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possibly contemplate without the highest ad. miration.
The proof of the goodness of the Creator is as complete as that of his wisdom, and even of his existence itself. We infer his existence from the appearance of design in his works, and of his wisdom from the exquisiteness of that design : but every proof of design is equally a proof of benevolence, because the object of every contrivance is the production of good. We are not therefore more certain of the existence and wisdom of the Deity than of his goodness, for the very facts on which we ground our belief of the former equally establish the latter.
If then the world be indeed the production of a Being who is infinite in wisdom, power and goodness, the proof of his constant and perfect superintendence of it seems to be irresistible. For since he is perfect in wisdom, he could not have created it without some design, and that design, whatever it be, he must be careful to accomplish. Whether we suppose he created it with a view to display to his intelligent creatures his wisdom and power, or with a design to impart enjoyment to an inconceivable number and variety of beings, we must believe, in the one case, that he will at all times provide against the interruption of that order which alone can illustrate his perfections, and the destruction of those faculties which are necessary to perceive them ; and in the other, that he will suffer no event to happen which can prevent or impair the happiness he determines to bestow. In every successive period, therefore, he must 'have exactly the same reason to superintend the events which take place in his creation as he had at first to perform the glorious work.
Nothing is more evident than that the inanimate and insensible part of the creation, is fitted up for the accommodation, and designed to promote the happiness of the sentient. The inanimate world is continually in motion, and every movement must influence, in a greater or less degree, the enjoyment of the animal creation. He, therefore, who constructed the wonderful fabric of the world, and so admirably adapted it to the enjoyment of the innumerable beings it contains, continually watches over the movements which take place within it, that they may not break in upon the order nor impair the happiness he has established.
But the animal creation itself is likewise continually in motion. An animal possesses the power of originating motion, by which sometimes its existence, and always its happiness, in a greater or less degree, are affected. The care of the Deity must therefore extend to the move.
ments of the animal, no less than to those of the material world.
Such then being the constitution of things ; it being evident, that the material * is made for the animal creation; that the material world is continually changing, thereby producing a change in the animal; that the animal world itself is endowed with the property of changing its situation, and every change of state being necessarily attended with a change of sensation, the doctrine which an enlightened philosophy. teaches, is, that the Deity, with a view of making that sensation just what he has seen fit to appoint, continually superintends the changes which induce it.
If every particle of matter in the globe be more or less in motion, and if we can fix our eye on no spot where there is not organized and conscious existence, the view which is here given of Divine Providence is large enough to take in the superintendence of the myriads of changes, which, according to this supposition, must be taking place in every instant of time. If every star which shines in the firmament of heaven be a world crowded with inhabitants; if
* By material creation is here always meant that part of the world which is supposed to be without sensation, whether organized or unorganized.
every fixed star be a sun which illumines a system of worlds, as our sun illumines our system; and if all these worlds and systems be filled with organized and happy creatures, (which is at once the most sublime and the most probable view it is possible to take of the creation,) this account of the divine administration is suffi. cient to comprehend the superintendence of all the events which must be taking place in every instant of time, throughout this universe, of being, to the extent of which we can set no limits, and in the contemplation of which all our faculties are lost.
Whoever believes that the system of the universe did not start into being without a designing cause, acknowledges that its author is every where present. Omnipresence is an attribute which seems essential to the very notion of a God. It is true we cannot understand how at one and the same instant he is present in every part of the universe; but this difficulty in conceiving of the mode of the fact, neither does nor ought to bring any doubt upon our belief of the fact itself, because our comprehension of every subject whatever, is equally obscure and imperfect. We understand nothing of the mode of the existence of any being. We know that we ourselves exist, but we have no conception of the manner in which the wonderful phenomena
of life are produced and continued. Of the existence of the Deity it is impossible to doubt. We see his works : we feel his power : but in what manner he exists we do not know, because we have no data upon which to form even a conjecture respecting the mode of his existence. The reason that we do not know how he is every where present, is, because we do not know how he is present any where; that is, because we do not at all comprehend the mode of his existence.
We see that man is bound to a little spot of earth, and that his presence at one time is restricted to that spot. This being the only kind of existence with which our senses have made us acquainted, it is natural that we should find it difficult to conceive how a Being can at the same moment be here, and in the most distant part of the globe, and in the most distant planet! But whatever be the mode of the existence of the Deity, we must necessarily conceive of it as different from our own. For at all events he has been present in this globe ; in the planets which form our system ; in the sun which is its centre; in every fixed star; in a word, wherever we behold a planet or a star. Whatever these bodies are, they are something; some of them are of immense magnitude, and are placed at such distances from each other, as to be beyond our power of calculation ; and no