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make a difference, and every Man fhall Volume receive according to his works.


But I do not intend to infist upon these Arguments; all that I design, is, to fhew what kind of Arguments do work a Faith and Perfwafion in Men concerning thefe Principles of Natural Religion: and they are Reafons drawn from the thing.

And it is not always neceffary to the working of this Faith and Perfwafion, that thefe Reafons fhould neceffarily, yea or truly conclude the Principle to be believed: if they do it probably, and it appear fo to me, it is enough to beget a perfwasion in me of fuch a thing. There are many Men entertain the greatest Truths, and are firmly perfwaded of them, upon an incompetent Argument, and fuch as might perfwade them of any thing elfe as well; and fuch Perfons, if they have Capacity and Understanding, they are rather Happy than Wife in their Religion. It falls out well that they happen to be in the right; for they might have been in the wrong upon the fame terms. But if


the Perfons who believe the Principles of Religion upon infufficient Ar- Sermon guments, and their belief have a real II. effect upon them, as it will if it be true and permanent; if they be Ignorant, and fuch as want the ordinary advantages of improving their knowledge, they are wife enough; that is, they are as wife as God's Providence hath made them, and the Circumftances of their Education, and the Condition of their Life will let them be.

The III. thing to be enquir'd is, Whether this Faith or Perfwasion of the Principles of Natural Religion admit degrees, or not? and what differences are obfervable in them? That it does admit degrees, that is, that a Man may be more or lefs perfwaded of the Truth of thefe Principles, is evident from the Heathens; fome of whom did yield a more firm and unfhaken affent to them; others entertain'd them with a more faint perswasion of them, especially of the Immortality of the Soul, and a Future State, about which most of them had many qualms and doubts. Of all D 4 the

Volume the Heathens, Socrates feems to have XII. had the trueft and firmeft perfwafion of these things; which he did not only teftifie in words; but by the Conftancy, and Calmnefs, and fedate Courage which he manifefted at his Death. Indeed in his Difcourfe before his Death, he fays, "He did "not know whether his Soul fhall re"main after his Body, and whether "there be a Happiness referv'd for "good Men in another World: but hẹ "thought fo, and had fuch hopes of "it, that he was very willing to ven"ture his Life upon thefe hopes, Which words, tho' they feem to be fpoke doubtingly, as the manner of the Academy was; yet confidering his manner of fpeaking, which was modeft, and not peremptory and dogmatical, they fignifie as great a confidence as he had of any thing, and they are high expreffions of affurance, For we may believe that the Man who dies for any thing, how modeftly foever he may exprefs himself, is very well affured of the truth of it. So that this Faith and Perfwafion admits of degrees, the difference whereof is to be refolv'd partly into the capa

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city of the Perfons who believe: and
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The IV. thing to be enquir'd is, What are the proper and genuine effects of this Faith or Perfwafion? Now that in a word is Natural Religion, which confifts in apprehenfions of God fuitable to his Nature, and affections towards him fuitable to these apprehenfions, and actions fuitable to both. He that believes there is fuch a Being in the World as God, that is, one infinitely Good,and Wife,and Powerful, and Juft, and Holy, and (in a word) cloathed with all Excellency, will have a great efteem and reverence for him, and love to him, which he will teftifie in those outward expreffions of refpect which we call Worfhip. He that believes that this Being is the Original of all good, that he made the World, and all the Creatures in it, and preferves and governs them, he will depend upon him, and feek to him for every good thing, and acknowledge him for the Author of them; which brings in Prayer

Prayer and Thanksgiving. He that Volume believes that he owes his being to XII. God, and all the bleffings of his Life, will think it reasonable that he fhould be at his difpofal,will be willing to be govern❜d by his Laws, and ready to fubmit to his pleafure; which brings in Obedience and Submiffion to the Will of God. He that believes there is another Life after this, wherein Men fhall be Rewarded or Punifh'd, according as they have demeaned themfelves well or ill in this World, he will be encourag'd to Piety and Virtue, and afraid to do any thing which his own reafon tells him is difpleafing to the Deity, as he cannot but believe every thing is, that is contrary to the Nature of God, or the perfection of his own Nature, or the good order and happiness of the World; which brings in Temperance, and Juftice, and all other real Virtues. And that the belief of thefe Principles had this effect upon feveral of the Heathens, to make them in a good degree Religious and Virtuous, I doubt not; the Moral and Honeft Lives of many of them give real teftimony of this;

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