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ence; and therefore the self-existent, therefore the absolute, therefore the infinite.

XV. Rational souls in existence must have had a rational and infinite father; since it is easier to suppose one eternal, self-existent spirit, than many; and an infinite one, as more exalted, more in harmony with eternity and self-existence, than a finite one.

XVI. The Bible, and its miracles, and their evidences, taken merely as facts of history to be accounted for, can scarcely be explained, except on the supposition of a God.

XVII. The progress, power, and influence of Christianity, taken also simply as historical phenomena, are best explained on the same principle. They naturally argue the truth, if not the supernatural character of the system, and thus a God.

In regard to the nature of the being thus shown to exist, but a brief statement seems necessary.

The idea of Godhood, when placed beneath the prism of intuitional thought, develops all its essential attributes. Whatever term may be applied to the initial and central ideawhether the Absolute; the Self-dependent; the Self-existent; the Unconditioned; or the Infinite; and whatever shades of difference may be recognized between the ideas expressed by these words; beyond question, they all coalesce when pursued, and alike involve the idea of the highest and most perfect existence. God is infinitely perfect, or he does not exist. He possesses, therefore, every attribute which belongs to the highest possible excellence, as a rational and moral being. What more is it necessary to say?

Regarding the Divine nature in another aspect, we conceive of God, most naturally, as the personification of the great, eternal, fundamental principles, on which the universe of thought, truth, and existence is founded. Truth, justice, love, purity, in like manner as reason, will, and sensibility, together with the mysterious principle of life, and if anything else is absolutely fundamental in the great soul and constitution of nature-using that word in the largest possible sense-seem to us elements of the Divine nature; as reason, will, &c., are of ours; nor is the simplicity of that nature thus lost, any more

than that of our souls. How far these elements are the same, or similar, in kind, with those designated by the same terms in ourselves; or, as belonging to the infinite, different, we may not be able to tell. This we know, that so far as we can conceive of God at all, it must be in the direction of the corresponding elements in our own nature.

The time-worn question, as to the personality of the Deity, scarcely deserves a serious attention. Spirit is a higher form of existence than matter. Life is more exalted than the want of it. The higher must be the source, or creator of the lower, not vice versa. Marks of thought and volition reveal a thinker and a will. Almost every argument for the exist ence of a God, demands a personal, rational, moral Being. Moreover, there is scarcely in the compass of thought a conception more intrinsically difficult and absurd, than that which dissolves the distinction between matter and mind, between the Me and Not-Me, between subjective and objective, between substance and attribute, the universe through; in a word, which makes each thing everything, and nothing anything, changes the formula "To be or not to be," into, to be and not to be, each the other, both the same, and neither of them at all. Philosophically there is nothing gained, and everything is lost, or lowered, by adopting the idea of an impersonal God. God, then, is a Being of the highest order of Personality, and Infinite in every worthy attribute and perfection.

What is the relation which such a God must bear to us!

As the author of the universe he is our creator. As such he is invested with the absolute right of property in us. The right of property, claimed by man in the work of his hands, is limited by his obligation to another for himself and his powers, and for the material upon which he works. No such de⚫pendence limits the ownership, on the part of God, of everything in the universe besides himself. He is the absolute creator, and owns with absolute right. Further, the nature of things created is not an independent or self-existent one, after creation. "In him we live, and move, and have our being." Were his supporting hand withdrawn but for one moment, all things would cease to be. He is thus, virtually, the constant

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re-creator, and holds an hourly renewed right of ownership in all things that exist. He is, moreover, the father of our spirits, in a sense which involves more than the idea of creation. "We are also his offspring,"-made in his image. He "breathed into us the breath of life." Though quoted from the Bible, these are truths of philosophy. The rational soul must be the child of its rational creator, in a sense to which the irrational world can by no means aspire. God has in us, therefore, a father's right, and that in a sense infinitely more absolute than the right of an earthly parent; since the latter, himself dependent and derived, imparts at second hand that which he has received; the former independent and underived, himself both originates and gives. And, again, God, as the supreme sovereign of all things, as the only being who is either strong, or wise, or good enough to be the sovereign, holds the full right of a complete government over us; and that in a degree not at all limited by any higher authority, as the claims of all human governments are. And, finally, God, as the Infinite and All-perfect One, justly claims the profoundest love, admiration, and reverence of every rational being. Such are the relations between us and Him.

The obligation which binds us to God, consisting in the united force of the claims just named, must evidently surpass in sacredness all that elsewhere exists, or can be conceived of.

The duties to which that obligation calls, will consist, first, in the deepest love, reverence, and devotion of the heart; since God, as a spirit, must look on the heart, and since the heart is the real man, the only seat of true character; and, secondly, such an external life as He will approve. This must, of course, be a life in imitation of Himself; and since He is the personification of the Law of Right, of obedience to that law.

If, now, we have failed in meeting the above obligation, as has already been proved, and if, from the more vital and exalted element of personality, introduced under theistic relations, our sin, as neglecters of duty, must be far deeper than appeared in the pre-theistic view; then, in a sense doubly emphatic, our duty to God will be, as before, toward natural law,

deep repentance, and instant reformation, and that on pain of continual and every moment redoubled sin.

Should we repent and reform, that does not cancel the past. A government cannot pardon the murderer because convinced that he will murder no more. That would be to proclaim permission to every citizen to commit a single crime. Justice, also, demands retribution, irrespective of reformation in the future. Reason and conscience hold us responsible for the sins of the past. If I burn my neighbor's house, my tears the next day do not rebuild it.

On the other hand, if there is no repentance nor forsaking of sin, guilt and condemnation must increase in a yet more fearful ratio.

How will God regard the character thus presented? To suppose that he will abdicate his rights is an absurdity, because inconsistent with his nature, his office, and his duty. To fail to enforce them is to abdicate them. He must, therefore, enforce his laws, and crush together the sinner and his sins.

Our moral relations to God, and the duties thence arising, and the consequences of their neglect, thus overlie, reduplicate, and terribly confirm those which hold between us and natural law. Sinai thunders, where the voice of nature thundered before.

Thus closes what we may call the Theistic Series; bringing us to the second platform or landing-place of our course.

The third general division is the HISTORICAL SERIES, including the works of God in the creation, and especially in and toward man.

From the idea of God, he is necessarily the creator of all things,-man, of course, included.

The highest values, which can be conceived of, spring from, or are connected with, free and rational moral agency. Hence the creation of man as a rational, free agent.

From the nature of moral quality and of free-will, no positive moral character could have been given to man in his creation. He must, however, have been free to choose between holiness and sin. Since now a sinner universally, he chose

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As a benevolent being, God must wish to reclaim him, if possible, consistently with all holy ends. How far he could go in this direction we cannot tell; but we can see that supernaturally bestowed light, life, and influence, would be of inestimable value. The actual experience of mankind proves the necessity of such aid. God must be quite able to communicate it; for he who made the soul can surely breathe into it an influence, when and how he pleases. Such a gift might therefore be expected from him. A revelation of his will and truth would therefore be probable. It would need to be attested by some extraordinary signs.

Such a revelation has in fact been made, and is found in the books called the Bible. This we should prove by nearly the usual reasonings; giving decided prominence however to the internal evidences; and those from the influence of the Bible among men; and its relations to the moral intuitions, the sympathies, and the spiritual wants of humanity, in all its best forms, and its upward aspirations.

The Bible, then, is a book from God, containing a supernatural revelation of spiritual truth to men.

The various forms of inspiration possible, and the sense in which the Bible is inspired, might here, in a full development of the subject, receive attention.

Here would close the Historical Series, as such, although the works of God, in and toward man, are not yet disposed of. And we here enter upon the fourth and last Series-that of BIBLICAL THEOLOGY.

This would be presented in substantially the usual form;which, as in respect to the proofs of revelation, because it is usual, it is not necessary here to develop; saving that rational, fundamental, a priori views and reasonings would always be prominent, and their harmony with the simple teachings of the Scriptures shown; and this, not less for the sake of deepening, expanding, and elevating the mind and thought of the theologian, than of carrying a conviction of the truth of the doctrines into the mind and heart of the free-thinker.

One suggestion may be offered as to a principle of interpre tation, in the light of which we should appeal to the Scriptures.

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