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tensions to common sense or science. Within the bounds of Christendom no system is inculcated which involves a different construction of the presence of the Deity; and there is no philosopher, however antichristian, who would not blush to utter any other sentiment. Though then the idea be purely of revelation, yet none but pagans, or such be. ings as cherish the ignorance of pagans without being entitled to plead the same apology, ever think of admitting any other conception. The thing is true: it has the sanction of common sense, however inscrutable it be. Then, we again repeat it, what becomes of the objection so often leveled at the scriptures, on the ground that they reveal things utterly incomprehensible? God is incomprehensible; yet they have revealed him,--revealed him to many nations who had changed the glory of the incorruptible God, into an image made like unto corruptible man.” His omnipresence is incomprehensible; yet they have revealed that, and made it the ground of many an awful warning and salutary hope. His power is incomprehensible; yet they have revealed that, and point you to the whole universe as the witness of its extent.
The assumption that because the scriptures reveal things incomprehensible, they cannot be of God, appears to rest on one of two grounds; both of which are equally untenable. It supposes either that nothing can exist which is above human comprehension; and therefore that the revelation of such existences proves the falsity of the record: Or it assumes that it can be of no use to us to be informed of the existence of things incomprehensible; and that therefore the attempt to reveal them proves the folly of him who makes it. '
Need we say to you that both these positions are utterly false? You will admit nothing to be credible that you cannot comprehend! Will you then believe in God? that he sees you? that he hears you? that he made you? that he upholds you?
-Will you believe in your own existence? that you see? that you hear? that you stretch forth your hands at will ?
-Will you believe in the existence, or in the operations of any other creature?What is spirit? what is matter? how do they exist? on what principle do they put forth their energies? God God only can tell. He made all things: he upholds all things: he comprehends them fully: and in this, as in every other respect, he stands alone. We neither comprehend him, nor ourselves, nor any thing that exists. Some facts we have been taught in relation to him: some facts with respect to ourselves we fully know: some facts are obvious in relation to things around us. But all that we can gather amounts to no more than faint notices of existence--a multitude of existences-unsearchable in their nature, and unsearchable in their operations.
All things live in God; all things are of God; all things bear the stamp of his inscrutable counsels and omnific hand: and there lives not, there exists not, within the cir. cuit of creation, a thing so mean or simple as would not dash the intellect of the mightiest seraph, had he the folly to aspire at comprehending its existence. It is wisdom to discern the limits of a creature's knowledge; and that man gives the strongest evidence of the extent to which his industry has carried his researches, and of the ability and discretion with which he has conducted them, who has learned to regard the discovery of every new fact as the discovery of a new wonder which he cannot fathom; and when the sum of his attainments has just served to teach
him that all our knowledge is the knowledge of things unsearchable, and that the amount of what we do know, compared with that which is inscrutable, is as a drop of water to the mighty ocean.
It was the adoption of this principle, that nothing is credible which we cannot comprehend, which rendered atheism so prevalent in the schools of antiquity. Attempting to reason on the nature and necessity of a first cause, they speedily found themselves beyond their depth. From a situation so perilous to the interests of self-sufficiency they retreated with all haste: And sagaciously concluding that nothing could be, which eluded their penetration, they infered that there could of course be no first cause: all things came by chance; or (by chance!) they were eternally in their present situation. Need we say to you that the same assumption might just as reasonably have lead them to doubt of every thing? In fact it did so. The more consistent among them carried out their principle. They sought to study themselves, to comprehend the whole création: and at the very first step they met a gulf impassible. They were a mystery to themselves: all creation was a mystery: mind was incomprehensible: 'matter was incomprehensible: and all antiquity boasts the profundity of the men the philosophers—the whole schools and sets of philosophers who not only called in question the reality of every thing around them, and of every act which they saw; but questioned their own existence! and of course, we should presume, the existence of their own fond theory!
Many of the moderns who arrogate to themselves the title of philosophers, arrive at the same goal by a route which has the semblance of greater plausibility and incomparably greater learning, but possesses, iņ fact, far less of the
merit of consistency than that to which we have been adverting. They profess by the aid of chemistry and pby. sics, of mathematics and metaphysics, to have arrived at the first principles and ultimate causes of all things, and have thus discovered that all things can exist and move on, and how they exist and move on, without the intervention of any foreign cause. Of course there is none! there is no God! they have penetrated to the very bottom of things; and they have discovered none. Have they so! And what then is matter? And what is mind? And what are those grand principles which we call the laws of matter? And in what consists the energies of mind? They are mistaken. They can account for nothing. The few laws of being which they have traced, the few facts which they have discovered, leave the main secret of all existences as much in the dark as ever. What enstamped these laws on being whence the connexion among the facts which they have traced? On what principle is it that the most remote of their facts has place? The chemist who boasts his success in producing or dissolving the union of various bodies, may account in his own way for every change, by talking about affinities more or less strong; but he deceives himself and others with the technicalities of ignorance. In what these same affinities consist; whence they arise; and wherefore they exist at all, he is as unable to discover to you as the veriest infant. He knows barely the fact of their existence. That with him is every thing. But the difficulty, the mystery, is, that they exist at all. The mechanical philosopher too may boast his discovery of the laws that control the movements of all matter; and there. fore infer that he can do without a God. But whence these precise laws by which matter iş regulated? Wbat is gravitation? whence does it arise? how does it operate? A child could tell you as readily as he! We need not continue this illustration. The skeptics who doubted of the existence of every thing were by far the most consistent atheists: and they shewed themselves most learned! Their survey embraced many facts; for not one of which they were able to account. He who knows of nothing which he cannot fully comprehend, must indeed know but very little! Who then is the philosopher~the lover of wisdon--properly so called? Who displays the soundest mind and the greatest intelligence? He who scouts the truths of revelation, because many things are revealed which are too high to be understood? Or he who, taking measure of his faculties by a just acquaintance with the proper objects and necessary limits of human knowledge, makes no objection to the credibility of a statement, merely because it embraces subjects which his mind cannot grasp; but devoutly adopts it, on the strength of the testimony, provided that testimony be unexceptionable in its kind?
But we said there is another aspect in which men often view this matter. They say God is too wise to reveal things incomprehensible; and as the scriptures speak of such things, they cannot be from him.--Is this a sound assumption? Is it common sense? We appeal to the considerations just now stated on another ground. You know nothing of the ultimate laws of physics. You cannot tell how matter acts on matter, in contact or at a vast remove. But is your knowledge of the facts of no use to you? Cannot the chemist combine and decompose, although his shattering about affinities discloses nothing but his learned ignorance. Do not you avail you of the law of gravitation to millions of valuable purposes, because you know the