WERE a number of shipwrecked mariners cast upon an island, one of their first inquiries would be, Is it inhabited? Having observed footmarks upon the sand, and other tokens of man’s presence, another question would be, What is the character of the people? Are they anthropophagi, or are they of a friendly disposition? The importance of such questions would be realised by all. Their lives might depend upon the answer to the latter.
We look around upon the universe, and everywhere observe marks of design, or the adapation of means to ends. The conviction gathers upon us with deepening power, that there must have been a supreme intelligence arranging the forces of nature. If I throw the dice box twenty times, and the same numbers always turn up, I cannot resist the conclusion that the dice must have been loaded. The application is simple. But, as in the case of the mariners, a second question arises, viz.:—What is the character of the Being revealed in nature? Is He beneficent, or like the fabled Chronus, who devoured his children? It is substantially with this second question that the following work has to do. It is a treatise concerning the character of God.