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three notions of God follows this consequence Who would not fear thee, O King of nations ?
I. God is a Being, whose will is self-efficient. We call that will self-efficient, which infallibly produceth its effect. By this efficiency of will we distinguish God from every other being, either real, or possible. No one but God hath a self-efficient will. There is no one but God of whom the
argument from the will to the act is demonstrative. Of none but God can we reason in this manner: he willeth, therefore he doth. Every intelligent being hath some degree of efficiency in his will: my will hath an efficiency on my arm ; I will to move my arm, my arm instantly moves.
But there is as great a difference between the efficiency of the will of a creature, and the efficiency of the will of the Creator, as there is between a finite and an infinite being. The will of a created intelligence, properly speaking, is not self-efficient, for it hath only a borrowed efficiency. When he, from whom it is derived, restrains it, this created intelligence will have only a vain, weak, inefficient will. I have today a will efficient to move my arm : but if that Being, from whom I derive this will, should contract, or relax the fibres of this arm, my will to move it would become vain, weak and inefficient. I have a will efficient on the whole mass of this body, to which it hath pleased the Creator to unite my immortal soul : but were God to dissolve the bond, by which he hath united these two parts of me together, all that I might then will in regard to this body would be vain, weak, and destitute of any effect. When the intelligence, who united my soul to my body, shall have once pronounced the word return, Psal. xc. 3. that portion of matter to which my soul was united, will be as free from the power of my will as the matter that constitutes the body
of the sun, or as that which constitutes bodies, to which neither my senses nor my imagination can attain. All this comes to pass, because the efficiency of a creature is a borrowed efficiency, whereas that of the Creator is self-efficient and underived.
Further, the efficiency of a creature's will is finite. My will is efficient in regard to the portion of matter to which I am united; but how contracted is my empire! how limited is my sovereignty! It extends no farther than the mass of my body extends; and the mass of my body is only a few inches broad, and a few cubits high. What if those mortals, who are called kings, monarchs, emperors, could by foreign aid extend the efficiency of their wills to the most distant places; what if they were able to extend it to the extremities of this planet, which we inhabit; how little a way, after all, is it to the extremities of this planet? What if, by the power of sulphur and salt petre, these men extend the efficiency of their wills to a little height in the air ; how low, after all, is that height ? Were a sovereign to unite every degree of power, that he could procure, to extend his efficiency to the nearest planet, all his efforts would be useless. The efficiency
of a creature's will is finite, as well as borrowed: that of the Creator is independent and universal; it extends to the most remote beings, as well as to those that surround us, it extends alike to all actual and to all possible beings. My brethren, , are you stricken with this idea ? Do you perceive its relation to our subject? Who would not fear thee, O King of nations ?
Our low and groveling minds, low and groveling as they are, have yet some notion of the grand and the marvellous; and nothing can impede, nothing can limit, nothing can equal our notion of it: when we give it scope it presently gets beyond every thing we see, and every thing that exists. Reality is not sufficient, fancy must be indulged; real existences are too indigent, possible beings must be imagined; and we presently quit the real to range through the ideal world. Hence come poetical fictions and fabulous narrations; and hence marvellous adventures, and romantic enchantments. A man is, assuredly, an object of great pity, when he pleaseth himself with such fantastic notions. But, the principle, that occasioned these fictions, ought to render the mind of man respectable: it is the very principle, which we have mentioned. It is because the idea, that the mind of man hath of the grand and the marvellous, finds nothing to impede, nothing to limit, nothing to equal it. The most able architect cannot fully gratify this idea, although he employ bis genius, his materials, and his artists, to erect a superb and regular edifice in a few years. All this is far below the notion we have of the grand and the marvellous. Our mind imagines an enchanter, who, uniting in an instant, all the secrets of art, and all the wonders of nature, by a single word of his mouth, or by a single act of his will, produceth a house, a palace, or a city. The most able mechanic cannot fully gratify this idea, although with a marvellous industry he build a vessel, which, resisting wind and waves, passeth from the east to the west, and discovereth new worlds, which nature seemed to have forbidden us to approach, by the immense spaces it had placed between us. Our mind fancies an enchantment, which giving to a body naturally ponderous the levity of air, the activity of fire, the agility of flame, or of ethereal matter, passeth the most immeasurable spaces with a rapidity swifter than that of lightning. It is God, it is God alone, my brethren, who is the original of these ideas. God only possesseth that which gratifies and absorbs our idea of the grand and the marvellous. The extravagance of fable does not lie in imagining these things, but in the misapplication of them. Must an edifice be formed by a single act of the will? In God we find the reality of this idea. He forms, not only a palace, a city, or a kingdom: but a whole world by a single act of his will ; because his will is always efficient, and always produceth its effect. God said, Let there be light, and there was light, Gen. i. 3. He spake and it was done : He commanded and it stood fast, Psal. xxxiii. 9. Must the immense distances of the world be passed in an instant ? In God we find the reality of this idea. What am I saying? we find more than this in God. He doth not pass through the spaces that separate the heavens from the earth, he fills them with the immensity of his essence. Will God indeed dwell on the earth ? Behold, the heaven, and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee ! i Kings viii. 27.
Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool : where is the house that ye build unto me? And where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, saith the Lord, Isa. Ixvi. 1. 2.
Were it necessary to prove that this idea is not a freak of our fancy, but that it ariseth from an original which really exists: I would divide, the better to prove my proposition, my opponents into into two classes. The first should consist of those, who already admit the existence of a perfect Being: To them I could easily prove that efficiency of will is a perfection, and that we cannot conceive a being perfect, who doth not possess this perfection. It is essential to the perfection of a Being, that we should be able to say of him, Who hath resisted his will ? Rom. ix. 19. Could any
other being resist his will, that being would be free from his dominion: and would subsist, not only independently on him, but even in spite of him ; and then we could conceive a being more perfect than him, that is, a being from whose dominion nothing could free itself.
In the second class I would place those who deny the existence of a Supreme Being; and to them I would prove that the existence of beings, who have a derived efficiency of will, proves the existence of a Being whose will is self-efficient. Whence have finite beings derived that limited efficiency, which they possess, if not from a self-efficient Being, who hath distributed portions of efficiency among subordinate beings?
But it is less needful to prove that there is a Being who hath such a perfection; than it is to prove, that he who possesseth it merits, and alone merits, such a fear as we have described : that he deserves, and that he alone deserves to be considered as having our felicity, and our misery in his power. would not fear thee, O king of nations ? to thee doth it not appertain ? And who would not consider thee as the only object of this fear? To whom beside doth it appertain? The efficiency of a creature's will proceeds from thee, and as it proceeds from thee alone, by thee alone does it subsist: one act of thy will gave it existence, and one act of thy will can take that existence away! The most formi.' dable creatures are only terriblethrough the exercise of asmall portion of efficiency derived from thee; thou art the source, the soul of all ! Pronounce the sen-' tence of my misery, and I shall be miserable : pronounce that of my felicity, and I shall be happy : nor shall any thing be able to disconcert a happiness, that is maintained by an efficient will, which. is superior to all opposition : before which all is no