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have been always, and in continual motion and tumult, it at last happen-Sermon ed to fall into this order, and the VI. parts of Matter after various agitarions, were at length entangled and knit together in this order, in which we see the world to be. But can any Man think this reasonable to imagine, that in the infinite variety which is in the World, all things should happen by chance, as well and as orderly as the greatest Wisdom could have contrived them? Who-. ever can believe this, must do it with his Will, and not with his Understanding.
But seeing it must be granted that fomething is of it self; how easie is it to grant such a Being to be of it felf, as hath other Perfections proportionable to necessary existence; that is infinitely Good, and Wise, and Powerful?' And there will be no difficulty in conceiving how such a Being as this ihould make the World.
2. This likewise is undeniable, that mankind do generally consent in a con
fident perswasion that there is a God, Volume
whatever was the cause of this. Now XII. the reason of so universal a consent
in all places and ages of the World, must be one, and constant: but no one and constant reason of this can be given, unless it be from the Frame and Nature of Man's Mind and Understanding, which hath the notion of a Deity stampt upon it; or which is all one, hath such an Understand. ing, as will in its own free use and exercise find out a God. And what more reasonable than to think, that if be God's Workmanship, he should set this mark of himself upon us, that we might know to whom we belong? And I dare say, that this account must needs be much more reasonable and satisfactory to any indifferent Man, than to resolve this universal consent into Tradition,
or State-policy, both which are liaSee Vol.1. ble to inexplicable difficulties, as Serm. 1. of I have elsewhere shewn at large. publish'd by
II. As to the immortality of the mobremenches Soul. Supposing a God, who is an inbere briefly finite Spirit: it is easie to imagine the bandled at possibility of a finite Spirit, and suplarge.
posing the Goodness of God; no Man M can doubt, but that when he made Sermon all things, he would make some best;
VI. and the same Goodness which moved him to make things, would be a reason to continue those things for the longest duration they are capable of.
III. As to future rewards. Supposing the Holiness and Justice of God, that he loves, Righteousness, and hates iniquity; and that he is the Magistrate and Governour of the World, and concerned to countenance Goodness, and discourage Sin; and considering the promiscuous Dispensation of his Providence in this World, and how all things happen alike to all ;
it is most reasonable to conclude, that after this life, men shall be punih'd and rewarded.
Secondly, It is infinitely most Prudent. In matters of great concernment a prudent Man will incline to the fafest side of the question. We have considered which side of these questions is most reasonable : let us now think which is safet. For it is cer
mtainly most prudent to incline to the Volume fafeft side of the question. Supposing XII. the reasons for, and against the
Principles of Religion, were equal, yet the danger and liazard is so unequal, as would fway a prudent Man to the affirmative. Suppose a Man believe there is no God,, nor life after this; and suppose he be in the right, but not certain that he is, (for that Íam sure in this case is impossible;) all the advantage he hath by this Opinion, relates only to this World and this present time : for he cannot be the better for it when he is not. Now what advantage will it be to him in this life ? He shall have the more liberty to do what he pleaseth; that is, it furnisheth him with a stronger temptation to be intemperate, and lustiul, and unjust; that is, to do those things which prejudice his Body and his Health, which cloud his Reason, and darken his Understanding, which will make him Enemies in the World, and will bring him into danger. So that it is no Advantage to any Man to be vicious: and yet this is the greatest use that is made of Atheistical Plinci
ples ples; to comfort men in their vici- m ous courses. But if thou hast a mind Sermon to be virtuous, and temperate, and VL juft, the belief of the Principles of Religion will be no obstacle, but a furtherance to thee in this course. All the advantage a Man can hope for by disbelieving the Principles of Religion, is to escape trouble and Persecution in this World, which may happen to him upon account of Religion. But supposing there be a God, and a life after this, then what à vast difference is there of the consequences of these opinions! As much as between finite and infinite, time and eternity.
Secondly, To perswade men to believe the Scriptures, I only offer this to men's confideration. If there be a God, whose Providence governs the World, and all the Creatures in it, is it not reasonable to think that he hath a particular care of men, the noblest part of this visible World? And seeing he hath made them capable of eternal duration; that he hath provided for their eternal Hap