Page images

II. What are the Arguments where-Sermon by this Faith or Perfwasion of these

II. Principles of Natural Religion is wrought? You may remember that I reduc'd all those Arguments whereby any kind of Faith or Perswasion is wrought in us, to these four Heads; Sense, Experience, Reasons drawn from the Thing, and the Testimony or Authority of some Person. Now a Faith or Perswasion of thiese Principles cannot be wrought in us by Sense: for No Man hath seen God at any time, and being a pure Spirit, he cannot be the object of any Corporeal Sense. Nor can the Soul, or any mode of its Existence, fall under any of our Senses: nor a Future State; because Sense is only of things present. Nor can it be wrought in us meerly by Experience: for no Man can conclude from any thing he experienceth in himself, that there is a God, unless he be first perswaded of it by other Arguments : and the Immortality of the Soul, and a Future State, are things which none in this Life can experience. Nor can the Authority or Testimony of




ms be the Argument that induceth that Volume Perswalion. Not any Humane AuthoXII. rity: for these things are of such Con

sequence, and so much depends upon them, that is, the belief of them puts us upon so many things, which Men would not do if they did not believe them, as particularly the venturing of our Lives upon the account of Religion, and all our Worldly Interests, if occasion call for it; that it were a fond thing to take Matters of such Moment and Importance upon any Man's bare word, without other alsurance of them. Nor can the Testimony or Authority of God be the Argument that perswades me of the Existence of a God. I grant that for the other two, the Immortality of the Soul, and a Future State, it is an excellent, and may be a fufficient Argument. Tho' that these may be proved likewise by other Arguments without a Revelation, is evident in the Heathens, who by the Light of Nature did afsent to them without a Revelation. But a Divine Revelation cannot possibly be an Argument inducing me to believe the Existence of a God, for this plain Reason; because a Divine Revelation can be no Argument to any that is not per


Sermon swaded that it is a Divine Revela

II. tion: but before I can be perswaded that any Revelation is from God, I must be perswaded there is a God; and if so, there is no need of this Argument to prove to me that there is one: and therefore you do not find it any where reveaľd in all the Scripture, that there is a God. The Scriprure often declares that Jehovah is the true and living God, and that besides him there is no other : but it doth not reveal, but every where suppose, that there is one.

It remains then that it must be another kind of Argument whereby we must be perswaded of the Existence of a God, and that is by such Reasons as may be drawn from things themselves to perswade us hereof; as either from the Notion and Idea which we have of a God, that he is a Being that hath all Perfections, whereof necessary Existence is one, and consequently that he must be; or else from the Universal consent of all Nations, and the gene


D 2

morality of Persons agreeing in this apVolume prehension, which cannot be attribuXII. ted reasonably to any other Cause,

than to impreilions stamp'd upon our Understandings by God himself; or (which is moit plain of all) from this visible frame of the World, which we cannot, without great violence to our Understandings, impute to any other Cause than a being Endow'd with infinite Goodness, and Power, and Wisdom, which is that we call God.

As for the other two Principles of Natural Religion, the Immortality of the Soul, and a Future State; after we believe a God, we may be

perswaded of these from Divine Revela. tion; and that doth give us the highest and firmest assurance of them in the Resurrection of Chrift from the Dead. Yet I do not find but that these also are rather suppos'd, than expresly reveal'd in the Bible. Indeed the Immortality of the Soul may be infer'd from several places of Scripture, and the tenour of the whole Bible: and so a Future State, which, as for the thing it felf, seems to be supposed as

a thing a thing acknowledged by Natural

Sermon Light; only the Scripture hath reveald the circumstances of it more

II. particularly to us, and given us higher assurance of the thing: but if there were no Revelation, Men might be perswaded of these; and so the Heathens were by Arguments drawn partly from the operations of the Soul, which would almost perswade any Man that the Soul is Immortal; it being altogether unimaginable how a Principle that is nothing else but Matter, can either understand, or de termine it self by its own Will ; all the motions of Matter that we know of, or can imagine, being necessary : and partly from the Justice and Goodness of God. The consideration of God's Goodness would perswade a Man, that as he made all things very good, so he made them of the longeit duration they were capable of and the Justice of God would easily induce a Man to believe, seeing the Providence of God doth generally in this Life deal promiscuourly with good and bad Men, that there shall be a Day which will


D 3

« PreviousContinue »