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opponent in that day, when everything was fresh, is justly to be
regarded as the testimony of an enemy.

5th. Apostates, and the first writers against Christianity, and Pagan
historians, (such as Julian, Celsus, Trypho, Tacitus, Suetonius, Jose-
phus,) as far as they allude to the subject, admit the facts and
variously explain them.

These five arguments, together with the spirit and temper which
true religion infused, would remain forever unanswered.

In 1835, page 197, Mr. Campbell writes:

The Christian believes that God made himself known to all the
human race at two of the most memorable periods of human history.
The first revelation of himself was made to the family of Adam; the
second, to that of Noah. At the commencement of the antediluvian
and postdiluvian worlds, all the children of men, the fathers and


founders of all nations, were favored with a clear development of the
existence and perfections of the Creator and Governor of the World,
and of the cardinal relations which his rational offspring sustain to
him and to one another. This knowledge of God was, in the first ages
of the world, transmitted from father to son by oral tradition. It
had not, however, passed through many hands, till corrupted by human
invention, and metamorphosed by the phantasies of a licentious imagi-
nation, it lost its influence on the human heart; and in a few genera-
tions it finally degenerated into the nameless mythological idolatries
of the Pagan world. So general was this perversion of divine revela-
tion, that, in the year of the world 2000, polytheism almost universally
prevailed. This occasioned the call of Abraham from Ur of Chaldca,
and gave rise to a new series of divine communications, which were
finally embodied and consummated in the Jews' religion. To this
revelation the Jewish descendants of Abraham have, for a period of
nearly four thousand years, pertinaciously adhered.

This, together with the Christian religion, for fifteen centuries
concealed in the types and prophecies of the Mosaic institution, but
fully developed by the Messiah and his Apostles, the Deist wholly
disbelieves and rejects, alleging that such a revelation is wholly unnec-
essary and unreasonable, inasmuch as the universe itself and alone,
addressed, as it is, to the reason and understanding of man, is all
sufficient to teach him the being and perfections of God as creator and
preserver of the world — his own origin and responsibilities — his duties
— his immortality and ultimate destiny.

The atheistic philosopher of nature, ' confident in his own specula-
tions, with the assurance of demonstration, affirms that the Christian
is a credulous dupe, following a cunningly devised fable, while he
compliments the Deist with the title of a fool.

Accosting the Theist, he asks — "How is it, sir, that, by your five
senses, and the exercise of your reason on all the varied contents of
the volume of nature, you have not learned to spell the name of your
God? In what land, and in what language, are the name and perfec-
tions of your creator inscribed upon the fowls of the air, the beast
of the field, or the fishes of the sea? If his name is written on the
title page of the volume of Nature, possessed by all, why is it not
seen and read by all, who have the same five senses and the same
intellectual powers? Why is it that all nations create gods for them-
selves, of every lust and passion, after the model of their own imagina-
tions and propensities, and stupidly adore the stars of heaven, the
beasts of the field, or the reptiles of the dust?

"Do you direct my inquiries into Egypt, and refer me to the land
of the Pharaohs and the Ptolemies for illumination on the excellencies
of your Lord of Naiure? Their philosophers direct me to the temple


of the red heilur, to tho marahes of the Nile, or to the gardens of
Thebes. They offer me a crocodile, a calf, or an onion.

"Dissatisfied with all the science and learning of the Egyptians, do
you invite me to the subtle and accomplished Greeks and Romans?
1 would accompany you to the groves and mountains of their poets —
to the retreats of their philosophers — to the forum of their orators;
but in Athena I find more gods than men! In Rome, imperial Rome,
replete with all the science of the world — in her magnificent Pan-
theon, consecrated to Olympic Jove and all the inferior gods — could wo
brush the cobwebs from their faces, and expel the mice and flies that
have defiled their persons, we could not in a year learn their names,
their amours, intrigues, broils, and battles.- It is all imagination —
delusion all."

"In the absence of any proof that man ever did arrive at the con-
viction of one supreme spiritual intelligence from the book of Nature,"
continues the Atheist, " 'tis vain for you to attempt to demonstrate
than man can, by the use of his reason, or by all the suggestions of
the book of Nature, possess himself of any one of the ideas which
are essential to your creed. That he hus never dune it, is the best
proof that he never can do it. Were the universe, indeed, offered as
a gift to the Deist, on condition that he would produce only one
example of the truth of his theory — a single individual, who had by
his reason alone, aided by his five senses, and the book of Nature,
acquired the idea, or image, or notions of a one Supreme Spirit, he
would never possess it; and this is only equivalent to saying that
Deism is a fond conceit — a baseless superstructure — an air-built castle,
discovered only in the regions of imagination."

The Christian philosopher, listening to this triumphant Atheist, at
this crisis most serenely interposes his dilemma — "You affirm, Mr.
Atheist," says the Christian, "that the idea or the name of a supreme
spiritual intelligence, called God, did not enter the human mind by
supernatural revelation, and that it could not enter the human mind
by reason: but the idea and the name are now in the human
mind, entertained by millions of the wisest and the best men in
the world. Will you, then, please explain to us how this name God
and the idea which it represents, first took possession of the human

"By iinafji nation," promptly responds the Atheist. "Who," replies
the Christian philosopher, "is this god imagination? — in what heaven
does he dwell? He can create out of nothing the idea of one supreme
spirit! In what city have you dedicated a temple to this divinity?
And is this the perfection of Atheism? Is it compelled to deify the
imagination of man, and assign to it the most splendid creations in
the universe. Imagination, the god of Atheists, creates the God of


Christians! I believe not in this divinity, and will not believe in
him, unless he can work one miracle at least. Let him create one
new idea, or the model of one new idea, and I will believe in him.
But it must be a new idea. I cheerfully assign to imagination the
honor of being the chief artificer in the magazines of all the fine
arts. It combines, compounds, new-modifies, and arranges all the
materials found in the chambers of our perceptions, reflections, and
memories. But as soon will the architect create the materials for the
house which he builds, as imagination furnish the materials for its
own manufacture. It borrows from the sight, the sound, the taste,
the smell, the feel, all the materials from which it fabricates its offer-
ings. In all its patchwork we see how much it is indebted to the
five senses — that it is only imitative. If it could create a God, it cer-
tainly could furnish man with at least one new sense. But it has
been asked in vain to suggest one original idea, and to try its strengLh
in giving a name to a sixth sense. As soon will the voice of the
Atheist rend the mountains, as his imagination invent a sixth sense
for man, unlike the five with which he is endued."

The Christian has two sources of original ideas: the unbeliever
has but one. The Book of Nature and the Book of Revelation furnish
the Christian with all his original simple conceptions. For the Book
of Nature he is furnished with five senses: — The sense of seeing, hear-
ing, tasting, smelling, feeling. His reflections on the objects of sense,
and the impressions these objects make on him, furnish him with ideas
compound and multiform; but every idea properly original and purely
simple, is a discovery. Its model, or that which excites or originates
it, is found in the volume of Nature, or in the volume of Revelation.
Sense fits him for the one, and faith for the other. Every supernat-
ural idea found in the world, as well as the proper term which repre-
sents it, is directly or indirectly derived from the Bible.

In drawing this conclusion we use the premises, and work by the
rules, of all the mental philosophers of acknowledged orthodoxy in
the science of mind and of language. The unbelieving Hume and
the believing Locke, alike assent that all our simple and original
ideas are derived from sensation and reflection; and that the imagina-
tion is absolutely dependent upon the discoveries of the five senses
for all its inventions and creations. But the Apostle Paul sanctions
these conclusions by affirming that it is "by faith we understand
that the universe was made by God" — and that "he that comes to God
must believe that he exists:" for the world by wisdom did not know

Some, indeed, have been confounded by such sayings as these: —
"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his
handy works" — "His invisible attributes are clearly seen by the things


that are made, even his eternal power and divinity; so that the Gen-
tiles are without excuse." These, and such like sayings, constitute
no real objection to the views offered: for when the proposition that
"God csisls," or that "there is a God," is offered to the mind — the
heavens and the earth, with all their riches and glory, fully and
satisfactorily prove it. But we affirm that the universe furnishes us
not with both the proposition and the proof; or, in other words, the
heavens and the earth are not the proposition and the proof. God
himself spoke to Adam, and left him not to guess his origin, though
he was more capable of making the discovery than any of his sons.
He has, in various manners and times, addressed our race in th.'
language which he taught us, and has never left man without the
means of knowing his origin and end; though for his obduracy and
ingratitude, he has frequently been given over to an undiscerning
mind. "When, indeed, the idea is once suggested, the whole universe,
in all its dominions, bears witness to the being and attributes of God.
God himself suggests the idea and the whole universe proves it true.

The proposition that "there is a God," being once suggested, the
universe, with its ten thousand tongues, addressed to the ear of reason,
and its ten thousand times ten thousand designs submitted to the eye
of reflection, is demonstration clear, full, and overwhelming.

To the unperverted vision of a sound mind, material nature is but
one vast assemblage of systems of adaptations, working out innumer-
able series of results, in harmonious subordination to one granil end,
exhibiting nothing so clearly as the wonderful contrivance and intel-
ligent designs of one vast and unsearchable mind.

It must, indeed, be confessed that as the natural eye may be so
dimmed and jaundiced by a disturbed digestion, as not to see objects
in their true color and proper position; so may the mental sight be 'o
vitiated by a diseased heart, as not to see even design itself in the
wisest and most palpable arrangements of means to ends, with which
the whole kingdom of nature abounds. Hence, in a land of Eibles,
and in accordance with the true doctrine of causation, the moral
atheist necessarily precedes the speculative atheist: for with David
we must say, "It is in his heart" the fool first says, "There is no
God." Atheism must, therefore, be always regarded as a disease of
the heart.

The fogs and mists that hide the sun from our vision, the darkest
clouds that overspread the heavens, rise from the earth. Above these
exhalations the sun shines in uniform and undiminished brightness.
Now if nature's immortal and eternal Sun illumines not our mental
eyes, analogy confirms as well as illustrates the fact, that the cause
is from beneath. He who, with right affections, sets about th^ con-
templation of the universe, will not bo long held in suspense whether


it is tlie work of blind chance or of intelligent design. Such a person
will soon discover that atheism is the greatest of human follies, and
the most mischievous of all delusions.

It is the greatest of human follies, for two reasons: First, because
it is impossible to prove that there is no God; and in the second place,
it is impossible for the atheist to prove from his premises that there
is any mind in man. He that says there is no God, must say there
is no mind; and he that doubts the being of God, must also doubt the
being of mind.

We have said it is impossible to prove that there is no God. The
reason is obvious: for could a person with the lamp of universal
science traverse the solar system, and prosecute his inquiries for ten
thousand years, it must be conceded that even then there would
remain mysteries uncomprehended, arcana unexplored, latent and
remote causes undiscovered. If, however, but one unknown cause
remained, he could not conclude that there is no God, inasmuch as
that very cause, to him unascertained, might be the great First Cause.
To prove that there is no God is, therefore, the greatest of impos-
sibilities. Is he not, then, a fool, who says there is no God?

What, in the next place, let me ask, is the proof — what the demon-
stration of mind? Its only evidence, and it is an infallible one, is its
designs, its contrivance; — the adaptation of means to ends, working
and making arrangements with a reference to final causes or results.
This is what distinguishes the sane from the insane — the man from
the idiot. Now, none of the works of human art exhibit more intelli-
gent designs than the works of nature; nay, indeed, none of them
exhibit so much. It is conceded, and very generally, that there are
the most striking appearances of purpose and design in all the works
of nature. Now, if, as it is universally conceded, intelligent contriv-
ance, purpose, and design are the only evidences of mind in the works
of human art, it must follow that the same appearances in nature
must prove a mind independent of nature, controlling, managing, and
working by nature its own results — whatever proves mind in the one
case proves it in the other; and if the appearance of design in the
works of God will not prove his existence, neither will the appearances
of mind in the works of men prove the existence of mind in man.
The atheist, therefore, if he presume to be consistent, must not only
affirm that there is no God, but also that there is no mind in man.

It is scarcely necessary to designate instances in the works of
nature, in which there is an appearance of purpose; for everything has
this appearance. I will, however, mention several cases as samples.

1. The adaptation of the covering of animals to the climates in
which they live. Northern animals have thicker and warmer coats of
fur or hair, than Southern ones. And here it should be remarked.


that man, the only creature capable af clothing himself, is the only
one that is not clothed by nature. Singular discrimination and care,
indeed, for non-intelligencel

2. The adaptation of animals to the elements in which they live —
the fish to the water, other animals to the air. Would not an unintel-
ligent Energy or Power (for a Power all must acknowledge) be as
likely to form the organs of a fish for air as for water!

3. The necessity which man has for sustenance, etc., and the supply
of that necessity by nature. Here let it be noted how many things
must act in unison, to produce the necessary results. The earth must
nourish the seed, the sun must warm it, the rain must moisten it, and
man must have the strength to cultivate it, — and the organs to eat
it, and the stomach to digest it, and the blood vessels to circulate it,
and so on. Is it credible, that all these things should happen with-
out design?

4. The pre-adaptation of the infant to the state of things into which
it enters at birth. The eye is exactly suited to the light, the ear to
sound, the nose to smell, the palate to taste, the lun'gs to the air, etc.,
etc., etc. How is it possible to see no design in this pre-adaptation,
so curious, so complicated, and in so many particulars!

5. The milk of animals, suitable for the nourishment of their
young; provided just in season; provided without contrivance on the
part of the parent; — and sought for without instruction or experience
on the part of its offspring! — and all by chance!!!

6. The different sexes. In this case, as in the rest, there is perfect
adaptation, which displays evident design. And there is more. What
I aslt, is there in nature to cause a difference in the sexes? Why are
not all, either males or females — or rather a compound? This case,
then, I consider not only an evidence of design, but likewise an evi-
dence of the special and continual volition of the Creator. * * ♦ •

7. The destitution of horns on the calf, and of teeth in the suck-
ling. All other parts are perfect at the very first; but were calves and
sucklings to have teeth and horns, what sore annoyances would these
appendages prove to their dams and dames. How is it, that all the
necessary parts of the young are thus perfect at the first, and their
annoying parts unformed till circumstances render them no annoy-
ance — unformed at the time they are not needed, and produced when
they are, for defense and mastication? Who can fail of discerning
intelligence here?

8. The teats of animals. These bear a general proportion to the
number of young which they are wont to have at a time. Those that
have few young have few of these appurtenances; those that have
many, many. Were these animals to make preparations themselves in
this respect, how could things be more appropriate!


9. The pea and the bean. The pea-vine, unable to stand erect of
itself, has tendrils with which to cling to a supporter; but the bean-
stalk, self-sustained, has nothing of the kind.

10. The pumpkin. This does not grow on the oak, to fall on the
tender head of the wiseacre who reposes in its shade, reasoning that
it should grow there rather than where it does, because forsooth the
oak would be able to sustain it. And were he to undertake to set
the other works of Providence to rights which he now considers wrong,
'tis a chance if he would not get many a thump upon his pate, ere he
should get the universe arranged to his mind. And if, before com-
pleting his undertaking, he should not find it the easier of the two to
arrange his mind to the universe, it would be because what little
brains he lias would get thumped out of his cranium altogether!

11. The great energies of nature. To suppose the existence of
powers as the cause of the operations of nature — powers destitute of
life, and, at the same time, self-moving, and acting upon matter with-
out the intervention of extrinsic agency; is just as irrational as to
suppose such a power in a machine, and is a gross absurdity, and a
self-contradiction. But to suppose that these lifeless energies, even if
possessed of such qualities, could, void of intelligence, produce such
effects as are produced in the universe, requires credulity capable of
believing anything.

12. The whole universe, whether considered in its elementary, or
its organized state. From the simple grass to the tender plant, and
onward to the sturdy oak; from the least insect up to man; there is
skill the most consummate, design the most clear. What substance,
useless as it may be when uncompounded with other substances, does
not manifest design in its affinity to those substances, by a union
with which it is rendered useful? What plant, what shrub, what tree,
has not organization and arrangement the most perfect imaginable?
What insect so minute that contains not, within its almost invisible
exterior, adjustment of part to part in the most exact order through-
out all its complicated system, infinitely transcending the most inge-
nious productions of art; and the most appropriate adaptation of all
those parts to its peculiar mode of existence? Rising in the scale of
sensitive being, let us consider the beast of the forest, in whose case,
without microscopic aid, we have the subject more accessible. Is he
a beast of prey? Has the God of nature given him an instinctive thirst
for blood? Behold, then, his sharp-sighted organs of vision for
descrying his victim afar, his agile limbs for pursuit, his curved and
pointed claws for seizing and tearing his prey, his sharp-edged teeth
for cutting through its flesh, his firm jaws for griping, crushing, and
devouring it, and his intestines for digesting raw flesh! But is he
a graminivorous animal? Does he subsist on grass and herb? Behold,


then, his clumsy limbs and his clawless hoofs, his blunt teeth and
his herb-digesting stomach! So perfect is the correspondence between
one part and another; so exactly adapted are all the parts to the
same general objects; so wonderful is the harmony, and so definite
and invariable the purpose, obtaining throughout the whole, that it
is necessary to see but a footstep, or even a bone, to be able to decide
the nature and construction of the animal that imprinted that foot-
step, or that possessed that bonel Ascending still higher in the scale,
we come at last to man — man, the highest, noblest workmanship of
God on earth, the lord of this sphere terrene, for whose behoof all
mundane things exist. In common with all other animals, he has
that perfect adaptation of part to part, and of all the parts to general
objects, which demonstrate consummate wisdom in the Cause which
thus adapted them. His eyes are so placed as to look the same way
in which his feet are placed to walk, and his hands to toil. His feet
correspond with each other, being both placed to walk in the same
direction, and with their corresponding sides towards one another,
without which he would hobble, even if he could walk at all. His
mouth is placed in the forepart of the head, by which it can receive
food and drink from the hands. But the hands themselves — who can
but admire their wonderful utility? To what purpose are they not
adapted? Man, who has many ends to accomplish, in common with
the beast of the field; who has hunger to alleviate, thirst to slake,
etc., etc., the same as the former, has likewise other and higher ends
for the attainment of which he is peculiarly qualified by means of
hands. Adapted by his constitution to inhabit all climes, he has
hands to adapt his clothing to the same, whether torrid, temperate,
or frigid. Possessed of the knowledge of the utility of the soil, he
has hands to cultivate it. Located far distant ofttimes from the run-
ning stream, these hands enable him to disembowel the earth, and
there find an abundant supply of the all-necessary fluid. Endued with
rational ideas, pen in hand he can transmit them to his fellow far
away, or to generations unborn. Heir and lord of earth and ocean,
his hands enable him to possess and control the same; without which,
notwithstanding all his reason, he could do neither, but would have to
crouch beneath the superior strength of the brute, and fly for shelter
to crags inaccessible to his beastly sovereign. But useful af*er all
as are these appendages, how very like the paws of beasts in this
respect would they become, were man devoid of reason. Thus we
see, that the only creature that has the reason to manage the world,
has the physical organization to do it. No hcast with man's reason
could do this; and no man with the mere instinct of a brute could
do it. How marvelous then this adaptation! Yea. how wondrous
the adaptation of everything. And how astonishing that any man,


with all these things in view, can for one moment forbear to admit
a God. Let him try a chance experiment. Let him take the letters

Online LibraryAlexander CampbellThe Millennial Harbinger abridged (Volume 1) → online text (page 44 of 70)