« AnteriorContinua »
Y Chief Design in this following
Nature of Providence, as to re-
concile Men to the Belief of it and to possess them with a Reli
gious Awe and Reverence of the Supreme and Absolute Lord of the World. For it is very evident, that the Mistakes about the Nature of Providence, are the Principal Objections against it ; which tempt some Men to deny a Providence, or so weaken the sense of it in others, that they are very little che better for believing it. That a Divine Providence does govern the World, I have proved largely enough B
fos S. 3.
for my present Design, in the DiCap. I. Scourse concerning i Future Fudgment;
which I refer my Reader to : But that
this work might not seem to want a Foundation, I have not wholly omitted the Proof of a Providence, but have at least said enough to convince those of a Providence, who believe, That there is a God; which must be supposed in a Discourse of Providence.
The Whole is divided into Nine Chapters.
Belief of a God, and of a Proyidence.
particularly concerning a Preserving Provi
dence. III. Concerning God's Governing Provi
The Explication of these Things will not only answer many Difficulties in Providence, but will give us a clearer Notion of the Divine Attributes, and of some of the Principal Duties of Religion.
CH A P.
C H A P. I.
The necesary Connection between the Belief of a God, and of a Providence,
Nstead of other Arguments to prove a Provi.
dence, I shall at present inhift only on this, That the Belief of a God infers a Providence : That if we believe there is a God who made the World, we must believe that the fame God who made the World, does govern it too.
1. For first, it is as absurd and unreasonable to think, that the World is governed by Chance; as to think, That it was made by Chance ; for Chance can no more govern, than it can make the World.
One principal Act of Providence is to uphold all Things in Being, to preserve their Nacures, Powers, Operations; to make this lower World again every Year by new Productions : For Nature seems to decay, and die, and revive again, in almost as wonderful a Manner, and as unintelligible to us, as it was first made. Now tho'it is very absurd to say, That Chance, which acts by no Rule, nor with any Counsel or Design, can make a World, which has all the Marks and Characters of an Admirable Wisdom in its Contrivance; yet it seems more absurd to say, That Chance can preserve, that it can uphold the Things it has made, that it can repair the Decays of Nature, nay, restore it when it seems loft: That it cannot only do the same Thing twice, but repeat_it infinitely in new
Productions: That Chance Casu, inquis ? Itane verò ? Quidquam pocest can give Laws to Nature, cafu effe factum, quod and impose a Necessity on omnes in fe habeat nu- it to act regularly and unimeros veritatis? Quatuor formly ; that is, That tali jacti cafu venereum Chance should put an end efficiunt,
etiam centum venereos,
to Chance, and introduce
400 talos ejeceris, casu futu- Neceflity and Fate. Were ros pucas ?
Sic there not a Wise and Powenim se profectò res ha- erful Providence, it is Ten bet, ut nunquam perfectè Thousand Times more likeveritatem casus imitetur. Cicero de Divinat. L. I. ly, that Chance should un
make and diffolve the World, than that it should at first make it ; for a World that came together by Chance, and has nothing to keep it together but the Chance that made it, which is as uncertain and mutable as Chance is, will quickly unmake it self. Should the Sun but change his Place, come nearer this Earth, or remove farther from it, there were an end of this Lower World ; and if it were placed there by Chance, it is wonderful, that in so many Ages, some new unlucky Chance has not removed it. And therefore the Psalmist attributes not only the Creation, but the Preservation of all Things to God. Praise him Sun and Moon, praise him ye Stars of light: Praise him all ye Heavens, and ye Waters that are above the Heavens : Let them praise the Name of the Lord, for be spake the Word, and they were made ; be commanded, and they were created : He hath made them fast for ever ; be barb given them a Law which shall not be broken, 148. Psal. 3, 4, 5, 6.
2dly, The same Wisdom and Power which Made the World, muft Govern it too: It is only a creating Power that can preserve : That which owes its very Being to Power, muft de
pend pend upon the Power that made it, for it can have no Principle of Self-subsistence independent on its Cause: It is only Creating Wisdom that perfe&ly understands the Natures of all Things, that sees all the Springs of Motion, that can correct the Errors of Nature, that can suspend or direct the Influences of Natural Causes, that can govern Hearts, change Men's Purposes, inspire Wisdom and Counsel, restrain or let loose their Passions. It is only an Infinite Mind that can take care of all the World, that can alloc every Creature its Portion; that can adjust the Interests of States and Kingdoms; that can bring Good out of Evil, and Order out of Confusion. In a word, the Government of the World requires such Wisdom and such Power, as no Being has, but he who made it ; and therefore if the World be governed, it must be governed by the Maker of it.
3dly, if there be any. such Being as we call God, a Pure, Infinite, Eternal Mind, it is a Demonstration, . That he must govern the World.
Those who deny a Providence, will not al. low, that God sees or takes notice of what is done here below. The Epicureans, cho' in Civi. lity and Compliment to the Superstition of Mankind, rather than from a real Belief and sense of Immortali ævo summà a Deity, they did own a Semora à noftris rebus,
cum pace fruatur. God, nay, a great many sejunctaque longè. Gods, such as they were, yet never allowed their Gods to know any Thing of our Affairs, which would have disturbed their profound Ease and Rest, the sole Happiness of the Lazy, Unactive, Epicurean Deities; and this secured them from the Fear of their