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A Gospel Hope. I. John iii. 3. And every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
Growth in Grate. II. Pet. iii. 18. But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The perseverance of the Saints proved.
nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things present,
SER MON 1.
THE EXISTENCE OF GOD DEMONSTRATED.
KOMANS, 1. 20.
For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world
are clearly seen, being understood from the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.
ALL nature declares there is a God. If any thing which is seen, felt, or understood exists, then there exists a first cause, and that cause is God. If we are sure that we ourselves are, and th at we see, hear and understand, it is equally certain to the niost perfect demonstration, that God exists. If we and all around us are non-entities, and there is nothing in the universe, then it will be granted, that there is no God. Persons who are under such derangement of mind, as to argue that they themselves are nothing, that they have no such thing as are called senises, that there is no feeling, secing, smelling or tasting, that this world, and all its inhabitants, furniture, order, and beauty are nothing, no man, unless equally deranged, would enter into reasoning or argument with such. Where nothing is, the attempt to originate an argument, must be both foolish and contradictory.
A leading doctrine of Saint Paul, in this epistle to the Romans, was, to prove the absolute necessity of the justification of sinners before God, by the atonement of a Mediator, or by the righteousness of Jesus Christ alone.' And as a master reasoner, he demonstrates every proposition advanced, as he passes along,
that his doctrine might come home to the judgment and conscience of every one, with the most perfect certainty, and highest conviction of its truth. Hence he first proves that all, Jew and Gentile, were sinners, under the wrath of God, and liable to be pun. ished with everlasting destruction. He opens and produces his proofs in the first place against the Gentile world, and afterwards against the Jew, and undeniably establishes this melancholy and awful truth, “ There is none righteous, no not one. pect to the Gentiles, he declares, “ The wrath of God is revealed “ from heaven, against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of
men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” The particular instance here assumed, in order to convict them of ungodli. ness and unrigliteousness, is, that they stifled, suppressed, and counteracted those notions of right and wrong, and that knowledge of God which they had. “They held the truth in unrightcousness,” that is, they wickedly and wilfully acted contrary to yhat they knew to be just, reasonable, and proper with regard to God. To support the charge of acting contrary to the know. ledge they had of God, it was nécessary to prove they had some knowledge of him; hence he' declares, “That which may be “known of God is, manifest in them ; for God hath showed it funto them.” The existence and some of the perfections of God were displayed among them, . for he had given abundant and clear evidence hereof; he had shewed it unto them in every thing they beheld, in all the works of creation.
In the words of the text, the Apostle proceeds particularly to 'state that knowledge which was attainable, and which they had from this source; to wit. the knowledge of his being, and
supreme and eternal power : « For the invisible things of him from the “crcation of the world are clearly soen, being understood by the " things that are made, even his eternal power and godhead, so " that they y are without excuse."
The plain sense of these words, and the evident design of the Apostle is, to establish this truth,
That the existence of God, and some of his perfections, may * Rom. ii. 10.--Verse 18.Verse 19.
be learned or deduced, with the highest certainty, from the works of creation.
What is intended at present, is a brief and rational demonstra tion of the being of God, after the manner of arguing his existence here proposed by the Apostle, to wit. from his works.
By the name God, is meant an eternal, tincaused, independent, necessary, active, infinitely powerful, and intelligent Being. This description is sufficient for my present purpose. If the existence of such a Being be proved, the existence of God is proved, For such an 'existence is God, in all rational enquiries after or respecting the reality of his Being.
There are various topics or heads of argument, from whencethis truth may be solidly evinced, but I mean to pursue one simple chain of reasoning founded on an undeniable fact, which cannot be controverted or contradicted by the greatest sceptic. In this way, I suppose the existence of the Being described, is capable of strict and perfect demonstration. And this is the way in which the Apostle proceeds in our text-For he makes it manifest, that the Gentiles, who were destitute of a divine revelation, were, or at least might be assured of the existence of God, from the works. of creation ; bat if the works of creation, or the things clearly seen, would not afford undeniable and satisfying evidence to the mind of this truth without revelation, there could be no assurance of the divine existence and power-and, consequently, the heathens would have a just excuse for their atlieisin and wickedness ; whereas the Apostle argues, that they are without excuse.
That such a Being does exist, which we signify by the term God, is now to be proved. And that all may understand and have conviction hereof, I shall proceed, by the inost easy and gradual steps, laying the foundation of the reasoning in the most plain, obvious, and incontestible facts and principles. Wherefore observe,
First, That something does now exist, cr that some external
objects, and obvious to our senses, now are. Nothing can be more evident or certain than this. This it a fact, of which every person is perfectly assured. We are as sure of this, as that we have senses or understanding. No one doubts of the existence of the things without him, and around him. No one doubts that the world in which he lives, is something. Every one is assured, that it is replenished with inhabitants, and those he daily converses with, are real existences. At least, every one is convinced of his own existence. Every one is sure that he himself is. If he be not sure of this, he can be sure of nothing. There can be no such thing as assurance, or evidence of any fact. In a word, the present existence of something, of this world, and of ourselves is so clear, as not to permit us to reason upon it, in order to make it clearer. One wlio denies this, cannot be reasoned with at all about any thing whatsoever. Because it is one of the first and most evident of all truths. It is so evident, that it can admit of no additional evidence. It is a self evident and notori
A inan cannot open his eyes, nay, he cannot think one thought, or speak one word, but he must receive irresistible conviction, that something now is, or does exist. Therefore, I observe,
Secondly, No being or thing, which, now exists, could make itself, or come into being of itself. Consider the terms in which this proposition is expressed, and every one must inmediately be convinced of its truth. Is it not impossible that any thing should make itself, or give being to itself, when as yet it was a nonentity, or nothing? Is it not self evident, that which is nothing, can neither act nor do any thing? Now for a thing to make itself, or come into existence of itself, is certainly to do something ; therefore, it must be, and not be, that it must be something and nothing, act and not act, at the same time. In order to make itself, it must be for surely what is not, cannot do any thing ; and yet it inust not be or exist for if it already exists, it cannot now begin to be, or come into existence ; because that which already has obtained existence, cannot have existence