Page images
PDF
EPUB

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 sway 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 imposlible;) 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 môre liberty to do what he pleaseth; that is, it furnisheth him with a stronger temptation to be intemperate, and lustful, 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-
ous courses. But if thou hast a mind Sermon
to be virtuous, and temperate, and VI.
just, 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
Perfecntion in this World, which may.
happen to him upon account of Re-
ligion. But supposing there be a
God, and a life after this, then what
a vast difference is there of the con-
sequences of these opinions! As much
as between finite and infinite, time
and eternity

Secondly, To perswade men to be-
lieve the Scriptures, I.only offer this
to men's consideration. If there b:
a God, whose Frovidence governs
the World, and all the Creatures in
it, is it not reasonable to think that
hé hath a particular care of men,
the nobleit part of this visible World?
And seeing he hath made them ca---
pable of eternal duration; that he
hath provided for their erernal Hap-

N

[ocr errors]

pinols

piness, and sufficiently revealed to Volume them the way to it, and the terms XII. and conditions of it? Now let any

Man produce any Book in the World,
that pretends to be from God, and
to do this; that for the Matter of
it is so worthy of God, the Do-
&trines whereof are so useful, and
the Precepts fo reasonable, and the
Arguments so powerful, the truth
of all which was confirmed by so
many great and unquestionable Mi-
racles, the relation of which hath
been transmitted to Pofterity in Pub-
lick and Authentick Records, writ-
ten by those who were Eye and
Ear Witnesses of what they wrote,
and free from suspicion of any World-
ly Interest and Design; let any
produce a Book like to this, in all
these respects; and which, over and
besides, hath, by the Power and
Reasonableness of the Doctrines con-
tained in it, prevail'd so miraculously
in the World, by weak and incon-
fiderable means, in opposition to all
the Wit and Power of the World,
and under such discouragements, as
no other Religion was ever assaulted

with; let any Man bring forth such
a Book, and he hath my leave_to

Sermon believe it as soon as the Bible. But

VI. if there be none such, as I am well assur'd there is not, then every one that thinks God hath revealed himself to men, ought to embrace and entertain the Doctrine i of the Holy Scriptures, as revealed by God.

[ocr errors]

And now having presented men
with such Arguments and Conside-
rations as are proper, and I think
sufficient to induce belief, I think
it not unreasonable to entreat and
urge men diligently and impartial-

;
there be weight in these Considera-
tions to sway reasonable men, that
they would not fuffer themselves to
be byassed by prejudice, or passion,
or interest, to a contrary perswalion.
Thus much I may with reason de-
fire of meni : for tho' men cannot
believe what they will, yet meny
may, if they will; consider things
seriously and impartially, and yield
or with-hold their affent, as they

Ihall

N2

shall see cause, after a thorow search Volume and examination. XII.

If any Man will offer a serious Argument againft any of the Principles of Religion, and will debate the matter soberly, as one that confiders the infinite consequences of these things one way or other, and would gladly be satisfied, he deserves to be heard what he can say: But if a Man will turn Religion into raillery, and confute it by two or three bold jests; he doth not make Religion, but himself ridiculous, in the opinion of all considerate men; because he sports with his life.

So that it concerns every Man that would not trifle away his Soul, and and fool himself into irrecoverable misery, with the greatest seriousness to enquire into these things, whether they be fo or no, and patiently to conlider the Arguments that are brought for them.

And when you are examining these matters, do not take into con

fideration

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »