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Ocean, to fupply every Thing with neceflary Moisture, and make the Communication of the moft diftant Parts eafy that hath furrounded the Earth with Air for us to breathe in, to convey our Voices to each other, and to fupport Clouds for Rain: that hath caufed this Air to be moved by Winds, which preferve it healthful: and bring thofe, who go down to the Sea in Ships, unto the Haven where they would be: that hath placed the Sun at fo exact a Distance from us, that we are neither burnt up by Heat, nor frozen by Cold; and hath kept Bodies of fuch incredible Bulk, as the heavenly ones, rolling on, for thousands of Years together, with fo orderly and exact a Motion, that the Returns of Day and Night, and of the various annual Seafons, are precifely foreknown; and perfectly fuitable for Labour and Reft, and bringing the Fruits of the Earth to Maturity: whereas were almost any one of these Things confiderably altered, we muft all of Neceffity perifh.

But then, how fmall a Part of the Universe our Habitation may be; and how many, perhaps greater, Wonders the reft may contain; we cannot fo much as conjecture. The Millions of Miles, that are between us, and the nearest of the celeftial Globes, would be aftonifhing, if mentioned to you. Yet their Diftance is as nothing, if compared with the fartheft, which we fee and very poffibly the fartheft, which we fee, may be as nothing to many others: every one of which, we have no Reafon to doubt, is as full of Regularity, and Beauty, and Ufe, as our own Abode. And from what Origin can the whole of this proceed, but that which the Pfalmift rapturously expreffes: O Lord, how manifold are thy Works! in Wisdom haft thou made them


To fpeak of Chance, as the Cause of them, is abfurd beyond measure. Chance is merely a Word, to express our own Ignorance: it is nothing, and can do nothing. Suppofe one of us were afked, how this Building, in

d Pfal. cvii. 23, 30.

Pfal. civ. 34.

which we are affembled, or the smallest Part of the Drefs which we wear, came to be what it is; and should answer that no Perfon made it, but it jumped together and held together by Chance; would not this be grofs Folly? And how fhockingly foolish muft it be then, to give the fame Account of the Ex.ftence of a whole World fo admirably contrived, adjusted and conducted throughout! As evidently therefore as any common Piece of Work proves a Workman to have composed it, fo evidently, and very much more, the immenfe Fabric of the Universe proves a Being of unfpeakable Power and Skill to be the Creator of it.

And accordingly, the Belief of a wife and mighty Author of all hath been received in every Age and Nation which clearly fhews it to be founded in Truth, and written in the Hearts of Men. They corrupted it gradually indeed: first, by unworthy Reprefentations of the true God, then by adding the Worship of false Gods, which at length excluded him. But undeniably the primitive Notion was that of an invifible Mind, the Maker and Ruler of this vifible Frame: which being plainly under one uniform Direction, fhews itself to have one only fovereign Director and Governor. This Doctrine God himself must have taught our first Parents in the Beginning: He hath confirmed it fince by Miracles from Time to Time: and perpetuated the Evidence of it in his holy Word.

That he is not perceived by any of our Senfes, is no Objection at all against his Being. For our Minds also are imperceptible by Senfe. But as they, notwithstanding, fhew their Exiftence by moving and difpofing of our Bodies according to their Pleafure; fo doth God fhew his, by moving and dispofing of all Things as he wills. And the fame Argument proves his Prefence with all Things. For wherever he acts, there he certainly is and therefore he is every where. Our Prefence is limited, and extends a very little Way: but what is there to limit him? Our Being is derived from his Command; and therefore depends on it ftill: but he is


underived; and therefore independent abfolutely. Our Powers are only what he hath thought fit to give us: but his Power is infinite: for every Thing depending on him, nothing can refift him. Our Knowledge is every Way imperfect but he who made all Things, and is prefent with all Things, muft in the completeft Manner know all Things, even the most hidden Thoughts of the Heart. We are often unjuft and wicked: but God cannot be otherwife than just and holy. For the only Reasons of our failing to do right are, that we either perceive not what is fo, or else are tempted to act contrary to our Perceptions: but God is fubject to no Mistake, or Weakness of any Kind. And, which is the happieft Attribute of all for his Creation, be must be likewife good. For Goodness is plainly a right Thing; and therefore he must see it to be fo: it is plainly a Perfection; and therefore the perfecteft Being muft poffefs it in the higheft Degree. We fhould be always good ourfelves, if nothing misled us: and him nothing can miflead. But the most valuable Proof is, that we experience his Goodness: for we live in a World full of it. All that we enjoy, and every Capacity of Enjoyment that we have, proceeds from him. Moft of what we fuffer proceeds from our own Faults and Follies. And fo much of it as comes wholly from his Providence, is defigned for our prefent Improvement and future Reward; unlefs by obftinate Misbehaviour we become unfit for Reward: and then we have only ourselves to blame. For as God is knowing and wife; he cannot but obferve the Difference between good Perfons and bad as he is just and holy; he cannot take Pleasure in those, who are otherwife and as he is the Governor of the World; he cannot fail to fhew his Displeasure in that effectual Manner, which the Ends of Government require. And they certainly do require the bad to be punished, as well as the good to be made happy.

Such then is the Nature of God: to whom in the Creed the Name of Father is given, as he is both the


Father of the Creation by forming it, and also the Father of our Lord Jefus Chrift, and through him our gracious and reconciled Father, as fhall hereafter be explained. The next Word, Almighty, denotes, not barely his irrefiftible Power, but principally that rightful and abfolute Authority, with which his Kingdom ruleth over all. And the last Words of the Defcription, Maker of Heaven and Earth, are added; partly to exprefs the Ground of that Authority, his being the Creator, and therefore the Proprietor of the World; and partly in Oppofition to the Errors of the Heathen, who worshipped many Beings in the Heavens and the Earth, as Gods: which, in these Terms of our Creed, are by evident Confequence declared to be no Gods, because they are the Work of his Hands, of whom and through whom and to whom are all Things &.

The Duties, owing to this our awful Sovereign, will be specified in expounding the Ten Commandments, particularly the firft. At prefent therefore I fhall only beg you to remember the Apoftle's Exhortation: Take Heed, Brethren, left there be in any of you an evil Heart of Unbelief, in departing from the living God. Nothing, but an evil Heart, can make Unbelief defirable, or even fupportable. For to every good Heart it must be the greatest Joy, to know that the World is governed by infinite Wisdom, Juftice, and Goodness; and the greatest Affliction, to have any Doubt of it. If therefore find the Thought of fuch a Governor unwelcome; if you could inwardly with there were none; be affured, your Heart is not righti. And though you could, with fuch a Difpofition, bring yourself, almoft or completely, to imagine there is none: what poffible Security can fhutting your Eyes give you against Danger; or what Excufe can wilfully denying God make for disobeying him?


But then observe further, that fuppofing you do not difbelieve a God at all, yet if you never think of him,

Pfal. ciii. 19. 8 Rom. xi. 36, h Heb. iii. 12. ¿Acts viii. 21.


this is not, to any good Purpose, believing in him at all and if you think of him but feldom, it is believing in him but little. He, on whom we depend continually, to whom we owe Duty continually, in whofe Prefence we continually are, ought never to be far from our Thoughts: but we should fet him before our Eyes fo conftantly, as to live in his Fear always. Doing this needs not keep us from common Business; it needs not keep us from innocent Pleasures. But it should influence us all effectually, (and happy are we, if it doth) to conduct ourselves in every Thing, as Perfons who act under the Infpection of a wife and juft Superior: whom we may indeed forget, if we will; but fhall be remembered by him: from whom we may depart, but cannot efcape. In our Choice it is, whether we will be the better or the worse for him. But one we muft: and that beyond Expreffion. For God will bring every Work into Judgment, with every fecret Thing; whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

* Eccl. xii. 14.



E D.

Article II. And in Jefus Chrift his only Son our Lord.



O believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, is the univerfal Creed of Nature and Reafon. But divine Revelation adds further Profeffions to it; of which the first is, that of Faith in our ever bleffed Redeemer: whofe Direction was, Ye believe in God: believe alfo in me. Therefore, that we may believe in him as we ought, he is defcribed, in the Creed, by his Name and Offices, his Relation to God and to us.

⚫ John xiv. 1.


1. His

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