Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them has he set a tabernacle for the sun,
David does in this place affirm the universality of religion. He supposes the heavens to speak, an universal language, heard, and understood, by all. Hence we argue the existence of God. The argument is, according to , that universal and unanimous testimony of people and nations, through all courses of time, who, otherwise differing in language, customs, and conceits, only have agreed in this one matter of opinion. Opinion of as to degrees of probability: that which arises from this source approaches near to demonstrable truth, Testimonies of ancient philosophers to this agreement, as well as to its force and efficacy. That men should thus conspire in opinion must needs arise either —
1. From a natural light implanted in man's nature; or,
2. From a common inclination in his soul; or,
3. From some prevalent reason, obvious to all men; or,
4. From some common fountain of instruction or primitive tradition.And from any one of these ways being allowed our argument will gain weight and force. If we acknowledge either of the two first we do in effect yield the question: if nature forcibly drives men into this persuasion, how extravagant will it be to oppose her! And if we grant that plain reason, apparent to the generality of men, hath moved them to this consent, do we not, by dissenting from it, renounce common sense? But if we say that it arose in the last manner, from a common instruction or primitive tradition, we shall be thereby driven to inquire who that common master or author of the tradition was: of any such we have no name recorded; we find no time designated when it began to arise. Who, then, were the teachers, but the first parents of mankind? Thus does this consideration lead to another very advantageous to our purpose: first, as proving the generations of men had a beginning; secondly, as affording us their most weighty authority for the doctrine we assert. For —
1. Supposing mankind had a beginning on this earth, whence could it proceed but from such a Being as we describe?
2. Supposing this notion derived from the first men, who instilled it into them? Why should they conceive themselves to come from God if He that made them did not discover Himself to them? Thus do these two notions, that of general tradition concerning God, and that concerning man's origin on earth from one stock, mutually support each other. As to His eternity: if God made all things, He could not receive being from another; and what reason is there to suppose that He should? But as nothing can receive a being from itself, or from mere nothing spring up into being, therefore the Maker of the world must be eternal. Something of necessity must be eternal, otherwise nothing could have been at all; other things show themselves to have proceeded from the wisdom, power, and goodness of One: whence that One is eternal; and so all nations have consented that God is. That He is immortal and immutable doth also follow plainly: for He, not depending for His being, or anything thereto belonging, or any other thing, neither can He depend for His continuance or conservation; having power superior to all things, as having conferred on them whatever of power they have, nothing can oppose Him, or make any prevalent impression on Him, so as to destroy or alter anything in Him. Also, from His making, His upholding, His governing all things, is consequent, that He was ever and is everywhere: where His power is, there His hand is; for every action with effect requires a conjunction of the agent and patient; nothing can act on what is distant. That with His presence and power He doth penetrate all things, operating insensibly and imperceptibly, doth argue the spirituality of His being; and that He doth consist of such matter (so extended, so divisible) as those things do, which we by sense perceive. His overreaching wisdom implies Him incapable of being deceived; and His overbearing power signifies that He doth not need to deceive; and His transcendent goodness proves Him unwilling to deceive: the like we may say of doing wrong; whence are consequent His perfect veracity and justice. Lastly, the excellency of His nature, the eminency of His wisdom and power, the abundance of His goodness; as also, His having given being, then preserving it to all things, do infer His rightful title to supreme dominion; and accordingly, that all love, all obedience, all praise and veneration are due to Him; according to the devout acknowledgment of those blessed elders: "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive the glory and honour and power (or authority), because Thou hast made all things; and for Thy will they are and were created."
(I. Barrow, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,