BLTC Press Titles

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The Souls of Black Folk

W. E. B. DuBois

The Characters of Theophrastus


The Secret Doctrine, Volume I Cosmogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite

Discourses Upon the Existence and Attributes of God

by Stephen Charnock


The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. He regards him as little as if he had no being. He said in his heart, not with his tongue, nor in his head: he never firmly thought it, nor openly asserted it •?• Shame put a bar to the first, and natural гвазоп to the second; yet, perhaps, he had sometimes some doubts whether there were a God or no. He wished there were not any, and sometimes hoped there were none at all. He could not raze out the notion of a Deity in his mind, but he neglected the fixing the sense of God in his heart, and made it too much his business to deface and blot out those characters of God jjaJiis soul, which had been left under the ruins of original nature. Qlen may have atheistical hearts without atheistical heads. Their reasons may defend the notion of a Deity, while their hearts are empty of affection to the Deit^) Job's children may curse God in their hearts, though not with their lips."

There is no God. Most understand it of a denial of the providence of God, as I have said in opening the former doctrine. He denies some essential attribute of God, or the exercise of that attribute in the world.1 He that denies any essential attribute, may be said to deny the being of God. Whosoever denies angels or men to have reason and will, denies the human and angelical nature, because understanding and will are essential to both those natures; there could neither be angel nor man without them. No nature can subsist without the perfections essential to that nature, nor God be conceived of without his. The apostle tells us (Eph. ii. 12), that the Gentiles were "without God in the world." So, in some sense, all unbelievers maybe termed atheists; for rejecting the Mediator appointed by God, they reject that God who appointed him. But this is beyond the intended scope, natural atheism being the only subject; yet this is ded'JciUe from it. That the title of &в«н doth not only belong to those who deny the existence of God, or to those who contemn all sense of a Deity, and would root the conscience and reverence of God out of their souls; but it belongs also to those who give not that worship to God which is due to him, who worship many gods, or who worship rone God in a false and superstitious manner, when they have not right conceptions of God, nor intend an adoration of him according to the excellency of his nature. All those that are unconcerned for any particular religion fall under this character: though they own a God in general, yet are willing to acknowledge any God that shall be coined by the powers under whom they live. The Gentiles were without God in the world; without the true notion of God, not without a God of their own framing. This general or practical atheism is natural to men.

1 Job i. 5. 'So the Chaldee reads tcoblB tvj Nan p atestas, denying THE

«ntWity of God in the world.

1. Not natural by created, but by corrupted nature. It is against nature, as nature came out of the hand of God; but universally natural, as nature hath been sophisticated and infected by the serpent's breath. Inconsideration of God, or misrepresentation of his nature, are as agreeable to corrupt nature, as the disowning the being of a God is contrary to common reason. God is not denied, naturd, sed vitiis.y

2. It is universally natural: "The wicked are estranged from the womb (Psalm lviii. 3). They go astray as soon as they be born: their poison is like the poison of a serpent." The wicked, (and who by his birth hath a better title ?) they go astray from the dictates of

. God and the rule of their creation as soon as ever they be born. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent, which is radically the same in all of the same species. It is seminally and fundamentally in all men, though there may be a stronger restraint by a divine hand upon some men than upon others. This principle runs through the whole stream of nature. The natural bent of every man's heart is distant from God. Qvlien we attempt anything pleasing to God, it is like the climbing up a hill, against nature; when anything is displeasing to him, it is like a current running down the channel in its natural course; when we attempt anything that is an acknowledgment of the holiness of God, we are fain to rush, with arms in our hands, through a multitude of natural passions, and fight the way through the oppositions of our own sensitive appetite. How softly do we naturally sink down into that which sets us at a greater distance from God) There is no active, potent, efficacious sense of a God by nature. "The heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil" (Eccl. viii, 11). The heart, in the singular number, as if there were but one common heart beat in all mankind, and bent, as with one pulse, with a joint consent and force to wickedness, without a sense of the authority of God in the earth, as if one heart acted every man in the world. The great apostle cites the text to verify the charges he brought against all mankind.2 In his interpretation, the Jews, who owned one God, and were dignified with special privileges, as well as the Gentiles that maintained many gods, are within the compass of this character. The apostle leaves out the first part of the text, "The fool hath said in his heart," but takes in the latter part, and the verses following. He charges all, because all, every man of them, was under sin—" There is none that seeks God;1 and, » Augustin de Civit. Dei • Rom. iii. 9-12.

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