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Secondly, On the other side, I shall instance in those things that are the great crimes, that are destructive to conscience and inconsistent with religion, abominations to God, and high provocations of him, that are evil in themselves, so that we are universally and unalterably engaged to avoid them.
By that time I have spoken to both these, I shall have given a full account of the text, what that wickedness is which God abhors, and who those are that are hated of God upon account of iniquity ; and so fhall declare to you, not what is subject to debate in religion and question, but things of indubitable certainty and unquestionable obligation ; things that are fundamental things, that are religion itself, things that are requisite in order to our preparation and disposition for the state of immortality and glory. I shall handle these distinctly, one after another.
1. The first great thing, is to acknowledge and to reverence the deity ; this is of perpetual obligation, this hath the greatest necessity, there is no dispensation in this matter ; for the senie of a deity is inherent in intellectual nature ; there is no instinct that is stronger than this sense; no fympathy or natural quality doth more determine.
This is acknowledged, where there hath been no revelation from God, but only the principles of natural light ; I will instance in one for many ; that shall be Seneca ; nulla gens ufquam est adeo contra leges moresque prajecta, ut non aliquos Deos credat : there was never any nation in any time, so much a stranger, so much an enemy to the principles of reason and good manners, but they have always had some belief, and made fome acknowledg
ment of a deity. And he adds (for when I name him, I produce a man that had no more advantage than the heathenish world, than one in the wilderness of the world) nec in hunc furorem omnes mortales confenfiffent, alloquendi furda numina & inefficaces deos : neither can we conceive that the world in all times hath been so acted by madness, or by fury, as to take upon them to invoke fo.nething for a deity, and apply to him for relief, if they had not certainly resolved in themselves, that God is both able and willing to relieve ; that there is a deity, and that it is our security to make application to him. A testimony beyond all exception.
I add therefore, that it is the proper propension of the mind and understanding to incline to God. We have several propenfions that are natural ; the connatural propension of mind and underftanding, is towards God. Omnis intelle&tus deum quarit, this is written upon this faculty; our understanding seeks God, as any faculty feeks out its proper object. We divert our highest faculty from its proper use and employment, we rob God, and so are facrilegious, if we turn our mind and understanding from him: it is violence, it is distortion, it is degeneracy, it is apostacy, nothing is more ugly, more deformed in the world, than to live without sense of him, without whom we cannot live ; to have no respect or regard for him, from whose goodness we receive the greatest benefits ; to have no honour for the father of our fpirits, what more unequal, reason it self being judge? Mal. i. 6. If I be a father, ivhere is my honour. Now this faculty God doth undertake to teach and instruct ; VOL. IV.
for (Psal. xciv. 10.) God teaches the mind of man knowledge. And God doth not only teach and instruct, but he also satisfies and clears things up, and appeals to this faculty, makes this faculty judge ; is it not comely? what could I have done more ? Isaiah v. 4. Are not my ways equal ? Ezek. xviii. 25. Are not your ways unequal ? Abundance of such places of scripture, which do suppose this, they are in vain if this be not true, that mind and understanding have a peculiarity and property God-ward ; they have a sufficiency, and they are specially under God's government; the mind and understanding of man are fitted for God, and determined to find him out in his ways, to follow him in his works, as the eye of man is qualified and fitted to see the sun, or the ear fit to hear sounds.
And on the contrary, without God and without providence, there is no living in the world. For in respect of all visible causes, there is no satisfaction ; for these are either insufficient or uncertain : all other causes are insufficient to do what we stand in need of, or expect from them ; or else are uncertain ; we cannot be sure : if voluntary causes, then uncertain because free ; and other causes may be insufficient ; for what other things can speak to the satisfaction of our minds, can answer our desires ? I say, what other things below man, can do this ? Wherefore to believe that there is a God, is the most satisfactory thing in the world ; and to be without God, is to be without all foundation of hope, or ground of satisfaction ; for to believe there is a God, is to believe the existence of all possible good and perfection in the
universe ; and it is to be resolved upon, that things either are, or finally shall be as they should be: and this concludes all the evil in the world, and satisfies for all irregularity and disorder. Whosoever believes there is a God, doth believe there is that which is chief in the world, that hath the government in the world, and hath the disposal of it, that there is an existence of all possible good and perfection, and that things finally shall be as they should be, whether we are in being or no. If there be a God, we cannot but suppose that he will finally order all things for the best, though at present they may seem otherwise and this is satisfactory. On the other side, if a man do not believe there is a God; what faith, or what hope can an atheist have, who acknowledgeth nothing but senseless stupid matter, and the giddy, unconstant, fortuitous motions of it? This is all an atheist hath to depend upon, to resolve all his thoughts upon, and expectations from. But what good cannot be reasonably expected from the deity, which hath an universal superintendence, by him who looks up to God? what possible good, say I, may not reafonably be expected by him that hath an eye to God, from a being which hath an universal inspection, fuperintendence and government of all things ? For there is nothing at all can prejudice our expectation from God, but wickedness, which is a perverseness of spirit, an undue motion of infidelity, and of consenting to iniquity. For we have foundation of afsurance, and ground of confidence in the divine
grace and goodness towards us, that he will protect us, and finally bring us to perfection, if we ourselves do not
interpose by malignity and naughtiness of spirit which are things of contradiction to God. For besides our relation to God, we came into the world with God's care, and we live at his costs and charges, at his maintainance and allowance ; we live by him, are of him, have all expectation from him. Now God, who did begin by creation, he will go on and pursue his own beginning ; for God delights in doing us good, if we be but capable, and prove not enemies to our own selves : and this is a comfortable point to us, of grand importance to our encouragement, doth animate us in this our pilgrimage, and strengthen us in a way
of faith and patience; to confide and trust in God, and fer ourselves to him.
But because I see what may be alleged against this, I will answer it by the way: it may be objected, why then doth not God keep evil out of the world, which he might do if he would ? To this I give you a short answer ; evil cannot be kept out of the world, but by absolute restraint and violence, which God will not use, because they are contrary to the plot and whole design of his creation. Now the design of God's creation of man, lies thus ; he hath made us, and invested us with intellectual nature ; so we are intelligent and voluntary agents. Now because we are creatures of finite and limited perfections, we are liable to mistake, to offend, to transgress; by abuse of our liberty, we may do to God dishonour and our fouls wrong ; so that this peccability or incidency to offend, doth arise from the imperfection of free-willed causes being left to themselves. The state we are in here, is a probation-state, a state of trial ; we are