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reach of chance to have produced ; an adjust-
power is exerted, stupendous.
rial nature; a will which restrains and circumscribes the operations of the most extensive*.
* It must here however be stated, that many astronomers deny that any of the heavenly bodies are absolutely stationary. Some of the brightest of the fixed stars have certainly small motions; and of the rest the distance is too great, and the intervals of our observation too short, to enable us to pronounce with certainty that they may not have the same. The motions in the fixed stars which have been observed, are considered either as proper to each of them, or as compounded of the motion of our system, and of motions proper to each star, By a comparison of these motions, a motion in our system is supposed to be discovered.
By continuing this analogy to other, and to all systems, it is possible to suppose that attraction is unlimited, and that the whole material universe is revolving round some fixed point within its containing sphere of space.
OF THE PERSONALITY OF THE DEITY.
CONTRIVANCE, if established, appears to me to prove every thing which we wish to prove. Amongst other things, it
the personality of the Deity, as distinguished from what is sometimes called nature, sometimes called a principle: which terms, in the mouths of those who use them philosophically, seem to be intended, to admit and to express an efficacy, but to exclude and to deny a personal agent. Now that which can contrive, which can design, must be a person. These capacities constitute personality, for they imply consciousness and thought. They require that which can perceive an end or purpose ; as well as the power of providing means, and of directing them to their end*. They require a centre in which perceptions unite, and from which volitions flow; which is mind. The acts of a mind prove the existence of a mind : and in whatever a mind re.. sides, is a person. The seat of intellect is a
Priestley's Letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever, p. 153, ed. 2.
person. We have no authority to limit the properties of mind to any particular corporeal form, or to any particular circumscription of space.
These properties subsist, in created nature, under a great variety of sensible forms. Also every animated being has its sensorium, that is, a certain portion of space, within which perception and volition are exerted. This sphere may be enlarged to an indefinite extent'; 'may comprehend the universe ; and, being so imagined, may serve to furnish us with as good a notion, as we are capable of forming, of the immensity of the Divine Nature, i. e. of a Being, infinite, as well in essence as
power; yet nevertheless a person.
“No man hath seen God at any time.” And this, I believe, makes the great difficulty: Now it is a difficulty which chiefly' arises from our not duly estimating the state of our faculties. The Deity, it is true, is the object of none of our senses : but reflect what limited capacities animal senses are. Many animals seem to have but one sense, or perhaps two at the most; touch and taste. Ought such an animal to conclude against the existence of odours, sounds, and colours ? To another species is given the sense of smelling. This is an advance in the knowledge of
the powers and properties of nature: but, if this favoured animal should infer from its superiority over the class last described, that it perceived every thing which was perceptible in nature, it is known to us, though perhaps not suspected by the animal itself, that it proceeded upon a false and presumptuous estimate of its faculties. To another is added the sense of hearing; which lets in a class of sensations entirely unconceived by the animal before spoken of; not only distinct, but remote from any which it had ever experienced, and greatly superior to them. Yet this last animal has no more ground for believing, that its senses comprehend all things, and all properties of things, which exist, than might have been claimed by the tribes of animals beneath it; for we know, that it is still possible to possess another sense, that of sight, which shall disclose to the percipient a new world. This fifth sense makes the ani, mal what the human animal is : but to infer, that possibility stops here; that either this fifth sense is the last sense, or that the five comprehend all existence; is just as unwarrantable a conclusion, as that which might have been made by any of the different species which possessed fewer, or even by that, if such there be, which possessed only one.