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3. We are not only God's works, but his children; our souls bearing in their countenance and complexion various express features of him; especially as they were made at first, and as by improvement they may again become : this fully shown.
II. Thus doth human nature, being in each singular man, show the existence of God, as its original author. Considering also men as related and combined together in society, some glimpse of Divine power and wisdom, ordering them towards it, and preserving them in it, may be perceived.
As in the natural world, the parts thereof are fitted with admirable propriety, in varieties of size, of quality, of aptitude to motion, &c.; so in the world political we may observe various propensities and aptitudes, disposing men to combine together and co-operate in society; all things being so ordered, that even contrarieties of humor serve to settle them in their due place and posture, &c. And since it is plainly best for man thus to live in society, the fact that he is so disposed and suited thereto, is an argument of mighty wisdom and goodness in that cause from whence all this proceeded; and such a cause is God. The same also may be reasonably deduced from the care and preservation of society; for though man be inclined to and fitted for it, yet being a free agent, no ordinary banks will constantly restrain him in due place and order; so that the course of affairs, perverted by some men's irregular passions, would run into confusion, without a wise and provident superintendence: this topic enlarged on. Conclusion.
THE BEING OF GOD PROVED FROM THE FRAME OF HUMAN NATURE.
GENESIS, CHAP. I.-VERSE 27.
So God created man in his own image; in the image of God created he him.
If the belief of God's existence, which is the foundation of all religion, be not well laid in our minds by convincing reasons, the superstructures standing thereon may easily be in danger of being shaken and ruined; especially being assailed by the winds of temptation and opposition, which every where blow so violently in this irreligious age. No discourses therefore can perhaps be more needful, (or seasonably useful,) than such as do produce and urge reasons of that kind, apt to establish that foundation. Of such there be, I conceive, none better, or more suitable to common capacity, than those which are drawn from effects apparent to men's general observation and experience, the which cannot reasonably be ascribed to any other cause than unto God; that is, (according to the notion commonly answering to that name,) to a Being incomprehensibly wise, powerful, and good. Of such effects there be innumerably many in this sensible world, among things natural, more strictly so called, that is, subsisting and acting without immediate use of understanding or choice; the constitutions and operations of which (being evidently directed according to very much reason, and to very good purpose) do evince their being framed and ordered by such a Being; as I have formerly, with a competent largeness, endeavored to show. But beside those, there is exposed to our observation, yea subject to our inward conscience, another sort of beings, acting in another manner, and from other principles; having in them a spring of voluntary motion and activity; not, as the rest, necessarily determined, or driven on, by a kind of blind violence, in one direct road to one certain end; but guiding themselves with judgment and choice, by several ways, toward divers ends; briefly, endued with reason, to know what and why; and with liberty, to choose what and how they should act; and that this sort of beings (that is, we ourselves, all mankind) did proceed from the same source or original cause, as it is in way of history delivered and affirmed in our text, so I shall now endeavor by reason (apt to persuade even those, who would not allow this sacred authority) to show. Indeed, if the “eternal power and divinity of God may,’ as St. Paul tells us, ‘be seen in all the works of God;’ the same peculiarly and principally will appear observable in this masterpiece, as it were, of the great Artificer; if the meanest creatures reflect somewhat of light, by which we may discern the Divine existence and perfections; in this fine and best polished mirror we shall more clearly discover the same : nowhere so much of God will appear as in this work, which was designedly formed to resemble and represent him. This then is the subject of our present discourse, That in man, well considered, we may discern manifest footsteps of that incomprehensibly excellent Being impressed on him; and this doubly, both in each man singly taken, and in men as standing in conjunction or relation to each other: considering man's nature, we shall have reason to think it to have proceeded from God; considering human societies, we shall see cause to suppose them designed and governed by God. I. Consider we first any one single man, or that human nature abstractedly, whereof each individual person doth partake; and whereas that doth consist of two parts, one material and external, whereby man becomes a sensible part of nature, and hath an eminent station among visible creatures; the other, that interior and invisible principle of operations peculiarly called human: as to the former, we did, among other such parts of nature, take cognisance thereof, and even in that discovered plain marks of a great wisdom that made it, of a great goodness taking care to maintain it. The other now we shall chiefly consider, in which we may discern not only amuela, but àpotégara, of the Divine existence and efficiency; not only large tracks, but express footsteps; not only such signs as smoke is of fire, or a picture of the painter that drew it; but even such, as the spark is of fire, and the picture of its original. 1. And first, that man's nature did proceed from some efficient cause, it will (as of other things in nature) be reasonable to suppose. For if not so, then it must either spring up of itself, so that at some determinate beginning of time, or from all eternity, some one man, or some number of men did of themselves exist; or there hath been a succession, without beginning, of continual generations indeterminate (not terminated in any root, one or more, of singular persons). Now, generally, that man did not at any time in any manner spring up of himself, appears, 1. From history and common tradition; which (as we shall otherwhere largely show) deliver the contrary; being therein more credible than bare conjecture or precarious assertion, destitute of testimony or proof. 2. From the present constant manner of man's production, which is not by spontaneous emergency, but in way of successive derivation, according to a method admirably provided for by nature. 3. Because if ever man did spring up of himself, it should be reasonable that at any time, that often, that at least sometime in so long a course of times, the like should happen, which yet no experience doth attest. 4. There is an evident relation between our bodies and souls; the members and organs of our bodies being wonderfully adapted to serve the operations of our souls. Now in our bodies (as we have before showed) there appear plain arguments of a most wise Author, that contrived and framed them; therefore in no likelihood did our souls arise of themselves, but owe their being to the same wise
Also particularly, that not any men did at some beginning of time spring up of themselves is evident, because there is even in the thing itself a repugnance; and it is altogether unconceivable that any thing, which once Lath not been, should ever come to be without receiving its being from another: and supposing such a rise of any thing, there could not in any case be any need of an efficient cause; since any thing might purely out of nothing come to be of itself.
Neither could any man so exist from eternity, both from the general reasons assigned, which being grounded in the nature of the thing, and including no respect to this circumstance of now and then, do equally remove this supposition, (for what is in itself unapt or unnecessary or improbable to be now, was always alike so; the being from eternity or in time not altering the nature of the thing;) and also particularly, because there are no footsteps or monuments of man's (not to say eternal, but even) ancient standing in the world; but rather many good arguments (otherwhere touched) of his late coming thereinto; which consideration did even convince Epicurus and his followers, and made them acknowlege man to be a novel production. I add, seeing it is necessary to suppose some eternal and self-subsistent Being distinct from man, and from any other particular sensible being, (for there is no such being, which in reason can be supposed author of the rest; but rather all of them bear characters signifying their original from a Being more excellent than themselves;) and such an one being admitted, there is no need or reason to suppose any other, (especially man and all others appearing unapt so to subsist,) therefore it is not reasonable to ascribe eternal self-subsistence to man. This discourse I confirm with the suffrage of Aristotle himself; who in his Physics hath these words: “In natural things, that which is definite and better, if possible, must rather exist: but it suffices that one, the first of things immovble, being eternal, should be to others the original of motion;’ (I subjoin, and by parity of reason it is sufficient, that one and the best thing be eternally subsistent of itself, and the cause of subsistence to the rest.)
As for the last supposition, that there have been indeterminate successions of men, without beginning, it is also liable to
BAR. WOL. W. H