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state, that, while many other writers have been consulted, he feels greatly indebted to the labors of Baxter, Goodwin, Howe, Pearson, George Hill, Macknight, George Campbell, Doddridge, Adam Clarke, John Dick, and more especially, Wesley, Fletcher, and Richard Watson.
It is hoped that the extensive Scripture quotations will be found appropriate, and agreeable to the taste of the lover of sacred truth.
Relying upon the indulgence of a generous public, the work is submitted, notwithstanding its acknowledged imperfections, with the hope, that, through the Divine blessing, it may serve as an efficient, though humble, instrument in promoting the love and knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus.”
THE EXISTENCE OF GOD.
The term God is Anglo-Saxon, and in that language it was used, not only to signify the Supreme Being, but also good. By this we learn, that, in the apprehension of our ancestors, the Great Supreme was possessed of superlative excellency, so as to warrant the emphatic appellation of good.
The Hebrew word in the first chapter of Genesis translated God, is Elohim, a plural noun, which, according to Dr. A. Clarke, the learned have traced to the Arabic root alaha, which means to worship or adore. Hence, it denotes the Supreme Being, the only proper object of religious worship and adoration. The word in Greek is Theos, and in Latin Deus, which in those languages signify the Supreme Divinity or Ruler of the universe.
In Scripture He is also termed JEHOVAH, the self-existent God; SHADDAI, Almighty ; Adon, Supporter, Lord, Judge; Rochum, the Mer. ciful Being; and various other terms are used, more or less indicative of his character.
As a brief explanation of our general idea of God, we quote from Bishop Pearson, as follows: “The notion of a Deity doth expressly signify a being or nature of infinite perfection ; and the infinite perfection of a nature or being consisteth in this, that it be absolutely and essentially necessary, an actual being of itself; and potential or causative of all beings beside itself, independent from any other, upon which all things else depend, and by which all things else are governed.” "God is a being, and not any kind of being; but a substance, which is the foundation of other beings. And not only a substance, but perfect. Yet many beings are perfect in their kind, yet limited and finite. But God is absolutely, fully, and every way infinitely perfect; and therefore above spirits, above angels, who are perfect comparatively. God's infinite perfection includes all the attributes, even the most excellent.
It excludes all dependency, borrowed existence, composition, corruption, mortality, contingency, ignorance, unrighteousness, weakness, misery, and all imperfections whatever. It includes necessity of being, independency, perfect unity, simplicity, immensity, eternity, immortality; the most perfect life, knowledge, wisdom, integrity, power, glory, bliss, and all these in the highest degree. We cannot pierce into the secrets of this eternal Being. Our reason comprehends but little of him, and when it can proceed no further, faith comes in, and we believe far more than we can understand: and this our belief is not contrary to reason ; but reason itself dictates unto us, that we must believe far more of God than it can inform us of.” — (Lawson's Theo-Politica.)
I. We will first consider the EXISTENCE of God. It is a remarkable fact, that the Scriptures nowhere attempt to prove the existence of God; nor do they pretend to teach it as a truth before unknown, by declaring in so many words that God exists ; but everywhere take it for granted, as a matter already understood and believed. From this fact we may justly infer, that the being of God, in the early ages of the world, was so palpably manifest as to be denied or doubted by none. How this radical and important truth originally became so clearly and forcibly impressed upon man, we need be at no loss to determine, when we reflect on the real condition of our first parents, and the intimate relation subsisting between them and their Creator in the garden of Paradise. In philosophy, it is universally admitted that we derive our knowledge of the material and intellectual universe through the mediums of sensation and consciousness; and that the testimony thus presented is of the strongest possible character. That the clear and satisfactory knowledge of God, possessed by Adam in Paradise, was communicated and confirmed by both these sources of testimony, is fully apparent from the Mosaic history. Man was made “in the image, and after the likeness, of God.” Consequently, he was capable of immediate intercourse and intimate communion with his Creator. Thus we learn that he “ walked and talked with God.” He had familiar access to the Divine presence, and, at the same time, must have felt, within his pure and unfallen soul, a deep consciousness of the Divine existence and perfections. Thus it may be seen, that his knowledge of God was so direct and forcible, that he could no more doubt upon this subject, than he could question his own existence. +
That a matter so interesting and important as a knowledge of the existence and character of God, should be carefully communicated from father to son, through the successive generations from Adam to Noah, is reasonable to infer. But for the better security of this important object, and that the strcam of religious truth, which we have thus seen