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give a satisfactory account why he beVolume lieves it, I know no way but that all XII.

considerate inquisitive men, that are above Fancy and Enthusiasm, must be either Socinians or Atheists.

I cannot imagine how men can do greater disservice to Religion, than by taking it off from the rational and solid Basis upon which it stands, and bearing the World in hand, that men ought to believe without reason: for this is to turn Faith into Credulity, and to level Christian Religion with the vileft and most groundless Enthusiasıns that ever were in the World. Indeed if we had only to deal with Henry Nicholas, and Jacob Behwan, who fight against us in the dark, not with Reasons and Arguments, but with insignificant Words, and obscure Phrases; we might make a shift to bear up against them with this Principle, and we might charge them to believe us, as they do us to believe them, without giving them any reason for it: but if we were to deal with Celfoss, or Julian, or Porphyry, or some of our modern Atheists, we should soon find how vain it would

be

be to go about to cajole them with

Sermon Phrases, and to gain them over to

VI. Christianity, by telling them that they must deny their Reason, and lay aside their Understandings, and believe they know not why. If the great Pillars of Christianity, the ancient Fathers, had taken this course in their Apologies for Christian Religion, it had never triumph'd over Judaism and Paganism as it did; and whoever hath Read over those Defences and Vindications of Christian Religion against Jews and Heathens, which were written in the first Ages of the Church, especially the Books of Origen against Celfus, and Eufebius his Book de Demonft. and Præparat. Evangel. Shall find that they did very solicitously endeavour to satisfie tlie World by all rational ways, both of the truth and reasonableness of Christian Religion. And if that was a good way then, it is so now; and never more necessary than in this Age, which I fear hath as many Atheists and Infidels, that go under the name of Christians, as ever were in any Age since Christian Religion was first planted in the World.

But

Volume But my design at present is not XII. to perswade men particularly to the

belief of Christianity (that I intend hereafter, by God's Assistance, to speak to) but to perswade men to the belief of Religion in general. So that all that I shall do at present, shall be, as briefly as I can, to offer some Arguments and Considerations to perswade men to the Belief of the Principles of Natural Religion, and of the Revelation which God hath made of his Mind and Will in the Holy Scri

ptures.

I. To perswade men to believe the Principles of Natural Religion, such as the Being of God; the immortality of the Soul; and future Rewards after this Life. I shall offer these two Considerations.

Firfl

, Thar it is most reasonable só

to do.

Secondly, That it is infinitely most prudent.

I. As

I, As to the Being of God. Do Sermon but consider these two things which VI. are undeniable; That there is a World however it came; and that Mankind do generally consent in a confident perswasion that there is a God, what, ever be the cause of it. Now these two things being certain, and not liable to any Queition, let us enquire whether a reasonable account can be given of these without a God.

1. Supposing there be no God, How came this valt and orderly Frame of the World? There are but two ways that can be imagined. Either it was from Eternity always of it felf; or it began sometime to be. That it should be always of it self; tho' it may be_imagined of the Heavens, and the Earth, which as to the main, are permanent, and continue the fame; yet in things that succeed one after another, it is altogether unimaginable. As in the Generation of men, there can be no doubt, whether every one of them was from another, or some of themselves. Some of them must be of themselves : for whatever num,

ber

u ber of Causes be imagined in orderVolume ly Succession, some of them must have XII.

no Cause, but be of themselves. Now that which is of it self, and the Cause of all others, is the first. So that there must be a first Man; and the Age of Man being finite, this first Man must have a beginning. So that an infinite Succession of Men should have been, is impossible; and consequently, that men were always. But I need not insist much upon this, because few or none of our modern Atheilts pitch upon this way. Befides that Aristotle,who is reputed the great asserter of the Eternity of the World, doth acknowledge an Infinite progress and Succession of Causes to be one of the greatest Absurdities,

,

Suppose then the World began some time to be; it must either be made by Counsel and Design, that is, produced by some Being that knew what it did, that did Contrive it and Frame it as it is; which it is easie to conceive a Being that is infinitely Good, and Wise, and Powerful, might do: but this is to oun a God: or else the Matter of it being supposed to

have

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