intellectual light, which, by the blessing of that God whom the atheist denies, will shine still brighter and brighter unto a perfect day.
That day is niore clearly revealed to those who believe the gospel of Christ. To those, further evidences are given of the being and attributes of God; evidences level to every understanding, and well calculated to put to silence the ignorance of foolish men, But the sceptic, in the first instance, looks to other arguments.
Let him examine those arguments with the most microscopic eye, and the closer he observes, the more they will bear his inspection. For, as Dr. Clarke concludes his admirable demonstration of this subject, “the notices which “God has been pleased to give us of him“self are so many and so obvious ; in the “constitution, order, beauty, and harmony C 5
" of the several parts of the world; in the " frame and structure of our own bodies; " and the wonderful powers and faculties of
our souls ; in the unavoidable apprehen“sions of our own minds, and the common “consent of all other men ; in every thing “ within us and everything without us; " that no man of the meanest capacity and
greatest disadvantages whatsoever, with " the slightest and most superficial obser“ vation of the works of God; and the “ lowest and most obvious attendance to “ the reason of things, can be ignorant of “ Him; but he must be utterly without " excuse.”
On the Death of the Atheista
Men may live fools, but fools they cannot die.
In reflecting upon the causes of infidelity, it has often appeared to me more consistent with reason as well as experience, to deduce atheism from immoral conduct, than to ascribe immoral conduct to confirmed and deliberate atheism; though, it must be confessed, that they are frequently the reciprocal causes and effects of each other. Let us suppose a man to have disentangled, as he would call it, his mind, from every belief of a supreme Being, from every expectation of a future state, and of course from every apprehension of future punishment; would he rush impetuously into every enormity of behaviour? No Human laws. would check his course. And as he reflects,