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Dew? Out of whose Womb came the Ice? SERM,
I. and the boary 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 2 Can'st thou send Lightuings 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 sublime 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 Cause. 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
must go on to 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 hinself, 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 poslıbly 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 ftill further to Stars innumerable ? How comes their Motion and Periods to be so regular, since Chance is by the Suppofition fo 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 such a Creature as I. Man ? or how came he to be endued with
Reason? Is this by Virtue of a few Particles of Matter? Can any Thing give what it is not possess’d of? or, can Thought and Reason be suppos'd to proceed from a dull inanimate Substance ?. But why han't these Atoms, or this Chance, rais'd some lofty Fabrick or convenient Houfes, as well as Men to inhabit them ? Thefe Conjectures are too weak to impose upon rational Crea. tures, and are as senseless as the Atoms themselves. Who looks into the vegetative World, when all Nature is in its Bloom, when the flowery Meadows and Groves delight the Smell, and with pleasing Disorder and beautiful Irregularity falute the Eyes, and ascribes all this to Chance, and not rather to the highest Wisdom? In short, if the Harmony of the Universe was the Effect of Chance, then this plain Contradiction niuft necessarily follow; That nothing can be imagin'd more certain and regular than Casualty and Accident.
So that if Chance means Regularity, Order, Uniformity, Contrivance, &c. then 'tis co-incident with the highest Wisdon, and becomes identified with it. Thus this ridiculous Error, like all others, when pursued far enough, runs up at last into Truth, and the Epicurean
Chance, abating only the Contradiction of SERM. the Word, is no less than the great God of
I. 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, fhould 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 sensible 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 seeing 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 just 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 G