Tho’ would Men but studiously apply themselves to consider of, would they carefully and impartially examine into, and would they but seriously make use of those Means that God hath graciously given Mankind, in order to attain a sufficient Knowledge of his Nature and Perfections, They would then find so much Beauty, Wisdom, Harmony, and Excellency in this inexhaustible Fund of Knowledge, as would sufficiently Reward their Pains and Endeavours. And this we may glory in; this Knowledge will be the most noble and honourable that our Capacities can attain unto; and in comparison of which, there is no other Qualification and Excellence in our Natures at all valuable. For here we have an Object the greatest and most perfect that can be, the more we know of which, the more we shall exalt and perfect our selves. Here are no empty Speculations; no difficiles Nugae, no false Lights, nor Phantastical Appearances; but ‘tis a real and substantial, an useful and practical Knowledge; a Knowledge that doth not only delight us for the present, but which brings constant and lasting Satisfaction here, and eternal Happiness hereafter.
– from Atheistic Objections Against the Being of God and His Attributes, Fairly Considered and Fully Refuted.
John Harris (1666-1719) was an English writer, scientist and Anglican priest best known for editing in 1704 an English dictionary on the arts and sciences – one of the first encyclopedias to be produced in the history of the English language. An Oxford scholar, he became an Anglican priest in 1688. As well known as a man of science as a man of faith, in 1696, he was elected to the Royal Society. Two years later, combining his love of scientific certainty with his love for God, Harris published Atheistic Objections Against the Being of God and His Attributes Fairly Considered and Fully Refuted.