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pinefs, and fufficiently 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 fo worthy of God, the DoArines whereof are fo useful, and the Precepts fo reasonable, and the Arguments fo powerful, the truth of all which was confirmed by so many great and unquestionable Miracles, the relation of which hath been tranfmitted to Pofterity in Publick and Authentick Records, written by those who were Eye and Ear Witnesses of what they wrote, and free from fufpicion of any Worldly Intereft and Defign; let any produce a Book like to this, in all thefe refpects; and which, over and befides, hath, by the Power and Reasonableness of the Doctrines contained in it, prevail'd fo miraculously in the World, by weak and inconfiderable means, in oppofition to all the Wit and Power of the World, and under fuch difcouragements, as no other Religion was ever assaulted
with; let any Man bring forth fuch
And now having prefented men with fuch Arguments and Confiderations as are proper, and I think fufficient to induce belief, I think it not unreasonable to entreat and urge men diligently and impartially to confider thefe matters; and if there be weight in thefe Confiderations to fway reasonable men, that they would not fuffer themselves to be byaffed by prejudice, or paffion, or intereft, to a contrary perfwafion. Thus much I may with reafon defire of men: for tho' men cannot believe what they will, yet men may, if they will; confider things feriously and impartially, and yield or with-hold their affent, as they N 2 fhail
fhall fee cause, after a thorow fearch Volume and examination.
If any Man will offer a ferious Argument againft any of the Principles of Religion, and will debate the matter foberly, as one that confiders the infinite confequences of these things one way or other, and would gladly be fatisfied, he deferves to be heard what he can fay: But if a Man will turn Religion into raillery, and confute it by two or three bold jefts; he doth not make Religion, but himself ridiculous, in the opinion of all confiderate men; because he sports with his life.
So that it concerns every Man that would not trifle away his Soul, and and fool himfelf into irrecoverable mifery, with the greatest ferioufnefs to enquire into these things, whether they be fo or no, and patiently to confider the Arguments that are brought for them.
And when you are examining thefe matters, do not take into confideration
any fenfual or worldly intereft: but M 1 deal fairly and impartially with your Sermon felves. Think with your felves that VI. you have not the making of things true and false; that the Principles of Religion are either true or falfe, before you think of them. The truth of things is already fixt; either there is a God, or no God; either your Souls are immortal, or they are not; either the Scriptures are a Divine Revelation, or an Impofture; one of thefe is certain and neceffary, and [ they are not are not now, to be alter'd. Things will not comply with your conceits, and bend themselves to your interefts. Therefore do not think what you would have to be: but confider impartially what is. *
* Of this
fee more in
And if upon enquiry, you be con- above menvinc'd that it is the greateft Reason and Prudence to believe that there is a God, and a Future State, and that the Scriptures are the Word of God; then meditate much of thefe thefe things; attend to the proper confequences of fuch a perfwafion; and refolve to live as becomes those who
who believe there is a God, and aVolume nother life after this, and that it is XII. best for you to obey the Precepts of his Word, being perfwaded that whatever is there promifed in cafe of Obedience, or threatned in cafe of Difobedience, will certainly be accomplish'd.
And labour to ftrengthen your felf in this belief; because Faith is the fpring of all rational actions, and the root of all other Graces; and according to the ftrength and weaknefs of Faith, your Holiness and Obedience and "Graces will flourish or decay.
And because the matters of Faith do not fall under our Senfes, and the things of another World are invifible, and at diftance, and confequently not fo apt to affect us, as prefent and fenfible things, we fhould take the more pains with our felves, that by revolving frequently in our minds the thoughts of God, and representing to our felves the Happiness and Mifery of another