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cies mean when applied to plants? I am not able to give a signification to the term, which can be transferred from animals to plants; or which is common to both. Yet a no less successful organization is found in plants, than what obtains in animals. A solution is wanted for one, as well as the other.
Upon the whole ; after all the schemes and struggles of a reluctant philosophy, the necessary resort is to a Deity. The marks of design are too strong to be gotten over. Design must have had a designer. That designer must have been a person. son is God.
OF THE NATURAL ATTRIBUTES OF THE DEITY.
It is an immense conclusion, that there is a God; a perceiving, intelligent, designing, Being; at the head of creation, and from whose will it proceeded. The attributes of such a Being, suppose his reality to be prov.. ed, must be adequate to the magnitude, extent, and multiplicity of his operations : which are not only vast beyond comparison
with those performed by any
power, but, so far as respects our conceptions of them, infinite, because they are unlimited on all sides.
Yet the contemplation of a nature so exalted, however surely we arrive at the proof of its existence, overwhelms our faculties. The mind feels its powers sink under the subject. One consequence of which is, that from painful abstraction the thoughts seek relief in sensible images. Whence may
be deduced the ancient, and almost universal propensity to idolatrous substitutions. They are the resources of a labouring imagination. False religicns usually fall in with the natural propensity; true religions, or such as have derived themselves from the true, resist it.
It is one of the advantages of the revelations which we acknowledge, that, whilst they reject idolatry with its many pernicious accompaniments, they introduce the Deity to human apprehension, under an idea more personal, more determinate, more within its compass, than the theology of nature can do. And this they do by representing him exclusively under the relation in which he stands to ourselves; and, for the most part, under some precise 'character, resulting from that
relation, or from the history of his providen
Which method suits the span of intellects much better than the universality which enters into the idea of God, as deduced from the views of nature. When, therefore, these representations are well founded in point of authority (for all depends upon that), they afford a condescension to the state of our faculties, of which, they who have most reflected on the subject, will be the first to acknowledge the want and the value.
Nevertheless, if' we be careful to imitate the documents of our religion, by confining our explanations to what concerns ourselves, and do not affect more precision in our ideas than the subject allows of, the several terms which are employed to denote the attributes of the Deity, may be made, even in natural religion, to bear a sense consistent with truth and reason, and not surpassing our comprehension.
These terms are; Omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, eternity, self-existence, necessary existence, spirituality.
Omnipotence," “ omniscience," nite” power,
“ infinite” knowledge, are superlatives ; expressing our conception of these attributes in the strongest and most elevated terms which language supplies. We ascribe
It is a power,
power to the Deity under the name of 5 nipotence," the strict and correct conclusion being, that a power which could create such a world as this is, must be, beyond all comparison, greater than any which we experience in ourselves, than
which we observe in other visible agents; greater also than any which we can want, for our individual protection and preservation, in the Being upon whom we depend. It is
likewise, to which we are not authorized, by our observation or knowledge, to assign any limits of space or duration.
Very much of the same sort of remark is applicable to the term “ omniscience,” infinite knowledge, or infmite wisdom. In strictness of language, there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom; wisdom always supposing action, and action directed by it. With respect to the first, viz. knowledge, the Creator must know, intimately, the constitution and properties of the things which he created; which seems also to imply a foreknowledge of their action upon one another, and of their changes ; : at least, so far as the same result from trains of physical and necessary causes.
His omniscience also, as far as respects things present, is deducible from his nature, as an intelligent being,
joined with the extent, or rather the universality, of his operations. Where he acts, he is; and where he is, he perceives. The wisdom of the Deity, as testified in the works of creation, surpasses all idea we have of wisdom, drawn from the highest intellectual operations of the highest class of intelligent beings with whom we are acquainted; and, which is of the chief importance to us, whatever be its compass or extent, which it is evidently impossible that we should be able to determine, it must be adequate to the conduct of that order of things under which we live. And this is enough. It is of very inferior consequence, by what terms we express our notion, or rather our admiration, of this attribute. The terms, which the piety and the
usage of language have rendered habitual to us, may be as proper as any other. We can trace this attribute 'much beyond what is necessary for any conclusion
conclusion to which we have occasion to apply it. The degree of knowledge and power, requisite for the formation of created 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