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fuggesting advantageous Rules for the Con-SERM. V. duct of Life, if he hath our eternal Intereft at Heart. The Philofophy now in vogue allows, that God continually acts upon Matter; and that whatever Motion there is in the great Bodies of the Universe, is owing to his immediate Operation. But if God acts continually and immediately upon Matter; it will be hard to affign any fufficient Reason, why he fhould not act upon, what is much nobler than Matter, the fpiritual World.
There are very few, who have not, fome time or other, just as they were upon the Point of perpetrating a bad Action, felt a fudden Check or Refraint upon them, which has rendered their Defign abortive. Something, they knew not what, at that very Crifis, when, if they had gone a Step farther, it had been too late to retreat, hath withheld them from finning. A chill Fearfulnefs and Trembling hath come upon them, that were Strangers to Fear; and an unufual Damp hath overcaft the Soul, which had been inured to hardy Attempts. When any good Suggeftion without any antecedent Train of Ideas arifeth in our Minds, we know not how or from what VOL. II. M Quarter,
SERM. V. Quarter, we ought to look upon it as a Beam of Light darting in upon our Minds from the great Father of Lights; and let us improve, cultivate and ripen it, till it breaks forth into correfpondent Actions.
IVthly, I fhall make two or three Reflections and fo conclude.
It. Let us learn from hence to form the most august Ideas of the divine Nature, of which ours is capable.
Look how wide and spacious this Earth is, on which we live: Yet this Earth is as it were but one petty Province of God's univerfal Empire, one little Wheel of the vaft Machine, the whole World. How aftonishingly great then is that Being who fets each Wheel in Motion, and regulates the whole Circumference of the Creation where there are Diverfities of Adminiftrations, but the fame God, which worketh All in All? It is his Power, which wields fo many maffy Bodies, and bids the Planets go their everlafing Round; it is his Wisdom, which adjusts fuch Variety of Movements without the leaft Confufion; it is his Goodnefs, which has enriched the Universe with fuch a Profufion of Good, beautified it with fuch
fuch Order and Harmony, and ennobled it SERMS V. with fuch Magnificence and Grandeur.
Yet this Earth, all these Worlds, which move above us, far more, than the naked Eye, than Glaffes, than the Imagination can reach, are but before him (in the Language of the Prophet Ifaiah) as a Drop of a Bucket, and are counted as the fmall Duft of the Balance: Behold he taketh up the Ifles, as a very little Thing: That is, the Ifles and indeed the whole Universe are in his Hands, what a light infignificant Weight is in ours, which we take up and manage at our Eafe, without being in the least encumbered by it. What is your Spirit amidft fuch a Multitude of Spirits, as probably inhabit thefe Worlds? No more, than a Drop amidst the vast Collection and Affemblage of Waters.-Yet you are as much the Care of the great Author of all these Worlds, and Father of all these Spirits, as if there were no Creature for him to protect and love but you. No Person howfoever little or infignificant, who regards him, can be unregarded by Him, who, with one Glance of Thought can know every Thing, without Study and painful Researches ; and with one Motion of his Will can do eM 2 very
SERM. V. whole World. For if God be FOR us, it will in a fhort Time fignify little or nothing, who was against us: But if He be against us, what will it fignify, who was for us? Our Communication and Intercourfe with our nearest and dearest Relations may be intercepted by our Misfortunes: But our Intercourse with the nearest Object of all, even Him, in whom we live, and move, and have our Being, cannot be intercepted but by our Vices. He who never 'faileth them that feek him, will never forfake us, till we forfake Him and Virtue. He is, according to the expreffive Defcription of St. John, Light and Love, pure unclouded Light, without any Mixture of Darkness and Ignorance; and pure unallayed Love, without any Tincture of Malice and Hatred: He knows whatever is really Good for us; and will do whatever in his unerring Judgment is most effectually conducive to our Good, making every difaftrous Incident finally terminate in our Benefit.
The intrinfic Excellency of the Scriptures, a Proof of their divine Inspiration.
In Two SERMONS.
I PETER III. 15.
Be ready always to give an Answer to every
T is furprifing to obferve, what a clofe SERM. VI. Connexion and Alliance one material Truth has with another. Thus, for Inftance, that there is a God, those manifeft Traces of infinite Wisdom, which appear through the whole Oeconomy of Nature, fufficiently make out. The whole World is in this Refpect, as it were, one great Temple, where, as in the Jewish, the Shechinah or divine Prefence shines M 4