Considerations OF THE Existence of GOD, AND OF THE Immortality of the Soul, With the Recompences of the fu­ture state: For the Cure of INFIDELITY, the Hectick Evil of the Times.

By William Bates, D. D.

[...].

Plat. in Phileb.

LONDON, Printed by J. D. for Brabazon Aylmer, at the three Pigeons, over against the Royal Ex­change in Cornhil, 1676.

THE PREFACE.

THE usual Me­thod whereby the Enemy of Mankind trains so many into his bloody snares, is by enticing the lower Faculties, the Sen­ses, the Fancy, the Passi­ons, to prevail upon the Will and Mind, and ac­cordingly his motives are pleasure or pain that affect [Page] us from sensible things. But on the contrary, the great Lover of Souls first inlightens the Understan­ding to discover what is the most excellent Good, what the most pernicious Evil, and by that disco­very moves the Will to pursue the one, and fly from the other, and so de­scends to work upon the Affections and Senses, that with readiness they follow the direction and command of the Superior Powers in Man. These Objects being Spiritual [Page] and future, and therefore rais'd above the highest Regions of Sense, are on­ly apprehended and be­come effectual by the evi­dence of Faith. As the Spartan in Plutarch after trying many ways to set a Carcass upright in a liv­ing posture, and finding that all his Endeavours were vain, it was so sud­denly discompos'd, the head sinking into the bo­som, the hands falling, and all the parts in disorder, concluded something was wanting within, that is [Page] the living Soul, without which the Body has no strength to support it self. Thus the most convincing Reasons, prest with the greatest vehemence of Af­fection, all the Powers of the World to come are of no Efficacy upon those who have not Faith, the vital Principle of all Hea­venly Operations.

We live in an Infidel Age wherein wickedness reigns with Reputation. The thoughts of the Mind are discovered by the current of the Actions. Were [Page] there a serious belief of the great Judgment, and the terrible Eternity that follows, it were not possi­ble for Men to sin so free­ly, and go on in a War so desperate against God himself. Sensuality and Infidelity are Elements of a Symbolical quality, and by an easie alteration are chang'd into one another. Fleshly Lusts darken the Mind and render it unfit to take a distinct view of things Sublime and Spiri­tual. They hinder seri­ous consideration, (espe­cially [Page] of what may trou­ble the Conscience) by their impetuous Disor­ders. And which is the worst effect, the corrupt Will bribes the Mind to argue for what it desires. 'Tis the interest of Carna­lists to put out the eye of Reason, the prevision of things Eternal, that they may blindly follow the sensual appetite. Thus Epicurus with his herd (as Epicuri de Grege Por­cum. Hor. one of them stiles that Fraternity) denied the Immortality of the Soul, consonantly to his decla­red [Page] principle that the Su­preme Happiness of Man consisted in the delights of Sense. And 'tis as natural that the disbelief of ano­ther state hereafter should strongly incline Men to follow their Licentious Pleasures. If the Soul, according to the impious fancy of those Infidels de­scribed in the Book of Wisdom, be a spark of Fire that preserves the vital heat for a little time, and gives motion to the Mem­bers, Vigor to the Sen­ses, and Spirits for the [Page] Thoughts, but is quench'd in Death, and nothing re­mains but a wretched heap of Ashes, What preemi­nence has Man above a Beast? It follows therfore in the progress of their Reason 'tis equal to in­dulge their Appetites as the Beasts do. If what is immortal puts on mortality, the consequence is natural, Let us eat and drink, for to morrow we must die.

Now though superna­tural Revelation con­firm'd by Miracles, and the continual accomplish­ment [Page] of Prophecies, has brought Life and Immor­tality into that open light, that the meanest Christi­an has a fuller and more certain evidence of it, than the clearest spirits of the Heathens ever had, yet because the weight of Au­thority is of no force with Libertines, 'tis necessary to argue from common Principles, which they cannot disavow. Indeed the Shield of Faith, and the Sword of the Spirit are our best Defence in the Holy War; but with the [Page] use of equal Arms, Rea­sons against Reasons, the cause of Religion will be victorious.

'Tis the design of the ensuing Treatise to disco­ver by the light of Na­ture invisible objects, viz. that a Sovereign Spirit made and governs the sen­sible World, that there is an Immortal Soul in Man, and an Eternal state ex­pects him hereafter. There is such a necessary Con­nexion between these Su­preme Truths, The Be­ing of God, and future [Page] Recompences to Men, that the denial of the one, in­cludes the denial of the o­ther. 'Tis uncertain which of the two is the first step, whether Men descend from the disbelief of the future state to Atheism, or from Atheism to Infi­delity in that point.

Some excellent Persons have imployed their Ta­lents on this Subject, from whom I have received ad­vantage in compiling the present Work. I have been careful not to build upon false Arches, but on sub­stantial [Page] Proofs, and to per­swade Truth with Truth, as becoms a sincere Coun­sellor and well-willer to Souls. And if the secure Person will but attentive­ly and impartially consider, he must be convinc'd that 'tis the only true Wisdom to believe and prevent, and not venture on the tryal of things in that state, where there is no other mending of the error, but an everlasting sorrow for it. Those whose Hearts are so irrecoverably de­praved, that no motives [Page] can perswade to examine what so nearly touches them with calmness and sobriety, and their minds so fatally stupified that no Arguments can awaken, must miserably feel what they wilfully doubt of; whom the Light does not convince, the Fire shall.

OF THE EXISTENCE OF GOD.
CHAP. I.Chap. I.

Atheism is fearful of publick disco­very. Three heads of Arguments to prove the Being of GOD. 1. The visible frame of the World, and the numerous Natures in it, exactly modelled for the good of the whole, prove it to be the work of a most wise Agent. The World [Page 2]consider'd in its several parts. The Sun in its situation, motion, and effects, declare the Providence of the Creator. The diurnal motion of the Sun from East to West is very beneficial to Nature. The annual course brings admirable advantage to it. The gradual passing of the sensible World, from the excess of heat to the extremi­ty of cold, an effect of Provi­dence. The constant revolutions of Day and Night, and of the Seasons of the Year, discovers that a wise Cause orders them.

IN the managing the present subject, I shall first pro­pound such things as clearly discover that a Soveraign Spirit, rich in Goodness, most wise in Coun­sel, [Page 3] and powerful in Operation, gave being to the World, and Man in it. This part of my work may seem needless, be­cause there are very few, if any, declared Atheists. As Mon­sters remain where they are born, in the desert sands of Afri­ca, not seen, unless sought for; so there are some unnatural Enormities that conscious how execrable they are, conceal themselves in secret, and dare not appear in open view. And of all others, no impiety is so monstrous and fearful of pub­lick discovery as Atheism. But, The fool saith in his heart, there is no God. He secretly whispers in contradiction to Nature, Rea­son, Conscience, Authorities, there is no supream invisible Power to whom he is accounta­ble. [Page 4] And having thus conclu­ded in the dark, he loses all re­verence of the Divine Laws, and is only govern'd by the vi­cious rule of his carnal Appe­tites. That many in our times, even of the great Pretenders to Wit and Reason, are guilty of this extream folly, is sadly evi­dent. They live, as absolute Atheists, only refuse the title, for fear of infamy, or punishment. It will therefore not be unsea­sonable to revive the natural notion of the Deity. Now to establish this Truth no Argu­ments are more convincing than what are level to all under­standings. And those are,

I. The visible frame of the World, and the numerous na­tures in it, all model'd by this supream rule, the good of the whole.

[Page 5] II. The Evidences that prove the World had a beginning in time.

III. The universal sence of the Deity imprest on the minds of Men.

1. The first Reason is clear and intelligible to all: for 'tis the inseparable property of an intellectual Agent to propound an End, to judg of the conveni­ence between the Means and it, and to contrive them in such a manner as to accomplish it. Now if we survey the Universe, and all the beings it contains, their proportion, dependence and harmony, it will fully ap­pear that antecedently to its ex­istence, there was a perfect mind that design'd it, and disposed the various parts in that exact order, that one beautiful World is [Page 6] compos'd of them. TheVitruv. praef. lib. 6. Philo­sopher conjectured truly, who being shipwrackt on the Island of Rhodes, and come to the shore, spying some Mathemati­cal figures drawn on the Sand, cryed out with joy, Vestigia ho­minum video, I see the foosteps of men, and comforted his dispair­ing companions, that they were not cast into a Desert, or a place of Savages, but of Men civil and wise, as he discover'd by those impressions of their minds. And if we observe the frame of the World, the concatenation of the superior with the middle, and of the middle with the lower parts, whereby 'tis not an accidental aggregation of bodies, but an in­tire universe; if we consider the just disposing them convenient­ly to their nature and dignity, [Page 7] the inferiour and less noble de­pending on the superiour, and that so many contrary natures, with that fidelity and league of mutual love embrace and assist each other, that every one work­ing according to its peculiar quality, yet all unite their ope­rations for one general end, the preservation and benefit of the whole, must not we strongly conclude that 'tis the work of a designing & most wise Agent?

Boet.
—Pulchrum pulcherrimus ipse
Mundum mente gerens, similique ab imagine formans.

To make this more evident, I will produce some Instances.

The Sun, of all coelestial Bo­dies the most excellent in beau­ty and usefulness, does in its si­tuation, motion, effects, publish the glory of a most wise Provi­dence.

[Page 8] 1. In its situation. The foun­tains of all his benefit to Nature are heat and light: with respect to its heat the Sun may well be call'd the Heart of the World, wherein all the vital Spirits are prepar'd; and 'tis so conveni­ently plac't, as to transmit more or less immediatly to all even the most distant parts of that vast body, by perpetual irradia­tions, the influences necessary for its preservation. It cannot be in another place without the disorder and injury of Univer­sal Nature. If it were rais'd to the Stars, the Earth for want of its quickning heat would lose its prolifick vertue, and remain a carcass. The Air would be fill'd with continual oppressing va­pours, the Sea would overflow the Land. If it were as low as [Page 9] the Moon, as dangerous effects would follow, The Air would be inflam'd by its excessive heat, the Sea boyling, the Rivers dry­ed up, every Mountain a Vesu­vius or Aetna; the whole Earth a barren mass of Ashes, a desert of Arabia. But seated in the midst of the Planets, it purifies the Air, abates the superfluity of Waters, temperately warms the Earth, and keeps the Elements in such degrees of power, as are requi­sit for the activity of mixt bo­dies depending on them.

Besides, there is a sensible proof of a wise Director in its Motion, from whence so many and various effects proceed. The Diurnal Motion from East to West causes the Day. The Sun is the first spring and great ori­ginal of Light, and by his pre­sence [Page 10] discovers the beauties of the most of visible Objects. From hence all the pleasant va­riety of Colours, to which Light is the Soul that gives vivacity. Without it the World would be the Sepulcher of it self, nothing but silence and solitude, horror and Confusion. The Light guides our Journeys, awakens and directs our Industry, pre­serves mutual Conversation. And the withdrawing of the Sun from one Hemisphere to ano­ther is as beneficial to the World by causing Night. For that has peculiar advantages. Its dark­ness inlightens us to see the Stars, and to understand their admirable Order, Aspects, Influ­ences, their Conjunction, Di­stances, Opposition, from which proceeds their different effects [Page 11] in all passive Bodies. Now what can be more pleasant than the Ornaments and Diversities of these Twins of time? Besides, by this distinction of the Day and Night there is a fit successi­on of labour and rest, of the Works and Thoughts of Men, those proper to the Day, active and clear, the other to the Night, whose obscurity prevents the wandring of the mind through the senses, and silence favours its calm contemplations.

And the constant revolution of Day and Night in the space of twenty four hours is of great benefit. If they should conti­nue six entire Months together, as under the Poles, though their space would be equal in the compass of the Year as now, yet with publick disadvantage. The [Page 12] shining of the Sun without in­termission, would be very hurt­ful to the Earth, and to its Inha­bitants. And its long absence would cause equal mischeifs by contrary qualities. For the nature of Man and other living Crea­tures cannot subsist long in tra­vail without repairing their de­cays by rest. Now the successi­on of Day and Night in that space, fitly tempers their labour and repose. After the toilsom service of the Day, the Sun re­tires behind the Earth, and the Night procures a truce from business, unbends the World, and invites to rest in its deep si­lence and tranquillity. And by sleep, when the animal operati­ons cease, the Spirits that were much consum'd in the service of the senses, are renewed, and [Page 13] united in assistance to the vital faculties, the Body is restored, and at the springing Day made fresh and active for new labour. So that the wisdom of the Crea­tour is as visible in the manner of this dispensation, as the thing it self. And 'tis an observable point of Providence in order­ing the length and shortness of Days and Nights for the good of the several parts of the World. Under the Equinoctial Line the Earth being parcht by the di­rect beams of the Sun, the nights are regularly twelve hours through the Year, fresh and moist to remedy that inconve­nience: On the contrary, in the northern parts, where there is a fainter reflection of its Beams, the Days are very long, that the Sun may supply by its continu­ance, [Page 14] what is defective in its vi­gour to ripen the fruits of the Earth.

The annual course of the Sun between the North and South discovers also the high and ad­mirable wisdom of God. For all the benefits that Nature re­ceives, Obliquita­tem ejus intel­lexisse, est re­rum fores a­peruisse. Plin. depends on his uner­ring constant motion through the same Circle declining and oblique, with respect to the Poles of the World. 'Tis not possible that more can be done with less. From hence proceeds the difference of Climates, the inequality of Days and Nights, the variety of Seasons, the di­verse mixtures of the first quali­ties, the universal Instruments of natural Productions. In the Spring 'tis in conjunction with the Pleiades, to cause sweet [Page 15] showers, that are as milk to nou­rish the new-born tender plants, that hang at the breasts of the Earth. In the Summer 'tis joyn'd with the Dog-Star, to redouble its force, for the production of Fruits necessary to the support of living Creatures. And Win­ter, that in appearance is the death of Nature, yet is of ad­mirable use for the good of the Universe. The Earth is clensed, moistened and prepar'd, so that our hopes of the succeeding Year depends on the Frosts and Snows of Winter.

If the Sun in its diurnal and annual motion were so swift that the Year were compleated in six Months, and the Day and Night in twelve hours, the fruits of the Earth would want a ne­cessary space to ripen. If on the [Page 16] contrary it were so slow as dou­ble the time were spent in its return, the Harvest but once gather'd in the twenty four Months, could not suffice for the nourishment of living Crea­tures.

'Tis also a considerable effect of Providence, that the sensible World do's not suddenly pass from the highest degrees of heat to the extremity of cold, nor from this to that, but so gradu­ally that the passage is not only tolerable, but pleasant. Imme­diate extreams are very dange­rous to Nature. To prevent that inconvenience the Spring in­terposes between the Winter and Summer, by its gentle heat dis­posing living bodies for the ex­cess of Summer. And Autumn of a middle quality prepares them [Page 17] for the rigour of Winter; that they may pass from one to ano­ther without violent alterati­on.

To attribute these revoluti­ons, so just and uniform to Chance is the perfection of folly, [...]. Arist. for Chance, as a cause that works without design, has no constancy nor order in its ef­fects. If a Dy be thrown a hun­dred times, the fall is contin­gent, and rarely happens to be twice together on the same square. Now the Alternate re­turns of Day and Night are perpetual in all the Regions of the Universe. And though neither the one nor the other begin nor end their course, twice together in the same Point; so that their motion appears confused, yet tis so [Page 18] just, that at the finishing of the Year they are found to have ta­ken precisely as many paces the one as the other. In the amia­ble Warr beween them, though one of the two always gets, and the other loses the hours, yet in the end they retire equal. And the vicissitudes of Sea­sons with an inviolable tenor succeed one another. Who ever saw the various Scenes of a Theater move by hazard in those just spaces of time, as to represent Palaces, or Woods, Rocks and Seas, as the subject of the Actors requir'd? And can the lower World four times in the circle of the Year change appearance, and alter the Sea­sons so conveniently to the use of Nature, and no powerful Mind direct that great work? [Page 19] frequent discoveries of an end orderly pursued, must be attri­buted to a judicious Agent. The Psalmist guided not only by In­spiration but Reason, declares, The Day is thine, the Night also is thine, thou madest the Summer and Winter. But this I shall have oc­casion to touch on afterward.

CHAP. II.Chap. II.

The Air a fit medium to convey the Light and influences of the Hea­vens to the lower World. Tis the repository of Vapours that are drawn up by the Sun, and descend in fruitful Showers. The Winds of great benefit. The separation of the Sea from the Land the[Page 20] effect of great Wisdom and Po­wer. That the Earth is not an equal Globe, is both pleasant and useful. The League of the Ele­ments considered. Excellent Wis­dom visible in Plants and Fruits. The shapes of Animals are an­swerable to their properties. They regularly act to preserve them­selves. The Bees, Swallows, Ants directed by an excellent mind.

THe Expension of the Air from the Etherial Heavens to the Earth, is another testimo­ny of Divine Providence. For 'tis transparent, and of a subtle Nature, and thereby a fit medi­um to convey Light and Ce­lestial Influences to the lower World. It receives the first im­pressions of the Heavens, and insinuating without resistance, [Page 21] conveys them to the most di­stant things. By it the greatest numbers of useful objects that cannot by immediate applicati­on to our faculties be known, are transmitted in their images and representations; All colours and figures to the Eye, sounds to the Ear. Tis necessary for the subsistence of Animals that live by respiration. It mixes with their nourishment, cools the in­ward heat, and tempers its vio­lence.

Besides, In the Air Vapors are attracted by the Sun, till they ascend to that height to which its reflection does not ar­rive, and there losing the soul of heat that was only borrowed, by degrees return to their native coldness, and are gathered into Clouds, which do not break in [Page 22] a deluge of waters that would wash away the seed, but dissolv­ing into fruitful showers, fall in millions of drops to refresh the Earth, so that what is taken from it without loss, is restor'd with immense profit.

The Air is the field of the Winds, an invisible generation of Spirits, whose life consists in motion. These are of divers qualities and effects, for the ad­vantage of the World. Some are turbid, others serene and chearful; some warm and re­freshing, others cold and sharp; some are placid and gentle, o­thers furious and stormy; some moist, others dry. They cleanse and purifie the Air that other­wise would corrupt by the set­ling of vapors, & be destructive to the lives of Animals. They [Page 23] convey the Clouds for the uni­versal benefit of the Earth; for if the Clouds had no motion but directly upwards, they must only fall on those parts from whence they ascended, to the great damage of the Earth. For moist places that send up plen­ty of Vapours would be over­flowed; and the highest parts, to which no other Waters arise, would be unfruitful. Now the Winds are assigned to all the quarters of the World, and as the Reigns are slack or hard, they guide the Clouds for the advantage of the lower World.

The separation of the Sea from the Land, and containing it within just bounds, is the ef­fect of Almighty Wisdom and Goodness. For being the lighter Element, its natural situation is [Page 24] above it. And till separated, 'twas absolutely useless as to habitation or fruitfulness. 'Tis now the convenient seat of ter­restrial Animals, and supplies their Provisions. And the Sea is fit for Navigation, whereby the most distant Regions main­tain Commerce for their mutu­al help and comfort.

The Rivers dispers'd through the veins of the Earth, preserve its beauty, and make it fruitful. They are always in motion, to prevent corrupting, and to visit several parts, that the labour of cultivating may not be in vain. And that these Waters may not fail, the innumerable branches spred through the Earth, at last unite in the main body of the Sea. What they pour into it, through secret chanels they de­rive [Page 25] from it, by a natural per­petual circulation, not to be imitated by Art. In this we have a clear proof of the Wis­dom and Goodness of the Crea­tor.

That the Earth is not an equal Globe, but some parts are rais'd into Hills and Mountains, others sunk into deep Valleys; some are immense Plains, affects with vari­ous delight, and is useful for excel­ent ends: not onely for the pro­duction of Minerals, of Marble and Stones requisite for Build­ings, but for the thriving of se­veral kinds of Grain and Plants that are necessary for Food or Ne sylvae quidem honi­dior (que) naturae facies Medi­cinis caret, sa­cra il a paren­te rerum om­nium, nus­quam non re­media dispo­nente homini, ut Medicina fieret ipsa so­litudo. Plin. Medicine: for some love the Shade, others the Sun; some flou­rish best on Rocks and Precipices, others in low moist places; some delight in Hills, others in Plains. [Page 26] Thus by the unequal surface of the Earth, is caused a convenient temperature of Air and Soil for its productions.

Add further, The Wisdom of the Creatour is discovered by ob­serving the league of the Ele­ments from whence all mixt bo­dies arise. Of how different quali­ties are Earth, Water, Air, Fire? yet all combine together without the destruction of their enmity, that is as necessary to preserve na­ture as their friendship. Can there be imagin'd a greater discord in the parts of the Elementary World, and a greater concord in the whole? To reduce them to such an aequilibrium that all their operations promote the same end, proves that there is a Mind of the highest Wisdom, that has an abso­lute Dominion over all things, [Page 27] and tempers them accordingly.

If we come to Plants and Flow­ers, Who divided their kinds, and form'd them in that beautiful order? who painted and perfum'd them? how doth the same Water dye them with various Colours, the Scarlet, the Purple, the Car­nation? what causes the sweet O­dors that breath from them with an insensible subtilty, and diffuse in the Air for our delight? from whence proceed their different vertues? These admirable works of Nature exceed theEst igitur id quo illa conficiuntur, homine meli­us. Id autem quid potius dixerimquam Deum? Tull. de nat. deor. imitation and comprehension of Man. 'Tis clear therefore they proceed from a Cause that excels him in Wisdom and Power. That some Plants of excellent vertue are full of prickles in their stock and leaves, to protect them from Beasts that would root them up, [Page 28] or trample on them, anHis muni­endo aculeis, telisque ar­mando, reme­diis, ut tuta & salva sint. Ita hoc quo (que) quod in iis o­dimus, homi­num causa excogitatum est. Plin. l. 22. Atheist acknowledg'd to be the effect of Providence. The same Wisdom preserves the Seed in the Root un­der the flower, and prepares the numerous Leaves of Trees, not only for a shadow to refresh li­ving creatures, but to secure their Fruits from the injuries of the weather. Therefore in the Spring they shoot forth always before the fruits are form'd. And tender de­licate fruits are cover'd with broa­der and thicker leaves than others of a firmer substance. In Winter they cast their leaves, are naked and dry, the vital sap retiring to the root, as if careless of dying in the members to preserve life in the heart, that in the returning Spring diffuses new heat and spi­rits, the cause of their flourishing and fruitfulness. The season of [Page 29] Fruits is another indication of Pro­vidence. In Summer we have the cool and moist to refresh our heats, in Autumn the durable to be preserved when the Earth produ­ces none.

If we observe the lower rank of Animals, their kinds, shapes, properties, 'tis evident that all are the Copies of a designing Mind, the effects of a skilful Hand. Some of them are fierce, others familiar; some are servile, others free; some crafty, others simple, and all fram'd conveniently to their Na­tures. How incongruous were it for the Soul of a Lion to dwell in the body of a Sheep, or that of a Hare to animate the body of a Cow? It would require a volume to describe their different shapes, and fitness to their particular na­tures. Besides, creatures meerly▪ sen­sitive [Page 30] are acted so regularly to pre­serve themselves & their kind, that the reason of a superiour Agent Quid est in his in quo non naturae ratio intelligentis appareat? Tull. shines in all their actions. They no sooner come into the World but know their enemies, and ei­ther by Strength or Art secure themselves. They are instructed to swim, to fly, to run, to leap. They understand their fit nou­rishment, and remedies proper for their Diseases. Who infused into the Birds the art to build their nests, the love to cherish their young? How are the Bees in­structed to frame their Hony­combs withoutQuis non stupeat hoc fi­eri posse sine manibus? unlla interve­niente doctri­na hanc ar­tem nasci. hands, and in the dark, and of such a figure that a­mong all other of equal compass and filling up the same space, is most capacious? The considera­tion of their Art and Industry, their political Government and [Page 31] Providence, and other miraculous qualities, so astonish'd some great Wits, that they attributed some­thing divineQuid non Divinum ha­bent nisi quod moriuntur? Quintil. Virgil. to them.

Esse Apibus partem divinae mentis, & haustus
Aetherios dixere—

—some there are maintain That Bees deriv'd from a Coele­stial strain, And Heavenly race.

What moves the Swallows upon the approach of Winter to fly to a more temperate Clime, as if they understood the Celestial Signs, the Influences of the Stars, and the Changes of the Seasons? From whence comes the fore-sight of the Ants to provide in Summer for Winter? their oeconomy fer­vour, [Page 32] their discretion in assisting one another, as if knowing that every one labour'd for all, and where the benefit is common the labour must be common; their care to fortifie their receptacles with a banck of Earth that in great rains, it may not be over­flowed, have made them the fit emblems of prudent diligence.

This is excellently described by Virgil.

Ac veluti ingentem formicae farris a­cervum,
Cum populant, Hyenis memores, tecto­que reponunt,
It nigrum campis agmen, praedamque per herbas
Convectant calle angusto, pars grandia trudunt
Obnixa frumenta humeris, pars agmi­ma cogunt,
[Page 33] Castigantque moras. Opere omnis se­mita fervet.
So when the Winter-fearing Ants invade
Some heaps of Corn the Husband­man had made;
The sable Army marches, and with Prey
Laden return, pressing the Leafy-way;
Some help the weaker, and their shoulders lend;
Others the Order of the March at­tend,
Bring up the Troops, and punish all delay.

How could they propound such ends, and devise means proper to obtain them? 'Tis evident from their constant and regular actings, that an Understanding above man's, who often fails in his de­signs, [Page 34] signs, imprest their unerring in­stincts, and directs their motions.

CHAP. III.Chap. III.

The Body of Man form'd with perfect design for Beauty and Usefulness. A short description of its parts. The fabrick of the Eye and Hand admi­rably discovers the Wisdom of the Maker. The erect stature of the Body fitted for the rational Soul. Man by speech is fitted for society. How the affections are discovered in the Countenance. The distinction of Persons by the face how necessa­ry. The reasonable Soul the image of a wise and voluntary Agent.

I Will now briefly consider Man, with respect to both the parts of his compounded nature, where­in [Page 35] are very clear evidences of a wise Maker.

The Body is the most artifi­cial of all perishing things in the World. 'Tis justly called the store­house of proportions. 'Tis equally impossible to add any thing but what is superfluous, or to take a­away any thing but what is neces­sary. How many internal parts diverse in their qualities and fi­gures, are dispos'd with that pro­vidence, that all operate accord­ing to their proper Natures, and not one can be, I do not say bet­ter, but tolerably in any other place, as well for its special as the common benefit? All are so just­ly ordered, with that mutual de­pendence as to their being and o­perations, that none can be without the whole, nor the whole without it. So that if with attentive Eye [Page 36] we consider this, it might seem that in making the Body the de­sign was only respecting conveni­ence and profit: But if we turn our thoughts from that which is within this unparallel'd Piece, and regard the various forms and stru­cture of the outward parts, the graceful order that adorns them, we might imagine that the Maker only designed its regular visible beauty.Platonis Oratione ver­bum aliquod demas, de elegantia de­traxerit, si ex Lysia de sententia. As Phavorinus compa­ring the Writings of two famous Orators, observed, that if one word be taken from a sentence of Plato, you spoil'd the elegance, if from Lycias, the sense. So the taking away the least considerable part from the Body, spoils its comli­ness, or usefulness.Arist. Gal. [...]. Gal. de [...]ae. form. Two great Philosophers have left excellent Discourses of the parts of the Bo­dy, justly esteemed among their [Page 37] most noble works. Galen after an exquisit observation of the Sy­metry of this Fabrick, challeng'd the Epicureans, to find but one of all the numerous parts that com­pose it, the least Vein or Fibre, that was not serviceable for its proper end, or might be better if chang'd in its form, temperature or place, and he would embrace their opi­nion, that Chance was the Au­thour of it. And for this reason he says, that by describing the use of the parts, he compos'd a true Hymn in praise of the wise Ma­ker.

What knowledg is requisit to describe all that is wonderful in it? the contempering the differing humours in just weight and mea­sure, the inviolable correspon­dence establisht between all the parts for the performance of na­tural, [Page 38] vital and animal operations? To touch upon a few things. The Stomach that by an unknown virtue prepares the nourishment, the Heart and Liver the two Seas of blood; the one more gross, the other more refin'd and spirituous; the Veins and Arteries their inse­parable companions, that diffuse themselves into innumerable ri­volets, and convey the blood and spirit of Life; the Nerves the se­cret channels, that from the Brain derive the spirits of sense and mo­tion; the Muscles that give it va­rious motions; the fleshy parts of different substance and quality according to their various Offices; the Membrans in that diversity, some finer, some thicker weav'd according to the quality of the part they cover; the inward fat that preserves the warm Bowels [Page 39] from drying up; the Marrow wherewith the instruments of mo­tion are oiled and made nimble and expedite; the Bones that sup­port the building of such different forms, proportions, qualities, and so fitly joyn'd: these are a full conviction that a Divine Mind contriv'd it, a Divine Hand made and fashion'd it.

I will more particularly consi­der the curious fabrick of the Eye and Hand. The Eye is a work of such incomparable Artifice, that who ever understands it, hath a sufficient proof of his Skill that form'd it. This is most evi­dent by dissecting it, and repre­senting the parts separate one from another, and after reuniting them, and thereby discovering the Causes of the whole Composure, and of the Offices proper to every part.

[Page 40] That that may be understood without seeing it, is that there is no member in the whole Body compos'd of more parts, nor more different, nor ordered with more exact wisdom between themselves in one frame. Their situation is so regular and necessary, that if any of them be never so little dis­plac't, the Eye is no more an Eye. It includes three Humours that are transparant, and of different thickness, the one resembling Water, the other Glass, the other Chrystal, and from them borrow their names: to vary the place, the distance, the less or greater thickness, the figure that is peculiar to each of them would render the Eye altogether useless for seeing: for the refractions of the light that enters through the pupil would be disordered; and the rays not be [Page 41] united in a point, to paint in the Retina, the images of visible ob­jects, which is the last disposition from whence the act of seeing fol­lows. Several tunicles involve it, one of which is perforated (as much as the little Circle in the middle that is called the pupil) to give open passage to the images flowing from their objects. The Muscles by their agency raise or cast down, turn or fix it. The Nerves fasten'd to the Brain, con­vey a supply of spirits for the sight, and transmit the representation of all visible objects without confu­sion to the internal senses.

If we consider the Hand by the most exact rule of proportion, 'tis evident that its substance and shape are most conducive to beau­ty and service. If the Fingers were not divided, and separately [Page 42] moveable, but joyn'd together with one continued skin, how un­comely, how unuseful would it be? Of an hundred effects ninety would be lost. All that require variety of motion, subtilty of art, or strength could not be per­form'd. But the Fingers being disjoyn'd, 'tis fit to do whatever the mind designs, or necessity re­quires. It works intirely, or in parts, it brandishes a Sword, or manages a Pen, [...]. Arist. lib. 4. de part Ani­mal. c. 10. strikes on the An­vil with a Hammer, or uses a de­licate File, rows in the Water, or touches a Lute. Tis fit for all things, adapting it self to the great­est and least, all which advantages the Philosopher expresses with admirable brevity, In divisione ma­nus componendi facultas est, in Compo­sitione dividendi non esset. Suppose the Fingers were of equal length [Page 43] and bigness, great inconveniencies would follow. And in this the Divine Wisdom is eminent, that what at first sight seems to be of no consequence, yet is absolutely necessary, not only for all the re­gular, but for most works of the Hand. If the Fingers were extend­ed to the same measure, it were able to do nothing but what the four longest can. And how un­comely would such a figur'd hand appear? when that beauty is lost, that springs from variety in things alike. Besides, how unprofitable a part were the Hand if the Fingers had within one intire bone, not flexible to grasp as occasion re­quires? Or if a fleshy substance only, how weak and unapt for service? what strength or firmness for labour? even the Nails are not superfluous; besides their [Page 44] gracefulness, they give force and sense to the points of the Fingers. If one be lost, the feeling in that extream part is very much les­sen'd, that is so necessary for the discerning of things.

To these I shall add two other considerations that discover per­fect wisdom in the framing the humane Body.

1. Its structure is very different from that of Brutes, whereby 'tis a fit instrument of the rational Soul. The Brutes being meerly terrestrial Animals, are perpe­tually groveling and poring downwards, seeking no more than their food. They have no com­merce with the Heavens, but so far as it serves them for the Earth, as being only born for their Bel­lies. But in Man the posture of his Body interprets that of his [Page 45] Soul.Quid ergo plenius Ar­gumentum & Mundum ho­minis, & ho­minem sui, causa Deum fecisse quam quod ex omni­bus animan­tibus solus, ita formatus est, ut oculi e­jus ad coelum directi, facies ad Deum spe­ctans sit? Vt videatur ho­minem Deus quasi porrecta manu alleva­tum ex humo ad contem­plationem sui excitasse. Lactant. The stature is streight and rais'd, expressive of his dominion over the Creatures made for his use. The Head is over all the less noble parts, and the Eyes so plac't that the mind may look out at those windows to discover the World in its various parts, to contemplate the Heavens its na­tive Seat, and be instructed and excited to admire and love the divine Maker.

2. If we consider Man com­plexly as joyn'd with society, to which he is naturally inclin'd, he is so form'd as to give or receive assistance for his preservation and comfort. The Tongue his peculiar glory, the interpreter of the Thoughts, and reconciler of the Affections, maintains this happy commerce. Besides, the Face makes known our inward moti­ons [Page 46] to others. Love, hatred, desire, dislike, joy, greif, confidence, dispair, courage, cowardice, admi­ration, contempt, pride, modesty, cruelty, compassion, and all the rest of the Affections are disco­ver'd by their proper Aspects. By a sudden change of the counte­nance are manifested the deepest sorrow, the highest joy. As the face of the Heavens vail'd with Clouds by the breaking forth of the Sun is presently cleard up. And (which is above the imi­tation of Art) different affections are represented in a more or less expressive appearance according to their stronger or remisser de­grees. Timanthes the famous Pain­ter, wisely drew a vail over Aga­memnons Face present at the sacri­fice of his innocent Daughter; despairing to express and accord [Page 47] his several Passions, the tenderness of a Father, with the Majesty of a King and the generosity of the Leader of an Army. This way of discovery has a more universal use then words. The ministry of the Tongue is only useful to those that understand our Language, but the Face, though silent, speaks to the Eye. The Countenance is a Crystal wherein the thoughts and affections otherwise invisible appear, and is a natural sign known to all. For this manner of expression is not by the common agreement of Men as Signs abso­lutely free or mixt, but from the institution of Nature, that always chuses what is most proper to its end, being guided by a superiour directour according to the rules of perfect Wisdom. Moreover, the innumerable different chara­cters [Page 46] [...] [Page 47] [...] [Page 48] in the Faces of Men to dis­cern every one, is the counsel of most wise Providence for the universal benefit of the World. For take away this distinction, and all the bands of Laws, of Com­merce, of Friendship are dis­solv'd. If we could not by singular inseparable lineaments distinguish the innocent from the guilty, a Brother from a Stranger, the worthy from the unworthy, all truth in Judgments, sincerity in Relations, distinction of Merits, security in Trade would be de­stroyed. In short, humane societies cannot be preserved without uni­on and distinction? the one pre­vents division, the other confusi­on. Union is maintain'd by speech and other signs of the inward dispositions of the Heart; distin­ction is caus'd by the variety of [Page 49] countenances. And 'tis consider­able that so few parts composing it, and in so small a compass, and always in the same situation, yet there is such a diversity of figures as of faces in the World.Inter caetera propter quae mirabile di­vini artificis ingenium est, hoc quo (que) ex­istimo, quod in tauta co­pia rerum, nusquam in idem recidit; etiam quae si­milia viden­tur, cum con­tuleris diver­sa sint. Seneca propounds this as a spectacle wor­thy of admiration, though the Stoical pride, falsely esteem'd greatness of mind, would scarce admire Miracles.

And as the frame of Mans Bo­dy, so much more the rational Soul, his eminent prerogative a­bove all sensible beings, discovers the Deity. The superior faculties, the Understanding and Will, whereby he makes a judgment and choice of things in order to his happiness, declare it to be the living image and glory of a most Wise and voluntary Agent. The admirable composition of two [Page 50] things so disproportion'd, a spiri­tual and material substance in the humane nature, is an argument of his omnipotent skil who united them in a manner inconceiveable to us. But the nature, qualities, and operations of the Soul, shall be more distinctly considered af­terwards. And by this short ac­count of some parts of the World, we may sufficiently discover the perfections of the Maker. We must pluck out our Eyes, and ex­stinguish common sense, not to see infinite Wisdom, Power and Goodness shining in them, the proper marks of the Deity.

CHAP. IV.Chap. IV▪

The vanity of Epicurus's Opinion of the Worlds original discover'd, from the visible order in all the parts of it. Chance produces no regular ef­fects. The constant natural course of things in the world proves that 'tis not framed nor conducted by uncertain Chance. The World was not caused by the necessity of nature. In the search of Causes the mind cannot rest till it comes to the first. Second Causes are sustain'd and di­rected in all their workings by the first. The Creator though invisible in his Essence, is visible in his effects.

BEfore I proceed to the other Head of Arguments, I will briefly show the vanity of those [Page 52] Opinions that attribute the pro­duction of the World to Chance, or to the sole necessity of Nature.

'Twas the extravagant fancy of Democritus, and Epicurus after him, that the original of the World was from the fortuitous encoun­tring of Atoms, that were in per­petual motion in an immense space, till at last a sufficient num­ber met in such a conjunction as form'd it in this order. 'Tis strange to amazement, how so wilde an Opinion, never to be reconciled with Reason, could finde enter­tainment. Yet he left a numerous School, many followers tenacious of his Doctrine, the heirs of his Frenzy. 'Tis very easie to shew the vanity of this conceit, that sup­poses all, and proves nothing.

That these particles of matter should thus meet together, 'tis ne­cessary [Page 53] they move: now from whence is the principle of their motion,Cum in re­rum natura duo sint quae­renda, unum quae materia sit ex qua quae (que) res effi­ciatur, alte­rum quae vis sit quae quid (que) efficiat, de ma­teria disseru­erunt Epicu­raei vim & causan effici­entem reli­querunt. Tul. de fin. lib. 1. from an internal form, or an external Agent? If they will be ingenuous and speak true, they must answer thus, from whence soever they have it, they have it: for if they did not move, their Opinion cannot proceed a step further. But supposing their mo­tion to be natural, what powerful Cause made them rest? how are they so firmly united? have they Hooks that fasten, or Birdlime or Pitch or any glutinous matter, that by touching they cleave so fast together? They must grant something like this, otherwise they cannot unite and compound, and then the Epicurean Opinion is presently dissipated. Supposing them triangular, circular, square, or of any other regular or irregular [Page 54] figure, yet they can make no o­ther compound then a mass of Sand, in which the several grains touch without firm union. So that 'tis very evident whether we suppose motion or rest to be ori­ginally in the nature of matter, there must be a powerful Efficient to cause the contrary. Besides, by what art did so many meet and no more, and of such a figure and no other, and in thatSi sensu ca­rent nec coire tam disposite possint, quia non potest quicquam ra­tionale perfi­cere nisi ratio. Lactant. just order as to form the World, a work so exact that by the most exquisite skill it cannot be made better. Add further; how could these mi­nute Bodies without sense, by mo­tion produce it? this is to assert that a Cause may act above the degree of its power.

Can we then rationally con­ceive that a confused rout of A­toms of divers natures, and some [Page 55] so distant from others, should meet in such a fortunate manner, as to form an intire World, so vast in the bigness, so distinct in the order, so united in the great di­versities of natures, so regular in the variety of changes, so beauti­ful in the whole composure, though it were granted, that one of their possible conjunctions in some part of Eternity were that we see at present? Could such a strict confederacy of the parts of the Universe result from an acci­dental agreement of contrary principles? 'Tis so evident by the universal experience of Men, that regular Effects are caused by the skill of a designing Agent, that works for an end, that upon the sight of any such effects, there is not the least shadow of a suspici­on in the mind, that it proceeded [Page 54] [...] [Page 55] [...] [Page 56] from blinde and counselless Chance. If we should hear one make a plea for a Cause, with such reasons as are most proper to con­vince and perswade his Judges to decide for him, can we doubt whether he understands what he speaks, or casually moves the or­gans of speech? And yet if he did move them by Chance, one of the casual motions equally possible with any other, would be that he perform'd at present. If a thou­sand brass Wheels were thrown on a heap, would six or eight meet so fitly, as by their conjunction to organize a Clock, that should distinguish the hours? or, is a skil­ful hand requisite to joyn them, and direct their motion? And did the Planets, those vast bodies, by Chance ascend to the upper part of the World, and joyn in that or­der, [Page 57] as to measure the time exactly for so many past Ages? Who ever saw a dead Statue form'd in the veins of Marble, or a well pro­portion'd Palace, with all Rooms of convenience and state, arise out of a Quarry of Stones, without a Sculptor to fashion the one, and an Architect to frame the other? Yet Marble and Stones are more dispos'd to make a Statue, or a Building, that are the materials of them, and only require skill and workmanship to give them form, than Atoms mixt together are to make the World. IndeedFama est, & habuisse fertur, non arte, sed spon­te naturae, ita discurrenti­bus maculis, ut musis quo­que singulis sua redderen­tur insignia. Pliny faintly tells a story of a fabulous Ring of Pyrrhus, in which an Agat was set, distinctly representing not by Art, but pure hazard, Apollo with his Harp in the midst of the nine Muses. The first Reporter was defective, that he did not ob­lige [Page 58] us to believe, that the sound of his Harp was heard in consort with the Muses. It would have been a fine Miracle, and the be­lief as easie that a Stone might be a Musitian, as a Painter.

Now if the effects of Art are not without an Artificer, can the immense Fabrick of the World be other than the work of a most perfect Understanding? Who fixt the foundations of the Earth? who laid the beautiful Pavement we tread on? who divided and adorn'd the Chambers of the Spheres? who open'd the Win­dows to the light in the East? who encompass'd it with the im­mense vault of the starry Heaven hanging in the Air, and support­ing it self? Could artless Chance build it? No man unless totally deserted of Reason can possibly [Page 59] have such a fancy. Let Reason judg how could the World be otherwise then 'tis, supposing it fram'd by a designing Cause? all things are dispos'd divinely, that is, by perfect Wisdom, as publick necessity and ornament require. What the Psalmist observes con­cerning the Heavens, is equally true of all the other parts of Na­ture, Their line is gone out, to signifie the exactness of their proportion. If this be the effect of Chance, what is the product of Design? Can Reason distinguish between things artificial, wherein the felicity of Invention appears, and things rude not done by rules in the works of the Hands, and can it not discover the manifest prints of Wisdom in the order of the Uni­verse? How much more Skill is evident in the frame of the World [Page 60] than in all the effects of humane Art, so much the less folly would it be to attribute the most curious works of Art, than the production of the World to Chance.

Add further; The establisht or­der of the parts of the World is an argument that excludes all doubt, that 'tis govern'd and was at first fram'd by unerring Wisdom. For, if they were united by Chance, would they continue in the same manner one day? Is it not most likely that one of the innumerable possible combinations should suc­ceed, different from the same te­nor of things that is but one? es­pecially if we consider that the parts of the World are never at rest: The Heavens, the Elements, mixt bodies are in perpetual mo­tion. If Chance rul'd, is it within the confines of probability, that [Page 61] the Sun that runs ten or twelve thousand Leagues every day, should be now in the same part of the Heavens, where it was in for­mer years in such a day, when there are so many other places wherein by Chance it might wan­der? Would the Stars keep a per­petual course regularly in such ap­pearing irregularities?

Nec quicquam est tanta magis mira­bilemole,
Quam ratio, & certis quòd legibus omnia parent;
Nusquam turba nocet nihil illis par­tibus errat.
Manil. lib. 1. Astrom.

Or would the sowing of Seed in the Earth certainly produce such a determinate sort of Grain? for the other possible mixtures are so vastly numerous, that it [Page 62] would be ten thousand to one but some other thing should spring up than what does. Ac­cording to this Hypothesis, it would be greater folly to believe that the natural course of things should be the same this Year as in former times, than to assert that a Game­ster should to day throw the Dice in the same order, and with the same points uppermost as he did yesterday. 'Tis evident therefore, that the Epicurean Doctrine ha­ving not the least shadow of Rea­son, had never been receiv'd with applause but as 'tis joyn'd with impiety.

2. Some attribute the rise and course of things in the World to the sole necessity of Nature. To this it may be replied.

1. 'Tis true, there is an evident connexion of Causes and Effects [Page 63] in the Celestial and Elementary World, whereby times and seasons are continued, and the succession of mutable things is preserv'd, so that Nature always consuming, remains intire. Though all vege­tive and sensitive beings dye, yet the species are immortal. For the living are brought forth to suc­ceed in the place of the dead. But the inquiring mind cannot rest here: for 'tis impossible to conceive a train of Effects one caused by another, without as­cending to the first Efficient that is not an Effect. For nothing can act before it exists. The order of Causes requires that we ascend to the Supream, which derives being and vertue to all the intermediate. Thus Nature produces things from seminal Causes, that depend on things already in being. The [Page 64] Seed of Flowers and Trees sup­pose the Fruits of the Earth be­fore growing, but the first Tree could not be so produc'd. To fancy an infinite succession of Cau­ses depending one upon another, without arriving to a first, can only fall into the thoughts of a disordered mind. How came this Horse, that Lion in Nature? 'Tis by generation from another, and that from another, and so infinite­ly. How came this Man into the World? 'Tis because he was be­gotten by such a Father, and he by another, and so infinitely. Thus Atheism that rejects one truly In­finite Cause, is obliged to admit an Infinity in all things, an In­comprehensibility in all things. 'Tis therefore evident the efficient principles in Nature are from the sole power of the first and inde­pendent [Page 65] cause. They could not proceed from themselves; and that a most wise and powerfull Being is the original of all things is as evident. Is it conceivable that the insensible Mass that is called Matter, should have had an eternal being without origi­nal? whereas there is not the least imaginable repugnance in the At­tributes of the first and highest Be­ing, in whom all those Perfecti­ons concur, which, as proper to the Deity, are form'd in the mind in the idea of it, as his spiritual Na­ture, Eternity, Immensity, Wis­dom, Omnipotence, &c. of which 'tis equally true, that no one ei­ther absolutely or relatively con­sidered, involve a contradiction, that make it impossible for the Su­pream [Page 66] Being to possess it; Is it not perfectly inconsistent to attribute to Matter the lowest and most contemptible of all Beings, the highest and most noble Perfecti­on, an Independent Existence? One may assert it in words, but not seriously without the utter de­serting of Reason. Man incom­parably excels this Matter, he un­derstands it, and that understands not him, yet he has a derived be­ing in time. 'Tis therefore ne­cessary that that should have some cause of its being. But supposing the self subsistence of Matter from Eternity; could the World, full of innumerable Forms, spring by an Impetus from a dead formless Principle? Tis equally impossible that a blind Cause casual, or fatal, [Page 67] should give being and order to the Universe.

Besides, all subordinate Causes are sustained in their Beings and Powers by fresh influences from the first, and directed in their ope­rations. To attribute the mani­fold Effects in the World to Se­cond Causes working in a blind manner, without an Universal In­tellectual Mover, that disposes, tempers, and governs them, is as unreasonable, as to attribute humane Works to the common Instruments of Art, without the direction of the Understanding that uses them. The Hand or Pencil has not skill to do any thing, but as it obeys the Mind, that gives it the impression of Art, and regulates its Motion. The [Page 68] Earth knows not the various Fruits that spring from it, nor the Sea its living Productions. And the Sun, though a more spe­cious, is not a more intelligent and artificial Agent. Nature un­der another name is the ordinary Power of God, that by its inti­mate concourse with Second-Causes produces and supports things. And 'tis one of the con­siderable Wonders of his Provi­dence, that the stream of perish­ing things, always emptying, is always full; there being a sup­ply from the Fountains of con­tinual Productions, of what is lost in the dead Sea: so that the World is always the same, and always new.

And from what hath been ar­gued, [Page 69] we may judge how unrea­sonable it is to doubt whether there be a Principle in Nature of excellent Wisdome, because not seen in his own Essence: for if Reason compel us to acknowledg that the works of Art wrought by manual Instruments, proceed from an unseen mind that direct­ed their motions according to the idea framd in it self, we ought more strongly to conclude there is a [...]. Gal. de Opifice ho­minis. Divine Mind though invisible to mortal eyes, that contriv'd at first, and with knowledg performs all the works of Nature. To deny the Existence of a Being not subject­ed to our outward Senses, is equal­ly of no force in both the instan­ces. By the same Reason St. Au­stin confounds the Atheist object­ing that he could not see the De­ity. To whom he propounds this [Page 70] question, That since his Body was only visible, and not his Soul, why should it not be buried? And up­on the reply, That theVnde scio quia vivis, cu­jus animam non video? Vnde scio? Respondebis, quia loquor, quia ambulo, quia operor. Stulte ex o­peribus cor­poris agnoscis viventem, ex operibus crea­turae non ag­noscis creato­rem? quickning presence of the Soul was evident in the actions of Life perform'd by the Body; he truly infers, if a vital principle imperceptible in its self is discover'd by vital actions, the Deity, though by the perfecti­on of his Nature undiscernable to our senses, is clearly seen by the light of his effects. And those who are wilfully blind, if God should by any new sensible effects make a discovery of himself, yet would remain inconvincible: For the ar­guments of his presence from ex­traordinary effects, are liable to the same exceptions pretended against the ordinary.

CHAP. V.Chap. V.

The beginning of the World proved from the uninterrupted tradition of it through all ages. The invention of Arts, and bringing them to perfecti­on, an argument of the Worlds be­ginning. The weakness of that fancy that the World is in a perpe­tual Circulation from Infancy to Youth, and to full Age, and a de­crepit state and back again, so that Arts are lost and recovered in that change. The consent of Nations a clear Argument that there is a God. The impressions of Nature are infallible. That the most Men are practical Atheists; that some doubt and deny God in words, is of no force to disprove his Existence. There are no absolute Atheists. Na­ture[Page 72] in extremities has an irresisti­ble force, and compels the most ob­durate to acknowledg the Deity.

I Shall now come to the second head of Arguments for the ex­istence of the Deity, drawn from the proofs of the Worlds begin­ning; from whence it follows that an Eternal intellectual Cause gave it being according to his pleasure. For it implys an exqui­sit contradiction that any thing should begin to exist by its own power. What ever is temporal, was made by a Superior Eternal Power, that drew it from pure no­thing. And the other consequence is as strong, that the Cause is an intellectual Being that produc'd it according to his Will. For sup­posing a Cause to be intirely the same, and not to produce an effect [Page 73] that afterwards it produces, with­out any preceding change, 'tis evident that it operates not by necessity of Nature, but volunta­rily, and therefore with under­standing: As a Man who speaks, that before was silent, according to the liberty of his will.

Now of the Worlds beginning there is a general tradition derived down through the uninterrupted course of so many Ages to us. 'Tis true, the Philosophers renew­ed the confusion of Tongues, that disunited the Builders of Babel, in their account of the Architecture of the World; Yet they generally agreed 'twas made by a most wise Agent. And this Doctrine is so agreeable to Reason, that you may as soon bridle the current of Nilus, and make it return to its Fountain, as suspend the perswasi­on [Page 74] of it in the minds of Men, or make it turn back as false. Now what account can be given of this uncontroulable Opinion? 'Tis most rational to conceive that it came from the first Man, (instruct­ed by his Creator) when the Tra­dition was easy, the World not be­ing numerous. Add to this, the rudeness of former Ages, and the simplicity of living, becoming the new-made World. This account the most antient Histories give of the rise of Common-wealths, that the first Nations were a confused chaos, till the soul of society was infused to regulate them. But that which I shall particularly insist on as a convincing proof, is this; The invention of many Arts beneficial to Men, and the bringing them to perfection by degrees. If the World were without begining, it [Page 75] would have had no age of child­hood and ignorance, but being always old, and instructed by in­finite study and experience, it would have always known what it successively learnt in the School of the last three thousand years, since the memorials of profane Histories are transmitted to us. Some that asserted the Eternity of the World, were sensible of the force of this Argument, and made a pittiful shift to evade it. They fancied that though the World had no beginning, yet as Animals proceed by different ages, till they arrive at extream and impotent old age; in like manner it hap­pen'd to the Earth, not in all its parts at once: for then in that vast succession of Ages, the World and race of Men had been spent; but sometimes in one part, and after [Page 76] in another. But with this diffe­rence, that whereas Man after de­crepit age never renews his youth, a Country once wasted with age, returns by vertue of the celestial influences to its former vigor, and is in a perpetual circulation to new infancy, new youth, and so to old age. And from hence it is, that it learns again those things that were well known in former ages, the remembrance of which was intirely lost. But the vanity of this fiction is easily discover'd.

1. Is it possible that in such a number of years, of which Memo­rials remain before and since this Fiction, that in no part of the World should be seen or heard of this decrepit age and new child­hood, which according to this opi­nion hath innumerable times hap­ned in the circle of Eternity, some­times [Page 77] in one, sometimes in ano­ther Province? If we fancy Na­ture were so changeable accord­ing to the revolution of the Hea­vens, we may with equal Reason believe, that by various conjuncti­ons of the Stars, it hath and may fall out, that Water should burn, and Fire cool; that Serpents should be innocent, and Lambs pernici­ous; that Flys should live an age, and Eagles but a day.

2. Since 'tis affirmed that the whole World doth not sink into this Oblivion at once, it must fol­low that in some vigorous parts the knowledg of Arts still re­main'd, and from thence should be derived two other parts (that were ascending from their igno­rance) as 'tis usual in the com­merce of distant Regions. So that it will never fall out that Arts and [Page 78] Sciences once invented should be totally lost. 'Tis true, some par­ticular Nation, not by change of Nature, but humane accidents, may lose the Arts wherein it for­merly flourish'd; as is eminently visible in the Greek, that is now far more ignorant and unpolisht then in former ages. But this can­not with any pretence of Reason be said of the whole World. 'Tis evident therefore if the World were Eternal, it had always been most wise and civil, and that its gradual attaining the knowledg of things of publick advantage is a sufficient conviction of its begin­ning in time, by the Counsel and Will of an Intellectual Agent.

3. To the still voice of Reason, the loud voice of all Nations ac­cords in confirming this Truth. The Civil, the Barbarous, those [Page 79] who by their distance are without the least commerce, and are con­trary in a thousand fashions and customs that depend on the liber­ty of Men that is mutable, yetOmnes duce natura eo ve­himur, ut De­os esse dica­mus. Cic. lib. de nat. Deor. Arist. lib. 1. de Coel. Plat. lib. 10. de Leg. Plut. cont. Cole in fine. all consent in the acknowledgment of a God, being instructed by Na­ture that is always the same, and immutable. 'Tis as natural to the humane understanding by consi­dering the frame of the World, to believe there is a God, as 'tis the property of the Eye to see the light. The assent to this truth is unforc'd, but, without offering ex­tream violence to the rational fa­culties, none can contradict it. In­deed in their conceptions of him, few have the glass of the mind so clear and even as to represent him aright. Some divide what is in­divisible, and of one make many Gods. Some attribute corporeal [Page 80] parts to a pure spirit; some figure him in Statues to make the invisi­ble seen; and in other manner de­form him. Yet no errour, no ig­norance has absolutely defac't the notion of him. And that no soci­eties of Men are without the be­lief of a first Being, superiour to all things in the World, and of ab­solute power over them, and con­sequently worthy of supream Ho­nour from all reasonable Crea­tures, their Prayers, Vows, Sacri­fices, Solemnities, Oaths, are a vi­sible Testimony. The force and weight of the Argument is great: for that which is common to the whole species, and perpetual from its first being through all its dura­tion, is theDos animae a primordio. Tertul. Quis quamne est homi­numqui non cum istius principii no­tione diem primae nati­vitatis intra­verit? cui non sit ingenitum, non impres­sum, non in­situm, esse Re­gem & Do­minum, caete­rorum (que) quae­cunque sunt moderatorem? Arnob. l. 1. Impression of Na­ture, which in its universal Prin­ciples either of the Understand­ing, or the Will, is never deceived. [Page 81] Thus the inclination to that good that is convenient to our faculties; the approving as most just to do to another what we desire in the same circumstances should be done to us, are natural principles, whose rectitude and verity are so evident, that no Man is so contu­macious as to require a proof of them. If we discredit its autho­rity in this single instance, that there is a God, we may with equal reason suspect its testimony in all other things; that the persons we converse with are phantomes, that the objects that strike our senses are only shadows, that what ap­pears white is black, that what is felt as cold is hot, that what is evi­dent to all Mens minds is false, viz. that the whole is greater than a part. In short, the most rational Discourses would have as little [Page 82] firmness and certainty, as the in­coherent Fancies of one that is distracted, or dreams. We must renounce Sense and Reason, ha­ving no assurance of such things as are clear and manifest, but the instinct of Nature that determines our assent. Now what account can be given of the sense of the Deity indelibly stamp'd on the minds of Men? If there be no God, from whence comes it that Nature has imprest such a strong belief of a being not only false but impossible? For if there be no God, 'tis impossible there should be. There is no middle between the two Attributes of Being, ne­cessary and contingent. And that an Eternal Being should now be­gin to exist, is a palpable contra­diction. We must therefore con­clude that the Author of the Hu­mane [Page 83] Soul has so fram'd it, that by the free use of its faculties it neces­sarily comes to the knowledg of its original. From hence, 'tis uni­versal and constant. And can there be a testimony of equal authority, clearness and sincerity as this of Nature, understood in every Lan­guage, and receiv'd in every place; and where 'tis most simple, 'tis most the same, and therefore more convincing.

To elude the force of this Ar­gument there are several weak evasions.

I. That the most Men are pra­ctical Atheists, and live without God in the World; and that some are speculative Atheists, either de­nying or doubting of his Exist­ence. But the answer is easie.

1. That Men deny God in their Works, is of no validity to dis­prove [Page 84] the natural notion of him; for by this confession we must cancel almost all the Law of Na­ture. How many notoriously re­bel against the infallible principles of common Reason? How many dishonour their Parents? Yet there is no Precept more clearly na­tural, and acknowledged by the rudest Nations, than the obligati­on to the immediate Authors of our lives. How many by fraud or rapine enrich their Estates, or vio­late the honour of the Marriage-Bed, and do that to others they would not have done to them­selves? But though they contra­dict the Law of Nature in their actions, can they abolish it in their hearts? can they make Conscience dumb, that it shall never reproach their Impieties, because they are deaf to its voice? 'Tis as impos­sible [Page 85] as to transform themselves into another kind of being, and become Brutes in nature, because they resemble them in their dispo­sitions and practices.

2. Supposing that some are A­theists in opinion, it doth not fol­low that the belief of the Deity is not a pure universal Principle of Nature. For by all men we must understand those in whom the sense of Nature is not perverted. Things of the clearest certainty have been denied by some. We feel Motion, yet a Philosopher di­sputed against it. The Argument is convincing that Snow is white, because it appears so to all Mens Eyes; thô to the Eye that wants its native sincerity, and infected with a vicious tincture, it appears of another colour. Now 'tis cer­tain that Atheism is not produced [Page 86] by generation from the natural discourses of the Mind, but from the putrefaction and rottenness of Manners. Those who have lost their Reason in Sensuality, and submit their understandings to the guidance of their corrupt affecti­ons, that is the seeing faculty to the blind, are most inclin'd to Atheism. And they can never come to that impious height with­out obliterating in the guiltiest manner, the lively characters of Reason and Humanity. Such are as prodigiously irregular from the true constitution of the minds of Men in respect of belief, as a [...] Max. Tyr. Bird without wings would be from the natural composure of the Bodies of all others, in respect of parts. Monsters cannot dishonour, and are no pattern of the species. And shall the contradiction of a few [Page 87] brib'd by their lusts, disauthorise the consenting testimony of man­kind?

3. There is no absolute Atheist, i. e. of such a firm perswasion that there is no God, as excludes all doubts and fears of the contrary. 'Tis true, as a pretext for their li­centiousness, and to give boldness to their fearful impiety, some ob­durate wretches may desperately deny the Supream Eternal Power, to whom they are accountable: But no violence can intirely choke this natural Principal, it has such deep and strong root in the Hu­mane Spirit. The vital spark will fly in their Faces, notwithstanding all their endeavours to tread it out. Of this we have convincing evidence from some, who in great troubles have been compel'd to acknowledge God, whom they [Page 88] boldly denyed before. I shall produce two instances. The first is recorded by Aeschilus. That the Persian Messenger in his Narrative to the King, of the overthrow of his Army by the Grecians, related that those Gallants who before the Fight in the midst of their Cups and bravery denied God and Providence as secure of Vi­ctory, yet afterwards when furi­ously pursu'd by their Enemies, they came to the River Strymon, that was frozen and began to thaw, then upon their knees they mournfully implor'd the favor of God, that the Ice might hold and give them safe passage over from the pursuers. Nature in extremi­ties has irresistible workings, and the inbred notions of the Deity, though long supprest by imperi­ous lusts, will then rise up in Mens [Page 89] Souls. The other instance is of Bion the Philosopher, a declared Atheist, till struck with a mortal Disease, and then, as a false Wit­ness on the Rack, confest the truth, and addrest himself by Prayers and Vows to God for his recove­ry. Egregious folly, as the [...] Laert. in Bion Histo­rian observes, to think that God would be brib'd with his gifts, and was or was not according to his fancy. And thus it happens to many like him. As a Lamp near expiring shines more clearly, so Conscience that burn'd dimly for a time, gives a dying blaze, and discovers him who is alone able to save or to destroy. But how just were it to deal with them as Sext. Em­pir. l. 1. Herofilus with Diodorus Cronus, a wrangler that vext the Philoso­phers, by urging a captious Argu­ment, against the possibility of [Page 90] Motion. For thus he argued: A Stone, or what ever else, in mo­ving it self, is either where it is, or where it is not; if where it is, it moves not; if where it is not, then it will be in any place, but where it is. While this disputing humour continued, one day he fell, and displac't his shoulder. And sends in haste for Herofilus, of excellent skill in Surgery. But he desirous first to cure his Brain, and then his Shoulder, told him that his Art was needless in that case: for according to your own opini­on, this Bone in the dislocation ei­ther was where it was, or where it was not, and to assert either, makes the displacing of it equally impossible. Therefore 'twas in vain to reduce it to the place from whence it was never parted. And thus he kept him roaring out with [Page 91] pain and rage till he declar'd him­self convinc'd of the vanity of his irrefutable Argument. Now if, according to the vanity of Atheists, there is no God, why do they in­voke him in their adversities? If there be, why do they deny him in their prosperity? there can no other Reason be assign'd but this, that in the state of health their minds are disperst, and clouded with blind folly, in sickness they are serious and recover the judg­ment of Nature. As 'tis ordinary with distracted persons, that in the approaches of Death their Reason returns: because the Brain distem­per'd by an excess of heat, when the Spirits are wasted at the last, is reduced to a convenient temper.

CHAP. VI.CHAP. VI.

The Belief of the Deity no Politick Invention. The asserting that 'tis necessary to preserve States in or­der, is a strong proof of its truth. No History intimates when this be­lief was introduc'd into the World. The continuance of it, argues that its rise was not from a Civil De­cree. Princes themselves are under the fears of the Deity. The multi­tude of false Gods does not preju­dice the natural notion of one true God. Idolatry was not universal. The Worship of the only true God is preserved where Idolatry is a­bolish'd.

II. 'TIs objected, that the be­lief of the Deity was at first introduc'd by the special in­vention [Page 93] of some in power to pre­serve the civil Sate; and that Re­ligion is onely a politick curb to restrain the wild exorbitance and disorders of the multitude. This admits of an easie refutation.

1. Those corrupted minds that from pride or sensuality presum'd to exempt Men from the Tribu­nal of Heaven, yet affirm'd that a City might rather be preserved without Fire and Water, the most necessary Elements, than without the religious belief of a God. E­gregious lovers of mankind! and therefore worthy of esteem and credit, since they divulge that Doctrine, that if believed, the World must fall into dreadful confusion by their own acknow­ledgment. But such is the Divine force of Truth, that its enemies are constrain'd to give Testimony to [Page 94] it; For is it conceiveable that an error not in a light question, but in the Supreme Object of the Mind, should be the root of all the Vertues that support the Civil State, and Truth if discovered should have a fatal consequence on Government, subvert all Soci­eties, and expose them to the greatest dangers? How can they reconcile this with their declared principle, that the natural end of Man is the knowledge of Truth? It were less strange that the con­stant feeding on deadly Poyson, should be requisit to preserve the natural life in health and vigour, and that the most proper food should be pernicious to it. So that the objection if rightly consider'd will confirm the Religious be­lief of a Deity. Indeed 'tis evident that all Civil Powers suppose the [Page 95] notion of a God to be an insepa­rable property of humane nature, and thereby make their authority sacred in the esteem of the Peo­ple, as derived from the Univer­sal Monarch.

2. They can give no account of what they so boldly assert. What Historian ever recorded, that in such an age, such a Prince introduc'd the belief of a Deity to make obedience to his Law's, to be a point of Religion. 'Tis true, Politicians have sometimes used artifice and deceit to accom­plish their ends. Lycurgus pre­tended the direction of Apollo, and Numa of the Nymph Egeria, to re­commend their Laws to the Peo­ple. Scipio and Sertorious made some other God to be of their Coun­cil of Warr, to encourage their Souldiers in dangerous interpri­ses. [Page 96] But this mask only deceived the ignorant. The more intelli­gent discern'd the finess of their politick contrivance.

3. Is it conceiveable that the belief of the Deity, if its original were from a civil decree, should remain in force so long in the World? False opinions in Philo­sophy, adorn'd with great elo­quence by the inventors, and zea­lously defended for a time by their followers, though opposit to no Mans profit or pleasure, yet have lost their credit by further inquiries. And if the notion of a God wereNon tam stabilis opinio perm ineret, nec confirma­retur diutur­nitate tempo­ris, nec una cum saeculi aetatibus ho­minum (que) in­vererare potu­isset. Cic. sophisticate Gold, though authorized with the Royal stamp, could it have endured the Touchstone, and the Fire for so many ages without discovery? could it have past the test of so many searching Wits, that never [Page 97] had a share in Government? can we rationally suppose that in such a succession of time no discon­tented person, when the yoke of Government was uneasie, should disclose the arts of affrightment, and release the People from im­aginary terrours, that with cou­rage they might resume their li­berty? 'Tis a true observation, no single person can deceive all, nor be deceived by all. Now if there be no God, one person has decei­ved all by introducing the gene­ral belief of a God into the World, and every one is deceived by all, believing so from the Uni­versal Authority of Mankind.

4. The greatest Princes are un­der the awful impressions of the Deity. Those rais'd to the highest Thrones are not free from inward anxieties, when the guilty Consci­ence [Page 98] cites them before his dread­ful Tribunal. Of this we have their unfeigned Declarations in the times of their distress. Now 'tis unconceivable they would vo­luntarily preplex themselves with a fancy of their own creating, and dread that as a real Being, which they know to be feigned. This pretence therefore cannot with­out an open defiance of Reason be alledged.

3. 'Tis objected that the con­sent of mankind in the acknow­ledgment of a God is no full con­viction of his existence, because then we must believe the false Gods that were adored in the World.

1. The multitude of Idols cre­ated by superstitious fancies is a strong presumption that there is a true God. For all Falshood is sup­ported [Page 99] by some Truth, Deceit is made credible by resemblance. The Heathen Worship though di­rected amiss, yet proves that a re­ligious inclination is sound in its original, and has a real object to which it tends, otherwise Idola­try the corruption of it had not found such a facility and disposi­tion in Men to receive it.

2. Idolatry hath not been uni­versal in all Ages and Nations. The first causes of it and motives that preserved it are evident. The Nation of the Jews was freed from this general Contagion: for we may as rationally argue from their own Histories concerning their belief and practice, as from the Histories of other Nations. And when a veil of darkness was cast over the Heathen World, some were inlight'ned by true Reason [Page 100] to see the folly of the superstiti­ous vulgar that stood in awe of their own imaginations. The Philosophers privatly condemn'd what in a guilty compliance with the Laws of State they publickly own'd. Nay even the lowest and dullest among the Gentiles gene­rally acknowledged one Supreme God and Lord of all inferior Dei­ties. As Tertullian observes, in their great distresses, guided by the in­ternal instructions of Nature, they invok'd God, not the Gods, to their help.

3. That the belief of one God is a pure emanation from the light of Nature is evident, in that since the extinction of Idolatry, not a spark remaining in many parts of the World, 'tis still preserv'd in its vigor and lustre in the breasts of Men. Since the plurality of [Page 101] Gods have been degraded of their Honour, and their Worships cha­sed out of many Countries, and the ideas of various ancient super­stitions are lost, the only true God is served with more solemn vene­ration. Time, the wise discerner of Truth from Falshood, abolishes the fictions of fancy, but confirms the uncorrupted sentiments of Nature.

To conclude this Discourse; what rational doubt can remain after so strong a witness of the Deity, External from the Uni­verse, Internal from the frame of the humane Soul? If we look through the whole compass of na­tural Beings, there is not one sepa­rately taken, but has some signa­ture of wisdom upon it. As a beam of light passing through a chink in Wall of what figure so­ever, [Page 102] always forms a circle on the place where 'tis reflected, and by that describes the image of its ori­ginal, the Sun. Thus God in eve­ry one of his Works represents himself tanquam Solis radio scriptum. But the union of all the parts by such strong and sweet bands, is a more pregnant proof of his omni­potent mind. Is it a testimony of great military skill in a General to range an Army compos'd of di­vers Nations that have grat anti­pathies between them, [...]. Arist. de Mund. in that Or­der as renders it victorious in Bat­tel? And is it not a testimony of infinite Providence to dispose all the Hosts of Heaven and Earth so as they joyn successfully for the preservation of Nature? 'Tis a­stonishing that any should be of such a reprobate mind, as not to be convinc'd by the sight of the [Page 103] World, a visible Word that more gloriosly illustrates the perfections of the Creator, than the sublimest Eloquence,Tantum enim sapientiae in aetate jam fracta dedit, ut Severita­tem Tribu­nalis in The­atri favorem verteret. Hier. Epist. ad Nepot. that conceals what it designs to represent. When So­phocles was accused by his ungrate­ful Sons, that his Understanding being declin'd with his Age, he was unfit to manage the affairs of his Family; he made no other de­fence before the Judges, but recit­ed part of a Tragedy newly com­pos'd by him, and left it to their decision whether there was a fai­lure in his Intellectuals: upon which he was not only absolved, but crown'd with Praises.

What foul ingratitude are those guilty of, who deny the Divine Wisdom, of which there are such clear and powerful demonstrati­ons in the things that are seen? Abhor'd impiety! worthy of [Page 104] the most fiery indignation; and not to be expiated with a single death. None except base stupid spirits that are laps'd and sunk be­low the rational Nature, (as a noble [...]. Max. Tyr. orat. prim. quid sit De­us. Philosopher justly cen­sures them) are capable of such prodigious folly and perversness. Yet these are the pretenders to free reason and strength of mind, and with a contemptuous smile de­spise the sober World, as fetterd with servil Principles, and foolish­ly soften'd by impressions of an unknown, uncertain being, and va­lue themselves as more knowing than all others, because they con­tradict all. Ridiculous vanity! as if a blind Man in a crowd some­times justling one, sometimes ano­ther, should with impatience cry out, Do ye not see? when he is un­der a double blindness, both in his [Page 105] eyes and understanding, not seeing himself, and reproaching those that see, for not seeing. In short, this great Truth shines with so bright an evidence, that all the sons of darkness can never put out, and can only be denied by ob­stinate Atheism and absurdity.

CHAP. VII.Ch. VII.

The duties of understanding Creatures, to the Maker of all things. Admi­ration of his glorious perfections visible in them. This is more par­ticularly the duty of Man, the World being made eminently for him. The Causes why the Creatour is not ho­nour'd in his Works, are mens igno­rance and inobservance. Things new rather affect us, than great. An humble fear is a necessary re­spect[Page 106] from the Creature, to the Di­vine Majesty and Power. Love and Obedience in the highest degrees are due from men to God, in the quality of Creator. Trust and reli­ance on God is our duty and privi­ledg.

LEt us now briefly consider the indispensible Duties of ratio­nal Creatures with respect to the Maker of all things. And those are,

1. To acknowledg, and admire the Deity, and his perfections that are so visible in his Works. For there must be a first Cause from whom that receives being, that cannot proceed from it self. In all the forms of things there are some Characters stampt of the Divine Wisdom, that declare his Glory, some footsteps imprest of his Power that discover him; some [Page 107] lines drawn of his Goodness that demonstrate him. And so much praise is justly due to the Artifi­cer, as there is excellence of Art and Perfection of workmanship appearing in the Work. This Duty is especially incumbent on Man, because the World was made with a more eminent re­spect for him, than for Angels or Animals. For if we consider the diversity of its parts, the multitude and variety of sensitive Natures, of which it consists, and the Art whereby 'tis fram'd according to the most noble Idea and design of highest Wisdom, 'tis evident it was principally made for Man, there being an adequate corres­pondence between them, with re­gard to the faculties and the ob­jects. 'Tis true the Angels un­derstand more perfectly than Man [Page 108] the union order and beauty of the World, an incomparable proof of the Makers perfections, but they are not capable of knowledg or pleasure by tasts, smels, sounds, which are only proportion'd to make impressions on material Or­gans. And is it agreeable to Wis­dom that an Object purely sensi­ble should be chiefly intended for a Power purely Spiritual? Neither are the Beasts fit spectators of the Divine Works. For the material part to which sense can only reach, is the least notable in the frame of Nature, and the oecono­my of the World. They cannot discover the dependance between Causes and Effects, the Means and End, nor the Wisdom that order­ed all. These are only for the vi­sion of the mind, which they want. The volume of the World to them [Page 109] is like a fair printed Book com­pos'd of sublime matter and style, but opened to one that sees the beauty of the Characters, without understanding the Language it speaks, and the Wisdom it con­tains. An Eagle by fixing its eyes on the Sun cannot measure its greatness, nor understand the ends of its motion. The World would be lost, if only for them. But the wise Creator united these two di­stinct natures in Man, and plac'd him in this Theater of his Magni­ficence, that by the ministry of the senses he might have perception of the external part, and by his reason discover what is most wor­thy to be known; the admirable order that distinguishes and unites so many and such different na­tures, and guides all their motions, that 'tis clear they depend upon [Page 110] one principle without knowing it, and conspire to one end without willing it. How should this raise his mind in the just praises of the Maker?

The true causes why the Crea­tor is not duly acknowledged and honour'd for his Works, are either Ignorance, or a guilty neglect and inobservance of them.

1. Ignorance in the composure of the World, and of the seve­ral beings in it. A Philosopher askt by one, What advantage the instructions of Philosophy would be to his Son? replied, If no other, yet that when he is a spectatour in the Theatre, one Stone shall not sit upon another. An ignorant person encompast with all the va­rieties of Nature, wherein omni­scient skill appears, is insensible as a Stone carv'd into the shape of [Page 111] a Man. Nay the most learned Professors know little more than the several kinds of things, and the causes and manner of some particular effects. How often are they forc't to take refuge in oc­cult qualities when prest with difficulties? or only assign uni­versal causes of things, and some­times the same for operations ex­treamly contrary? How many mysteries of Nature are still vaild and hid in those deep recesses where we can go only in the dark? How much remains undis­cover'd that is truly wonderful in the Works of God? They are the Objects of the Eye and Mind, but what is visible to the Eye is least worthy of admiration. From hence the value of the Works, and the Glory of the Author is much lessen'd. Besides, the rational [Page 112] pleasure of the mind is lost by not discerning the wise order that is infallibly observ'd in universal Nature. 'Tis not the viewing a musical Instrument, the variety of the parts, and of the strings in their size and length, that produ­ces delight, but hearing the har­monious and pleasant diversity of their sounds contemper'd by the proportion of numbers. Thus 'tis not the sight of the meer outward frame of things, but the under­standing the intellectual Musick, that springs from the just Laws of Nature, whereby they are perfect­ly tuned, and the conspiring har­mony of so many mixt parts without the least harsh discord, that ravishes the Soul with true pleasure.

2. The inobservance of Man is another cause why the great [Page 113] Creatour is not magnified for all his Works. If we did consider the least, even one of thoseTertullian. unius puncti animalia, a Flea or Mite, we should find what is admirable in that scarce-visible Atom of mat­ter. But theAssiduitate cotidiana, & Consuitudine oculorum assu­escunt animi, ne (que) admiran­tur, ne (que) requi­runt rationes earum rerum quas semper vident. Quasi novitas magis quam magni­tudo rerum debeat ad ex­quirendas cau­sas excitate. Cicer. c. 2. de nat. Deor. novelty, not the excellence of things, draws our thoughts. The greatest works in Nature, that are not Miracles, only because common and usual, are past by with a careless Eye. Their continual presence is not moving, but lessens our regard and attention. TheArabia at (que) India meden­do aestimatur, ulteri (que) parvo medicina à ru­bro ma [...]i im­putatur, cum remedia vera pauperimus quisque caenet, nam si ex hor­ro petatur aut herba, aut fru­tex quaeratur, nulla artium vilior fiet. Plin. lib. 24. Naturalist observ'd it to be one of the so­lemn follies of Men, to value Me­dicines not for their Virtue, but the Country where they grow, the Climate from whence they come; if they have a Barbarous name, they are reputed to have a mysterious efficacy, and those [Page 114] Plants are neglected as unprofita­ble, that are natives of their own Soil. The rarity is esteem'd more than the merit of things. 'Tis a greater wonder to give light to the Sun, than to restore it to the blind, yet its daily presence does not affect us. If a Chymist should extract a Liquor of such an extraordinary virtue, that by pouring a few drops of it on the dust, a Body should be form'd, animated, and move, would any one be induc'd to believe it with­out the testimony of his own eyes, and would it not be a surprising wonder? Yet innumerable living Creatures spring from the Dust by the falling of Rain, and few think it worthy of observation. The raising a dead Body to life would astonish us, but we are un­affected that every day so many [Page 115] living Men are born. Yet, if we consider things aright, the secret forming a Body in the Womb is an equal Prodigy of Power, and as truely marvellous, as the resto­ring the vital congruities to a car­cass, that prepare it for the recepti­on of the Soul. What more deservs serious reflection, than that from the same indistinct Seed, so many and such various parts in their substance, figure and qualities should proceed? hard and dry for the Bones, liquid for the humours, moist and soft for the flesh, tena­cious for the Nerves, perforated for the Arteries and Veins, hot for the Liver and Heart, cold for the Brain, transparent for the Eyes? How should it raise our wonder that that matter which in it self is simple and equal, in Gods hand is [Page 116] capable of such admirable Art? But the constant sight of living productions causes our neglect, and deprives him of his just Ho­nour. Thus,Magni artifi­cis est, clausis­se totum in exiguo. that from almost an invisible Seed weak and tender,Sen [...]. should spring a great Tree of that strength as to resist the fury of the Winds,Naturae mi­raculo est tam parvo gigni arbores. Plin. what miraculous virtue is requisit? The inlightned obser­ving Mind ascends from Nature to God, whose instrument it is, and with deliberate admiration praises Him for his excellent Works.

2. The most humble fear is a necessary Duty from Man to the Majesty and Power of the Crea­tour. A barren admiration of his omnipotent Art in his Works is not sufficient, but it must be joy­ned with awful respects of his Ex­cellent [Page 117] Greatness. He has the right, and to him is due the reverence and homage of universal King. With what solemnity and com­posedness of Spirit should we ap­proach the Divine Presence? What a jealous watch ought to be plac'd over our Hearts in all our addresses to Him, lest by careles­ness and inadvertency we should disparage his Excellencies. To think of Him without reverence is a profanation. The Lord is a great God, and a great King above all Gods; and from hence the necessary con­sequence is, O come let us worship and fall down, and kneel before the Lord our Maker. What ever is Glorious, is in Him in the most excellent degrees of Perfection. The World, with the innumerable variety of Creatures, is but a drop [Page 118] compar'd to his Transcendent Greatness. And what part is Man of that drop? as nothing. Time is but a point of his Eternity, Do­minion but a shadow of his Sove­raignty. 'Tis the most natural duty of Man to walk humbly with his God, and to fear above all things to displease Him. The whole Creation, even the insen­sible part, and that seems least subject to a Rule and Law, and least conducted by Reason, obey his Will. What is more light and rash than the Winds? yet they do not breath but by his Command. What is more fierce and impetu­ous than the Sea? yet it does not transgress his Order. When it threatens to over-run the whole Earth, the weak Sand stops its foaming rage, and it retires, re­specting [Page 119] the bounds set by the Creator. What then will be our guilt, if we are regardless of his Majesty and Authority, who are enlightned with Reason to under­stand his Will, when the most re­bellious and unteachable things in Nature readily and constantly obey Him? He is present every­where, the whole compass of Heaven and Earth is but an inch of his Immensity; He sees all, observes all, is more intimate with our Hearts than we are our selves; and dare Man trample on his Laws before his face? Who can by resistance or flight escape from inevitable punishment, that offends him? He can bind the most stubborn enemies hands and feet; and cast them into utter darkness. As he made all things by the meer [Page 120] act of his Will, so without the least strain of his Power he can destroy them? What does not a mortal man arrogate to appear terrible, and make his Will to be obeyed, when he has but power to take away this short natural life? The proud King of Babylon command­ed the numerous Nations under his Empire, to prostrat themselves like Brutes in the lowest adoration of the Image he set up; and when the three Hebrew young Men refused to give Divine Ho­nour to it, he threatned, If ye wor­ship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery For­nace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? This is the language of a Man (poor Dust) that can heat a Fornace with Fire, and has a Squadron [Page 121] of Souldiers ready upon the least intimation of his pleasure to throw into it any that disobey'd, as if no Power either in Heaven or Earth could rescue them from him. 'Twas impious folly in him thus to speak. But God can give order to Death to seize on the stoutest Rebel, and cast him into an eternal Fornace, and say in truth, Who shall deliver out of my hands? His Power reaches beyond the Grave.Carnulius me evasit. Suit. Tiberius in­tending to put to death by slow and exquisit torments one who kill'd himself, cry'd out in a rage, Carnulius has made an escape from me. But no Sinner can by dying es­cape God's Justice, for Death it self takes the Condemned, and de­livers them to endless Torments. There are no degrees of fear can be equal to this cause, the Wrath [Page 122] of the great Creator. Is there any pleasure of sin so sweet, but this, if considered, would make it to be as Poison or Gall to the taste? Is any Joy so predominant but this would instantly make it die in the carnal heart? The due apprehen­sion of Almighty Anger is suffici­ent to subdue the most vicious in­superable passions that so violent­ly transport to sin. But O Asto­nishing stupidity! The most of Men without fear provoke the living God, as if he were like the Idols of the Heathens, a dead stock or stone, insensible and po­werless, so that the Spiders made their Webs on the Beard of Jupi­ter, and the Birds their Nests in his Thunder. Where is their Reason, where is their self-love, to chal­lenge so dreadful an Adversary, who is able in the very act of Sin [Page 123] to strike them with Death Tem­poral and Eternal. Consider this, ye that forget God, lest he tear you in pieces, and there is none to deliver.

3. Love and Obedience in the highest degree are due to the Au­thor of our Beings, and all things for our use and profit. What moti­on is more according to the Laws of Nature, than that Love should answer Love? and so far as the one descends in benefits, the other should ascend in thankfulness? If we consider the first and funda­mental benefit with all its circum­stances, in the pure order of Na­ture, that we are Men consisting of a rational Soul, and a Body ad­mirably prepar'd for its conveni­ent habitation, and in this regard the most wonderful work of God; can a humane Breast be so hard and flinty as not to be soft­ned [Page 124] and made receptive of im­pressions by this effect of his pure goodness? Is it possible that any one should be of such a stupid sa­vage temper, so void of all huma­nity, nay of the sentiments of the lower Nature, as not to be toucht with a grateful affection to the Author of his life, when Lions and Tigers, the most untractable Beasts of the Forest, are by an in­nate principle so tenderly inclin'd to their Dams? It unspeakably en­forces our obligation, that beside the inherent excellencies of Nature he made us by priviledg above all Creatures in this sensible World, and furnish'd it with innumerable objects excellent in their beauty and variety, that are not meer re­medies for necessity, but for the delight of this present life. And having tasted the good of being, [Page 125] and the fruits of his magnificent Bounty, can we be coldly affected to our great Benefactor? The Beneficiis tuis illum cinge, quo­cun (que) se con­vertit, memo­riam tui fu­giens ibite videat. Moralist advises, as the best expe­dient to make a person grateful, encompass him with thy benefits, that wherever he turns, something may recal his fugitive memory, and render thee visible to him.Senec. This cannot be done by Men. But where ever we turn our thoughts, or fix our eyes, either on our persons or comforts, on the present state, or the future, (for he has given Eternity to our dura­tion) we find our selves incircled with innumerable and inestima­ble benefits from God. 'Tis im­possible we should ever forget them without the greatest guilt. Every minute he renews our lives and all our enjoyments. For the actual influence of his [Page 126] Power is as requisit to preserve our being, as at first to produce it. The Creature has nothing of its own, but a simple non-repug­nance of coming into act. How frozen is that Heart that is not melted in love to so good a God? Let us look into the depth of our native nothing, that we may un­derstand the heighth of the divine Love, in raising us from the pure possibility of being into act, and that meerly for his Sovereign pleasure, and most free benignity. There was no necessity that con­strain'd him to decree the making the World, or Man in it: for 'tis a plain contradiction that there should be a superior Power to de­termine a Being of infinite Per­fections. And for that Reason al­so he gives all his Benefits with­out the least possible advantage to [Page 127] himself. 'Twas commended as a miraculous Vertue in Theodosius the Emperor,A te nova be­nignitate is honos amicis tuis habitus est, qui totus esset illorum quibus defe­rebatur, ni­hilque ad te redundaret nisi dandi vo­luptas. that he was boun­tiful meerly to satisfie his own Goodness: But 'tis the propriety of God's Nature. Is He not then worthy of all our thoughts, all our affections, for his most free and admirable Favours? If there be but a spark of Reason, we must judge that the immense Liberali­ty of God to us,Plaeat. without respect to his own interest, is so far from lessening, that it increases our du­ty to correspond in all possible thankfulness.

Consider further, that which adds to the greatness of the Gifts we receive, isIlla quanto gratiora sunt, quantoque in partem inte­riorem animi descendunt, cum delectat cogitantem magis a quo, quam quid acceperis. Senec. de be­nefic. lib. 1. the greatness of the Giver. The price of a benefit rises in proportion to the worth of the person that bestows it. A small gift from a great hand may [Page 128] be justly preferr'd before a richer from a less estimable donor. Now if we consider that the glorious God (in comparison of whom the greatest Kings are but vain sha­dows of Majesty) has made a World full of so many and so ex­cellent Creatures for our refresh­ment, that our being on Earth may not be tedious in the short space of our journey to Heaven, will it not overcome us with an excess of wonder and affection, and cause us to break forth, What is Man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of Man that thon visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the Angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour; Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands, thou hast put all things under his feet.

And as our most ardent Love, [Page 129] so intire Obedience is due to the Creator, both in active service for his Glory, and an absolute resigna­tion to his Will. The strongest title to acquire Dominion accor­ding to the Law of Nature, is that of the Cause to the Effect. The Mind cannot rebel against the light of this Principle. 'Tis most just therefore we should imploy all our powers, even from the ear­ly rise of Reason to the setting point of Life, wholly in his service from whom we received them. 'Tis an excellent representation of St.Sicut dedit figuram, cor daret, & spi­raculum vi­tae. Serm. de verb. Dom. Austin; If a Sculptor, after his fashioning a piece of Marble in a humane Figure, could inspire it with Life and Sense, and give it Motion, and Understanding, and Speech, can it be imagin'd but the first act of it would be to prostrate it self at the feet of the [Page 130] Maker, in subjection and thank­fulness, and to offer what ever it is, and can do, as homage to him? The Almighty Hand of God form'd our Bodies, He breathed into us the Spirit of Life; and should not the power of Love constrain us to live wholly ac­cording to his Will? methinks no­thing should be pleasing to us but as we make it tributary to Him. If we only regard Him as our Crea­tour, that one quality should for ever engage us to fidelity in his service, zeal for his Interest, Obe­dience to his Laws, and an invio­lable respect for his Honour. And this duty binds us the more strongly, because as God made the World for Mans profit, so he made Man for his own Glory. And what the Loadstone is to the Steel, or the sensible good to the appe­tite, [Page 131] the same attractive is the end to the intelligent Nature. And the higher the end is, and the more the mind is fitted to understand its excellence, the more power­fully it should excite the faculties, in pursuit of it according to their uttermost capacity. Now what horrid unthankfulness is it to be insensible of the infinite Debt we owe to God? what disloyalty to pervert his Favours, to slight his Commands, and cross the end of our Creation? The serious consideration that God has given us such a noble Nature, capable to know, love and enjoy Him, and that we have so little improved our faculties, for these excellent ends, should put us in two con­trary excesses of Spirit, the one of joy, for his unspeakable Good­ness, the other of confusion, for [Page 132] our most unworthy neglect of it. Our duty and our disobedience have the same measure. The Goodness and Bounty of our great Benefactor regulates the one and the other. The more we have received from Him, the more we are ingaged to Him, and the more we are ingaged, the more guilty, and worthy of punishment will our neglect be. Among Men an ungrateful perfidious person is an object of horror, and favours a­bused become motives of hatred. To employ our faculties rational or sensitive to the disservice of our Maker, is the same kind of villany though of incomparably greater guilt both in respect of the object and degree; as if a Trai­tor should turn the very same Weapons against his Prince, that he received from him for his de­fence. [Page 133] To turn his benefits into occasions of sin, and by the same things to dishonour him by which we should glorifie Him, is extreme perversness. In this, unthankful Man imitates the Earth from whence he was taken: for that makes use of the heat of the Sun to send up Vapours that obscure the Beams of Light he communicates to it. This is to despise the Divine Majesty, Power, Wisdom, Good­ness, that are united, and so emi­nently appear in his Works, and will provoke his severe Ven­geance. Let us therefore every day revive the sense of our obli­gations, and by intense thoughts kindle the affections of Love and Reverence, of praise and thank­fulness, that in them as flames ascending from an Altar, we may offer our selves a holy living Sacrifice, [Page 134] which is our reasonable service. Our All is due to him, what ever we are, what ever we have, our Bo­dies, our Souls, our Time and E­ternity.

And an humble resignation to his Will in all things is the essenti­al duty of his Creatures 'Tis true that upon the account of his Wis­dom and Power, it becomes us with the most respectful submis­sion to yeild our selves to his plea­sure. Authority and Dignity na­turally result from their union in a person. Therefore 'tis Supreme in him who possesses them in their greatest excellence. When God himself speaks to Job of his tran­scendent Majesty, and of his right to dispose of Men according to his Will; he produces his Works as the conspicuous testimonies of his great Power and exquisite Wis­dom: [Page 135] But the reason of our sub­mission will be more convincing if we remember that God has an absolute unalienable propriety in us, and all that we enjoy; for our being and comforts are the liberal gifts of his hand. If therefore he shall please to take away any of his Favours, even Life it self, though not to exchange it for a life infinitely better, it would be the most unnatural rebellion to to resist the dispositions of his Pro­vidence, the most vile unthankful­ness, to be stormy and passionate, or to consent to any secret mur­muring and discontent in the Heart, as if our own were taken from us, either unseasonably or unjustly. And though our trou­bles immediately proceed from second natural Causes, yet accord­ing to right Reason, we must [Page 136] esteem them but as instruments of his invisible Hand, and govern'd by his Counsel, in order to such effects and in the time he pleases. It is our duty even in the saddest circumstances, with an entire rea­diness of mind, and conformity of desires to say to our Maker, Thy will be done.

4. Truth and Reliance on God is our duty and priviledge. Every being has a necessary dependance on Him for its subsistence; but Man of all the visible Creatures is only capable of affiance in Him, by reflecting upon his own Impo­tence, and by considering the Per­fections of the Creator, that ren­der him the proper object of trust. 'Tis is incommunicable honour of the Deity, to be acknowledged and regarded as the Supporter of all things. To put confidence in [Page 137] our selves, in the advantages of Body or Mind or Estate, as if we were the Architects of our own felicity, is a sacrilegious usurpati­on. Yet vain Man foments a se­cret pride and high opinion of himself, as if by his own prudence and conduct he might acquire an happiness, till experience confutes his pleasing but pernicious error. The truth is, were there no God, whose powerful Providence go­verns all things, and has a special care and respect of Man, he were of all creatures the most miserable. So that besides the wickedness, we may clearly discover the folly of Atheism, that deprives Man of his chiefest Comfort at all times, and his only Comfort in the greatest exigencies. For in this mutable state he is liable to so many disast­ers and wretched accidents, that [Page 138] none can have an assurance of prosperity one day. How frail and uncertain is Life, the founda­tion of all temporal Enjoyments? It depends upon so many things, that 'tis admirable it subsists for a little time. The least vessel in the Body that breaks or is stopt, inter­rupting the course of the Blood and Humours, ruines its oecono­my. Sometimes in its vigorous consistence, when most distant from Sickness 'tis nearest to Death. A little eruption of Blood in the Brain is sufficient to stop the pas­sages of the Spirits, and deprive it of motion and life. And the changes of things without us, are so various and frequent, so great and suddain, that 'tis an excess of folly, a dangerous rest to be secure in the enjoyment of them. The same person sometimes affords an [Page 139] example of the greatest Prosperi­ty, and of greater Misery in the space of a few hours. Henry the fourth of France, in the midst of the triumphs of Peace, was by a blow from a sacrilegious hand dispatcht in his Coach, and his blody Corps forsaken by his Servants, expos'd to the veiw of all; so that as the Mazaray Historian observes, there was but a moment between the adorations and oblivion of that great Prince. All flesh is Grass, and the glory of it as the flower of the Grass. What ever dis­guises its imperfections, and gives it lustre, is but superficial, like the colour andornament of a Flower, whose matter is only a little dust and Water, and is as weak and fa­ding. Who then can possess these things without a just jealousie, lest they should slip away, or be [Page 140] ravisht from him by violence? And in this respect Man is most unhappy; for besides the afflicti­on of present evils, Reason, that separates him from other Crea­tures, and exalts him above them, is the fatal instrument of his trou­ble by the prevision of future e­vils. Ignorance of future miseries is a priviledge, when Knowledg is ineffectual to prevent them. Un­seen evils are swallow'd whole, but by an apprehensive imagina­tion are tasted in all their bitter­ness. By fore-thoughts we run to meet them before they are come, and feel them before they are truly sensible. This was the rea­son of that complaint in theLucan. Po­et seeing the prognosticks of misery many years before it arri­ved,

[Page 141]
Sit subitum quodcunque paras, sit caeca futuri
Mens hominis fati, liceat sperare ti­menti.

Let the Evils thou preparest sur­prize us, let us not be tormented by an unhappy expectation of them, let the success of future things be concealed from our sight, let it be permitted to us to hope in the midst of our fears.

Indeed God has mercifully hid the most of future events from humane curiosity. For as on the one side by the view of great Pro­sperity, Man would be tempted to an excess of Pride and Joy, so on the other (as we are more sensib­ly touch'd with pain than plea­sure) if when he begins to use his Reason and apprehensive faculty, [Page 142] by a secret of Opticks he should have in one sight presented all the Afflictions that should befal him in the World, how languishing would his life be? This would keep him on a perpetual Rack, and make him suffer together and at all times, what shall be endu­red separately and but once. But though the most of future things lie in obscurity, yet often we have sad intimations of approaching e­vils that awaken our fears. Nay, how many Tempests and Ship­wracks do Men suffer in Terra fir­ma, from the suspicion of Calami­ties that shall never be? Imaginary Evils operate as if real, and pro­duce substantial Griefs. Now how can such an infirm & jealous crea­ture, in the midst of things that are every minute subject to the Laws of Mutability, be without in­ward [Page 143] trouble? What can give him repose and tranquillity in his best condition, but an assurance that nothing can befall him but according to the wise Counsel and gracious Will of God? And in extream Afflictions, in the last Agonies, when no humane things can afford relief, when our dear­est Friends are not able to com­fort us, but are miserable in our miseries, what can bear up our fainting hope but the Divine Po­wer, a foundation that never fails? what can allay our sorrows, but the Divine Goodness tenderly in­clin'd to succour us? Our help is in the Lord who made Heaven and Earth. The Creation is a visible Monument of his Perfections. The Lord is a Sun, and a Sheild. He is al-sufficient to supply our wants, and satisfie our desires. As the [Page 144] Sun gives Life and Joy to all the World, and if there were millions of more kinds of beings and of individuals in it, his light and heat are sufficient for them all; so the Divine Goodness can supply us with all good things, and ten thousand Worlds more. And his Power can secure to us his Favours, and prevent troubles; or, which is more admirable, make them beneficial and subservient to our felicity. He is a sure refuge, an inviolable Sanctuary to which we may retire in all our streights. His Omnipotence is directed by unerring Wisdom, and excited by infinite love, for the good of those who faithfully obey him. An humble confidence in him, frees us from anxieties, preserves a firm peaceful temper in the midst of Storms. This gives a superiority [Page 145] of Spirit, a true empire of mind over all outward things.

Rex est qui posuit metus,
Occurritque suo libens
Fato, nec queritur mori.

What was the vain boast of Philosophers that by the power of Reason they could make all acci­dents to contribute their happi­ness, is the real priviledge we ob­tain by a regular trust in God, who directs and orders all events that happen for the everlasting good of his Servants. In the worst circumstances, we may rejoyce in Hope, in a certain and quiet ex­pectation of a blessed issue. In Death it self we are more than Conquerers. O Lord God of Hosts, blessed is the Man that trusts in thee.

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CHAP. VIII.Ch. VIII.

The Immortality of the Soul depends on the conservative influence of God. Natural and Moral Ar­guments to prove that God will con­tinue it for ever. The Soul is in­capable of perishing from any cor­ruptible principles, or separable parts. Its spiritual Nature is evi­dent by the acts of its principal fa­culties. The understanding con­ceives spiritual Objects; is not con­fin'd to singular and present things: Reflects upon it self: Corrects the errors of the sense: Does not suffer from the excellence of the Object. Is vigorous in its operations when the body is decay'd, which proves it to be an immaterial faculty. An answer to objections, against the[Page 147] Souls spiritual Nature. That the first notices of things are conveyed through the senses, does not argue it to be a material faculty. That it depends on the temper of the Body in its superior operations, is no pre­judice to its spiritual Nature.

HAving dispatch'd the consi­deration of the prime fun­damental Truth, that there is a most Wise and Powerful Crea­tor of all things, I shall next dis­course of the Immortality of the humane Soul, and the Eternal re­compences in the future State.

In treating of the Souls Im­mortality I shall not insist on nice and subtile Speculations, that eva­porate and leave nothing substan­tial for conviction or practice: but consider those proofs that may induce the mind to assent, and [Page 148] work upon the will to make its choice of objects with respect to their endless consequences here­after. And first, it must be pre­mised, that Immortality is not an inseparable perfection of its na­ture; for 'tis capable of annihila­tion. What ever had a beginning may have an end. God only hath immortality in an absolute sense, and communicates it according to his pleasure. The perpetual ex­istence of Souls is a priviledge that depends on his sustaining vertue, without which they would re­lapse into a state of not Being. His Will is the measure of their duration. I shall therefore consi­der such things as strongly argue that God will not withdraw his conservative influence that is ne­cessary to their Immortality. The Arguments are of two sorts, Natu­ral [Page 149] and Moral. The first prove that God has made the Soul inca­pable of Death by any Internal Causes of perishing from its Na­ture, and in that declares not ob­scurely that he will ever preserve it. The second sort are drawn from the Divine Attributes, the vi­sible Oeconomy of Providence in the government of the World, that are infallible, and will produce a sufficient conviction in minds e­qually inclin'd.

1. The Soul is incapable of Death by any Internal Causes of perishing in its Nature. The dis­solution of things proceeds from the corruptible principles of which they are compounded, and the separable parts of which they consist, and into which they are resolved. Therefore all mixt and material Beings are subject to dis­solution. [Page 150] But the humane Soul is a spiritual substance,Et quum simplex animi natura esset, neque haberet in se quie­quam ad­mixtum di­spar sui, at (que) dissimile, non posse cum di­vidi. Cic. de Senec. simple, without any disagreeing qualities, as heat and cold, moisture and driness, the seeds of corruption. The essences of things are best discover'd by their peculiar opera­tions, that argue a real distinction between them, and from whence arise the different notions where­by they are conceived. The soul of a Brute, performs the same vital acts, as the soul of a Plant, yet 'tis visibly of a more elevated nature, because it performs the functions of the sensitive life that are proper to it. The rational Soul performs the same sensitive acts as the soul of Brutes, but that it is of a higher order of substances, appears by its peculiar objects and immediate operations upon them.

The two principal faculties of [Page 151] the humane Soul are the Under­standing and the Will, and the Actions flowing from them ex­ceed the power of the most re­fined matter however modified, and transcend any Principle that is only endowed with the powers of sense and imagination confin'd to matter.

To proceed orderly, I will first consider the Mind with respect to the quality of its objects, and man­ner how it is conversant about them.

1. The conception of things purely spiritual, God, Angels, se­parate Souls, the Analogies, the differences, and various respects of things, argue it to be of a spi­ritual nature. For 'tis and evident principle, there must be an Ana­logy between the Faculty and the Object. A material Glass cannot [Page 152] represent a Spirit; it has no recep­tivity to take into it an object without figure, colour, and diver­sity of parts, the affections of mat­ter. A spiritual object can only be apprehended by a spiritual o­peration, and that can only be produced by a spiritual Power. The being of things is the root of their working. Now rarifie mat­ter to the highest fineness, reduce it to imperceptible Atoms, 'tis as truly Matter as a gross Body. For lightness and tenuity are as pro­per Attributes of matter, as weight and density, though less sensible.

If a Beast could apprehend what discourse is, it were rational. The Soul therefore that under­stands the Spirituality of things is Spiritual; otherwise it should act extra sphaeram. The intellectual eye alone sees him that is Invisible, un­derstands [Page 153] the reasons of Truth and Justice, looks beyond the bright Hills of Time into the Spi­ritual Eternal World, so that 'tis evident there is an affinity and likeness in Nature between them.

2. Material faculties are con­fin'd to the narrow compass of singular and present things; but the Mind abstracts from all in­dividuals, their pure Nature, and forms their Universal Species. The Eye can only see a colour'd object before it, the Mind con­templates the nature of Colours. It ascends above all the distincti­ons of Time, recollects what is past, foresees what is to come,Celer & Di­is cognatus, omni mundo, & omni aevo Par. Sen. no interval of space or time can hin­der its sight. Besides, theSic mihi persuasi, sic sentio, quum tanta Celeritas animorum sit, tanta memoria praeteritorum, futurorum providentia, tot scien­tiae, tot inventa, non posse eam naturam quae res eas continet mor­talem esse. Cic. swift [Page 154] flight of the thoughts over Sea and Land, the soaring of the Mind in a moment above the Stars, as if its essence were all vigour and activity, prove that 'tis not a mate­rial Power.

3. Sense only acts in a direct way, without reflecting upon its self or its own operations. 'Tis true there is an experimental per­ception included in vital and sen­sible acts; but 'tis far below proper reflection. The Eye doth not see the action by which it sees, nor the imagination reflect on it self: for that being conversant only a­bout representations transmitted through the senses, cannot frame an Image of it self and gaze upon it, there being no such resem­blance conveyed by the mediati­on of the outward organs. But the rational Soul not only con­templates [Page 155] an object, but reflects on its own contemplation, and retir'd from all commerce with External things, views it self, its qualities and state, and by this gives testimony of its Spiritual and immortal Nature.

4. The Mind rectifies the false reports of the Senses, and forms the Judgment of things not ac­cording to their impressions, but by such rational evidence of which they are not capable. When the Object is too distant, or the Medium unfit, or the Organs di­stemper'd, the Senses are deceived. The Stars of the brightest mag­nitude seem to be trembling sparks of light: but the Under­standing considers that the repre­sentations of things are imperfect and less distinct proportionably to their distance, and conceives [Page 156] of their magnitude accordingly. A straight Oar appears crooked in the Water, but Reason observes the error in the refractions, when the Image passes through a dou­ble medium of unequal clearness. Sweet things taste bitter to one in a Feaver, but the mind knows that the bitterness is not in the things but in the viciated Palat. More­over, how many things are col­lected by Reason that transcend the power of fancy to conceive, nay are repugnant to its concep­tion? What corporeal Image can represent the immensity of the Heavens, as the Mind by con­vincing arguments apprehends it? The Antipodes walk erect upon the Earth, yet the Fancy cannot conceive them but with their Heads downward. Now if the Mind were of the same nature [Page 157] with the corporeal Faculties, their judgment would be uniform.

5. The Senses suffer to a great degree by the excessive vehe­mence of their Objects. Too bright a light blinds the Eye. Too strong a sound deafs the Ear. But the Soul receives vi­gor and perfection from the ex­cellence and sublimity of its ob­ject; and when most intent in contemplation, and concenter'd in its self, becomes as it were all Mind, so that the operations of it as sensitive are suspended, feels the purest delights far above the perception of the lower faculties. Now from whence is the distem­per of the Senses in their exercise, but from matter, as well that of the Object as the Organ? And from whence the not suffering of the Mind, but from the impressing [Page 158] the forms of Objects, separated from all matter, and consequent­ly in an immaterial faculty? for there is of necessity a convenience and proportion, as between a Be­ing and the manner of its opera­tions, so between that, and the subject wherein it works. This strongly argues the Soul to be im­material, in that 'tis impassible from matter, even when it is most conversant in it. For it refines it from corporeal accidents, to a kind of spirituality proportioned to its nature. And from hence proceeds the unbounded capacity of the Soul in its conceptions, partly be­cause the forms of things inconsi­stent in their natures, are so puri­fied by the Mind, as they have an objective existence without enmi­ty or contrariety; partly because in the workings of the Mind, one [Page 159] act does not require a different manner from another, but the same reaches to all that is intelli­gible in the same order.

6. The Senses are subject to languishing and decay, and begin to die before Death. But the Soul many times in the weakness of Age is most lively and vigorous­ly productive. The intellectual Off-spring carries no marks of the decays of the Body. In the ap­proaches of Death, when the cor­poreal faculties are relaxt and ve­ry faintly perform their functions, the workings of the Soul are often rais'd above the usual pitch of its activity. And this is a pregnant probability that 'tis of a spiritual Nature, and that when the Body, which is here its Prison rather than Mansion, falls to the Earth, 'tis not opprest by its ruines, but [Page 160] set free and injoys the truest liber­ty. [...]. Plutarch. in Rom. This made Heraclitus say that the Soul goes out of the Body as Lightning from a Cloud, because it's never more clear in its concep­tions than when freed from mat­ter. And what Lucretius excellent­ly expresses in his Verses, is true in another sense than he intended;

Cedit item retro de Terra, quod fuit ante,
In Terram; sed quod missum est ex Aetheris oris,
Id rursus Coeli fulgentia Templa recep­tant.

What sprung from Earth falls to its native place:
What Heav'n inspir'd releast from the weak tye
Of flesh, ascends above the shi­ning Sky.

[Page 161] Before I proceed, I will briefly consider the Objections of some who secretly favour the part of impiety.

1. 'Tis objected, That the Soul in its intellectual operations de­pends on the Phantasms, and those are drawn from the representati­ons of things conveyed through the senses.

But it will appear this does not enervate the force of the Argu­ments for its spiritual nature. For this dependence is only objective, not instrumental of the Souls per­ception. The first images of things are introduc'd by the mediation of the senses, and by their presence (for nothing else is requisit) the mind is excited, and draws a Pic­ture resembling, or if it please not resembling them, and so operates alone, and compleats its own [Page 162] work. Of this we have a clear experiment in the conceptions which the mind forms of things so different from the first notices of them by the Senses.

The first apprehensions of the Deity are from the visible effects of his Power, but the Idea in which the understanding contemplates him, is fram'd by removing all imperfections that are in the Creatures, and consequently that he is not corporeal. For what­soever is so, is liable to corruption, that is absolutely repugnant to the perfection of his nature. Now the common Sense and Fancy, only powerful to work in Mat­ter; cannot truely express an im­material Being. Indeed as Pain­ters by their Colours represent invisible things, as Darkness, the Winds, the Internal affections of [Page 163] the heart, so that by the represen­tations, the thoughts are awakn'd of such objects; so the fancy may with the like Art shadow forth Spiritual Beings by the most re­sembling forms taken from sensi­ble things. Thus it imagins the Angels under the likeness of young Men with Wings, to ex­press their vigor and velocity. But the Mind by its internal light conceives them in another man­ner, by a Spiritual form, that ex­ceeds the utmost efficacy of the corporeal Organs, so that 'tis evi­dent the Soul as intellectual in its singular and most proper operati­ons, is not assisted by the ministry of the Senses.

2. 'Tis objected that the Soul in its superiour operations de­pends on the convenient temper of the Body. The thoughts are [Page 164] clear and orderly when the Brain is compos'd. On the contrary when the predominancy of any humour distempers it, the Mind feels its infirmities. And from hence it seems to be of a corpo­real nature, depending on the Bo­dy in its being, as in its work­ing.

But this, if duly consider'd, will raise no just prejudice against its Spiritual Immortal Nature. For,

1. The sympathy of things is no convincing Argument that they are of the same Nature. There may be so strict a union of Beings of different natures, that they must necessarily be subject to im­pressions from one another. Can any Reasons demonstrate that a Spiritual substance endowed with the powers of understanding and [Page 165] will, cannot be united in a vital composition to a Body, as the Ve­getative Soul is in Plants, and the Sensitive in Beasts? There is no implicite repugnance in this that proves it impossible. Now if such a complex Being were in Nature, how would that spiritual Soul act in that Body, that in its first union with it (excepting some universal Principles) is a rasa tabula, as a white Paper, without the notices of things written in it? Certain­ly in no other imaginable manner than as Man's Soul does now.

Indeed if Man as compounded of Soul and Body, were a sensi­tive Animal, and only rational as partaking of the Universal Intel­lect, bent to individuals for a time, and retiring at Death to its first Being, as Averroes fancied▪ there would be no cause of such a Sym­pathy: [Page 166] but the Soul as intellectu­al, is an informing, not assisting form. And it is an evident proof of the Wisdom and Goodness of the Creator, by this strict and sen­sible union, to make the Soul vi­gilant and active to provide for the convenience and comfort of the Body in the present state, and that notwithstanding such a dis­cord in Nature, there should be such a concord in inclinations.

2. Though the mental opera­tions of the Soul are hindred by the ill habit of the Body, yet the mind suffers no hurt, but still retains its intellectual power without impairing. A skilful Mu­sitian does not lose his Art that plays on an harp when the strings are false, though the Musick is not so harmonious as when 'tis justly tuned. The visive faculty is not [Page 167] weakned, when the Air by a col­lection of gross vapours is so thick, that the eye cannot distinctly per­ceive distant objects. When by the heats of Wine or a Disease the Spirits are inflam'd, and made fierce and unruly, and the Images in the Fancy are put into confusi­on, the mind cannot regularly go­vern and use them: When the fumes are evaporated, the Brain is restor'd to its temper and fitness for intellectual operations, but the mind is not cur'd, that was not hurt by those Distempers.

Briefly, the Deniers of the Souls Immortality, resemble in their arguings some who oppos'd the Divinity of our Saviour. For as Apollinaris and Eunomius from Christ's sleeping so profoundly in a storm,Basil Seleuc▪ Orat. 2. instead of concluding that he was a real Man, falsly in­ferr'd [Page 168] that he was not God: Be­cause sleep is not the satisfaction of a Divine appetite, the Deity is incapable of it. But they con­sider'd not his more than hu­mane Power in rebuking the Winds and the Sea with that Em­pire, that was felt and obeyed by those insensible creatures: so those whose interest inclines them to believe that Man is entirely mortal, alledg that he acts as a sensitive Creature, for he is so, but consider not that he has also more noble faculties, to under­stand objects purely spiritual, and God himself the most perfect in that order, which no material principle, though of the most sub­tile and finest contexture, can reach unto. Besides, the more 'tis disen­gaged from Matter, and retir'd from the senses, the more capable [Page 169] it is to perform its most exalted operations, and consequently by an absolute separation 'tis so far from perishing, that it ascends to itsMihi qui­demnunquàm persuaderi potuit animos dum in cor­poribus essent, mortalibus vivere, quum exissent ex iis emori. Nec ve­ro tum ani­mum esse in­sipieutem quum ex in­sipienti cor­pore evasissit, sed quum om­ni admistione corporis purus & integer esse caepisset, tum esse sapientem Cic. de Sen. perfection. For the manner how it acts in the separate state 'tis to no purpose to search, being most secret, and 'twill be to no purpose to find, as being of no in­fluence to excite us to the constant and diligent performance of our duty. 'Tis therefore a fruitless cu­riosity to inquire after it. But to imagine that because the Soul in the present state cannot under­stand clearly without the conve­nient disposition of the Body, therefore it cannot act at all with­out it, is as absur'd as to fancy be­cause a man confin'd to a Cham­ber cannot see the objects without but through the Windows, there­fore he cannot see at all, but [Page 170] through such a Medium, and that when he is out of the Chamber, he has totally lost his sight.

CHAP. IX.Ch. IX.

The acts of the Will consider'd. Its choice of things distastful to Sense, and sometimes destructive to the Body, argue it to be a spiritual prin­ciple. The difference between Man and Brutes amplified. The Spiri­tual operations of the Soul may be perform'd by it self in a separate state. This is a strong proof God will continue it. The Platonick argumeut that man unites the two orders of Natures intelligent and sensible, Immortal and perishing.

2. THe acts of the Will that imperial faculty, prove it to be of a higher order of sub­stance [Page 171] than the sensitive Soul. The Brutes are acted by pure ne­cessity; their powers are moved and determined by the external application of objects. 'Tis visible that all kinds of sensitive Crea­tures in all times, are carried in the same manner by the potent sway of Nature towards things sutable to their corporeal facul­ties. But the rational Will is a principle of free election, that controuls the lower appetite, by restraining from the most plea­sant and powerful allurements, and choosing sometimes the most distastful things to sense. Now from whence arises this contenti­on? If the rational Will be not of a higher nature than the sensual appetite, why does it not consent with its inclinations? How comes the Soul to mortifie the most ve­hement [Page 172] desires of the body, a part so near in Nature, so dear by Affection, and so apt to resent an injury? And since 'tis most evi­dent that sensitive Creatures al­ways with the utmost of their force defend their Beings, from whence is it that the rational Soul in some cases against the strongest recoile and reluctance of Nature, exposes the body to Death? If it depended on the body for subsist­ence it would use all means to pre­serve it. Upon the sight of con­trary motions in an engine we conclude they are caused by di­verse springs, and can such oppo­site desires in Man proceed from the same principle?

If the rational Soul be not of a sublimer order than the sensitive, it follows that Men are Beasts, and Beasts are Men. Now 'tis as [Page 173] impossible to be what they are not, as not to be what they are. But do the Beasts reverence a Di­vine Power, and at stated times perform acts of solemn Worship? Is Conscience the immediate rule of their Actions? will Lectures of temperance, chastity, justice arrest them in the eager pursute of sen­sual satisfactions? Do they feel re­morse in doing ill, and pleasure in doing well? Do they exercise the Mind in the search of Truth? have they desires of a sublime in­tellectual good that the low sen­sual part cannot partake of? have they a capacity of such an im­mense Blessedness, that no finite Object in its qualities and durati­on can satisfy? Ask the Beasts, and they will tell you. Their acti­ons declare the contrary. But the humane Soul has awful ap­prehensions [Page 174] of the Deity, distin­guishes of things by their agree­ment or disconformity to his Laws: Its best and quickest Plea­sures, and most piercing wound­ing Troubles are from Moral Causes. What colour, what taste has Vertue? yet the purified Soul is inflam'd by the views of its most amiable thô not sensible beauty, and delighted in its sweetness. How often is it so ravish'd in con­templation of God, the great Ob­ject of the rational Powers, as to lose the desire and memory of all carnal things? What stronger Ar­gument and clearer Proof can there be of its affinity withHoc igitur Argumentum habet Divi­nitatis suae, quod illum Divina dele­ctant. Senec. God, than that Divine things are most sutable to it? for if the rational Soul were of the same order with the sensitive, as it could not possi­bly conceive any being more ex­cellent [Page 175] than what is corporeal, so it could only relish gross things wherein Sense is conversant.

The Sum of what has been dis­courst of, is this, that by consider­ing the different operations of Man and of Brutes, we may clear­ly discern the different powers of acting, wherewith the rational Soul is endowed in the one, and the sensitive in the other. The Soul in Beasts performs no opera­tions independent on the Body that serves it either as an instru­ment, or matter of their producti­on: such are the use of the Sen­ses, Nutrition, Generation, all the internal work, and the preparing the Phantasms, without which they would be far less serviceable to Man. 'Tis not strange there­fore that it perishes with the Bo­dy, there being no reason for its [Page 176] duration in a separate state, since 'tis fit only to act by the ministry of the Body. But the Soul of Man, besides the operations that proceed from it as the form of the body it animates, such are all com­mon to man with Plants and Ani­mals, understands, discourses, reflects on it self, that are acts proper to its nature, and includ­ed in its true conception, where­by 'tis distinguished from that of Brutes. Indeed the exercise of sensitive operations depends so absolutely on its union with the body, that they cannot be per­form'd, nor conceived as possible without its presence, and the use of corporeal organs. But the more excellent operations that proceed from the higher faculties, wherewith 'tis indowed not as the form of a material Being, but as [Page 177] a spiritual substance, such as sub­sist for ever without any commu­nion with Bodies, so entirely be­long to it by the condition of Na­ture, that for their production 'tis sufficient of it self. The Under­standing and Will are Angelical Powers, and to know and will, and to be variously moved with pleasure or greif according to the qualities of objects sutable or dis­agreeing, are proper to those Na­tures that have no alliance with Bodies. It follows therefore the Soul, in its separate state, may con­template, and delightfully injoy intellectual objects, or torment it self with reflection on things contrary to its will: Nay, it un­derstands more clearly, and is affected more strongly than be­fore. For these operations during its conjunction are not common [Page 178] to the Body, but produc'd by it in the quality of a mind, and are then most vigorous and expedite, most noble and worthy of it, when the Soul withdraws from all sensible things into it self, and is most rais'd above the manner of working that is proper and pro­portion'd to the body. And from hence 'tis reasonable to conclude that it survives the Body, not losing with it the most noble fa­culty, the mind, that is peculiar to it, nor the necessary instrument of using it. For as the universal Pro­vidence of God supports the lo­wer rank of Creatures in their natural Life, so long as their fa­culties are qualified for actions proper to that life, we may strong­ly argue that his conservative In­fluence will not be withdrawn from the humane Soul that is apt [Page 179] and capable in its own nature to exist, and act in a separate state. In short, the understanding and elective powers declare its descent from the [...]. Plato. Father of Spirits, whose image is ingraven in its nature, not as in brittle glass, but an in­corruptible Diamond.

I shall add to the natural argu­ments an observation of the Pla­tonists, that of all other Philoso­phers approach nearest the truth in their discourses of God and the Soul, of the Majesty of the one and the excellence of the other. They observe that the unity of the World is so closely combin'd in all its parts, the several beings that compose it, that between the superiour and inferiour species there are middle Natures, where­in they meet, that no vacuum may interpose in the series of things. [Page 180] This is evident by considering that between inanimate bodies and living, insensible and sensible, there are some beings that partake of the extremes, and link them to­gether, that the order of things not being interrupted, the mind by continual easie degrees may as­cend from the lowest to the high­est in perfection. And from this just and harmonious proportion that is proper to essences, the intel­ligible beauty and musick of the World arises, that is so pleasing to the considering mind. Now what band is there to joyn the two ranks of Beings, intelligent and sensible, but Man, that partakes of Sense, common with the Beasts, and Un­derstanding to the Angels. For this reason they give him the my­sterious name of Horizon, the ending and union of the two He­mispheres, [Page 181] the superiour and in­feriour, the two orders of Na­tures, immortal, and that shall pe­rish.

CHAP. X.Ch. X.

The moral Arguments for the Souls Immortality. The restless desire of the Soul to an intellectual eternal happiness, argues it survives the Body. The lower order of Crea­tures obtain their perfection here. It reflects upon Nature, if the more noble fails of its end. That wick­ed Men would choose annihilation, is no proof against Mans natural de­sires of Immortality. The neces­sity of a future state of recompences for moral actions, proves the Soul to be immortal. The wisdom of God, as Governor of the World, re­quires[Page 182] there be Rewards and Pu­nishments annext to his Laws. Eter­nal Rewards are only powerful to make men obedient to them in this corrupt state. Humane Laws are no sufficient security of Vertue, and restraint from Vice.

2. I Will now consider the mo­ral Inducements to confirm our belief that God will preserve the Soul in its being and activity hereafter. And of this we have sufficient evidence by internal light, the natural notions of the Deity, and by many visible testi­monies in his Government of the World.

1. The restless desire of the Soul to an intellectual and eternal Felicity not attainable here, is a strong argument that 'tis reserv'd to a future state. The Understand­ing [Page 183] is inclin'd to the knowledge of Truth, the Will to the fruition of Goodness; and in what de­grees soever we discover the one, and enjoy the other in our present condition, we are not content. As one that is burnt up with such a Thirst that onely an Ocean can quench, and has but a little stream to refresh him. God is the only satisfying Object of the rational faculties, and here our concepti­ons of him are so imperfect, that we approach nearer the Truth by denying what is inconsistent with his Nature, than in affirming the proper Perfections of it. And the communications of his Love to us inflames the Soul with new de­sires of fuller enjoyment. This desire of Happiness is essential to Man, as Man. Now 'tis universal­ly acknowledged that Nature is [Page 184] not a vain Principle, it produces no superfluous inclinations in any sort of Creatures, much less in Man, and in that which is most proper to him, and in order to the raising him to his Perfection. The natural motion of a Stone has a center where to rest; Plants arrive to their full growth and beauty; the Beasts have present satisfaction, and are happy Ani­mals. But Man, in whom the two lower lives and the Intellectual are united, is here only in his way to happiness, his best endeavours are but imperfect essays towards it.

Now if the Soul does not sur­vive the Body, and in a separate state obtain its desires, it will re­flect upon Nature for imprudence or malignity, in dealing worse with the most noble order of vi­sible [Page 185] Beings. The Beasts excel Man in the quickness and vivacity of the powers of Sense, being their perfection, and in him subordi­nate faculties, and are more ca­pable of pleasure from sensible things; and Reason, his eminent Prerogative, makes him more lia­ble to misery. For Man ardently aspiring to a Spiritual Happiness, that here he cannot enjoy, much less hereafter if the Soul perish, is under a remediless infelicity. His Mind is deceived and stain'd with Errors, his Will tormented with fruitless longings after an impossi­ble Object. But if we unveil the face of Nature, God appears (who is the Author of our being, and of this desire so proper to it) and we cannot suspect, without the high­est Impiety, that he would make all Men in vain, and deceive them by [Page 186] a false appearance. But he gives us in it a faithful presage of things future, and indiscernable to sense, to be injoyed in immortality. This Argument will be the more forcible, if we consider that holy Souls, who excel in Knowledge and Vertue do most inflamedly long for the enjoyment of this pure felicity. And is it possible that the Creatour should not on­ly endow Man with rational po­wers, but with vertues that exalt and inlarge their capacity to ren­der him more miserable? to ima­gine that he cannot, or will not fully and eternally satisfie them is equally injurious to his perfecti­ons. It therefore necessarily fol­lows that the Soul lives after Death, and fully enjoys the hap­piness it earnestly desir'd whiles in the darkness of this earthly Ta­ber [...]cle

[Page 187] Add further, that Man alone of all Creatures in the lower World understands and desires Immor­tality. The conception of it is peculiar to his Mind, and the de­sire of it as intrinsick to his Nature as the desire of Blessedness. For that Blessedness that ends, is no perfect Blessedness, nor that which every one desires. Man alone feels and knows that his Nature is capable of excellent perfections and joys. Now if he shall cease to be for ever, why is this know­ledge and desire but to render him more unhappy, by grief for the present shortness of life, and by despair of a future Immortali­ty? In this respect also the condi­tion of the Beasts would be bet­ter than of Men. For though they are for ever deprived of Life, yet they are uncapable of regret, be­cause [Page 188] they cannot by reflection know that they possess it, and are without the least imagination or desire of immortality. They are alive to the present, but dead to the future. By a favourable ig­norance they pass into a state of not being, with as much indiffe­rence, as from watching to sleep, or from labour to repose. But to Man that understands and va­lues Life and Immortality, how dark and hideous are the thoughts of annihilation? let him enjoy all possible delights to sense, or desireable to the powers of the Soul, How will the sweetness of all be lost in the bitterness of that thought that he shall be deprived of them for ever?Mors iis ter­ribilis, quo­rum cum vita omnia extin­guuntur. Cic. How frightful is the continual apprehension of an everlasting period to his being, and all enjoyments sutable to it? [Page 189] After that a prospect of Eternity has been shown to him, how tor­menting is the thought that he must die as the stupid Ox, or the vilest Vermine of the Earth, and with him the fallacious instinct of Nature that inclin'd him to the most durable happiness? If it were thus, O living Image of the Immortal God, thy condition is very miserable! What the Ro­mans wisht in great anguish for the loss of Augustus, that he had not been born,Vtinam aut non natus es­ses, aut non morereris. or had not died, is more reasonable in this case: it were better that the desire of eter­nal Life had not been born in Man, or that it should be fulfilled. If it be objected that many Men are not only without fear of anni­hilation, but desire it, therefore Im­mortality is not such a priviledg that thereasonable Creature, natu­rally aspires to.

[Page 190] I answer; the inference is very preposterous, for the reason of their choice is, because they are at­tentive to an object infinitely morePleros (que) con­scientia meri­torum, nihil esse post mor­tem, magis optare, quàm credere. Ma­lunt enim ex­tingui, quam ad supplicia reparari. M. Fel. sad and afflictive, that is, a state of everlasting torments, which the guilty conscience pre­sages to be the just recompence of their crimes. So that enclosed between two evils, an eternal state of not Being, and an Eternity of misery, 'tis reasonable to venture on the least, to escape the greater. But supposing any hopes of fu­ture happiness, they would de­sire immortality as an excellent benefit. As one that has lost the pleasure and taste of Life, by con­suming sickness, and sharp pains, or some other great calamities, may be willing to die, but sup­possing a freedom from those evils, the desire of Life as the most [Page 191] precious and dear enjoyment would strongly return. And that the desire of Immortality is na­tural, I shall add one most visi­ble testimony. For whereas the lower sort of Creatures that final­ly perish in Death are without the least knowledg of a future estate, and are therefore careless of leaving a memorial after them: on the contrary, Men are solici­tous to secure their names from oblivion, as conscious of their souls surviving in another World. This ardent passion not directed by higher Principles, excites them to use all means, to obtain a kind of immortality from Mortals. They reward Historians, Poets, Ora­tours to celebrate their actions. They erect Monuments of durable Brass and Marble to represent the Effigies of their faces: They en­deavour [Page 192] by triumphal Arches, Py­ramids, and other works of Mag­nificence, to eternize their Fame, to live in the eyes, and mouths, and memories of the living in all succeding times. These indeed are vain shadows, yet argue the desire of immortality to be na­tural. As 'tis evident there is a na­tural affection in Parents to pre­serve their Children, because when they are depriv'd of their living presence, they dearly value and preserve their dead Pictures, though but a poor consolati­on.

2. The necessity of a future state wherein a just retribution shall be made of rewards and pu­nishments to Men according to their actions in this life, includes the Souls Immortality. For the proof of this I shall lay down [Page 193] such things as certainly establish it.

1. The first Argument is drawn from the Wisdom of God in go­verning the reasonable World. In the quality of Creator, he has a su­pream title to Man, and conse­quently is his rightful Governor, and Man his natural subject. Now Man being endowed with free fa­culties, the powers of knowing and choosing, is under a Law clear­ly imprest on his Nature by the Author of it, that strictly forbids moral evil, and commands moral good. And to enforce the Au­thority of this Law, the Wisdom of the Lawgiver, and the temper of the Subject requires, that wil­ling obedience should be attended with certain rewards, and volun­tary disobedience with unavoid­able punishments. For Man be­ing [Page 194] so fram'd as to fore-see the consequences of his actions, the inward springs of hope and fear, work and govern him according­ly. And these necessary effects of Vertue and Vice must be so great, as may rationally induce Man to reverence and observe the Law of his Maker, in the presence of the strongest Temptation to the con­trary. Now if we consider Man in this corrupt state, how averse from good, and inclin'd to evil, how weak his directive faculty, how disordered and turbulent his Passions, how many Pleasures are pressing on the senses, to precipi­tate his slippery disposition into a compliance, it is very evident, that besides the rules of Morality, eter­nal Reasons are necessary to pre­serve in him a dutiful respect to God. Take away the hopes and [Page 195] fears of things hereafter, what An­tidote is of force against the poi­son of inherent Lusts? what can dis­arm the World of its Allurements? how can Man void of Innocence, and full of Impurity, resist the de­lights of Sin, when the inclinati­ons from within, are as strong as temptations from without? how greedily will he pursue the advan­tages of this mortal condition, and strive to gratifie all the sensual ap­pitites? The Romans when the fear ofRemoto Carthaginis metu, subla­tâque Imperii aemulâ non tam gradu, sed praecipiti cursu a vir­tute desci­tum, ad vitia transversum est. Pat [...]rc. Carthage, that aspired to a superiority in Empire, was remo­ved, presently degenerated from Military Valor and Civil Vertues, into Softness and Luxury. So if Man were absolv'd from the fear of Judgment to come, no restraint would be strong enough to bridle the impetuous resolutions of his depraved will. If there were no [Page 196] evil of punishment after Death, there is no evil of Sin but will be continued in, till Death. And Man, that by nature is incomparably above, by Vice would be incom­parably beneath the Beasts: inso­much as joyning to their natural brutishness, the craft and malice of wit, he would become more monstrously (that is, designedly and freely) brutish. Now is it conceivable that God, to keep his subjects in order, should be con­strained to allure them with a beautiful deceit, the promise of a Heaven that has no reality, or to urge them by the feigned terrors of a Hell, that is no where? This is inconsistent with his Wisdom, and many other Attributes.

If it be objected, That humane Laws are a sufficient security of Vertue, and curb from Vice.

[Page 197] I answer, This is apparently false: For,

1. Soveraign Princes are ex­empted from temporal penalties, yet their faults are of the greatest malignity by the contagion of their examples, and the mischief of their effects. Their Actions are more potent to govern than their Laws. Innumerable perish by the imitation of their Vices. Now to leave the highest rank of Men un­accountable, would cause a great disorder in the conduct of the rea­sonable Creature, and be a spot in the Divine Providence.

2. Many Sins directly opposit to Reason, and injurious to the Divine Honour, are not within the compass of Civil Laws. Such are some Sins that immediately concern God, the disbelief and un­dervaluing his Excellencies; and [Page 198] some that immediately respect a Man's self, as Sloth, Luxury, &c. And all vicious Principles that se­cretly lodge in the heart, and in­fect it with deep pollutions, and many sins that break forth, of which the outward acts are not pernicious to the publick.

3. Many eminent vertues are of a private nature, as Humility, Meekness, Patience, a readiness to forgive, Gratitude, for which there are no encouragements by civil Laws: so that they are but a weak instrument to preserve In­nocence, and restrain from Evil.

CHAP. XI.

The Justice of God an infallible Ar­gument of future recompences. The natural notion of God includes Ju­stice[Page 199] in perfection.Ch. XI. In this World sometimes Vertue and Vice are e­qually miserable. Sometimes Vice is prosperous. Sometimes good Men are in the worst condition. The dreadful consequences of deny­ing a future state. Gods absolute Dominion over the reasonable Crea­ture, is regulated by his Wisdom, and limited by his Will. The essential beauty of Holiness, with the pleasure that naturally results from good actions, and the native turpitude of Sin, with the disturbance of the mind reflecting on it, are not the compleat recompences that attend the Good and the Wicked.

2. THe second Argument arises from the Divine Goodness and Justice. God as Universal So­vereign is Supream Judge of the World. For Judicature being an [Page 200] essential part of Royalty, these rights are inseparable. And the natural notion of the Deity in­cludes Justice in that Perfection, as infinitely excells the most just Governors on the Earth. This gives us convincing evidence for recompences hereafter. For there is no way of proof more certain, than by such maximes as are ac­knowledged by all to be undoub­tedly true by their own light. In the motives of intellectual assent, the mind must finally rest on some that are self-evident, without de­pending as to their clearness on any superiour proof; and are therefore called first Principles, the fountains of Discourse. Now that God is most righteous and equal in his Judgment, before whose Throne, Man must appear, that he will by no means con­demn [Page 201] the Innocent, nor justify the Guilty; that He is so Pure and Holy that he cannot suffer Sin unrepented of, to go unpuni­shed, is a prime Truth, declared by the voice of Nature. The weakest twylight of Reason dis­cerns the Antipathy of this Connexion, an unjust God in­different to good or evil. Ne­ver any Sect of Idolaters form'd such an unworthy Deity, that was absolutely careless of Ver­tue and Vice, without distin­guishing them in his Affections and Retributions: This were to debase him beneath the most un­reasonable men, for there is none of such an impure mind, so per­fect a despiser of moral goodness, but has some respect for Vertue, and some abhorrence of Vice in [Page 202] others, especially in their Chil­dren. From hence it certainly follows, that as Vertue and the re­ward, Sin and the punishment are allied in a direct line by a most wise Constitution; so 'tis just that the effects should truly correspond with the quality of mens actions. If they reverence God's Laws, 'tis most becoming his Nature and Relation to make them happy: if they abuse their Liberty, and violate his Commands, 'tis most righteous that they should feel the effects of their chosen wickedness. Now if we look only to things seen, we do not find such equal distributions as are suitable to the clear Light wherewith God has irradiated the Understanding of Man, concerning his Governing-Justice.

1. Sometimes Vertue and Vice [Page 203] are equally miserable here. In common Calamities is there a dif­ference between the Righteous and the wicked? is there a peculi­ar Antidote to secure them from pestilential infection? or a strong retreat to defend them from the Sword of a conquering enemy? have they secret provisions in times of Famine? are not the Wheat and Tares bound in a bundle and cast into the same fire?

2. Many times the most guilty offenders are not punisht here. They not only escape the justice of Men, by secrecy, by deceit or favour, by resistance or flight, but are under no conspicuous marks of Gods Justice. Nay, by wicked means they are prospe­rous and happy.

3. The best Men are often in [Page 204] the worst condition, and merely upon the account of their Good­ness. They are opprest because they do not make resistance, and loaden with sufferings, because they endure them with patience. They are for Gods sake made the spectacles of extreme misery, whilst the insolent defiers of his Majesty and Laws enjoy all visi­ble felicities. Now in the judg­ment of Sense, can Holiness be more afflicted if under the displea­sure of Heaven, or Wickedness more prosperous, if favour'd by it? But this is such a monstrous in­congruity, that unless we abolish the natural Notions of the Divine excellencies, it cannot in the least degree be admitted. If therefore we confine our thoughts to hu­mane affairs in this life, without taking a prospect into the next [Page 205] World, where a new order of things presents it self, what dire­ful consequences will ensue? This takes away the Sceptre of Provi­dence from the hands of God, and the reverence of God from the hearts of Men, as if the present state, were a game wherein Chance reigned, and not under the in­spection and disposure of a wise, just and powerful Governour. If there be no Life after Death, then Natural Religion in some of its greatest Commands, as to Self-de­nial, even to the suffering the greatest evils rather than do an unjust unworthy action, and to sacrifice Life it self when the Ho­nour of God and the publick Good require it, is irreconcilable to that natural Desire and Duty, that binds and determines Man to seek his own felicity in conjuncti­on [Page 206] with the Glory of his Maker. But it is impossible that the Di­vine Law should foil it self, that contrary obligations should be laid on Man by the wise and holy Lawgiver. And what terrible con­fusion would it be in the minds of the best Men? What coldness of affection to God as if they were not in the comfortable relation of his Children, but wholly without his care? What discouragements in his Service? what dispair in suffering for him? What danger of their murmuring against Pro­vidence, and casting off Religion as a sowre unprofitable severity, and saying, Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency; or exclaming with Bru­tus in a desperate manner, when he was overcome in battel, and defeated of his design, to recover [Page 207] Rome from Tyranny; O infoelix Virtus! itane, cum nihil nisi nomen esses, Ego te, tanquam rem aliquam exercui?

And the enemies to Holiness restrain'd by no respects to a supe­riour Power, will obey their bru­tish Lusts as their supream Law; And if such diseases or troubles happen that the pleasant operati­ons of Life cease, they may re­lease themselves by a voluntary easy Death, and fall into a sleep never to be disturb'd; so that they would be esteem'd the only hap­py persons.

In short, if we onely regard things as they pass in the sensible World, we shall be in danger of being over-tempted to Atheism, and to rob God of his Glory and Worship, and that Faith, Fear, Love and Obedience that are due [Page 208] to him. Of this I will produce only two Examples. Diagoras saw a Servant of his stealing from him, and upon his denial of the theft, brought him before the Sta­tue of Jupiter thundring, and con­strained him to adjure Jupiter for the honour of his Deity, and of Justice and Fidelity, to strike him dead at his feet with Thunder, if he were guilty of the fact, and af­ter three times repeating the dread­ful Oath, he went away untouch'd without harm. Upon the sight of this Diagoras cryed out, as in the Poet;

—Audis
Jupiter haec,
Juvenal. Satyr. 13.
nec labra moves, cum mit­tere vocem
Debueras vel marmoreus, vel ahae­neus?

[Page 209]
Dost hear
This Jove, not mov'st thy lips, when fit it were▪
Thy Brass or Marble spoke?

And whereas he should have been convinc'd that a Statue could not be a God, he impiously concluded that God was nothing but a Sta­tue; and from that time was hard­ned in irreclamable Atheism. So that otherAlii in ipso capitolio fal­lunt, & ful­minantem pe­jerant Jovem; & nos scelera juvant. Atheist reports of some of the Romans, that they success­fully deceived by false Oaths, even in their most sacred Temple, in the presence of their supream Dei­ty,Plin. lib. 2. the reputed Avenger of Per­jury. And because Vengeance did not immediately over take Guilt, he acknowledged no other God but the World, and Nature, un­concern'd in the governing hu­mane affairs. The disbelief of the [Page 210] future state strikes through the vi­tal principles of Religion, that there is a God, the rewarder of Mens good or evil actions.

It may be objected, That God's Dominion over the reasonable Creature is absolute: For Man ows to him intirely his Being, and all that his Faculties can produce, so that without reflection on Ju­stice, God may after a course of obedience, annihilate him.

To this I answer. The Sove­reign Dominion of God in its ex­ercise towards Men is regulated by his Wisdom, and limited by his Will, that is Holy, Just, and Good. Hence though the Crea­ture can challenge nothing from God as due to its service, yet there is a Justice of condecence that ari­ses from the excellencies of his own Nature, and is perfectly con­sistent [Page 211] with the liberty of his Es­sence, to bestow the eminent Ef­fects of his Favours on his faithful Servants. His Holiness inclines him to love the image of it in the Creature, and his Goodness to re­ward it. His Government is pa­ternal, and sweetned by descend­ing Love in many Favours and Rewards to his obedient Children. There is a resemblance of our du­ty to God, and his rewards to us in the order of Nature among Men. Parents may require of their Children entire obedience, as being the second Causes of their natural Life. And Children may expect from their Parents what is requisite for their welfare. Now God, who is the Father of Men, will be true to his own Rules, and deal with them accordingly, but in a manner worthy of his infinite [Page 212] Greatness. There is not the least obligation on him, but his un­changeable Perfections are the strongest Assurances, that none of his shall obey him to their final prejudice. 'Tis a direct contrariety to his Nature, that Men for Con­science of their Duty should part with temporal Happiness in hopes of eternal, and lose both.

2. It may be objected, That such is the essential beauty of Ho­liness that it should ravish our Af­fections without Ornament or Dowry, that 'tis its own Reward, and produces such a sweet Agree­ment in the Rational Faculties, as fully compensates the loss of all lower delights, and sweetens the troubles that befal a vertuous man in the sincere practice of it. And on the contrary, that such is the native foul deformity of Sin, as [Page 213] renders it most odious for it self, that 'tis its own punishment, be­ing attended with inward dis­quiets and perplexities, much ex­ceeding all its seeming pleasures. Therefore we cannot certainly infer there will be future recom­pences. But this receives a clearer Answer.

1. 'Tis true, that Holiness is most amiable in it self, and in true comparison infinitely excells all the allurements of Sin.

2. 'Tis true, that as natural ac­tions that are necessary to pre­serve the Species, or the Individu­als, are mixt with sensible plea­sures, as an attractive to the per­formance of them; so there is joyn'd to actions of Vertue that are more excellent, a present com­placency of a superiour Order to all carnal pleasures. But 'tis a fri­gid [Page 214] conceit that this is the entire reward. For, first, besides the in­ward satisfaction that naturally results from the practice of Ver­tue, there is an excellent Good, that is properly the reward of the supream Governor of the World. We have an Example of this in humane Justice, which is an image of the divine. For those who have been eminently ser­viceable to the State, besides the joyful sense arising from the per­formance of Heroick Actions for the Good of their Country, are re­warded by the Prince with great Honours and Benefits.

2. This inward Joy is not here felt by all Holy Persons. In this militant state, after vigorous resi­stance of carnal Lusts, they may change their Enemies, and be as­saulted with violent Fears, and in­stead [Page 215] of a sweet calm and serenity fall into darkness and confusion. The Soul and Body in the present conjunction mutually sympathize. As two things that are unisons, if one be touch't and moves, the other untouch't, yet moves, and trembles. The‖Tanta vis est convenientiae, ut rem insen­sualem sponte se movere fa­ciat, quia ejus sociam con­stat agitatam Cassiodor. cause is from the Vibrations the sound makes in the Air, and impresses on solid Bo­dies, moving them according to the harmonious proportion be­tween them. Thus the Soul and the Body are two strings temper'd to such a correspondence, that if one be moved, the other resents by an impression from it. If the Body be Sanguin, or Cholerick, or Melancholy, the Soul by a strange consent feels the motion of the humors, and is altered with their alterations. Now some of excellent vertue are opprest with [Page 216] Melancholy. Others are under strong pains that disturb the free operations of the mind, that it can­not without Supernatural strengih delightfully contemplate what is a just matter of content. The Stoical Doctrine, that a wise Man rejoyces as well in torments, as in the midst ofQuare sapi­ens si in Pha­laridis tauro peruratur, exclamabit, dulce est, ad me nihil per­tinet. Senec. pleasures, that 'tis not in the power of any exter­nal evil to draw a sigh or tear from him, that he is sufficient in himself for happiness, is a Philo­sophical Romance of that severe sect, an excess unpracticable, with­out Cordials of a higher nature than are compounded by the faint thoughts of having done what is agreable to Reason. All their Max­ims are weak supports of such triumphant Language. 'Tis true in a Body disorder'd and broken with Diseases and Pains, the mind [Page 217] may be erect and compos'd, but 'tis by vertue of Divine Comforts from the present sense of Gods favour, and the joyful hopes of eternal felicity in his presence hereafter.

3. Those who suffer the loss of all that is precious and dear in the World, and with a chearful confidence submit to death, that, singly consider'd, is very terrible to nature, but attended with tor­ments is doubly terrible, and all to advance the Glory of God, cannot enjoy the satisfaction of mind that proceeds from the re­view of worthy actions, if their being is determined with their life. Now that love to God ex­prest in the hardest and noblest service should finally destroy a Man, is not conceivable.

To render this Argument [Page 218] more sensible, let us consider the vast multitude of the Martyrs in the first times of Christianity, more easie to be admir'd than numbred. It would be a History, to describe the instruments of their cruel sufferings, invented by the fierce wit of their persecutors, the various torturs to destroy Life with a slow death, such as were ne­ver before inflicted on the guilti­est Malefactours. All which they willingly endured, with an inva­riable serenity of countenance, the sign and effect of their inward peace, Nay with triumphant ex­pressions of Joy. Now to what original shall we attribute this for­titude of Spirit? were such num­bers of all conditions, ages, sects, induc'd by rash counsel, by fren­zy of passion, by a desire of vain­glory, or any like cause, to part [Page 219] with all that is precious and ami­able in the World, for Swords, and Fire, and Crosses, and Wheels, and Racks, to torment and destroy their Bodies? No humane Reasons, nei­ther the Vertue nor Vice of Na­ture, Generosity nor Obstinacy could possibly give such strength under such Torments. This was so evident, that many Heathen Specta­tors were convinc'd of the Divine Power miraculously supporting them, and became Proselytes of Christianity, and with admirable chearfulness offered themselves to the same punishments. Now this is an extrinsick testimony incom­parably more weighty than from a bare affirmation in words, or a meer consent of judgment, that there is an unseen state, infinitely better, and more durable than what is present, the hopes of [Page 220] which made them esteem the parting with all sensible things, measur'd by time, not to have the shadow of a loss. And this was not a meer naked view of a future blessedness but joyned with an impression of that sweetness and strength, that consolation and force of Spirit, that it was mani­fest, Heaven descended to them, before they ascended to Heaven. From hence they were fearless of those who could only kill the Bo­dy, but not touch the Soul. As the breaking a Christal in pieces cannot injure the light that pene­trated and filled it, but releases it from that confinement. So the most violent Death was in their esteem not hurtful to the Soul, but the means to give it entrance into a happy immortality. Now is it in any degree credible that [Page 221] when no other principle was suf­ficient to produce such courage in thousands, so tender and fearful by nature, that the Divine hand did not support them, invisible in ope­ration, but most clearly discover­ed in the effects? And can it be imagined that God, would encou­rage them to lose the most valua­ble of all natural things, life it self, and to their great cost of pains and misery, if there were not an estate wherein he would reward their heroick love of himself, with a good that unspeakably tran­scends what ever is desirable here below?

2. Though Vice in respect of its turpitude, be the truest disho­nour of Man, and be attended with regret as contrary to his Rea­son, yet there is a further punish­ment naturally due to it. Male­factors [Page 222] besides the infamy that cleaves to their crimes, and the se­cret twinges of Conscience, feel the rigour of civil Justice. And if no Physical evil be inflicted as the just consequent of Vice, the viciously inclin'd would despise the moral evil, that is essential to it, as an imaginary punishment. And when the remembrance of Sin disturbs their rest, they would presently by pleasant diversions, call off their thoughts from sad objects.

2. Supposing no other punish­ment but what is the immediate effect of Sin, the most vicious and guilty would many times suffer the least punishment. For the se­cret Worm of Conscience is most sensible, when vice is first spring­ing up, and has tender roots. But when vicious habits are con­firm'd, [Page 223] the Conscience is past fee­ling the first resentments. There are many instances of those who have made the foulest crimes so familiar as to lose the horror that naturally attends them. And ma­ny that have been prosperous in their villanys, dye without tor­menting reflections on their guilt. So that if there be no further pun­ishments we must deny the Di­vine Providence, of which Justice is an eminent part.

CHAP. XII.

Two Arguments more to prove fu­ture recompenses. Tis not possi­ble for civil Justice to dispence rewards aud punishments accor­ding to the good and evil actions of Men. All Nations agree in the acknowledgment of a future state.[Page 224] The innocent Conscience is supported under an unjust Sentence,Ch. XII. by look­ing to the superiour Tribunal. The courage of Socrates in dying, with the cause of it. The guilty Con­science terrifies with the apprehensi­on of judgment to come. Tibe­rius his complaint to the Senate of his inward tortures. An answer to the objection that we have not sensible evidence of what is enjoy­ed, and what is sufferd in the next life. Why sin, a transient act, is punished with eternal death.

3. 'TIs not possible for humane Justice to distribute re­compence exactly according to the moral qualities of actions, therefore we may rationally in­fer there will be a future Judg­ment. This appears by consideriug.

1. That many times those crimes [Page 225] are equally punisht here, that are not of equal guilt: because they proceed from different sources, that lye so low as the strictest in­quisition cannot discover. And many specious actions done for corrupt ends, and therefore with­out moral value, are equally re­warded with those wherein is the deepest tincture of virtue. The ac­counts of civil Justice are made by the most visible cause, not by the secret and most operative and in­fluential. Therefore a superior Tribunal is necessary, to which not only sensible actions, but their most inward principles are open, that will exactly judge of moral evils according to their aggravati­ons and allays, and of moral good according to the various degrees that are truly rewarda­ble.

[Page 226] 2. No temporal benefits are the proper and compleat reward of obedience to God. Not the proper; for they are common to bad and good: but the reward of Holiness must be peculiar to it, that an eminent distinction be made between the obedient and rebellious to the Divine Laws, otherwise it will not answer the ends of Government. And they are not the compleat rewards of obedience. For God rewards his Servants according to the infinite treasures of his Goodness. The sensible World, a Kingdom so vast, so rich, so delightful, is en­joyed by his enemies. We may therefore certainly infer he has re­served for his faithful Servants a more excellent felicity, as becomes his glorious goodness.

3. The extreamest temporal [Page 227] evils that can be inflicted here, are not correspondent to the guilt of Sin. Men can only torment and kill the Body, the instrument and less guilty part, but cannot imme­diately touch the Soul, the princi­pal cause, by whose influence hu­mane actions are vicious, and just­ly punishable. From hence it fol­lows, that supposing the Wicked should feel the utmost severity of Civil Laws, yet there remains in another World a dreadful arrear of misery to be endured as their just and full recompence.

4. In testimony of this Truth, that the Souls of Men are immor­tal to Rewards and Punishments, not only the wisest Men, but all Nations have subscrib'd. The darkest Pagans have acknowledg­ed a Deity and a Providence, and consequently a future Judgment. [Page 228] Indeed this spark was almost drown'd in an Abyss of Fables: for in explicating the process and Recompences of the last Judg­ment they mixt many absurd fictions with truth: but in diffe­rent manners they acknowledged the same thing, that there remains another life, and two contrary states according to our actions here. Of this we have a perfect conviction from the immortal hopes in good Men, and the end­less fears in the wicked. The di­rective understanding that tells Man his duty, has a reflexive po­wer, and approves or condemns with respect to the Supreme Court, where it shall give a full testimony. Hence it is that Con­science so far as innocent, makes an Apology against unjust Char­ges, and sustains a Man under [Page 229] the most cruel Sentence, being perswaded of a superiour Tribu­nal that will rectify the errors of Man's Judgement: But when guilty, terrifies the Offender with the flashes of Judgment to come, though he may escape present suf­ferings. Of this double power of Conscience I shall add some lively Examples.

Plato represents his admirable Socrates after an unjust Condem­nation to Death,Phaed. in the Prison at Athens encompast with a noble circle of Philosophers discoursing of the Souls Immortality, and that having finisht his Arguments for it, he drank the Cup of Poison withEt quum poe­ne manu sua mortiferum te­neret poculum, loquitus est, ut non ad mor­tem rudi, ve­rum in Coelum videretur as­cendere. Ita enim c [...]ns [...]bat, ita (que) disseruit, duas [...]ss [...]vias, duplices (que) cur­sus animorum e corpore ex­cedentium. Nam qui se humanis vitiis contaminas­sent, & se to­tos libidinibus dedissent, qui­bus caecati, vel domesticis vi­tiis & flagitiis se inquinas­sent, vel in re­publica vio­landa fraudes inexpiabiles concaepissent, iis devium quoddam iter esse seclusum à Concilio Deo­rum. Qui au­tem se integros Castosque ser­vassent, qui­busque suisset minima cum corporibus contagio, se (que) ab his semper se [...]ocassent, es­sentque in cor­poribus huma­nis vitam imi­tati Deorum, his ad illos à quibus essent profecti faci­lem reditum patere. Tull. de Socrat. lib. 1. Tusc. quaest. an undisturbed Courage, as one that did not lose but exchange this short and wretched life for a blessed and eternal. For thus he argued, That there are two ways [Page 230] of departing Souls leading to two contrary states, of felicity and of misery. Those who had defiled themselves with sensual Vices, and given full scope to boundless lusts in their private conversation, or who by frauds and violence had been injurious to the Com­mon-wealth, are drag'd to a place of torment, and for ever exclu­ded from the joyful presence of the blessed Society above. But those who had preserv'd them­selves upright and chaste, and at the greatest distance possible from the contagion of the flesh, and had during their union with hu­mane bodies imitated the Divine Life, by an easie and open way returned to God from whom they came. And this was not the sense only of the more vertuous Hea­thens, but even some of those [Page 231] who had done greatest force to the humane Nature, yet could not so darken their Minds, and corrupt their Wills, but there re­main'd in them stinging appre­hensions of punishment hereafter. Histories inform us of many Ty­rants that encompast with the strongest Guards have been a­frighted with the alarms of an ac­cusing Conscience, and seized on by inward terrors, the forerunners of Hell, and in the midst of their luxurious stupifying pleasures have been haunted with an evil Spirit, that all the Musick in the World could not charm. The persons executed by their com­mands were always in their view, shewing their wounds, reproach­ing their cruelty, and citing them before the High and Everlasting Judg the righteous Avenger of in­nocent [Page 232] Blood. How fain would they have kill'd them once more, and deprived them of that life they had in their memories? but that was beyond their power. Of this we have an eminent instance inTiberium non fortuna, non solitudi­nes protege­bant, quin tormenta pec­toris suasque poenas ipse fateretur. Tacit. Tiberius, who in a Letter to the Senate open'd the inward wounds of his Breast, with such words of despair, as might have moved pity in those who were under the continual fear of his Tyranny. No punishment is so cruel as when the Offender, and Executioner are the same Person. Now that such Peace and Joy are the ef­fects of conscious integrity, that such disquiets and fears arise from guilt, is a convincing Argument that the Divine Providence is concern'd in the Good and Evil done here; and consequently that the comforts of Holy Souls are [Page 233] the first fruits of eternal Happi­ness, and the terrors of the Wic­ked, are the gradual beginnings of sorrows that shall never end.

Before I finish this Discourse it will be requisit to answer two Objections that Infidels are ready to make. 1. They argue against the reality of future recompences; That they are invisible, & we have no testimony frō others who know the truth of them by experience. As Alexanders Souldiers after his victories in the East, refused to venture over the Ocean with him for the conquest of other Kingdoms beyond it, alledging, facile ista fin­guntur quia Oceanus navigari non po­test. The Seas were so vast and dangerous that no ship could pass through them. Who ever return­ed that was there? who has given Testimony from his own sight of [Page 234] such rich and pleasant Countries? Nothing can be more easily feign­ed that it is, than that of which there can be no proof that it is not. And such is the Language of Infidelity: Of all that under­took that endless Voyage to ano­ther World, who ever came back through the immense ocean of the Air to bring us news of such a happy Paradise as to make us de­spise this World? do they drink the Waters of forgetfulness, so as to lose the memory of the Earth and its Inhabitants? If there were a place of endless Torments, of the millions of Souls that every day depart from hence, would none return to give advice to his dear friends to prevent their misery? Or when they have taken that last step, is the precipice so steep that they cannot ascend hither? [Page 235] Or does the Soul lose its wings that it cannot take so high a flight? These are idle fancies. And from hence they conclude, that none ever return, because they never come there, but finally perish in the dissolution of the Body, and are lost in the Abyss of nothing: when they cease to live with us, they are dead to themselves. And consequently they judg it a fool­ish bargain to part with what is present and certain for an uncer­tain futurity. Thus they make use of Reason for this end, to per­swade themselves that men are of the same nature with the Beasts, without Reason.

To this I answer. First, though the evidence of the future state be not equal to that of sense as to clear­ness, yet 'tis so convincing, even by natural light, that upon far less [Page 236] Men form their Judgments, and conduct their weightiest affairs in the World. To recapitulate briefly what has been amplified before; Is there not a God the Maker of the World? is there no Counsel of Providence to govern it? no Law of Righteousness for the distincti­on of Rewards? Are there not moral Good and Evil? Are Rea­son, Vertue, Grace, names with­out truth, like Chimaeras of no real kind, the fancies of Nature de­ceived and deceiving it self? Are they only wise among Men, the only happy discoverers of that which is proper, and best, and the All of Man, who most degene­rate to brutishness? shall we judg of the truth of Nature in any kind of beings, by the Monsters in it? What generation of Ani­mals has any show of veneration [Page 237] of a Deity, or a value for Justice, either peace or remorse of Con­science, or a natural desire of an intellectual happiness in life, and an eternal after death? Is there not even in the present state some ex­perimental sense, some impressi­ons in the hearts of Men of the Powers of the World to come? These things are discernable to all unprejudiced minds. And can it be pretended that there is not a sufficient conviction that Men and Beasts do not equally perish?

2. There is a vail drawn over the Eternal World for most wise Reasons. If the Glory of Heaven were clear to Sense, if the mouth of the bottomless-Pit were open before Mens eyes, there would be no place for Faith, and Obedience would not be the effect of choice but necessity, and consequently [Page 238] there would be no visible descri­mination made between the Holy and the Wicked. The violent in­clinations to sin would be stopt as to the act, without an inward real change of the Heart. If the Blas­phemer or false Swearer were pre­sently struck dumb, if the Drunkard should never recover his under­standing, if the unclean wretch should immediatly be consumed by a hidden Fire, or his sinning flesh putrifie and rot away; if for every vice of the mind, some dis­ease that resembles it in the Body were speedily inflicted as a just punishment, the World indeed would not be so full of all kinds of wickedness, so contagious and of such incureable malignity. But though in appearance it would be less vicious, yet in truth and reality not more vertuous, [Page 239] For such a kind of goodness, or ra­ther not guiltiness of the outward sinful act, would proceed not from a Divine Principle, a free Spirit of love to God and Holi­ness, but from a low affection, mere servile fear of Vengeance. And love to Sin is consistent with such an abstinence from it. As a Merchant that in a Tempest is forc'd to cast his Goods into the Sea, not because he hates them, for he throws his Heart after, but to escape drowning. Now that the real difference between the God­ly and the Impious, the Just and Unjust, the sober and intempe­rate may appear, God affords to men such evidence of future things that may satisfie an impartial con­sidering person, and be a sure de­fence against temptations that in­fect and inchant the careless mind, [Page 240] and pervert the will to make a foolish choice of things next the senses for happiness. Yet this evi­dence is not so clear, but a cor­rupt heart may by a secret, but effectual influence, darken the un­derstanding, and make it averse from the belief of unseen things, and strongly turn it from seri­ous pondering those terrible truths that controul the carnal desires.

3. How preposterous is this in­ference? Departed Souls never re­turn, therefore they have no ex­istence, therefore we are but a breath of wind that only so long remains in being, as it blows, a shadow that is onely whiles it appears; let our hours then that are but few, be fill'd with plea­sures; let us enjoy the present, re­gardless of hereafter, that does not expect us. Philosophy wor­thy [Page 241] of Brutes! But prudence will conclude if the condition of Souls that go hence be immutable, and in that place where they arrive, they must be for ever, it should be our cheifest care to direct them well: if upon our entrance into the next World Eternity shuts the door upon us, and the happiness and misery of it is not measur'd by time, but the one excludes all fear, the other all hope of Change, 'tis necessary to govern all our actions with a final respect to that state. This is to discourse as a Man according to the Principles of right Reason.

2. If it be objected that it seems hard that a transient sin should be punish't with Eternal Torments: a clear and just answer may be given.

This conceit in Men proceeds [Page 242] from a superficial deceitful view of sin in the disguises of a tempta­tion, as it flatters the senses, with­out a sincere distinct reflection on its essential malignity. From hence they judge of their sins, as light spots, inevitable accidents, lapses that cannot be prevented by humane frailty, errors excusable by common practice. Thus the subtilty of Satan joyned with the folly of Men represents great sins as small, and small as none at all, to undervalue and extenuate some, and to give full license and warrant to others. And thus de­ceived, they are ready to think it disagreeing to the Divine Good­ness to punish sin so severely as 'tis threatned. But did they with intent and feeling thoughts look through the pleasing surface into the intrinsick evil of Sin, as it is [Page 243] rebellion against God, and the progeny of a will corrupted by its own perversness and pernitious habits, they would be convinc'd, that God acts in a manner wor­thy of his Nature, in the ordain­ing and inflicting eternal punish­ment on impenitent sinners. And 'tis observable that most dange­rous effects follow by separating these two in the minds of Men. For if they consider eternal death without respect to the merit of Sin, they easily conceive of God as incompassionate, an enemy to his Creature, that is pleased with its misery. And such fearful conceits, such black melancholy vapours congeal the heart and stupefy its active powers, and cause a despe­rate neglect of our duties, as if God would not accept our sincere endeavours to please him. But if [Page 244] on the other side, they regard their Sins abstracted from the dreadful punishment that ensues, they form the notion of a Deity soft and careless, little moved with their faults, easie and indulgent to par­don them. Thus the sensual pre­sumer becomes secure, and incor­rigible in his wickedness. But we must consider these two Objects as most strictly joyn'd; the Judg­ment of God with respect to Sin that alwayes precedes it, and Sin with respect to the punishment that follows it, in the infallible or­der of Divine Justice. And thus we shall conceive of God becom­ing his perfections: that he is gratious and merciful, and loves the work of his hands; but that he is Holy and Just, and hates Sin infinitely more than Men love it. These are the two principal ideas [Page 245] we should form of God, with re­spect to his moral Government, and are mainly influential on his Subject. For the correspondent affections in us to those Attri­butes, are a reverent love of his Goodness, and a tender appre­hension of his displeasure, the powerful motives to induce us to the practice of Holiness, and a­vert us from sin.

Now that the Divine Law is not hard in its Sanction, forbid­ding Sin upon the pain of Eternal Death, will appear by a due re­presentation of the essential evil of Sin. This is discovered by consi­dering,

1. The Glorious Object against whom it is committed. 'Tis a Rule universally acknowledged, that from the quality of the per­son offended, the Measure and [Page 246] Weight is taken of the offence. Now as the Nature and Perfecti­ons of God, so his Dignity and Majesty is Infinite, and from hence the transcendent guilt of Sin a­rises. The formalis ratio of Sin is disobedience to the Divine Law, and the least breach of it, even a vain thought, an idle word, an unprofitable action, is in its pro­per nature a rebellious contempt of the Authority of the Wise and Holy Law-giver. Now that a poor Worm should dare to rebel against the Lord of Heaven and Earth, and if it were possible de­throne him, what understanding can conceive the vastness of its guilt? No finite sufferings in what degrees so ever are equal re­paration for the offence. After the revolution of millions of years in a state of misery the sin­ner [Page 247] cannot plead for a release; because he has not made full pay­ment for his fault, the rights of Justice are not satisfied.

If it be objected, that this will infer an equality between all Sins.

I answ. Though there is a great disparity in Sins with respect to their immediate Causes, Circum­stances, complicated Nature and Quality, by which some have a more odious turpitude adhering to them, yet they all agree in the general nature of Sin, relating to the Law of God, and consequent­ly in their order to Eternal Death. The least disobedience has as tru­ly the formality of Sin, as what is so in the Supreme degree. This may be illustrated by a compari­son. As the Parts of the World compared with one another, are of different elevation and great­ness; [Page 248] the Earth and Water are in the lowest place, and but as a point to the Celestial Orbs, that are above the highest regions of the Air; yet if we compare them with that infinite space that is without the circumference of the Heavens, they are equally distant from the utmost extent of it, and equally disproportioned to its im­mensity. For greater or less, higher or lower, are no approa­ches to what is Infiniter. Thus there are several degrees of ma­lignity in sins, compar'd one with another, but as they are injurious to the infinite and incomprehen­sible Majesty of God, there is the same kind of malignity, and so far an equality between them. Rebel­lion in the least instance, is as the sin of Witchcraft, and stubbornness in the smallest matters is as Idolatry; [Page 249] that is, the least Sin is as truly re­pugnant to the Divine Law, as those that in the highest manner are opposit to the Truth and Glo­ry of the Deity. And from hence their proportion to punishment is not distinguish'd by temporal and eternal, but by stronger or remis­ser degrees of Torment, by suf­fering the Rods or Scorpions of Justice in that endless duration.

'Tis a vain excuse to say that God can receive no hurt by Sin, as will appear in a case of infi­nitely a lower nature. The coun­terfeiting of the Broad-Seal does no hurt to the Person of the King, but 'tis injurious to his Honour and Government, and the Offen­der incurs the guilt of High-Trea­son, and is punish'd accordingly.

2. Consider Man's relation to God as the Creator and Preserver, [Page 250] who gives him life and innume­rable benefits, who conferrs on him the most shining marks of his favour, and this unspeakably inhances the guilt of Sin against God, by adding Ingratitude to Re­bellion, the abuse of his Goodness to the ignominious affront of his Majesty. The degrees of Guilt arise in proportion to our Duty and Obligations. For Man then to turn Enemy against his Fa­ther and Sovereign, to deprave and pervert his Gifts, to deface his Image, to obscure his Glory, just­ly provokes his extream Anger. If in the Judgement of Mankind some heinous Offenders, as Parri­cides, the Assassinates of Kings, the Betrayers of their Countrey, contract so great a guilt as exceeds the most exquisite Torments that the Criminal can endure, and no [Page 251] less than Death, that for ever de­prives of all that is valuable and pleasant in this natural life, is an equal punishment to it; What temporal Sufferings can expiate sin against God? For besides the transcendent excellence of his Na­ture, infinitely rais'd above all o­ther beings, there are united in him in an incomparable degree, all the Rights that are inherent in our Parents, Princes, or Country, for benefits received from them. And may he not then justly de­prive ungracious Rebels for ever of the comforts of his reviving Presence?

3. The necessity of Eternal Re­compences to excite a constant fear in Men of offending God, makes the Justice of them visible. For (as it has been proved before) whiles they are cloathed with [Page 252] flesh and blood, the disposition inclining from within, and the temptation urging from without, if the punishment of sin were not far more terrible, than the plea­sures of it are alluring, there would be no effectual restraint upon the riots of the carnal appetite. Now if civil Justice, for the preservation of society, wisely decrees such pe­nalties for offences as are requisite to maintain the honour of Laws that are founded in equity, either by preventing, or by repairing the the injury done to them; Is it not most righteous that the Supreme Lord of the World should secure obedience to his most holy Laws, by annexing such penalties as are necessary to induce a reverence of them in his Subjects, and to ex­ecute the sentence in full severity upon presumptuous Transgres­sors? [Page 253] without this the Divine Government would be dissolv­ed.

4. Eternal Life, and Eternal Death are set before Men, to en­courage them to obedience and deter them from Sin, so that none dies but for wilful impenitence. And can there be the least aspersi­on of unjust rigour cast on God's proceedings in Judgment? If it be said, 'tis so contrary to the most inviolable inclinations of Nature, that no Man can choose his own destruction: to that a full answer may be given. 'Tis true Man cannot devest Reason and Sense so as to choose directly and inten­tionally Eternal Misery, but ver­tually and by consequence he does. For the deliberate choice of Sin as pleasant or profitable, though damnable in the issue, is [Page 254] by just interpretation a choosing of the punishment that attends it. And to make it clear, that sinners are in love with perishing, let us consider,

1. The inestimable reward of Obedience they refuse. 'Tis a felicity worth as much as the en­joyment of God himself, and as durable as Eternity. Now what is put in the Ballance against Heaven? Only this World that passes away, with the lusts thereof. And it argues a violent propension in the will to carnal things, when the little fleeting pleasures of Sense (how empty, how vanishing!) outweigh in the competition the substantial everlasting Blessedness of the Spirit. And what a vile contempt is it of the Perfections of God, that such base things, such trifling Temptations should [Page 255] be chosen before him? Were it not visibly true, Reason would deny the possibility of it. 'Tis as if the Wife of a Prince should pre­fer in her affections before him a diseased deformed Slave. Or, as if one should choose the food of Beasts, Hay, Acorns or Carrion, before the provisions of a Royal Table. This is no Hyperbole, no Exaggregation, but the reality, infinitely exceeds all Figures. And is it not perfectly reasonable that sinners should inherit their own option?

2. This rejecting of Eternal Life by sinners, is peremptory a­gainst the best and often renewed means to induce them to accept of it. They are allured by the sweetest Mercies, urged by the strongest terrours, to forsake their beloved lusts and be happy. And [Page 256] till the riches of goodness and forbear­ance are dispised, they are not past hopes. For though the sentence of the Law be decisive upon the first act of sin, yet 'tis not irrevo­cable but upon impenitence in it. But when sin has such an absolute Empire in the Will, that no obli­gations, no invitations can prevail with it, 'tis manifest, that obstina­cy is an ingredient in the refusal of Heaven. And is it not most just that an obstinate aversation from God should be punish'd with an everlasting exclusion from his Glory? This will clear­ly vindicate Divine Justice, and render sinners excuseless in the day of accounts. God will over­come when he judges, and every mouth be stopt. This will be a fiery addition to their misery, and feed the never dying Worm. For [Page 257] by reflecting upon what they have irrecoverably lost, and what they must for ever suffer, and that by their own wretched choice, the awakened Conscience turns the most cruel fiend against it self. In Hell there is weeping and gnash­ing of Teeth. Extreme Misery and extreme Fury, Despair and Rage, are the true Characters of Dam­nation.

CHAP. XIII.Ch. XIII.

What influence the Doctrine of the fu­ture state should have upon our pra­ctice. It must regulate our esteem of present things. And reconcile our affections to any condition here, so far as it may be an advantage to prepare us for the better World. The chiefest care is due to the im­mortal[Page 258] part. The just value of Time and how it should be improved. 'Tis the best Wisdom to govern our whole course of life here, with regard to Eternity that expects us.

I Will now briefly shew what influence this principle of Na­tural Religion should have on our practice. Tis not a matter of pure speculation, but infinitely concerns all. For whatever inequality there is between Men with respect to temporal Accidents in the present state, yet there is no difference with regard to things future. Their Souls are equally immortal, and capable of the same blessedness, and liable to the same misery. It is most necessary therefore to re­flect upon what so nearly touches us. If the eternal state hereafter were not an infallible Truth, but [Page 259] only a probable opinion, and the Arguments for and against it were so equal, that the Understanding remained in suspence, yet the im­portance is so vast, either to enjoy for ever the clear vision of God, or to be cast into an everlasting Hell, that Prudence requires all possible diligence in what-ever is necessary to obtain the one, and escape the other. But this Do­ctrine is not meerly within the terms of Probability, but is clear, by irrefutable evidence. And if those prophane Miscreants who endeavour by frigid Railleries to expose the serious care of Salvati­on to scorn, and by trifling Argu­ments would fain weaken their assent to this great Truth, had not lost the humane property of blush­ing, they would be covered with Confusion, whilst they contradict [Page 260] not only what the wisest and best Men have unanswerably proved, but what their very opposition confirms. For the doubting of the Soul's Immortality, is a strong Ar­gument that 'tis immortal. Be­cause, only a spiritual being, and therefore not liable to dissolution and death, is capable of reflecting whether it shall continue for ever.

It does not require subtilty of wit, or strength of Reason to draw out the proper uses of this Do­ctrine, as Gold from the Mines by digging into the bowels of the Earth; but the Consequences are clear and sensible to all that will duly consider things. If in the next World there are good things and evil things, great, as the pos­sessing or losing an infinite Felici­ty, and lasting as Eternity, and distant from us no farther than [Page 261] Death is from Life, that is, then a Candle from being blown out that is exposed to all the winds, 'tis absolutely necessary to regulate our selves in the present state by a continual respect to the future. As the Travellers in the Desart of Arabia, (that is all Sand, movable by every blast, so that no visible path remains to prevent their wandrings) observe the Stars to direct them in their Journy to the place they intend. Thus we must look not to the things that are seen, but to things that are not seen, eternal above, to conduct us safely tho­row this material mutable World to Felicity. More particularly,

1. This should regulate our Judgment of all temporal things. Worldly happiness is but a Picture, that seen by Sence, the false light of the present time, has an alluring [Page 262] appearance, but if look'd on by Faith the true light of Eternity, it is discovered to be a disfigur'd and unamiable confusion of spots. This unbinds the Charm, and dis­covers the vanity and illusion of what ever is admirable in the eyes of flesh. Can any carry the least mark of Honour, one farthing of their Treasures, any shadow of their Beauty, one drop of their Pleasure with them to another World? As in the Night all Co­lours are the same, the Crimson cannot be distinguish'd from Black, nor Purple from Green: when the light is withdrawn that gave them life, they cease to be visible, and are buried in the same indifferent obscurity. So in the state after Death, the most remar­kable differences of this World are no more. And is that worthy of [Page 263] our esteem that attends us for a little time, and leaves us for ever? Can that be our happiness that when we die and cease to be mor­tal, ceases to be ours? If Man did only live to die, and there were an absolute end of him, present things were more valuable in the quality of an earthly Felicity, as being his All; but if he dies to live in another World, and all that in the language of the Earth (full of Improprieties and moral Soloe­cisms) we call ours, must be left at the gates of Death, the entrance of Eternity, they cannot be the materials of our happiness.

Seneca, contemplating the beau­ty and greatness of those Orbs of Light above, cast down his Eyes to find out the Earth hardly visi­ble at that distance, and breaks forth in a Philosophical disdain, [Page 264] Is it this to which the great de­signes and vast desires of Men are confin'd? Is it for this there is such disturbance of Nations, Wars and shedding of Blood? O folly, O fury of deceived Men! to imagine great Kingdoms in the compass of an Atome, to raise Armies to divide a point of Earth with their Swords! 'Tis just as if the Ants should conceive a Field to be se­veral Kingdoms, and fiercely con­tend to inlarge their borders, and celebrate a Triumph in gaining a foot of earth, as a new Province to their Empire.Sursum in­gentia spatia in auorum possessionem Animus ad­mittitur. And from hence he excites Men to ascend in their thoughts, and take an intellectual possession of the material Heavens, as most worthy of their minds. But the Soul that raised by Faith looks beyond the Starry Heavens, how much more justly is it fill'd with [Page 265] noble wonder at the Divine and truly great things, in the Spiritual World, and looks down on the lower Scene of things, and all that has the name of felicity here, as sordid and vile? The foresight that within a little while this World shall be dissolv'd, and time shall be no more, makes it not seem to be in the Eyes of a Belie­ver that great thing, as 'tis repre­sented to the rest of Men. He looks upon those who shine in Pomp and flow in Pleasure, and think themselves happy, to be as a Beggar in a Dream, that thinks himself rich in treasures: for pre­sent things are only colour'd with the appearence of felicity, and are as vanishing as the fictions of fan­cy. While carnal Men will be­lieve nothing but what they see, feel and enjoy by their Senses, [Page 266] and embrace meer shadows as solid felicity, he considers them with compassion. For 'tis with them, as with one that in the rage of a Fever, laughs, sings, triumphs. Tell him that he is not himself, he thinks you are mad for saying so. Tell him when his fiery spirits shall be wasted, and that heat of Blood that makes him so lively and strong, shall decline and cool, he will be in extreme danger of Death; he replies he was never in better health. But who envies him that happiness which he seems to enjoy? none but one that is a mad-man like him. Nay, a Father, a Brother, a Friend look on him with a mourning Eye and Heart: For he is only happy in his own conceit, and that conceit proceeds from his distraction. Thus the power of Truth is victorious in [Page 267] sober men, & does not suffer them to be cheated with the false shew of good that respects the Body. No credit is given to the appear­ance of Sense, when Reason dis­cerns the Deception, and judges otherwise. And thus the clear in­fallible light of Faith directs the Judgment of things present with respect to the eternal Interest of the Soul. This makes a Believer prefer severe Wisdom before the sweetest Follies, unpleasing Truth before all the dear Deceits of sen­sual Persons.

In short, Faith removes the thick Curtain of sensible things, that in­tercepted the Eye of the Mind, and its first Effect is to shew the incomparable disproportion be­tween what is present and what is future: and this is as great as be­tween the living of a few years, [Page 268] and an incorruptible state; be­tween the wretched enjoyment of things that cannot satisfy the Sen­ses, and the enjoyment of a uni­versal Good that can fill all the desires of the Soul; as between a inch of Time and entire Eternity; between Nothing mask'd with a false appearance, and infinite Fe­licity.

2. The consideration of the Souls immortality should recon­cile our affection to all things that may befal us here, so far as they are preparatory for our wel­being in the future state. The original Principle from whence are derived all Rules for practice, and of main influence upon our Comforts is, that Man is created for a supernatural happiness here­after, and that present things are to be chosen or refused with re­spect [Page 269] to our obtaining of it. For the means, what-ever they are in their absolute nature, yet consi­der'd as such in order to an end, are qualified and become either good or evil, as conducive to it, or unprofitable, and prejudicial. A Way that is thorny or dirty, or steep or stony, is good if it leads me to my Country where I can only live happily. On the contra­ry, a plain flowry carpet Way is bad, that leads me from it. Now since the present life conveys us to another, Poverty or Riches, Sick­ness or Health, splendor of Name or Obscurity, an high or a low Condition, become good or evil to us, and accordingly are eligible, as they prepare us for our last and blessed End, or divert us from it. If the clearness of this principle be obscur'd, we shall stumble every [Page 270] step, and wander from the way of life. But duly considered, it makes us judg of things as they are, not as they appear. This unravels the doubts of the intangled Mind, corrects the mistakes of the erring Eye, levels the greatest Difficul­ties, clears all the Objections a­gainst Providence, and makes an afflicted state not only tolerable, but so far amiable as it promotes our supream Happiness. Let us consider the two Worlds, the visi­ble wherein we are, and the invi­sible to which we are going, and impartially compare what is pro­per to the one and the other. The present and the future, the sen­sible and divine, the apparent and real, the transitory and perpetual happiness. And what reference these two Worlds have to Man, the one serves him only as a Pas­sage, [Page 271] the other is his ever blessed Country. Therefore what-ever the present state has of sweet or bitter, whatever is desir'd or fear'd, as it passes with Time, should little move us. Who is there, un­less disorder'd in his Mind, that when the Sun is present in its full lustre before his eyes, rejoyces to have, or is sorry that he has not a Candle, that he may see more clearly? And this Life to Eterni­ty is not so much as a spark of Light to the Sun, and accordingly the Prosperity or Adversity of it should not transport us to an ex­cess of Joy or Sorrow, but with an equal temper of Mind, and calm Affections, we should re­ceive the dispensations of Provi­dence.

3. How just is it that the Soul should have the preeminence in [Page 272] all respects above the Body. The one is the fading off-spring of the Earth, the other of an heavenly extraction, and incorruptible na­ture. WhenQuis nunc extremus ide­ota, vel quae abjecta muli­ercula non credit animae immortalita­tem? Quod apud Graecos olim primus Pherecides Assyrius cum disputasset, Pythagoram Samium illi­us disputatio­nis novitate permotum, ex Athleta in Philosophum convertit. Nunc vero quod ait Ma­ro, Amomum Assyrium vulgo nasci­tur. Aug. Ep. ad Volust. Pherecides the Assyrian first taught among the Grecians the doctrine of the Souls Immortali­ty, his discourse so prevail'd on Pythagoras of Samos, that it chang'd him from an Athleta into a Philo­sopher. He that before wholly at­tended upon his Body to make it excel in strength or agility, that he might contend victoriously in the Olympick Games, then made it his business to improve and ad­vance his Soul in Knowledg and Vertue. And if the glimmering appearances of this great Truth were so powerful upon him, how much more should the clear and certain discoveries of it be opera­tive to make us chiefly regard the [Page 273] interest of our immortal part.

The state of Nature requires, that Reason should have the suprema­cy in Man, and Sense should obey; but if the lower part tyrannises over the superiour, and that which was so offensive to Solomon, to see Servants on horseback, and Princes walking on foot, be verified in a more ignoble sense, 'tis the great­est degeneracy and vilification of the humane nature. Now the pre­dominant Object discovers what is the ruling faculty. If sensual things have the superior esteem and love, Sense reigns. And what a contumely is it to Man, when the Understanding, that was made to contemplate Objects of a spiri­tual sublime nature, is principal­ly exercised for the acquiring of earthly things, and the Affections that are capable of enjoying hea­venly [Page 274] delights, run with a full stream in the channels of Concu­piscence. As if the reasonable Soul were not for higher ends than to be the slave of the Body, to be imployed to digest the confused Chaos of Meats and Drinks where­with 'tis fill'd, to give it a quicker perception of its pleasures, & keep it from corruption for a time. If sensual Wretches could obtain what the unclean Spirits desir'd of our Saviour, when dispossest of the man in the Gospel, they would re­quest in their last hour when they are ready to be cast out of the Body, permission to enter into the Swine, and wallow in mire and filthiness. This is an indignity e­qually dishonourable and pernici­ous. As 'twas said of Caligula, Nec Servum meliorem, nec deteriorem Dominum, while a Subject none [Page 275] more obedient, but when advanc'd to the Throne, he became the Re­proach of the Empire, and Plague of the World: So while the Body obeys the sanctity and sovereign­ty of the Mind, 'tis an useful In­strument, but if it usurp the Go­vernment, the Spirit is deprest in the most ignominious Captivity, and Man becomes like the Beasts that perish. Briefly, the common fountains of Temptation are Plea­sure and Pain that affect the out­ward senses, and 'til the Soul has an establish'd dominion over the Bo­dy, 'tis continually expos'd to ruin by fleshly lusts that war against it.

The proper business of Man is to purifie his Spirit from all Pollu­tions, to adorn it with all Graces in order to its everlasting Com­munion with the Father of Spirits. And though in this state of union with flesh, he cannot be always [Page 276] contemplative, nor exercised in the highest and noblest work, but must relax his intense thoughts by refreshing intermissions, yet all that is allowed the Body, must be only to make it more ready & dis­posed for the service of the Mind. But alas! the Soul that should be incomparably dearest to us, in re­spect of its preciousness and dan­ger, is neglected as the only des­picable or safe thing belonging to us. Of the twenty four hours in the day how much is wasted on the Body, how little is given to the Soul? as if all the time were lost that is spent on it, when 'tis truly gain'd. What an unequal di­vision is this? Can there be ima­gin'd a more hurtful and mon­strous profuseness, and covetous­ness in the same persons? If the Body be shaken with Diseases, what are they not willing to do, [Page 277] or patiently to suffer, to recover lost Health? Long and rigorous Diets to overcome some obstinate Humours, Potions distasteful to the Palat and painful to the Sto­mack, Sweatings, Bleeding, the Knife, and the Fire, to cut off the gangreen'd part, and sear the ves­sels, and many more sharp Reme­dies 'tis counted prudence to suf­fer, to preserve the life of the Bo­dy. And can that be preserved always? No. All this is done not to escape, but to delay Death for a time. If we are so sollicitous that the mortal Body may dye a little later, shall we not be more diligent and careful that the im­mortal Soul may not die for ever?

4. This should make us set a just value upon time, and conse­crate it to those things that are pre­paratory for the future state of blessedness. Indeed the present [Page 278] Life, though spun out to the ut­most date, how short and vain is it? But as 'tis the price of Eterni­ty, and our wel-being hereafter depends upon it, 'tis above all e­steem precious. WhenLiv. Popilius, by order of the Roman Senate, re­quired Antiochus to withdraw his Army from the King of Egypt, and he desired time to deliberate upon it, the Roman drew a Circle with his Wand about him, and said, In hoc stans delibera, give a present Answer before you move out. Thus Eternity, whose proper Em­blem is a Circle, a Figure without end, presents to us Life and Death, that after a short time expects all men, and here we must make our choice. And shall a mortal cold­ness possess us in an affair of such importance? We cannot so fast repair the ruines of the Body, but that every day Death makes near­er [Page 279] approaches, and takes away some spoils that cannot be reco­vered, and will shortly force the Soul to leave its habitation; and shall we not secure a retreat for it in the Sanctuary of Life and Im­mortality?

Can any make a Covenant with Death? Is it to be overcome by the strength of the young, or ap­peased by the tears and supplica­tions of the old? 'Tis equally in­vincible and inexorable. The greenest Age is ripe for dying; the Fruit that does not fall, is pluck'd and gathered. Every one is under the same sentence, and so far equally disposed to dye. None can assure himself the continuance of a day, and shall we be despe­rately careless of our main Con­cernment? shall we waste this un­valuable Treasure in idleness, or actions worse than idleness? shall [Page 280] we spend it to purchase transient vanities? The gaining the whole World is not worth the expence of this light of Life. 'Twas given us for more excellent ends, to work out our own Salvation, to secure our everlasting Interest. How should we redeem every hour, and live for Heaven? This is our chief and indispensible af­fair, and the neglect of it for a day, is of infinite hazard. Our sea­son is short, our omission irrepa­rable. If we could clip the wings of Time, and stop its flight, there might be some pretence for de­lay; but the Sun drives on apace, we cannot bid it stand still one hour.Cum celeri­tate temporis utendi velo­citate certan­dum: tan­quam ex tor­rente rappido, nec semper casuro cito hauriendum est. Senec. de brevit. vit. Our diligence in improv­ing Time should be equal to its swift motion: We should spee­dily draw from it what's necessa­ry, as from a rapid Torrent that will quickly be dryed up.

[Page 281] 'Twas a wise Answer to one that ask'd why thePlut. Apoth. Lacedemonians were so slow in passing Capital Judgments; why so many Exa­minations taken, so many De­fences permitted to the Accused; and after Conviction & Sentence, such a space of time before Exe­cution. The reason of it is, be­cause an errour in that case is in­corrigible. They might kill the Living, but could not revive the Dead. Now, since after Death is inflicted on the guilty Soul 'tis lost for ever, how should it stop Men in the voluntary and precipitate Condemnation of themselves, by the wilful rejecting of the Grace, that is offered to them upon their present acceptance?

To draw to an end; it follows from what has been discours'd, that 'tis the most necessary and highest point of Wisdom, to con­duct [Page 282] our Lives with a respect to the Tribunal above, that will pass a righteous and unchangeable Sen­tence upon Men, for all the good and evil done here. The Conse­quence is so manifest and palpable that nothing but perfect Madness can deny. If there be a spark of Reason, a grain of Faith, the Mind must assent to it. For if Prudence consist in the choice and use of means to procure the Good we want, and in preventing the Evil we justly fear, certainly accord­ing as the Good is more noble and difficult, or the Evil more dange­rous and destructive, the more e­minent is the Wisdom in obtain­ing our end. Now what is the chief Good to which all our de­sires should turn, and our endea­vours aspire? What are Crowns, Scepters, Robes of State, splendor of Jewels, Treasures, or what­ever [Page 283] the Earth has in any kind or degrees of good? They are only the little entertainments of the Body, the viler part of Man: But the perfect and perpetual Fruition of God, is the Blessedness of the Soul, and infinitely excels the o­ther. And proportionably 'tis not the loss of temporal things that is the greatest Evil, but the losing Heaven and the immortal Soul is above all degrees of valuation. Now 'tis strange to amazement, that those who profess to believe these things should live in a con­stant opposition to their belief. How vigorously do they prose­cute their secular designs? they build Estates, and make Provisi­ons tanquam semper victuri, as if they wereOmnia tan­quam morta­les timetis: Omnia tan­quam immor­tales concu­piscitis. Sen. de brev. vit. eternal Inhabitants here. But how remiss and cold are they in order to Heaven? and to escape [Page 284] the Wrath to come. Libertines are uniform and regular according to their Principles; they are Infidels, and live as Infidels: there's no con­tradiction between their thoughts and actions. The remembrance of Death rather inflames than checks their Appetites to sinful pleasures; as the sprinkling Wa­ter does not quench the Fire, but makes it more fierce. They know they shall continue here but a short time, and resolve to make the best of it for carnal purposes. But infinite numbers of those who in title are Citizens of another World, and declare their belief of a future state, yet are as careless to prepare for it, as if the great Judg­ment, and the dreadful Eternity that follows, were Romantick Fa­bles. They are Believers in their minds, and Infidels in their lives. [Page 285] From whence comes this mon­strous Composition of two Ex­treams, so contrary and difficult to be united, as the Sun and Dark­ness, or Fire and Water in their actual forms? For Men to believe there is a Heaven, and to be in love with the Earth; to believe an everlasting Hell shall be the re­ward of Sin, and yet to go on in Sin? O the sottish Folly of Men! What enticing Sorcery perverts them? 'Tis because, that tempo­ral things are sensible and present, and eternal things are spiritual and future. But how graceless and irrational is this? Has not the Soul perceptive faculties as well as the Body? are not its objects transcendently more excellent? Is not its union with them more in­timate and ravishing? Must the sensual Appetites be heard before [Page 286] Reason, and the Soul be unnatu­rally set below the respects of the Body? If the most splendid tem­ptations of the flesh are but dross to the happiness of the Spirit, is it not true Wisdom to distinguish and despise them in the compari­son? For this end God has plac'd us in the World, that with equal Judgement we may ballance things, and preferring the great and solid Good before a vain ap­pearance, our choice may be un­constrain'd, and his mercy take its rise to reward us. And how foo­lish is it to neglect eternal things because they are future? Is it not a common complaint that Life is short, that it flies away in a breath? and if Death be so near, can Eter­nity be so distant? Besides, do Men want an understanding to foresee things to come? In their [Page 287] Projects for this World, how quick-sighted and provident are they, to discover all probable in­conveniencies afar off, and lay the Scene to avoid them? And is Reason only useful in the affairs of the Body, and must Sense, that cannot see an hands-breadth be­yond the present, be the guide of the Soul? Well, though the most powerful Reasons, the most ardent Exhortations, and stinging Repre­hensions cannot prevail with the Sons of the Earth now to be ap­prehensive of the Evils that threa­ten them, but they live in a blind manner regardless of the Soul, yet in a little while Extremities will compel them to open their eyes. When they are departing hence, with one foot upon the brink of Time, and the other lift up to enter Eternity, how will they be asto­nish'd [Page 288] to see the distance between this World and the next, which seem'd to them so wide, to be but one step? The present Life, that in their imaginations would never end, and the future that would never begin, (so intent were they for the provisions of the one, and neglectful of the other) behold the one is gone, and the other come. Time is at their back with all its vanities, and Eternity before their faces with its great realities. How are their thoughts and discourses changed in that terrible hour, that will decide their states for ever? they did foolishly for themselves, but then speak wisely for the in­struction of others. How pier­cing and quick are their apprehen­sions then of Heaven and Hell, which before were neglected as unworthy of regard, or onely [Page 289] toucht the surface of their Souls? what amazement, what dejection of Spirit, to find themselves in a sad unpreparedness for their great Account? the remembrance, that for the poor advantages of time, they forfeited Eternal Glory, and ventur'd on Eternal Misery, cuts more sorely than the pangs of Death. But suppose they harden their hearts to the last minute of life, and are more stupid than the Beasts that tremble upon a preci­pice, at the sight of extream dan­ger, yet a minute after Death, (O the heavy change!) when they shall feel themselves undone infi­nitely and irrecoverably, What fierce and violent workings will be in the mind? what a storm of passions rais'd? But then Repen­tance will be with perfect sorrow, without the least profit. There [Page 290] are no returns to the possibility of mercy.

I will conclude this Discourse with a passage from the most humble and excellent St. Austin. He bewails, in his Confession, his long bondage under Sin. His car­nal lusts, adher'd as closely to him, as the Ivy twines about the Oak, that there can be no separation without eradicating it, and pluck­ing the Bark off the Tree. He felt an inward continual Combat be­tween the Flesh and Spirit. He of­ten shook the Chain wherewith he had voluntarily bound himself, but had not the resolution to break it. And thus for a time his Judgment abhor'd what his Af­fections were enclin'd to, and he was neither victorious nor van­quish'd. But when God was pleas'd by his omnipotent Grace [Page 291] to set him at liberty, the last and most violent Assault of the Flesh, and that which made his Conver­sion most difficult was this; His Youthful Lusts presented them­selves to his Imagination, and as that impure Mistress did with chast Joseph, Succutie­bant vestem meam carne­am, & mur­murabant di­mittisne nos? & à momento isto non eri­mus tecum ultra in aeter­num? & à momento isto non licebit ti­bi hoc et il­lud ultra in aeternum? shook the Garment of his Flesh, and whisper'd, Will you renounce us? shall there be a divorce between you and your ancient Loves for ever? shall not this or that desire of the Senses be contented for ever? And what was that for ever? it only signified the short remainder of his time after thirty three years, which was then his Age. And this is the most ef­fectual hinderance of the reclaim­ing of Sinners still. They will not be induc'd to make an irre­vokable, unreserv'd dedication of themselves to God, and firmly to [Page 292] resolve never to taste forbidden sweets more, but always abhor the relish of them. But if it be so hard and intolerable always to ab­stain from unlawful pleasures, and much more to suffer pain in the short space, the moments of this Life, that it seems an Eternity to corrupt Nature, what will it be in the true Eternity to be depriv'd of all Good, and tormented with all Evils, despairing of release, or quenching one spark of that ter­rible Fire? O that Men were wise, to consider their latter end, and the consequences of it, their Mor­tality and Immortality.

FINIS.

THE CONTENTS OF THE CHAPTERS.

Chap. 1. pag. 1.

ATheism is fearfull of publick discovery. Three heads of Arguments to prove the Being of a God. 1. The visible frame of the World, and the numerous Natures in it, exactly modelled for the good of the whole, prove it to be the work of a most wise Agent. The World considered in its several parts. The Sun in its scitua­tion, [Page] motion, and effects, declare the Providence of the Creator. The diur­nal motion of the Sun from East to West is very beneficial to Nature. The Annual course brings admirable advan­tage to it. The gradual passing of the sensible World, from the excess of Heat to the extremity of Cold, an effect of Providence. The constant Revolutions of the Day and Night, and of the Seasons of the Year, discovers that a wise Cause order them.

Chap. 2. pag. 19.

The Air a fit medium to convey the Light and Influences of the Heavens of the lower World. 'Tis the repository of Vapours that are drawn up by the Sun, and descend in fruitful showers. The Winds of great benefit. The sepa­ration of the Sea from the Land the effect of great Wisdom and Power. [Page] That the Earth is not an equal Globe, is both pleasant and useful. The League of the Elements considered. Excellent Wisdom visible in Plants and Fruits. The shapes of Animals are answerable to their properties. They regularly act to preserve themselves. The Bees, Swallows, Ants, directed by an excel­lent mind.

Chap. 3. pag. 34.

The Body of Man form'd with per­fect design for Beauty and Usefulness. A short description of its parts. The fabrick of the Eye and Hand admirably discovers the Wisdom of the Maker. The erect stature of the Body fitted for the rational Soul. Man by speech is fitted for Society. How the Affections are discovered in the Countenance. The distinction of Persons by the face, how necessary. The reasonable Soul the image of a wise and voluntary Agent.

Chap. 4. pag. 51.

The vanity of Epicurus's Opinion of the Worlds original, discovered, from the visible order in all the parts of it. Chance produces no regular effects. The constant natural course of things in the World, proves that 'tis not fra­med nor conducted by uncertain Chance. The World was not caused by the ne­cessity of Nature. In the search of Causes the mind cannot rest till it comes to the first. Second Causes are sustain'd and directed in all their workings by the first. The Creator, though invi­sible in his Essence, is visible in his ef­fects.

Chap. 5. pag. 71.

The beginning of the World proved, from the uninterrupted Tradition of it through all Ages. The Invention of [Page] Arts, and bringing them to perfection, an Argument of the Worlds beginning. The weakness of that Fancy, that the World is in a perpetual Circulation from Infancy to Youth, and to full Age, and a decrepit state and back again, so that Arts are lost and recovered in that change. The consent of Nations a clear Argument that there is a God. The impressions of Nature are infallible. That the most Men are practical A­theists; that some doubt and deny God in words, is of no force to disprove his Existence. There are no absolute Atheists. Nature in extremities has an irresistible force, and compels the most obdurate to acknowledg the Deity.

Chap. 6. Page 22.

The belief of the Deity no Politick Invention. The asserting that 'tis ne­cessary to preserve States in order, is [Page] a strong proof of its truth. No Histo­ry intimates when this belief was intro­duc'd into the World. The continuance of it, argues that its rise was not from a Civil Decree. Princes themselves are under the fears of the Deity. The mul­titude of false Gods does not prejudice the natural notion of one true God. Ido­latry was not universal. The Worship of the only true God is preserved where Idolatry is abolished.

Chap. 7. pag. 105.

The duties of understanding Crea­tures, to the Maker of all things. Ad­miration of his glorious Perfections visible, in them. This is more particu­larly the duty of Man, the World being made eminently for him. The Causes why the Creator is not honour'd in his Works, are Mens ignorance and inob­servance. Things new rather affect us, [Page] than great. An humble fear is a neces­sary respect from the Creature, to the Divine Majesty and Power. Love and Obedience in the highest degrees are due from men to God, in the quality of Creator. Trust and Reliance on God is our duty and priviledge.

Chap. 8. pag. 146.

The Immortality of the Soul depends on the conservative influence of God. Natural and Moral Arguments to prove that God will continue it for ever. The Soul is incapable of perishing from any corruptible principles, or sepa­rable parts. Its spiritual nature is evi­dent by the acts of its principal facul­ties. The Understanding conceives spi­ritual objects; is not confin'd to singu­lar and present things: Reflects upon it self: Corrects the errors of the sense: Does not suffer from the excellency of [Page] the object. Is vigorous in its operati­ons when the Body is decayed, which proves it to be an immaterial faculty. An Answer to Objections against the Souls spiritual nature. That the first notices of things are conveyed through the senses, does not argue it to be a ma­terial faculty. That it depends on the temper of the Body in its superior ope­rations, is no prejudice to its spiritual nature.

Chap. 9. pag. 170.

The Acts of the Will considered. Its choice of things distastful to Sense, and sometimes destructive to the Body, argue it to be a spiritual principle. The difference between Man and Brutes amplified. The spiritual operations of the Soul may be performed by it self in a separate state. This is a strong proof God will continue it. The Platonick Argument that Man unites the two [Page] orders of Natures, intelligent and sen­sible, immortal and perishing.

Chap. 10. pag. 181.

The moral Arguments for the Souls Immortality. The restless desire of the Soul to an intellectual eternal hap­piness, argues it survives the Body. The lower order of Creatures obtain their perfection here. It reflects upon Nature, if the more noble fails of its end. That wicked men would choose annihilation, rather than eternal tor­ments, is no proof against Mans natural desire of Immortality. The ne­cessity of a future state of Recompen­ces for moral actions, proves the Soul to be immortal. The Wisdom of God, as Governour of the World, requires there be Rewards and Punishments an­next to his Laws. Eternal Rewards are only powerful to make men obedi­ent to them in this corrupt state. Hu­mane [Page] Laws are no sufficient security of Vertue, and restraint from Vice.

Chap. 11. Page 198.

The Justice of God an infallible Argument of future recompences. The natural notion of God includes Justice in Perfection. In this World sometimes Vertue and Vice are equally miserable. Sometimes Vice is prosperous. Some­times good Men are in the worst condi­tion. The dreadful consequences of de­nying a future state. Gods absolute Do­minion over the Reasonable Creature, is regulated by his Wisdom, and limited by his Will. The essential beauty of Holiness, with the pleasure that natural­ly results from good actions, and the na­tive turpitude of Sin, with the distur­bance of the mind reflecting on it, are not the compleat recompences that at­tend the Good and the Wicked.

Chap. 12. Page 223.

Two Arguments more to prove future recompenses. 'Tis not possible for civil Justice to despense rewards and punish­ments according to the good and evil acti­ons of Men. All Nations agree in the acknowledgment of a future state. The innocent Conscience is supported under an unjust Sentence, by looking to the superi­or Tribunal. The courage of Socrates in dying, with the cause of it. The guilty Conscience terrifies with the apprehension of Judgment to come. Tiberius his complaint to the Senate of his inward tortures. An Answer to the Objection, that we have not sensible evidence of what is enjoyed, and what is suffered in the next life. Why Sin, a transient act, is punished with Eternal Death.

Chap. 13. Page 257.

What influence the Doctrine of the fu­ture state should have upon, our practice. [Page] It must regulate our esteem of present things. And reconcile our affections to any condition here, so far as it may be an advantage to prepare us for the better World. The chiefest care is due to the Immortal part. The just value of Time, and how it should be improved. 'Tis the best Wisdom to govern our whole course of Life here, with regard to Eternity that expects us.

FINIS.

There is lately Reprinted a Book, entitled The Harmony of the Divine Attributes, in the Contrivance and Accomplishment of Man's Re­demption by the Lord Jesus Christ. Or, Discour­ses, wherein is shewed, how the Wisdom, Mercy, Justice, Holiness, Power and Truth of God are glorified in that great and blessed Work. By W. Bates, D. D. Printed for Brabazon Aylmer, at the three Pigeons over against the Royal-Exchange in Cornhil

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