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throw ourselves out of his Protection. Let Serm. V. us consider how vain all Schemes of Happiness are, out of which He, the Fountain Head of Happiness, is left, who can dash the Joys of Prosperity with such unpalatable Ingredients, as render them no Joys at all; and qualify the Bitterness of Poverty with fuch Infusions of Joy and Gladness, as shall make it easy and tolerable. And perhaps He, who made the Soul, can alone make it thorougbly happy or miserable : He can pierce it through and through with Sorrow and Pain, and make it, when incorrigibly bad, irretrievably wretched; or he can pervade it and fill the whole Capacity of it with unconceivable Bliss. Then, and not till then, we are intirely undone, when God has cast out our Soul, cast it from his Presence, from the Comforts of his Presence. For his Presence is every where: But it is to the Good and the Wicked, just what it was to the Israelites and Egyptians before the Red Sea: To the former a Pillar of Light to brighten up every Thing around them; to the latter a Cloud and Darkness to trouble and disquiet them. While we enjoy the Light of the divine Countenance, we need not be dejected at the Frowns of the

whole

M3

Serm. V. whole World. For if God be for us, it

will in a short Time fignify little or nothing, who was against us : But if He be against us, what will it signify, who was for us? Our Communication and Intercourse with our nearest and dearest Relations may be intercepted by our Misfortunes : But our Intercourse with the nearest Object of all, even Him, in whom we live, and move, and have our Being, cannot be intercepted but by our Vices. He who never faileth them that seek him, will never forsake us, till we forsake Him and Virtue. He is, according to the expressive Description of St. Jobn, Light and Love, pure unclouded Light, without any Mixture of Darkness and Ignorance; and

pure unallayed Love, without any Tincture of Malice and Hatred: He knows whatever is really Good for and will do whatever in his unerring Judgment is most effectually conducive to our Good, making every disastrous Incident finally terminate in our Benefit.

US;

SER

The intrinsic excellency of the Scrip

tures, a Proof of their divine In-
spiration.

In Two SERMONS.

1 PETER III. 15.

Be ready always to give an Answer to every

Man that asketh you a Reason of the
Hope that is in you.

T is surprising to observe, what a close Serm.VI.

Connexion and Alliance one material

Truth has with another. Thus, for Instance, that there is a God, those manifest Traces of infinite Wisdom, which appear through the whole Oeconomy of Nature, sufficiently make out. The whole World is in this respect, as it were, one great Temple, where, as in the Jewish, the Shechinah or divine Presence shines M

confest

SERM.VI.confest in a visible Glory. The same Ar

guments, that prove our own Existence, demonstrate God's.

How do we prove there is a vital Principle within any. Person? Why, because he moves, he thinks and acts : And can we from these Operations conclude there subsists within us a Principle, which actuates and informs the Body: And shall we not from the stupendous Operations of the Universe conclude, there is a Being that actuates and invigorates all Nature *? Matter cannot be a necessarily existent Being. Because that alone is necessarily existent, which exists immutably, and cannot but be what it is. Whereas, on the other hand, Matter does not perfift in an uniform State of Being, but is liable to Changes, and admits of new Modi

fications.

* Est, eft prcfe&to illa Vis: neque in his Corporibus, atque in hac imbecillitate ineft quiddam, quod vigeat ac fentiat : et non ineft in hoc tanto Naturæ tam præclaro motu; nisi forte idcirco effe non putant, quia non apparet, nec cernitur : proinde quafi noftram ipfam mentem, quâ fapimus, quâ providemus, quâ hæc ipfa agimus ac dicimųs, videre, aut plane qualis, aut ubi fit, fentire poffumus. Circro pro Milone. Unde scis tibi inesse vitale Principium? Respondebis, quia loquor, quia ambulo, quia operor. Stulte, ex operibus corporis agnofcis viventem ; ex operibus Creationis non agnoscis Creatorem: S. Ayo suflinus.

fications. The infinite Variety, that there Serm.VI.
is in the World, which shews a manifold
Wisdom, is no more consistent with the
Scheme of unintelligent Necessity; than
Regularity, Uniformity and Design is with
that of Chance.

And if there be a God, there must be
fome Religion; or, in other Words, some
Homage must be due from an indigent and
dependent Creature, to his great Creator,
Preferver and Benefactor. And if some
Religion be necessary, it must be one that
is sufficient, or is sufficiently calculated for
the Generality of Mankind. Now, that
natural Religion, or that Religion, which
the Light of Nature dictates, is not suffi-
ciently calculated for the Generality of Man-
kind, is evident from hence ; that to trace
a considerable Number of Doctrines up to
the Fountain-Head from which they flow,
by the Strength of unaffifted Reason, and
to pursue them to their remotest Conse-
quences, is a Talk at least extremely difficult
to Men of Letters, but I may venture to
say impracticable to the Ignorant. Besides,
pure natural Religion is a mere Utopian
Scheme, which may perhaps have existed
in the Minds of some few recluse contem-

plative

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