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Nor would we be underftood to entertain a profpect that discoveries and demonftrations of truth will be made, which will lead to univerfal

how they were put in motion-he could not by theory, explain Noah's flood, the future diffolution of the world, or how it must exist after the conflagration. He went, however, as far, perhaps, as it was poffible to go, without difcovering the divine theory; for, as the natural world depends abfolutely on the divine will; the divine will, in reality, is nature's law; and it is evident, that nature's law must be discovered and explained, in order to explain fully the fyftem of nature.

In fome theological writings, Mr. Newton difcovers that he apprehended this defect in his fyftem; and, in treating of the doctrine of the Trinity, particularly of the Father and the Son, it is apparent, that he was led to fuppofe fomething exifted in that relation, which was neceffary to be unfolded, in order to complete the great object of his researches ; but inftead of taking up the divine will as being conftituted effentially, of diftinct parts in union, and therefore offering the ground of a theory in itfelf, he understood it to be fimple, or without parts; and, fo understood, it was incapable of being a ground from which he could rationate the existence and ftate of the worlds, and open to the bottom, nature and her law. And therefore, in this attempt, inftead of gaining, hé loft ground.

Mr. Newton difcovered nature-attraction and repulfion is nature herself:-It is certainly an effect, or fecondary op eration; and, when we come to the fecondary operation, we find it manifold.



The late learned James Tytler, read in manufcript the firft part of this theory; and, in the margin, made in this connection the following remark. Perhaps, on ftrict examination, it may be found, that fome other fecondary operation may claim high prerogatives in nature's family. The ex

tenfive modes of operation, afcribed to the electrical fluid,

may be feen described in the Encyclopedia Britannica, under "the articles electricity, attraction, atmosphere, aftronomy,


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chemistry, deluge, cohefion, fire, flame, heat, cold, aurora "borealis, earthquake, lightning, meteorology, &c. Electri

cians have confidered this fluid as the chiet fecondary agent "in producing all the phenomena of nature. And at prefent "this appears to be the prevailing doctrine of natural philofo"phy. See a short abftract of these opinions in Walker's "fyftem of geography, lately published."

conviction; the most palpable facts in nature, and the most easy to be understood, have been doubted and denied; there exifts in the world a criminal infidelity the prejudices of men are harder to be removed than mountains, and their difinclination to thinking is a difficulty ftill more infurmounta ble. And, believing that a principle of fuch allpowerful effect does exift, and that we have fixed upon the truth, ftill we fhall not impute all remaining doubt and dispute respecting this work to unbelief, prejudice and floth; for, after all, in the present state, we fhall know but in part, and fee darkly; the principle of knowledge will be but partly described, and its application fometimes will be obfcure, if not mistaken. In making use of a thousand cafes in the works and providence of God to illuftrate the truth of our theory; and in applying numberless texts of fcripture, no profpect is entertained that a cafe will not fometimes be mistaken, and a text be mifapplied.

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But this imperfection of all human minds and works, in many cafes produce groundless doubts, disputes and difbelief; for, if the imperfections of our senses and performances afford just ground to difcredit facts, we are incapable of knowledge; and, in the present cafe, we appeal to facts; facts which, we prefume, all men are in fome degree conscious of, however imperfectly they may be discovered or defcribed; and it cannot be denied, that the body of the evidence adduced in support of the theory, is of the fame nature, and is drawn from the fame fources; and, indeed, is the very Tame evidence which has principally fupported the cause of Christianity in the world,

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As to the form of this work, I am fenfible that one more fyllogiftical would have been better adapted to the habits of fome improved minds; but my study has been to make it eafy to the most common understanding, and therefore I have divided it into numerous fhort fections, each illuftrating, agreeably to the theory, fome one eftablifhed fact or doctrine of the creation, providence, or revelation of God. This refpect has been paid to this state of the human mind, not only as it is the most common, but also as it will ever have the moft weight and decifion in forming a judgment. And I have endeavored to make the argument to confift of the fimple facts; for it must be acknowledged, that an argument by way of inference from facts, however clear, cannot be fo clear and convincing as the internal evidence, or the discovery of the truth in the facts themselves.

The most material points of the theory I had obferved and arranged before entering into the ministry, and they were advanced in my first sermons; but fuch difficulties appeared in the way of their coming to the public through my hands, that, till lately, it has not been remotely contemplated, and therefore no provision had been made for its being done; and, at present, the slenderest natural conftitution, and daily growing weaknesses, and the paftoral charge of a large people, leave no prof pect of my finishing the work. All I am encouraged I fhall be able to offer, is a compend of the divine theory, a statement of the principle, and a

* Some remarkable changes in the circumstances of the author, which took place foon after fetting about this work;

brief statement of fome leading known facts in the creation, in order to illustrate it, and fhew how it theorizes in the works of God.-What remains of the work more than this must be left to other hands, and them God will provide.-The Lord gave the word; great was the company of thofe that published it.

his being difmiffed from his charge, and, in some measure gaining his health by travelling, enabled him very confiderably to enlarge his plan; but the fame being accompanied with oppofitions from various quarters, threw difcouragements in the way, and retarded the publication; and, at last, he confiders the object very imperfectly accomplished.

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1. THE divine principle, which may be ftated and defined, muft be the difcoverable divine Being. To offer a discussion of what is undiscoverable would be abfurd. No ftatement or definition can be rationally given of the invifibility of God. It muft, therefore, be understood (for no more can be rationally meant) that our principle is merely the vifibility of God, or the principle of divine knowledge.

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2. As to the invifibility of God we make no enquiry. For as this bears no letters or characters, to angels and to men, both in time and eternity, it must be equally unknown. But there is a legible divine character-an alphabet which may be read and underftood. This belongs to us. Here is an Alpha with which we may begin, and an Omega with which we muft end. And what is offered to us in this lettered name, we are


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