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saw the vivid flashes of lightning, or heard the sound of thunder, or felt the shock of an earthquake, or witnessed any other alarming phenomenon; or, when they were conscious of some enormous crime, their imagination aroused by secret dread, conjured up some invisible power whom they wished to propitiate.

This fallacious explanation scarcely needs refutation; for, then, the removal of the cause of fear would efface the belief in God. We know, on the contrary, that sensible persons retain their belief in God after these alarming phenomena have no longer any terrors for them, and after they commence to have a well-grounded hope that their crime is forgiven.

I maintain, on the other hand, that it is the sense of God which has aroused their fear, and not their fear which has fabricated a God. Fear, so far from making men theists, tends rather to make them atheists, if atheists they can be. For criminals are logical enough to know that, if God exists, He is a just and righteous God. And, in order to drive from their hearts the fear of divine vengeance, they try to dispel from their mind the consciousness of an avenging Deity. If men had no dread of God's justice, they would not question His existence. “The fool hath said in his heart: there is no God." The wish is father to the thought. They would like to persuade themselves and others that there is no God. But all in vain. His presence ever haunts them.

If God were the offspring of man's perturbed


imagination, then the human race, with the exception of a handful of atheists, would be all cowards. But we know that millions exist in every age, who, believing in God, are actuated towards Him more by sentiments of love than of fear.

4o. Finally, there are others who try to account for the belief of mankind in a Supreme Being, by saying that the idea of a God was invented by kings and legislators, in order that the law might have & higher sanction, and the sovereign might receive from his subjects greater reverence, as the representative of divine Power. This theory is easily disposed of by the fact that the idea of a God is anterior to all society and all legislation, because it is the foundation of both. “The establishment of public worship,” as Montesquieu judiciously observes, “has without doubt contributed more than anything else to humanize peoples, and to strengthen societies. The existence of a Supreme Being, Sovereign Arbiter of all things, is one of the first truths which present themselves to the mind of every intelligent creature who wishes to make use of his reason. Religion, therefore, is antecedent to the establishment of civil society, and of all human compact.'

Solon and Lycurgus, Minos and Numa, and other law-framing sovereigns, in founding their legislation on the solid basis of religion, presupposed the existence of the Divinity, and addressed themselves to peoples who had already acknowledged His existence.

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We read of peoples subsisting without fixed laws and government. We are acquainted with none which have existed without some form of religion. History records the destruction of empires and dynasties, and the subversion of laws. But, on the ruins of prostrate laws and dynasties, the belief in God has stood triumphant. This fact conclusively shows that God is not the invention of legislators.

How, then, are we to account for this moral unanimity of mankind in acknowledging a Supreme Being ? There is but one rational solution to be given, which may be thus briefly expressed: God enlightens with the light of reason every man that cometh into the world. Guided by that light, we recognize the Creator from the contemplation of His works. We naturally and without effort of mind, associate the Architect with the temple of nature luminously standing before us, just as the human voice sounding in our ears, is associated in our mind with a speaker hidden from our view. How can our soul listen in silent wonder to the heavenly music of the spheres, without admiring the divine Composer? We cannot separate the Builder from His work. We cannot admire the masterpiece without bestowing a thought on the great Artist. The connection is inseparable. The invisible Author is

clearly seen, being understood by the things that

are made.1

By the same light of reason, we see also within

Rom. I., 20.


us a moral law written on our hearts. We perceive

. an essential difference between right and wrong, good and evil, virtue and vice. From the recognition of this universal law, we inevitably infer a universal Lawgiver. We hear a voice within us judging us, commending or condemning us; and from the imperious judgment pronounced upon us, we conclude that there exists a Sovereign Judge.

And thus God reveals Himself to us as our Cream tor, as our Lawgiver, as our Judge. As our Creator, He manifests Himself to us by His works. As our Lawgiver, He speaks to us by His law written on our hearts. As our Judge, He speaks to us by the voice of conscience. We apprehend Him by our reason, our moral sense, and our conscience. And, therefore, as long as man continues to exercise his intellectual and moral faculties, so long will he profess his faith in the existence of a living God.

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In the concluding lines of the preceding chapter, I said that not only is there a law written in the hearts of all men; but there is, also, a secret voice in every human breast interpreting, expounding, and enforcing that law. Whether he be young or old, civilized or savage, learned or unlearned, Jew or Gentile, Christian or infidel,--who can say that he has never heard this silent preacher ? Tell me, , do we not hear this interior monitor every day, every hour, every minute? At one time, we hear him exhorting, entreating, commanding, impelling us to virtue. At another, he is restraining, checking, holding us back, cautioning us against the precipice of sin that lies before us. Now he thunders in our ears words of reproach and condemnation. He fills us with bitterness and remorse, and calls us wicked and ungrateful servants. Again, we hear him praising and commending us, diffusing joy, consolation, and peace through our soul, and saying to us : “Well done, good and faithful servant.'

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