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and brimstone; but to such as, with meek hearts, and due reverence, "receive it into good ground," and express the power thereof in their lives, there remaineth an exceeding eternal weight of joy and glory. "Let us therefore walk as the children of the light," and not content ourselves with a bare empty profession of religion: "Let him that but nameth the name of the Lord, depart from iniquity." Brethren, consider what I say, and the Lord give you understanding in all things! "To God," &c.


"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." PSALM XIV. 1.

I WILL not be ashamed to be so far my own plagiary, as for your sakes, that you may be the better able to go along with me in what remains of this text, briefly to discover unto you, how far I have already, in another auditory, proceeded in it.


2. First, therefore, I conceived (by attending to the course and series of the psalm, and by comparing this place with many others in Holy Scripture in different language, expressing the same sense) that this fool in my text was not a man utterly ignorant and devoid of the knowledge of God and his word: for he is supposed by the Psalmist to be a man living within the pale of the church, and outwardly professing the true religion and worship of God. And thereupon, Secondly, That his atheism was no heathenish, philosophical atheism, no problematical maintaining an opinion, that "There is no God;" for, even among the very heathens, we read not of above three or four of any account, who have proceeded to this excelling degree and height of impiety.

3. But this person (whether Doeg the Edomite, or whosoever he were) is such an one, as, though in his profession, and even serious thoughts, he do not question a Deity, but would be a mortal enemy to any one who should dare to deprive and rob Almighty God of any of his glorious attri

butes; yet notwithstanding, in his heart, (that is, in the phrase of the Scripture) in the propension and inclination of his affections, and, by consequence, in the course and practice of his life, he denies and renounces God: he accounts the spending a little time in thinking and meditating on the providence, or mercy, or severity of God, to be an employment very ungainful and disadvantageous to him, a business likely to trouble and spoil many of his ungodly projects, and to hinder him in his fortunes; and, for this reason, he will put God far away from him; he will not suffer him to be (as the Psalmist saith, Psal. x. 4.) "in all his crafty purposes."


4. I willingly confess, that this saying in the heart, "There is no God," may reasonably be interpreted to be a secret whispering suggestion, an inward persuasion, by fits, which a wretched worldling may have, that since he has thrived so well by his carelessness in observing God's word, and obstinate opposing himself to his will, it may be possible there is indeed no God at all; or if there be, that he will not vouchsafe to descend so low as to take notice what is done here on earth, or to observe how each particular person behaves himself in this life. Now, because I will not set up one of these expositions against the other, I will hereafter, as occasion shall offer itself, make use of them both.

5. Having therefore conceived the sense of the text to be such as I have now told you; in the words I observed two general parts. First, The cause of atheism, and, by consequence, all the abominations following through the whole psalm, intimated in the person Nabal, i. e. the fool, which

is folly, i. e. ignorance, or rather incogitancy, inconsideration. Secondly, The effect of this folly, which is atheism, and that seated not in the brain, but in the heart or affections. I have already gone through the former part, namely, The cause of atheism, which is folly; in the prosecution whereof, I endeavoured to discover wherein this folly doth consist: and that is not so much in an utter ignorance of God, and his holy word, as a not making a good use of it, when it is known; a suffering it to lie dead, to swim unprofitably in the brain, without any fruit thereof in the reformation of a man's life and conversation. And, there I shewed, first, what extreme folly it was for a man to seek to increase the knowledge of his master's will, without a resolution to increase proportionably in a serious active performance thereof. And, secondly, the extreme unavoidable danger and increase of guilt, which knowledge, without practice, brings with it. To both which considerations I severally annexed applications to the consciences of them that heard me, and should have proceeded to

6. The Second general part; which is, The effect and fruit of the folly or inconsideration of Nabal, (the fool) in my text, which is atheism practical, not of the understanding, but the will and affections. But the time being spent in the prosecution of the former general part, I was forced to reserve this second general, to be the employment of another hour.

7. Only thus much I then made promise of, (which debt I purpose now to discharge to you) namely, To demonstrate, by infallible deductions out of God's word, that many who profess reli

gion, and a perfect knowledge of God's word, yet whilst they allow him only the brain, and not (what he almost only requires) the heart and affections, may prove in God's account very atheists. Or, to bring it nearer home, I promised to shew how that many of the ordinary courses, and most uncontrolled practices, of men of this age, do utterly contradict, and formally destroy, the very foundations and principles of that glorious religion which they profess. Of these, &c.

8. At the first sight, indeed, a man would think, that of all the places in Holy Scripture, and of all the ages which have been since the world began, that this text, and these times, should suit worst together: for, first, if a man would strive, with all the earnestness, and even spite, he could, in all the abominable odious colours to describe the worst of all human creatures, even the idolatrous, self-devouring Indians, what more horrible expression could he imagine to himself than to call them fools, and such fools who say in their heart, “There is no God?" Again, if we shall inquire and ask the former ages, if ever the world was so stored, and even oppressed with knowledge? they will tell us, that the light was never a burden, nor knowledge a vice, before now. Never, till now, did all sorts and conditions of men pretend to be able to state the most intricate profound questions of our religion: never, till now, was Moses' wish fulfilled, "I would to God, that all the people of the Lord were prophets;" though in a sense which would scarcely have pleased him.

9. These things considered, were it not fit (think you) that I should renounce my text, or travel to find out a nation whom it may concern,

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