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nature, cannot, with respect to us, be distinguished from infinite.
The Divine "omnipresence" stands, in natural theology, upon this foundation :-In every part and place of the universe with which we are acquainted, we perceive the exertion of a power, which we believe, mediately or immediately, to proceed from the Deity. For instance; in what part or point of space, that has ever been explored, do we not discover attraction? In what regions do we not find light? In what accessible portion of our globe, do we not meet with gravity, magnetism, electricity; together with the properties also and powers of organised substances, of vegetable or of animated nature? Nay, farther, we may ask, What kingdom is there of nature, what corner of space, in which, there is any thing that can be examined by us, where we do not fall upon contrivance and design? The only reflection perhaps which arises in our minds from this view of the world around us is, that the laws of nature every where prevail; that they are uniform and universal. But what do we mean by the laws of nature, or by any law? Effects are produced by power, not by laws. A law cannot execute itself. A law refers us to an agent. Now an agency so general, as that we cannot discover its absence, or assign the place in which some effect of its continued energy is not found, may, in popular language at least, and, perhaps, without much deviation from philosophical strictness, be called universal: and, with not quite the same, but with no inconsiderable propriety, the person, or Being, in whom that power resides, or from whom it is derived, may be taken to be omnipresent. He who upholds all things by his power, may be said to be
present. This is called a virtual presence. There is also what metaphysicians denominate an essential ubiquity; and
which idea the language of Scripture seems to favour : but the former, I think, goes as far as natural theology carries us.
Eternity” is a negative idea, clothed with a positive name. It supposes, in that to which it is applied, a present existence; and is the negation of a beginning or an end of that existence. As applied to the Deity, it has not been controverted by those who acknowledge a Deity at all. Most assuredly, there never was a time in which nothing existed, because that condition must have continued. The universal blank must have remained; nothing could rise up out of it; nothing could ever have existed since; nothing could exist now. In strictness, however, we have no concern with duration prior to that of the visible world. Upon this article therefore of theology, it is sufficient to know, that the contriver necessarily existed before the contrivance.
“ Self-existence" is another negative idea, viz. the negation of a preceding cause, as of a progenitor, a maker, an author, a creator.
“Necessary existence” means demonstrable existence.
“Spirituality" expresses an idea, made up of a negative part, and of a positive part. The negative part consists in the exclusion of some of the known properties of matter, especially of solidity, of the vis inertiæ, and of gravitation. The positive part comprises perception, thought, will, power, action, by which last term is meant, the origination of motion; the quality, perhaps, in which resides the essential superiority of spirit over matter," which cannot move, unless it be moved; and cannot but move, when impelled by another*.” I apprehend that there can be no difficulty in applying to the Deity both parts of this idea.
Bishop Wilkins's Principles of Natural Religion, p. 106.
THE UNITY OF THE DEITY.
Or the “Unity of the Deity," the proof is, the uniformity of plan observable in the universe. The universe itself is a system; each part either depending upon other parts, or being connected with other parts by some common law of motion, or by the presence of some common substance. One principle of gravitation causes a stone to drop towards the earth, and the moon to wheel round it. One law of attraction carries all the different planets about the sun. This philosophers demonstrate. There are also other points of agreement amongst them, which may be considered as marks of the identity of their origin, and of their intelligent Author. In all are found the conveniency and stabi. lity derived from gravitation. They all experience vicissitudes of days and nights, and changes of season. They all, at least Jupiter, Mars, and Venus, have the same advantages from their atmosphere as we have. In all the planets, the axes of rotation are permanent. Nothing is more probable than that the same attracting influence, acting according to the same rule, reaches to the fixed stars : but, if this be only probable, another thing is certain, viz. that the same element of light does. The light from a fixed star affects our eyes in the same manner, is refracted and reflected according to the same laws, as the light of a candle. The velocity of the light of the fixed stars is also the same as the velocity of the light of the sun, reflected from the satellites of Jupiter. The heat of the sun, in kind, differs nothing from the heat of a coal fire.
In our own globe, the case is clearer. New countries are continually discovered, but the old laws of nature are always found in them:,new plants perhaps, or animals, but always in company with plants and animals which we already know; and always possessing many of the same general properties. We never get amongst such original, or totally different, modes of existence, as to indicate, that we are come into the province of a different Creator, or under the direction of a different will. In truth, the same order of things attends us, wherever we go. The elements act upon one another, electricity operates, the tides rise and fall, the magnetic needle elects its position, in one region of the earth and sea, as well as in another. One atmos phere invests all parts of the globe, and connects all ; one sun illuminates, one moon exerts its specific attraction upon, all parts. If there be a variety in natural effects, as, e. g. in the tides of different seas, that
very variety is the result of the same cause, acting under different circumstances. In many cases this is proved ; in all, is probable.
The inspection and comparison of living forms, add to this argument examples without number. Of all large terrestrial animals, the structure is very much alike; their senses nearly the same;
their natural functions and passions nearly the same; their viscera nearly the same, both in substance, shape, and office: digestion, nutrition, circulation, secretion, go on, in a similar manner, in all: the great circulating fluid is the same; for, I think, no difference has been discovered in the properties of blood, from whatever animal it be drawn. The experiment of transfusion proves, that the blood of one animal will serve for another. The skele. tons also of the larger terrestrial animals, show particu, lar varieties, but still under a great general affinity,
The resemblance is somewhat less, yet sufficiently evi. dent, between quadrupeds and birds. They are all alike in five respects, for one in which they differ.
In fish, which belong to another department, as it were, of nature, the points of comparison become fewer. But we never lose sight of our analogy, e. g. we still meet with a stomach, a liver, a spine; with bile and blood ; with teeth ; with eyes (which eyes are only slightly varied from our own, and which variation, in truth, demonstrates, not an interruption, but a continuance of the same exquisite plan; for it is the adaptation of the organ to the element, viz. to the different refraction of light passing into the eye out of a denser medium). The provinces, also, themselves of water and earth, are connected by the species of animals which inhabit both; and also by a large tribe of aquatic animals, which closely resemble the terrestrial in their internal structure; I mean the cetaceous tribe, which have hot blood, respiring lungs, bowels, and other essential parts, like those of land animals. This similitude, surely, bespeaks the same creation and the same Creator.
Insects and shell-fish appear to me to differ from other classes of animals the most widely of any. Yet even here, beside many points of particular resemblance, there exists a general relation of a peculiar kind. It is the relation of inversion; the law of contrariety : namely, that, whereas, in other animals, the bones, to which the muscles are attached, lie within the body; in insects and shell-fish, they lie on the outside of it. The shell of a lobster performs to the animal the office of a bone, by furnishing to the tendons that fixed basis or immoveable fulcrum, without which, mechanically, they could not act. The crust of an insect is its shell, and answers the like purpose. The shell also of an