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ARTICLE I.

I believe there is One God, the Being of all beings.

THE other articles of my faith I think to be true, because they are so; this is true because I think it so: for if there was no God, and so this article not true, I could not be, and so not think it true. But in that I think, I am sure I am; and in that I am, I am sure there is a God; for if there was no God, how came I to be? How came I hither? Who gave me my being? Myself? That could not be; for before I had a being, I was nothing; and therefore, could do nothing, much less make myself a being. Did my parents give me my being? Alas! they knew not that I should be, before I was; and, therefore, certainly, could not give me my being, when I was not.

As to my soul, (which I call myself,) it is plain they could not give me that, because it is a being of a spiritual nature, quite distinct from matter, (as my own experience tells me,) and, therefore, could not be the product of any natural or material agent: for, that a bodily substance should give being to a spiritual one, implies a contradiction. And if it could neither make itself, nor take its rise from any earthly or secondary cause, I may certainly conclude, from my own reason, as well as from divine revelation, that it must be infused by God, though I am not able to determine, either when, or how, it was done.

As to my body; indeed, I must own it was derived from my parents, who were immediately7concerned in bringing the materials of it together: but, then, who made up these coarse materials into the form or figure of a body? Was this the effect of natural generation? But how came my parents by this generative power? Did they derive it, by succession, from our first parents in paradise? Be it so. But whence came they? Did they spring out of the earth? No: what then? Were they made by chance? This could not be; for as chance seldom or never produces any one effect that is regular and uniform, so it cannot be supposed, that a being of such admirable beauty, symmetry, and proportion, and such a nice contexture of parts, as the body of a man is, should ever be jumbled together by a fortuitous concourse of atoms, which nothing but the chimeras of Epicurus could ever reduce into a regular form and composition.

And the like may be said of all other created beings in the world. For there is no natural cause can give being to any thing, unless it has that being it gives, in itself; for it is a received maxim in philosophy, that nothing can give what it has not. And so, however the bodies of men, or brutes, or plants, may now, in the ordinary course of nature, be produced by generation, yet there must needs be some one supreme almighty Being in the world, that has the being of all other beings in itself; who first created these several species; and endued them with this generative power to propagate their kind. And this supreme Being is that which we call God.

Hence it is, that there is not a leaf, no not a line, in this great book of the creation, wherein we may not clearly read the existence and perfections of 8the great and glorious Creator, and that even by the glimmering light of nature. For who is it that bedecked yonder stately canopy of heaven, with those glittering spangles, the stars? Who is it that commands the sun to run his course, and the moon to ride her circuit so constantly about the world? Who is it that formed me so curiously in my mother’s womb? Who is it that gives my stomach power to digest such variety of meats into chyle, and my heart or liver to turn them all to blood; and thence to send each particle to its proper place, and all to keep up this crazy carcass? Doubtless, these, and such like things, however ordinary or natural they may appear to us at present, are in themselves very great and wonderful effects, that must at first be produced by some infinitely powerful and supernatural agent, the high and mighty God, who is not only the chiefest of beings, but the Being of all beings whatsover.

I say, the Being of all beings, because whatsoever excellency or perfection is in any other thing, is eminently, yea, infinitely comprehended in him; so that he is not only the creature’s perfection in the concrete, but in the abstract too; he is not only all-wise, all-good, all-mighty, &c., but he is all-wisdom, all-goodness, all-might, all-mercy, all-justice, all-glory, &c. And as he is the ocean and abyss of all these perfections in himself; so is he the fountain of them all to us. Insomuch that we have nothing, not so much as the least moment of life, but what is communicated to us from this ever-living God. And not only what we, poor sinful worms are, or have, but even whatsoever those nobler creatures the angels have, it is but a beam 9darted from this sun, it is but a stream flowing from this overflowing fountain.

Lift up thine eyes therefore, O my soul, and fix them a little upon this glorious object! How glorious, how transcendently glorious, must he needs be who is the Being of all beings, the perfection of all perfections, the very glory of all glories, the eternal God! He is the glory of love and goodness, who is good, and doth good continually unto me, though I be evil, and do evil continually against him. He is the glory of wisdom and knowledge, unto whom all the secret thoughts, the inward motions and retirements of my soul, are exactly known and manifest. Never did a thought lurk so secretly in my heart, but that his all-seeing eye could espy it out: even at this time, he knows what I am now thinking of, and what I am doing, as well as myself. And indeed, well may he know what I think, and speak, and do, when I can neither think nor speak, nor do any thing, unless himself be pleased to give me strength to do it. He is the glory of might and power, who did but speak the word, and there presently went out that commanding power from him, by which this stately fabric of the world was formed and fashioned. And as he created all things by the word of his power, so I believe, he preserves and governs all things by the power of the same word: yea, so great is his power and sovereignty, that he can as easily throw my soul from my body into hell, or nothing, as I can throw this book out of my hand to the ground: nay, he need not throw me into nothing; but, as if I should let go my hold, the book would presently fall, so, should God but take away his supporting hand from under me, I should 10of myself, immediately fall down to nothing. This, therefore, is that God, whom I believe to be the Being of all beings; and so the creator, preserver, governor, and disposer of all things in the world.

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