Imatges de pàgina
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VOL. may especially be most sure of the existence of 1.

GOD, though we cannot see him ; more indeed than we can be generally of the existence of visible things.

Sometimes the objects of our mind and sight meet in one, there is somewhat visible and fomewhat invisible. As for instance, in actions that are capable of moral consideration, there is the action it felf, and there'is also the rectitude or irrectitude of that action. Now here is at once an object of my sight, and of my mind; and I may be as certain of the one, as of the other, in many instances. As, suppose I see one strike, wound, or kill an innocent person ; or, suppose I see one affront a magiftrate, injuriously or barbarously; here I have the object of my eye and mind at once. That the action was done I am certain, for I saw the stroke ; and I am no less sure of the affront, though that be an object of the mind. As soon as I see such an action done, do not I apprehend it to be ill done. Is not the thing which my mind apprehends, as real as that which my eyes fee? Am I not as fure that it was ill done, as that the action was done at all? though the one falls under my cye, and the other only under the cognizance of the mind.

AGAIN, if we look no further than our selves, our own frame and composition, we may be as certain of the existence of what we see not, as of what we do fee. We have a body. We are fure we have a body, for we can see it. It is

many

ways the object of our senses, or the external or- SERM. gans that are planted there. But we cannot fee VI. our minds, yet I hope we are never the less fure that we have minds. We are as certain that we have somewhat about us that can think, can understand, as we are that we may be seen and felt. I go not about to determine now what it is that thinks, whether material or not, mortal or not ; but every man that will consider, is as sure that he has a mind which he cannot see, as that he has a body which he can see.

To bring this matter home to our present purpose concerning the supreme invisible Being, the blessed God. It is most apparent that we may be as certain of his existence as of any thing; and unspeakably more certain of his constant existence, than we can be of any being whatsoever. There is no man that will use his under. standing, but must allow this. For, suppose an object of sight before me, I am certain that it doch exist; for I see it. Now the following conclusion may be as certain to any one that considers, to wit, something is, therefore something hath ever been. I will appeal to any understanding man, whether this be not as certain as the other. For if we should suppose a time when nothing ever was, when nothing existed, any man's understanding must tell him, it was impossible that any thing should ever have been. Suppose a season when nothing was, and then was it possible any thing of it self should arise out of that nothing, when there was nothing at all conceivable ? H 3

that

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VOL. that a thing should be before it was, and do I,

something when it was nothing? Therefore it is hence most necessarily consequent, that there must needs be some original eternal Being, subsisting of it self, that was always and never began to be ; and therefore was necessarily, and so can never cease to be *.

Let this be but weighed, and let any sober understanding judge, whether this conclusion be not as certain as the former. That is, coma pare these two conclusions together, I see something, therefore something is; and this also, something is, therefore something hath ever been, some original Being that always was of it self, and could not but be: Ą man, I say, feels as great a certainty in his own mind concerning this, as concerning the other. He must renounce his understanding as much in one case, as his eyes in the other, if he will not grant this to be certain, that as some beings now exist, there has been always an original selfexistent Being.

AND then supposing the existence of the thing already, I may form as certain conclufic is concerning the attributes of what I canna see, as of that which I can fee. rly this also to the invisible eternal Being. Look to any visible thing, and your eyes can

tell

To ap

* This argument is urged at large, with great force and strength in the Author's admirable Treatise, intitled, The Living TEMPLE. Part 1. Chap. 2,

tell what are its visible accidents. "I look upon Serń. the wall, and see it is white. I know it is VI., fo, because I see it is so. Cannot I as certainly conclude concerning this original eternal Being, that he is wise, holy, just, and powerful ? I know that there is such a thing as wisdom, and justice, goodness, and power in the world. I know that these things are not nothing, and that they did not come out of nothing; therefore they must needs originally belong to the original Being. Is not this as certain, and as plain, as any visible accident of any thing is to a man's eye? Must not these attributes nece arily first be in God, as in their original seat and proper subject ? yea, a great deal more certainly, than any kind of quality we can suppose to be lovely in the creature can agree to it; because as for the original Being, that existed of it self; and therefore is necessarily, and by consequence eternally, and invariably whatever it is. Therefore since these perfections are originally in God himself, or derivations from him, what should rationally keep a man in suspense, when by the intervention of his mind he sees fuch an invisible object, but that he should fall in love with that, as well as with any visible object, that commends itself as lovely to the sight. And I should next add,

[2.] That invisible excellency is infinitely greater than any visible excellency can be. As there is a reality in unseen things, and especially in this invisible object, as much as in

VOL, any thing we fee with our eyes, so there is 1.

generally a higher excellency in invisible objects, than in those that are visible, and infinitely more in this than in other invisible objects. But thi and the other considerations I cannot reach to now.

SERM.

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