Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. III. Seventeenth Century
Arguments to the Being of God
By Samuel Clarke (16751729)
From Sermon on Faith in God
First.That tis evident, both we ourselves, and all the other beings we know in the world, are weak and dependent creatures; which neither gave ourselves being, nor can preserve it by any power of our own: and that therefore we entirely owe our being to some superior and more powerful cause; which superior cause either must be itself the first cause, which is the notion of God; or else, by the same argument as before, must derive from him, and so lead us to the knowledge of him. If it be said that we received our being from our forefathers by a continual natural succession (which, however, would not in any step have been possible without a perpetual providence); yet still the argument holds no less strong concerning the first of the whole race; that he could not but be made by a superior intelligent cause. If an atheist, contrary to the truth of all history, shall contend that there may have been, without any beginning at all, an eternal succession of men; yet still it will be no less evident that such a perpetual succession could not have been without an eternal superior cause; because in the nature of things themselves there is manifestly no necessity, that any such succession of transient beings, either temporary or perpetual, should have existed at all.
Secondly.The other argument, to which the greatest part of the proofs of the being of God may briefly be reduced, is the order and beauty of the world; that exquisite harmony of nature, by which (as St. Paul expresses it, Rom. i. 20) the invisible things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made. And this argument, as it is infinitely strong to the most accurate philosophers, so it is also sufficiently obvious even to the meanest capacities. Whose power was it that framed this beautiful and stately fabric, this immense and spacious world? that stretched out the North over the empty place, and hanged the earth upon nothing? (Job. xxvi. 7.) That formed those vast and numberless orbs of heaven, and disposed them into such regular and uniform motions? that appointed the sun to rule the day, and the moon and the stars to govern the night? that so adjusted their several distances, as that they should neither be scorched by heat, nor destroyed by cold? that encompasseth the earth with air so wonderfully contrived, as at one and the same time to support clouds for rain, to afford winds for health and traffic, to be proper for the breath of animals by its spring, for causing sound by its motion, for transmitting light by its transparency? that fitted the water to afford vapours for rain, speed for traffic, and fish for nourishment and delicacy? that weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance, and adjusted them in their most proper places for fruitfulness and health? that diversified the climates of the earth into such an agreeable variety, that in that great difference, each one has its proper seasons, day and night, winter and summer? that clothed the face of the earth with plants and flowers, so exquisitely adorned with various and inimitable beauties, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of them? that replenished the world with animals, so different from each other in particular, and yet all in the whole so much alike? that framed with exquisite workmanship the eye for seeing, and other parts of the body, necessarily in proportion; without which, no creature could long have subsisted? that beyond all these things, endued the soul of man with far superior faculties, with understanding, judgment, reason, and will; with faculties whereby in a most exalted manner God teaches us more than the beasts of the field, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven? (Job. xxxv. 11.)