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Explanations, as they are willing to afk and truft in all other Cafes, and much admirable Inftruction befides: which if they do but respect and obferve as they ought; they may be content to leave for the Ufe of others, what a little Modefty will fhew them is above their own Reach.

But that every Perfon may be enabled the better to diftinguish between the neceffary Doctrines and the reft : thofe, which either Chrift or his Apoftles expressly taught to be of the former Sort, or the Nature of the Thing plainly fhews to be fuch, have from the earliest Times been collected together: and the Profeffion of them hath been particularly required of all Perfons baptized, Thefe Collections or Summaries are in Scripture called, The Form of found Words, The Words of Faith', The Principles of the Doctrine of Chrift: but in the prefent Language of Chriftians, The Creed, that is, the Belief.

The ancient Church had many fuch Creeds: fome longer, fome shorter; differing in Expreffion, but agreeing in Method and Senfe: of which that called the Apoftles Creed was one. And it deferves that Name, not fo much from any Certainty that the Apostles drew it up, as because it contains the Apostolical Doctrines; and was used by a Church, which, before it corrupted itself, was juftly confidered as one of the chief Apoftolical Foundations, I mean the Roman.

But neither this, nor any other Creed, hath Authority of its own, equal to Scripture; but derives its principal Authority from being founded on Scripture. Nor is it in the Power of any Man, or Number of Men, either to leffen or increase the fundamental Articles of the Chriftian Faith: which yet the Church of Rome, not content with this its primitive Creed, hath profanely attempted: adding twelve Articles more, founded on its own, that is, on no Authority, to the ancient twelve, which ftand on the Authority of God's Word. But * 2 Tim. i. 13, Tim. iv. 6.

m Heb. vi. I.

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our Church hath wifely refused to go a Step beyond the original Form; fince all neceffary Truths are briefly comprehended in it, as will appear when the several Parts of it come to be expounded, which it is the Duty of every one of us firmly to believe, and openly to profefs. For with the Heart Man believeth unto Righte oufness, and with the Mouth Confeffion is made unto Salva tion".




Article I. I believe in God, the Father, &c.


HE Foundation of all Religion is Faith in God: the Perfuafion, that there doth, ever did, and ever will exift, one Being of unbounded Power and Knowledge, perfect Juftice, Truth and Goodness, the Creator and Preferver, the Sovereign Lord and Ruler of all Things. With this Article therefore our Creed begins. And as all the reft are built upon it, fo the Truth and Certainty of it is plain to every Man, when duly proposed to his Confideration, how unlikely foever fome Men would have been to discover it of them felves.

We know, beyond Poffibility of Doubt, that we now are and yet the oldeft of us, but a few Years ago, was not. How then came we to be? Whence had we our Beginning? From our Parents, perhaps we may think. But did our Parents know, or do we know in the leaft, how to form fuch a Mind as that of Man, with all its Faculties; or fuch a Body as that of Man, with all its Parts and Members; or even the very smallest of them?

» Rom, x. 10.


No more, than a Tree knows how to make the Seed that grows into a like Tree: no more, than any common Inftrument knows how to do the Work, which is done by its Means. Our Parents were only Inftruments in the Hands of fome higher Power: and to fpeak properly, That it is which made us, and not we ourselves, or one another. And the fame is the Cafe of every Animal and every Plant upon the Face of the Earth.

- But could our Parents be the Caufe of our Being; yet ftill the first human Pair must have had fome different Caufe of theirs. Will it then be faid, that there was no first? But we cannot conceive this to be poffible. And it certainly is not true. For we have undoubted Accounts, in ancient Hiftories, of the Time when Men were but few in the World, and inhabited but a small Part of it; and therefore were near their Beginning: Accounts of the Times, when almost all Arts and Sciences were invented; which Mankind would not have been long in Being, much less from Eternity, without finding out. And upon the whole, there is ftrong Evidence, that the prefent Frame of Things is not more than about fix thousand Years old: and that none of us, here prefent, is 150 Generations distant from our firft Parent.

If it be faid, that univerfal Deluges may perhaps have deftroyed almost all the Race of Men, and fo made that feem a new Beginning, which was not: we answer, that one fuch Deluge we own: but that no such can posfibly happen according to the common Course of Nature, as learned Perfons have abundantly fhewn. And confequently this proves a higher Power, instead of destroying the Proof of it.

But without having Recourse to History, it is evident from the very Form and Appearance of this Earth, that it cannot have been from Eternity. If it had, to mention nothing elfe, the Hills muft all have been

* Pfal. c. 2.


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washed down by fhowers innumerable Ages ago, to a Level with the Plains . And indeed they, who have thought of thefe Matters, well know and confefs, that the present Conftitution of the Heavens and Earth both must have had a Beginning, and muft of itself come to an End.

To fay therefore, that Things are by Nature what they are, is to fay a plain Falfehood, if we mean, that they are fo by any Neceffity in their own Nature. For then they must always have been fuch as we see them; and not the leaft Part of any Thing could poffibly have been at all different from what it is: which is the wildeft Imagination in the World. The only Nature therefore, which we and the whole Univerfe have, was freely given us by a fuperior Being. And the Regularity, in which Things go on, is no more a Proof, that they were of themselves from everlafting, or fhall continue as they are to everlasting, than the regular Motion of a Clock is a Proof, that no Artift made it, or keeps it in Order, or fhall take it to Pieces, On the contrary, the more complete this Regularity is, and the longer it lafts, the more fully it fhews the Power of its Author; and not only that, but his Understanding and Wisdom alfo.

Indeed what hath no Understanding, hath, in Strictnefs of Speech, no Power; cannot act, but only be acted upon as all mere Matter is; which never moves, but as it is moved. But were this doubtful: look around you, and see what Marks of Understanding and Wisdom appear. Turn your Eyes upon yourselves: How fearfully and wonderfully are we made! Of what an incredible Number and Variety of Parts, (a vastly greater than perhaps any of us fufpect,) are our Bodies

This Argument is produced from Theophraftus, in Philo wegì ȧplagcias xécμ8, p. 510; and two Answers to it attempted, p. 513: that Mountains may lofe Parts, and gain them again, as Trees do their Leaves; or are fupported by the internal Fire, which threw them up. The first is an abfurd Affertion: the latter a groundless and false one.

c Pfal. cxxxix. 14.


compofed! How were thefe formed and put together at first? What hath caufed, and what hath limited their Growth fince? How hath proper and fuitable Nourishment been diftributed to them all? How hath the perpetual Motion of our Blood, and of our Breath, fleeping and waking, both of them so neceffary to Life, been carried on? How is it, that we move every Joint belonging to us, inftantly, and with fuch Exactnefs, without knowing even which Way we go about it? Our Speech, our Hearing, our Sight, every one of our Senfes, what amazing Contrivance is there in them; and the more amazing, the more ftrictly we examine them! In the Works of Men, it is often mere Ignorance, that occafions our Admiration: but in these, the minuter our Inspection and the deeper our Search is, the greater Abundance we always find of accurate Adjustments and unimaginable Precautions.

But then, befides ourfelves, the Earth is replenished with numberlefs other Animals. Thofe, of which we commonly take Notice, are an extremely fmall Part of the whole. Different Countries produce very different Sorts. How many, ftill more different, the great Waters conceal from us, we cannot even guefs. Multitudes remain, fo little as almoft to escape our Sight, with the best Affistance that we are able to give it; and probably Multitudes more, which escape it entirely. But all that we can observe, we find, down to the very least, contrived with the fame inconceivable Art, ftrangely diverfified, yet uniform at the fame Time, and perfectly fitted by most surprizing Instincts for their several Ways of living, fo entirely different each from the


What Wisdom and Power muft it be then, which hath peopled the World in this Manner, and made fuch Provifion for the Support of all its Inhabitants: chiefly by the Means of innumerable Kinds of Herbs and Vegetables, just as wonderful in their Make, as the Animals themselves: that hath intermixed the dry Land fo fitly with Springs, and Rivers, and Lakes, and the


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