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SERM. comprehend the perfuafion of things moral, and naCCXIX. tural, and political, and the like: or,

2. Divine and religious, that is, a perfuafion of things that concern religion. I know not whether thefe terms be proper, nor am I very folicitous, because I know none fitter, and tell you what I mean by them.

The firft kind of faith, concerning things human and civil, I fhall not speak of, it being befide my defign.

The fecond, which I call a religious and divine faith, comprehends three things under it, which are diftinctly to be confidered.

1. A perfuafion of the principles of natural religion, which are known by the light of nature, as the exiftence of a GOD, the immortality of the foul, and a future ftate.

2. A perfuafion of things fupernatural and revealed. 3. A perfuafion of fupernatural revelation. Thefe I defign fully to handle. Thus I have prepared materials for a large difcourfe; which though it be neceffary, is, I am fenfible, but too tedious, and yet poffibly more tedious to me than you.

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Of a religious and divine faith.

HE B. xi. 6.

But without faith it is impoffible to pleafe GOD.

N my last discourse I came to treat of a religious and divine faith, which, I told you, compreds under it three things, which I now proceed to confider diftinctly,


First, A perfuafion of the principles of natural re- SER M. ligion, which are known by the light of nature.

Secondly, a perfuafion of things fupernatural and revealed.

Thirdly, a perfuafion of fupernatural revelation.

First, a perfuafion of the principles of natural religion, fuch as the light of nature could difcover; fuch are the existence of GoD, the immortality of the foul, and a future ftate. The things to be enquired concerning this kind of faith are these.

I. Whether this be truly and properly called faith. II. What are the arguments whereby it is wrought. III. Whether it admit of degrees or not, and what differences are obfervable in them.

IV. What are the proper and genuine effects of it. V. In what fenfe it may be faid to be divine faith. I. Whether it may truly and properly be called faith, or not? If the general notion of faith which I have fixed before, viz. that it is a perfuafion of the. mind concerning any thing, be a true notion of faith, then there is no doubt but this may as properly be called faith, as any thing can be; because a man may be perfuaded in his mind concerning these things, that there is a GOD, that our fouls are immortal, that there is another ftate after this life.

But befides this, if the fcripture fpeaks properly, as we have reafon to believe it does, especially when it treats profeffedly of any thing, as the apoftle here does, then this question is fully decided: for it is evident to any one that will but read this verfe, out of which I have taken my text, that the apostle doth here in this place fpeak of this kind of faith, that is, a belief or perfuafion of the principles of natural religion. For after the apoftle had faid, that" without faith, it is impoffible to pleafe GOD;" he immediately inftanceth

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SER M. ftanceth in the belief of the principles of natural reliCCXX. gion, as neceffary to the pleafing of GOD, that is, to

make a man religious. "He that cometh to GOD, "muft believe that he is," there is the existence of GOD, the first principle of natural religion: "and "that he is a rewarder of them that diligently feek "him;" which implies the other two, the immortality of the foul, and a future state; for if good men fhall be rewarded, there must be a fubject capable of fuch rewards, which brings in the immortality of the foul; and there must be a feafon for thefe rewards, which because they are seldom bestowed in this world, there must be a season when they fhall, which brings in a future ftate after this life. So that whoever denies that a perfuafion of these principles of natural religion may properly be called faith, he quarrels with the apostle, and does not correct me, but the fcriptures.

II. What are the arguments whereby this faith or perfuafion of thefe principles of natural religion is wrought? You may remember that I reduced all thofe arguments whereby any kind of faith or perfu1fion is wrought in us, to thefe four heads; fenfe, experience, reafons drawn from the thing, and the teftimony or authority of fome perfon. Now a faith or perfuafion of these principles cannot be wrought in us by fenfe for "no man hath feen GoD at any "time," and being a pure fpirit, he cannot be the object of any corporeal fenfe. Nor can the foul, or mode of it's existence, fall under any of our fenfes; nor a future ftate; because fenfe is only of things present. Nor can it be wrought in us merely by experience for no man can conclude from any thing he experienceth in himself, that there is a GOD, unless he be first persuaded of it by other arguments: and the immortality of the foul, and a future ftate, are things



which none in this life can experience. Nor can theS ERM. authority or teftimony of any perfon be the argument that induceth that perfuafion. Not any human authority for thefe things are of fuch confequence, and so much depends upon them, that is, the belief of them puts us upon fo many things, which men would not do if they did not believe them, as particularly the venturing of our lives upon the account of religion, and all our worldly interefts, if occafion call for it; that it were a fond thing to take matters of fuch moment and importance upon any man's bare word, without other affurance of them. Nor can the teftimony or authority of God be the argument that perfuades me of the existance of a Gon. I grant, that for the other two, the immortality of the soul, and a future state, it is an excellent, and may be a fufficient argument. Though that these may be proved likewife by other arguments without a revelation, is evident in the heathens, who by the light of nature did affent to them without a revelation. But a divine revelation cannot poffibly be an argument inducing me to believe the existence of a GOD for this plain reafon; becaufe a divine revelation can be no argu ment to any that is not perfuaded that it is a divine revelation but before I can be perfuaded that any revelation is from GoD, I must be perfuaded there is a GOD; and if fo, there is no need of this argument to prove to me that there is one and therefore you do not find it any where revealed in all the fçripture, that there is a GOD. The fcripture often declares that JEHOVAH is "the true and living GoD," and that" befides him there is no other :" but it doth not reveal, but every where fuppofe that there is one.

It remains then, that it must be another kind of argument whereby we must be perfuaded of the ex


SER M. iftence of a GOD, and that is by fuch reasons as may CCXX. be drawn from things themselves to perfuade us here

of; as either from the notion and idea which we have of a GOD, that he is a being that hath all perfections, whereof neceffary exiftence is one, and confequently that he must be; or elfe from the universal confent of all nations, and the generality of perfons agreeing in this apprehenfion, which cannot be attributed reafonably to any other caufe, than to impreffions ftamped upon our understanding by GoD himself; or (which is most plain of all) from this visible frame of the world, which we cannot, without great violence to our understandings, impute to any other caufe than a being endowed with infinite goodness, and power, and wisdom, which is what we call GOD.

As for the other two principles of natural religion, the immortality of the foul, and a future ftate; after we believe a Gon, we may be perfuaded of thefe from divine revelation, and that doth give us the highest and firmeft affurance of them in the refurrection of CHRIST from the dead, Yet I do not find but that these also are rather fuppofed, than exprefly revealed in the bible. Indeed the immortality of the foul may be infer'd from feveral places of fcripture, and the tenor of the whole bible: and fo a future ftate, which as for the thing itself, feems to be fuppofed as a thing acknowledged by natural light; only the fcripture hath revealed the circumstances of it more particu larly to us, and given us higher affurance of the thing: but if there were no revelation, men might be perfuaded of thefe; and fo the heathens were by arguments drawn partly from the operations of the foul which would almoft perfuade any man that the foul is immortal; it being altogether unimaginable how a principle that is nothing elfe but matter, can either


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