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at the fiat of Omnipotence called into existence: a description so clear, as to be level to the comprehension of the ignorant; so full of grandeur as to claim the admiration of the most enlightened.
Wherever the human mind had arrived at such a state of cultivation as to be capable of exerting its reasoning powers, \ there were some who argued upon the probability that God who made the world, continues by his providence to govern it; and that he is consequently an invisible and ever-present witness of human actions. To the rational faculties of man, God afforded sufficient light to render this probable, but it was by revelation only that it could be ascertained, and by revelation it has been ascertained.
We learn from the Bible, that in the beginning of the world the Supreme Being vouchsafed to give proofs of his immediate presence, not only to the understanding, but to the senses. By immediate communication he instructed the parents of the human race. He informed them of their fallibity, and of the state of probation in which they were placed, and warned them of the penalty they would incur through disobedience. Nor when the penalty was incurred did he withdraw the proofs of his superintending care from the guilty sufferers. Hitherto he had appeared to them in the attributes of wisdom, power, and goodness; they were now to see him as a God of justice and a God of mercy.
Justice pronounced the awful sentence of condemnation; mercy presented the cup of hope.
The account handed down to us, in the book of Genesis, of the creation and fall of man, is so very brief, that it must of necessity be obscure. But this briefness and obscurity are additional proofs of its authenticity. If you ever become acquainted with Oriental literature, you will perceive, that events which are stated by Moses within the compass of a few sentences, would have been amplified into volumes, had imagination been permitted to have any share in making up the record. Nor is the obscurity in which the inspired historian has left all that it imported not our happiness to know, a less decisive proof of his fidelity. Events transacted in a state of existence dissimilar to that in which we live, must necessarily be attended with circumstances impossible for us to comprehend. Supposing it possible for us to have access to the mind of an unborn child, and that its reasoning faculties were as strong as those of a man in the prime of life, how should we describe to him the objects by which we see ourselves surrounded? How should we persuade him that those little eyes, which had hitherto been shut in darkness, were the organs by which this glorious scene was to be surveyed; that they were to open on the luminaries of heaven, to behold the brightness of the sun, and the mild radiance of the silver moon, and the earth clothed in verdure? How should we give him any idea of the change of seasons, the vicissitudes of cold and heat; to say nothing of the more complicated ideas of society?With respect to any state of existence that is in its nature essentially different from the present state, we are no less incapable of forming any conception. All our arguments concerning it must therefore be futile
and and absurd. A state of perfect innocence, such as we are told our first parents enjoyed, and a state of perfect happiness, such as we hope hereafter to enjoy, are equally above our comprehension. Enough concerning them has been revealed to confirm our faith, but not to satisfy our curiosity. We must, however, observe, that though with regard to the state of innocence, the memorial appears obscure, and even imperfect, no obscurity rests upon the transactions immediately subsequent to its loss. And here another proof of the authenticity of the record occurs to me, which, though unsupported by authority, I shall have the temerity to mention.