Page images

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 perswafion that there is a God, whatever be the cause of it. Now thele two things being certain, and not liable to any Question, let us enquire whether a reasonable account can be given of these without a God.

1. Supposing there be no God, How came this vast and orderly Frame of the World? There are but two ways that can be imagined. Either it was from Eternity always of it self; 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 same; 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 themfelves : for whatever num


[ocr errors]

om 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 impoffible; and consequently, that men were always. But I need not infift much upon this, because few or none of our modern Atheists pitch upon this way. Besides 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 Wife, and Powerful, might do: but this is to own a God: or elfe the Matter of it being supposed to

have been always, and in continual
motion and tumult, it at last happen-Sermon
ed to fall into this order, and the VI.
parts of Matter after various agitati-
ons, were at length entangled and
knit together in this order, in which
we see the World to be. But can
any Man think this reasonable to
imagine, that in the infinite variety
which is in the World, all things
should happen by chance, as well
and as orderly as the greatest Wisdom
could have contrived them? Who-
ever can believe this, must do it
with his Will, and not with his Under-

But seeing it must be granted that something is of it self; how easie is it to grant such a Being

to be of it self, as hath other Perfections proportionable to necessary existence; that is infinitely Good, and Wise, and Powerful? And there will be no difficulty in conceiving how such a Being as this ihould make the World.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

2. This likewise is undeniable, that mankind do generally consent in a con


fident perswasion that there is a God, Volume whatever was the cause of this. Now XII. the reafon of so universal a consent

in all places and ages of the World, inust be one, and constant : but no one and constant reason of this can be given, unless it be from the Frame and Nature of Man's Mind and Understanding, which hath the notion of a Deity stampt upon it; or which is, all one, hath such an Understanding, as will in its own free use and exercise find out a God. And what more reasonable than to think, that if be God's Workmanship, he should set this mark of himself upon us, that we might know to whom we belong? And I dare say, that this account must needs be much more reasonable and satisfactory to any indifferent Man, than to resolve this universal consent into Tradition,

or State-policy, both which are liaSee Vol.1. ble to inexplicable difficulties, as Serm. 1 of I have elsewhere shewn at large. publisb'd by

II. As to the immortality of the peremehes Soul. Supposing a God, who is an inbere, briefly finite Spirit: it is easie to imagine the handied at possibility of a finite Spirit, and fuplarge.


bis Grace himself,

posing the Goodness of God; no Man M

Sermon can doubt, but that when he made all things, he would make some best;

VI. and the same Goodness which moved him to make things, would be a reason to continue those things for the longest duration they are capable of.

III. As to future rewards. Supposing the Holiness and Justice of God, that he loves, Righteousness, and hates iniquity; and that he is the Magistrate and Governour of the World, and concerned to countenance Goodnefs, and discourage Sin; and considering the promiscuous Dispensation of his Providence in this World, and how all things happen alike to all ;

it is most reasonable to conclude, that after this life, men shall be punish'd and rewarded.

Secondly, It is infinitely most Prudent. In matters of great concernment à prudent Man will incline to the safest side of the question. We have considered which fide of these questions is most reasonable : let us now think which is fafest. For it is ver

« PreviousContinue »