Page images
PDF
EPUB

Violence of the Order of Nature) he again fuppofes the Earth, by the Attraction of the Comet that drown'd it, was drawn out of a circular into an elliptical Orbit: So at our Bleffed Saviour's Crucifixion, the glorious Luminaries were deprived for three Hours of their influencing this Globe with thofe Rays of Light for which they were created. Now thefe and other Inftances, which might be given, do really fhew there is an Author of Nature; fince we find that the fame Author can as easily deftroy or alter the first Order or Laws affign'd it, as he could at firft establish it; which is never done but upon fome Great Occafion relating to the rational Part of the Creation.

If we look into fecondary Caufes in the Order of Nature amongst us upon this Globe, we fhall find things carried on in the fame Order and Harmony, and in general to answer our Ends, Aims, and Expectations, (fo far as they are kept within the Bounds of Reason) when they are not by fome Default of our own or others alter'd. And had not Nature been thus wifely established, there could have been nothing but Difcord and Confufion amongst the Works of the Creation, which now have eftablifh'd Laws, which are not violated, as I have faid, but upon fome extraordinary Occafions, arifing from the rational Part of the Creation: And yet we find that fome Men's Minds are fo ftrangely corrupted, as to infer from

A 4

from the wife Order of Nature, that all things came by Nature. Good God! How amazing this! -----That the Depravity of Man fhould make it neceffary fometimes for the Almighty Being to fuperfede the Order of that curious Nature he had at first establish'd, to eftablish the Belief of his own Existence, and to enforce his Precepts upon us by fome extraordinary Acts to reduce us to a State of Rectitude: I fay, how amazing is it, (for it will bear repeating) that notwithstanding this there fhould still be any that can deny the Author of Nature, and make Nature itself the Caufe of all things! For it must be a felf-evident Truth, that if there was not an Author of Nature, or a Being fuperior to it, then could there never have been perform'd any fupernatural Actions: So that if the Order and Harmony of natural Caufes, wifely adapted to answer. their Ends, are not fufficient to convince every one of the Wisdom, Power, and Existence of the Creator of them, (that they may have no Pretence to Unbelief) the fupernatural Performances that have been manifefted by a Divine Power, do certainly evidence that there is a Being above Nature, who can, when he pleafes, invert its Order; which, whenever that is done, is called miraculous. Thus our Blessed Saviour's Miracles when on Earth, and thofe of his Difciples, which they were empower'd to do in his Name, were occafion'd by the Unbelief of that prefent Generation, in order to eftablifh the Belief of their Divine Miffion

and

and Doctrines both to them and all fucceeding Generations. And as this most plainly difcovers to us a Being fupernatural, fo it no less difcovers that thofe Naturalifts, who would believe no Being fuperior to Nature, are Fools; from whence 'tis probable the Word NATURAL, used for a Fool, might have its Original: And well would it be for thefe NATURALS if they were Fools in no higher a Senfe, than what now the common Acceptation of the Word imports; for those who never receiv'd the diftinguishing Character, REASON, can never be call'd to account for abufing it.

I have in the following Difcourfes endeavour'd to comprize my Subjects in as short a Manner as the Nature of them would bear, and have purposely avoided entering into a Repetition of the many contrary Notions and Abjurdities that Men have fallen into; humbly conceiving, that if I eftablish my own Arguments by producing fufficient Reasons to prove. them Truths, then the contrary Notions must neceffarily appear to be Falfhoods, Falfhoods fo grofs and palpable, that 'tis amazing to me how it ever enter'd into the Heart of Man to imagine them, much more how they could gain fuch an Entertainment in the World as to be efpoufed by fo many blind Followers: That Doctrine in particular, of God's fore-ordaining of all things to come to pass, in their Senfe, is moft falfe and monftrous; for it makes bim the Author of not only Good but Evil, that

that he may reward the one, and punish the other, merely to gratify himself, and to exer cife arbitrarily his Mercy and Justice. But if this were fo, then there had been no Room for the Exercife of either; for then neither Good, fo forced, could have been rewardable, nor Evil, fo occafion'd, could have been punishable, without making that holy, just, and infinitely wife and merciful Being an infupportable Tyrant, What shall we fay then of those Men who have not blush'd openly to affirm, that there were Infants in Hell not a Span long? A fhocking Expreffion this! and highly reflecting upon God's infinite Mercy. Was not the Plaifter in Chrift as large as the Sore in Adam? And shall any, for whom Chrift died, fuffer for original Sin, that were never guilty of actual ones? Does not our Saviour, Speaking of Children, fay, Of fuch is the Kingdom of Heaven? And if his Merits may be convey'd to the chiefeft of Sinners upon Repentance, why should we not fuppofe they will also extend to thofe Infants who never offended by any actual Tranfgreffions? A true Notion of God's infinite Mercy will never fuffer us to doubt of it: For whoever confiders thofe Texts of Scripture which speak of God's Vifitation of the Parents Sins upon the Children, may obferve them to respect no more than their Sufferings in this World; for 'tis plain from "Ezek. xviii. 20. that as to a future State, the Son fhall not fuffer for the Father's Difobedience, nor the Father for his Son's: The foul

·

that

that finneth, it fhall die; the fon fhall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous fhall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

It may be obferv'd that I have taken the Copernican System for granted, without giving any Reafons for jo doing; which being prov'd fufficiently by others, I judg'd it needles for me to repeat. If any be not fatisfied herein in reconciling the Earth's Motion, and the Stability of the Sun with the Scriptures, let them read Mr. Whifton's Preface to his Theory of the Earth, and Dr. Derham's AftroTheology, which will give Satisfaction herein to any ingenious and unprejudic'd Reader, this Syftem being to most of the Learned, I believe, proved to a Demonftration.

And as to the Newtonick or New System, of the Fixed Stars being fo many Suns, &c. though it carries in it, I think, more than a Probability of Truth, yet I fear this Perfua-. fion has, thro' Abufe, been the Occafion of ftumbling to fome of our greatest Mathematicians, with respect to their Faith in the eternal Divinity of the Son of God. Influenced by the abovefaid Opinion of fuch Multitudes of Suns and Planets, Mr. Whifton is, I fuppofe, induced to believe that many of the Inhabitants of fuch Planets being degenerated from their

ori

« EelmineJätka »