Theology is nothing else than speaking of God—his nature, names, perfections, and persons; his purposes, providences, ways, works, and word. As I have undertaken to write a System of Theology, or a Body of Doctrinal Divinity, I shall begin with the Being of God, and the proof and evidence of it.

The Being of God is the foundation of all religion. If there is no superior Being to whom we are accountable for faith and practice, then religion is vain, and it matters not what we believe, nor what we do. There have been some to think that the existence of God should not be admitted as a matter of debate, since the Being of God is a first principle and a self-evident proposition. However, such is the malice of Satan, that he does frequently suggest to the minds of men that God may not exist; and, such is the degeneracy of some wicked men, that they freely entertain it; and, such is the weakness of some good men as to be harassed and distressed with doubts about it at times. For these reasons, it cannot be improper to endeavour to fortify our minds with proofs and arguments against such suggestions and insinuations.

There are eight arguments which contribute to the evidence of God’s existence:

I. The Universal Consent of All Nations Declares the Existence of God.

The first argument to prove the Being of God, is taken from the general consent of men of all nations and in all ages of the world. It is not reasonable to suppose that the universal belief in the existence of God would have been obtained if it were not true. This is well documented by the writings of non-christian philosophers:

1. The Writings of Non-Christian Philosophers.

(1) Aristotle records, “all men have a persuasion of Deity, or that there is a God.”; (2) Cicero observes, “There is no nation so wild and savage, whose minds are not imbued with the opinion of the gods; many entertain wrong notions of them; but all suppose and own the divine power and nature.” And in another place he writes, “There is no animal besides man that has any knowledge of God; and of men there is no nation so untractable and fierce, although it may be ignorant what a God it should have, yet is not ignorant that one should be had.” And again, “It is the sense of all mankind, that it is “innate” in all, and is, as it were, engraven on the mind, that there is a God; but what a one he is, in that they vary; but that he is, none denies.” (3) And to the same sense are the words of Seneca, “There never was a nation so dissolute and abandoned, so lawless and immoral, as to believe there is no God.” (4) So Aelianus relates, “None of the barbarous nations ever fell into atheism, or doubted of the gods whether they were or not, or whether they took care of human affairs or not; not the Indians, nor the Gauls, nor the Egyptians.” (5) And Plutarch has these remarkable words, “If you go over the earth, says he, you may find cities without walls, letters, kings, houses, wealth, and money, devoid of theatres and schools; but a city without temples and gods, and where is no use of prayers, oaths, and oracles, nor sacrifices to obtain good or avert evil, no man ever saw.” These things were observed and documented, when the true knowledge of God was in a great measure lost, and idolatry prevailed; and yet even then, this was the general understanding of mankind.

2. The Prevalence of Idolatry.

In the first ages of the world, men universally believed in the true God, and worshipped him. This was true of Adam, his sons and their posterity. In fact, there does not appear to be any trace of idolatry before the time of the flood, nor for some time after it. The sins which caused the flood, and with which the world was then filled, seem to be lewdness and uncleanness, rapine and violence. As some think the tower of Babel was built for an idolatrous use, this may be the time idolatry was set up, for it is thought to have prevailed in the days of Serug. It is very probable that idolatry was established when the greater part of the posterity of Noah’s sons were dispersed throughout the earth, and settled in the distant parts of it. For, they would have been remote from those among whom the true worship of God was preserved, and by degrees, lost sight of the true God, and forsook His worship.

(1) Deifying the Sun, Moon and Stars.

Subsequently, they began to worship the sun in His stead, and which led on to the worship of the moon, and the host of heaven—these seem to be the first objects of idolatry. This was as early as the times of Job, who plainly refers to it (Job 31:26,27). And indeed, when men had cast off the true object of worship, what better in nature to substitute in His room than the sun, moon, and stars—these great lights being above them, visible by them, and not only glorious in themselves, but so beneficial to the earth and men on it? Hence the people of Israel were exhorted to take care that their eyes were not ensnared at the sight of idols—that they not fall down and worship them—which in later times they did (Deut 4:19; 2 King 21:3).

(2) Deifying Heroes after Death.

It appears also that men took very early to the deifying of their heroes after death. This they did by idolizing their kings and great personages, either for their wisdom and knowledge, or for their courage and valour, and martial exploits, and other things. Such were the Bel, or Belus, of the Babylonians; the Baalpeor of the Moabites; and the Molech of the Phoenicians, and other Baalim lords, or kings, mentioned in the Scriptures; and such were Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Hercules; and the rest of the rabble of the heathen deities; and indeed their Lares, and Penates, or household gods, were no other than the images of their deceased parents, or more remote ancestors, whose memory they revered. In process of time their deities became very numerous—they had gods many and lords many.

(3) Deifying the Lower Creation.

We learn that the Jews, when fallen into idolatry, had as many gods as were according to the number of their cities (Jer 2:28). And as for the Gentiles, they worshipped almost everything. Not only the sun, moon, and stars; but the earth, fire, and water; and various sorts of animals, as oxen, goats, and swine, cats and dogs, the fishes of the rivers, the river horse, and the crocodile, those amphibious creatures; the fowls of the air, as the hawk, stork, and ibis; and even insects, the fly; yea, creeping things, as serpents, the beetle, &c.; as also vegetables, onions, and garlic. All of this occasioned the satirical poet to say, “O holy nations, whose gods are born in their gardens!”

(4) Deifying Satan.

Some have even gone so far as to worshipped the devil himself, as both in the East and West Indies—and that for this reason, that he might not harm them.

Now though all this betrays the dreadful depravity of human nature—the wretched ignorance of mankind and the sad stupidity men were sunk into—yet at the same time such shocking idolatry, in all the branches of it, is a full proof of the truth and force of my argument, that all men, in all ages and countries, have been possessed of the notion of a God. Indeed, since rather than to have no God, they have chosen false ones—this is how deeply rooted a sense of Deity is in the minds of all men.

3. Answering Objections.

I am sensible that to this argument an objection is raised:

(1) Have there not been, at different times, and in different countries, some particular persons who have been reckoned atheists, deniers of the Being of a God?

My first answer is that some of these men were only deriders of the gods of their country—they mocked at them as unworthy of the name, and as weak and insufficient to help them, as should be reasonably expected if God is vested with supremacy. This was the case with Elijah, who mocked at Baal and his worshippers. Now the common people, because such behaved themselves in this fashion towards their gods, looked upon them as atheists—as if they did not believe there was any God.

My second answer is that there are others who are accounted atheists, because they exclude the gods from any concern with human affairs. These persons considered their gods to be of such grandeur and dignity, that they took no notice of that which transpires on the earth. Some of the Jews had much the same sentiments (Ez 9:9; Zeph 1:12). However, these men were not deniers of the existence of God—only of His providence as to the affairs of the world.

My third answer is that other men have been considered deniers of God’s existence, not because they were speculative atheists, but because they were practical atheists. This is the case of the fool recorded in Psalm 14:1. These persons live as if there was no God—they wish in their hearts that He did not exist, rather than believe He does not exist. They desire the non-existence of God in order that they might take their fill of sin, without being accountable to a superior Being.

My fourth answer is that the number of real speculative atheists have been very few, if any. While some have boldly asserted their disbelief of a God, yet it is a question whether their hearts and mouths have agreed. In fact, observation shows that such persons have not been able to maintain their unbelief long without some doubts and fears. Indeed, this demonstrates how much the reason of man may be debased, and how low it may sink when left to itself.

My final answer to this objection is that there are but few instances of those who deny the existence of God—and these particular exceptions only prove the general rule. Just as it cannot be a sufficient objection to the definition of man—that he is a rational creature—just because there is now and then an idiot born of the human race; so, it cannot be a sufficient objection to the existence of God, just because there is now and then an atheist in the world.

And, here is another objection that is raised:

(2) Have there not been whole nations in Africa and America, who have had no notion of God?

My first answer is that this has not been sufficiently proved, for it depends upon the testimonies of travelers, and what one affirms, another denies—nothing can with certainty be concluded from them.

Consider firstly, “I should rather question,” says Herbert, Lord Cherbury, “whether the light of the sun has shone on the remotest regions, than that the knowledge of the Supreme Being is hidden from them; since the sun is only conspicuous in its own sphere; but the Supreme Being is seen in everything.”

Consider secondly, Diodorus Siculus says, a few of the Ethiopians were of opinion there was no God; though before he had represented them as the first and most religious of all nations, as attested by all antiquity.

Consider thirdly, The Hottentots about the Cape of Good Hope have been instanced in, as without any knowledge of Deity. They are certainly the most beastly and brutish people that can be named and the most degenerate of the human species, yet they have survived the common instincts of humanity. According to Mr. Kolben’s account of them, published some years ago, they appear to have some sense of a Supreme Being, and of inferior deities. They express a superstitious joy at new and full moons; it is said they pray to a Being that dwells above; and they offer sacrifice of the best things they have, with eyes lifted up to heaven.

Consider fourthly, the later discoveries of other nations, show the contrary to what has been asserted of them. These assertions have arose either from want of intimate knowledge of them and familiar acquaintance with them, or from their dissolute, wicked, and irreligious lives. Whereas, by conversing with them, it appears that they have a notion of the sun, or sky, or something or another being a sort of deity.

Consider fifthly, that it has been observed of the Greenlanders, that “they had neither a religion nor idolatrous worship; nor so much as any ceremonies to be perceived tending to it. Hence, the first missionaries entertained a supposition, that there was not the least trace to be found among them of any conception of a divine Being, especially as they had no word to express him by. But when they came to understand their language better, they found quite the reverse to be true, from the notions they had, though very vague and various, concerning the soul, and concerning spirits—this was witnessed also from their anxious solicitude about the state after death. And not only so, but they could plainly gather from a free dialogue they had with some perfectly wild Greenlanders, that their ancestors must have believed a supreme Being, and did render him some service. It is evident their posterity neglected such a notion little by little, whereby the further they were removed from more wise and civilised nations. At last, they lost every right conception of God. Nevertheless, after all this, it is manifest, that a faint idea of a divine Being lies concealed in the minds even of this people, because they directly assent, without any objection, to the doctrine of a God, and his attributes.”

My second answer to this objection, however, is that the type of irreligious lives witnessed among the inhabitants of some nations, such as Africa and America, are found also in our own nation. In a sense, we are a nation of atheists. Indeed, all men in an unregenerate state, be they Jews or Gentiles, or live where they may, they are “atheists”. This is how the apostle identifies them in Ephesians 2:12—they are “without God in the world, being alienated from the life of God” (Eph 4:18). Aside from this practical atheism, there is such a general sense of Deity in mankind—such a natural inclination to religion, of some sort or another (though ever so bad)—that some have thought that man should rather be defined as a religious than a rational animal.

On this first argument in support of the existence of God, I take no notice of the holy angels, who worship God continually; nor of the devils, who believe there is one God and tremble. It is sufficient that I confine my argument to that which concerns the human race.

II. The Innate Knowledge of God’s Existence Inscribed Upon the Heart of Man is Evidence that He Exists.

The second argument to prove the Being of a God, is taken from the law and light of nature. There is a general instinct in men, or impress of God on the mind of every man, that as soon as he begins to have the exercise of his rational powers, he thinks and speaks of God, and assents to His existence. Indeed, it can be said the reason why there is a universal consent of all nations that God exists, is because there is a knowledge of God’s existence inscribed upon every heart.

1. The Writings of the Philosophers.

Consider firstly, the writings of the philosophers. (1) Cicero says, “The consent of all nations in anything, is to be reckoned the law of nature.” And since all nations agree in the belief of a Deity, that must be a part of the law of nature, inscribed on the heart of every man. (2) Seneca makes use of this to prove there is a God—he says: “because an opinion or sense of Deity, is “implanted” in the minds of all men.” And so, just as Cicero observed before, Seneca considered the notions of Deity implanted and innate.

2. The Mosaic Account of Man’s Creation.

Consider secondly, the Mosaic account of the creation of man. Whoever believes this record, cannot doubt that Adam was endowed with a knowledge of God’s existence. He is said to be made in the image, and after the likeness of God, and the image of God surely could not be impressed upon him, without having the knowledge of God implanted in him. And, though man by sinning has greatly come short of this image and glory of God, yet this light of nature is not wholly obscured, nor the law of nature entirely obliterated in him—there are some remains of it.

3. The Innate Desires of Men after Happiness.

Consider thirdly, the innate desires of men after happiness, which, while these desire are so boundless as to not be satisfied with anything on or of this earth, yet there must be an object answerable unto them. For instance, let a man have ever so great a compass of knowledge and understanding; or possess ever so large a portion of wealth and riches; or be indulged with the gratification of his senses to the highest degree; or enjoy all the pleasure the whole creation can afford him; yet after all, according to the wise man, the conclusion of the whole is, “all is vanity and vexation of spirit” (Ecc 2:17). The only plausible explanation that can answer this insatiable thirst in the soul of man for happiness, is to be found in a perfect Being, which is no other than God. As God is the first cause, so He is also the end of all things, of whom the Psalmist says, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none on earth my soul desires besides thee” (Ps 73:25).

4. An Objection Answered.

To this second argument in support of the existence of God, an objection is raised: There are some who deny there are any innate ideas in the minds of men, and particularly those ideas concerning God.

To such writers and reasoners I pay but little regard. The inspired apostle assures us, that even the Gentiles, destitute of the law of Moses, have “the work of the law written in their hearts” (Rom 2:15). This inscription on the heart necessarily supposes a knowledge of God, both in regards to man’s duty towards God, as well as his duty towards his fellow man. Indeed, is this not the reason man distinguishes between good and evil? Although this light of nature is not sufficient to lead men, in their present state, to a true spiritual and saving knowledge of God, yet it furnishes them with such a sense of Deity, as directs them upon seeking Him, “if haply they may feel and grope after Him, and find Him” (Acts 17:27). From this truth, I would have you consider that these notices of God’s existence are to be traced to God who has inscribed them upon the heart, and to no other source.

(1) A Knowledge of God is not Derived from One’s Parents.

Firstly, these notices of God’s existence do not flow from the previous instructions of parents and others, but rather, from a natural instinct. They may be drawn forth by instruction and teaching, but they are not implanted by such things. Velleius, the Epicurean, says, “that there is a Deity nature itself that has impressed the notion of God on the minds of all men; for what nation, or sort of men,” he adds, “that has not a certain anticipation of it without being taught it,” or “before taught it,” as Julian expresses it.

(2) A Knowledge of God is not Derived from National Laws.

Secondly, these notices of God’s existence do not take their rise from state policy, or national laws. If this was the case—if it was the contrivance of politicians to keep men in awe, and under subjection—it must be the contrivance of one man, or more united together. But if this be true, then we ask, Who is the man? In what age he lived, and where? And what is his name, or his son’s name? If it be a group of men that have contrived the idea of God, then we ask, When and where they existed? And who they were that met together? And where they formed this scheme? We ask these questions, because only the answers to them can affirm the proposition. Besides these questions, however, these notices of God’s existence appeared before any scheme of politics was formed, or kings or civil magistrates were in being. Plato has refuted this notion, and represents it as a very pestilent one, both in private and in public.

(3) A Knowledge of God is not Derived from Tradition.

Thirdly, these notices of God’s existence are not passed down by tradition from one to another. It cannot be so, for while a knowledge of God is universally consented to by all nations, yet each nation has its own peculiar tradition and culture—the Jews had theirs, and so had the Gentiles, and each nation among the Gentiles had theirs. This universal knowledge of God’s existence, therefore, transcends tradition and culture.

(4) A Knowledge of God is not Derived from a Slavish Fear.

Fourthly, these notices of God’s existence do not spring from a slavish fear and dread of punishment. Although it has been said, that fear makes gods, or produces a notion of Deity, yet the contrary is true. It is a knowledge of God that produces fear.

III. The Works of Creation Declares the Existence of God.

The third argument to prove the Being of a God, is taken from the works of creation. The Apostle Paul refers to this in Romans 1:20—“the invisible things of God, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen; being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.” What is the origin of man’s knowledge of God? Plutarch replies, “They first receive the knowledge of him from the beauty of things that appear; for nothing beautiful is made in vain, nor by chance, but wrought with some art…that the world is beautiful, is manifest from the figure, the colour, and magnitude of it; and from the variety of stars about the world.” And so, both Paul and Plutarch declare, that so evident is the Being and power of God displayed in the creation, that it leaves all men without excuse.

1. The Testimony of Men.

(1) Affirmed by the Experience of a Wild Greenlander.

Consider the testimony of a wild Greenlander—he herein describes the frame of mind to which he was fully persuaded prior to his conversion to Christ: “It is true we were ignorant heathens, and knew nothing of God, or a Saviour. And, indeed, who should tell us of him till you come? But thou must not imagine that no Greenlander thinks about these things. I myself have often thought—a “kajak” (a boat) with all its tackle and implements, does not grow into existence of itself, but must be made by the labour and ingenuity of man, and one that does not understand it would directly spoil it. Now the meanest bird has far more skill displayed in its structure, than the best “kajak”; and no man can make a bird. But there is still a far greater art shown in the formation of a man, than of any other creature. Who was it that made him? I thought myself that he proceeded from his parents, and they from their parents. But some must have been the first parents. Whence did they come? Common report informs me, they grew out of the earth. But if so, why does it not still happen that men grow out of the earth? And from whence did this same earth itself, the sea, the sun, the moon, and stars, arise into existence? Certainly there must be some Being who made all these things—a Being that always was, and can never cease to be. He must be inexpressibly more mighty, knowing, and wise, than the wisest man. He must be very good too, because that everything that he has made is good, useful, and necessary for us. Ah, did I but know him, how would I love him and honour him! But who has seen him? Who has ever conversed with him? None of us poor men. Yet there may be men too that know something of him. O that I could but speak with such! Therefore, as soon as ever I heard you speak of this great Being, I believed it directly, with all my heart, because I had so long desired to hear it.” This is a glaring proof, that a supreme Being, the first cause of all things, is to be concluded from the works of creation.

(2) Denied by the Aversions of Atheists.

However, not all have agreed that God is the first cause of all things. There has been a notion that the world is eternal, and therefore without the need of a Creator. Nevertheless, this idea cannot be sustained with good reason. Take, for instance, Aristotle, to whom this notion has been ascribed. He asserts that “it was an ancient doctrine, and what all men received from their ancestors, that all things are of God, and consist by him.” But beyond the words of an unregenerate man, there is the record of divine revelation. All who believe the scriptures to be the Word of God, must consent to the eternity of God, and the temporality of the world. For, the scriptures affirm that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”, and that all things were made, “not of things which do appear”, but out of nothing, (Gen 1:1; Heb 11:3). But to argue the case, let it be supposed that the heavens and the earth were made out of a chaos, or out of pre-existent matter—it may be reasonable to ask, ‘Out of what was the pre-existent matter made?’ The answer must be, out of nothing, since it was by creation, which is the production of something out of nothing. Now, this can never be performed by the creature, for out of nothing, nothing can be made by that. If, therefore, all things are originally produced out of nothing, it must be by one that is almighty, whom we rightly call God. No creature can produce itself, otherwise such contradictions would come about as can never be admitted. How can a creature be before it was? How can that which makes be before that which is made? How can that act and operate before it exists? How can something be and not be at one and the same time? These are such glaring contradictions, as sufficiently confute the creature’s making itself, and therefore its existence must be owing to another cause, even to God, the Creator. Between a creature and God, there is no medium. But beside the above contradictions, if it be said that men made themselves, it might be asked, Why did they not make themselves wise and better? How is it that they know so little of themselves, either of their bodies or their souls, if both were made by them? And why are they not able to preserve themselves from a dissolution to which they are all subject? Again, these questions bear proof that God must be the first cause in creation. Let it be noted, that effects, which depend upon causes in subordination to one another, cannot be traced up “ad infinitum”; but must be reduced to some first cause, where the inquiry must rest—and, that first cause is God.

2. The Testimony of Creation.

Now, turning attention to the creation itself, there is an ample field to survey, which furnishes out a variety of objects, and all proofs that God exists. There is nothing in the whole creation the mind can contemplate, the eye look upon, or the hand lay hold on, but proclaims the Being of God.

(1) The heavens above.

Look at the surrounding atmosphere—the air in which we breathe, which compresses our earth, and keeps it together; the stellar space, and spreading sky, bespangled with stars of light, and adorned with the two great luminaries, the sun and moon. Ah, behold the sun, that inexhaustible fountain of light and heat, and under whose benign influences, so many things are brought forth on earth. Its circuit is from one end of the heaven to the other, and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. Look closer at its form, magnitude, and virtue—even its proper distance from us, being not so near us as to scorch us, nor so remote as to be of no use to us. It had proceeded without stopping, since the fourth day it was set in motion (except once in the days of Joshua)—a motion it has had now almost six thousand years. It is that motion, the course of which it has steered, and continues to steer, that ensured all parts of the earth, at one season or another, receive benefit by it—not once has it varied or erred in its course, but has sustained a consistent motion throughout the ages. Whoever reflects on these things, must acknowledge it to be the work of an all wise and almighty agent, we call God—and, that it must be upheld, guided, and directed by his hand alone.

(2) The earth beneath.

Take a view of the earth, of the whole terraqueous globe—it hangs on nothing, like a ball in the air, poised with its own weight. Look at the different parts of it, and all disposed for the use of man—stored with immense riches in the heart of it, and stocked with inhabitants upon it. There are the various sorts of animals, of different forms and shapes, made, some for strength, some for swiftness, some for bearing burdens, and others for drawing carriages, some for food and others for clothing. There is the vast variety of the feathered birds that cut the air, as well as the innumerable kinds of fishes that swim the oceans. The consideration of all this will oblige us to say, “Lord, thou art God, which hast made the heaven, earth, and sea; and all that in them is” (Acts 4:25). In short, there is not a shell in the ocean, nor a grain of sand on the shore, nor a spire of grass in the field, nor any flower of different hue and smell in the garden, but does declare the Being of God.

(3) The human species.

Surely, apart from the animal world, our own composition is deserving of our notice—both, the fabric of the body, and the faculties of our souls.

And firstly, man is given a body. In general, just look at the form and shape of the human body—while other animals look downwards to the earth, man has a lofty countenance given him, to behold the heavens, to lift up his face to the stars, and to adore his Creator. It is remarkable that there is a natural instinct in men to lift up their hands and eyes to heaven, when either they have received any unexpected mercy, by way of thankfulness for it, or are in any great distress, as supplicating deliverance from it. Does this not suppose a divine Being, to whom men owe their gratitude, and from whom they expect deliverance. In particular, consider the parts and members of the body: (1) Look at how they are so framed and disposed, as to be subservient to one another—so that “the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee; nor the head to the feet, I have no need of you”. The same may be observed of the other members. (2) Look at the inward parts, which are weak and tender, and on which life much depends, were they exposed, would be liable to much danger and hurt; but these are “clothed with skin and flesh, and fenced with bones and sinews”—and every bone, and every nerve, and every muscle, are put in their proper places. (3) Look at all the organs of the senses—of sight, hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling—these are most wonderfully fitted for the purposes for which they are made. Galen, an ancient noted physician, being atheistically inclined, was convinced of his impiety by barely considering the admirable structure of the eye—its various humours, tunics, and provision for its defence and safety. (4) Look at the various operations performed in our bodies, many of which are done without our knowledge or will—they are enough to raise the highest admiration in us. There is the circulation of the blood through all parts of the body, in a very small space of time; the respiration of the lungs; the digestion of the food; the chylification of it; the mixing of the chyle with the blood; the nourishment thereby communicated—which is sensibly perceived in the several parts of the body, and even in the more remote; which having been weakened and enfeebled by hunger, thirst, and labour, are in an instant revived and strengthened; and the accretion and growth of parts by all this. (5) Look at the faculty of speech, peculiar to man, and the organs of it; the features of their faces; and the shape of their bodies, which all differ from one another; the constant supply of animal spirits; the continuance of the vital heat, which outlasts fire itself; the slender threads and small fibres spread throughout the body, which hold and perform their office seventy or eighty years running. All of these considerations oblige us to say, with the inspired Psalmist, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” And, these considerations will lead us to ascribe this curious piece of workmanship to no other than to the divine Being, the God of all flesh living.

Secondly, man is given a soul. It is the soul of man—the more noble part of him—that more fully discovers the original author of him. The soul is possessed of such powers and faculties that none but God could give. (1) It is endowed with an understanding, capable of receiving and framing ideas of all things knowable, in matters natural, civil, and religious. (2) It is endowed with reason, to put these together, and compare them with each other, and discourse concerning them—to infer one thing from another, and draw conclusions from them. (3) It is endowed with judgment, by which it passes sentence on things it takes cognizance of, and reasons upon—determining for itself what is right or wrong, and so either approves or disapproves. (4) It is endowed with a “mind” susceptive of what is proposed unto it—it can, by instruction or study, learn any language; cultivate any art or science; and, with the help of some geographical principles, can travel over the globe, can be here and there at pleasure, in the four parts of the world; and in a short time, visit every city of note therein, and describe the situation of every country, with their religion, manners, customs, &c. It can reflect on things past, and has a foresight of, and can forecast and provide for things to come. (5) It is endowed with a “will”, to accept or reject, to embrace or refuse, what is proposed unto it—with the greatest freedom of choice, and with the most absolute power and sovereignty. (6) It is endowed with affections—of love and hatred, joy and grief, hope and fear, &c. according to the different objects it is conversant with. (7) It is endowed with a conscience, which is to a man as a thousand witnesses, for him or against him—which, if it performs its office as it should do, will accuse him when he does ill, and commend, or excuse him, when he does well. From hence arise either peace of mind, or dread of punishment, in some shape or another, either here or hereafter. (8) It is endowed with a memory, which is a storehouse of collections of things thought to be most valuable and useful—where they are laid up, not in a confused, but orderly manner, so as to be called for and taken out upon occasion. In this memory bank, men of every character and profession lay up their several stores, to have recourse unto, and fetch out, as their case and circumstances may require. (9) It is endowed with a “fancy or imagination”, which can paint and describe to itself, in a lively manner, objects presented to it, and it has entertained a conception of—yea, it can fancy and imagine things that never were, nor never will be. (10) It is endowed with the power of invention, which in some is more, in others less fertile—which, on a sudden, supplies with what is useful in case of an emergency. (11) But above all, the “soul” of man is made in the image and likeness of God, when man was in his pure and innocent state. And though it is now sadly depraved by sin, yet it is capable of being renewed by the spirit of God, and of having the grace of God implanted in it. (12) Hence, it is endowed with immortality, and cannot die. Now to whom can such a noble and excellent creature as this owe its original? It can be none other but the divine Being, who may, with great propriety, be called, the Father of spirits, the Lord, the Jehovah, who “formeth the spirit of man within him”.

IV. The Providential Care of God over the Creation Bears Evidence that He Exists.

The fourth argument to prove the Being of a God, is taken from the providential care of God over all that He has brought into existence. Does He not sustain and govern all things—the provision made for the supply of creatures, and especially of man, and for his safety? As the world is made by a divine Being, so by Him it consists. Indeed, if there were not an almighty Being, “who upholds all things by the word of his power”, the world and all things therein would sink and fall. If He did not bear up the pillars of the earth, they would tremble and shake, and not be able to bear its weight. Just as the most stately, firm and well built palace, unless repaired and maintained, will fall to decay and ruin; so the grand and magnificent building of this world would soon be dissolved, did not the divine agent that made it, keep it up. As he that built all things is God, so he that supports the fabric of the universe must be so too. No less than an almighty hand can preserve and continue it—which He has done—without any visible appearance of age or decay, for almost six thousand years.

1. The Providential Care of God in Provision.

This continual preservation can be observed:

(1) Among the vast number of creatures that He has put into the world.

Besides men, there are the beasts of the field, and “the cattle on a thousand hills”, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea; there is food provided for them all, and they have “every one their portion of meat in due season”.

(2) By a special consideration of man.

The crown and glory of His creative work. Man is richly provided for, with an abundance and variety of all good things, not only for necessity, but also for delight. Every man has a trade, business, and employment of life—he is put into such a situation and circumstances, that, with care, diligence, and industry, he may have enough for himself and family, and to spare. The earth produces a variety of things for food and drink for him, yea, even medicines and natural remedies, for the continuance of health, and restoration of it.

(3) By a careful ordering and maintaining of all things made.

Can anyone look at these benefits and blessings and not ascribe it to the care, providence and interposition of a wise and almighty Being? Can these things ever be thought to be the effects of blind chance and fortune? Is it not plain and clear, that God hereby “has not left himself without a witness of his existence and providence, in that he does good to all his creatures? He gives rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons; He fills mens’ hearts with food and gladness; He continues the certain and constant revolutions of “summer and winter, seedtime and harvest”; He ensures steady transitions between night and day, cold and heat. All of these components of creation have their peculiar usefulness and advantages to human life, and like a well tuned watch, the governance of the world, as well as the making thereof, can be attributed to nothing or no one else than the superintendency of the divine Being.

2. The Providential Care of God in Protection.

But before leaving this argument, I wish to point out, that the providence of God extends not only over the wants of men, but also their safety. And, this is a consideration not often contemplated.

(1) Have you given thought to the dangers to which all men would be exposed if God did not put the fear of man upon the wild beasts of the field?

If the beasts of the field were not made by God to dread man, then there would be no safety for him, especially is some parts of the world. These beasts would otherwise prowl about for their prey in the night, and in the morning return to their caves and dens, and lurking places—when men go forth to their work, they would be in the utmost danger of their lives. But the providential care of God has so protected the human race from such danger, that He has put a natural instinct into the beasts whereby they avoid the habitations of men, resorting to woods and deserts, dwelling in uninhabited places.

(2) Have you given thought to the dangers to which all men would be exposed if God did not restrain the lusts of men?

It may be said that “one man would be a wolf to another”, under such conditions. Neither life nor property would be secure. Every man and all that he owns would be a prey to the rapine and violence of powerful oppressors. Although human laws and civil magistracy do something to restrain men, they cannot to everything—for even with these in place, we see extreme outrages are committed. Now, how greater still would be their number and crudeness, if it were not for the interposition of divine providence? But that there are human laws and civil magistracies is itself owing to a divine Being for establishing such order in the world. All human forms of government, and political schemes framed, and laws made for the better regulation of mankind, is ordained by the God who made and governs the world. It is by Him “kings reign, and princes decree justice”.

(3) Have you given thought to the dangers to which all men would be exposed if God did not check the rage and malice of Satan?

For it is certain, Satan, and his principalities and powers, go about our earth like roaring lions, seeking whom they may devour. Their numbers fill the surrounding air, and if they were not chained by almighty power, and limited by the providence of God, the whole race of men would be destroyed by them—at least the godly among them. All of these considerations lends to the argument that there must be a God in existence, who has not only made the world by His almighty power, but also governs with perfect wisdom all that has been made.

V. The Miraculous Events throughout History Declares the Existence of God.

The fifth argument to prove the Being of a God, is taken from the uncommon heroic actions, prodigies, wonders, and miraculous things done in the world. These things cannot be thought to be done without a superior and divine influence.

1. Consider the heroic actions of many figures throughout the course of history.

(1) Biblical Instances.

There is the story of Abraham, who, with three hundred household servants, pursued after, and engaged with four kings who had beaten five before, and recovered the goods they had taken away. There is the story of Shamgar, who fought with and killed six hundred Philistines with an ox goad. There is the story of Samson, who slew a thousand of them with the jawbone of an ass. There is the story of Jonathan, and his armour bearer, who attacked and took a garrison of the same people, and threw a whole army of theirs into a panic and confusion—who had been for some time a terror to the whole land of Israel. There is the story of David, a stripling, fighting with and conquering Goliath, a monstrous giant.

(2) Extra-Biblical Instances.

Each and every one of these events are scripture instances, and, even if scripture is only regarded as a common history, these merit our notice and credit, as any of the relations in the profane annuls of historic narrative. Indeed, both scripture accounts and profane accounts of history record the magnanimous actions of heroes, kings, and generals of armies—their wonderful successes, and amazing conquests. Time fails me to describe the great victories of the Babylonians, Persians, Grecians, and Romans. But each of these nations made strange revolutions and changes in kingdoms and states, all which can never be supposed to be done without superior power, and the overruling, influencing providence of the divine Being. Was it not God who inspired such men to do things beyond their natural skill and courage?

2. Consider the prodigies, strange and wonderful events that have occurred throughout the course of history.

There is no natural cause that can be assigned to such things—things such as the strange sights seen in the air, and voices heard in the temple, before the destruction of Jerusalem (along with other things, related by Josephus, and confirmed by Tacitus, an heathen historian). Again time fails me to recount all of the unexplained phenomenon seen around the world, but history is full of such sightings and hearings.

3. Consider the miracles that have occurred throughout the course of history.

Take, for instance, such miracles as are not only out of, and beyond the course of nature, but contrary to it, and to the settled laws of it. These inexplicable occurrences abound throughout the lives and testimonies of Moses and the prophets, as well as Christ and His apostles. Such are recorded not only in the scriptures, but other human writings also—and these things are so well attested as oblige us to give credit to the accuracy of their accounts. Now, all of these heroic actions, prodigies, wonders and miraculous things were not done to prove a divine Being, yet they necessarily suppose one, by whose power alone they are performed.

VI. The Fulfilled Prophesies of Future Events Declares the Existence of God.

The sixth argument to prove the Being of a God, is taken from the prophesies of contingent future events, and the exact fulfillment of them. It is this requirement that is demanded from other deities, to prove their legitimacy as gods. Hence, it is argued, “Let these deities bring forth and show us what shall happen; or declare us things for to come; show the things that are to come hereafter; that we may know that they are gods—which is what none but the true God can do, and has done, and which being done, proves there is a God.” Now, there are hundreds of instances recorded in the sacred writings that prove there is no other God in heaven above, or earth beneath, but whose name is Jehovah. There are specific prophesies which relate both to particular persons and to whole kingdoms, and which have had their exact accomplishment in the fulness of time. These unmistakeable fulfillments of predicted future events must be revealed by one who is omniscient, and an omniscient being is none other than God. And, even if the atheist were to argue that there are divinations, auguries and soothsayings among other world religions, and therefore cannot support the claim that Jehovah is the one true and living God; yet the fact that the atheist affirms that there are predictions on future events, is sufficient grounds on which to prove the existence of a God.

VII. The Guilty Conscience of the Human Heart Declares the Existence of God.

The seventh argument to prove the Being of a God, is taken from the fears of men, and the tortures of a guilty conscience, and the dread of a future state. There have been many who have been so terrified in their consciences on account of sin, that they could get no rest, nor enjoy peace any where, or by any means. For instance, there is Cain, who being under the terrors of an evil conscience, fancied that “everyone that found him would slay him”. Or, there are those wicked traitors, Catiline and Jugurtha, and those wicked emperors, those monsters in impiety, Tiberius and Nero—and especially the latter, who was so tortured in his conscience, as if he was continually haunted by his mother’s ghost, and by furies with burning torches. Or, there is Hobbes, our English atheist, as he was reckoned, was wont to be very uneasy when alone in the dark. Or, there is Epicurus, the philosopher, though he taught men to despise death, and out brave it; yet, when he perceived that he himself was about to die, was most terribly frightened. Indeed, these instances of a pierced conscious has been the case of many others. There have been bold and “strong spirits”, as atheistical persons love to be called, who have sometimes been found to be very timorous and fearful. And, indeed, this is natural to all men, and which is proof of a superior Being. Thus, a wild Greenlander argued, before he had knowledge of the true God: “Man has an intelligent soul, is subject to no creature in the world, and yet man is afraid of the future state, who is it that he is afraid of there? That must be a great Spirit that has dominion over us…oh did we but know him! Oh had we but him for our friend!” Some are so terribly frightened in their hearts, that the outside crack of thunder and flashes of lightning, send them on their knees trembling. This was the case with Caligula, the Roman Emperor, who, at such times, would hide himself in, or under his bed—and, this man had even set himself up for a god. Such is the nature of these fearful sounds and sights, that the ungodly hear the voice of God through the thunder—and this is what causes them to shrink under its noise and it is what led to the heathen to call it, “the thundering of Jupiter”. Now, from whence do all these fears and tortures of conscience arise, but from the guilt of sin, and a sense of a divine Being? A divine Being who is above men, and will call them to an account for their sins, and take vengeance on them? And, indeed, the eternal punishment that will be inflicted on them, will greatly lie in the tortures of their conscience, which is the worm that will never die. And, it will lie in a sense of divine wrath, which is that fire that will never be quenched.

VIII. The Judgments Upon the World Declares the Existence of God.

The eighth argument to prove the Being of a God, is taken from the judgments that have come upon the world. These judgments have come, not only in the form of famine, sword, pestilence, earthquakes and the like, but also that which has been inflicted on wicked men, atheistical persons, perjured ones, blasphemers, etc. I could site for proof, first, the universal flood, which swept away a world of ungodly men; second, the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah, with other cities of the plain, by fire and brimstone from heaven; third, of Herod being smitten by an angel, and eaten of worms, and died, while the people were shouting him as a God, and he assented to their flattery; fourth, of Ananias and Sapphira, being struck dead for lying unto God. These examples of judgment may be duplicated innumerable times throughout the course of history, as well as in our own nation, and in our own age. Who can hear, see or read such awful judgments, and disbelieve the Being of God?


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