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Our supposition therefore is false; i. e. the world was not made from independent atoms or particles of matter coeval with God.

It follows, that the world was made by God from nothing.

Q. Adduce Scripture authority to confirm this argument from reason.

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A. St. Paul says, Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God; so that things which are seen, were not Which pas

made of things which do appear." Which sage is thus paraphrased by Macknight: "By faith in the divine revelation, we understand that the worlds were produced by the command of God from nothing; so that the things which are seen, the things which compose this visible world, were not made of things which then did exist, but without any pre-existent matter to form them" Q. Prove that the world did not exist from eternity?

A. Though we might argue with great confidence, from history, from reason, and from natural appearances, that the creation is not of

'Heb. xi. 3.


* Macknight on the Epistles. Heb. xi. 3. There is also a passage in the second book of Maccabees, which, had it been admissible, is very strong and decisive; "Look upon the heaven and the earth, and all that therein is, and consider that God made them of things that were not." 2 Macc. vii. 28.

more ancient date than is generally supposed, viz. about 6000 years": still, for a proof that the world did not exist from eternity, we look to Scripture, where we find it said by the Son of God, "O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee

m That the world was produced within six or seven thousand years, not only faith and divine chronology do assure us, but reason also shews and all history conspires to persuade us ; there being no plain monument or probable memory of actions beyond that time. Barrow, vol. ii. Serm. XII. p. 184.

Paley observes: "The contrivance perceived in the universe proves it to be impossible that it could have existed from eternity. Nothing contrived can, in a proper and strict sense, be eternal, forasmuch as the contriver must have existed before the contrivance." Theol. p. 449. See also Sumner on the Records of the Creation, vol. i. chap. i. p. 33. chap. iii. p. 58. And Archbishop Secker, Lect. VI. p. 81, &c. Also Bentley's Confutation of Atheism, Serm. VI. and VII., where you will find a laboured and powerful argument that the world did not, and could not have existed from eternity. The Roman poet says well,

"Prætereà, si nulla fuit genitalis origo
Terrarum ac cæli, semperque æterna fuêre;
supra bellum Thebanum et funera Troja,
Non alias alii quoque res cecinere Poetæ ?
Quo tot facta virûm toties cecidere? Nec usquam
Æternis famæ monumentis insita florent?

Verum, ut opinor, habet novitatem summa, recensque

Natura est mundi, neque pridem exordia cepit."

Lucret. de Rer. Nat. lib. v. ver. 326–333.

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And again: "Father,

thou lovedst me before the creation of the world." But more especially we turn to the first chapter of Genesis, where we have a circumstantial detail of particulars relative to the time and manner of the creation.

Q. Prove that the creation of the world cannot be ascribed to chance.

A. The order and harmony which reign throughout the works of nature, supply us with an irrefragable argument P. Order and harmony in execution, prove intelligence and forethought in him who executes 9. "It is," says the

" John xiii. 5.

P Barrow, vol. ii. Serm. VI. § 3.

• John xvii. 24.

q Quis hunc hominem dixerit, qui cùm tam certos cœli motus, tam ratos astrorum ordines, tamque inter se connexa et apta viderit, neget his ullam inesse rationem, eaque casu fieri dicat, quæ quanto consilio gerantur, nullo consilio assequi possumus. Cic. de Natur. Deor. lib. 11.-Ob finem agere non est nisi intelligentis naturæ. Neque vero singula tantum ad peculiarem suum finem ordinantur, sed et ad communem universi. Finis autem hic universalis intendi, et vis ad cum finem inseri rebus non potuit nisi ab intellectu, cui subesset hoc universum. Grotius. de Verit. Rel. Christ. lib. 1. § 2.

There cannot be design without a designer, contrivance without a contriver, order without choice, arrangement without any thing capable of arranging, subserviency and relation to a purpose without that which could intend a purpose, means suitable to an end, and executing their office in accomplishing that end, without the end ever having been contemplated, or the means

learned author of the Records of the Creation', "the result of our uniform experience, that no certain effect can be obtained without some regular means of contrivance. But whatever part of the universe we examine, from the minutest insect to the noblest animal, from the meanest plant to that magnificent system which the researches of modern astronomers unfold, we trace the undoubted evidence of means corresponding to their intended object, and attaining their end. Therefore we conclude, by a natural and irresistible analogy, that a world which exhibits throughout an unbroken chain of contrivances and means, is the effect, not of fortuitous concurrence in its constituent parts, but of their regular disposition; and is the work not of chance, but of an intelligent Contriver."

Q. Having proved God to be the Maker of the world, and all things therein; how do you explain the passage in St. John, and other similar passages, where it is said, "All things were made by the Word, (i. e. by Christ), and without him was not any thing made that was

accommodated to it. Arrangement, disposition of parts, subserviency of means to an end, relation of instruments to an use, imply the presence of intelligence and mind. Paley's Theol. chap. ii. p. 12.

'Sumner's Records of the Creation, vol. i. p. 55.

• John i. 3.

made?" Does it not seem a contradiction to affirm, that the same thing was made by two different persons?

A. The passage adduced from St. John, is explained by St. John himself. He says, two verses preceding the one quoted, "The Word was with God, and the Word was God." Now here we have allowed that Christ is the Word. Substituting then the synonymous terms, the passage runs thus: "Christ was with God, and Christ was God." Christ being God, to say he made the world, is the same as to say, God made it at least there is no contradiction in the terms. Other similar passages admit of the like explanation, particularly Colossians i. 16. We are aware, however, that there are some who attempt to explain away the assertion of St.

* Tertull. Adv. Prax. cap. xix. Et Bulli Def. Fid. Nic. sect. 2. cap. ix. § 10. Ut paucis rem. totam complectar: qui dixerit Deum Patrem tanquam fontem divinitatis adeoque omnium operationum divinarum originem, a seipso per Filium suum mundum condidisse, ac proinde rerum omnium primarium esse opificem, næ is Arianæ hæresis neutiquam incusandus est nisi vero antiquis Ecclesiæ Patribus universis, adeoque ipsis scriptoribus 9EOTVEVOTO Arianismi dicam impingere velimus; sed illud demum Arianæ esset blasphemiæ, si quis doceret, Patrem hæc universa constituisse per Filium, tanquam per instrumentum sibi extraneum, aut tanquam per virtutem aliquam ante cætera omnia creatam, atque ab ipsius essentiâ alienam.


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