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have been always, and in continual
But feeing it must be granted that fomething is of it felf; how eafie is it to grant fuch a Being to be of it felf, as hath other Perfections proportionable to neceffary existence; that is infinitely Good, and Wife, and Powerful? And there will be no difficulty in conceiving how fuch a Being as this íhould make the World.
2. This likewise is undeniable, that mankind do generally confent in a confident
fident perfwafion that there is a God, Volume whatever was the caufe of this. Now XII. the reafon of fo univerfal a confent in all places and ages of the World, must be one, and conftant: but no one and conftant 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 ftampt upon it; or which is all one, hath fuch an Understanding, as will in its own free use and exercise find out a God. And what more reasonable than to think, that if we be God's Workmanship, he fhould fet this mark of himself upon us, that we might know to whom we belong? And I dare fay, that this account muft needs be much more reasonable and fatisfactory to any indifferent Man, than to refolve this univerfal confent into Tradition, or State-policy, both which are liaSee Vol.1. ble to inexplicable difficulties, as * Serm. 1.of I have elsewhere fhewn at large.
his Grace bimfelf,
II. As to the immortality of the where the Soul. Suppofing a God, who is an inhere briefly finite Spirit: it is eafie to imagine the handled at poffibility of a finite Spirit, and fup
pofing the Goodnets of God; no Man M
III. As to future rewards. Suppofing the Holiness and Juftice of God, that he loves, Righteousness, and hates iniquity; and that he is the Magiftrate and Governour of the World, and concerned to countenance Goodnefs, and difcourage Sin; and confidering the promiscuous Difpenfation of his Providence in this World, and how all things happen alike to all; it is moft reasonable to conclude, that after this life, men fhall be punish'd and rewarded.
Secondly, It is infinitely most Prudent. In matters of great concernment à prudent Man will incline to the fafeft fide of the question. We have confidered which fide of these questions is most reasonable: let us now think which is fafeft. For it is certainly
tainly moft prudent to incline to the Volume fafeft fide of the queftion. Suppofing XII. the reasons for, and against the Principles of Religion, were equal, yet the danger and hazard is fo unequal, as would fway a prudent Man to the affirmative. Suppofe a Man believe there is no God, nor life after this; and fuppofe he be in the right, but not certain that he is, (for that ĺam fure in this cafe is impoffible;) all the advantage he hath by this Opinion, relates only to this World and this present time: for he cannot be the better for it when he is not. Now what advantage will it be to him in this life? He fhall have the more liberty to do what he pleaseth; that is, it furnifheth him with a ftronger temptation to be intemperate, and luftful, and unjuft; that is, to do those things which prejudice his Body and his Health, which cloud his Reason, and darken his Understanding, which will make him Enemies in the World, and will bring him into danger. So that it is no Advantage to any Man to be vicious and yet this is the greatest use that is made of Atheistical Plincipl es
ples; to comfort men in their vicious courfes. But if thou haft a mind Sermon to be virtuous, and temperate, and VI. juft, the belief of the Principles of Religion will be no obftacle, but a furtherance to thee in this course. All the advantage a Man can hope for by disbelieving the Principles of Religion, is to escape trouble and Perfecution in this World, which may happen to him upon account of Religion. But fuppofing there be a God, and a life after this; then what a vaft difference is there of the confequences of thefe opinions! As much as between finite and infinite, time and eternity.
Secondly, To perfwade men to believe the Scriptures, I.only offer this to men's confideration. If there be a God, whofe Frovidence governs the World, and all the Creatures in it, is it not reasonable to think that he hath a particular care of men, the nobleit part of this vifible World? And feeing he hath made them capable of eternal duration; that he hath provided for their eternal HapN piness