An Essay Towards A Demonstration Of The Divine Existence -- By: Daniel P. Noyes
BSac 13:50 (April 1856) p. 388
An Essay Towards A Demonstration Of The Divine Existence
It must be possible to “demonstrate” the existence of God. The following Essay is an attempt to do this. Should it altogether fail of illustrating the divine glory, this failure will yet be, for its author, at least, a monition to humility.
Of all miracles, the greatest is the universe itself; and the greatest of wonders is, that anything exists. If we can believe this, we ought to find no difficulty in the acceptance of any proposition, on the mere ground of intrinsic miraculous-ness. For, that any particular thing, very great, strange, or wonderful, should be, or that any remarkable relation should subsist between any realities, is not so wonderful or incomprehensible as that anything at all should have being.
The earth appears in broad expanse, or towering in lofty heights, and we seem to feel its solid substance beneath our feet; above us is the apparition of the heaven, with its many lights, its ceaseless motions, and its stable laws; while within us is springing up, ever, the wonderful consciousness of intelligence, of identity, and personality. We ask ourselves: Is all this real? If so, what could make it? And then, what could have made that maker? And then— where, when, how, what, is the Beginning? How can aught begin? How can aught be? And yet, we see and know that all this is; and we are perfectly sure of our own personal reality. That there should have been an eternal nothingness, would seem very easy to believe, did we not so surely recognize positive existence, that it becomes an impossible belief. And now, perceiving and recognizing, as we do, this existence, it is yet a wonder passing all wonder, the mystery before which all others fade, that anything hath being. The beginning is a dark abyss.
BSac 13:50 (April 1856) p. 389
It is not the business of philosophy to deal with madmen, or with those who choose to imitate madness. Her occupation is, to picture, by means of language, the true image of that which is, and its method. If any please to affirm, there is nothing; then, denying as they do, both the reality of their own proposition and of themselves, they cannot accuse us of a want of respect, while we merely take them at their word and deny their existence.
There is, undoubtedly, an intellectual interest in attaining the most logical, most complete, most rational, form of stating our knowledge; but not even for philosophical purposes, is it worth while to allow the possible reasonableness of a doubt of the reality of being. Nor this, merely because it is useless to permit such tampering with the truth and with the soul, but the habit of “supposing “things to be false which we m...
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