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Dew ? Out of whose Womb came the Ice? ŞERM,
I. and the hpary Frost of Heaven, who hath gender'd it? Can'st thou lift up thy Voice to the Glouds, that abundance of Waters may cover thee a Canst thou send Lightnings that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are? Who hath put Wisdom in the inward Parts? or who hath given Understanding to the Heart ? In this fublime manner did God condescend to talk with Job, and ascrib'd the Creation of all Things to himself by challenging him to find out another Author of Nature.
And, indeed, if we can't afcribe all these things to the Wisdom of God, to what can we ascribe them ? Can we afcribe them, as the Epicureans of old foolishly did, to Chance, to that which has no real Existence in the World ? for Chance is nothing but only the Ignorance of Certainty. When, therefore, we ascribe any thing to Chance, we don't mean by it that Chance is any thing real, much less that it is the Cause of any thing, however some may be amus'd by the Sound of the Word, but 'tis an Expression we make use of to fhew our Ignorance of the true Caufe. Thus when any Event happens in Life, which we could not foresee, 'tis common enough to attribute it
SERM. to Chance, because we can't see the Reason
of it, i. e, the Train of Causes that have
other Sense'tis im-
Things the Case is thus : As far as he can discover the Reasons of Things, fo far they are certainties to such a one too; and as far as he cannot do this, fo far they stand to him upon the Foot of Chance.Whatshallwe fay then, that these wonderful Works of the Creation are, as the Epicureans fay, the Effects of certain Atoms, or fine Parts of Matter meeting together by Chance ? Befides the Absurdity of supposing those to meet that will be for ever falling at certain Distances from each other, or to fall not in perpendicular Lines, but a little declining, which they suppofe for no Reason in the World but to support a tottering Hypothesis ; yet as Chance has been prov'd to be nothing but the Ignorance of the Cause, to fay that these Things met by Chance is no satisfactory Account ; for fupposing this were true, yet we are not to rest here, but
must go on tó enquire for the Cause, the SERM. Cause even of that Chance, or rather of I. that which appears to us to be so; and what can that be but God? But all this while the Atoms themselves are not accounted for, which yet must be done in order to make a consistent Scheme; for whatever is must have a Cause, except the self-existent Being hin felf, the Supposition of whose Nature excludes all Cause.
But suppose, according to the vulgar Notion of it, that Chance were something real, a sort of a giddy Agent, that does things at Random, without any Thought or Design; can we imagine that this beautiful Frame of the Universe can poslibly be the Effect cf such a whimsical, uncertain Cause ? Can we suppose that the constant and invariable Laws of Nature are the Effect of Casualty, or that the Worlds were made by Accident ? Can we suppose that Matter madly thrown together should form fo glorious a Body as the Sun is ? or, could the lucky Hit be carried still further to Stars innumerable ? How comes their Motion and Periods to be so regular, since Chance is by the Suppofition so uncertain ? Doubtless blind Fortune has not done all this, but the Hand of an all-wise God. What fortuitous Concourse
Serm. of Atoms could produce fuch a Creature as
Reason? Is this by Virtue of a few Particles
Chance, abating only the Contradiction of SERM
I. the Word, is no less than the great God of Heaven and Earth. Which brings me; as I propos'd,
Secondly, To make some Reflections upon the Whole. And, first, The Wisdom, which is every where display'd in the Works of the Creation, should lead us to praise and adore the great Creator. Man is the only Creature upon this Globe that is capable of discerning the infinite Beauty and Contri. vance of them; for, tho'other Creatures are naturally fensible of the Use and Benefit of a great many of them, as, for Example, that the Grass is good for Food, the Tree for Shelter, &c. yet Man alone is capable of feeing how wisely and beautifully they are order'd and contriv'd, because he alone is endued with Faculties capable of such a Contemplation ; he alone then is able to express a jult Sense of it, to praise the Lord for his Goodness, and declare the Wonders that he doth for the Children of Men; and hence arises his Obligation to do it.
But Man is more especially concern’d to do this, because he is placed at the Head of Things, at least in this Part of the Creation, where all Things were made for his Use and с