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Full text of "The whole works of the Rev. John Howe, M.A. : with a memoir of the author"

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Professor Henry van Dyke 
April 3, 1901 




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VOL. I. 













B Bmdey, Bolt Court, Fleet Street. 


IT must be acknowledged, by every impartial observer, 

that the present times are distinguished by many signs 

favourable to the interests of genuine Christianity, Of 

these, an unprecedented demand for the works of our 

most eminent divines cannot be viewed as the least 

considerable. It is an evidence that the Master of the 

house is not forgotten, when there is an eagerness 

to converse with those of his servants who were most 

eminently devoted to his honour, " who being dead yet 

speak : the end of whose conversation is Jesus Christ, 

the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." These are 

they who once shone as lights in the world, whose 

writings still shed a light on the path of immortality, 

and whose memories shall diffuse a fragrance to gene- 
ts o 

rations yet unborn. And when their works are closely 
studied, may we not expect that their successors in of- 
fice will imbibe their spirit, emulate their zeal, and, by 
a close imitation of their holy example, perpetuate their 
excellencies in " living epistles" to the latest posterity? 
It is thus that the cause of God and truth, which they 
so ably defended, and for which many of them uot only 
preached and wrote, but suffered and died, will be main-. 
tained with accumulated strength, and by the accession 
of new friends from aire to age, continue to exert its 


energies until the foundations of the spiritual temple 
are commensurate with the boundaries of the world ; 
and the sacred edifice which is composed of " lively 
stones" shall be completed, and the " Head-stone there- 
of brought forth with shoutings, crying, Grace, Grace, 
unto it." 

These considerations render it a pleasant reflection to 
the Editor, that he has been led by a variety of incidents 
to republish the works of the Rev. John Howe. Could 
he flatter himself that the work will be executed in a 
manner worthy of him whose name it hears, it would 
give him the confidence of a more than ample reward, 
in the thanks and patronage of the religious Public. 

For him to offer a eulogy on a name already so just- 
ly celebrated, and of which so much has been written 
by men of the first eminence in the church of Christ, 
would not only be superfluous, but arrogant. To say 
any thing of the manner in which the present edition 
of his works is executed, would be to anticipate the 
judgment which every reader loves to form for himself* 
At first it was intended only to publish a volume 
of manuscripts, part of which was communicated 
by a friend, and part obtained through the favour 
of the trustees of a public depository* in which they 
are still preserved, and where the Editor was kind- 
ly permitted to transcribe them. But a uniform 
edition of his whole works having never been print- 
ed, and the folio edition (which contains not more 
than two-thirds of his works already published) being 
so scarce that it is difficult to obtain a copy, and that 
only at a price adequate to the purchase of the whole 
in the present edition, the Editor yielded to the soli- 

*Dr. Williams's Library. 

editor's PREFACE. "Vll 

citations of many of his brethren in the ministry, ani 
commenced the present publication. The first volume 
he wishes to be considered as a specimen of the whole ; 
and pledges himself to pay every attention to preserve 
the paper and type equally good. He has suffered 
himself to take no liberties with the style of his Author, 
it being his wish to preserve the mental productions of 
Howe in his own language, and to present this great 
man to the world in the literary costume of his own 
age. His style has been charged with obscurity. 
This charge, the Editor conceives, is not well founded. 
That it does not always flow easily must be admitted : 
but perhaps this applies chiefly to " The Living Tem- 
ple," the most metaphysical of his pieces, and in which 
some degree of harshness of style may be attributed 
to the nature of the subject. Where this could be re- 
moved by transposing a word, or member of a sentence, 
or by supplying an ellipsis, which is frequently the 
case, the Editor considered himself not only warranted, 
but bound to do it, as a service due both to the Author 
and the Public. But when the sublimity of Mr. 
Howe's mind, the brilliancy of his thoughts, the con- 
clusiveness of his reasoning, and the force of his lan- 
guage, are considered, that man is not to be envied, 
who cannot read his works with delight; and if no 
pleasure be excited, it discovers neither a very com- 
prehensive nor highly cultivated mind. 

Let the young minister who wishes to catch the true 
spirit of his office, and to cultivate that style of preach- 
ing which is the most calculated to honour God and do 
good to immortal souls, read, and read again, the ser- 
mons of Howe, (especially those on reconciliation and 
on yielding ourselves to God,) and is it possible he can 
fail to attain the desired object ? 


It has not been judged necessary to adhere closely 
to the order observed in the folio edition. It will be 
one object to make each volume contain nearly the same 
number of pages ; but the arrangement will be regu- 
lated chiefly by the nature of the subjects. Except 
this, the only alteration which the Editor has made, he 
is convinced the Public will consider an advantage. 
This is in the mode of distinguishing the different sub- 
jects discussed in the several treatises. These are mark- 
ed by the same figures in the head of contents of each 
chapter, by which they are distinguished in the body 
of the work. This will afford facility to the reader, 
and prevent that confusion which must have arisen 
from a want of greater attention to this subject in the 
former editions. The Life of the Author, with an In- 
dex to the whole, and a List of Subscribers, will ac- 
company the last volume. A Portrait will be given in 
the course of the publication. No pains nor expense 
will be spared to secure respectability to the execution 
of the work, and to render it still worthy of the high 
place it has long held in the library of the practical 
Christian, and of the theological student. 

Titchfield, JOHN HUNT. 

September, 10, 1610. 


He who attempts to prefix, to such a mass of fine 
thought as this Edition of Howe's Works presents, 
a Memoir of the author, must labour under the en- 
feebling impression of being sure to disappoint the 
expectation which the volumes will excite. It is, 
however, consoling to reflect, that none who com- 
bine piety with intellect can rise without pleasure 
and improvement from the perusal of a life which 
presents the loftiest results of profound study, 
though in the most stormy period of our history ; 
while the political connections into which our Divine 
was drawn by the force of events, left his character 
untainted even by the suspicion of earthly aims ; so 
that his religion shines with the unusual lustre ac- 
quired by a successful struggle against the pride of 
intellect and the ambition of the world. 

Loughborough, in Leicestershire, gave birth to 

Mr. Howe on the 17th of May, 1630. His father, 

who was a man of great piety, was the parochial 

minister of the town, and his mother was distin- 

vol. viii. b 


guished by talents so superior, that it is probable we 
owe to her early culture that pre-eminence of mind 
which the volumes now presented to the public suf- 
ficiently attest. Archbishop Laud, who had given 
to the elder Mr. Howe the living, must have been 
disappointed in the incumbent ; for he proved a 
non-conformist to those ceremonies which the 
metropolitan enforced with the zeal of a man who 
sincerely mistook them for the beauties of holiness. 
The same hand, therefore, which had committed the 
flock to his care, drove him from the important post ; 
and while other pastors, deprived, for similar causes, 
of opportunities for serving the Redeemer in their 
native land, obeyed his command by fleeing to Hol- 
land and America, the subject of this memoir was 
taken by his father to Ireland. 

Though it does not appear in what part of the 
sister island the family took refuge, we are informed 
that while there they were in danger of having their 
blood mingled with that of the Protestants, which 
flowed so profusely wherever the arms of the Catholics 
were triumphant. But as the rebels were compelled 
to raise the siege of the place, our author was 
spared to the church and the world. Finding there- 
fore that the civil war, which raged so furiously 
there, made Ireland unfit to afford them an asylum, 
the family crossed the Channel to Lancaster. 

In this town Mr. Howe laid the foundations of 
that education which he afterwards raised to 
heights so noble. With regret we acknowledge our 
inability to record the name of the tutor, or to point 


out the seminary that claims the honour of a pupil 
whom all would be proud to own. 

His early proficiency is attested by his having 
been at Cambridge, taken a degree, and removed to 
Oxford by the time he was eighteen years of age. 
He first entered Christ's College, Cambridge, where 
he had the happiness to meet with scholars so dis- 
tinguished as Dr. Henry More, and Dr. Cudworth, 
author of The Intellectual System. Becoming a 
great admirer of these associates of his early studies, 
he maintained a close friendship with Dr. More, till 
death removed him from the world ; and to this 
friendship has been ascribed that tinge of Platonism 
which is observable in the more laboured produc- 
tions of Mr. Howe. 

Having graduated at Cambridge as Bachelor of 
Arts, he removed to Brazen Nose College, Oxford. 
Wood informs us, that he was Bible Clerk there in 
Michaelmas Term 1648. In the following year he 
took, according to a common practice, the same 
degree in his new college, to which he had already 
been admitted at Cambridge. * The diligence and 
success with which he pursued his studies, together 
with the excellence of his character, procured his 
election to a fellowship in Magdalen College. By 
the Parliament visitors he was made Demy, which 
Wood seems to mention as a reflection on him ; but 
to those who have marked the honourable integrity 
which distinguished Howe's conduct through the 

* Wood's Fasti Oxonienses, Vol. II. 750. Bachelors of Arts, 1749. 
Jan. 18, Howe, John, Brazen Nose College. 

b 2 


whole of life, something more will be required to 
blemish his character than mere insinuation. It 
would be difficult to find a person less likely to 
worm himself into another man's place, than the sub- 
ject of this memoir. 

Howe, formed for friendship, found here, as at 
Cambridge, men worthy to claim the honour of 
being his friends. Some of them were kindred 
spirits, not merely as scholars, but also as Christian 
ministers, who afterwards shared with him the 
weight of the cross which non-conformity was called 
to bear. Distinct mention is due to Theophilus Gale ; 
Thomas Danson, Chaplain of Christ Church, and 
afterwards fellow of .Magdalen, who became at 
length pastor of a dissenting church at Abingdon in 
Berkshire; and to Samuel Blower, who, Calamy 
says, died pastor of a congregation of dissen- 
ters in the same town. This latter was fond of 
expressing his attachment to Mr. Howe, observing, 
whenever the name was mentioned in company, 
" We two were born in the same town, went to the 
same school, and were of the same College in the 
University." To these companions of Mr. Howe's 
academic walks should be added, John Spilsbury, 
who was afterwards ejected for non-conformity from 
Bromsgrove in Worcestershire ; with whom the 
author of The Living Temple maintained a corres- 
pondence at once intimate and endeared, until death 
separated for a while these bosom friends. 

The author of The Non-conformists Memorial 
mentions also, that besides two of the former per- 

sons, Wood neglects to notice in his Fasti two 
others who were graduates while Howe was at Cam- 
bridge, George Porter and James Ashhurst, who 
died at Newington Green, near London. These 
omissions have been supposed to be designed at- 
tempts to diminish the apparent number of those 
who sacrificed their interest to their sincere disap- 
probation of the established church. 

The President of Magdalen College, at the time 
that Howe held his fellowship there, was Dr. Thomas 
Goodwin, whose well known principles might in- 
duce an expectation that this fellow would have 
found himself at home in the church which the 
President had formed from the pious students of the 
College. But though it appears that Howe had 
already adopted those independent principles on 
which the church was formed, he did not offer him- 
self to become one of its members.. When Dr. 
Goodwin expressed to him in private his disappoint- 
ment at being deprived of the fellowship of one 
whom he should have deemed so well fitted and 
disposed to join their church, Mr. Howe informed 
him, that a report concerning some peculiarities, on 
which they were said to lay too much stress, 
had induced him to keep silence on that sub- 
ject. He assured the Doctor, that while he had no 
fondness for these things himself, he was not dis- 
posed to quarrel with those who had, but should be 
happy to join their society, provided they would 
admit him on catholic principles. That Dr. Good- 
win has been unjustly condemned as a bigot to the 


most rigid independency is manifest, from the cor- 
dial manner in which he now embraced Mr. Howe, 
and the assurance he gave him, that he should not 
only himself welcome this new member on these 
liberal terms, but could also pledge himself for the 
satisfaction it would afford to the rest of the church. 
What these peculiarities were, which kept such a 
man as Mr. Howe from joining the religious society 
which in other respects he most approved, we are 
not told ; but they afford an opportunity of display- 
ing the wisdom and dignity of that mind which, 
while it become a convert to a rising sect, guarded 
itself against the danger of losing its catholic charity 
towards other Christians ; and of eliciting a truth 
honourable to the society, that they knew how prac- 
tically to distinguish between regulations edifying 
to themselves, and terms of communion to be im- 
posed on the consciences of others. 

Mr. Howe now acquired that well-earned reputa- 
tion, both in his own College and through the whole 
University, which is known by its operating as a 
stimulus to increased exertion. Previously to July 
1652, when he took the degree of M.A. in his 22d 
year, he had gone through a course of philosophy, 
conversed closely with the heathen moralists— read 
over the accounts we have remaining of Pagan theo- 
logy, the writings of the schoolmen, and several 
systems and common-places of the Reformers, and 
the divines that succeeded them. He also informed 
a person, who told it to Dr. Calamy, that he had 
at that time gone through a course of study of the 


scriptures, from which he had drawn up for himself 
a body of theology that he afterwards saw very little 
occasion to alter, in order to adapt it to the systems 
of other divines. 

The instructive and original glosses which Howe 
often throws on the Scriptures, and indeed the air 
of originality and independent thinking, combined 
with profound deference for inspired authority, which 
pervades the Theological Lectures that form the 
volumes of this edition, furnish the highest eulogium 
on this mode of study. 

It is probable that Mr. Howe's family continued 
in Lancashire till this time, for as soon as he had 
taken his last degree, he went into that county, and 
was ordained by Mr. Charles Herle in the paro- 
chial edifice of Winwick, which is pronounced, by 
Wood, one of the richest churches in England. Mr. 
Herle, whose reputation was so great, that he was 
on the death of Dr. Twisse chosen prolocutor of 
the Westminster assembly of divines, had several 
chapelries under his, and, as the minister of these, 
officiated at Mr. Howe's ordination. The latter used 
often to say that few in modern times had so primi- 
tive an ordination as himself ; believing that Mr. 
Herle was a scriptural bishop, and that in the con- 
currence of those ministers who assisted him there 
was the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery of 
which the apostle speaks.* 

Divine Providence now unexpectedly removed Mr. 
Howe to the opposite extremity of the kingdom, by 

* 1 Tim. iv. 14. 


calling him to Great Torrington in Devonshire. This 
is pronounced, by a competent judge of such matters, 
a donative or curacy belonging to Christ Church 
Oxford, but equal to one held by institution. From 
Torrington, Mr. Theophilus Powel was ejected in 
1646, when, Dr. Walker says, " he was succeeded 
by the famous independent, Mr. Lewis Stukely,". 
who, removing to Exeter, where he gathered an 
independent church that worshipped in the Cathe- 
dral, created the vacancy which Mr. Howe was 
called to fill. 

, He entered upon the full exercise of his ministry 
with that ardour and ability which had charac- 
terized his preparatory studies, and soon reaped the 
fruits of his diligence in the sight of a flourishing 
charge. Several of the congregation had been in 
the habit of celebrating the Lord's Supper, as mem- 
bers of a church at Biddeford, of which Mr. William 
Bartlett, a particular college friend of Mr. Howe, 
was pastor. Whether this arose from dissatisfaction 
with Mr. Stukely, or from the strength of a prior 
attachment to Mr. Bartlett, it gave way to the 
high regard they entertained for Mr. Howe, to whose 
care their former pastor gladly resigned this portion 
of his flock. 

To those who have become at all acquainted 
with Mr. Howe's spirit, it is unnecessary to say that, 
far from drawing around him a little circle and 
limiting his labours or affections to the people of 
his immediate charge, he formed connexions of 
friendship and usefulness through all the county, 


where he soon attracted general esteem. Among 
the ministers of Devon, universal suffrage directed 
him to Mr. George Hughes, of Plymouth, as a man 
of pre-eminent worth ; and the reception which Mr. 
Howe found in this family led to his marriage with 
Mr. Hughes's daughter, March 1, 1654. From subse- 
quent occurrences in this Memoir, it will appear that 
the match was as propitious as the pious connexion 
in which it originated might lead us to expect. 

The father and son-in-law maintained a weekly 
correspondence by letters written in Latin, the 
strain of which may in some measure be guessed by 
a passage which occurred in one of them : " Sit 
ros cceli super habitaculum vestrum," " May the 
dew of heaven fall on your dwelling :" which has 
been brought into notice, because on that very morn- 
ing on which it was received from Plymouth, a fire 
that threatened to consume Mr. Howe's residence 
was extinguished by mean of a violent rain. 

But the comfortable connexion which Mr. Howe 
had now formed, both with the church to which he 
ministered and the family to which he was united, 
was destined to be disturbed by an event that 
changed the whole colour of his future life. Having 
occasion to go to London, he was detained there 
longer than he intended, and going one Lord's day 
to the chapel at Whitehall, his strikingly prepos- 
sessing countenance attracted the perspicacious eye 
of Cromwell, who was then Protector. Calamy 
says, that Cromwell knew by the garb that this was 
a country minister, though it does not appear by 

what garb a rural pastor was known in those days. 
The Protector having sent a person to request an 
interview after the public worship was closed, desired 
Mr. Howe to preach before him on the following 
Lord's day. To Mr. Howe's expressions of sur- 
prise and assurances that he was utterly unprepared, 
Cromwell replied, that it was vain to frame ex- 
cuses, for he would take no denial. Mr. Howe 
pleaded, that having dispatched the business for 
which he came to town, he was now going home, 
and could not be detained without inconvenience. 
What great inconvenience would result from the 
delay, said Cromwell ? My people, replied Howe, 
are very kind to me, and they would think I slighted 
them and undervalued their esteem, if I delayed to 
return to them. To obviate this difficulty the 
Protector promised to write to them himself, and to 
send a person down to supply their pastor's place. 
Mr. Howe's first sermon induced Cromwell to press 
for a second and a third ; till at length, after much 
free conversation, he whose word was like that of a 
king, armed with power, told the country pastor 
that he must stay and be domestic chaplain at the 
seat of government. Mr. Howe's reluctance availed 
nothing, for a successor, with whom Cromwell 
pledged himself to satisfy the congregation, was sent 
to Torrington ; and Mrs. Howe, with the rest of the 
family, were brought to Whitehall, where several of 
Mr. Howe's children were born. 

These most critical moments of Mr. Howe's life 
served only to elicit his superior worth ; he dis- 


played that happy combination of prudence with 
integrity, which proved that while he had not 
courted this promotion to serve his own interests, 
he was awake to the opportunities which Providence 
had thus afforded him, of promoting the welfare of 
his country, the church, and the world. His reputa- 
tion as a preacher did honour to the discernment 
which placed him in this conspicuous post. He was 
chosen Lecturer of St. Margaret's, Westminster; 
and the tone of simple dignity which prevailed in his 
discourses, together with their freedom from every 
thing that might be branded as the cant of a party, 
would, as far as Mr. Howe's influence could extend, 
contradict the charges that have been brought 
against the preaching most in vogue in those times. 
He has, indeed, escaped censure from those who 
have proved themselves greedy of every opportunity 
to charge all that were placed in his circumstances, 
with political manoeuvring, or eagerness to found 
their fortunes upon the ruins of other men. To 
those who were known to differ from him both in 
religion and politics, he was studious to do good 
offices ; and whatever hostility was meditated by 
others against learning or sobriety in religion, in Mr. 
Howe it found a determined opponent. He attempted 
to procure for Dr. Seth Ward, afterwards bishop of 
Exeter, the principalship of Jesus College Oxford ; 
and so earnest was his recommendation, that the 
Protector, who had already promised that situation, 
asked the Doctor in a pleasant way, what he thought 
it worth; and receiving the answer, promised to 


allow him that annual sum. On another occasion, 
Dr. Thomas Fuller, being called to appear before 
those who, from their appointment to investigate 
the qualifications of ministers, were called the 
Triers, was much alarmed, and applied to Mr. Howe 
in his usual style, saying " You may observe, Sir, 
that I am a pretty corpulent man, and I have to go 
through a passage that is very strait ; be so kind 
then as to give me a shove and help me through." 
If we may judge of the kind of advice which Mr. 
Howe gave, from the event, it was highly honour- 
able to all parties ; for when the Triers asked the 
usual question, " Have you ever experienced a work 
of grace on your heart ? " Fuller replied, " I can 
appeal to the searcher of hearts that I make con- 
science of my very thoughts." As this was no 
direct answer to the question, while it entered most 
deeply into the genuine character of the man, it 
shews that Mr. Howe knew the Triers were not 
anxious to promote the mere shibboleth of a party, 
and therefore advised Fuller to declare honestly in 
his own way, what was his religious character in the 
sight of God. The result was as successful as 
every pious and liberal mind could wish. 

The generous manner in which Mr. Howe used 
his interest at court, in serving all men of worth 
who applied to him, met with its due notice from 
Cromwell, who one day frankly said to him, " Mr. 
Howe, you have obtained many favours for others, 
I wonder when the time is to come that you will ask 
any thing for yourself or your own family." 


Tltat Oliver's discernment should lead him to re- 
pose great confidence in one of so much disinte- 
rested integrity, can excite no surprise. Many 
secret services Howe performed, but always with a 
view to promote the interests of his country, or, 
which is nearly the same, those of deserving men. 
When once engaged, he distinguished himself by 
secresy, diligence and dispatch : of this a particular 
instance is recorded, in which he travelled with in- 
credible speed to attend a meeting of ministers at 

But as high places are well denominated in Scrip- 
ture slippery places, it must not be supposed that 
one of Mr. Howe's independence of thinking and 
rectitude of action, could always avoid giving offence. 
He is said to have once preached expressly against 
Cromwell's notion of particular faith in prayer ; and 
to have created a coolness between himself and the 
Protector. But so equivocal were the proofs of dis- 
pleasure, that Mr. Howe held his station at Court 
till Oliver Cromwell's death, and then was appointed 
chaplain to Richard, his son and successor. 

It was during the short protectorate of Richard 
that the Independents held their meeting at the 
Savoy, to draw up their confession of faith. About 
two hundred pastors and messengers of churches as- 
sembled, in October 1658, and, with an unanimity 
that excited much surprise among those who regarded 
Independency as an anomalous thing which exhi- 
bited the jarring elements of chaos, agreed on that 


formulary which they in subsequent days tacitly 
abandoned for the Assembly's catechism. At this 
meeting Mr. Howe assisted, along with Dr. Owen, 
and the other distinguished divines of the indepen- 
dent persuasion. 

But the removal of Richard Cromwell from the 
seat of government occasioned Mr. Howe's return 
to his rural charge. He laboured among them in 
peace till some months after the Restoration, when 
the officious zeal of some persons in behalf of the 
new order of things occasioned some trouble, even 
to a man of Mr. Howe's Catholicism. 

He was informed against by John Evans and Wil- 
liam Morgan, for delivering seditious and even 
treasonable sentiments, in two sermons, on the 30th 
of September and 14th of October 1 660. After an 
adjournment of the Sessions by the Mayor, in order 
to accommodate the Deputy Lieutenant of the county, 
Mr. Howe in open court demanded the benefit of 
the statutes 1st of Edward VI. and 1st of Elizabeth, to 
purge himself by more evidences than the informers 
could produce. Twenty- one respectable persons 
then cleared Mr. Howe, upon oath, of the accusation, 
and the Court discharged him. The Mayor, how- 
ever, was summoned to appear before the Deputy- 
Lieutenant, and conducted by a party of horse to 
Exeter, where he was committed to the Marshalsea, 
and fined several pounds. But when the affair was 
examined by the Judge, he said the whole was founded 
in mistake, and dismissed the suit. It was remarked, 


that one of the informers soon left the town, and 
was seen no more ; and the other cut his own throat, 
and was buried in a cross road. 

As persecutions of this kind, which were of fre- 
quent occurrence in various parts of the kingdom, 
paved the way for the Act of Uniformity, Mr. Howe, 
on the celebrated Bartholomew's- day, preached his 
farewell sermon, in the parochial edifice of Great 
Torrington. His parting addresses were deeply af- 
fecting, and the congregation was dissolved in tears. 
Dr. Wilkins, who was one of Charles the Second's 
new bishops, meeting Mr. Howe soon after, ex- 
pressed his surprise at the effects which the Act of 
Uniformity had produced ; some who seemed most 
catholic in their principles and spirit, as Mr. Howe 
certainly was, being most determined non-conform- 
ists. Mr. Howe assured him, that his Catholicism 
compelled him to dissent from an establishment 
which imposed such terms of communion as were 
now enforced by law. " Besides," said he, " I could 
not go into a falling house, for fear of its tumbling 
about my ears ; and such I conceive your present 
ecclesiastical constitution to be, compared with that 
flourishing state of vital religion which I think I have 
sufficient warrant from the word of God to expect." 
The reply of Dr. Wilkins was singularly shrewd, and 
worthy of remark—" I understand you well ; and if 
that be your mind, take this advice from a friend ; 
don't think to gain any thing by sneaking or crouch- 
ing, but bear up against us boldly and bravely, stand 


to your principles, and sooner or later you may hope 
to carry your point." 

In conformity to the spirit of friendship which he 
shewed towards Mr. Howe, Wilkin s contended with 
Dr. Cosins against the severity by which the latter 
attempted to support the establishment. " I am 
persuaded," said Bishop Wilkins, " though reflected 
on by many for my moderation, I am a better friend 
to the church than your Lordship." When his Lord- 
ship expressed his surprise at this, Wilkins said, 
" While you, my Lord, are for setting the top on the 
piqued end, you will not be able to keep it up any 
longer than you keep whipping ; whereas I am for 
setting the broad end downwards, and thus it will 
stand of itself." 

Mr. Howe being now cast out from consecrated 
walls, began to consecrate the houses of his friends 
and acquaintances in the county of Devon, by 
preaching in them whenever opportunity afforded. 
But having on one of these occasions spent a few 
days at the house of a gentleman, on his return home 
he was informed that there was a citation out against 
him and the gentleman at whose house he had 
preached. The next morning, therefore, he took 
his horse and rode to Exeter ; but while he stood at 
the gate of the inn where he alighted, one of the 
dignitaries of the establishment, with whom he was 
well acquainted, seeing him, said, " Mr. Howe, what 
do you do here?" To which Mr. Howe replied, 
" Sir, what have I done that I may not be here V 

XV 11 

Mr. Howe then said, that a citation was out against 
him, and that if he did not take care he should in a 
short time be apprehended. The dignitary asked 
him, if he did not intend to go to the Bishop ? To 
which Mr. Howe replied, that he did not intend, 
unless his Lordship, being informed that he was 
there, should send for him. The person who thus 
accidentally met him immediately went to the 
Bishop, and brought from him a message, that he 
should be glad to see Mr. Howe. Having received 
him very politely, his Lordship began to rally him 
on his non-conformity ; but was answered in such a 
manner, that he soon dropped the subject, and 
began to assure Mr. Howe, that if he would come in 
amongst them he might have very considerable 
preferment. They parted with mutual civility ; and 
as neither party mentioned the process in the eccle- 
siastical court, so Mr. Howe and his friend heard no 
more of the affair, 

In the year 1665 it was deemed not enough to 
have silenced the non-conformist ministers- for three 
years, and therefore the infamous Five Mile Act was 
passed by the Parliament that sat at Oxford. The 
oath which was intended to bind men to passive 
obedience and non-resistance, was to be taken by 
the non-conformist ministers, or they were not 
allowed to come, unless on a journey, within five 
miles of any city or corporation, or any place that 
sent members to Parliament, or any place where 
they had been ministers, or had preached since the 
Act of Oblivion. As there was a difference of opi- 



nion concerning the meaning of the oath, there was 
a correspondent diversity of practice ; but since the 
excellent subject of this memoir determined in 
favour of taking the oath, it may be interesting to 
our readers to see the notes which he drew up, and 
which are highly characteristic of the man : 

" 1. My swearing is my act. 2. The obligation I hereby contract 
is voluntary. 3. Swearing in a form of words prescribed by ano- 
ther,. I adopt those words, and make them my own. 4. Being 
now so adopted, their first use is to express the true sense of my 
heart, touching the matter about which I swear. 5. Their next 
use, as they have now the form of an oath, is to assure him or 
them who duly require it from me, that what I express is the true 
sense of my heart. 6. It is repugnant to both those ends, that 
they should be construed (as now used by me) to signify another 
thing than what I sincerely intend to make known by them. 
7- If the words be of dubious signification, capable of more senses 
than one, I ought not to hide the sense in which I take them, but 
declare it, lest I deceive them whom I ought to satisfy. 8. That 
declaration I ought to make, if I have opportunity, to them whose' 
satisfaction is primarily intended by the oath ; if not, to them 
whom they intrust and employ : this declared sense muf 3 t be such 
as the words will fairly bear without force or violence." 

It has been asserted, though upon what authority 
does not appear, that notwithstanding all Mr. Howe's 
concessions to authority, and all the friends which 
his former kindnesses had procured him, he was in 
the year 1665 imprisoned in the isle of St. Nicholas, 
where his father in-law, George Hughes, and his 
brother-in-law, Obadiah Hughes, had been confined 
for a still longer period. Though Dr. Calamy could 
not discover the occasion of this imprisonment, or 
the means of his deliverance, the following letter to 


his brother-in-law, after their liberation, renders the 
fact probable, if not certain : 

" Blessed be God that we can have and hear of each other's 
occasions of thanksgiving 5 that we may join praises as well as 
prayers, which I hope is done daily for one another. Nearer ap- 
proaches and constant adherence to God, with the improvement of 
our interest in each other's hearts, must compensate (and will, I 
hope, abundantly) the unkindness and instability of a surly, treache- 
rous world, that we see still retains its wayward temper, and 
grows more peevish as it grows older, and more ingenious in in- 
venting ways to torment whom it disaffects. It was, it seems, not 
enough to kill by one single death ; but when that was almost 
done, to give leave and time to respire, to live again, at least in 
hope, that it might have the renewed pleasure of putting us to a 
farther pain and torture in dying once more. , Spite is natural to 
her ; all her kindness is an artificial disguise — a device to promote 
and serve the design of the former, with the more efficacious and 
piercing malignity : but patience will elude the design, and blunt 
its sharpest edge. It is perfectly defeated, when nothing is ex- 
pected from it but mischief, for then the worst it can threaten 
finds us provided ; and the best it can promise, incredulous, and 
not apt to be imposed upon. This will make it at last despair," and 
grow hopeless, when it finds that the more it goes about to mock 
and vex us, the more it teaches and instructs us ; and that as it is 
wickeder, we are wiser. If we cannot, God will outwit it, and 
carry us, I trust, through to a better world, upon which we may 
terminate hopes that will never make us ashamed." 

While Mr. Howe was thus, like David, shifting 
from place to place, in order to evade an unreason- 
able and restless foe, he was induced to publish one 
of those valuable works which have turned the suf- 
ferings of the non-conformists into the most efficient 
means of perpetuating their cause. He had, indeed, 
already inserted in the Morning Exercises, a sermon 

c 2 


on "- Man's creation in a holy but mutable state ;" 
but the Treatise which he now gave to the public, 
entitled, the " Blessedness of the Righteous," was 
of a more important character, though it is said to 
have been the substance of a course of sermons de- 
livered to his charge at Torrington. Had we no 
other means of forming a judgment concerning his 
style of preaching, we should, from this Treatise, 
pronounce it far too much laboured. But his post- 
humous discourses, which were taken down from his 
lips, are as luminous and idiomatic and free as we 
could wish them, and thus prove that the involved 
style of his larger treatises arose from excessive soli- 
citude to render them worthy of the eye of the 
public, and of the learned. The preface to the 
Blessedness of the Righteous has been, with 
great justice, quoted as a fine specimen of sublimity 
of thought and Catholicism of spirit ; forming a 
porch in perfect harmony with a temple reared to 
the honour of the God who will crown the righteous 
with that bliss which arises from a transforming 
view of his own glorious character. 

Mr. Howe was now reduced to great straits; 
for his family was increased, and he had been for 
some years without any sphere of labour from 
whence he could derive an income. But that God 
whom he faithfully served, and to whose approba- 
tion he had sacrificed his prospects of worldly gain, 
opened to him a source of relief by a liberal invita- 
tion from a person of rank in Ireland. He set off 
for Dublin, in the beginning of April 1671; but, on 


the way, met with an occurrence very characteristic 
both of the man and of his times. In company 
with his eldest son, and a considerable number of 
friends, he was detained by contrary winds, at the 
port where he intended to embark, supposed to be 
Holyhead. In a large parochial edifice they found 
that prayers, without any sermon, were expected on 
the Lord's- day ; and therefore they went in quest of 
some retired spot on the sea-shore, where Mr. Howe 
might comply with the request of the party by 
preaching to them. But as they were walking along 
the sands, they met two persons riding towards the 
town; and on*one of the company addressing a 
question to the inferior of the two equestrians, he 
proved to be the parish clerk, who informed them 
that the other, who was the parson, never preached, 
but would be willing to lend his pulpit to a stranger. 
Upon application, this proved to be correct, and Mr. 
Howe, turning back with his party, preached twice 
to an auditory, which, in the afternoon, was very 
large and deeply impressed. 

But, on the following Lord's-day, this created great 
embarrassment to the incumbent. For the inha- 
bitants, not only of the town, but also of the adja- 
cent country, observing that the wind had not 
changed, and that neither the vessel nor the strange 
minister were gone, came nocking into town in great 
numbers, hoping to hear Mr. Howe again. The 
parson, seeing a prodigious crowd, aware of their 
expectation, and having made no provision for 
preaching, either by himself or any other, was in 


such consternation that he sent his clerk to Mr. Howe, 
entreating that he would come and preach again to 
the immense multitude, who were in eager expecta- 
tion. The messenger found Mr. Howe so indisposed 
that he was in bed, and in such a state that it was 
doubtful whether he ought to comply with the re- 
quest. But, reflecting that the voice of God seemed 
to call him out to an enlarged sphere of usefulness, 
where a starving flock eagerly looked for the word 
of life, he resolved to venture. Rising from his bed, 
he went as quickly as possible into the crowded 
congregation, where he preached, with great freedom 
and energy, to a people who seemed so much af- 
fected, that Mr. Howe used to say, " If my ministry 
was ever of any use, I think it must be then." Soon 
after, the vessel sailed, and Mr. Howe felt no ill 
effects from this effort to promote the welfare of 
others at his own risk. 

In Ireland, he lived as chaplain to Lord Massarene, 
in Antrim, and enjoyed that respect which was so 
much his due. The Bishop of the diocese, together with 
the Metropolitan, demanding no declaration of con- 
formity, gave him leave to preach, every Lord's-day 
afternoon, in the parochial pulpit of the town. 
Calamy says, he was informed that the Archbishop, 
in a meeting of the Clergy, declared, that he wished 
every pulpit over which he had any controul to be 
open to Mr. Howe. 

During the first year of his residence in Ireland, 
Mr. Howe published his most eloquent discourse on 
the text " Remember how short my time is ; where- 


fore hast thou made all men in vain ?" It was preached 
on an affecting occasion. Anthony Upton, esq. son 
of a kinsman of Mr. Howe, who lived at Lupton, in 
Devon, having resided between twenty and thirty 
years in Spain, was at length expected home, by his 
father and an affectionate family, who were collected 
from various parts to give him a joyful welcome. 
But the vessel for which they looked out so eagerly 
blasted all their hopes, by exhibiting the mourning 
signals of having on board the corpse of the young 
man, who had been suddenly snatched off by a 
violent disease, and whose ashes were now borne to 
find a grave in his native place. The assembled 
party, amounting to twenty, and composed of bro- 
thers and sisters, with their consorts and children, 
who had hoped to embrace their relative with joy, 
were thus called together to shed their tears over 
his untimely tomb. The preacher, in a strain of 
sublime pathos, pours the consolations of religion 
into the bleeding hearts of his relatives, by shewing 
that it would be unworthy of God to lavish such 
powers as he has bestowed on man, unless he had 
designed to perpetuate his being and his bliss beyond 
the narrow space of this mortal life. 

The next publication which Mr. Howe gave to 
the world was, " A Treatise on Delighting in God." 
This also was the substance of a course of sermons 
preached at Torrington, and affords an honourable 
testimony to the digniPed and devotional strain of 
the pastor's instructions. 

Tn the year 1675, Dr. Lazarus Seaman, a Non- 


conformist minister of London, dying, his congre- 
gation were divided in their choice of a successor. 
One part voted for Mr. Charnock, but another sent 
Mr. Howe an invitation. The solicitude of Mr. Howe 
to act according to the divine will is attested by his 
taking a journey to London, in order to judge of 
circumstances on the spot, and by' the following 
paper, which he wrote previously to setting off. 

" Considerations and Communings with myself, concerning ray 
present journey. -Dec. 20, 1675, by night on my bed : 

1. Quaere. Have I not an undue design or self-respect in it ? 

1. 1 know well I ought not to have any design for myself, wliich 
admits not of subordination to the interest and honour of the Great 
God and my Redeemer, and which is not actually so subordinated. 

2. I understand the fearful evil and sinfulness of having such an 
undue regard ; that it is idolatry, the taking another god, and 
making myself that god. 

3. I find, through God's mercy, some sensible stirrings of hatred 
and detestation in my breast of that wickedness, and a great ap- 
prehension of the loveliness and beauty of a state of pure, entire 
devotedness to God in Christ, and of acting accordingly. 

4. I have insisted on this chiefly in prayer, in reference to this 
business, ever since it was set on foot, that I might be sincere in it. 

5. I have carefully examined what selfish respects I have in 
this matter. Is it worldly emolument ? In this my heart acquits 
me in the sight of God. Is it that I affect to be upon a public 
stage, to be popular and applauded by men ? To this I say, 1 . That 
I do verily believe that I shall be lower in the eye and esteem of 
the people in London, when I come under their nearer interview. 
I know myself incapable of pleasing their genius. I cannot con- 
trive nor endure to preach with elaborate artifice. They will soon 
be weary, when they hear nothing but plain discourses of such 
matters as are not new to them. Yea, and ministers that now 
judge of me by what I have written, when matter and words were 


in some measure weighed, will find me, when I converse witft 
them, slow to apprehend things, slow to express my own appre- 
hensions, unready and entangled in my apprehensions and ex- 
pressions 5 so that all will soon say, " This is not the man we 
took him for." 2. It displeases me not that they should find and 
say this ; I hope I should digest it well. 3. I have found, blessed 
be God, that the applause some have given me in letters (as I 
have received many of that strain, very many, long before this 
business, and that had no relation to any such, that no eye hath 
ever since seen but my own) an occasion and means to me of deep 
humiliations, when my own heart witnessed to me my miserable 
penury, and that I am thought to be what I am not. 4. So far as 
I can find, I do not deliberately covet or desire esteem but for my 
work's sake. All the design I can more vehemently suspect myself 
of, that looks like self-interest in any way, is, 1. The improvement 
of my own mind, which I know there may be great opportunities 
for, if this journey should issue in my settlement in London. 
2. The disposal of my children. Yet I hope these things are 
eyed in subordination and indifferently, so as not to sway me against 
my duty. 

II. Have I not a previous resolution of settling at London, 
before I go up ? 

1 . I have a resolution to do what I shall conceive most to the 
usefulness of the rest of my life j which resolution I ought never 
to be without. 

2. I am seriously yet at a loss as to judging this case, whether 
in this country or there. 

3. If I can find clearly it is my duty to return, in order to con- 
tinuance at Antrim, I shall do it with high complacency. 

III. Quaere. Am I not afraid of miscarrying in this undertaken 
voyage, by shipwreck ? &c. 

I find little of that fear, I bless God. To put off this tabernacle 
so easily, 1 reckon, would to me be a merciful dispensation, who 
am more afraid of sharp pains than of death. I think I should joy- 
fully embrace those waves which should land me on an unde- 
signed shore, and when I intended Leverpool, should land me in 


After such a display of purity of motive and soli- 
citude to glorify God in his ministry, Mr. Howe's 
satisfaction in settling with the congregation that 
had invited him, and the success of his labours in 
the metropolis, will not be surprising. King Charles's 
indulgence at this time afforded Mr. Howe a better 
opportunity of exercising his ministry than could 
have been expected ; for his congregation was con- 
siderable, both in numbers and talents ; and he was 
held in high esteem by several of the dignitaries of 
the establishment, as well as by his brethren among 
the dissenting ministers. 

That the care of a new charge, and the distrac- 
tions of London, did not withdraw him from study, 
may be seen by the publication of the first part of 
his most elaborate work, " The Living Temple," 
which came out as soon as Mr. Howe was settled 
in the metropolis, though it was projected under the 
hospitable roof of Lord Massarene, to whom it was 
dedicated. As it was designed to shew that a good 
man is the temple of God, the author first labours 
to prove the existence of a Deity, to whom such a 
temple should be reared. 

In the year 1677, Mr. Howe was drawn into 
controversy by the publication of a letter to the 
Hon. Robert Boyle, on a difficult point in Theology, 
" the reconcileableness of God's prescience of the 
sins of men, with the wisdom and sincerity of his 
counsels and exhortations." While some highly 
admired this piece, by others it was as much con- 
demned. Theophilus Gale, his old fellow student, 
inserted some animadversions on it, in the fourth 


part of his " Court of the Gentiles," which appeared 
about this time. Mr. Howe defended himself against 
Mr. Gale, in a postscript to his letter. Mr. Danson 
also wrote against Mr. Howe ; though it is said that 
he was answered, not by Mr. Howe himself, but by 
a witty and entertaining piece from the pen of 
Andrew Marvel. This, however, is not to be found 
among the works of that satirical, but incorruptible 

While the Popish plot, and the Bill of Exclusion, 
were the grand objects that occupied the public 
mind, Mr. Howe was much consulted by all parties. 
At the request of Bishop Lloyd, he went to meet that 
prelate, at the house of Dr. Tillotson, then Dean of 
Canterbury. To the enquiry concerning what would 
satisfy the Dissenters, Mr. Howe said, he conceived 
the grand thing they wished for was, to be able to 
promote parochial reformation. " For that reason," 
said the bishop, " I am for taking the lay Chan- 
cellors quite away, as they are the great hindrance 
to reformation." It was at length agreed that they 
should have another meeting, the next evening, at 
seven o'clock, at Dr. Stillingfleet's, the Dean of St. 
Paul's. Mr. Howe took with him, according to 
agreement, Dr. Bates ; but they found not the com- 
pany that was expected ; and though they waited till 
ten o'clock, the Bishop neither came, nor took any 
farther notice of the affair. The next day, they 
heard that the Bill of Exclusion was thrown out of 
the House of Lords, by a majority, fourteen of which 
were bishops. 


Dean Stillingfleet at this time made an attack on 
the Dissenters, which Mr. Howe joined with Dr. 
Owen, Mr. Baxter, and others, to repel. Tillotson 
also preached a sermon at Court, in 1680, in which 
he asserted, that no man is obliged to preach against 
the religion of a country, though a false one, unless 
he has the power of working miracles. King Charles, 
the " most religious king," for whose edification 
this sermon was preached, happening to be asleep 
most of the time, a nobleman said to him after- 
wards, " It is a pity your Majesty slept, for we had 
the finest piece of Hobbism you ever heard in your 
life." Ods fish, said the king, he shall print it then ; 
and immediately sent his commands to the preacher. 
When it came out, the Dean sent it, according to his 
usual practice, to Mr. Howe, who drew up a letter 
in reply, which he read to him as they rode in the 
carriage of the Dean, who was so ashamed of what 
he had asserted, that he wept and bewailed it bit- 
terly, apologising for himself, however, by saying, 
that he was suddenly called upon to preach, instead 
of another person who had been taken ill. 

In the years 1681 and the two following, Mr. Howe 
published several of his minor pieces; and when 
the noble patriot, William Lord Russel, was be- 
headed, he addressed to his widow a Letter full of 
devout consolation. Though it was anonymous, her 
Ladyship discovered the writer, and sent him her 
thanks, assuring him that she would endeavour to 
follow his advice. This epistle is published in the 
Collection of Lady Russel's Letters, and was fol- 


lowed by many tokens of mutual friendship between 
Mr. Howe and the family of the noble martyr to 
liberty. It is hoped, says the first biographer of 
Howe, that the remaining branches of this noble 
family will adhere to his principles and imitate his 
glorious example. 

As the fire which now raged against Dissenters 
was furnished with fuel by a Letter from Barlow, 
Bishop of Lincoln, Mr. Howe sent his Lordship a 
Letter replete with dignified argument and faithful 

But the voice of reason and religion were too 
feeble to be heard amidst the clamour of wrath and 
bitterness that now raged against Non-conformity, 
and Mr. Howe's opportunities of usefulness were so 
abridged, that he gladly accepted an invitation from 
Lord Wharton, to travel with him on the continent. 
Not having had an opportunity of taking leave of his 
friends, he wrote a letter to them, as soon as he ar- 
rived on the other side of the sea. The following 
extracts from it will throw light on the history of 
the writer. 

" It added to my trouble, that I could not so much as bid fare- 
well to persons to whom I had so great endearments, which 
solemnity, you know, our circumstances would not admit. He 
who knoweth all things, knoweth that I am not designing for 
myself. I love not this world, nor do I covet an abode in it, 
upon any other account than doing some service for him and the 
souls of men. It has, therefore, been my settled sentiment a 
long time, to desire peace and quiet, with some tolerable health, 
more than life. Nor have I found any thing more destructive to 
my health than confinement to a room, a few days, in the city air. 
The city was more healthful to me formerly, than since the anger 


and jealousies of such as I never had a disposition to offend, have 
occasioned persons of my circumstances very seldom to walk the 

" But my hope is, that God will, in his good time, incline the 
hearts of rulers more to favour us, and that my absence from you 
will be for no long time ; it being my design, in dependence on 
his gracious providence and pleasure, in whose hands our times are, 
if I hear of any door open for service with you, to spend the health 
and strength which God shall vouchsafe me (and which I find 
through his mercy much improved since I left you,) in his work 
among you." 

He then proceeds to give them such counsels 
concerning watchfulness over their spirit, that they 
may not indulge a wish to treat others as they were 
treated, and such exhortations to all that is bene- 
volent and exalted in religion, that we cannot help 
exclaiming ; And is this the man that " could very 
seldom walk the streets of London, on account of 
the anger and jealousies" of some of its ruling in- 
habitants ! "Of him the world was not worthy! " 

After visiting other celebrated places, Mr. Howe 
took up his residence at Utrecht, attracted by the plea- 
santness of the situation, and by the society which 
he there enjoyed with Mr. Matthew Mead and other 
distinguished Englishmen. He took his turn in 
preaching at the English Church in the city, as did 
also Dr. Gilbert Burnet, afterwards Bishop of Salis- 
bury. This celebrated prelate one day conversing 
freely on the subject of Non-conformity, told Mr. 
Howe, I think it cannot subsist long ; but when you 
and Mr. Baxter, and Dr. Bates, and a few more, are 
laid in your graves, it will sink and come to nothing. 
Mr. Howe replied, " That must be left to God ; but 


I reckon it depends not on persons, but on principle. 
As some pass off the stage, others will rise up, and 
fill their places, acting upon the same principles ; 
though, I hope, with due moderation towards those 
of different sentiments." 

Several years after, Dr. Calamy was informed by 
Burnet, at his episcopal palace in Sarum, that he 
and the dignitaries of the establishment had thought 
that dissent would have been res unius cetatis, but 
as it was otherwise, he was happy to see the amiable 
spirit of the new generation of dissenting ministers 
that was rising up. 

While in Holland, Mr. Howe was admitted to in- 
terviews with William, who was afterwards seated on 
the throne of Britain, and who was fond of hearing 
anecdotes of Cromwell, whom he called Mr. Howe's 
old master. 

The pangs inflicted on Mr. Howe and his little 
company of refugees, by the news they received of 
the rapid advances which the English government 
was making towards Popery and despotism, were, at 
at length, alleviated by information concerning King 
James's declaration for liberty of conscience, which 
encouraged Mr. Howe's congregation to invite his 
return. Having resolved to comply, he waited on 
the Stadtholder, who received him kindly, wished 
him a good voyage, but advised him to resist all pro- 
posals for addressing the King by way of sanctioning 
his dispensing power. 

Joyfully received as Mr. Howe was by his flqck, 
he was deeply affected by the critical circumstances 


of his country. Frequent meetings were held, to 
consider what course the dissenting ministers should 
pursue ; when Mr. Howe always declared against any 
such addresses to the King as the court was earnestly 
seeking, in order to sanction its schemes. At one 
meeting, which was held in Mr. Howe's own house, 
two persons attended from Court, and declared that 
the King was waiting in his closet, and would not 
depart till he received their decision. To the pro- 
posal made by one minister to gratify his majesty, 
another replied, that all their previous sufferings 
were not so much on account of their religious sen 
timents, as for their determination to maintain the 
civil privileges of their country, in opposition to 
tory measures ; and if, therefore, the King expected 
that they should requite his indulgence by abandon- 
ing their principles, he had better take their liberty 
back again. In summing up, Mr. Howe declared 
that he himself, and the majority, were of this mind ; 
and the report was accordingly carried to the King. 
At length the storm which had long shaken the 
realm subsided into a calm, by the landing of Wil- 
liam the Third, and the complete success of his 
arms. On this occasion Mr. Howe addressed him, 
in behalf of the dissenting ministers, in the fol- 
lowing terms : 

" We declare our grateful sense of your Highness's hazardous 
and heroical expedition, which the favour of heaven has made so 
surprizingly prosperous. 

" We esteem it a common felicity that the worthy Patriots of 
the nobility and gentry of this kingdom, have unanimously con- 
curred to your Highness's design, by whose most prudent advice 


the administration of public affairs is devolved, in this difficult con- 
juncture, into hands which the nation and the world know to be 
apt for the greatest undertakings. 

" We promise the utmost endeavours which in our station we 
are capable of affording, for promoting the excellent and most de- 
sirable ends for which your highness has declared. 

" Our continual and fervent prayers are offered to the Almighty 
for the preservation of your highness's person, and the success of 
your future endeavours for the defence and propagation of the 
Protestant interest throughout the Christian world." 

It was now warmly debated whether the Non- 
conformists should be comprehended within the 
establishment, by altering the terms of conformity, 
or should have such indulgences granted as would 
set them at ease from the penalties they formerly 
endured. Mr. Howe finding, to his surprise and 
mortification, that many of the dignitaries of the 
establishment were hostile to the granting of any 
favours to his friends, after the court that had been 
so recently paid to them, when the church was in 
distress, drew up a piece entitled, " The Case of 
the Protestant Dissenters represented and argued." 

At length the Act of Uniformity gave to the Dis- 
senters a great part of that privilege, which nothing 
but bigotry and tyranny could ever have denied them. 
To improve to the utmost this happy event, Mr. Howe 
published an Address to Conformists and Dissenters, 
in which the dignity, benevolence, and wisdom of 
his mind were displayed in all their force, 

New contests now called for the interposition of 
Mr. Howe's peaceful and catholic spirit. The dif- 
ferences among the Dissenters themselves arose from 

vol. viii. d 


what may be termed an amiable cause; for the 
Presbyterians and Independents wishing to act as 
one body, drew up Heads of agreement assented to 
by the body of United Ministers, which were pub- 
lished in 1691, a great part of which was from Mr. 
Howe's pen. But as there was perhaps in this union 
a greater sacrifice of sentiment than was strictly 
proper, so one of the first measures of the body was 
a declaration against Mr. Davis, of Rothwell, whose 
apostolical zeal demanded not only praise, but imita- 
tion ; and the final result was, that what was intended 
for peace proved the firebrand of strife. 

The strictest Independents drew off from the 
United Ministers ; and a controversy arising about 
the publication of Dr. Crisp's works, one party 
charged the other with verging towards Arminia- 
nism, and even Socinianism, and was accused, in its 
turn, of favouring the Antinomian error. 

Mr. Howe, as usual, laboured to promote charity 
and peace, but almost laboured in vain; for, Mr. Wil- 
liams being excluded from the Lecture that was held 
at Pinner's Hall, 1694, another was set up at Salters' 
Hall, in which Dr. Bates, Mr. Howe, and Mr. Alsop, 
were united with Mr. Williams. 

In the contests that rose, about this time, concern- 
ing the doctrine of the Trinity, Mr. Howe took a 
part by the publication of a tract, in 1694, entitled, 
" A calm and sober enquiry concerning the possi- 
bility of a Trinity in the Godhead." In this letter 
he waves the question about three persons in the 
Deity, though he pronounces that term neither inde- 


fensible nor blameable, and merely enquires whether 
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, cannot 
admit of sufficient distinction from each other to 
answer the purposes assigned them by the Scriptures, 
and yet each of them be God, consistently with the 
unquestionable truth that there can be but one God. 
This he asserts to be neither a contradiction nor an 
absurdity. That Mr. Howe failed to reconcile the 
contending parties, or even to escape the imputation 
of heresy, will excite no surprise. 

Occasional Conformity was the next subject of 
debate on which Mr. Howe employed his pen. Sir 
Thomas Abney, who was a member of his flock, 
going publicly both to his own place of worship 
and to the parochial place, during the year of his 
mayoralty, was severely animadverted upon by some, 
who were jealous of this honour put upon Dissenters, 
and was defended by his pastor Mr. Howe. 

By this time, says Dr. Calamy, when that little 
charity we had among us, was just expiring, Mr. 
Howe began to be weary of living. He had seen 
enough of the world to be convinced how unfit a 
place it was to continue to dwell in. He wanted to 
breathe in nobler air and inhabit better regions, and 
we shall soon see how he fled thither. 

His latter publications were chiefly Funeral Ser- 
mons, for several of his best friends, the excellent 
of the earth ; and last of all, he gave to the world, 
in 1705, a Discourse on Patience in expectation of 
future blessedness, with an Appendix. Of this pa- 
tience he had now much need ; for he was tried by 


several complaints ; but while he still thought that 
to serve Christ was worth living for, he shewed that 
to depart and be with Christ was in his esteem well 
worth dying for. Sometimes he seemed to be al- 
ready in heaven. His original biographer says, 
" that some of his flock to this day remember, that 
in his last illness, when he had been declining for 
some time, he was once in a most affecting, melting, 
heavenly frame, at the Communion, and carried cut 
into such a ravishing and transporting celebration of 
the love of Christ, that both he himself and they who 
communicated with him, were apprehensive he 
would have expired in that service." 

In his last sickness he conversed pleasantly with 
persons of all ranks, who came to see him. Among 
the rest, Richard Cromwell, to whom he formerly 
was chaplain, and who had now grown old in retire- 
ment from the w r orld, hearing of Mr. Howe's decline, 
came to pay him a last farewell visit. Many tears 
were mingled with their serious discourses ; and one 
who was present, gave an affecting account of this 
solemn parting, between two distinguished men, who 
had each, though in different ways, acted an im- 
portant part on the stage of this world. 

Having been exceedingly ill, one evening, and 
finding himself unexpectedly revived, next morning, 
his friends expressed to Mr. Howe their surprise at 
finding that he was pleased with this. He replied, 
that, while he liked to feel himself alive, he was 
most willing to lay aside this clog, the body. He once 
observed to his wife, " Though I think I love you as 


well as is fit for one creature to love another, yet if 
it were put to my choice, whether to die this moment, 
or live through this night, and living this night would 
secure the continuance of life for seven years longer, 

1 would choose to die this moment." At length on 
April 2, 1 705, he was translated to the blessedness of 
the righteous, to which he has taught many to aspire. 

He was interred at St. Allhallows, Bread Street, 
and his Funeral Sermon was preached by his fellow- 
labourer, Mr. Spademan, from 2 Tim. iii. 14. 

In answer to enquiries after his papers, his eldest 
son, Dr. George Howe, said that his father industri- 
ously concealed the large memorials which he had 
collected of his own life and times, and in his last 
illness ordered them all to be destroyed. Nothing. 
therefore, was left but some short notes of Sermons, 
and some Latin Memoranda in the blank pages of his 
study Bible, of which the following is a translation: 

Dec. 26, 1689. After I had long and seriously reflected, that in 
addition to a full and undoubted assent to the objects of faith, it 
is necessary to have a lively taste and relish of them, that they 
may penetrate to the inmost recesses of the heart, •with greater 
power and efficacy, and there being more deeply fixed, may more 
mightily govern the life 3 and that there could be no other way 
of coming to a just conclusion concerning the safety of our 
state towards God ; and after I had been largely discoursing on 

2 Cor. i. 12, " Our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our con- 
science," &c. this very morning I awoke out of a most delightful 
dream, of this kind : a wonderful stream of celestial rays from the 
sovereign throne of the Divine Majesty seemed to be poured into 
my opened, panting breast. Very often have I, from that remark- 
able day, revolved in my grateful mind, that memorable pledge of 
the Divine favour, and have tasted over again and again its sweetness. 


-Hut the experience I had of the same kind of bliss, on October L 11, 
1704, through the wonderful kindness of my God, and the most 
delightful operation of the Holy Spirit, far surpassed all the 
powers of language I can command. I felt the most delightful 
melting of heart, attended by profuse tears of joy, that the love 
of God should be shed abroad in the hearts of men ; and that 
his Spirit should be shed on mine for that blessed. end. Rom. v. 5. 

To review the life and character of such a man as 
John Howe, is as arduous as it is edifying and de- 
lightful. In him we behold our nature exalted by- 
Divine influence to such heights, that few can follow 
him closely enough to mark his movements, or mea- 
sure his form. That he had his faults, we may be 
sure, not only from what we know of human nature 
in its best state, but from his own deliberate confes- 
sion ; though it is difficult at this distance of time, to 
discover them with such distinctness as to show to 
others how they may avoid the rocks on which he split. 

But the excellence which presents itself to view in 
almost every page of his writings, and in every re- 
cord of his life, is the devotional spirit. He was 
evidently of that royal priesthood, whose whole 
business is religion, and who " whether they eat or 
drink, or whatever they do, do all to the glory of 
God." He not only exhibited in himself a proof of 
the position, unfolded in his great work, that a good 
man is the temple of God, but, viewing the universe 
as one vast temple to Jehovah's praise, he trod as on 
sacred ground, and breathed the air of heaven. 

After this, it may seem surprising to mention his 
inflexible integrity. He that lives under the eye of 
God will, indeed, be just in all his dealings with man ; 


but few have been placed in circumstances that could 
put integrity to so severe a test, and fewer still have 
come out of the fiery ordeal with a reputation so 
unspotted and exalted. That an angry world could 
not frown him into cowardly compliance with its 
will, is the least part of his praise ; for he was proof 
against a far more alarming temptation, that of fol- 
lowing those we love, and sacrificing some portion 
of stern principle to please those who have gained 
the preference of our heart. But neither the coarse 
vulgar who prevented him from walking the 'streets 
of London, nor the Prince who held the seat of 
power, could bend the soul of Howe from the straight 
path of duty ; and when he judged that truth or 
holiness were at stake, he was alike immoveable, 
whether a dominant hierarchy threatened, or the 
brethren with whom he had suffered attempted to 
argue or persuade. 

Yet seldom has such independence of thought and 
action been allied with charity so genuine or bene- 
volence so warm. In him was seen the full import 
of the expression, which if it had been found in 
classic, instead of inspired writings, would have been 
extolled to the skies, " Charity rejoiceth in the 
truth." Superficial observers of his candid temper 
supposed that he held his creed with a loose hand ; 
but when the Act of Uniformity put him to the test, 
the decision with which he sacrificed his gain to his 
convictions, compelled them to acknowledge with 
surprise, that what they had mistaken for laxity of 
sentiment was kindness of heart. 

Were we, however, to be ealled upon to select 
that which was most characteristic of John Howe, we 
should without hesitation exhibit his elevation of 
mind. It is not often that his writings display what 
would be termed the sublime in composition ; but 
the nobility of his soul raises him above every thing 
that is little or coarse, and his touch exalts and dig- 
nifies common subjects to such a degree, that wc 
feel ourselves rising with him till we wonder that we 
did not before see the objects of our former ac- 
quaintance in the golden light which he pours on 
every thing he presents to view. 

To those who think that some portion of obscurity 
is essential to the sublime, it may appear an unne- 
cessary deduction from his praise, to mention the 
injury which he has done to his more finished pro- 
ductions by so crowding his sentences with thought, 
and inlaying them with parentheses, that it is difficult 
to grasp or retain their full import. But when re- 
peated perusals have rendered his style familiar, it 
so fills the mind with mighty and elevated thoughts, 
that most other writings appear trite or vapid. 

The originality of Howe is of that peculiar and 
superior kind that becomes infectious, and compels 
the reader, departing from beaten routes, to draw 
from the Scriptures and the doctrines of theology, 
reflections that surprise by their novelty, improve by 
their sanctity, and agitate by their force. But to 
display all the excellencies of the author or his 
works would require a volume. 

< I 




LETTER to Lady Russell on the Execution of Lord Russell, page xliii 

Mr. Howe's Answer to the Letter of Bishop Barlow, of Lincoln, 
wherein the Bishop countenanced the execution of the rigorous 
Laws against Dissenters li 

Mr. Howe's Letter to his Friends, on setting out to travel with Lord 
Wharton • . . . . liv 

CASE of the Protestant Dissenters represented and argued . . lix 

Humble Requests, both to Conformists and Dissenters, touching 
their Temper and Behaviour toward each other, upon the lately 
[1689] passed Indulgence lxvi 

Mr. Howe's Letter to Mr. Spilsbury, upon the occasion of setting up 
another Tuesday Lecture lxxiii 

Letter to a Person of Honour, partly representing the rise of occa- 
sional Conformity, and partly the sense of the present Noncon- 
formists, about their yet continuing Differences from the Esta- 
blished Church " lxxiv 

CASE (connected with the foregoing) Ixxvii 

Introduction or Preface to Mr. Howe's Last Will and Testa- 
- ment lxxix 



Letter to Lady Russel, on the Execution of Lord Russbl. 


It can avail you nothing, to let your honour know, from what 
hand this paper comes ; and my own design in it is abundantly 
answered, if what it contains proves useful to you. Your affliction 
hath been great, unspeakably beyond what it is in my power or 
design to represent ; and your supports (in the paroxysm of your 
affliction) have been very extraordinary ; and such as wherein all 
that have observed or heard, could not but acknowledge a divine 

But your affliction was not limited and enclosed within the limits 
of one black day, nor is like those more common ones, the sense 
whereof abates and wears off by time ; but is continued, and pro- 
bably more felt, as time runs on : which therefore makes you need 
continued help from heaven every day. 

Yet there is here a great difference between what expectations 
we may have of divine assistance, in the beginning or first violence 
of some great affliction ; and in the continued course of it afterwards. 
At first we are apt to be astonished, a consternation seizes our 
thinking faculty, especially as to that exercise of it, whereby it 
should minister to our relief In this case the merciful God doth 
more extraordinarily assist such as sincerely trust and resign them- 
selves to him; unto- these, as his more peculiar favourites, his sus- 
taining influences are more immediate, and more efficacious, so as 
even (in the present exigency) to prevent and supersede any endea- 
vour of theirs, whereof they are, then, less capable. And of the 
largeness and bounty of his goodness, in such a case, few have had 
greater experience than your ladyship ; which was eminently seen, 
in that magnanimity, that composure and presentness of mind, 
much admired by your friends, and no doubt by the special favour 
of heaven afforded you in the needful season : so that while that 
amazing calamity was approaching, and stood in nearer view, no- 
thing that was fit or wise or great was omitted ; nothing indecent 
done. Which is not now said, God knows, to flatter your ladyship, 
(whereof the progress will farther vindicate me :) for I ascribe it to 
God, as I trust your ladyship, with unfeigned gratitude, will also do. 
And I mention it, as that whereby you are under obligation to en- 
deavour, your continued temper and deportment may be agreeable 
to such beginnings. 

For now (which is the other thing, whereof a distinct observation 


ought to be had) in the continuance and settled state of the affliction r 
when the fury of the first assault is over, and we have had leisure 
to recollect ourselves, and recover our dissipated spirits, though we 
are then more sensible of pain and smart, yet also the power of 
using our own thoughts is restored. And being so, although we are too 
apt to use them to our greater hurt, and prej udice, we are really put 
again into a capacity of using them to our advantage, which our 
good God doth in much wisdom and righteousness require we should 
do. Whereupon we are to expect his continual assistance for our 
support under continued affliction, in the way of concurrence and 
co-operation with our due use of our own thoughts, aptly chosen, as 
much as in us is, and designed by ourselves, for our own comfort 
and support. 

Now as for thoughts suitable to your honour's case, I have reason 
to be conscious that what I shall write can make but little accession, 
I will not say to a closet, but to a mind so well furnished, as you are 
owner of: yet I know it is remote from you to slight a well -intended 
offer and essay, that really proceeds only from a very compassionate 
sense of your sorrows, and unfeigned desire to contribute something 
(if the Father of mercys, and the God of all comforts and consola- 
tions will please to favour the endeavour) to your relief. 

And the thoughts which I shall most humbly offer, will have that 
first and more immediate design, but to persuade your making use 
of your own ;. that is, that you would please to turn and apply them 
to subjects more apt to serve this purpose, the moderating your own 
grief, and the attaining an habitual well-tempered cheerfulness, for 
your remaining time in this world. For I consider how incident it 
is to the afflicted, to indulge to themselves an unlimited liberty in 
their sorrows, to give themselves up to them, to make them meat and 
drink, to justify them in all their excesses, as that (otherwise) good 
and holy man of God did his anger, and say, " they do well to be 
sorrowful even to the death," and (as another) to " refuse to be com- 
forted." And I also consider that our own thoughts must, and will 
always be the immediate ministers either of our trouble or comfort, 
though as to the latter, God only is the supreme author ; and we 
altogether insufficient to think any thing that good is, as of ourselves. 
It is God that comforts those that are cast down, but by our own 
thoughts employed to that purpose, not without them. 

I do not doubt, Madam, but if you once fixedly apprehend that 
there is sin in an over-abounding sorrow, you will soon endeavour 
its restraint : for I cannot think you would more earnestly set your- 
self to avoid any thing, than what you apprehend will offend God, 
especially the doing that in a continued course. Is there any time 
when joy in God is a duty ? Tis very plain the sorrow that ex- 
cludes it is a sin. How the former may appear to be a duty, and 
how far, let it be considered. 

It is not to be doubted but that he that made us hath a right to 
rule us; he that gave us being, to give us law : nor again, that the 
Divine government reaches our minds, and that they are the prime 


and first seat of his empire. " His kingdom is within us." We 
are not then, to exercise our thoughts, desires, love, joy/or sorrow, 
according to our own will but his ; not as we please, or find our- 
selves inclined, but suitably to his precepts and purposes, his rules 
and ends. 

Jt is evident that withal, the earthly state is mixed, intermediate 
between the perfect felicity of heaven, and the total misery of hell : 
and farther, that the temper of our spirits ought to have in it a mix- 
ture of joy and sorrow, proportionable to our state, or what there is 
in it of the just occasions or causes of both. 

Where Christianity obtains, and the gospel of our Saviour is 
preached, there is much greater cause of joy than elsewhere. The 
visible aspect of it imports a design to form men's minds to glad- 
ness, in as much as, wheresoever it comes, it proclaims peace to 
the world, and represents the offended Majesty of heaven willing to 
be reconciled to his offending creatures on earth. So the angel pre- 
faced the gospel, when our Lord was born into the world, Luke ii. 
" I tell you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." 
And so the multitude of accompanying angels sum it up ; " Glory 
be to God in the highest, Peace on earth, good will towards 

To them that truly receive the gospel, and with whom it hath its 
effect, the cause of rejoicing riseth much higher. For if the offer 
and hope of reconciliation be a just ground of joy, how much more 
actual agreement with God, upon the terms of the gospel, and recon- 
ciliation itself! " We rejoice in God through Jesus Christ, by 
whom we have received the atonement," Rom. v. 11. To such 
there are express precepts given to " rejoice in the Lord always," 
Phil. iv. 4. And lest that should be thought to have been spoken 
hastily, and that it might have its full weight, that great apostle im- 
mediately adds, " and again I say to you rejoice." And else- 
where, " rejoice evermore," 1 Thess. v. 16. 

Hence therefore the genuine right temper and frame of a truly 
Christian mind and spirit may be evidently concluded to be this, 
(for such precepts do not signify nothing, nor can they be under- 
stood to signify less) viz. an habitual joyfulness, prevailing over all 
the temporary occasions of sorrow, that occur to them. For none 
can be thought of that can pre-ponderate, or be equal to the just 
and great causes of their joy. This is the true frame, model, and 
constitution of the kingdom of God, which ought to have place in 
us ; herein it consists, viz. " in righteousness and peace, and joy in 
the Holy Ghost," Rom. xiv. 17. 

Nor is this a theory only, or the idea atid notion of an excellent 
temper of spirit, which we may contemplate indeed, but can never 
attain to. For we find it also to have been the attainment, and 
usual temper of Christians heretofore, that " being justified by faith, 
and having peace with God, they have rejoiced in hope of the glory 
of God," unto that degree, as even to " glory in their tribulations 
also," Rom. v. 1,2, 3. And that in the confidence they should 


" be kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation," thev 
have hereupon " greatly rejoiced," though with some mixture of 
heaviness (whereof there was need) from their manifold trials. 
But that their joy did surmount and prevail over their heaviness 
is manifest; for this is spoken of with much diminution, whereas 
they are said to " rejoice greatlv," and " with a joy unspeakable 
and full of glory," 1 Pet. i. 5, 6, 8. 

Yea, and such care hath the great God taken for the preserving 
of this temper of spirit among his people more anciently, that even 
their sorrow for sin itself (the most justifiable of all other) hath had 
restraints put upon it, lest it should too long exclude or inter- 
mit the exercise of this joy. For when a great assembly of 
them were universally in tears, " upon hearing the Law read, 
and the sense given," they were forbidden to weep or mourn, 
or be sorry, because " the joy of the Lord was their strength," 
Nehem. viii. 8, 9, 10. That most just sorrow had been unjust, had it 
been continued, so as to exclude the seasonable turn and alternation 
of this joy. For even such sorrow itself is not required, or neces- 
sary for itself. Tis remote from the goodness and benignity of 
God's ever-blessed nature, to take pleasure in the sorrows of his 
people, as they are such, or that they should sorrow for sorrow's 
sake ; but only as a means and preparative to their following joy. 
And nothing can be more unreasonable, than that the means should 
exclude the end, or be used against the purpose they should serve. 

It is then upon the whole most manifest, that no temporary afflic- 
tion whatsoever, upon one who stands in special relation to God, as 
a reconciled (and which is consequent, an adopted) person, though 
attended with the most aggravating circumstances, can justify such 
a sorrow (so deep or so continued) as shall prevail against, and 
shut out a religious holy joy, or hinder it from being the prevailing 
principle in such a one. What can make that sorrow allowable, 
or innocent, (what event of Providence, that can, whatever it is, be 
no other than an accident to our Christian state; that shall resist the 
most natural design and end of Christianity itself ? that shall deprave 
and debase the truly Christian temper, and disobey and violate 
most express Christian precepts I subvert the constitution of 
Christ's kingdom among men? and turn this earth (the place of 
God's treaty with the inhabitants of it, in order to their reconciliation 
to himself, and to the reconciled the portal and gate of heaven, yea 
and where the state of the very worst and most miserable has some 
mixture of good in it, that makes the evil of it less than that of hell) 
into a mere hell to themselves, of sorrow without mixture, and 
wherein shall be nothing but weeping and •wailing. 

The cause of your sorrow, Madam, is exceeding great. The 
causes of your joy are inexpressibly greater. You have infinitely 
more left than you have lost. Doth it need to be disputed whether 
God be better and greater than man ? or more to be valued, loved, 
and delighted in ? and whether an eternal relation be more consi- 
derable than a temporary one 1 Was it not your constant sense in 


your best outward state, " Whom have I in heaven but thee 

God, and whom can I desire on earth, in comparison of thee!" 
Psal. lxxiii. 25. Herein the state of your Ladyship's case is still 
the same (if you cannot rather with greater clearness, and with less 
hesitation pronounce those latter words.) The principal causes of 
your joy are immutable, such as no supervening thing can alter. 
You have lost a most pleasant, delectable, earthly relative. Doth 
the blessed God hereby cease to be the best and most excellent 
good ! Is his nature changed ! his everlasting covenant reversed 
and annulled ! which is " ordered in al) things and sure," and is to 
be " all your salvation and all your desire," whether he make your 
house on earth to grow or not to grow, 2 Sam. xxiii. 4. That 
sorrow which exceeds the proportion of its cause, compared with 
the remaining true and real causes of rejoicing, is in that excess 
causeless ; i. e. that excess of it wants a cause, such as can justify 
or afford defence unto it. 

We are required, in reference to our nearest relations in this 
world, (when we lose them) " to weep as if we wept not," as well 
as (when we enjoy them) to " rejoice as if we rejoiced not," because 
our time here is short, and the fashion of this world passeth away, 

1 Cor. vii. 29,30,31. We are finite beings, and so are they. 
Our passions in reference to them, must not be infinite, and without 
limit, or be limited only by the limited capacity of our nature, 
so as to work to the utmost extent of that, as the fire burns, and the 
winds blow, as much as they can : but they are to be limited by the 
power, design, and endeavour of our reason and grace (not only by the 
mere impotency of our nature) in reference to all created objects. 
Whereas in reference to the infinite uncreated good, towards which 
there is no danger or possibility of exceeding in our affection, we 
are never to design to ourselves any limits at all ; for that would 
suppose we had loved God enough, or as much as he deserved, 
which were not only to limit ourselves, but him too ; and were a 
constructive denial of his infinite immense goodness, and conse- 
quently of his very Godhead. Of so great concernment it is to us, 
that in the liberty we give our affections, we observe the just dif- 
ference which ought to be in their exercise, towards God, and to- 
wards creatures 

It is also to be considered, that the great God is pleased so to 
condescend, as himself to bear the name, and sustain the capacity 
of our nearest earthly relations ; which implies that what they were 
to us, in this or that kind, he will be in a transcendent, and far more 
noble kind. I doubt not but your Ladyship hath good right to apply 
to yourself those words of the prophet, Isa. lvi. 5. " Thy Maker is 
thy husband," &c. Whereupon, as he infinitely transcends all 
that is delectable in the most excellent earthly relation, it ought to 
be endeavoured, that the affection placed on him should propor- 
tionably excel. I cannot think any person in the world would be 
a more severe or impartial judge of a criminal affection than your 
Ladyship : or that it would look worse unto any eye, if any one 
should so deeply take to heart the death of an unrelated person, 


as never to take pleasure more, in the life, presence, and conver- 
sation of one most nearly related. And you do well know that 
such an height (or that supremacy) of affection, as is due to the 
ever-blessed God, cannot without great injury, be placed any 
where else. As we are to have none other God before him ; so 
him alone we are to love with all our heart and soul, and might 
and mind. 

And it ought farther to be remembered, that whatsoever interest 
we have or had in any the nearest relative on earth, his interest who 
made both is far superior. He made us and all things primarily 
for himself, to serve great and important ends of his own : so that 
our satisfaction in any creature, is but secondary and collateral to 
the principal design of its creation. 

Which consideration would prevent a practical error and mis- 
take that is too usual with pious persons, afflicted with the loss ol 
any near relation, that they think the chief intention of such a pro- 
vidence is their punishment. And hereupon they are apt to justify 
the utmost excesses of their sorrow, upon such an occasion, ac- 
counting they can never be sensible enough of the Divine displea- 
sure appearing in it ; and make it their whole business, (or employ 
their time and thoughts beyond a due proportion) to find out and 
fasten upon some particular sin of theirs, Which they may judge 
God was offended with them for, and designed noAv to punish upon 
them. It is indeed the part of filial ingenuity, deeply to appre- 
hend the displeasure of our Father, and an argument of great sin- 
cerity, to be very inquisitive after any sin for which we may sup- 
pose him displeased with us, and apt to charge ourselves severely 
with it, though perhaps upon utmost inquiry, there is nothing parti- 
cularly to be reflected on, other than common infirmity incident to 
the best, (and it is well when at length we can make that judgment, 
because there really is no more, not for that we did not enquire) 
and perhaps also God intended no more in such a dispensation, (as 
to what concerned us in it) than only, in the general, to take off our 
minds and hearts more from this world, and draw them more in- 
tirely to himself. For if we were never so innocent, must therefore 
such a relative of ours have been immortal ? But the error in prac- 
tice as to this case, lies here ; not that our thoughts are much exer- 
cised this way, but too much. We ought to consider in every case, 
principally, that which is principal. God did not create this or that 
excellent person, and place him for a while in the world, prin- 
cipally to please us ; nor therefore doth he take him a^vay, prin- 
cipally to displease or punish us ; but for much nobler and greater 
ends which he hath proposed to himself concerning him. Nor are 
we to reckon ourselves so little interested in the great and sovereign 
Lord of all, whom we have taken to be our God, and to whom we 
have absolutely resigned and devoted ourselves, as not to be obliged 
to consider and satisfy ourselves, in his pleasure, purposes, and 
ends, more than our own, apart from his. 

Such as he hath pardoned, accepted, and prepared for himself, 
are to serve and glorify him in an higher and more excellent capa- 


city, than they ever could in this wretched world of ours, and 
wherein they have themselves the highest satisfaction. When the 
blessed God is pleased in having attained and accomplished the 
end and intendments of his own boundless love, (too great to be 
satisfied with the conferring of only temporary favours in this im- 
perfect state) and they are pleased in partaking the full effects of 
that love ; who are we, that we should be displeased ? or that Ave 
should oppose our satisfaction, to that of the glorious God, and his 
glorified creature ? 

Therefore, Madam, whereas you cannot avoid to think much on 
this subject, and to have the removal of that incomparable person, 
for a great theme of your thoughts, I do only propose most humbly 
to your honour, that you would not confine them to the sadder and 
darker part of that theme. It hath also a bright side ; and it 
equally belongs to it, to consider whither he is gone, and to whom, 
as whence and from whom. Let, I beseech you, your mind be more 
exercised in contemplating the glories of that state your blessed 
consort is translated unto, which will mingle pleasure and sweetness 
with the bitterness of your afflicting loss, by giving you a daily 
intellectual participation (through the exercise of faith and hope) 
in his enjoyments. He cannot descend to share with you in -your 
sorrows ; you may thus every day ascend, and partake with him in 
his joys. He is a pleasant subject to consider. A prepared spirit 
made meet for an inheritance with them that are sanctified, and 
with the saints in light, now entered into a state so connatural, and 
wherein it finds every thing most agreeable to itself. How highly 
grateful is it to be united with the true centre, and come home to 
the Father of Spirits ! To consider how pleasant a welcome, how 
joyful an entertainment he hath met with above ! How delighted 
an associate he is with the general assembly, the innumerable com- 
pany of angels, and the " spirits of just men made perfect !" How 
joyful an homage he continually pays to the throne of the Celestial 

Will your Ladyship think that an hard saying of our departing 
Lord to his mournful disciples, " If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, 
that I said I go to the Father ; for my Father is greater than IV 
As if he had said, he sits inthroned in higher glory than you can 
frame any conception of, by beholding me in so mean a condition 
on earth. We are as remote, and as much short in our thoughts as 
to the conceiving the glory of the Supreme King, as a peasant, 
who never saw any thing better than his own cottage, from con- 
ceiving the splendour of the most glorious prince's court. But if 
that " faith, (which) is the substance of things hoped for, and the 
evidence of things not seen," be much accustomed to its proper 
work and business, the daily delightful visiting and viewing the glo- 
rious invisible regions ; if it be often conversant in those vast and 
spacious tracts of pure and brightest light, and amongst the holy in- 
habitants that replenish them ; if it frequently employ itself in con- 
templating their comely order, perfect harmony, sublime wisdom, 



unspotted parity, most fervent mutual love, delicious conversation 
with one another, and perpetual pleasant consent in their adoration 
and observance of their eternal King! who is there to whom it 
would not be a solace to think I have such and such friends and 
relatives (some perhaps as dear as my own life) perfectly well 
pleased, and happy among them ! How can your love, Madam, (so 
generous a love towards so deserving an object!) how can it but 
more fervently sparkle in joy, for his sake, than dissolve in tears for 
your own 1 

Nor should such thoughts excite over-hasty impatient desires of 
following presently into heaven, but to the endeavours of serving 
God more cheerfully on earth, for our appointed time : which I ear- 
nestly desire your Ladyship would apply yourself to, as you would 
not displease God, who is your only hope, nor be cruel to yourself, 
nor dishonour the religion of Christians, as if they had no other con- 
solations than this earth can give, and earthly power take from 
them. Your Ladyship (if any one) would be loth to do any thing 
unworthy your family and parentage. Your highest alliance is to 
that Father and family above, whose dignity and honour are 1 doubt 
not of highest account with you. 

1 multiply words, being loth to lose my design. And shall only 
add that consideration, which cannot but be valuable with you, upon 
his first proposal, who had all the advantages imaginable to give it 
its full weight ; I mean that of those dear pledges left behind': my own 
heart even bleeds to think of the case of those sweet babes, should 
they be bereaved of their other parent too. And even your conti- 
nued visible dejection would be their unspeakable disadvantage. 
You will always naturally create in them a reverence of you ; and 
I cannot but apprehend how the constant mien, aspect and deport- 
ment of such a parent will insensibly influence the temper of dutiful 
children ; and (if that be sad and despondent) depress their spirits, 
blunt and take off the edge and quickness, upon which their future 
usefulness and comfort will much depend. Were it possible their 
(now glorious) father should visit and inspect you, would you not be 
troubled to behold a frown in that bright serene face '. You are to 
please a more penetrating eye, which you will best do, by putting 
on a temper and deportment suitable to your weighty charge and 
duty ; and to the great purposes for Avhich God continues you in the 
world, by giving over unnecessary solitude and retirement, which 
(though it pleases) doth really prejudice you, and is more than you 
can bear. Nor can any rules of decency require more. No- 
thing that is necessary and truly Christian, ought to be reckoned 
unbecoming. David's example, 2 Sam. xii. 20. is of too great au- 
thority to be counted a pattern of indecency. The God of heaven 
lift up the light of his countenance upon you, and thereby put 
gladness into your heart; and give you to apprehend him saying to 
you, " Arise and walk in the light of the Lord." 

That I have used so much freedom in this paper, I make no 
apology for ; but do therefore hide myself in the dark, not judging 


it consistent with that plainness which I thought the case might 
acquire, to give any other account of myself, than that I am one 
deeply sensible of your, and your noble relatives great affliction, 
and who scarce ever bow the knee before the mercy-seat without 
remembering it : and who shall ever be, 

Your Ladyship's 

Most sincere honourer, and 

Most humble devoted Servant. 

Mr. Howe's Answer to the Letter of Bishop Burlaw of Lincoln, 
wherein the Bishop cotmtenanccd the execution of the rigorous 
Laws against Dissenters. ( 1684.J 

Right Reverend, 

As I must confess myself surprized by your late published direc- 
tions to your Clergy of the County of Bedford, so nor will I dis- 
semble, that I did read them with some trouble of mind, which 1 
sincerely profess was more upon your Lordship's account than my 
own, (who for myself am little concerned) or any other particular 
person's whatsoever. It was such as it had not been very difficult 
for me to have concealed in my own breast, or only to have ex- 
pressed it to God in my prayers for you, (which through his grace 
I have not altogether omitted to do) if* I had not apprehended it not 
utterly impossible, (as I trust I might, without arrogating unduly to 
myself) that some or other of those thoughts, which I have revolved 
in my own mind upon this occasion, being only hinted to your Lord- 
ship, might appear to your very sagacious judgment, (lor which I 
have had long, and have still a continuing veneration) some way ca- 
pable of being cultivated by your own mature and second thoughts, 
so as not to be wholly unuseful to your Lordship. 

My own judgment, such as it is, inclines me not to oppose any 
thing, either, 1. To the lawfulness of the things themselves which you 
so much desire should obtain in the practice of the people under 
your Lordship's pastoral inspection : or 2. To the desirable come- 
liness of an uniformity in the public and solemn worship of God : or 
3. To the fitness of making laws for the effecting of such uniformity : 
or 4. To the execution of such laws, upon some such persons as 
may possibly be found among so numerous a people as are under 
your Lordship's care. 

But the things which I humbly conceive are to be deliberated on, 
are 1. Whether all the laws that are in being about matters of that 
nature, ought now to be executed upon all the persons which any 
way transgress them, without distinction of either I 2. Whether it 
was so well, that your Lordship should advise and press that indis- 
tinct execution, which the order (to which the subjoined directions 
of your Lordship do succenturiate) seems to intend ; supposing that 
designed execution were fit in itself. 

I shall not need to speak severally to these heads : your Lord- 
ship will sufficiently distinguish what is applicable the one way or 
the other. But I humbly offer to your Lordship's further conside- 
ration, whether it be not a supposable thing, that some persons 
sound in the faith, strictly orthodox in all the articles of it taught by 
our Lord Jesus or his Apostles, resolvedly loyal, and subject to the 
authority of their governors in church and state, of pious, sober, 
peaceable, just, charitable dispositions and deportments ; may yet 
(while they agree with your Lordship in that evident principle, 
both by the law of nature and scripture, that their prince and 
inferior rulers ought to be actively obeyed in all lawful things) 
have a formed fixed judgment, (for what were to be done in the case 
of a mere doubt, that hath not arrived to a settled preponderation 
this way or that, is not hard to determine) of the unlawfulness of 
some or other of the rites and modes of worship enjoined to be 
observed in this church! For my own part, though perhaps I 
should not be found to differ much from your Lordship in most of 
the things here referred unto, I do yet think that few metaphysical 
questions are disputed with nicer subtlety, than the matter of the 
ceremonies lias been by Archbishop Whitgift, Cartwright, Hooker, 
Parker, Dr. Burgess, Dr. Ames, Gillespy, Jeanes, Calderwood, 
Dr. Owen, Baxter, &c. Now is it impossible that a sincere and 
sober Christian may, with an honest heart, have so weak intellec- 
tuals, as not to be able to understand all the punctilios upon which 
a right judgment of such a matter may depend 1 And is it not 
possible there may be such a thing, as a mental as well as a 
merely sensitive antipathy, not vincible by ordinary methods 1 Is 
there no difference to be put between things essential to our reli- 
gion, and things confessed indifferent on the one hand, and on the 
other judged unlawful; on both hands but accidental? (though 
they that think them unlawful, dare not allow themselves a liberty 
of sinning, even in accidentals.) If your Lordship were the Pater- 
familias to a numerous family of children and servants, among 
whom one or other very dutiful child takes offence, not at the sort 
of food you have thought fit should be provided, but somewhat in 
the sauce or way of dressing, which thereupon he forbears ; you 
try all the means which your paternal wisdom and severity thinks fit, 
to overcome that aversion, but in vain ; would you finally famish this 
child, rather than yield to his inclination in so small a thing ! 

My Lord, your Lordship well knows the severity of some of those 
laws which you press for the execution of is such, as being exe- 
cuted, they must infer the utter ruin of them who observe them not, 
in their temporal concernments; and not that only, but their de- 
privation of the comfortable advantages appointed by our blessed 
Lord, for promoting their spiritual and eternal well-being. I can- 
not but be well persuaded not only of the mere sincerity, but 
eminent sanctity of divers, upon my own knowledge and experience 
of them, who would sooner die at a stake, than I or any man can 
prevail with them (notwithstanding our niblick, or whatever can 


. „ ouid to facilitate the matter) to kneel before the consecrated 
elements at the Lord's Table. Would your Lordship necessitate 
such, perdere substantiam propter accidentia? What if there be 
considerable numbers of such in your Lordship's vastly numerous 
flock; will it be comfortable to you, when an account is demanded 
of your Lordship by the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls con- 
cerning them, only to be able to say, Though Lord 1 did believe 
the provisions of thine house purchased for them, necessary and 
highly useful for their salvation, I drove them away as dogs and 
swine from thy table, and stirred up such other agents as 1 could 
influence against them, by whose means I reduced many of them to 
beggary, ruined many families, banished them into strange countries, 
where they might (for me) serve other gods ; and this not for dis- 
obeying any immediate ordinance or law of thine, but because for 
fear of offending thee, they did not in every thing comport with my 
own appointments, or which I was directed to urge and impose upon 
them 'i How well would this practice agree with that apostolical 
precept, ' him that is weak in the faith receive, but not to doubtful 
disputations V I know not how your Lordship wOuld relieve yourself 
in this case, but by saying they were not weak, nor conscientious, 
but wilful and humoursome. But what shall then be said to the 
subjoined expostulation, ' Who art thou that judgest thy brother? 
We shall all stand betbre the judgment seat of Christ.' What if 
they have appeared conscientious, and of a very unblameable con- 
versation in all things else * What if better qualified for Christian 
communion in all other respects, than thousands you admitted ? If 
you say you know of none such under your charge so severely dealt 
with, it will be said, why did you use such severity towards them 
yon did not know '! or urge and animate them to use it, whom you 
knew never likely to distinguish J A very noted Divine of the Church 
of England, said to me in discourse nut very long ago, upon mention 
of the ceremonies, ' Come, come, the Christian church and religion 
is in a consumption ; and it ought to be done as in the case of con- 
sumptive persons, shave off the hair to save the life.' Another (a 
dignified person) present, replied, ' I doubt not it will be so, in the 
Philadelphian state.' I long thought few had been in the temper 
of their minds nearer it than your Lordship, and am grieved, not 
that I so judged, but that I am mistaken ; and to see your Lordship 
the first public example to the rest of your order in such a course. 
Blessed Lord ! How strange is it that so long experience will not 
let us see, that little, and so very disputable matters can never be 
the terms of union so much to be desired in the Christian church ; 
and that in such a case as ours is, nothing will satisfy, but the de- 
struction of them, whose union upon so nice terms Ave cannot 
obtain; and then to call Solitudincm, Pacem! But we must, it 
seems, understand all this rigour your Lordship shews, to proceed 
from love, and that you are for destroying the Dissenters, only to 
mend their understandings, and because Ajftictio dat intcllectum. 
I hope indeed God will sanctify the affliction which you give and 


procure them, to blessed purposes ; and perhaps periissent nisi pc- 
riissent ; but for the purposes your Lordship seems to aim at, I 
wonder what you can expect? Can you by undoing men, change 
the judgment of their consciences'? Or if they should tell you, we 
do indeed in our consciences judge, we shall greatly offend God, 
by complying with your injunctions, but yet to save being undone, 
we will do it : Mill this qualify them for your communion '. If your 
Lordship think still, you have judged and advised well in this 
matter, you have the judgment of our Sovereign, upon twelve years 
experience, lying against you : you have as to one of the laws you 
would have executed, the judgment of both Houses of Parliament 
against you, who passed a bill (to which perhaps you consented) 
for taking it away.* You have (as to all of them) the judgment of 
the last House of Commons sitting at Westminster, so far as to the 
season then, of executing those laws. It may be your Lordship 
thinks it now a fitter season : but if you have misjudged, or misdone 
against your judgment, I pray God to rectify your error by gentler 
methods, and by less affliction than you have designed to your 
brethren : and do not for all this doubt, (any more for your part -than 
my own) to meet you there one da.y, where Luther and Zuinglius 
are well agreed. If Ldid think that would contribute any thing to 
the honest and truly charitable design of this letter, I should freely 
and at large tell you my name : and do however tell you, I am, 
A sincere honourer of your Lordship, 

And your very faithful, humble Servant. 

Mr. Howe's Lethr to his Friends, on setting out to travel with 
Lord Wharton. (August 1685.) 

To such in and about London, among whom I have laboured 
in the work of the Gospel. 

My most dearly beloved in our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus 
Christ, grace, mercy, and peace, be thro' him multiply'd unto you. 

That I am at this time at this distance from you, is I am per- 
suaded (upon the experience I have had of your great love and 
value of my poor labours) not pleasant to you, and I do assure you 
it is grievous to me, though I murmur not at the wise and holy Pro- 

* The complete History of England, vol. 3. page 393, tells us, that the 
Commons in 1680, prepared a Bill ' for exempting His Majesty's Protestant 
subjects, dissenting from the Church of England, from the penalties imposed 
upon the Papists, by repealing the Act of 35. Eliz.' This Bill passed the 
Commons, and was agreed to by the Lords, and lay ready for His Majesty's 
assent. But when His Majesty came to the throne, to pass this among 
other Bills, this was taken from the table, and never heard of after. Which 
no man durst have done, without the King's command, or at least his pri- 
vity and connivance at it. The loss of this Bill was complained of, in the 
uext parliament at Oxford, but without satisfaction or rediej-s. 


videnee that hath ordered things thus, in reference to you and me '. 
but it added to my trouble, that I could not so much as bid farewell 
to persons to whom I had so great indearments, the solemnity 
whereof you know our circumstances would not admit. Nor could 
I have opportunity to communicate to you the grounds of my taking 
this long journey, being under promise while the matter Avas under 
consideration, not to speak of it to any one that was not concerned 
immediately about it : neither could I think that imprudent in itself, 
where acquaintance was so numerous ; silence towards dearest 
friends in such cases usually being designed for an apology to all 
others. A.nd after the resolution was taken, my motion depending 
on another, I had not time for that or any such purposes. And 
should I yet communicate them, as they lie particularly in my own 
thoughts,- it would lose time that 1 may more profitably employ, for 
both you and myself, while I do it not. You will, I may be confi- 
dent, be more prudent and equal, than to judge of what you do not 
knew": but so much I shall in the general say, that the providence 
of God gave me the prospect of a present quiet abode, with -some 
opportunity of being serviceable ; (and I hope, as it may prove 
through his help and blessing unto you, if I have life and health to 
finish what I have been much pressed by some of yourselves to go 
on with ;) which opportunity I could not hope to have nearer you, 
at least without being unreasonably burdensome to some, while I 
was designing service as much as in me lay to all. It much satisfies 
me that 1 have a record above, I am not designing for myself; that 
He who knoweth all things knows, 1 love not this present world, and 
I covet not an abode in it, (nor have I when it was most friendly to 
me) upon any other account, than upon doing some service to Him, 
and the souls of men. It therefore has been my settled habitual 
sense and sentiment a long time, to value and desire (with submis- 
sion to sovereign good pleasure) peace and quiet, with some tolerable 
health, more than life. Nor have I found any thing more destructive 
to my health, than confinement to a room a few days in the city air, 
which was much better and more healthful to me formerly, than 
since the anger and jealousies of such as I never had a disposition 
to offend, have of later times occasioned persons of my circum- 
stances very seldom to walk the streets. 

But my hope is, God will in his good time incline the hearts of 
rulers more to favour such as cannot be satisfied with the public 
constitutions in the matters of God's worship, and that are innocent 
and peaceable in the land ; and that my absence from you will be 
for no long time, it being my design, with dependence upon his gra- 
cious providence and pleasure, in whose hands our times are, if I 
hear of any door open for service with you, to spend the health and 
strength which God shall vouchsafe me, (and which I find through 
his mercy much improved since I left you) in his work with and 
among you. In the mean time, I believe it will not be unacceptable 
to you, that I offer you some of. my thoughts and counsels for your 
present help, such as are not new to me, nor as you will find to 


youselves, who are my witnesses, that I have often inculcated such 
things to you ; but they may be useful to stir you up, by putting 
you in remembrance. 

I. I beseech you more earnestly endeavour to reduce the things 
you know (and have been by many hands instructed in out of the 
gospel of our Lord) to practice. Nothing can be more absurd than 
to content ourselves with only a notional knowledge of practical 
matters. We should think so in other cases. As if any man 
should satisfy himself to know the use of food, but famish himself 
by never eating any, when he hath it at hand : or that he under- 
stands the virtues of this or that cordial, but languishes away to 
death in the neglect of using it, when it might cheer his spirits and 
save his life. And the neglect of applying the great things of the 
Gospel to the proper uses and purposes of the Christian life, is not 
more foolish, (only as the concernments they serve for are more 
important) but much more sinful and provoking to God. For we 
are to consider whence the Revelation comes. They are things 
which the mouth of the Lord hath spoken ; uttered by the breath of 
the eternal God, as all Scriptures are said to be. God breathed, 
as that expression may be literally rendered, 2 Tim. iii. 16. And 
how high a contempt and provocation is it of the great God, so 
totally to pervert and disappoint the whole design of that Revela- 
tion he hath made to us, to know the great things contained therein, 
only for knowing sake, which he hath made known that we might 
live by them! And oh, what holy and pleasant lives should we lead 
in this world, if the temper and complexion of our souls did answer 
and correspond to the things we know! The design of preaching 
has been greatly mistaken, when it has been thought, it must still 
acquaint them who live (and especially who have long lived) under 
it, with some new thing. Its much greater and more important 
design is the impressing of known things (but too little considered) 
upon the hearts of hearers, that they may be delivered up into the 
mould and form of the doctrine taught them, as Rom. vi. 12: And 
may so learn Christ as more and more to be renewed in the spirit 
of their minds, and put off the old man and put on the new, 
Eph. iv. 20. The digesting our food is what God now eminently 
calls for. 

II. More particularly labour to have your apprehensions of the 
future state of the unseen world, and eternal things, made more 
lively and efficacious daily, and that your faith of them may be 
such as may truly admit to be called the very substance and evidence 
of those things. Shall that glorious everlasting state of things be 
always as a dark shadow with us, or as the images we have of 
things in a dream, ineffectual and vanishing, only because we have 
not seen with our eyes, where' God himself hath by his express 
word made the representations of them to us, who never deceived 
us, as our own eyes and treacherous senses have done '? Why do 
we not live as just now entering into the eternal state, and as if we 
now beheld the glorious appearing of the great God our Saviour, 


when we are as much assured of them as if we beheld them ? Why- 
do we not oftener view the representation of the heavens vanishing, 
the elements melting) the earth flaming, the angels every where 
dispersed to gather the elect, and them ascending, caught up to 
meet the Redeemer in the air, ever to be with the Lord I What a 
trifle will the world be to us then ! 

III. Let the doctrine of the Redeemer be more studied, and of 
his mighty undertaking, with the immediate design of it, not merely 
to satisfy for sin by the sacrifice he once for all made of himself, 
and so to procure our pardon and justification, without! effecting 
any thing upon us, but to redeem us from all iniquity, 4o purify us 
to himself, &c. and to form us after his own holy likeness, and for 
such purposes to give his Holy Spirit to us. Consider that our 
Redeemer is mighty, who hath such kind designs upon us ; and 
that as they shall not therefore finally fail of accomplishment, so 
will they be carried on without interruption, and with discernible 
success, if we fail not as to what part in subordination to him be- 
longs to us. How cheerfully should the redeemed of the Lord go 
on in their course under such conduct! 

IV. Endeavour your faith may be stronger, more efficacious and 
practical, concerning the doctrine of Providence, and that the work- 
ings and events of it lie all under the management, and in the hand 
of the Redeemer, who is ' head over all things to the church :' 
That therefore how grievous and bitter soever be his people's lot 
and portion at any time, there cannot but be kindness at the bot- 
tom; and that not only designing the best end, but taking the fittest 
way to it. For can Love itself be unkind, so as not to design well ! 
or Wisdom itself err so, as to take an improper course in order 
thereto ! Hereupon let not your spirits be imbittered by the present 
dispensation of Providence you are under, whereby you are in so 
great a part deprived of the helps and means of your spiritual 
advantage, which j'ou like and relish most. And to this purpose 

1. Our wise and merciful 'Lord (though perhaps such means 
might be in some measure useful to us) doth for the present judge, 
that his rebuking our undue use of them will be more useful ; either 
overvaluing or undervaluing his instruments, turning his Ordinances 
into mere formalities, preferring the means of grace (as they are 
fitly called) before the end, grace itself. 

2. Consider whether there be no disposition of spirit, to treat 
others as you are treated. The inward temper of our minds and 
spirits is so much the more narrowly to be inspected, by how much 
the less there is opportunity to discover it by outward acts. As to 
such as differ from us about the forms and ceremonies that are now 
required in the worship of God, would we not be glad if they were 
as much restrained from using them in their worship, as Ave from 
worshipping without them ? And do not we think that that would as 
much grieve them, as our restraint doth us ? And why should we 
suppose that their way should not as much suit their spirits, and be 

VOL. viii. g 


as grateful to them, as -ours to U9 ? But we are in the right way, some 
will say, and they in the wrong : And why cannot any man say the 
same thing with as much confidence as we ? Or do we think there is 
no difference to be put between controversies about matter of cir- 
cumstance, and about the essentials of Christianity ? Undoubtedly 
till those that affect the name of the Reformed, and count it more 
their glory to be called Protestants than to be good Christians, have 
learned to mingle more justice with their religion, and how better to 
apply that great advice of our Lord's, ' Whatsoever you would that 
men should do to you, do that to them,' &e. and till they become 
studious of excelling other men, in substantial goodness, abstract- 
edness from the world, meekness, humility, sobriety, self-denial and 
charity, and to lay a greater stress hereon, than on being of one or 
other denomination, God's controversy will not cease. 

I reckon it much to be considered, and I pray you consider it 
deeply, that after that great precept, Eph. iv. 30. ' Grieve not the 
Holy Spirit of God,' it immediately follows, ver. 31. ' Let all bit- 
terness and anger and wrath and clamour and evil speaking be put 
away from you, with all malice :' plainly implying that the Spirit 
of God, that Spirit of all love, goodness, sweetness, and benignity, 
is grieved by nothing more than by our bitterness, wrathfulness, 
&e. And it appears that the discernible restraint and departure 
of that blessed Spirit from the church of Christ in so great a mea- 
sure, for many foregoing generations, in comparison of the plentiful 
effusion of it in the first age, hath ensued upon the growth of that 
wrathful contentious spirit which shewed itself early in the Gnostick, 
but much more in the after Arian persecution, which was not in 
some places less bloody than the Pagan persecution had been be- 
fore. Oh the gentleness, kindness, tenderness, and compassionate- 
ness of the evangelical truly Christian spirit, as it most eminently 
appeared in our Lord Jesus Christ himself! And we are told, 
' If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he his none of his,' 
Rom. viii. 9. And how easy and pleasant is it to one's own self, to 
be void of all wrathfulness and vindictive designs or inclinations 
towards any other man. For my own part, I should not have that 
peace and consolation in a suffering condition (as my being so 
many years under restraint from that pleasant work of pleading 
with sinners that they might be saved, is the greatest suffering I 
was liable to in this world) as through the goodness of God I have 
found, and do find in being conscious to myself of no other than 
kind and benign thoughts towards them I have suffered by, and that 
my heart tells me I desire not the least hurt to them that would do 
me the greatest ; and that I feel within myself an unfeigned love 
and high estimation of divers, accounting them pious worthy per- 
sons, and hoping to meet them in the all-reconciling world, that 
are yet (through some mistake) too harsh towards us who dissent 
from them : And in things of this nature I pray that you and I may 
abound more and more. 

But again, as I would not have your spirits embittered, so I 


would not have your spirits discouraged, or sunk in dejection. ' The 
Lord will not cast off his people, because it hath pleased him to 
make them his people,' 1 Sam. xii: 22. I do not mean those of 
this or that party, but who fear God and work righteousness, be 
they of what party soever. As I often think of that saying of an 
antient (Clem. Alex.) that he counted not that philosophy, which 
was peculiar to this or that sect, but whatsoever of truth was to be 
found in any of them ; so I say of Christianity, it is not that which 
is appropriate to this or that party, but whatsoever of sincere reli- 
gion shall be found common to them all. Such will value and love 
his favour and presence, and shall have it; and he will yet have 
such a people in the world, and I doubt not more numerous than 
ever. And as the bitterness of christians one "towards another 
chased away his spirit, his spirit shall vanquish and drive away all 
that bitterness, and consume our other dross. And as the apos- 
tacy long ago foretold, and of so long continuance in the christian 
church, hath been begun and continued by constant war against 
the Spirit of Christ, the restitution and recovery of the church, and 
the reduction of Christianity to its antient self, and primitive state, will 
be by the victory of the Spirit of Christ over that so contrary spirit. 
Then shall all the enmity, pride, wrathfulness and cruelty, which 
have rent the church of Christ and made it so little itself, be 
melted down ; and with all their great impurities, besides earthli- 
ness, carnality, love of this present world, and prevalence of sen- 
sual lusts, be purged more generally away, and his repairing work 
be done in a way grievous to no one, whereby those that are most 
absolutely conquered will be most highly pleased ; ' not by might 
or by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord.' 

In the mean time let us draw nigh to God, and he will draw 
nigh to us. Let us more study the exercising ourselves to god- 
liness, and take heed of turning the religion of our closets into 
spiritless uncomfortable formalities. 4 Their hearts shall live that 
seek God.' 

To that blessed, and faithful, and covenant keeping God I com- 
mit you ; and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you 
up farther, and give you an inheritance among them that are sanc- 
tisfied. And as I hope I shall without ceasing remember you in 
mine, so I hope you will remember too in your prayers, 
Your sincerely affectionate, 

Though too unprofitable 

Servant in Christ, 


The Case of the Protestant Dissenters represented and argued. 

They are under one common obligation with the rest of mankind, 
by the universal law of nature, to worship God in assemblies. 
Men of all sorts of religions, that have ever obtained in the world, 


Jews, Pagans, Mahometans, Christians, hare in their practice ac- 
knowledged this obligation. Nor can it be understood, how such a 
practice should be so universal, otherwise than from the dictate and 
impression of the universal law. 

Whereas the religion professed in England, is that of reformed 
Christianity, some things are annexed to the allowed public worship, 
which are acknowledged to be no parts thereof, nor in themselves 
necessary ; but which the Dissenters judge to be in some part sinful. 

They cannot therefore with good conscience towards God, attend 
wholly and solely upon the public worship which the laws do ap- 
v The same laws do strictly forbid their assembling to worship God 

Which is in effect the same thing, as if they who made, or shall 
continue such laws, should plainly say, If you will not consent with 
us in our superadded rites and modes against your consciences, you 
shall not worship God ; or if you will not accept of our additions to 
the Christian religion, you shall not be Christians : and manifestly 
tends to reduce to Paganism, a great part of a Christian nation. 

They have been wont therefore to meet however in distinct as- 
semblies, and to worship God in a way which their consciences 
could approve ; and have many years continued so to do, otherwise 
than as they have been hindered by violence. 
It is therefore upon the whole fit to enquire, 

Q. 1. Whether they are to be blamed for their holding distinct 
meetings for the worship of God ? 

For answer to this, it cannot be expected that all the controver- 
sies should be here determined, which have been agitated about 
the lawfulness of each of those things which have been added to the 
Christian religion and worship, by the present constitution of the 
Church of England. 

But supposing they were none of them simply unlawful, while 
yet the misinformed minds of the Dissenters could not judge them 
lawful, though they have made it much their business to enquire 
and search ; being urged also by severe sufferings, which through a 
long tract of time they have undergone, not to refuse any means 
that might tend to their satisfaction ; they could have nothing else 
left them to do, than to meet and worship distinctly as they have. 

For they could not but esteem the obligation of the universal, 
natural, divine law, by which they were bound solemnly to worship 
God, less questionable than that of a law, which was only posi- 
tive, topical, and humane, requiring such and such additaments to 
their worship, and prohibiting their worship without them. 

The Church of England (as that part affects to be called) dis- 
tinguished from the rest by those additional to Christian religion, 
(pretended to be indifferent, and so confessed unnecessary) hath 
not only sought to ingross to itself the ordinances of divine worship, 
but all civil power. So that the privileges that belong either to 
Christian or humane society are inclosed, and made peculiar to 


such as are distinguished by things that in themselves can signify 
nothing to the making of persons either better Christians, or belter 

Q. 2. Whether the laws enjoining such additions to our religion, 
as the exclusive terms of Christian worship and communion, ought 
to have been made, when it is acknowledged on all hands, the 
things to be added were before not necessary ; and when it is known 
a great number judge them sinful, and must thereby be restrained 
from worshipping the true and living God ? 

Ans. The question to any of common sense, answers itself. For 
it is not put concerning such as dissent from any part of the sub- 
stance of worship which God hath commanded, but concerning 
such additions as he never commanded. And there are sufficient 
tests to distinguish such Dissenters, from those that deny any sub- 
stantial part of religion, or assert any thing contrary thereto. 
Wherefore to forbid such to worship that God that made them, 
because they cannot receive your devised additions, is to exclude 
that which is necessary, for the mere want of that which is un- 

And where is that man that will adventure to stand forth, and 
avow the hindering of such persons from paying their homage 
to the God that made them, if we thus expostulate the matter on 
God's behalf and their own ? Will you cut off from God his right 
in the creatures he hath made 1 Will you cut off from them the 
means of their salvation upon these terms ? What reply can the 
matter admit ? 

'Tis commonly alledged that great deference is to be paid to the 
laws, and that we ought to have forborn our assemblies, till the 
public authority recalled the laws against them : and we will say 
the same thing, when it is well proved, that they who made such 
laws, made the world too. 

And by whose authority were such laws made 1 Is there any 
that is not from God ? and hath God given any man authority to 
make laws against himself, and to deprive him of his just rights 
from his own creatures ? 

Nor if the matter be well searched into, could there be so much 
as a pretence of authority derived for such purposes from the 
people, whom every one now acknowledges the first receptacle of 
derived governing power. God can, 'tis true, lay indisputable 
obligations by his known laws, upon every conscience of man about 
religion, or any thing else. And such as represent any people, <?an 
according to the constitution of the Government, make laws for them, 
about the things they entrust them with : but if the people of Eng- 
land be asked man by man, will they say they did entrust to their 
representatives, their religion, and their consciences, to do with 
them what they please ? When it is your own turn to be represented 
by others', is this part of the trust you commit ? What Dr. Sher- 
lock * worthily says concerning a Bishop, he might (and particu- 

* Vindication of some Protestant Principles, <5>.c. p. 52. 


larly after, doth) say concerning every other man, ' he can be no 
more represented in a council, than at the day of judgment : every 
man's soul and conscience must be in his own keeping ; and can be 
represented by no man.' 

It ought to be considered that Christianity, wherein it superadds 
to the law of nature, is all matter of revelation. And 'tis well 
known that even among Pagans in the settling rites and institutes of 
religion f, revelation was pretended at least, upon an implied 
principle, that in such matters humane power could not oblige the 
people's consciences. 

We must be excused therefore, if we have in our practice ex- 
pressed less reverence for laws made by no authority received either 
from God or man. 

We are therefore injuriously reflected on, when it is imputed to 
us, that we have by the use of our liberty, acknowledged an illegal 
dispensing power. We have done no other thing herein, than we 
did when no dispensation was given or pretended, in conscience of 
duty to him that gave us our breath : nor did therefore practise 
otherwise, because we thought those laws dispensed with, but be- 
cause we thought them not Jaws. Whereupon little need remains of 
enquiring farther. 

Q. 3. Whether such laws should be continued 1 Against which, 
besides what may be collected from that which hath been said, it is 
to be considered, that what is most principally grievous to us, was 
enacted by that Parliament, that as we have too much reason to be- 
lieve, suffered itself to be dealt with, to enslave the nation, in other 
respects as well as this ; and which (to his immortal honour) the 
noble Earl of DaiTby procured to be dissolved, as the first step 
towards our national deliverance. 

And let the tenour be considered of that horrid law, by which our 
Magna Charta was torn in pieces ; the worst and most infamous of 
mankind, at our own expence, hired to accuse us ; multitudes of 
perjuries committed, convictions made without a jury, and without 
any hearing of the persons accused ; penalties inflicted, goods 
rifled, estates seized and embezzled, houses broken up, families 
disturbed, often at unseasonable hours of the night, without any 
cause, or shadow of a cause, if only a malicious villain would pre- 
tend to suspect a meeting there ! No law in any other case like 
this ! As if to worship God without those additions, which were con- 
fessed unnecessary, were a greater crime than theft, felony, murder, 
or treason ! Is it for our reputation to posterity, that the memory 
of such a law should be continued \ 

And are we not yet awakened, and our eyes opened enough to 
see, that the making and execution of the laws, by which we have 
suffered so deeply for many by-past years, was only, that Protestants 
might destroy Protestants, and the easier work be made for the in- 
troduction of popery, that was to destroy the residue 1 

t As by Numa from his Egeria. And their Priests, to whom the regu- 
lation of such matters was left, were generally believed to be inspired. 



Nor can any malice deny, or ignorance of observing Englishmen 
overlook, this plain matter of fact : after the dissolution of that 
before-mentioned Parliament, Dissenters were much caressed, and 
endeavoured to be drawn into a subserviency to the Court designs, 
especially in the election of after Parliaments. Notwithstanding 
which, they every where so entirely and unanimously fell in with 
the sober part of the nation, in the choice of such persons for the 
three Parliaments that next succeeded (two held at Westminster, 
and that at Oxford,) as it was known would, and who did most gene- 
rously assert the liberties of the nation, and the Protestant religion. 
Which alone (and not our mere dissent from the Church of Eng- 
land, in matters of religion, wherein Charles II. was sufficiently 
knoAvn to be a Prince of great inditFerency) drew upon us, soon 
after the dissolution of the last of those Parliaments, that dreadful 
storm of persecution, that destroyed not a small number of lives in 
goals, and ruined multitudes of families. 

Let English freemen remember, what they cannot but know, that 
it was for our firm adherence to the civil interests of the nation, 
(not for our different modes of religion from the legal way, though 
the laws gave that advantage against us, which they did not against 
others) that we endured the calamities of so many years. 

When by the late King some relaxation was given us, what arts 
and insinuations have been used with us, to draw us into a concur- 
rence to designs tending to the prejudice of the nation 1 And with 
how little effect upon the generality of us, it must be great igno- 
rance not to know, and great injustice to deny. 

But he that knoweth all things, knoweth that though in such cir- 
cumstances, there was no opportunity for our receiving public and 
authorized promises, when we were all under the eye of Avatchful 
jealousy ; yet as great assurances as were possible, were given us 
by some that Ave hope will now remember it, of a future established 
security from our former pressures. We were told over and over, 
when the excellent Heer Fagel's Letter came to be privately com- 
municated from hand to hand, how easily better things would be 
had for us, than that encouraged Papists to expect, if ever that 
happy change should be brought about, which none have now be- 
held with greater joy than we, 

We are loth to injure those who have made us hope for better, 
by admitting a suspicion that we shall now be disappointed and 
deceived, (as we have formerly been, and Ave knoAv by whom) or 
that Ave shall suffer from them a religious slavery, for Avhose sakes 
we have suffered so grievous things, rather than do the least thing 
that might tend to the bringing upon them a civil slavery. 

We cannot but expect from Englishmen that they be just and 
true. We hope not to be the only instances, whereby the Anglica 
Fides and the Punica shall be thought all one. 

But if we, who have constantly desired, and as Ave have had 
opportunity, endeavoured the saving of the nation, must however 
be ruined, not to greaten (one hair) the wealth and dignity of it, 

but ouly to gratify the humour of them who would yet destroy it ; 
we who are competently inured to bufferings, shall through God's 
mercy be again enabled to endure: but He that sits in the heavens 
will in his own time judge our cause, and we will wait his plea- 
sure ; and we hope suffer all that can be inflicted, rather than 
betray the cause of reformed Christianity in the world. 

But our affairs are in the hands of men of worth and honour, 
who apprehend how Kttle grateful a name they should leave to pos- 
terity, or obtain now with good men of any persuasion, if under a 
pretence of kindness to us, they should now repeat the arts of ill 
men, in an ill time. Great minds will think it beneath them to 
sport themselves with their own cunning, in deceiving other men, 
which were really in the present case too thin not to be seen 
through, and may be the easy attainment of any man, that hath 
enough of opportunity, and integrity little enough for such purposes. 
And it is as much too gross to endeavour to abuse the authority of 
a nation, by going about to make that stoop to so mean a thing, as 
to make a shew of intending what they resolve to their utmost shall 
never be. 

But some may think, by concessions to us, the Church of Eng- 
land will be ruined, and a great advantage given to the bringing 
in of Popery. 

To which we say, the generality of the Dissenters differ from the 
Church of England, in no substantial of doctrine and worship, no 
nor of government, provided it be so managed, as to attain its 
true acknowledged end : the favouring of us therefore will as much 
ruin the church, as its enlargement and additional strength will 
signify to its ruin. 

And doth not the world know, that wherein we differ from them, 
we differ from the Papists too ? And that for the most part, wherein 
they differ from us, they seem to agree with them t 

We acknowledge their strong, brave, and prosperous opposition 
to Popery : but they have opposed it by the things wherein they 
agree with us. Their differences from us, are no more a fence 
against Popery, than an inclosure of straw is against a flame of 

But it is wont to be said, we agree not among ourselves, and 
know not what we would have. 

And do all that go under the name of the Church of England 
agree among themselves 1 We can shew more considerable dis- 
agreements among them, than any can between the most of us, 
and a considerable part of them. They all agree, 'tis true, in 
conformity : and we all agree in nonconformity. And is not this 
merely accidental to Christianity and Protestantism ? And herein 
is it not well known that the far greater part of reformed Christendom 
do more agree with us 1 

An arbitrary line of uniformity in some little accidents, severs a 
small part of the Christian world from all the rest. How unreason- 
ably h it expected that therefore all the rest must in every thing 


else agree among themselves * Suppose any imaginary line to eut 
off a little segment from any part of the terrestrial globe ; it is as 
justly expected that all the rest should be of one mind. If one part 
of England be taylors, they might as well expect that all the people 
besides should agree to be of one profession. 

Perhaps some imagine it dishonourable to such as have gone be- 
fore them in the same ecclesiastical stations and dignities, if now 
any thing should be altered, which their judgment did before ap- 
prove and think fit. 

But we hope that temptation will not prove invincible, viz. of so 
excessive a modesty as to be afraid of seeming wiser, or better na- 
tured, or of a more Christian temper than their predecessors. 

But the most of us do agree not only with one another, but in the 
great things above-mentioned, with the Church of England too : and 
in short, that the reproach may cease for ever with those that count 
it one, they will find with us, when they please to try, a very ex- 
tensive agreement on the terms of King Charles II. 's Declaration 
about ecclesiastical affairs, in 1660. 

Q. 4. Whether it be reasonable to exclude all that in every thing 
conform not to the Church of England, from any part or share of 
the civil power 1 

Ans. The difference or nonconformity of many is so minute, that 
it would be as reasonable to exclude all whose hair is not of this or 
that colour. And what if we should make a distermination, by the 
decision this way or that of any other disputed question, that may 
be of as small concernment to religion ? Suppose it be that of 
eating blood, for the decision •whereof one way, there is more pre- 
tence from God's word, than for any point of the disputed con- 
formity : would it not be a wise constitution, that whosoever thinks 
it lawful to eat black-pudding, shall be capable of no office 1 &c. 

But we tremble to think of the Exclusive Sacramental Test, 
brought down as low as to the keeper of an alehouse. Are all fit 
to approach the sacred table, whom the fear of ruin, or hope of 
gain may bring thither ! We cannot but often remember with 
horror, what happened three or four years ago : a man that led an 
ill life, but frequented the church, was observed not to come to the 
Sacrament ; and pressed by the officers to come, he yet declined, 
knowing himself unfit : at length being threatened and terrified, he 
came ; but said to some present at the time of the solemn action, 
that he came only to avoid being undone, and took them to witness 
that what he there received, he took only as common bread and 
wine, not daring to receive them as the body and blood of Christ. 
It is amazing, that among Christians, so venerable an institution 
should be prostituted to the serving of so mean purposes, and so 
foreign to its true end ! And that doing it after the manner of the 
Church of England must be the qualification ! As if England were 
another Christendom ; or it were a greater thing to conform in every 
punctilio to^the rules of this church, than of Christ himself! 

But we would fain know whose is that holy table ? Is it the fable 
voi,. vni. h 


of thisMjr that party, or the - Lord's table \ If the Lord's, are not 
persons to be admitted or excluded upon his terms % Never can 
there be union or peace in the Christian world till we take down 
our arbitrary inclosures, and content ourselves with those which our 
common Lord hath set. If he falls under a curse that alters a man's 
landmark, to alter God's is not likely to infer a blessing. 

The matter is clear as the light of the sun. that as many persons 
of excellent worth, sobriety and godliness, are entirely in the com- 
munion of the Church of England, so there are too many of a 
worse character, that are of it too ; and divers prudent, pious, and 
sober-minded persons that are not of it. Let common reason be 
consulted in this case. Suppose the tables turned, and that the 
rule were to be made the contrary way, viz. that to do this thing, 
but not by any means after the manner of the Church of England, 
were to be the qualification ; and now suppose one of meaner en- 
dowments, as a man and a Christian, do what is required, and not 
in the way of the Church of England; and another that is of much 
better, does the same thing in that way ; were it suitable to prudence 
or justice, that because it is done after the way of the Church of 
England, a fitter man should be reckoned unqualified \ and one of 
less value be taken for qualified, because he does it a different way? 
Then is all that solid weight of wisdom, diligence, sobriety, and 
goodness, to be weighed down by a feather. 

It must surely be thought the prudence of any government, to 
comprehend as many useful persons as it can, and no more to de- 
prive itself of the service of such, for any thing less considerable 
than those qualifications are, by which they are useful, than a man 
would tear off from himself the limbs of his body, for a spot on the 

And really if in our circumstances, we thus narrow our interest, 
all the rest of the world will say, that they who would destroy us, do 
yet find a way to be our instructors, and oiir common enemies do 
teach us our politics. 

P. S. The names of Mr. Hale of Eaton College, and of a later 
most renowned Bishop of the Church of England, who asserted this 
principle, that ' if things be imposed under the notion of indifferent, 
which many think sinful, and a schism follow thereupon, the im- 
posers are the schismatics,' will be great in England, as long as 
their writings shall live, and good sense can be understood in them. 

Humble Requests both to Conformists and Dissenters toziching their 
Temper and Behaviour toward each other, upon the lately 
passed Indulgence.* 

" 1. That we do not over-magnify our differences, or count 
them greater than they really are. 1 speak now (says Mr. Howe) 

* Mr. Matthew Henry in his short Account of the Life of Mr. Richard 
StTCtton, that is subjoined to his Funeral Sermon for him, ascribes this 


of the proper differences, which the rule itself makes, to which the 
one sort conforms, and the other conforms not. Reraemher that 
there are differences on both parts, among themselves incom- 
parably greater than these, by which the one sort differs from the 
other. There are differences in doctrinal sentiments that are 
much greater. How unconceivably greater is the difference be- 
tween good men and bad! — between being a lover of the blessed 
God, the Lord of heaven and earth, and an enemy ! — a real subject 
of Christ, and of the devil ! Have we not reason to apprehend there 
are of both these, on each side 1 Let us take heed of having our 
minds tinctured with a wrong notion of this matter, as if this In- 
dulgence divided England into two Christendoms, or distinguished 
rather between Christians and Mahometans, as some men's 
Cyclopic fancies have an unlucky art to represent things ; creating 
ordinary men and things into monsters and prodigious shapes at 
their own pleasure. It has been an usual saying on both sides, 
that they were (in comparison) but little things we differed about, 
or circumstantial things. Let us not unsay it, or suffer an habit of 
mind to slide into us, that consists not with it. Though we must not 
go against a judgment of conscience in the least thing, yet let us 
not confound the true differences of things, but what are really 
lesser things, let them go for such. 

" 2. Let us hereupon carefully abstain from judging each other's 
state Godward upon these differences : for hereby we shall both 
contradict our common rule, and ourselves. When men make con- 
science of small and doubtful things on the one hand, and the other, 
about which they differ, blessed God, how little conscience is made 
of the plainest and most important rule, not to 'judge one another' 
for such differences! — Rom. xiv. 3, 13. Why of all the parts of 
that holy book, is this chapter only thought no part of God's word ! 
or this precept, so variously enforced in this chapter, and so awfully, 
ver. 10, 11. ' But why dost thou judge thy brother? or, why dost 
thou set at nought thy brother? We shall all stand before the 
judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, 
every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to 
me!' Is it a light matter to usurp the throne of Christ, the judg- 
ment seat of God 1 Yet how common has it been to say, Such an 
one conforms, he hath nothing of God in him ; such an one con- 
forms not, it is not conscience, but humour. God forgive both. 
Had they blotted Rom. xiv. out of their Bibles '. It is plain by the 
whole series of discourse, that it is the judging of men's states, and 
that by such small matters of difference, that is the thing here for- 

paper to Mr. Stretton, and intimates that he had it from a near relation of 
his, that he was the author of it : but this I have good reason to believe to 
have been a mistake. Few that have any taste of styles, can question it tc 
have been Mr . Howe's, when once they have read it. But 1 can add in this 
case, that I have had full assurance from Mr. Howe's family, that he was 
the real author of it. — E. C. 


bidden. Some few things contained in this chapter, as to receive 
one another (as Christians, or such whom God receives) notwith- 
standing remaining doubts about small matters, and not determin- 
ing such doubted things in bar to the doubter, ver. 1 , 2, 3 ; and 
not to lay stumbling blocks in each other's way, ver. 13 ; not to 
do the doubted thing with a mind still unsatisfied, ver. 5, 23 ; not 
to censure, either him that does or forbears ; not admitting an hard 
thought of him, or less favourable, than that what such an one does, 
he does to the Lord, and what the other forbears, he forbears 
to the Lord, ver. 6. These few things I say put in practice, had 
taken away all differences (that we are now considering) or the 
inconvenience of them long ago. And Ave shall still need them as 
much as ever. 

" 3. Let us not value ourselves upon being of this or that side of 
the severing line. It is Jewish, yea, Pharisaical, to be conceited, 
and boast ourselves upon externals, and small matters, especially 
if arbitrarily taken up ; and is itself an argument of a light mind, 
and incomprehensive of true worth. Though I cannot sincerely be 
of this or that way, but I must think myself in the right, and others 
in the wrong that differ from rae, yet I ought to consider, this is 
but a small minute thing, a point compared with the vast orb of 
knowables, and of things needful, and that ought to be known. 
Perhaps divers that differ from me, are men of greater and more 
comprehensive minds, and have been more employed about greater 
matters ; and many, in things of more importance, have much more 
of valuable and useful knowledge than I. Yea, and since these 
are not matters of salvation we differ about, so that any on either 
side dare considerately say, he cannot be saved, that is not in these 
respects of my mind and way ; he may have more of sanctifying 
savoury knowledge, more of solid goodness, more of grace and real 
sanctity than I ; the course of his thoughts and studies having been 
by converse and other accidents led more off from these things, and 
perhaps by a good principle been more deeply engaged about 
higher matters : for no man's mind is able equally to consider all 
things fit to be considered ; and greater things are of themselves 
more apt to beget holy and good impressions upon our spirits, than 
the minuter and more circumstantial things, though relating to reli- 
gion, can be. 

" 4. Let us not despise one another for our differing in these 
lesser matters. This is too common, and most natural to that tem- 
per that offends against the foregoing caution. Little spirited crea- 
tures valuing themselves for small matters, mval consequently have 
them in contempt that want what they count their own only excel- 
lency. He that hath nothing wherein he places worth belonging 
to him, besides a flaunting peruke and a laced suit, must at all 
adventures think very meanly of one in a plain garb. Where we 
are taught not to judge, we are forbidden to despise or set at nought 
one another upon these little differences. 

" 5. Nor let us wonder that we differ. Unto this we are too apt, 

lxix ^ * 

i.'e. to think it strange, (especially upon some arguing of the differ- 
ence) that such a man should conform, or such an one not conform. 
There is some fault in this, but which proceeds from more faulty 
causes. Pride too often, and an opinion that we understand so 
well, that a wrong is done us, if our judgment be not' made a 
standard and measure to another man's. And again, ignorance of 
human nature, or inconsiderateness rather, how mysterious it is, 
and how little can be known of it ; how secret and latent little 
springs there are that move this engine to our own mind this way 
or that ; and what bars (which perhaps he discerns not himself) 
may obstruct and shut up towards us another man's. Have we 
not frequent instances in other common cases, how difficult it is to 
speak to another man's understanding ! Speech is too penurious, 
not expressive enough. Frequently between men of sense, much 
more time is taken up in explaining each other's notions, than in 
proving or disproving them. Nature and our present state, have in 
some respects left us open to God only, and made us inaccessible 
to one another Why then should it be strange to me, that I can- 
not convey my thought into another's mind 1 It is unchristian to 
censure, as before, and say, Such an one has not my conscience, 
therefore he has no conscience at all : And it is also unreasonable 
and rude to say, Such a one sees not with my eyes, therefore he is 
stark blind. Besides, the real obscurity of the matter is net 
enough considered. I am very confident an impartial and compe- 
tent judge, upon the view of books, later and more ancient, upon 
such subjects, would say, there are few metaphysical questions dis- 
puted with more subtlety, than the controversies about conformity 
and nonconformity. Blessed be God that things necessary to the 
salvation of souls, and that are of true necessity even to the peace 
and order of the Christian church, are in comparison so very 

" Moreover, there is besides understanding and judgment, and 
diverse from that heavenly gift which in the Scriptures is called 
Grace, such a thing as gust and relish belonging to the mind of 
man, and I doubt not, to all men, if they observe themselves ; and 
this is as unaccountable and as various as the relishes and disgusts 
of sense. This they only wonder at, that either understand not 
themselves, or will consider nobody but themselves. To bring it 
down to the present case. As to those parts of worship which are 
of most frequent use in our assemblies, (whether conforming or 
nonconforming) prayer, and preaching, and heating God's word, 
our differences about them, cannot but in part arise from the diver- 
sity of this principle, both on the one hand and the other. One 
sort do more savour prayer by a foreknown form; another that 
which hath more of surprize, by a grateful variety of unexpected 
expressions. And it can neither be universally said, it is a better 
judgment, or more grace, that determines men the one way or the 
other ; but somewhat in the temper of their minds distinct from 
both, which I know not how better to express than by mental taste, 


the acts whereof (as the objects are suitable or unsuitable) are 
relishing or disrelishing, liking or disliking. And this hath no 
more of mystery in it, than that there is such a thing belonging to 
our natures, as complacency or displicency in reference to the ob- 
jects of the mind. And this, in the kind of it, is as common to men, 
as human nature, but as much diversified in individuals, as men's 
other inclinations are, that are most fixed, and least apt to admit of 
change. Now in the mentioned case, men cannot be universally 
determined either way, by their having better judgment ; for no 
sober man can be so little modest, as not to acknowledge, that 
there are some of each sentiment, that are less judicious, than some 
that are of the contrary sentiment in this thing. And to say that to 
be more determined this way or that, is the certain sign or effect, 
of a greater measure of grace and sanctity, were a great violation 
both of modesty and charity. I have not met with any that have 
appeared to live in more entire communion with God, in higher 
admiration of him, in a pleasauter sense of his love, or in a more 
joyful expectation of eternal life, than some that have been wont 
with great delight publicly to worship God in the use of our Com- 
mon Prayer: and others I have known, as highly excelling in the 
same respects, that could by no means relish it, but have always 
counted it insipid and nauseous. The like may be said of relish- 
ing or disrelishing sermons preached in a digested set of words, or 
with a more flowing freedom of speech. It were endless and 
odious to vie either better judgments, or more pious inclinations, 
that should universally determine men either the one way or the 
other in these matters. And we are no more to wonder at these 
peculiarities in the temper of men's minds, than at their different 
tastes of meats and drinks ; much less to fall out with them, that 
their minds and notions are not just formed as ours are : for we 
should remember, they no more differ from us, than we do from 
them ; and if we think we have the clearer light, it is like they also 
think they have clearer. And it is in vain to say, who shall be 
judge ? For every man will at length judge of his own notions for 
himself, and cannot help it : for no man's judgment (or relish of 
things, which influences his judgment, though he know it not) is at 
the command of his will ; and much less of another man's. And 

" 6. Let us not be offended mutually with one another, for our 
different choice of this or that way, wherein we find most of real 
advantage and edification. Our greatest concern in this world, and 
which is common to us ,all, is the bettering of our spirits, and pre- 
paring them for a better world. Let no man be displeased, (espe- 
cially of those who agree in all the substantials of the same holy 
religion) that another uses the same liberty, in choosing the way 
most conducing in his experience to his great end, that he himself 
also uses, expecting to do it without another man's offence. 

" 7. But above all, let us with sincere minds, more earnestly en- 
deavour the promoting the interest of religion itself, of true reformed 

lxxi ' 

Christianity, than of this or that party. Let us long to see the reli- 
gion of Christians become simple, primitive, agreeable to its lovely 
original state, and again itself; and each in our own stations con- 
tribute thereto all that we are able, labouring that the internal prin- 
ciple of it may live and flourish in our own souls, and be to our 
utmost diffused and spread unto other men's. And for its externals, 
as the ducture of our rule will guide us, so gradually bend towards 
one common course, that there may at length cease to be any 
divided parties at all. 

" In the mean time, while there are, let it be remembered, that 
the difference lies among Christians and Protestants, not between 
such and Pagans. Let us therefore carry it accordingly towards 
each other; and consider our assemblies are all Christian and 
Protestant assemblies, differing in their administrations, for the 
most part, not in the things prayed for, or deprecated, or taught, 
but in certain modes of expression : and differing really, and in the 
substance of things, less by mere conformity or nonconformity to 
the public rule of the law, than many of them that are under it do 
from one another, and than divers that are not under it. For in- 
stance, go into one congregation, that is a conforming one, and you 
have the public prayers read in the desk, and afterwards a form of 
prayer perhaps used by the preacher in the pulpit, of his own com- 
posure, before he begins his sermon. Go into another congrega- 
tion, and prayer is performed without either sort of form ; and per- 
haps the difference in this is not so great. It may be the conformist 
uses no preconceived form of his own, and the nonconformist may. 
Both instruct the people out of the same holy book of God's word. 
But now suppose one of the former sort, reads the public prayers- 
gravely, with the appearance of great reverence, fervency, and 
pious devotion ; and one of the latter sort that uses them not, does 
however pray for the same things, with judgment and with like 
gravity and affection, and they both instruct their hearers fitly and 
profitably ; nothing is more evident th^n that the worship in these 
two assemblies doth much less considerably differ to a pious and 
judicious mind, than if in the latter the prayers were also read, but 
carelessly, sleepily, or scenically, flauntingly, and with manifest 
irreverence, and the sermon like the rest ; or than if in the former, 
all the performance were inept, rude, or very offensively drowsy or 

" Now let us shew ourselves men, and manly Christians, not 
swayed by trifles and little things, as children by this or that dress 
or mode, or form of our religion, which may perhaps please some 
the more for its real indecency : but know, that if we continue 
picquering about forms, the life be lost, and we come to bear the 
character of that church, ' thou hast a name that thou livest, and art 
dead,' we may ere long (after all the wonders God hath wrought 
for us) expect te hear of our candlesticks being removed, and that 
our sun shall go down at noon-day. 

" The true serious spirit and power of religion and godliness, 


will act no man against his conscience, or his rule understood, but 
will oblige him in all acts of worship (as well as of his whole conver- 
sation) to keep close to gospel-prescription, so far as he can discern 
it. And that he will find requires, that in subordination to the divine 
glory, he seriously design the working out the salvation of his own 
soul, and take that course in order thereto, put himself under such a 
ministry, and such a way of using God's ordinances, as he finds most 
profitable and conducing to that great end, and that doth his soul 
most real good. If you are religious, or of this or that mode or 
way of religion, to serve a carnal design for yourself or your party, 
not to save your soul, you commit the most detestable sacrilege, 
and alienate the most sacred thing in the world, religion, from its 
true end ; which will not only lose that end, but infer an heavy 
vengeance. Yea, and it is too possible to transgress dangerously, by 
preferring that which is less, though never so confidently thought 
to be divine, before that which is greater, or separately from its true 
end. You greatly prevaricate, if you are more zealously intent to 
promote independency than Christianity, presbytery than Chris- 
tianity, prelacy than Christianity, as any of these are the interest of a 
party, and not considered in subserviency to the Christian interest, 
nor designed for promoting the edification and salvation of your own 
soul. But that being your design, living religion will keep your 
eye upon your end, and make you steady, and constantly true to 
that, and to your rule, without which you can never hope to reach 
your end. 

" Now hereupon such as conform to the public establishment, 
and they that dissent from it, may differ from each other upon a two- 
fold account: either (1) as judging the contrary way to be simply 
unlawful ; or (2) as judging it to be only less edifying. It is not 
the business of this paper to discuss, who herein judge aright, and 
who wrong : But supposing their judgment to remain as it is (which 
they themselves however should examine, and if it be wrong 
rectify ; ) I shall say somewhat to each of these cases. 

" To the former, while your judgment continues as it is, it is true 
you cannot join in worship with the contrary minded : But nothing 
forbids, but you can be kind, conversable, courteous towards them ; 
and your common Christian profession (besides the rules of humanity) 
obliges you so to be : Yea, and even to converse with them as occa- 
sion invites, more intimately as Christians, the visible marks of 
serious Christianity appearing in them. 

" To the latter sort it is acknowledged, you cannot constantly 
join in worship with those of the contrary way, because you ought 
ordinarily to worship God in that way which you judge to be best, 
and most agreeable to the divine rule, (though you are not obliged 
utterly to abandon any for its imperfections or corruptions, that is 
not corrupt in the very essentials;) and you ought most frequently 
to attend on that which you find to be most edifying to your own 
soul ; as that should be your more ordinary diet that best agrees 
with you. That way therefore you must most constantly adhere to, 


which is most grateful and savoury to you ; because you cannot so 
much edify by what you less relish. But your judgment and lati- 
tude will well allow you, sometimes to frequent the assemblies with 
which you hold not constant communion. And if it will allow, it 
will also direct you thereto for a valuable end ; as that you may 
signify, you ordinarily decline them not as no Christians, or their 
worship as no worship, but as more defective, or less edifying, and 
that you may maintain love, and both express and beget a disposi- 
tion to nearer union. And if our rulers shall judge such intercourses 
conducing to so desirable an end, they may perhaps in due time 
think it reasonable, to put things into that state, that ministers of 
both sorts may be capable of inviting one another occasionally, to 
the brotherly offices of mutual assistance in each other's congrega- 
tions. For which, and all things that tend to make us an happy 
people, we must wait upon Him in whose hands their hearts are" 

Letter from Mr. Howe to Mr. Spilsbury. 

" London, April 20, 1695. 
" My Dear Brother, 

" You strangely forget yourself, when you say I gave you no 
account of the Pinner's-Hall business, of which I sent you a large 
narrative, when the business was recent ; which if it miscarried, tell 
me so, and I promise you I will never do the like again : for it is a 
very discouraging thing, when it is so hard a matter to get time to 
write such long letters, to have them lost by the way ; or it is not 
better, if when they are received, they are taken pro non scriptis. 
God knows how I strove against that division. Almost all my 
friends that called me to bear a part in that lecture, perceiving the 
violence of the other party, agreed to remove to a much more con- 
venient place ; and they were, so far as I can learn, the greatest 
part of the ancient subscribers, who were grave, sober citizens. They 
invited Mr. Mead as well as me. If he would not go, I could not 
help that. His acquaintance lay more among the other, as mine 
did with these. He and they all know the many meetings we have 
had to prevent the breach ; he and I with divers of them on both 
sides. And they (who are now of Pinner's-Hall) ran against his 
advice and mine, when they had desired us to meet purposely to 
advise them. He hath been since as weary of them as others, as 
he hath owned to me. They avowed it for a principle before we 
parted, they would lay any of us aside at their pleasure, without 
giving a reason : and were told thereupon, we would lay down 
without giving them a reason; though I think that itself was a 
sufficient reason. They know too, how often, since the lecture was 
broken into two, and it appeared now there Mere Uo congrega- 
tions, which no one place could receive, I have urged both pub- 
licly and privately, that the same Lecturers might alternate in both 
vol. vm. i 


places, which Mould take away all appearance of disunion ; and 
who th 2 y were only that opposed it. Upon these terras I had 
preached with them still ; but I Mill not be tied to them, nor any 
party, so as to abandon all others. My frequent insisting in ser- 
mons among them, when 1 saw whither things tended, that these 
were tokens of what was coming, (just as thou writest) will be 
thought on it may be hereafter, though then it was not. Above all, 
that which determined me was, that when 1 solemnly proposed to 
them in a sermon, the keeping a Fast, before they went on to that 
fatal rupture ; and it was as solemnly promised by the chief of 
them, there should be no step farther made without a Fast; it 
should be declined afterwards. Hereupon I told them in my last 
sermon there, I should be afraid of confining myself to such as were 
afraid of fasting and prayer in so important a case, (repeating their 
own good resolution to that purpose ;) and began my course in the 
other place with a Fast, to lament what we could not prevent. 
These things will be recollected another day. 

" In the mean time there never was greater intimacy or endear- 
edness between Mr. Mead and me, than now. Last week, he de- 
sired me only, without any other, to join with him in keeping a Fast 
at his house, about some private affairs of his own, which we did. I 
was to have preached at his place to-morrow, after my own work at 
home, but present indisposition prevents me as to both. We have 
however, agreed to exchange sometimes ; but this cannot last long. 
The things that threaten us make haste. Only let us be found 
among the mourners in Zion ; comforts will come, in this or the 
better world. I just now heard from Mr. Porter out of Sussex, who 
inquires after thee. 

In the Lord, farewel : 

To thee and thine, from me and mine, 

with most entire and undeeaying affection, 

J. H." 

A Letter to a Person of Honour, partly representing the rise of 
occasional Conformity, and partly the sense of the present Non- 
conformists, about their yet continuing Differences from the 
Established Church. 

My Lord, 

It is well known to such as have understood the state of religion 
in this kingdom, since the beginning of the Reformation, that there 
have been very different sentiments about the degrees of that Re- 
formation itself. Some have judged the church with us so insuf- 
ficiently reformed, as to want as yet the very being of a true Chris- 
tian church ; and wherewith they therefore thought it unlawful to 
have any communion at all. Of whom many thereupon in the 


several successive Teigns, withdrew themselves into foreign parts, 
for the enjoyment of the liberty of such worship, as they judged 
more agreeable to the word of God. 

There have been also no inconsiderable numbers, in former 
and later times, that though not iutirely satisfied with our Prefor- 
mation, were less severe in their judgment concerning the consti- 
tution and practice of the established Church ; that is, did not judge 
its reformation so defective, that they might not communicate at all 
with it, nor so compleat, but that they ought to covet a communion 
more strictly agreeable to the Holy Scripture ; and accordingly 
apprehended themselves to lie under a twofold obligation of con- 
science in reference hereto. 

1. Not by any means, totally to cut themselves off on the one 
hand from the communion of the established Church, in which they 
found greater and more momentous things to be approved of and 
embraced with great reverence and complacency, (viz. all the true 
noble essentials of Christian religion, not subverted as among the 
Romanists by any contrary doctrines or practices) than could be 
pretended to remain the matter of their disapprobation and dislike. 

2. Nor on the other hand, to decline other communion, which 
to the judgment of their conscience appeared, in some considerable 
circumstances, more agreeable to the Christian rule, and to their 
experience more conducing to their spiritual advantage and 

Which latter judgment of theirs (whether itself justifiable or 
no, we are not now considering) hath been M r ith many so fixed and 
inflexible, that in several successive reigns, great numbers of such 
persons, who we had no' reason to apprehend had any thought totally 
to abandon the established Church, yet thought themselves obliged 
besides, to seek and procure opportunities for such other commu- 
nions, even with extreme peril not only to their estates and liberties, 
but to their very lives themselves. 

They could not therefore but think both these sorts of com- 
munions lawful, viz. whereto they might adjoin, but not confine 

And though to that former sort of communion, there hath for 
many years by past, been superadded the accidental consideration 
of a place or office attainable hereby, no man can allow himself to 
think, that what he before counted lawful, is by this supervening 
consideration become unlawful : especially if the office were such, 
as was in no manner of way to be an emolument, but rather an 
occasion of greater expence to the undertaker of it ; that is, only 
enabled him to serve God, the government and his country, being 
regularly called hereto, in the condition of a justice of peace, or 
otherwise. In which capacity it is notorious that divers persons of 
eminent note of this persuasion, (and some in higher stations) have 
within the space of forty years past and upwards, been serviceable 
to the public in divers parts of the nation. 

It is not indeed to be thought that the judgment and practice of 


such men, can be throughout approved by our reverend fathers and 
brethren of the established Church, as neither can we pretend it to 
be so universally by ourselves. But we are remote from any the 
least suspicion, that persons of so excellent worth and Christian 
temper, as now preside over the established Church, can suffer 
themselves to judge or censure men of this sentiment, as being for 
this single reason, men of hypocritical and insincere minds ; but 
that they will rather think it possible their understandings may be 
imposed upon, so as this may be the judgment, in the whole, of a 
sincere though misinformed conscience. 

For when they apprehend this church, having all the essential 
parts of Christian religion, has not, by adding some much disputed 
things, that are not pretended to be any parts thereof (but that are 
become as necessary to communion with it, as any the most essen- 
tial part) thereby unchurched itself, but that they may hold com- 
munion with it ; yet they do not see that they ought to appropriate 
their communion to it, so as to refuse all other communion, where 
the same essentials of Christian religion are to be found, without 
those additions which really belong not to it ; they are apt to think 
such sentiments of theirs, not to be altogether destitute of some 
plausible ground. 

However, among those that are not intirely in every punctilio 
of this Church, it hath not, any so firm friends, or that are so nearly 
united in judgment and affection with it, as men of this sentiment. 

We for our parts (who because in some things Ave conform not, 
are called Nonconformists, whereas no man conforms in every 
thing) are not allowed to be counted members of this Church, by 
those that take denominations, not from the intimate essentials of 
things (as sameness of doctrine, and the institutions of Christian 
worship) but from loose and very separable accidents : yet thanks 
be to God, we are not so stupid, as not to apprehend we are under 
stricter and much more sacred obligations, than can be carried 
under the sound of a name, to adhere to those our Reverend Fathers 
and brethren of the established Church, who are most united 
among themselves, in duty to God and our Redeemer, in loyalty to 
our Sovereign, and in fidelity to the Protestant religion, as with 
whom in this dubious state of things we are to'ru'n all hazards, and 
to live and die together. Whether they can have the same assu- 
rance, both from interest and inclination of mind, concerning all that 
are of the same external denomination with themselves, they need 
not us to advise with. 

We have our yet depending lesser differences, about which we 
have (notwithstanding whatsoever provocation) been generally, and 
for the most part silent ; and see not in reference to them, what can 
farther remain, than that we for our part, do consider, that all minds 
are not turned the same way ; that such from whom we dissent, no 
farther differ from us, than we do from them ; and we are therefore 
no more to wonder at them, than ourselves. 

And we cannot disallow ourselves to hope, that our Reverend 


Fathers and brethren will conceive of us as humbly dissenting from 
them, without diminution of that great reverence which their real 
worth claims from us, and without arrogating anything unduly to our- 
selves on that account. For though we cannot avoid thinking we 
are in the right, in those particular things wherein we differ, yet at 
the same time we know ourselves to be far excelled by them, in 
much greater and more important things. 
My honoured Lord, 

Your Lordship's 

Most obedient humble Servant, 

J. H. 

[But after this, some gave themselves a strange liberty of inveigh- 
ing against this practice of occasional Communion, as irrational, 
unchristian, and altogether unaccountable, and self-condemning. 
And it at length became a question, whether they that could at all 
and in any case worship God with the Church of England, should 
not be obliged to do it for a constancy, or else be incapacitated 
from holding any place either of profit or trust 1 And when things 
were come to this pass, and the Occasional Bill was first brought 
into the House of Commons in 17Q2, Mr. Howe committed his 
thoughts to writing in the following paper :] 


Two sorts of Christian Assemblies are wont to meet, severally, for 
the worship of God, which both hold all the same articles of doc- 
trine taught by Christ or his apostles ; and use the same institutions 
of worship appointed by them : only they differ in this, that the one 
sort use also some rites, not so appointed, which the other use not. 

Two Gentlemen, Sir T and Sir J , are of equal estates : 

but Sir T ■ lives not so regularly, more seldom comes to the 

worship of God in any Christian assembly ; yet when he doth, re- 
sorts only to one of the former sort. 

Sir J is a sober virtuous person, of approved piety, pru- 
dence, justice, fortitude, and who publickly worships God, some- 
times in the one sort of assembly, and sometimes in the other. 

The question is not, whether some lewd and vicious persons may 
not frequent both sorts of assemblies ; nor whether some sober and 
pious persons may not frequent those of the former sort only. 

But whether Sir J ought to be rendered incapable of serv- 
ing the Government, (to which he hath constantly expressed him- 
self well affected) in any station civil or military, for this single 
reason, because he sometimes worships God in assemblies of the 
latter sort; (whether it be his infelicitv, ill-humour, or mistake 

whereof yet he is not convinced :) while Sir T (who is as little 

convinced of his ill life) is left capable 1 At least if the one be 
incapable, should not both ? 

But if the question be determined the other way, monstrous ! 
How will that determination of an English Parliament stand in the 


annals of future time ! How will wiser posterity blush they had 
such progenitors ! For can it be supposed, a nation will be always 
drunk ? Or if ever it be sober, will it not be amazed, there ever 
was a time, when a few ceremonies, of which the best thing that 
ever was said was that they were indifferent, have enough in them 
to outweigh all religion, all morality, all intellectual endowments, 
natural or acquired, which may happen in some instances to be on 
the wrong side, (as it must now be reckoned) when on the other, is 
the height of profaneness, and scorn at religion ; the depth of de- 
bauchery and brutality, with half a wit, hanging between sense 
and nonsense : only to cast the balance the more creditable way, 
there is the skill to make a leg, to dance to a fiddle, nimbly to 
change gestures, and give a loud response, which contain the an- 
swer for the villanies of an impure life ! 

If those little pieces of church-modishness have so much in them 
of real value, in all these are they not well enough paid by the 
whole church - revenues of England, without stigmatizing every 
body that so much admires them not ? 

And while divers of real worth live upon charity, some with diffi- 
culty getting, others (educated to modesty) with greater difficulty 
begging their bread ! 

Kut do those who are not contented to ingross all the legal 
emoluments, think there is no God in heaven, that knows their 
large promises, at the beginning of this Revolution, of great abate- 
ments in their church constitution ; when now, without abating 
one hair, they must have all conformed to it in every punctilio, or 
be (as much as in them is) made infamous, and the scorn of the 
nation ? 

But I draw a veil, and a;n not for dilating upon this matter. 

I shall only add, that as the Dissenters have been considerable 
losers, as to their interest as a party, by this occasional conformity, 
and might easily from the first foresee that they should be so, they 
appear to me to have acted a very generous part in practising and 
defending it : and yet they have met Avith most unbrotherly treat- 
ment on this account from those to whom they were Avilling to ap- 
proach as near as they could, while some have run them down 
upon this account as perfect hypocrites ; and others have repre- 
sented this occasional conformity as no commendable charity, as 
long as they did not come up to constant conformity, and yield the 
cause to them entirely. If this is doing as men would be done 
unto, it is very strange ! Posterity it is to be hoped will judge 
more favourably. However after such treatment, so oft repeated, 
and so long continued, if the Dissenters should for the future be 
more sparing in this way of shewing their charity, which they to 
whom they would express it, seem so resolved to misinterpret, I 
think it cannot be very surprising : and if it should be attended 
with any ill consequences, I doubt these Gentlemen will find they 
must lie at their doors at last. 


Mr. Howe's Introduction or Preface to his last Will and 

I, John Howe, minister of the Gospel of Christ, in serious con- 
sideration (though through God's mercy in present health) of my 
frail and mortal state, and cheerfully waiting (blessed be God) for 
a seasonable unfeared dissolution of this my earthly tabernacle, 
and translation of the inhabiting spirit, into the merciful hands of 
the great God, Creator, Lord of heaven and earth, whom I have 
taken to be my God, in and with his only begotten Son, Jesus 
Christ, who is also over all God blessed for ever, and my dear 
and glorious Redeemer and Lord : With and by the Holy Spirit 
of grace, my light, life, and joy; relying entirely and alone, 
upon the free and rich mercy of the Father, vouchsafed on the 
account of the most invaluable sacrifice and perfect righteousness - 
of the Son, applied unto me according to the Gospel covenant by 
the Spirit, for the pardon of the many seriously repented sins of 
a very faulty fruitless life, and the acceptance of my person, 
with my sincere, though weak desires and endeavours to do him 
service in this world, especially as my calling, wherewith he 
graciously honoured me, did more particularly require, in pro- 
moting the welfare and salvation of the precious souls of men. 

Vol. ii. p. 30. 1. 3. (head of Chap. II.) /or correct read corrupt. 

iii. p. 12. 1. nit. /or given being had read had given being. 

— — vii. p. 551. dele the last line. 






%\)t 3MqMz WBqx\% 







VOL. I. 








Grace, Mercy, and Peace, &c. 

"VTOU will, I know, count it no indecency, that, when God hath so 

nearly, many years ago, joined you in relation, in affection, and now 

so lately, in the affliction equally common to you both, I do also join your 

names on the same paper, and make this solemn address to you together. 

It is by the inestimable favour of Heaven, that the mutual interest God 
hath given yon in each other, as it obligeth, doth also (as I have great 
reason to hope) effectually dispose and enable you, not only to partake in 
the comforts, but in the sorrows, that are common to you both, so as that 
the former shall be greatly increased, and the latter proportionably al- 
layed and mitigated, thereby. Thus is the advantage of your conjugal 
state both represented in God's designation, and apprehended in your own 

And you are to consider the blessing of God herein as having a pecu- 
liarity in it, not being extended to all so related, neither to all that were 
great in this world, nor to all that were pious and good. Great worldly 
felicity hath been rendered insipid and spiritless; and great calamities, 
much more bitter, by the want of a meet mutual helpfulness between 
such relations. 

A great and good man (Job I. 1.) in his time; a prince, as he is thought 
to have been, in his country; " a man that was perfect, and upright, one 
that feared God, and eschewed evil;" when he lost not one, not the eldest, 
only, of his numerous offspring, (as you have,) but, all at once, seven 
sons and three daughters, with such concomitant circumstances of accu- 
mulated afflictions, as, blessed be God, are not in your case; aud might 
now expect some relief from his other self, the nearest and most inward 
companion of his life, and partaker of his joys aud sorrows; all the sue 
cour he had from her, was an impious endeavour to provoke and irritate 
his spirit; that taunting scoff, " Dost thou still retain thy integrity >" and 
that horrid advice, " Curse God and die." Whereas that rational, reli- 
gious, soul-composing thought, " Shall we receive good at the hand of 


God, and shall we not receive evil?" was deeply fixed in the mind of the 
one: how much more effectually relieving had it been, if it had circulated 
between both the relatives; and they had alternately propounded and 
enlarged upon it to one another ! 

With you, I cannot doubt, it hath been so; and that you have made 
it your business to improve your mutual interest, not to aggravate, but 
to alleviate your affliction to each other. 

You have, both of you, great occasion and obligation to revolve and 
recount to each other the many good things you have received at the 
hand of Cod, to mitigate what there is of evil in this dispensation,. 

Both of you have sprung of religious and honourable families, favoured 
of God, valued and beloved in the countries where he had planted them. 
They have been both, seats of religion, and of the worship of God: the 
resorts of his servants: houses of mercy to the indigent, of justice to the 
vitious, of patronage to the sober and virtuous, and of good example to 
all about them. 

You were both dedicated to God early, and he gave early testimony 
of his accepting the dedication. He began with you both betimes, bless- 
ing your education, and owning you for hi*, by disposing and forming 
your spirits to own betimes the God of your fathers. He hath blessed 
you indeed, adding the spiritual blessings in heavenly things, to your 
many earthly comforts. This, Jabez might mean, not content with a 
common blessing; and the more probably, from the acceptance he found, 
1 Chron. 4. 0, 10. God granted his request, as Solomon's, when his re- 
quest was as little vulgar, 1 Kings S. 10. 

You both concurred in the dedication of this your son, as in the rest 
of yours; and I doubt not with great seriousness, you covenanted with 
God in Christ, to be his God. And if he enabled you to be in good 
earnest herein, even that was of special grace and favour, and ought to 
come into the account of the many good things you have received of 
God's hand; as offering to God willingly, did in the estimate of David, 
when the oblation was of a meaner kind, 1 Chron. 20. 14. 

But then you ought to consider, what the import and meaning was of 
that your covenant, wherein you accepted God in Christ to be the God 
of your son; and dedicated him to God through Christ to be his. Was 
it not absolute, and without limitation, that God should be a God to him 
entirely and without reserve, and that he should be his absolutely, and 
be disposed of by him at his pleasure? Otherwise, there was a repug- 
nancy and contradiction in the very terms of your covenant. To be a 
God to him! Is nn^fiW,- the name of a Being incapable of limitation ? 
Doth it not signify infinite, unlimited power and goodness? To be a God 
to any one, therefore, under restriction, is to be a God to him, and no 
God. And so to covenant with God, can neither have sincerity in it, 
nor good sense. He can be under no restraint in the exercises of his 
power and goodness towards any to whom he vouchsafes to be their God 
in covenant; but what he is ^Teased to lay upon himself, which must be 
from his own wisdom and good pleasure, to which in covenanting we re- 
fer ourselves ; with particular faith — in reference to what he hath expressly 
promised; and with general^- that all shall be well, where his promise is 
not express. But from ourselves, nothing can be prescribed to him. He 
must be our all, or nothing; in point of enjoyment, as our sovereign, all- 
comprehending good; in point of government, as our sovereign, all-dis- 

Dedication. 5 

posing Lord. So we take him, in covenanting with him for ourselves 
and ours: for he so propounds and offers himself to us. If we accept 
and take him accordingly, there is a covenant between him and us; other- 
wise we refuse him, and there is no covenant. When he promises, as to 
his part, he promises his all; to be God all-sufficient to us; to be ours in 
all his fulness, according to our measure and capacity: we are dot straiten- 
ed in him, but in ourselves. He undertakes to be to us, and do for us, all 
that it belongs to him, as a God, to be and do. To give us grace and 
glory, (Ps. 84. 11.) about which, there can be no dispute or doubt: they 
are always and immutably good; and to withhold from us no good thing: 
here, are comprehended, with the former, inferior good things, about 
which, because they are but mutably, and not always good, there may 
be a doubt, whether now and in present circumstances, they will be 
good for us, or not. And now, it belongs to him, as he is to do the part 
ofaGodtous, to judge and determine for us, (for which he alone is 
competent, as being God only wise, and otherwise he were not God all- 
sufficient,) and not to leave that to us, who arc so apt to be partial and 
mistaken in our judgment. 

But when he make= his demand from us, of what we on our part are to 
be, and do, he demands our all, absolutely ; that we surrender ourselves and 
ours, whatsoever we are and have, to his pleasure and disposal, without other 
exception or restriction than by his promise he hath laid upon himself. 

Nor are we to think it strange there should be this difference, in the 
tenour of his covenant, between his part and ours. For we are to remem- 
ber, that the covenant between him and us is not as of equals. He co- 
venants as God; we, as creatures: He, according to the universal, infinite 
perfection and all-sufficiency of a God; we, according to the insufficiencv, 
imperfection, and indigency of creatures. 

These things were, 1 doubt not, all foreknown, and I hope considered, 
by you, when you so solemnly transacted with God, concerning this your' 
son; wherein you could not but then take him for your God, as well as 
his God. It needs now only to be applied to the present case; and it 
manifestly admits this application, namely, That this his disposal of him, 
in taking him now up to himself, to be glorified by him, and to glorify 
him in the heavenly state, was a thing then agreed upon by solemn 
covenant, between God and you. It was done by your own virtual and 
imretracted consent. The substance of the thing was agreed to ex- 
pressly; that God should be his God, and finally make him happy and 
blessed in himself. But if you say, that you would only have had his 
complete blessedness yet a while deferred ; I will only say, Could you 
agree with that God whose he was, and whose you are, about the sub- 
stance of so great a transaction ; and now differ with him about a cir- 
cumstance? And besides, all circumstances must be comprehended in 
your agreement. For, taking him to be your God, you take him to \k- 
supreme Disposer in all things, and his will to be in every thing the 
rule and measure of yours; which you have expressly consented to as often 
as you have prayed, either in the words, or after the tenour, of thai 
prayer, wherein our Lord hath taught us to sum up our desires, and re- 
present the sense of our hearts. 

But besides the duty that is, -both by his law, and by covenant-agree- 
ment, owing to God, it is also to be considered as a high dignity put 
upon you, to be the covenanted parents of a glorified son; a matter of 


greater boast, than if you could say, " Our son" (to repeat what I for* 
inerly wrote) " is one of the greatest princes on earth !" 

How far should Paganism be outdone by Christianity, which exhibits 
to our view death abolished, and life and immortality brought to light, 
by Jesus Christ, in the gospel! 2 Tim. 1. 10. Which sets before us all 
the glories of the other world in a bright representation! Which, if we 
believe, that faith will be to us, the substance of what -we hope for, and 
the evidence of what we see not, Heb. 11.1. Thus, though you saw not 
the kind reception and abundant entrance of this son of your delights 
into the everlasting kingdom, it will yet be a thing evident to you, and 
your faith will render it a great and most substantial reality. Pagans had 
but obscure glimmerings of such things; and in such afflicting cases, when 
they did occur, comparatively lank and slender supports, yet such as 
were not to be despised. 

Should I transcribe what I find written in way of consolation, by 
Plutarch to Apollonius, upon the loss of a son, you would see what would 
give both instruction and admiration. I shall mention some passages, 
lie praises the young person deceased, for his comeliness, sobriety, piety, 
duti fulness towards parents, and obligingness towards friends ; he acknow- 
ledges that sorrow, in the case of losing such a son, hath (<pyo-/x>iv i.^yj^') a 
principle in nature, and is of the things that are (ovx. Itf vf/tv) not in our power, 
or which we cannot help; that to be destitute of it is neither possible nor 
fit; that an apathy, or insensibleness, in such a case, is no more desirable 
than that we should endure to have a limb, a part of ourselves, cut or 
torn off from us, without feeling it. But yet he affirms, that immoderate 
sorrow, upon such an occasion, is (zrxpx (pian) preternatural, and hath a 
pravity in it, and proceeds from a misinformed mind; that we ought in 
any such case to be neither (aTafitiV, nor Sva-TrotQtTs) unaffected, nor /// 
atfecfed. He tells his friend a story (the meaning whereof is more consi- 
derable to us, than the credit of it, as perhaps it was to him) concerning, 
two Grecian youths, Cleobis and Biton, whose mother having a duty to 
perform in the temple of Juno, and the mules not being at hand, at the 
instant when she expected them to draw her chariot thither, they most 
officiously drew it themselves; with which act of piety, their mother was 
so transported, that she made her request to Juno, on their behalf, that 
if there were any thing more desirable unto mortals than another, she 
would therewith reward her sons; who, thereupon, threw them into a 
sleep, out of which they awoke no more : thereby signifying, that death 
was the best gift that could be bestowed upon persons of such supposed 
piety as they ! 

To wdiich purpose, is what he relates concerning the death of Euthy- 
nous, an Italian referred to, towards the close of the following discourse, 
son and heir to the ample estate of Elysius, a person of principal dignity 
among the Terimeans; to whom, anxiously inquiring of diviners con- 
cerning the cause of this calamity, the spectre of his son, introduced by 
his father, appeared in his sleep, shewing him certain Greek verses, the 
sum whereof was, Thy inquiry is foolish. 

The minds of men are vain, Euthynous rests by a kindly decreed death, 
Because his living longer, had neither been good for him nor his parents. 
He afterwards adds, A good man, when he dies, is worthy, not so much 
of lamentations, as of hymns and praises. 


He animadverts upon the aptness of parents to quarrel with any circum- 
stances of a son's death, be the}' what they will. If he die abroad, then the 
aggravation is, that neither the father nor the mother had opportunity to 
close his eyes ; if at home, then, How is he plucked away, even out of our 
hands ! 

He gives divers memorable instances, of sundry great persons, bearing, 
with strange composure of mind, the same kind of affliction. I omit what 
he wrote to his wife on their loss of a child : as also to recite many very 
instructive passages out of Seneca writing to Marcia, on the same ac- 
count, by way of consolation for her loss of a son, and to Helvia, for 
her loss in the same kind ; to Polybius, having lest a near rela- 
tion, &c. 

But we have the oracles of God, and do, too commonly, less need to 
receive instruction from Heathens than deserve to be reproached by them; 
that there is so frequent cause for the complaint of that ancient worthy 
CHierom.) in the Christian church; Non prastat Fides quod prebstitit 
Jnfdelitas — Tite infidelity of Pagans performs greater things than the 
faith of Christians. Their sedate temper, their mastery over turbulent 
passions, may in many instances shame our impotency and want of self- 
government, in like cases. 

For who of them have ever had, or could have, so great a thing to say, 
as is said to us by the word of the Lord, for this very purpose, " that we 
may not sorrow concerning them that are asleep, even as others who have 
no hope : for if we believe that Jesus died, and rose again, even so, them 
also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say to 
you," (and it is said by the forementioned authority ; the Lord himself 
having revealed it to this great apostle, and directed him to say it,) " that 
we who are alive, and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not pre- 
vent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend- from 
heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump 
of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which areaiive, 
and remain, shall be caught up, together with them, in the clouds, to meet 
the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore 
comfort one another with these words," 1 Thess. 4. 13 — 18. 

I have transcribed these few verses, that they might readily appear to 
present view. And because all their efficacy, and all our advantage by 
them, depend upon our believing them, let us closely put the question to 
ourselves, Do we believe them, or do we not ? The apostle seems to design 
the putting us upon this self-reflection, by inserting the supposition, //" 
•tue believe ; as if he should say, This will effectually do the business of al- 
laying all our hopeless sorrow. For if we believe that one fundamental 
truth, (and therefore let us see whether we do or no,) of Christ's dying 
and rising again, it will draw such a train of consequences, all tending to 
fill our souls with a vital joy, as will leave no place for undue sorrow any 
longer. That faith will be still urging and carrying us forward, will make 
us wholly intent upon prospect and expectation. What are we now to look 
for upon such a foundation, so firmly laid, and fully believed ? If we be- 
lieve that Jesus died ! He did not submit to die without a design; and 
his rising again, speaks him Master of his design ; and that he hath it now 
entirely in his power. He died not for himself, but for them he was to 
redeem ! And being now risen again, what must become of them ? All 
that follows, is now matter of glorious triumph ! 


If Plato, Plutarch, or Seneca, had but once had such a revelatiow 
from heaven as this, and that ground to believe it, that we have, how 
full would their writings have been of it! How had the)- abounded in 
lofty paraphrases upon every period and word of it! 

The faith of such things would surely make a truly Christian heart so. 
earnestly press forward in the expectation of the great things still to ensue, 
as to leave it little leisure for retrospection. And this is the source of all our 
intemperate sorrow, in such a case as this — our framing to ourselves pleas- 
ing suppositions of being as we were, with such and such friends and rela- 
tives about us as we heretofore enjoyed. As hope of what is future and 
desirable, feeds our joy *, so memory of good things past, doth our sorrow. 
Jn such a case as this, which the apostle here speaks to, the decease of our 
dear friends and relatives fallen asleep, we are apt to look back with a 
lingering eye upon the former state of things, and to say, as he, O milii 
preterkos — O that God "Would recal for me the years that are goue over / 
— Or, as in sacred language, " O that I were as in months past — when the 
secret of God was upon my tabernacle; when the Almighty was yet with 
me; when my children were about me !■" Job 29. 1 — 6. 

What pleasant scenes do we form to ourselves afresh, of past things, on 
purpose to foment present sorrow ! And whether we have that design or 
no, we are more prone to look back to former things which we have known, 
than forward to future which we know not; especially, if the further we 
look back, the less we find of trouble intermingled in our former course. 
A smooth and pleasant path, "we would go over again, if reason and the 
necessity of affairs, do not recal us, and urge us forward. 

And so, Sir, might you find matter for a very copious and not ungrate- 
ful recollection, to call over again, and revolve in your thoughts the plea- 
sures of vour youth, (more innocent than of many others,) when vou 
were incumbered with no cares, entertained with various delights of one 
sort and another, in this or that pleasant seat of your parents. But how 
remote is it from you, upon consideration, to wish yourself back into your 
juvenile state and circumstances! How much more generous and God- 
like a pleasure is it, to be doing good in the world, and still to abound 
therein; to go forward, and do still more and more ! 

And, Madam, who could have a more pleasant retrospect upon former 
days than you, recounting your Antrim delights, the delight you took in 
your excellent relations, your garden-delights, your closet-delights, vour 
Lord's-days'-delights ! But how much greater a thing is it to serve God in 
your present station ; as the mother of a numerous and hopeful offspring ; 
as the mistress of a large family; where you bear your part, with your 
like-minded consort, in supporting the interest of God and religion, and 
have opportunity of scattering blessings round about you ! 

But our business is not recurring, or looking back. God is continually 
calling us forward. Time is a stream running on towards the vast oceux!. 
Tending backward, is vain striving against the stream. And as it is the 
course and method of nature, of providence, and grace, to tend forward, 
and carry us from less, to greater things in this world ; so do all these con- 
spire to carry us on (because our uv.ysh, our highest pitc'i, cannot be 
here) to yet far greater things in the greater world. Of which Vast world, 
it is the design of the following discourse to give you some account; though, 
God knows, it is but a very imperfect one. Such as it is, if God only 
make it an occasion to you, of fixing your minds and hearts upon that 


mighty tlicme, you will find it easy and pleasant to you to amplify upon it 
and enlarge it to yourselves. And thereby, through God's blessing, I doubt 
not, arrive to a fulness of satisfaction concerning this late dispensation, 
which hath a gloom upon it ; but is in very deed only gloomy on one side, 
namely, downwards, and towards this wretched world, this region of sorrow 
and darkness : but on the side upwards, and towards that other world which 
casts its lustre upon it, its phasis and appearance will be altogether 
bright and glorious. And the more you look by a believing intuition into 
that other world where our blessed Redeemer and Lord bears rule in so 
transcendent glory, the more will you be above all the cloudy darkness 
of this event of providence towards yourselves and your family. Herein, 
your perusal of this very defective essay may he of some use to you. And 
I reckoned it might be of more lasting and permanent use to you, and 
yours after you, and to as many others into whose hands it might fall, as 
a little book, than as one single sermon. 

You will, however, I doubt not, apprehend in it the sincere desire to 
assist vou in this your present difficult trial ; followed by the faithful en- 
deavour of, 

Most honoured in the Lord, 

Your very respectful and obliged servant, 

In him, 

And for his sake, 

May 17, 1699. 

vol. 1. 



Rev. 1. IS. 

And have the keys of hell (Hades, or the unseen world) 

and of death. 

THE peculiar occasion of this present solemnity, (I mean, 
that is additional to the usual business of the Lord's-day,) 
may be somewhat amusing to narrower and less considering 
minds ; namely, That I am now to take notice to you of (what 
I he most Avould call) the premature or untimely death of a most 
hopeful young gentleman, the heir of a very considerable fa- 
mily, greatly prepared by parts and pious sentiments, and 
further preparing by study and conversation, to be useful to 
the age, cut off in his prime, when the mere shewing him * 
to the world had begun to raise an expectation, in such as 
knew him, of somewhat more than ordinary hereafter from 
him, his future advantageous circumstances being considered, 
of which you will hear further towards the close of this discourse. 

Nor did I know any passage in the whole sacred volume, 
more apt to serve the best and most valuable purpose in such a 
case, than the words now read ; none more fitted to enlarge 
our minds, to compose them, and reduce to a due temper even 
theirs who are most concerned, and most liable to be disturbed, 
or to instruct us all how to interpret and comment aright upon 
so perplexing and so intricate a providence as this, at the first 
and slighter view, may seem unto us. 

In order whereto, our business must be to explain and apply 
this most weighty and aAvful saying. 

First, For the explication, these three things are to be in- 
quired into. 

* Ostendunt terris hunc tantum, fata nee ultra esse sinunt — The gods 
have just shewn him to the world, and permitted him to be seen no 
more. Virg. 


I. Who it is that claims and asserts to himself this power 
here spoken of. 

II. What it is about which this claimed power is to be con- 

III. What sort of power it is that this emblematical expres- 
sion signifies to belong- to him. 

I. Who it is that claims the power here spoken of ; where 
the inquiry is not so much concerning the person that makes 
this claim, which all the foregoing context puts out of ques- 
tion to be our Lord Christ ; but touching the special notion and 
capacity wherein he claims it, and according whereto it must 
be understood to belong to him. 

And whereas he is described by very distinct titles and at- 
tributes, promiscuously interwoven in the preceding verses 
of the chapter, namely, that sometimes he is introduced 
speaking in the style of a God ; (as v. 8, I am Alpha 
and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, saith the Lord, 
which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Al- 
mighty. And again, v. 11, I am Alpha and Omega;) but 
that sometimes he is represented in the form of a man, and 
accordingly described even from head to foot, and said to ap- 
pear in the vision that exhibits him as one like the Son of 
man, that we might certainly understand him so to be, v. 13 
— 16". And such things said of him as are incident to a mortal 
man, the shedding of his blood, v. 5, and that he was dead, 
v. 18, former part. Yea and expressions of this different 
import intermingled, that we might know it was the same Per- 
son who was continued to be spoken of under these so 
vastly different characters ; as, 1 am the first and the last ; 1 
am he that liveth and was dead, si. 17, 18. We may there- 
upon very reasonably conclude that he is not here to be con- 
ceived under the one notion or the other, neither as God nor 
as man, separately or exclusively of each other ; but as both 
together, as Qtd^^uiros, as God-man, under which conjunct 
notion, he receives and sustains the office of our Redeemer, 
and Mediator between God and man. 

This will enable us the more clcaily to answer the third in- 
quiry, when we come to it, concerning the kind of that power 
which is here claimed ; and which, because there can be no 
doubt of the justice of his claim, we are hereby taught to as- 
cribe to him. 

For the management whereof, we are also hence to reckon 
him everyway competent ; that he waspar negotio, that it was 
not too big for him ; no expressions being used to signify his 


true humanity, but which are joined with others, as appro- 
priate to deity. And that nothing therefore obliges us to narrow 
it more than the following account imports, which we are next 
to inquire about ; namely, 

II. The large extent of the object about which the power 
he here claims is to be conversant ; that is, Hades (the un- 
seen world) and death. 

The former of these, we with a debasing limitation, and, as 
I doubt not will appear, very unreasonably, do render hell. 

The poAver belonging to Christ, we are elsewhere taught to 
conceive, is of unspeakably greater latitude. And here we 
are not taught to confine it to so vile and narrow limits, as 
this translation gives it. All things in the context conspire to 
magnify him, and, agreeably hereto, to magnify his dominion. 
"When therefore the apparent design is to speak him great, 
that he should only be represented as the Jailor of devils, and 
their companions, is, to me, unaccountable ; unless a very 
manifest necessity did induce to it. 

From the word £hs — hades, there can be no pretence for it. 
Though it ought to be extended, it is by no means to be re- 
strained to that sense : which as it is the most ignoble, so it, 
will appear but a very small, minute, part of its signification ; 
whether we consider the literal import, or the common use, of 
the word. 

Literally, it signifies only what we see not, or what is out 
of our sight. But as the word of which it is compounded sig- 
nifies also to know, as well as to see, it may further signify, 
that state of things which lies without the compass of our 
knowledge, even out of the reach of our mental sight ; or 
concerning which, though we are to believe what is revealed, 
we cannot immediately or distinctly know it ; and in reference 
whereto, therefore, we are to walk by faith, not by sight, 2 
Cor. 5. 7. 

And the common use of the word has been very agreeable 
hereto, with writers of all sorts ; that is, to signify indefinitely 
the unseen world ; or the state of the deceased out of our world, 
who are, consequently, gone out of our sight, whether they 
were good or bad : so as not peculiarly to signify hell, or any 
place or state of torment, only. 

It were easy to abound in quotations to this purpose, if it 
were either needful or proper in a discourse of this nature. 

What I intend in this kind, I shall only set down on the 
bye in the margin, upon which they that will may cast their 


eye j * (hat the discourse be not interrupted as to others, that 
either have no need to be informed in this matter, having 
known as much before as can be now told them ; or no inclina- 
tion to be diverted from their present purpose in reading ; ap- 

* And here it may suffice to take notice, that Greek writers, poets, 
philosophers, historians, and other writers*, that have made only occa- 
sional mention of this word oil-ns, or of the words next akin to it, a\s, or 
eLllrts, or lexicographers, that have purposely given an account of it, from 
Creek authors, that must be supposed best to understand the use of words 
in their own tongue ; generally such as have not been engaged in a con- 
troversy, that obliges men usually to torture words to their own sense, or 
to serve the hypothesis which they had espoused; have been remote from 
confining this, or the cognate words, to that narrow sense as only to sig- 
nify a place or state of torment for bad men, but understood it as com- 
prehending, also, a state of felicity for the pious and good. 

For such as have been concerned in interpreting this or other like 
words with reference to the known and famous controversy, which I need 
not mention, their judgments must weigh according to the reputation 
they are of with the reader. 

The Greeks, no doubt, best understood their own language. And 
among them can we think that Homer in the beginning of his first Iliad, 
when he speaks of the many brave souls of his heroes, those 'tiphi^ai \\,vya.\ t 
whicli the war he is describing sent into the invisible regions, «i'S; mpoix-^ev, 
that he ever dreamt they were all promiscuously dispatched away to a 
place of torment? Not to mention other passages where he uses the word 
tcZys to the same purpose. Divers others of the Greek poets are cited by 
several ready to our hands, with which I shall not cumber these pages. 
That one is enough, and nothing can be fuller to our purpose, which is 
quoted by Clemens Alexandrinus Stromata, liber 5. as well as by sundry 
others, and ascribed to the comic Diphilus, though by others to Philemon. 
YLoct yap v.x§ aJr,v Suo rptfitis vo/t/./^o/^^ 
M/aty oiy.xt'uv, x.xripa.1 <x<Te(3vi> ouov. 

In hades we reckon there are two paths, the one of the righteous, the 
other of the wicked; plainly shewing that hades was understood to con- 
tain heaven and hell. Plato, when in his Phardo he tells us that he that 
comes into hades, dpvnros, y.xi arixt^os, not initiated and duly prepared, 
is thrown into Bogfiogcs, a stin/ci?ig lake, but he that comes into it fitly- 
purified, shall dwell with the gods; as expressly signifies hades to include 
the same opposite states of misery and felicity. In that dialogue called 
Axiochus, though supposed not to be his, written by one thai sufficiently 
knew the meaning of such a word, we are told that when men die they 
are brought into the rico/ov dXvQeiocs, the field of truth, where sit judges 
that examine rlvx /3/oy, what manner of life every one lived while he 
dwelt in the body, that they who, while they lived here, were inspired 
by a good genius or spirit, go into the region of pious men, having before 
they came into hades been purified. Such as led their lives wickedly are 
hurried by furies up and down chaos, in the region of the wicked. In 
the third Book dv Republica, Plato blames the poets that they represent 
the itate of things in hades too frightfully, when they should (x&xXoy hrsuapt* 


prehending that what is generally told them, only concerning 
the usual signification of a word, is not said without some 
ground. And let texts of Scripture be consulted about that, 
how hades, and the correspondent word sheol, in the old Tes- 
tament, are used there. If we take the help of interpreters, 
the impartial reader is to judge of their fidelity and ability 
who go our way. * 

praise it rather. Plutarch de Super •stitione brings in Plato speaking of 
hades, as a person, or a God, Di, or Pluto, as they frequently do, and 
says he is (piKx-v^Pwnos, benign or friendly to men ; therefore not a tormentor 
of them only. Ca-lius Rhodigin. quotes this same passage of Plutarch, and 
takes notice that our Saviour speaks of the state of torment by another 
word, not fades, but Gehenna; which sufficiently shews how he under- 
stood it himself. 

And whereas there are who disagree to this notation of this word, that 
makes it signify unseen, as some will fetch it from the Hebrew, and go 
as tar back as Adam in their search, alleging for this the authority of an 
old Sibyll, others will have it go for iww, and signify as xri^vs, w«- 
pleasant; nothing is plainer than that this other is the common notion, 
■which (though fancy hath not a greater dominion in any thing than in 
etymology) would make one shy of stretching invention to find how to 
differ from the generality. Therefore Calepin, upon this word, tells us 
that the Greek grammarians do, against the nature of the Etymon, (which 
plainly enough shews what they understood that to be,) generally direct its 
beginning to be written with the spiritus asper, but yet he makes it signify 
obscure, or not visible. And though Plato is endeavoured to be hooked 
into the deriving it from Adam by a very far fetch; yet it is plain that 
his calling it tottov uonXov, in a place before referred to, shews he under- 
stood it to signify invisible : and so lexicons will commonly derive it 
{Vu'go, says Cevlius Rhodig.J . But its extensiveness, as comprehending 
a state of happiness, is our principal concern, which way (as we might 
shew by many more instances) the common stream carries it. Pausanias 
in his 'APKAA1KA, speaking of Hermes (accoiding to Homer) as Atos 
6IO.X.0V0V, and that he did lead souls 11770 tov o3w, could not be thought to 
mean that they were then univcrsallv miserable. Sextus Empiricus is an 
authority good enough for the meaning of a Greek word. When writing 
against mathematicians, he tells us, though bv way of objection, all men 
have a common notion z:tpi rut h oc$a, (using the genitive with n t as Ho- 
mer, and others do, another word, house or abode, in the dative, being 
understood,) and yet, as to the thing, he afterwards distinguishes poets' 
fables, and what, from the nature of the soul itself, all have a common 
apprehension of. As also Diogenes Laertius has the same phrase, men- 
tioning the writings of Protagoras, who, he says, wrote one book tstfi rut 
h «J«, using the genitive, as here, after h, as hath been usual, on the 
mentioned account. And though his books were burnt by the Athenians, 
because of the dubious title of one of them concerning the gods, so that 
we have not opportunity to know what his opinion of hades was, we have 
feason more than enough, to think he understood it not of a state of tor« 
Encnt only for evil spirits. 

* Primate Usher's judgment may be seen in his answer to the Jesuits' 


Upon the whole, it being most evident that hell is but a 
Small and mean part of -what is signified by hades, it will be 
very unreasonable to represent or conceive of the power here 
ascribed to our Lord, according to that narrow notion of it. 
And would be a like incongruity, as if, to magnify the person 
of highest dignity in the court of a mighty prince, one should 
say, " He is the keeper of the dungeon." 

The word itself, indeed, properly taken, and according to 
its just extent, mightily greatcns him. It is as much as to say, 
His dominion is of unknown limits ; such as no eye can mea- 
sure. We think with a sort of veneration, of what is repre- 
sented as too big for our knowledge. We have a natural awe 
and reverence for unsearchable darkness. But in the mean 
time we herein suffer a just diminution of ourselves, that when 
our inquiry stops, and can proceed no further, it being but a 
very little part of the universe that lies within our compass, 
having tired our inquiring eye and mind ; upon all the rest we 
write, Hades; call it unseen, or unknown. And because Ave 
call it so, God himself, in reference to us, calls it so too ; it 
being his way, (as is observed by that noted Jew, Maimo- 
nidcs,) speaking to men, to use the tongue of the children of 
men, to speak to them in their own language, and allow them 
to coin their own words : which at first they often do very oc- 

challenge, that this word properly signifies the other world, the place or 
state of the dead — so that heaven itself may be comprehended in it. 
Grotius, on Luke 16. 23, makes hades most certainly to signify a place 
withdrawn from our sight; spoken of the body, the grave; of the soul, 
all that region wherein it is separate from the body. So that as Dives 
was in hades, so was Lazarus too, but in separate regions: for both }>a- 
radise, and hell, or, as the Grecians were wont to speak, Eh/su, and 
Tnrtara, were in hades. You may have in him more quotations from the 
poets, the sense of the Essenes from Josephus, and passages from divers 
of the fathers to the same purpose. Dr. Hammond's mind was the same, 
copiously expressed on Matth. 11. 23; but differs from Grotius, in ascrib- 
ing to Philemon the iambicks above recited, which the other gives to 
Diphilus. Dr. Lightfoot is full to the same purpose, on the 4th Article 
of the Greed. And though Beliarmin will have this word always signify 
tull, (which if it do, with sheol the correspondent word; Jacob desired to 
go to hell to his son, as Dr. Hammond argues;) ('amero, as good a judge, 
thinks, except once, it never does. If any desire to see more to this 
purpose with little trouble to themselves, let them peruse Martinius's 
•lexicon on (he word inform, or inferuus. I could refer them to many 
mo>e whom 1 forbear to mention. 

Only if any think in some or other text of Scripture this word must 
signify am only, since it is of that latitude as to signify heaven in other 
places, an impartial view of the circumstances of the text must determine 
whether there it he meant of the one, or the other, or both. 


casionally ; nor, as to this, could tliey have a fairer or a mora 
Urgent occasion, or that is more self-justifying, than in one 
word to say of that other world, that it is hades, or invisible, 
when that is truly all that they have to say, or can have any 
immediate notice of about it. 

It hath therefore its rise from ourselves, and the penury of 
our knowledge of things ; and is at once both an ingenuous 
confession, with some sort of modest cover, and exense of 
our own ignorance : as with geographers, ail that part of this 
globe which they cannot describe, is terra incognita. ifnkno;: % >.' 
region ; and with philosophers, such phenomena in nature as 
they can give no account of, they resolve shortly and in the 
most compendious way into some or other occult quality, or 
somewhat else, as occult. 

How happy were it, if in all matters that concern religion, 
and in this, as it does so, they would shut up in a sacred ve- 
nerable darkness, what they cannot distinctly perceive ; it be- 
ing once by the undeceiving word expressly asserted, that, it is, 
without therefore denying its reality, because they clearly ap- 
prehend not what it is. 

With too many their religion is so little, and their pride 
and self-conceit so great, that they think themselves fit to be 
standards ; that their eye or mind is of a size large enough to 
measure the crention, yea, and the Creator too. And by how 
much they have the less left them of mind, or the more it is 
sunk into earth and carnality, the more capable it is of being 
the measure of all reality, of taking the compass of all being, 
created and uncreated. And so that of the philosopher takes 
place in the worst sense that can be put upon it ; "to see dark- 
ness is to see nothing." All is nullity that their sense reaches 
not. Hades is with such, indeed, empty, imaginary dark- 
ness ; or in plainer English, there is neither heaven nor hell, 
because they see them not. 

But we ought to have the greater thoughts of it, not the less. 
for its being too big, too great, too glorious, for our present 
view : and that it must as yet rest as to us, and so let it rest 
a while, under the name of Hades, the unknown dominion of 
our great Lord ; according to that most express account he at 
his ascension gave of the existence of both parts together, tha£ 
less known to us, and that more known, Matt. 28. 18. Ali 
power is given unto me in heaven and earth. 

That death is added, as contained also within the limits of 
our Lord's dominion, doth expressly signify his Gustody of 

VOL. I. d 


the passage from this visible world to the invisible. And as he 
commands the entrance into each distinct part of hades, the 
invisible zvorld, consisting of both heaven and hell, so he hath 
poAver over death too, which is the common outlet from this 
world, and the passage unto both. 

But it withal plainly implies his very absolute power over 
this visible world of ours also : for it signifies he hath the power 
of measuring every one's time here, and how long each inha- 
bitant of this world shall live in it. If it belong to him to de- 
termine when any one shall die, it must by consequence belong 
to him to assign the portion and dimensum of time that every 
one shall live. Nor is there any conceivable moment in the 
time of any one's life, wherein he hath not this power of put- 
ting a period by death thereunto, at his own pleasure. He is 
therefore signified to have the power of every man's life and 
death at once : and Hie power of life and death is very high 
and great power. He therefore herein implicitly claims, what 
is elsewhere expressly ascribed to him, Rom. 14. 7 — 9. None 
lives to himself, (that is, de. jure, no man should,) and no 
man dieth to himself: for " whether we live, we live unto the 
Lord, and whether Ave die, we die unto the Lord ; Avhether Ave 
live therefore or die, we axe the Lord's. For to this end 
Christ both died, and rose again, and revived, that he might 
be Lord, both of the dead and living." 

In sum, here is asserted to him a dominion over both worlds ; 
this in Avhich we live, and that into which Ave die, whether the 
one or the other part of it. And so in reference to men, who 
once have inhabited this world, the sense of this text, and 
that we are insisting on, is the same. Though hades is of 
vastly larger extent than only to be the receptacle of such 
as have lived here ; it having also, in both the parts of it, 
innumerable inhabitants who never had a dwelling assigned 
them in this world of ours at all. 

But thus far we have the vast extent of our Lord Christ's do- 
minion competently cleared to be the proper intendment of this 
text ; and that it. never meant so faint and minute a represen- 
tation of it, as only to make him Keeper of the bottomless pit ; 
though of that also he hath the key, as Ave shall further take 
notice : but are iioav to inquire of what will take up less time. 

III. The kind of that power over so vast a realm, or mani- 
fold realms, signified by this emblematical expression, of hav- 
ing the lej/s, &c. 

Every one knows that the keys are insignia ; some of the 


tokens of power ; and according to the peculiarity of the 
object, may be of divine power. 

The Jews, as some writers of their affairs say, appropriate 
the keys of three, others of four things to God only : of lite, 
or the entrance into this world ; of the rain, or the treasures of 
the clouds ; of the earth, say some,* as of the granary of corn ; 
and of the grave : " Of which," says one of their own,t " the 
Holy, Blessed One hath the keys of the sepulchres in his hand," 
&c. And as we may be sure he admits thither, so he emits from 
thence ; and, as he says, "In the future age, the Holy, Blessed 
One will unlock the treasures of souls, and will open the graves, 
and bring every soul back into its own body," &c. 

Nor is this key of the vast hades, when it is in the hand of 
our Redeemer, the less in the hand of the Holy, Blessed One ; 
for so is he too. But it is in his hand as belonging to his office 
of Mediator between God and man, as was before said. And 
properly, the phrase signifies ministerial power, being a mani- 
fest allusion to the common usage, in the courts of princes, of 
intrusting to some great minister the power of the keys ; as it 
was foretold of Eliakim, (Isa. 22.) that he should be placed 
in the same high station in Hezekiah's court, wherein Shebna 
was, of whom so severe things are there said ; and that the 
key of the house of David should be laid upon his shoulder, 
&c. v. 20 — 22. And the house of David being a known type 
of the house or church of God, and he himself of Christ, 
who as the Son, hath power over the whole house, according 
to this typical way of speaking, our Lord is said (Rev. 3. 7.) 
to have fhe'key of David, to open so as none can shut, to shut 
so as none can open ; that is, to have a final, decisive power 
in all he doth, from which there is no appeal. 

Nor could any thing be more congruous, than that having 
the keys of the celestial house of God, the heavenly palace of 
the Great King, the habitation of his holiness and glory, (in 
which are the everlasting habitations, the many mansions, the 
places prepared for his redeemed,) he should also have the 
keys of the terrestrial Bethel ; which is but a sort of porta/, or 
xestibtdum, to the other : the house of God, and the gate of 
heaven. And as he is implied to have the keys of this intro- 
ducfive, preparatory kingdom of heaven, (as the keys of the 
king's palace, where is the throne or seat of government ; and 
the keys of the kingdom must mean the same thing,) when he is 
said to give them to the apostle Peter, and the other apostles : 
this was but a prelude, and a minute instance of his power of 

* Weems. t Pirke. R. Eliezer. Edit, per G. H. Vorst- C. F. 


those keys of hades, and of the glorious heavenly kingdom itself 
contained therein, which lie was not. to delegate, but to manage 
himself immediately in his own person. 

If moreover he were signified by the angel, (Rev. 20. 1.) 
who was said to have the key of the bottomless pit ; that also 
must import a power, though great in itself, yet very little in 
comparison of the immense hades, of which lie is here said to 
have the keys. So remote is it, that the power ascribed to him 
there, should be the measure of what he here asserts to him- 
self : and the difference must be vastly greater than it is possi- 
ble for us to conceive, or parallel by the difference between 
hating power over the palace, and all the most delightful and 
most spaciom; territories in the vastest empire of the greatest 
prince, and only having power over a dungeon in some obscure 
corner of it ; which, for the great purposes whereto all this is 
to be applied', we can scarcely too much inculcate. 
* &< ( '. \m '■' /, Audio such application let us now, with all possi- 
ble seriousness and intention of spirit, address ourselves. This 
will consi&t in sundry inferences or deductions, laying before 
us some suitable matter, partly of meditation, partly of 
practice : the former whereof are to prepare and lay a ground 
for the latt< r. 

1. Divers thirgs we may collect, that will be very proper 
for our deep meditation ; which I shall propose not as things 
that we can be supposed not to have known before, but which 
are too commonly not enough thought on or considered. 

And here we shall somewhat invert the order wherein things 
lie in the ierA, beginning with what is there latte? and lower, 
and thence arising, with more advantage, to what is higher 
and of greater concernment : as, 

J. Thai men do not die at random, or by some uncertain, 
accidental bye stroke, which, as by a. slip of the hand, cuts 
off the thread of lift- ; but by an act of divine determination, 
and judgment, which passes in reference to each one's death. 
For as the key signifies authority and power, the. turning this 
key of death, which gives a man his exit out of this world, is 
an authoritative act. And do we consider in what hand this 
power is lodged ? We cannot but apprehend every such act 
is the < Sect of counsel a»rl judgment. 

What philoi ophers are wOut to discourse of fortuitous events 

ice to rational agents, or casual, in reference to natural, 

tood only with relation to ourselves, and sigui- 

' ice of futurities, but can have no place in 

• !, as if any thing were a contin- 


gency unto that. As for them that live as if they thought 
ihey came into this world by chance, it is very natural 
for them to think they shall die and go out of it by chance too, 
but when and as it happens. This is worse than Paganish 
blindness ; for besides what from their poets, the vulgar have 
been made to believe concerning the three fatal Sisters, to whom 
they ascribed no less than deity concerned in measuring every 
one's life, the grave discourses which some of them have writ- 
ten concerning providence, and its extent to the lesser inter- 
mediate concerns of life, much more to that their final great 
concern of death, will be a standing testimony against the too 
prevailing Christian scepticism (they ought to excuse the so- 
lecism who make it) of this wretched age ! But such among 
us as will allow themselves the liberty to think, want not oppor- 
tunity and means by which they may be assured, that not an 
imaginary, but real Deity is immediately and constantly con* 
cerned in measuring our time in this world. What an awful 
thought is this ! And it leads to a 

c 2. Inference. That it is a great thing to die. The Son of 
God, the Redeemer of man, hath an immediate presidency over 
this affair. He signalizes himself by it, who could not sup- 
pose that he should be magnified by a trifle ! We slightly say, 
Such a one is dead ! Consider the matter in itself, and it is 
great. A reasonable soul hath changed states ! An intelligent 
spirit is gone out of our world ! The life of a gnat, a fly, 
(those little automata, or self-moving things,) how admirable 
a production is it ! It becomes no man to despise what no man 
can imitate. We praise the pencil that well describes the ex* 
Vernal figure of such an animalcuium, such a little; creature ; 
but the internal, vital, self-moving power, and the motion 
itself, what art can express ! But a human life, how important 
a thing is it ! It was one of Plato's thanksgivings, that God 
had made him a man ! How careful a guard hath God set over 
every man's life, fencing it by the severest law ! " If any man 
.shed man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed ;" and how- 
weighty is the annexed reason ! " For in the image of God 
he made man." This then highly greatens this matter. He 
therefore reserves it wholly to himself, as one of his peculiari- 
ties, to dispose of such a lire ! " 1 asn he that kills and makes 
alive." We find it one of his high titles—" The God of the 
spirits of all flesh." He had what was much greater to gloryin, 
that he was " the Father of spirits," indefinitely spoken. When 
he hath all the heavenly regions, the spacious hades, peopled 
w ith such inhabitants " whose dwelling is not With flesh," and, 


for vast multitudes of thorn, never was, who yet, looking 1 down 
into this little world of ours, this minute spot of his creation, 
and observing that here were spirits dwelling in flesh, he should 
please to be styled also the God of those spirits, signifies this 
to be with him too an appropriate glory, a glory which he will 
not communicate farther than he communicates Godhead ; and 
that he held it a divine right to measure the time unto each of 
them of their abode in flesh, and determine when they shall 

This cannot be thought on aright, without a becoming, 
most profound reverence of him on this account. How sharp 
a rebuke is given to that haughty prince, " The God in whose 
hands thy breath is, hast thou not glorified," Dan. 5. 23. 
That would prepare the way, and we should be easily led on, 
were we once come to think with reverence, to think also Avith 
pleasure of this case, that our life and every breath we draw, 
are under such a divine superintendency. The holy psalmist 
speaks of it. with high complacency, as the matter of his song, 
that he had a God presiding over his life. So he tells us he 
would have each wy^i^t^, day find night, composed not 
more of night and day, than of -prayer and praise directed 
to God under this notion, as the God of his life, Ps. 42. 8. 
And he speaks it not grudgingly, but as the ground of his 
trust and boast, Ps. 31. 14, 15. — " I trusted in thee, O Lord ; 
I said, Thou art my God, my times are in thy hand." That 
this key is in the hand of the great Emmanuel — God with 
vs, will be thought on with frequency, when it is thought on 
with delight. 

3. Our life on earth is under the constant strict observation 
©four Lord Christ. He waits when to turn the key, and shut 
it up. Through the whole of that time, whicli, by deferring, 
he measures out to us, we are under his eye as in a state of 
probation. He takes continual notice how we acquit ourselves. 
For his turning the key at last, is a judicial act; therefore 
supposes diligent observation, and proceeds upon it. II ' that 
hath this key, is also said in the next chapter, (v. 18.) to have 
eyes like a flame of fire. With these he observes what he hath 
against one or another, (v. 20.) and with most indulgent 
patience gives a space of repentance, (v. 21.) and notes it 
down if any then repent, not, as we there also find. Did se- 
cure sinners consider this, how he beholds them with a flame 
in his eve, and the key in his hand, would they dare still to 
irilio ? If they did apprehend how he, in this posture, stands 
over them, in all their vain dalliances, idle impertinences, bold 


adventures, insolent attempts against his laws and government, 
presumptuous affronts of his high authority ; yea, or but in 
their drowsy slumberings, their lingering delays, their neglects 
of offered grace ; did they consider what notice he takes how 
they demean themselves under every sermon they hear, in 
every prayer wherein they are to join with others, or which, 
perhaps, for custom's sake, they put up alone by themselves ; 
how their hearts are moved, or unmoved, by every repeated 
call that is given them to turn to God, and get their peace 
made by application of their Redeemer's reconciling blood ; 
in what agonies would they be, what pangs of trembling would 
they feel within themselves, lest the key should turn before 
their great work be done '. 

4. Whatsoever ill designs by this observation he discovers, 
it is easy to him to prevent. One turn of this key of death, 
besides the many other ways that are obvious to him, disap- 
points them all, and in that day all their thoughts perish. It 
is not therefore from inadvertency, indifferencyj or impotency, 
but deep counsel, that they are permitted to be driven on so 
far. He that sitteth in the heavens laughs, and he knows their 
day is coming. He can turn this key when he will. 

5. His power as to every one's death cannot be avoided, or 
withstood. The act of this key is definitive, and ends the 
business. No man hath power over the spirit to retain the 
spirit ; neither hath he power in the day of death, Eccl. 8. 8. 
It is in vain to struggle, when the key is turned ; the power of 
the keys, where it is supremely lodged, is absolutely decisive, 
and their effect permanent and irrevocable. That soul there- 
fore for whose exit the key is turned, must thereupon then 
forthwith depart, willing or unwilling, ready or unready. 

6. Souls that go out of this world of ours, on the turn of 
this key, go not out of being. He that hath this key of death, 
hath also the key of hades, a key and a key. When he uses 
the former, to let them out from this, he uses the latter, to 
give them their inlet into the other world, and into the one or 
the other part of it ; into the upper or the lower hades, as the 
state of their case is, and doth require. 

Our business is not now with Pagans, to whom the oracles 
of God are unknown. If it were, the best and wisest of them 
who so commonly speak of souls' going into hades, never 
thought of their going no wbither ; nor therefore that they 
were nothing. They had reasons, then, which they thought 
cogent, that induced tbein, though unassisted with divine re- 

24 the redeemer's dominion 

relation, to conclude they survived their forsaken bodies. 
And "what else could any unbribed understanding- conclude or 
conceive ? When we find they have powers belonging to them, 
which we can much more easily apprehend capable of being 
acted without help from the body than by it, we are sure 
they can form thoughts, purposes, desires, hopes : for it is 
matter of fact, they do it ; and coherent thoughts, and thoughts 
arising from thoughts, one from another : yea, and thoughts 
abstracted from any thing corporeal, the notions of right 
and wrong, of virtue and vice, of moral good and evil, with 
some agreeable resolves ; thoughts,quite above the sphere of 
matter, so as to form a notion of the mind itself of a spiritual 
Being, as unexceptionable a one as we can form of a body : 
yen, of an original self-subsistent Mind and Spirit, the Former 
and Maker of all other. It is much more apprehensible, since 
we certainly know that all this is done, that it is done without 
any help of tlje body, than how flesh, or blood, or bones, or 
nerves, or brains, or any corporeal thing, should contribute to 
such methods of thinking, or to any thought at all. And if 
it can be conceived that a spirit can act without dependence on 
a body, what should hinder but we may as well conceive it 
to subsist and live without such dependence ? And when we 
find this power of thought belongs to somewhat in us that lives, 
since the deserted carcass thinks not ; that the body lives not 
of itself, or life is not essential to it, for lite may be retired 
and gone, and it remain, as we see it does, the same body still ; 
how reasonable is it to suppose, that the soul to which the 
power of thought belongs, lives of itself, not independently 
On the first cause, but essentially, so as to receive life and es- 
sence together from that cause, or life included in its essence, 
so as that it shall be the same tiling to it, to be, and to live. 
And hereupon how obvious is it to apprehend that the soul is 
such a thing as can live in the body, which when it docs, the 
body lives by it a precarious, borrowed life ; and that can live 
out of the body, leaving it, when it does so, to drop and 

These sentiments were so reasonable, as generally to prevail 
with the more deeply-thinking part of mankind, philosophers 
of all sorts, (a few excepted, whose notions were manifestly 
formed by vicious inclination,) in the Pagan world, where 
was nothing higher than reason to govern. But we have 
life and immortality brought to light in the gospel, (2 Tim. 1. 
10.) and are forewarned by it that these will be the measures 

oVeh the invisible world. Sj 

of the final judgment, to give eternal life at last to them Mho, 
by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, and ho- 
nour, and immortality, Rom. 2. 7. To the rest, indignation, 
and wrath, &c. (v. 8.) because there is no respect of persons 
wilh God, v. 11. As supposing the discovery of another world, 
even by natural light, much more by the addition of superna- 
tural, to be so clear, as that the rule of the universal judgment, 
even for all, is most righteously to be taken from hence, and 
that there is nothing but a resolution of living wickedly, to be 
opposed to it. 

Jt is also no slight consideration, that a susceptibleness of 
religion should, among the creatures that dwell on earth, be 
so appropriate and peculiar to man, and (some rare instances 
excepted) as far diffused as human nature ; so as to induce 
some very considering men, of the ancients as well as mo- 
derns, both Pagans and Christians, to think religion the more 
probable specifying difference of man than reason. And 
whence should so common an impression be, but from a cause 
as common ? Or how can we avoid to think that this signature 
upon the soul of man, a capacity of religion, should be from 
the same hand that formed the spirit of man within him, 
and that a natural religiousness, and human nature itself, 
had the same Author ? But who" sees not that religion, as 
siK '];. hath a final reference to a future state ? He was no des- 
picable writer, though not a Christian, that positively ailirmed 
liope towards God to be essential to man ; and that they that had 
it not, were not partakers of the rational nature. * 

It is so much the more a deplorable and monstrous thing, 
that so many, not only against the light of their own reason, 
bat of divine revelation, are so industrious to unman them- 
selves : and having so effectually in a great degree done it really 
and in practice, aim to do it in a more compendious Avay no- 
tionally and in principle too ; and make use or shew of reason 
to prove themselves not to be reasonable creatures ; or to di- 
vest themselves of the principal dignity and distinction of the 
rational nature : and are incomparably herein more unnatural 
than such as Ave commonly count felons upon themselves, who 
only act against their own bodily life, but these against the 
much nobler life of their soul ; they against the life of an in- 
dividual, these against their own whole species at once. And 

Philo Judasus, Quod deter, potiori insid. soleat, us -rut pr, font form 
tvi Qtov, \oytx. r ns tp'jirtws « //,e//,o/£a//.fvwv. 

26 the redeemer's dominion 

how deplorable is their ease, that count it their interest to be 
in no possibility of being happy ! when yet their so great 
dread of a future state, as to urge them upon doing the most 
notorious violence to their own faculties to rid themselves of it, 
is a very convictive argument of its reality : for their dread 
still pursues and sticks close to them. This shews it lies deep 
in the nature of things which they cannot alter. The terrible 
image is still before their eyes ; and their principal refuge lies 
only in diverting, in not attending to it. And they can so 
little trust to their own sophistical reasonings against it, that 
when they have clone all they can, they must owe what they 
have of ease and quiet in their own minds, not so much to any 
strength of reason they apprehend in their own thoughts, as in 
not thinking. A bold jest may sometimes provoke others' 
laughter j when it does not extinguish their own fear. A sus- 
picion a formido appositi—fearof what is before ///ew,will still 
remain: a misgiving that they cannot nullify the great hades, 
pull down the spacious fabric of heaven, or undermine the 
profound abyss of hell, by a profane scoff. They will in time 
discern the difference between the evanid passion of a sudden 
fright, that takes its rise from imagination, and the fixed dread 
which is founded in the reason of things ; as one may between 
a fright in a dream, and the dread of a condemned criminal, 
with whom, sleeping and waking, the real state of his case is still 
the same. 

Nor are the things themselves remote or unconnected ; 
God's right to punish a reasonable creature that has lived in con- 
tempt of him, and his own reasonable apprehension hereof, or his 
conscience both of the fact and desert. They answer as face to 
face, as the stamp on the seal, and the impression on the wax. 
They would fain make their reasonaprotectionagaiust their fear, 
but that cannot serve both ways : the reason of the thing lies 
against them already, and there cannot be an eternal war be- 
tween the faculty and the object. One way or other the latter 
will overpower the former, and draw it into consent with itself; 
either by letting it see there is a just, true cause of fear, or, 
assisted by divine grace, by prevailing for the change of the 
sinner's course. Whereupon that troublesome fear, and its 
cause, will both upon the best terms cease together. And that 
what has been proposed to consideration under this head, may 
be the more effectually considered, to this blessed purpose, I 
add that, 

7. The discovery of the invisible world, and the disposal of 
affairs there, have a most encouraging aspect upon this world : 


for both the discovery and the disposal are by our blessed Re- 
deemer, in whom mercy and might are met in highest perfec- 
tion. How fragrant breathings of grace, how glorious a dis- 
play of power, are there in what he here says : W Fear not ! 
I am the first and the last ; I am he that liveth and was dead, 
and I am alive for evermore, Amen. And I have the keys of 
hades and of death." He hath opened the celestial hades to 
our view, that it might be also open to our safe entrance and 
blissful inhabitation. He who was dead, but liveth, and had 
made his victorious triumphant entrance before us, and for us ; 
he who had overcome him that had the power of death, con- 
quered the gigantic monster at the gate, gained the keys, and 
designed herein their deliverance from the fear of death, who 
were thereby subject to bondage ; (Heb. 2. 11, 15.) he who 
hath abolished drath, and brought life and immortality to lio-ht 
in the gospel ; (2 Tim. 1. 10.) it is he who bids us lift up our 
oyes, and behold the heavens opened, and himself standing at 
the right hand of God. The horrid, internal hades, he hath 
discovered too, only that we might fear and shun it. But yet 
more distinctly consider, why doth he here represent himself 
under this character, " He that liveth and was dead," but that 
he might put us in mind of that, most convictive argument of 
his love, his submitting to die tor us ; " Greater love hath no 
man :" and that he might at once put us out of doubt concern- 
ing his power, that he yet survives, and is sprung up alive out. 
of that death, victorious over it. How amiable is the repre- 
sentation of such power in conjunction with such love ! The 
same person having a heart so replenished with love, a hand 
so armed with power, neither capable of unkind design, nor 
unable to effect the most kind. Behold him in this representation ! 
Who would not now fall at his foot and adore ? Who would 
hesitate at resigning to him, or be appalled at his disclosure of 
this unknown world ? 

Do but consider him who makes the discovery, and who 
would not expect from him the utmost efforts of love and good- 
ness ? From him who is the Brightness of his Father's glory, 
and the express Image of his person ! His essential Image, 
who is Love ! From him who came into this wretchr \ world of 
ours, full of grace and truth ! And who could not have come 
but by the inducement of compassion to our miseries. From 
him who knows all things, and whose eye penetrates into every 
recess of the vast hades : all his own empire, in whom are hid 
all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; but who only 
knows not to deceive : who hath told us, in his Father's house 

28 the redeemer's dominion 

are many mansions, and if it were not so, would have told us 
that, John 14. 2* From him into whose mouth guile never 
entered, but into whose lips grace was poured, and is poured 
out by them ; so that the ear that hath heard him hath home 
him witness, and filled with wonder those that heard the gra- 
cious words which came out of his mouth. Who hath told us 
all concerning that unseen world, that in this our present state 
it was fit for us to know ; and enough, in telling all Jhat will 
be his followers, that where he is, there he will have them be, 
John 17. 24. 

And consider the manifest tendency of the discovery itself. 
What doth it mean or tend to, but to undeceive miserable 
mortals, whom he beholds from his high throne mocked wiih 
shadows, beguiled with most delusive impostures, and easily 
apt to be imposed upon ? P'oolish, deceived, serving divers 
lusts and pleasures ; feeding upon ashes, and wearying them- 
selves for very vanity ; sporting themselves in the dnst of tins 
minute spot of earth : wasting their little inch of time, wherein 
they should prepare for translation into the regions of unseen 
glory. To these he declares he Rath formed a kingdom for all 
that covet to mend their states, and that his kingdom is not of 
this world ; that for such as will be of this kingdom, he will 
provide better, having other worlds, the many heavens, above 
all which he is ascended, at his disposal, Eph. 4. 10. But 
they must seek this kingdom and the righteousness of it in the 
first place, and desist from their care about other things, lie 
counsels and warns them not to lay up their treasure on earth, 
but in heaven ; and to let their hearts be there with their 
treasure. And what can withstand his power, who, having 
been dead, liveth victorious over him that had the power of 
death, and is alive for evermore, possessed of an eternal state of 
life ? 

And have we not reason to expect the most equal and most 
benign disposal of things in that unseen world, when he also 
declares, 1 have the keys, rightful authority, as well as mighty 
power, to reward and punish ? None but who have a very ill 
mind can fear from him an ill management. He first became 
capable of dying, and then yielded himself to die, that he 
might obtain these keys for gracious purposes. He had them 
before to execute just vengeance, as he was originally in 
the form of God, and without robbery equal with God ; 
an equal sharer in sustaining the wrong that had been done 
by apostate rebels, and an equal sharer in the right of vindi- 
cating it. 


But that he might have these keys to open the heavenly 
hades to reduced apostates, to penitent, believing, self-devot- 
ing sinners, for this, it was necessary that he should put on 
man, be found here in fashion as a man, take on him the ibnn 
of a servant, become obedient to deaih, even that servile pu- 
nishment, the death of the cross, Phil. & 7, 8. For this he 
is highly exalted into this power, that every knee might bow 
to him, in hope of saving mercy, v. 9, 10, compared with 
Isa. 45. 22, 23. lie had the "keys without this, of the 
supernal hades, to shut out all offenders, and of the infernal, 
to shut them up for ewe*. But that he might have them to ab- 
solve repenting believers, and admit them into heaven, and 
only to shut up in hell implacable enemies — for this he must 
die, and live again. He was to be slain and hanged on a tree, 
that he might be a Prince and a Saviour to give repentance ami 
remission of sin, .Acts 5. 30, 31. That to this intent he might 
be Lord of the dead and the living, he must both die and 
rise, and live so as to die no more, Rom. 14. 9. These keys 
for this purpose, he was only to have upon these terms. He 
had a right to punish as an offended God, but to pardon and 
save as a mediating-, sin-expiating God-man. 

But as he was to do the part of a Mediator, he must act 
equally between the disagreeing parties : he was to deal im- 
partially on both sides. To render back entire to the injured 
Ruler of the world his violated rights, and to obtain for us his 
forfeited favour, as entire. And he undertook therefore, when 
as a sacrifice he was to be slain, to redeem us to God by his 
blood, Rev. 5. 9. To give him back his revolted creature, 
holy, pure, subject, and serviceable, as by his method* he 
shall be at last ; and procure for him pardon, acceptance, and 
eternal blessedness. 

When therefore he was to do for us the part of a Redeemer, 
he was to redeem us from the curse of the law, not from the 
command of it ; to save us from the zerath of God, not from 
his government, Gal. 3. 13, 14. Rom. 8. 3, 4. Had it been 
otherwise, so firm and indissoluble is the connexion between our 
duty and our felicity, that the sovereign Ruler had been eter- 
nally injured, and we not advantaged. Yv ere we to have been 
set free from the preceptive obligation of God's holy law T , then 
most of all from that most fundamental precept, " Thou shali 
love the Lord thy God, with all thine lieart, soul, might, and 
mind ;" had this been redemption, which supposes only what 
is evil and hurtful, as that we are to be redeemed from ? This 
w«rea strange sort of self-repugnant redemption, not from sin 

SO the redeemer's nOVTXIO.V 

and misery, but from our duly and felicity. This wferfe so to 
be redeemed as to be still lost, and every way lost, both to 
God and to ourselves for ever. Redeemed from loving God I 
W hat a monstrous thought ! Redeemed from what is the great 
active and fruitive principle ; the source of obedience and 
blessedness ; the eternal spring, even in the heavenly state, of 
adoration and fruition ! This had been to legitimate everlast- 
ing enmity and rebellion against the blessed God, and to redeem 
us into an eternal hell of horror and misery to ourselves ! This 
had been to cut off from the supreme Kuler of the world for 
ever, so considerable a limb of his most rightful dominion, and 
to leave us asmiserable as everlasting separation from the Foun- 
tain of life and blessedness could make us. 

When therefore our Lord Jesus Christ was to redeem us 
from the curse of the law, it was that the promised Spirit might 
be given to us, (Gal. 3. 13, 14.) who should write the law 
in our hearts : (.Jer. 31: 33. Ezek. 36. '27.) fulfil the righteous- 
ness of it in us, by causing us to walk after bis dictates, ac- 
cording to that law ; regenerating us, begetting us after God's 
image, and making us partakers of a Godlike nature. So we 
through the law become dead to (lie malediction and curse of it, 
that we may live to God more devoted lives than ever, GaJ. c 2. 
19. Thus is God's lost creature given back to him with the 
greatest advantage also to itself. 

With this design it is apparent our Lord redeemed us, and by 
his redemption acquired these keys. Nor are we to doubt, but 
in the use of them, he will dispense exactly according to this 
just and merciful design. And what a perverse distorted mind 
is that, which can so much as wish it should be otherwise ! 
namely, That he should save us to the eternal wrong of him 
that made us, and so as that Ave should be nothing the better ; 
that is, that he should save us without saving us ! 

.And hath this no pleasant comfortable aspect upon a lost 
world, that he who hath these keys will use them for snch 
purposes ? that is, to admit to eternal bliss, and save to the 
uttermost, all that will come to God by him : (not willing to be 
everlastingly alienated from the life of God ;.) because he ever 
lives to make intercession, or to transact and negotiate for 
them, (as that Avord signifies,) and that in a rightful Avay, and 
even by the poAver of these keys ! 

8. That there must be some important reason why the other 
world is to us unseen, and so truly bears the name of Hades. 
This expresses the state of the case as in fact it is, that it is 
a world lying out of our sight, and into Avhich our dim and 


weak rye cannot penetrate. That .other state of things is 
spoken of therefore as hidden from us by a vail. When our 
I, oid Jesus is said to have passed into tlie heavens, (If eb. 4. 
14.) lie is also said to have entered into that within the vail ; 
(lieb. G. 19, 20.) alluding to that in the temple of 'Solomon, 
and before that, in Moses's tabernacle ; but expressly signi- 
fying-, that the holy places into which Christ entered, not those 
made with hands, which were the figure of the true, but hea- 
ven itself, filled with the glorious presence of God, where lie 
appear}; for us, (Heb. 9. 24.) is also vailed from us. As also 
the glovy of the of her state is said to be a glory as yet to be re- 
vealed, Horn. 8. IS. And we are told, (Job 26'. 9.) the great 
God holdeth back the face of his throne; and above, v. 6, it 
is represented as a divine prerogative, that sheol, which is 
there groundkssly rendered hell, the vast hades, is only naked 
before him, lies entirely open to his view, and therein the dark 
and horrid part of it, destruction, by which peculiarly must 
be meant hell, is to him without a covering, not more hidden 
from his eye. 

Which shews this to be the divine pleasure; so Cod will 
have it be, who could have exposed all to common view, if he 
had pleased. 

But because he orders all things according to the counsel 
of his will, (Eph. 1. U.) Ave must conceive some weighty 
reason did induce hereto, that whatsoever lies beyond this 
present state of things should be concealed from our immediate 
view, and so come uno nomine — under one name, to be all called 
Hades. And if the reason of God's conduct, and the course of 
his dispensation herein, had been equally hidden, as (hat state 
itself is, it had been a bold presumption to inquire and pry into 
it ; modesty and reverence should have restrained us. But 
when we find it holds a manifest agreement with other parts of 
his counsel, that are sufficiently revealed ; and that the ex- 
cellency of the Divine Wisdom is most conspicuous, and 
principally to be beheld and admired, in ordering the apt 
eongriiifies and correspondencies of tilings with each other, 
and especially of* the ends he proposes to himself, with the 
methods and ways he takes to effect them ; it were very great 
oscitaucy, and an undutiful negligence, not to observe them, 
when they stand in view, that we may render him his due 
acknowledgments and honour thereupon. 

It is manifest that as God did not create man, at first, in 
that which he designed to be his final state, but as a probation- 
er, in a state of trial, in order to a further state ; so when he 

32 the redeemer's dominion 

apostatized and fell from Cod, lie Mas graciously pleased to 
order for him a new trial, and put him into the hands of his 
merciful Redeemer, who is intrusted with these keys, and -with 
the power of life and death over him, to be managed and ex- 
ercised according to the terms plainly set down and declared 
in his gospel. Wheresoever he is with sufficient evidence re- 
vealed and made known, men immediately come under obliga- 
tion to believe in him ; to intrust and commit themselves into 
the same hands; to rely upon the truth of his word in every 
thing he reveals, as the ground of their sub-milting- to his au- 
thority in every thing he requires. What concerns their pre- 
sent practice, he hath plainly shewn them ; so much as it was 
requisite they should pre-apprehend of future retributions, 
rewards and punishments, he hath revealed also; not. that 
they should have the knowledge hereof by immediate inspec-. 
iion, but by taking his word. That as their first transgression 
was founded in infidelity, that they did not believe God, but 
a lying spirit against him ; their first step in their recovery and 
return to God should be to believe him, and take his word 
about things they have themselves no immediate sight or know- 
of This point was by no means to be quitted to the first 
apostates. As it' God's saying to them, " If you transgress, 
\nu shall die, or go into hades" was no sufficient enforcement 
of the precept, unless he had given them a distinct view of the 
sfafes of felicity or misery, which their obedience or disobedi- 
ence would had them into. This had been to give away the 
whole cause to the revolted rebels, and rather to confess error 
and oversight in the divine government, than impute fault to 
the impugners of it! 

This being the state of the ease, how unsuitable had it been to 
(he design of this second trial to be made with men, to with* 
draw the vail, and let 'very one's own eyes be their informers 
of all the glories of the heavenly state ! and hereupon proclaim 
and preach the gospel to them, that they should all partake 
herein, that would entirely deny themselves, come off from 
(heir own bottom, give themselves up absolutely to the interest, 
love, service, and communion, of their Redeemer, and of 
God in him ! To fortify them against the a.ssaults and dangers 
of their earthly pilgrimage by reversing that rule, The just 
-hall live by faith ; even that faith which is the substance of 
things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen ; (Ileb. 
1(). 38. — ch. If. 1.) or by inverting the method, that in re* 
f rence to such things we are to walk by faith, not by sight, 
(2 Cor. 5. 7.) and letting it be, We are to walk by sight, not. 


by faith! And that lest any should refuse such compliance 
with their great Lord, whole hades should be no longer so, 
but made naked before them, and the covering of hell and 
destruction be taken off, and their own eyes behold tlie infernal 
horrors, and their own ears hear the shrieks and bowlings, of 
accursed creatures, that having rejected their Redeemer, are 
rejected by him. We are not here to consider, what course 
would most certainly effect their salvation, but what most be- 
came the wise holy God, to preserve the dignity of his own 
government, and save them too ; otherwise almighty pov, er 
could save all at once. As therefore we have cause to acknow- 
ledge the kindness and compassion of our blessed Lord, who 
hath these keys, in giving us for the kind, such notices as lie 
hath, of the state of the things in hades ; so we have equal 
cause to admire his wisdom, that he gives us not those of an- 
other kind, that should more powerfully strike the sense and 
amaze us more, but instruct us less ; that continues it to be 
hades still, a state of things to us unseen as yet. As the case 
would have been on the other supposition, the most generous, 
noble part of our religion had been sullied or lost ; and the 
trial of our faith, which is to be found unto praise, honour, 
and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ, even upon this 
account ; that they who had not seen him in his mean circum- 
stances on earth, nor did now see him, amidst all the glories of 
his exalted state, yet believing, loved him, and rejoiced in 
him with joy unspeakable, and full of glory, 1 Pet. 1. 7, 8. 
This faith, and all the glorious trials of it, with its admirable 
achievements and performances, whereby the elders heretofore 
obtained so good a report, (Heb. 11. 2.) and high renown on 
earth, and which filled the world with wonder, had all va- 
nished into obscurity and darkness ; that is, if they had be- 
lieved no more, or no greater things, than every man besides 
had the immediate view of by his own eye-sight. 

And yet the tri;* 1 had been greater, on another account, than, 
the divine wisdom, in conjunction with goodness and com- 
passion, thought lit ordinarily to put sincere Christians upon. 
For who could with any tolerable patience have endured longer 
abode on earth, after they should once have had the glory of 
the heavenly state immediately set in view before their eyes I 
especially considering, not so much the sufferings, as the im- 
purities of their present state ? What, for great reason, was a 
special vouchsafement to one apostle, was, for as great, to be 
common to all Christians. How great is the wisdom and mercy 

VOL. I. F 

34 THE redeemer's dominion 

of our blessed Lord in this partial concealment of our future 
state, and that while so much as is sufficient is revealed, there 
is yet an hades upon it, and it may still be said, It doth not 
yet appear what we shall be, 1 John 3. 2. 

Hut as these majestic life-breathing words of our great Lord 
do plainly offer the things that have been mentioned, and many 
more such that might occur to our thoughts and meditation ; 
so will they be thought on in vain, if they be not followed and 
answered by suitable dispositions and actions of heart and life. 
Therefore the further use we are to make of this great subject 
will be to lay down, 

II. Divers correspondent things to be practised and done, 
which must also suppose dispositions and frames of heart and 
spirit agreeable thereto. 

I. Let us live expecting a period to be ere long put to our 
life on earth. For remember, there are keys put into a great 
hand for this very purpose, that holds them not in vain. His 
power is of equal extent with the law he is to proceed by. And 
by that it is appointed for all once to die, Ileb. 9. 27. There- 
fore as in the execution he cannot exceed, so he will not come 
short of this appointment : when that once shall be, it belongs 
to him to determine. And from the course we may observe 
him to hold, as it is uncertain to all, it can be very remote to 
none. How short is the measure of a span! It is an absurd 
vanity to promise ourselves that which is in the power of an- 
other. How wise and prudent a thing to accommodate ourselves 
composedly to his pleasure, in whose power we are ; and to 
live as men continually expecting to die ! There are bands of 
death out of which, when they once take hold, we cannot free 
ourselves. But there arc also bands of life, not less troublesome 
or dangerous. It is our great concern to be daily, by degrees, 
loosening and disentangling ourselves from these bands; and 
for preventing the necessity of a violent rupture, to be daily 
disengaging our hearts from an insnaring *orld, and the too 
close embraces of an over-indulged body. Tell them resolutely, 
" I must leave you whensoever my great Lord turns the key 
for me ; and I know not how soon that may be." It is equally 
unhappy and foolish to be engaged in the pursuit of an impos- 
sibility, or in a war with necessity ; the former whereof cannot 
be obtained, the latter cannot but overcome. We owe thus 
much to ourselves, and to the ease and quiet of our own minds, 
to be reconciled, at all times, to that which may befal us at 
any time. How confounding a thing is snrprisal by that which 
we regret and dread ! How unaccountable and ignominious 


must it be to pretend to be surprised Avith what we Lave so 
great reason always to expect, and whereof Ave are so oft fore- 
warned ! Is it no part of Christian watchfulness to wait for 
such an hour ? Though that waiting all the days of our ap- 
pointed time, mentioned Job 14. 14, refers to another change 
than that of death, namely, (as the foregoing; and following 
verses shew,) that of the resurrection, yet it cannot but be 
equally requisite, upon a no less important reason. And the 
requests that the Lord would make us to know our end, and the 
measure of our days that we may know how frail we are, (Ps. 
39. 4.) and that he would teach us so to number our days that 
we may apply our hearts to wisdom, (Ps. 90. 12.) are equally 
monitory to the same purpose, as the most express precepts ; 
as also the many directions we have to watch and wait for our 
Lord's appearance and coming are as applicable to this pur- 
pose. For whensoever his key opens our passage out of this 
world, and out of these bodies, hades opens too, and he par- 
ticularly appears to us, in as decisive a judgment of our case, 
as his universal appearance and judgment will at last give for 
all. The placid agreement of our minds and spirits with di- 
vine determination, both as to the thing, and time, of our 
departure hence, will prevent the trouble and ungratefulness; 
of being surprised; and our continual expectation of it, will 
prevent any surprisal at all. Let this then be an agreed re-» 
solution with us, to endeavour being in such a posture, as 
that we may be capable of saying, " Lord, whensoever thou 
shalt move thy key, and tell me this night, or this hour, I will 
require thy soul, thou shalt not, O Lord, prevent mine expec- 
tation, or ever find me counting upon many years' enjoyment 
of any thing this world can entertain me with." 

In further pursuance hereof, 

2. Be not. over-intent on designs for this present world ; 
which would suppose you to count upon long abode in it. Let 
them be always laid with a supposition, you may this way, 
even by one turn of tliis key, be prevented from bringing them 
about ; and let them be pursued with indifferency, so as that 
disappointment even this way may not be a grievance. A 
thing made up of thought and design, as our mind and spirit 
naturally is, will be designing one way or other ; nor ought 
we to attempt that violence upon our own natures, as to en- 
deavour the stupifying of the intelligent, designing mind, 
which the Author of nature hath put into us. Only let us so 
lay our designs, as that how many soever we form that may 
be liable to this sort of disappointment, we may still have one 


greater and more important, so regularly and surely laid, that 
no turn of this key shall be in any possibility (o frustrate, but, 
promote it rather. The design for the kingdom of God to be 
first sought, with his righteousness, (Matth. G. 33.) or which 
is pursued by seeking glory, honour, and immortality, to the 
actual attainment of eternal life, (Rom. 2. 7.) may, if pre- 
scribed methods be duly observed, have this felicity always 
attending it, to be successfully pursued while we live, and 
effected when we die. 

But this is an unaccountable vanity under the sun, that men 
too generally form such projects, that they are disappointed 
both when they do not compass them, and when they do. If 
they do not, they have lost their labour ; if they do, they arc 
not, worth it. They dream they are eating, and enjoying the 
fruit of their labour ; but they awake, and their soul is empty. 
And if at length they think of laying wiser and more valuable 
designs, the key turns, and not having fixed their resolution, 
and begun aright, they and all their thoughts, foolish, or more 
wise, perish together. Because there is a fit season for every 
ft undertaking, a time and judgment for every purpose, or a 
critical time, such as is by judgment affixed to every such 
purpose, (Eccl. 8. 6.) and because also men know not their 
time, (ch. 9. 12.) "therefore their misery is great upon the earth, 
and as birds caught in a snare, they are snared in an evil time 
that falleth suddenly upon them. O miserable, miserable mor- 
tals ! So are your immortal spirits misemployed and lost ! 

Their most valuable design for another world is seldom 
thought on in season; their little designs for this world they 
contrive and prosecute with that confidence, as if they thought 
the world to be theirs, and themselves their own, and they had 
no Lord over them. This rude insolence that holy apostle 
animadverts upon, of such as say, " To-day or to-morrow we 
will go to such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and 
sell, and get gain ; whereas they know not what shall be on 
the morrow: for what is their life? A vapour that appearcth 
for a little time, and then vanisheth away," Jam. 4. 13 — 15. 
So much of duty and becoming behaviour is in the mean 
time forgotten, as to say, " If the Lord will, we shall live, 
and do this or that." This is to bear themselves as abso- 
lute masters of their own lives. How bold an affront to their 
sovereign Lord ! They feel themselves well in health, strength, 
and vigour, and seem resolved it shall be a trial of skill who 
hath the power, or to whom the keys belong, till it come to 
the last irrefragable demonstration, that he changes their conn- 


tenance, and sends them away; (Job 14. 20.) and then they 
go driven, plueked and torn away from their dwelling-place, 
roofed ont of the land of the living, Ps. 52. 5. 

But if any premonitory decays make them doubt the perpe- 
tuity of their own abode here, they somewhat, ease their minds 
by the pleasure they take in thinking, when they have fUled 
their own bellies, (Ps. 17. 14.) what they shall leave of their 
substance to their babes, and to them that shall come niter. 
And " their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue 
for ever, and their dwelling-places to all generations ; and they 
call their lands after their own names, and their posterity ap- 
prove their sayings," (Ps. 49. 11.) think and act as wisely as 
they. Thus they take upon them, and reckon that they for 
their time, and theirs after them, shall still dwell in their own. 
A wise thought ! They are the owners, when another keeps 
the keys. 

Several other things of like import I shall more lightly touch, 
that may be collected from what hath been already more large- 
ly said, and leave to be further enlarged upon in your own 
thoughts ; and shall dilate more upon some other, as they are 
either more material, or less thought on by the most. 

3. Be not prodigal of your time on earth, which is so little 
in your power. Because you are not to expect much, make 
the best use you can of your little. It is so precious a thing 
that it is to be redeemed : it is therefore too precious to be em- 
bezzled and trifled away. The connexion of those two pre- 
cepts, (Eph. 5. 15, 16.) of walking circumspectly, not as fools, 
but as wise, and that of redeeming the time, more than inti- 
mates, that to squander time is a foolish thing. Of the several 
sorts of things that we make ourselves, their shape and frame 
shew their use and end. Are we to make a less judicious esti- 
mate of the works of God? If we therefore contemplate our- 
selves, and consider what a sort of production man is, can we 
allow ourselves to think God made him a reasonable creature 
on purpose to play the fool? Or can we live as if we thought 
so, without reproaching our Maker ? But whereas he who hath 
been the Author to us of such a nature, capable of improving 
a life's time in this world unto most valuable purposes, hath 
also been the Author of such a law, requiring us to redeem 
time ; the reproach will be wholly turned off from him upon 
ourselves, and our consequent ruin be upon our own guilty- 
heads. And he will find some among ourselves, who by the 
advantage only of the reasonable nature, common to us and 
them, that are instructors to us not to waste our days in vanity, 


and will be witnesses against us if we so foolishly consume what 
we cannot command. 

Some such have unanswerably reprehended the common 
folly of those that dread the thought of throwing away their 
whole life at once, that yet have no regret at throwing it all 
away by parcels and piece-meal. And have told us, Neque 
quicquam reperif. dignum, quod cum tempore suo permntaret — 
A wise man can find nothing of thai value, for which to barter 
axcay his time. Sen. 

And we are to consider, that as we are reasonable creatures, 
we are accountable. That Ave are shut up in these bodies, as 
in work-houses. That when he that keeps the keys lets us out, 
we are to " receive the things done in the body, according to 
what we have done, whether good or evil," 2 Cor. 5. 10. That 
it belongs to him that measures our time to censure it too, and 
the use we have made of it. 

4. Let him be at once both great and amiable in our eyes, 
who hath so absolute power over us, and so gracious propen- 
sions towards us ; who hath these keys, and who acquired them 
with so merciful intentions, even upon such terms as could not 
but signify the greatest compassion and good-will towards such 
as we. 

Heconsider what hath been offered as matter of Meditation, 
to both these purposes. And now, hereupon, let us endeavour 
to have a correspondent sense inwrought into our hearts, and to 
hear ourselves towards him accordingly. The power and ef- 
ficacy of whole Christianity depend upon this, and do very 
principally consist in if. What a faint, impotent, languishing 
flung is our religion, how r doth if dwindle info spiritless, dead 
form, without it ! The form of knowledge is nothing else but 
insipid, dead notion, and our forms of worship only fruitless, 
unpleasant formality, if we have not a vivid sense in our hearts 
both of his glorious greatness, and of his excellent loving-kind- 
ness. As much as words can signify towards the impressing 
such a sense into our hearts, we have in these words, uttered 
from his own mouth ; so that he may say, as that memorable 
t\ peof him once did, You may plainly perceive, " It is my mouth 
that speaketh to you," Gen, 45. u 1 am (he First and the Last. 
1 am he that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive forever- 
more." And hereto he now sets his solemn ratifying seal, Amen. 
Wherewith he leaves us to pause, and collect, that thus it was 
brought about, that he could add, "And I have the keys of 
the vast hades, the whole unseen world, and of death." 

And God forbid that, now, these words should be with us 


an empty sound, or a dead letter ! Let us cast in our minds 
what manner of salutation this should be ! Doth the Son of Goii 
thus vouchsafe to bespeak miserable abjects, perishing', lost 
wretches ? How can we hereupon but bow our heads and wor- 
ship ? What agitations of affectum should? we feel within! How 
should all our internal powers be moved, and our whole souls 
made as the chariots of Amminadib ! What can we now be un- 
willing of, that he Avould have us be, or do ? And as that, whereof 
we maybe assured he is most willing ? 

5. Let us entirely receive him, and absolutely resign our- 
selves (o him, as our Prince and Saviour. Who would not 
covet to be in special relation to so mighty and so kind a Lord ? 
And can you think to be related to him upon other terms ? And 
do you not know that upon these you may, when in his gospel 
he offers himself, and demands you ? What can that mean 
but that you are to receive him, and resign yourselves ? The 
case is now brought to this state, that you must either comply, 
or rebel. And what! rebel against him who hath these keys, 
who is in so high authority over the whole unseen world I Who 
is the Head of all principality and power, who is gone into 
the heavens, the glorious upper hades, and is at the right hand 
of God, angels, authorities, and powers, being made subject to 
him ! 1 Pet. 3. 22. We little know or can conceive, as yet, 
the several orders and distinctions of the celestial inhabitants, 
and their great and illustrious princes and potentates, thrones, 
dominions, and principalities and powers, that all pay him a 
dutiful and a joyful subjection and obedience. But do we not 
know God hath given him a name above every name ? and 
that in his name, or at it, as it may be read, that is, in ac- 
knowledgment of his sovereign power, every knee must bow, 
of things in heaven, on earth, and under earth, and all con- 
fess that he is Lord, to the praise and glory of God the Father ? 
And who art thou, perishing wretch ! that darest dispute his 
title ? Or that, when all the creation must be subject to him, 
wilt except thyself? 

And when it cost him so dear, that his vast power might be 
subservient to a design of grace, and thou must at last be saved 
by him, or lost for ever, what can tempt thee to stand out against 
such power, and such grace ? 

If thou wert to gratify thy ambition, how glorious a thing is 
it to be a Christian ! a subject, a devoted homager, to so mighty 
a Prince ! If to provide against thy necessity and distress, what 
course can be so sure and successful, as to fly for refuge to so 
compassionate a Saviour ? And dost thou not know there must 


be, (o this purpose, an express transaction between him and 
thee? Wonder he will condescend td it ! To capitulate with 
dust and ashes! To Article with his own creature, with whom 
he may do what he will ! But his merciful condescension herein 
is declared and known. If there shall be a special relation 
settled betAveen him and tiiee, he bath told thee in what way 
it must be, namely, byway of covenant-transaction and agree- 
ment, as he puts his people of old in mind his way was with 
them : " I entered into covenant with thee, and thou becamest 
mine," Ezek. 16. 8. This I insist upon and press, as a thing 
of the greatest importance imaginable, and the least thought 
of; nor the strange incongruity animadverted on, that we 
have the seals of such a covenant among us; but the covenant 
itself slips through our hands. Our baptism soon after we 
were born, with some federal words then, is thought enough, as 
if we were a nation always minors. W hoe ver therefore thou 
art, that hearest these words, or readest these lines, know that 
the great Lord is express towards ih.ee in his gospel proposal — 
" Wilt thou accept me for thine, and resign thyself as mine ?." 
He now expects and requires thy express answer. Take his 
gospel as from the cross, or take it as from the throne, or as from 
both, it is the same gospel, interwoven of grace and authority ; 
the richest grace, and the highest authority, at once inviting and 
requiring thee to commit and submit thyself unto him. Take heed 
lest his key turn before thou hast given thy complying answer, 
importing at once both thy trust and ihy subjection. 

Give not over pleading with thyself, ■■ ith thy wayward stu- 
pid heart, till it can say to him, " Lord, I yield ; thou hast 
overcome." Till with tender relettings lliou hast thrown thy- 
self at his feet, and told him, "Lord, I am ashamed, I am 
confounded within myself, that thou shouldest die upon across 
to obtain thy high power, and that thou art, now ready to use 
it for the saving of so vile a miscreant as 1 : that when thou hast 
so tfast an unknown world, so numberless myriads of excellent 
creatures in thy obedience, thou shouldest yet think k worth 
thy while to look after me ; and that I should so long have with- 
stood thy kind and gracious overtures and intendments ! O 
forgive my wicked aversion ! I now accept and resign." 

And now this being sincerely Sone, with fulness of con- 
sent, with deep humility, with yearning bowels, with unfeign- 
ed thankfulness, and an inward complacency and gladness of 
heart ; 

6. Let your following course in this world be ordered 
agreeably hereto, in continued dependence and subjection. As 


we liny? received Christ Jesus the Lord, so we are to walk in 
him, Col. 2. 6. Take him according to the titles here given 
him, as Christ, a Pe son ar.oimed, authorized, qualified to be 
both Jesus, a Saviour, and so we are to walk, according to 
our first reception of him, in continual dependence on his 
saving* mercy, and to be a Lord, or, as it is here exprest, with 
emineney, the Lord, so Ave are to walk in continual subjec- 
tion to Ms governing power. Otherwise our receiving him, at 
first, under these notions, hath nothing in it but mockery and 

But if his obtaining these keys, upon the terms here exprest, 
as having been dead, and now living, and having overcome 
death, as it is also Rom. 14. 9, did signify his having them 
for saving purposes, as it must, since for other purposes he 
had them sufficiently before ; and if -we reckon this a reason- 
able inducement to receive him, and commit and intrust our- 
selves to him as a Saviour, that he died, and overcame death ; 
(for his grace in yielding to die, had not rendered him a com- 
petent object of trust, otherwise than in conjunction with his 
power in overcoming death, and so gaining into his hands these 
keys :) then, the same reason still remaining, how constant an 
encouragement have we to continue accordingly walking in 
him all our days ! How potent an argument should it be to 
us, to live that life which we live in the flesh, by faith in the 
Son of God, who loved us, and gave himself for us ? (Gal. 2. 
20.) that is, inasmuch as having been crucified with him, 
(which is also there exprest,) we feel ourselves to live never- 
theless ; yet so as that it is not so much we that live, as Christ 
that liveth in us ; who could not live in us, or be to us a 
spring of life, if he were not a perpetual spring of life iii 

And consider, how darest thou live otherwise in this flesh, 
in this earthly house, whereof he keeps the keys, and can 
fetch thee out at his pleasure ? When he hath warned thee to 
abide in him, that when he ( ,shall appear, thou mayest have 
confidence, and not be ashamed at his coming, 1 John 2. 28. 
lie will certainly then appear, when he comes to open the door, 
and dislodge thee from this flesh ; (though there be here a 
further and final reference to another appearance and coming of 
his;) and if lie then find thee severed and disjoined from him, 
(thy first closure with him not having been sincere, truly unitive 
and. vital,) how terribly will he look ! how confoundedly wilt 
thou look in that hour ! 

Neither hast thou less reason to live in continual subjection 

"VOL. I. G 

42 the redeemer's dominion 

to him, considering that as he died, and overcame death, that 
lie might have these keys, so he now hath them, and thou art 
under his governing power. The more thou considerest his 
right to govern, the less thou wilt dispute it. When he was 
spoken of as a Child to us born, that he might become a Man of 
sorrows, and be sorrowful unto the death, and have all the sor- 
rows of death come upon him, he is at the same time said to be 
the mighty Cod, and it was declared the government should 
foe upon his shoulders, Isa. 9. 6. As he was the first begotten 
from the dead, both submitting to death, and conquering it, 
so he was the Prince of the kings of the earth, (a small part of 
his kingdom too,) his throne being founded on his cross, his 
governing power in his sacrifice ; that is, the power whereby 
he so governs, as that he may also save ; making these two 
things, the salving the rights of the Godhead, injured by sin, 
and delivering of the sinner from an eternal ruin, to agree and 
consist with one another. 

What an endearing obligation is this to obey ! That he will 
be the Author of eternal salvation to them that obey him ! Inns- 
much as, while our obedience cannot merit the least thing from 
him, yet his vouchsafing to govern us doth most highly merit 
from us. For he governs by writing his law in the heart, which 
makes our heart agree with the law ; and by implanting divine 
love in us, which vanquishes enmity and disaffection, and vir- 
tually contains in itself our obedience, or keeping his com- 
mandments, John 14. 15, 23, and 1 John 5. 3. Therefore this 
government of his, over us, is naturally necessary to our sal- 
vation and blessedness, and is the inchoation and beginning of 
it; as our perfected love to God, and conformity to his nature 
and will, do involve and contain in themselves our complete 
and perfect blessedness, with which a continued enmity, or a 
rebellious mutinous disposition against God, is naturally in- 
consistent, and would be to us, and in us, a perpetual, ever- 
lasting hell. 

There can therefore be no enthralling servitude in such obedi- 
ence, but the truest liberty, that by which the Son makes us free 
indeed, John 8. 36. Yea a true sort of royalty : for hereby we 
come, in the most allowable sense, to live as we will, our will 
being conformed to the will of God. W hereupon that was no 
high extravagant rant, but a sober expression, " We are born 
in a kingdom : to serve God is to reign." Seneca. 

And we know this to be the will of God, that all should ho- 
nour the Son, as they honour the Father, John 5. 23. Here- 
with will the evangelically obedient comport with high com- 


placency ; accounting him most highly worthy that it should 
be so. Wherein therefore the Christian law seems strictest 
and most rigorous in the enjoined observance of our Lord 
Christ, herein we shall discern an unexceptionable reasonable- 
ness, and comply with a complacential approbation. And let 
us put our own hearts to it, and see that without regret or ob- 
murmuration they can readily consent to the equity of the pre- 

It is enjoined us, constructively at least, that because Christ 
died for us, when we were dead, quite lost in death, we that 
live, hereupon should settle this with ourselves as a fixed 
judgment, and upon that intervening judgment yield to the 
constraint of his love, so as henceforth no more to live to our- 
selves : God forbid we should henceforth be so profane ! We 
must now for ever have done with that impious, unlawful way 
of living. What ! after this, that we have so fully understood 
the stale of our case, that we should be so assuming as ever 
ajrain to offer at such a thins? as living to ourselves, to make 
ourselves ^deities to ourselves ; or to live otherwise than unto 
him who died for us, and rose again! 2 Cor. 5. 14, 15. This 
is high and great, and may seem strict and severe. What ! 
to have the whole stream of all the actions and aims, the 
strength and vigour of our lives, to be carried in one entire, 
undivided current unto him, and (as it must be understood), 
Gal. 2. 19.) to (»od in him, so as never more to live to our- 
selves, a divided, separate life apart from him, or wherein we 
shall not finally and more principally design for him ! How 
high is his claim, but how equal and grateful to a right 
mind ! With what a plenitude of consent (taking this into the 
account) is every divine command esteemed to be right in all 
things! So that w hat soever is opposite, is hated as a false 
way, Ps. 119. 128. And as the precept carries its own visible 
reason, the keeping of it carries its own reward in itself, Ps. 
19. 11. And is it too much for him who bears these keys, and 
obtained them on such terms, and for such ends, to be thus af- 
fected towards him ? 

We are required, without exception, without limitation or 
reserve, whatsoever we do, whether in word or work, to do all 
in the name of our Lord .Jesus Christ, Col. 5. 17. 

Inquire we, Do our hearts repine at this law ? Do not we ? 
Does not this world owe so much to him? Why are we al- 
lowed a place and a time here? Why is not this world a 
flaming theatre ? Is it not fit that all should know under whose 
government they live ; by whose beneficence, under whoso 


protection, and in whose name (hey may act so or so, and by 
whose authority ; either obliging 1 ; or not restraining them, re- 
quiring, or licensing them to do this or that ? Does this world 
owe less to him, that bears these keys, than Egypt did to 
Joseph, when thus the royal word went forth in reference to 
him, " I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up 
his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt ?" How pleasant should 
it be to our souls, often to remember and think on that name of 
his which we bear, (I'sa. 26. 8. Mai. S. 16.) and draw in as vital 
hsreath, the sweet odours of it, Cant. 1. 3. Ps. 45. 6 — 11. John 
20. 28. How glorious a thing should we count it, because he 
is the Lord our God, to walk in Iris name for ever arid ever, as. 
all people will walk every one in the name of their God, Mic. 
4. 5. And then we shall account it no hard law, whatever we 
do, to do ail in the name of our Lord Jesus, giving thanks to 
God the Father by him, and for him ; blessing God every 
day, that we are put by him under the mild and merciful go- 
vernment of a Redeemer. Then, we shall rejoicingly avow, 
as the apostle doth, ( I Cor. 9. 21.) That we are not without 
law to God, but under law to Christ. 

Whereupon, when you find your special relation is thus set- 
tled and fixed unto the great Lord both of this present visible 
world, and of hades, or the invisible world, also by your so- 
lemn covenant with him, and evidenced by the continued cor- 
respondency of your heart and lite, your dispositions and ac- 
tions, 1 hereunto : 

7. Do not regret or dread to pass out of the one world into 
the other at his call, and under his conduct, though through 
the dark passage of death; remembering the keys are in so 
great and so kind a hand ; and that his good pleasure herein is 
no more to be distrusted, than to be disputed or withstood. 
Let it be enough to you, that what yon cannot see yourself, 
he sees for you. You have oft desired your ways, jour mo- 
tions, your removals from place to place, might be directed by 
him in the world. 1 lave yon never said, If thou go not with me, 
carry me not up hence? How safely and fearlessly may you 
follow him blindfold or in the dark any whither ; not only from 
place to place in this world, but from world to world ; how 
lightsome soever the one, and gloomy and dark the other may 
seem to you. Darkness and light are to him alike. To him, 
hades is no hades, nor is the dark way that leads into it to hiin 
an untrodden path. Shrink not at the thoughts of this transla- 
tion, though it be not by escaping death, but even through the 
jaws of it. 


We commonly excuse our aversion to die, by alleging that 
nature regrets it. But we do not enough consider, that 
in such a compounded sort of creature as we are, the word 
nature must be ambiguous. There is us a sensitive nature 
that regrets it; but taking the case is now stated, can we 

think it tolerable, that it should be regretted by the reasonable 
nature? Unto which, if Ave appeal, can we suppose it so un- 
true to itself, as not to assert itsvown superiority ? Or to jud e 
it fit that an intelligent, immortal Spiri ...ole of so great 

things in another world, should be content with a long abode 
here, only to keep a well-figured piece of flesh from patrefy- 
ing, or give it the satisfaction of tasting meats and drinks that 
are grateful to it, for a few years ? And if for a few, why not 
for many? And when those many were expired, why not for 
as many more? And the same reason always remaining, why 
not for always? The case is thus put, because the common 
meaning of this allegation, that nature regrets or abhors this 
dissolution, is not thai they are concerned, for their souls how 
it may fare with them in another world, which most men little 
mind or trouble themselves about; but that they are to have 
what is grateful to them in this world. And was this the end a 
reasonable spirit was made for, when, without reason, sense 
were alike capable of the same sort of gratifications ? What 
law, what equity, what rule of decency, can oblige the soul 
of, a man, capable of the society and enjoyments of angels, io 
this piece of self-denial, for the sake of his incomparably baser 
body ? Or can make it fit that the nobler and more excellent 
nature should be eternally subservient to -the meaner and more 
ignobte? Especially, considering that if, according to the 
case supposed, the two last foregoing directions be complied 
with, there is a sort of divine nature superadded to the whole 
human nature, that cannot but prompt the soul ennobled by it, 
to aspire to suitable, even to the highest, operations and en- 
joyments, whereof it is capable, and which are not attainable 
hi this present bodily state. 

And if there were still a dispute between nature and nature, 
it is enough that the great Lord of hades, and of this present 
sensible work! too, will determine it. In a far lower instance, 
when the general of an army commands it upon an enterprise, 
wherein life is to be hazarded, it wo tld be an ill excuse of "a 
cowardly declining, to say, their nature regrets and dreads 
the ad ve.il are. The thing is necessary. Against what is so 
unavoidable as death, that is an abject mind that reluctates. 
Miser est qultunque non vult, Munda sccuin .morientc, mori — 


He is a miserable man, who, while he sees the world dying 
around him, is himself unwilling to die. Sen. Tr. 

Come, Ihen, lotus imbolden ourselves; and, -when he brings 
the key, dare to die. It is to obey and enjoy him, who is our 
life and our all. Say we cheerfully each of us, Lord Jesus 
receive my spirit : into thy hands I commit it, who hast re- 
deemed it. 

8. Let us quietly submit to divine disposal, when our drar 
friends and relatives are by death taken away from us. For 
consider into what hands this affair is put, of ordering every 
6fie's decease, and removal out of this into the other world, and 
who hath these keys. It is such a one, whose right, if we use 
our thoughts, we shall not allow ourselves to dispute ; or io 
censure his administration. His original right, is that of a 
Creator and a God. " For all things were created for him, 
and by him,"' Col. I. 16. " And without him was nothing 
made that was made," John 1. 3. « The first and the last" to 
all things, Rev. 1. 17. 

His supervening right was that of a Redeemer, as hath been 
already noted from this context, and as such he had it by ac- 
quisition, dying to obtain if, and overcoming death ! " I am 
he that liveth and was dead." And then, as he elsewhere de- 
clares, by constitution, " All power is given me both in heaven 
and on earth," Matth. 28. J8. The word («£«»/•) imports 
rightful, power. And who are we, or any relatives of ours, 
whom all the power of heaven and earth hath no right to touch ? 
What exempt jurisdiction can we pretend ourselves to belong 
unto ? 

Or will we adventure to say, not denying his right, He did 
not use it well in this case? Who is more fitly qualified io 
judge, than he that hath these keys? And let this matter be 
yet more thoroughly discussed. What is it that we find fault 
with in the removal of this or that person, that was near, and 
delightful to us ? Is it that he was to die at all ? Or that he 
died so soon ? If we say the former ; do we blame the consti- 
tution appointing all men once to die, by which this world is 
made a portal to another, for all men, and whence it was ne- 
cessary none should stay long in this, but only pass through, 
iitfo that world wherein every one is to have his everlasting 
abode ? Or is it that, when we think it not unfit this should be 
the general and common course, there should yet have been a 
particular dispensation for this friend or relation of mine ? 

Let ihe former be supposed the thing we quarrel at, and con- 
sider the intolerable consequences of the matters being other- 


wise, as the case is with this apostate sinful world. Such as 
upon second, better-weighed thoughts, we would abhor to 
admit into our minds, even as the matter of a wish. What! 
would we wish to mankind a sinning immortality on this earth, 
before which a wise heathen* professed to prefer one day vir- 
tuously spent ? Would we wish this world to be the everlast- 
ing stage of indignities and affronts to him that made it ? Would 
we wish there should never be a judgment-day, and that all 
the wise and righteous counsels of heaven should be ranverst 
and overturned, only to comport with our terrene and sensual 
inclinations ? Is this our dutifulness and loyal affection to our 
blessed Lord, the Author of our beings, and the God of our 
lives, whose rights and honours should be infinitely dearer to 
us than ourselves? Is it our kindness to ourselves, and all 
others of our kind and order, that are all naturally capable, 
and many, by gracious vouchsafement, fitly qualified, to en- 
joy a perfect felicity in another world, that we would have all 
together confined for ever to this region of darkness, impurity, 
and misery ? 

Or if it displease us, that our relatives are not, by some spe- 
cial dispensation, excepted from the common law of mortality, 
we would surely as much have expected an exemption our- 
selves ; otherwise, our dying away from them, would make the 
so much regretted separation, as well as theirs from us. And 
what then, if we were required to draw up our petition, to put 
it into express words, to turn our wish for ourselves, and all 
our relatives and peculiar friends, into a formed, solemn prayer, 
to tli is effect, that we are content the law stand in force, that all 
the world should die, with only the exception of some few 
names ; namely, our own, and of our kindred and more inward 
friends ? What ashamed confounded creatures should we be 
upon the view of our own request! Should we not presently 
be for quelling and suppressing it, and easily yield to be non- 
suited, without more ado ? What pretence can we have not 
to think others as apt to make the same request for them and 
theirs ? And if all the rest of the world shall die, would we 
and our friends dwell here alone, or would we have this world 
be continued habitable only on this private account, to gratify 
a family ? And if we and our friends be holy, heavenly-minded 
persons, how unkind were it to wish to ourselves and them, 
when fit for the society of angels and blessed spirits above, a 
perpetual abode in this low earthly state ! Would we not now, 

* Cicero. 

48 th" redeemer's nosriNiox 

upon riper, second thoughts,, rather be content that tilings 
should rest as (hey are, and he that hath (lie.se keys, use them 
his own way ? 

But if by^dtthis we are put quite out of conceit with the 
desire of a terrestrial immortality, all that the matter finally re- 
sults into is, that we think such a relative of ours died too soon. 
We would not have coveted for him an eternity on earth, but 
only more time. A nd how much more ? Or for what ? If we were 
to set the time, it is likely that when it comes, we should be as 
averse to a separation, if coexistent, then, as now ; and so we 
revolve into the exploded desire of a terrestrial immortality 
back again at last, li' we were to assign the reason of our de- 
sire, that would seem, as in the present case, a plausible one to 
some, which is mentioned by Plutarch in his consolation to 
.Apollonius for the loss of his son, concerning another such 
case (as he instances in many) of one Elysius an Italian, 
whose loss of his son Euthynous was much aggravated by this, 
that he was a great heir. But what was said to that, there, and 
what is further to be said to any thing of that kind, I shall re- 
serve to a more proper place. 

It is a more weighty allegation, and of more common con- 
cernment, when a useful person is gone, and one very capable 
of becoming very eminently so. And this requires deeper con- 
sideration, and sundry things ought to be considered, in order 
to the quieting their minds, who are apt to behold such darker 
dispensations, in the course of providence, with amusement, 
and disturbance of spirit ; that is, when they, see persons of 
excellent endowments and external advantages beyond the 
most, cut off in their prime, while the world is cumbered with 
drones never likely to do good, and pestered with such as arc 
like to prove plagues to it, and do great hurl and mischief to 
the age wherein they live : an ancient <?nd not uncommon scru- 
ple to pious observers heretofore. u Wherefore," says holy 
Job, " do the wicked live, become old, yea. are mighty in 
power ? Their s<: ed is established in their sight," ch. 21. 7, 8, 
when his seed was cut off before his eyes. And here let us 

(1.) That (his world is in apostasy from God: and though 
he is pleased to use apt means for its recovery, he doth what he 
thinks fit herein of mere grace and favour, and is under no ob- 
ligation to do all that he can. His dispensation herein must 
correspond to, and bear upon it, the impress of other divine 
perfections, his wisdom, holiness, justice, as well as grace. 
And for grace itself, whereas all since die apostasy lie together 


in a fearful gulf of impurity and misery ; and some, made 
more early sensible hereof than the most, do stretch out a crav- 
ing hand, and cry for help. If now a mercifulhand reached 
down from heaven take hold of them, and pluck them sooner 
out : is this disagreeable to the God of all grace, to make some 
such instances, and vouchsafe them an earlier deliverance ; 
though they might, being longer delayed, be some way helpful 
to others, that continue stupid and insensible ? 

(2.) When he hath done much, in an age still obstinately 
unreclaimable, lie may be supposed to let one appear, only 
with a promising aspect, and in just displeasure presently with- 
draw him, that they may understand they have forfeited such 
a blessing, to this or that country, as such a one might have 

($.) This may awaken some, the more to prize and improve 
the encouragements they may have from such as remain, or 
shall spring up in their stead, who are gone, and to bless God 
that the weight of his interest, and of the cause of religion, 
<loth not hang and depend upon the slender thread of this man's 
life. " The God of the spirits of all flesh' 1 can raise up in- 
struments as he pleases ; and will, to serve his own purposes, 
though not ours. 

. (4.) He will have it known, that though he uses instruments, 
he needs them not. It is a piece of divine royalty and magni- 
ficence, that when he hath prepared and polished such a 
utensil, so as to be capable of great service, he can lay it by 
without loss. 

(5.) They that are most qualified to be of greatest use in this 
world, are thereby also the more capable of blessedness in the 
other. It is owing to his most munificent bounty, that he may 
vouchsafe to reward sincere intentions, as highly as great ser- 
vices. He took David's having it in his heart to build him a 
house, as kindly as Solomon's building him one : and as much 
magnifies himself in testifying his acceptance of such as he dis- 
charges from his service here, at the third hour, as of them 
whom he engages not in it till the eleventh. 

(6.) Of their early piety he makes great present use in this 
world, testifying his acceptance of their works, generally in 
his word, and particularly by the reputation he procures to 
them in the minds and consciences of such as were best able to 
judge, and even of all that knew them, which may be truly 
accounted a divine testimony, both in respect of the object, 
which hath on it a divine impress, and speaks the seif-recom- 

VOL. I. H 


mending power of true goodness, which is the image of God, 
and in respect of the subject, shews the dominion God hath 
over minds, engaging not only good men to behold with com- 
placency such pleasant, blooming goodness, correspondent to 
their own ; but even bad men to approve in these others, what 
they entertain not in themselves. " The same things are ac- 
cepted with God, and approved of men," Horn. 14. 18. 
" Thus being dead, they, as Abel, yet speak," Ileb. 11. 4. 
(7.) And it is a brighter and more unsullied testimony, 
which is left in the minds of men, concerning such very hope- 
ful persons as die in their youth. They never were otherwise 
known, or can be remembered, than as excellent young 
persons. This is the only idea which remains of them. 
Had they lived longer, to the usual age of man, the remem- 
brance of what they were in youth would have been in a great 
degree effaced and worn out by latter things ; perhaps blacks 
ened, not by what were less commendable, but more ungrate- 
ful to the greater part, especially if they lived to come into 
public stations. Their just zeal and contestations against the 
wickedness of the age, might disoblige many, and create them 
enemies, who would make it their business to blast them, and 
cast upon their name and memory all the reproach they could 
invent. Whereas the lustre of that virtue and piety which had 
provoked nobody, appears only with an amiable look, and 
leaves behind nothing of such a person but a fair, unblemisln 
ed, alluring and instructive example ; which they that ob- 
served them might, with less prejudiced minds, compare with 
the useless, vicious lives of many that they see to have filled up 
a room in the world, unto extreme old age, either to no pur- 
pose, or to very bad. And how vast is the difference in respect 
of usefulness to the world, between a pious young gentleman 
dying in his youth, that lived long in a little time, untainted 
by youthful lusts and vanities, and victorious over them, and 
an accursed sinner of an hundred years old; (Isa. 65. 20.) 
one that was an infant of days, and though an hundred years 
old, yet still a child, that had not filled up his da^ys with any 
thing of real value or profit to himself or others : so some very 
judicious expositors understand that text. And as Seneca 
aptly speaks, Non est quod quenquam propter canos aut rugas, 
putes diu vixisse. Non ille diu vixit, sed diu fuit — had no- 
thing besides gre?/ hairs, and wrinkles, to make him be thought 
a long liver ; but who might truly be said not to have lived 
long, but only to have been long, in the world. How sweet 


and fragrant a memory doth the one, how rotten and stinking 
a name doth the other, leave behind hiin to survivors ! 

Therefore such very valuable young persons as are taken 
hence in the flower of their age, are not to be thought, upon 
that account, of usefulness to this world, to have lived in it 
thai shorter time in vain. 

They leave behind them that testimony which will turn to ac- 
count, both for the glory of God's grace, which he hath ex- 
emplified in them, and which may be improved to the good of 
many who shall have seen that a holy life, amidst the tempta- 
tions that the youthful age is exposed to, is no impracticable 
thing ; and that an early death is as possible also to themselves. 

But besides their no little usefulness in this world, which they 
leave, we must know, 

(8.) That the affairs and concernments of the other world, 
whither they go, are incomparably greater every way, and 
much more considerable. And to this most unquestionable 
maxim must be our last and final resort, in the present case. 
All the perturbation and discomposure of mind which we suffer 
upon any such occasion, arises chiefly from our having too 
high and great thoughts of this world, and too low and dimi- 
nishing thoughts of the other ; and the evil must be remedied 
by rectifying our apprehensions in this matter. Because 
that other world is hades, unseen, and not within the verge of 
our sense, our sensual minds are prone to make of it a very 
little thing, and even next to nothing, as too many will have 
it to be quite nothing at all. We are concerned, in duty 
to our blessed Redeemer and Lord, and for his just honour, to 
magnify this his prefecture, and render it as great to ourselves 
as the matter requires, and as our very narrow minds can ad- 
mit : and should labour to correct it as a great and too common 
fault, a very gross vulgar error, to conceive of persons leaving 
this world of ours, as if they hereby became useless ; and, 
upon the matter, lost out of the creation of God. So is our 
fancy prepossessed and filled with delusive images, that throng 
in upon it through our unwary senses, that we imagine this 
little spot of our earth to be the only place of business, and all 
the rest of the creation to be mere vacuity, vast empty space, 
where there is nothing to do, and nothing to be enjoyed. Not 
that these are formed, positive thoughts, or a seltled judgment, 
with good men, but they are floating imaginations, so conti- 
nually obtruded upon them, from (what lies next) the objects 
of sense, that they have more influence to affect the heart, and 

'52 the redeemer's dominion' 

infer unsuitable, sudden, and indeliberate emotions of spirit,, 
than the" most formed judgment, grounded on things that lie 
without the sphere of sense, can outweigh. 

And hence when a good man dies, elder or younger, the 
common cry is, among the better sort, (for the other do less 
concern themselves,) " O what a loss is this! Not to be re- 
paired ! not to be borne !" Indeed this is better than the com- 
mon stupidity, not to consider, not " to take it to heart, when 
the righteous man perishcth, or is taken away." And the law 
of our own nature obliges and prompts us to feel and regret the 
losses which afflict us. But such resentments ought to be fol- 
lowed and qualified by greater thoughts, arising from a superior 
nature, that ought presently to take place with us, of the nobler 
employments which God calls such unto, " of whom this world 
was not worthy," Hcb. 1 1 .. 38. And how highly his greatand 
all-comprehending interest is to be preferred before our own, or 
the interest of this or that family, country, or nation, on earth ! 

And, at once both to enlarge and quiet our minds, on such- 
occasions we should particularly consider, 

[1.] The vast amplitude of the heavenly hades, in compa- 
rison of our minute spot of earth, or of that dark region, 
wheresoever it is, reserved for the just punishment of delin- 
quents, according to such intimations as the holy Scriptures 
give us hereof; which being written only for the use of us on 
earth, cannot be supposed to intend the giving us more distinct 
accounts of the state of things in the upper world, than were 
necessary for us in this our present state. 

But it is no obscure hint that is given of the spaciousness of 
the heavenly regions, when purposely to represent the divine 
immensity, it is said of the unconfined presence of the great 
God, that even heaven, and the heaven of heavens, cannot 
contain him, 1 Kings 8. 27. 2 Chron. 6. 18. How vast scope 
is given to our thinking minds, to conceive heavens above hea- 
vens, encircling one another, till we have quite tired our fa- 
culty, and yet we know not how far short we are of the utmost 
verge ! And when our Lord is said to have ascended far above 
all heavens, (Eph. 4. 10.) whose arithmetic will suffice to tell 
how many they are? "Whose uranography to describe how 
far that is ? 

We need not impose it upon ourselves to judge their rules 
infallible, who, being of no mean understanding, nor indili- 
gent in their inquiries, have thought it not improbable that there 
may be fixed stars within view, at that distance from our earth* 


that if moveable in as swift motion as that of a bullet shot from 
a cannon, would be fifty thousand years in passing from one to 
the other.* But how much remoter that star may be from the 
utmost verge of the universe, is left altogether unimaginable. 
I have been told that a very ingenious artist going about, in 
exact proportions, to describe the orb or vortex to which our 
sun belongs, on as large a table as could be convenient for him 
to work upon, was at a loss to find a spot not too big, in pro- 
portion, for our earth, and big enough, whereupon to place 
the point, made very fine, of one foot of his compasses. 

If any suspect extravagancy in our modern computations, let 
him take a view of what is discoursed to this purpose by a. 
writer of most unexceptionable wisdom and sobriety, as Avell 
as most eminent sanctity, in his time.t 

Now when the Lord of this vast universe beheld upon this 
little spot intelligent creatures in transgression and misery, that 
he did so compassionately concern himself for the recovery of 
such as should, by apt methods, be induced to comply with 
his merciful design ; and appoint his own eternal Son to be 
their Redeemer, in order whereto, as he was God with God, 
he must also become Man, among men, one of themselves ; and 
so, as God-man, for his kindness to some, be constituted uni- 
versal Lord of all. Shall mere pity towards this world greaten 
it above the other ? 

But we are not left without ground to apprehend a more im- 
mediate reason for his being, as Redeemer, made Head and 
Lord of all those creatures that were the original inhabitants of 
the invisible world. For when it had been said, (Col. 1. 16.) 
that all things were created by him, not only the visible things 

* Computation by the Hon. Francis Roberts, Esq. Philosophical Trans- 
actions for the months of March and April, 1604. 

t Bolton, in his Four Last Things, who speaking of heaven, directs us 

to guess, the immeasurable magnitude of it, (as otherwise so) by the 

incredihle distance from the earth to the starry firmament; and adds, 
" If I should here tell you the several computations of astronomers, in 
this kind, the sums would seem to exceed all possibility of belief." And 
he annexes in his margin sundry computations which I shall not here re- 
cite; you may find them in the author himself, p. 21. A«d yet besides, 
as he further adds, the late most learned of them place above the 8th 
sphere, wherein all those glorious lamps shine so bright, three moving 
orbs more. Now the empyrean heaven comprehends all these; how in- 
comprehensible, then, must its compass and greatness necessarily be ! 
But he supposes it possible, the adventure of mathematicians may be too 
audacious and peremptory, &c. and concludes the height and extent of 
the heavens to be beyond all human investigation. 

54 t:ie redeemer's dominion 

on earth, but the invisible tilings in heaven, here is a regression 
to these latter, who were before, for their greater dignity, ge» 
norally first mentioned, and now some enumeration given of 
diem, whether they Dethrones, or dominions, or principalities, 
or powers, and all tilings again repeated, that these might ap- 
pear expressly included ; said over again to be created by him* 
and for him, which was sufficient to express his creative right 
in them. It is presently subjoined, (v. 17.) " And he is be- 
fore all things, and by him all tilings consist." All owe their 
stability to him ; namely, the mentioned thrones, dominions, 
&c. as well as other things. But how ? or upon what terms ? 
That we might understand his redemptory right was not hereto 
be overlooked, it is shortly after added, " And having made 
peace by the blood of his cross, it pleased the Father" (to be 
repeated out of what went before ) " by h im to reconcile all things 
to himself;" and this by him, iterated ; as if he had said, " By 
him shedding his blood on the cross, whether they be things on 
earth, or things in heaven ;" lest the thrones, dominions, &c. 
mentioned before, should be forgot. And a word is used ac- 
commodable enough to the several purposes before expressed, 
K9ro)taT*AAa|a:(, which doth not always suppose enmity, but more 
generally signifies, upon a sort of commutation, or valuable 
consideration, to procure or conciliate, or make a thing more 
/Irmly one's own, or assure it to himself ; though it is afterw ards 
used in the stricter sense, v. 21. 

I have often considered with wonder and pleasure, that 
whereas God is called by that higher and far more extensive 
name, the Father of spirits, he is also pleased so graciously 
to vouchsafe, as to be styled the God of the spirits of alljlesh ; 
and thereby to signify, tiiat having an order of spirits so meanly 
lodged that inhabit frail and mortal flesh, though he have a 
world of spirits to converse with whose dwelling is not with 
flesh, yet he disdains not a relation to so mean and abject spi- 
rits, his offspring also, in our world. And that, because this 
was the place of offending delinquents that he would recover, 
the Redeemer should sort himself with them, and, as they were 
partakers of flesh and blood, himself likewise take part of the 
same! This was great and Godlike, and speaks the largeness 
and amplitude of an all-comprehending mind, common to Fa- 
ther and Son, and capable of so applying itself to the greatest 
things, as not to neglect the least : and therefore so much the 
more magnifies God and our Redeemer, by how much the less 
considerable we and our world are. But that hence we should 
so over-magnify this w orid, as if nothing were considerable 


that lies without its compass, is most perversely to misconstrue 
the most amazing- condescension. 

The Spirit of God, by holy David, teaches us to reason the 
quite contrary way : and from the consideration he had of the 
vastness and splendour of the upper world, of the heavens, the 
moon and stars, &c. not to magnify, but diminish our world of 
mankind, and say, What is man ! 

.And let. us further consider, 

[2.] The inexpressible numerousness of the other world's 
inhabitants, with the excellencies wherein they shine, and the 
orders they are ranked into, and how unlikely it is, that holy 
souls that go thither should want employment. Great con- 
course and multitudes of people make places of business in 
this world, and must much more do so, where creatures of the 
most spiritual and active natures must be supposed to have 
their residence. Scripture speaks of myriads, which we read, 
an innumerable company, of angels, besides all the spirits of 
just men ; (Heb. 12.) who are sometimes said to be more 
than any one — bSsiV, which we causelessly render man, could 
number, Rev. 7. And when we are told of many heavens, 
above all which our Lord Jesus is said to have ascended, are 
all those heavens only empty solitudes ? Uninhabited glorious 
deserts ? When we find how full of vitality this base earth of 
ours is ; how replenished with living creatures, not only on 
the surface, but within it, how unreasonable is it to suppose 
the nobler parts of the universe to be less peopled with inhabit- 
ants, of proportionable spirituality, activity, liveliness, and 
vigour, to the several regions, which, the remoter they are 
from dull earth, must be supposed still the finer, and apt to 
afford fit and suitable habitations to such creatures ? Whether 
we suppose pure unclothed spirits to be the natives in all those 
heavens, all comprehended under the one name of angels, or 
whether, as some think of all created spirits, that they have 
all vital union with some or other vehicles, ethereal or ce- 
lestial, more or less fine and pure, as the region is to which 
they belong, having gradually associated unto them the spirits 
of holy men gone from us, which are said to be \<r«.yys\oi — 
angels'' fellows, (Luke 20. 36.) it is indifferent to our pur* 

Let us only consider them all as intelligent, spiritual beings, 
full of holy light, life, active power, and love to their com- 
mon Lord and one another. And can we imagine their state to 
be a state of torpid silence, idleness, and inactivity, or that 
they have not much higher and nobler work to do there, than 

56 the redeemer's dominion 

ihey can have in such a world as this, or in such bodies as here 

they lug to and fro ? 

And the Scriptures are not altogether silent, concerning the 
distinct orders of those glorious creatures that inhabit all the 
heavens which this upper hades must be understood to contain ; 
though it has not provided to gratify any one's curiosity, so far 
as to give us particular accounts of their differences and dis- 
tinctions. And though we are not warranted to believe such 
conjectures concerning them as we find in the supposititious 
Dionysius's Celestial Hierarchy, or much less the idler dreams 
of Valentinus and the Gnosticks about their Mones, with divers 
more such fictions ; yet we are not to neglect what God hath 
expressly told us, namely, That giving us some account of 
the creation in the hades, or the invisible part of it, there are 
thrones, dominions, principalities, powers, angels, (and else- 
where archangels,) authorities; (Col. 1. 16. with 1 Pet. 3.21.) 
which being terms that import order and government, can 
scarce allow us not to conceive, that of all those numberless 
multitudes of glorious creatures that replenish and people those 
spacious regions of light and bliss, there are none who be- 
long not to some or other of those principalities and domi- 

Whence therefore, nothing is more obvious than to con- 
ceive, that whosoever is adjoined to them, ascending out of our 
world, presently hath his station assigned him, is made to 
know his post, and how he is to be employed, in the service 
and adoration of the sovereign Lord of all, and in paying the 
most regular homage to the throne of God and the Lamb : it 
being still to be remembered, that God is not worshipped there, 
or here, as an hhw, or as though he needed any thing, since 
he gives to all breath and being, and all things, (Acts 17.) 
but that the felicity of his most excellent creatures doth in 
great part consist in acting perpetually according to the dictate 
of a just and right mind ; and that therefore they take highest 
pleasure in prostration, in casting down their crowns, in 
shrinking even into nothing, before the original, eternal, sub- 
sistent Being, that he may be owned as the All in all, because 
they follow, herein, a most satisfied judgment, and express it 
when they say, " Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, 
and honour, and power, for thou hast created all things, and 
for thy pleasure they are, and were created, Rev. 4. 11. And 
worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive riches, and wis- 
dom, and strength," &c. ch. 5. 12. 

And they that rest not night or day from such high and glo- 


rious employments, have they nothing to do ? Or will Ave say 
or think, because vVe see not how the heavenly potentates lead 
on their bright legions, to present themselves before the throne, 
to fender their obeisance, or receive commands and dispatches 
to this -r that far remote dynasty ; or suppose to such and such 
a nv'ghfy star, (whetebi ■ numberless myriads; and 

why snotiictwe si ppi not replenished with glorious in- 

habitant?; ?) whither they fly as quick as thought, with joyful 
speed, under the all-seeing Eye, glad to execute wise and just 
commands upon all occasions, But alas ! in all this we can 
but darken counsel with words without knowledge. We cah- 
not pretend to knowledge in these things ; yet if from Scrip- 
ture intimations, and the concurrent reason of thing", we only 
make suppositions of what may be, not conclusions of what is : 
let our thoughts ascend as much higher as they can. I see 
not why they should fall lower than all this. And because we 
cannot be positive, will we therefore say or think there can be 
no such thing, or nothing but dull inactivity, in those re- 
gions? Because that other world is hades, and we see nothing, 
shall Ave make little or next to nothing of it ? We should think 
it very absurd reasoning, (if we should use it, in reference to 
such mean trifles in comparison, and say.) There is no such 
thing as pomp and state, no such thing as action or business, 
in the court of Spain or France, of Persia or Japan, because no 
sound from thence strikes our ear, or the beams of majesty there 
dazzle not our eye. 

1 should indeed think it very unreasonable to make mere 
magnitude, or vast extent of space, filled up with nothing but. 
void air, ether, or other fine matter, (call it by what name 
you will,) alone, or by itself, a very considerable note of ex- 
cellency of the other invisible world, above this visible world 
of ours. But I reckon it much more unreasonable and unen- 
forced, (to say no more,) by any principles, either of philo- 
sophy or religion, finding this w r orId of ours, a baser part of 
the creation, so full of life, and of living inhabitants, of one 
degree or another ; to suppose the nobler parts of the universe, 
still ascending upwards, generally unpeopled, and desert, when 
it is so conceivable in itself, and so aptly fending' to magnify 
our Creator and Redeemer. I the upper regions be fully 

inhabited with intelligent creatures ; Whether mere spirits, un- 
clothed with any thing material, or unite! with some or other 
matter, we need not determine. 

And whereas Scripture plainly intimates, that the apostate 
revolted spirits that fell from God, and kept not their first sta- 

vol. i. i 


tions, were vastly numerous ; wc have hence scope enough 
for our thoughts to conceive, that so spacious regions being 
replenished with intelligent creatures, always innocent and 
happy, the delinquents, compared with them, may be as des- 
picable for their paucity, as they are detestable for their apos- 
tasy : and that the horrid hades, wherein they are reserved to 
the blackness of darkness for ever, may be no more in propor- 
tion, nay, inexpressibly less, than some little rocky island, ap- 
pointed as a place of punishment for criminals, in comparison of 
a flourishing, vast empire, fully peopled with industrious, rich, 
sober-minded, and happy inhabitants. 

We might further consider, 

[3.] The high perfection they presently attain to, who are 
removed, though in their younger years, out of this, into that 
other world. 

The spirits of just men are there said to be made perfect. 
Waving the Olympiek metaphor, which is, at most, but the 
thing signifying; that whicli is signified, cannot be less than 
the concurrence of natural and moral perfection : the perfect- 
ing of all our faculties, mind, will, and active power, and of 
all holy and gracious excellencies, knowledge, wisdom, love, 
holiness. The apostle makes the difference be, as that of a 
child, and that of a man, 1 Cor. IS. And would any one 
that hath a child he delights in, wish him to be a child al- 
ways, and only capable of childish things ? Or is it a reason- 
able imagination, that by how much we are more capable of 
action, we shall be the more useless, and have the less to do ? 

We may further lastly add, that which is not the least con- 

[4.] That all the active services and usefulness we are capable 
of in this world, are but transitory, and lie within the compass 
of this temporary state of things, which must have an end. 
Whereas the business of the other world, belongs to our final 
and eternal state, which shall never be at an end. The most 
extraordinary qualifications for service on earth, must here- 
after ; if not by the cessation of the active powers and princi- 
ples themselves, as tongues, prophecies, and such knowledge 
as is uncommon, and by peculiar vouchsafement afforded but 
to a few, for the help of many : these endowments, designed 
for the propagation of the Christian faith, and for the stopping 
the mouths of gainsayers, must in the use and exercise, at least, 
by the cessation of the objects and occasions, fail, and cease, 
and vanish away, 1 Cor. 13. 8. The like may be said of 
courage and fortitude to contend against prevailing wicked- 


nrss ; skill, ability, With external advantages, to promote the 
impugned interest of Christ, and Christian religion ; of all 
these there will be no further use in that other world. They 
are all to be considered as means to the end. But how absurd 
were it to reckon the means of greater importance than the end 
itself? The whole present constitution of Christ's kingdom on 
earth, is but preparatory and introductive to the celestial king- 
dom. And how absurd were it to prefer this temporary kingdom 
to the eternal one, and present serviceableness to this, to perpe- 
tual service in the other ? 

It is true, that service to God and our Redeemer in this 
present state, is necessary in its own kind, highly acceptable 
to God, and justly much valued by good men. And we ought 
ourselves willingly to submit to serve God in a meaner capa- 
city in this world, while it is his pleasure Ave shall do so ; 
especially if God should have given any signification of his 
mind, concerning our abode in the flesh some longer time, as 
it is likely he had done to the apostle Paul, (Phil. 1. 24.) be- 
cause he says, he was confident, and did know, that so it 
should be, (v. 25.) we should be abundantly satisfied with it, 
as he was. But to suppose an abode here to be simply and 
universally more eligible, is very groundless and unreasonable; 
and were a like case, as if a person of very extraordinary abi- 
lities and accomplishments, because he was useful in some 
obscure country village, is to be looked upon as lost, because 
his prince, being informed of his great worth, calls him up to 
his court, and finding him every way fit, employs him in the 
greatest affairs of state ! 

To sum up this matter, whereas the means are always ac* 
cording to usual estimate, wont to derive their value from their 
end; time, from eternity; this judgment of the case, that 
usefulness in this present state is of greater consequence and 
more important than the affairs of the other world, breaks all 
measures, overturns the whole frame, and inverts the order of 
things ; makes the means more valuable than the end ; time 
more considerable than eternity ; and the concernments of a 
state that will soon be over, greater than those of our fixedj 
permanent, everlasting state, that will never be over. 

If we would allow ourselves the liberty of reasoning, accord- 
ing to the measure and compass of our narrow minds, biassed 
and contracted by private interest and inclination, we should 
have the like plausible things to think, concerning such of 
ours as die in infancy, and that when they have but newly 
looked into this world, are presently again caught out of it ; 


that if they had lived, what, might they have come to ? How 
pleasant and diverting might their childhood have been ? How 
hopeful their youth ? How useful their riper age ? But these 
are commonly thoughts little wiser than theirs, and proceed 
from a general infidelity, or misbelief, that whatsoever is not 
within the compass of this little, sorry world, is all emptiness 
and nullity ! Or if such be pious and m,ore considering, it is 
too plain they do not, however, consider enough, how great 
a part it is of divine magnificence, to take a reasonable immor- 
tal spirit from animating a piece of well-figured clay, and pre- 
sently adjoin it to the general assembly above! How glorious 
a change is made upon their child in a moment ! How much 
greater a thing it is to be adoring God above, in the society of 
angels, than to be dandled on their knee, or enjoy the best 
provisions they can make for them on earth ! That they have 
a part to act upon an eternal stage ! and though they are but 
lately come into being, are never to go out of being more, but 
to be everlasting monuments and instruments of the glory of 
their great Creator and Lord ! 

Nor, perhaps, is it considered so. deeply as if, ought, that it 
hath seemed meet to the supreme Wisdom, upon a most im- 
portant reason, in the c-ise of lengthening or shortening the 
lives of men, not ordinarily, or otherwise than upon a great 
occasion, to interrupt the tendencies of natural causes. But 
let nature run its course : for otherwise, very frequent innova- 
tions upon nature would make miracles cheap and common, 
and consequently useless to their proper, great ends, which 
may be of greater significancy in the course of God's govern- 
ment over the world, than some addition to this or that life can 
be worth. And therefore this consideration should repress our 
wonderment, why God doth not, when he so easily can, by 
one touch upon this or that second cause, prevent or ease the 
grievous pains which they often sutler that love him, and whom 
he loves. He reckons it fitter, and they will in due time rec- 
kon so too themselves, when the wise methods of his govern- 
ment come to be unfolded and understood, that we should any 
of us bear what is ungrateful to us, in point of pain, loss of 
friends, or other unpieasing events of providence, than that he 
should make frequent and less necessary breaches upon the 
common order and course of government which he hath esta- 
blished oyer a delinquent, sinful world. 

Whereupon it is a great piece of wisdom and dutifulness to- 
wards our great Lord, not to pray absolutely, peremptorily, or 
otherwise than with great submission and deference to his wise 


ond holy pleasure, for our own or our friends' lives, ease, out- 
ward prosperity, or any external or temporary good thing. For 
things that concern our spiritual and eternal welfare, his good 
and acceptable will is more expressly declared, and made known 
already and before-hand. 

But as to the particular case of the usefulness of any friend or 
relative of ours in this or the other state, the matter must be 
finally left to the arbitrement and disposal of him who hath the 
keys of hades and of death. And when by his turn of thera 
he hath decided the matter, we then know what his mind and 
judgment are, which it is no more fit for us to censure, than pos- 
sible to disannul. Whatever great purposes we might think one 
cut off in the flower of his age capable of serving in this world, 
we may be sure he judged him capable of serving greater in 
the other. 

And now by this time I believe you will expect to have some- 
what a more particular account of this excellent young gentle- 
man, whose early decease hath occasioned my discoursing so 
largely on this subject : not more largely than the impor- 
tance, but much less accurately than the dignity, of it did 

He was the eldest son of Sir Charles Hoghton, of Hoghton 
Tower, in the county of Lancaster, Baronet, and of the Lady 
Mary, daughter of the late Lord Viscount Masserene, his very- 
pious consort : a family of eminent note in that northern part 
of the kingdom, for its antiquity, opuiency, and interest in 
the country where it is seated; and which has intermarried with 
some or other of the nobility, one generation after another: 
but has been most of all considerable and illustrious, as having 
been itself, long, the immemorial, known seat of religion, so- 
briety, and good order, from father to son ; giving example, 
countenance, and patronage, to these praise-worthy things to 
the country round about : and wherein, hitherto, through the 
singular favour and blessing of Heaven, there has not been that 
visible degeneracy that might be so plainly observed, and sadly 
deplored, in divers great families. As if it were an exemption 
from what was so anciently remarked by the Poet, JElas paren- 
tum, pejor avis — The age of our fathers is worse, than that of 
their ancestors. But, on the contrary, such as have succeeded 
have, by a laudable ambition and emulation, as it were, striven 
to outshine such as have gone before them, in piety and virtue. 

In this bright and lucid tract and line, was this most hope- 
ful young gentleman, now arrived to the age wherein we use 

62 the redeemer's dominion 

to write man, beginning to stand up in view, and to draw the 
eyes and raise the hopes of observers and well-wishers, as not 
likely to come short of any of his worthy ancestors and pre- 
decessors. But Heaven had its eye upon him too, and both 
made and judged him meet for an earlier translation, to a more 
eminent station there. 

He was from his childhood observed to be above the com- 
mon rate, docile, of quick apprehension, solid judgment, and 
retentive memory, and, betimes, a lover of books and learn- 

For religion, his knowledge of the principles of it continually 

grew, as his capacity did more and more admit, under the eye 
and endeavours of his parents, and such other instructors as they 
took care he should never want. But his savour and relish 
thereof, and the impression-made thereby upon his soul, was so 
deep, and so early, as to be apparently owing to a higher cause, 
the gracious operation of the Holy Spirit, and a singular bless- 
ing thereby, upon his pious education. And in this way, it 
could not be easy, to such as were his most diligent and constant 
observers, to conclude or conjecture when God first began to 
deal with his spirit. 

Above ten years ago, I had opportunity, for a few days, 
to have some conversation with him in his father's house : and, 
as I could then perceive, his spirit was much tinctured with 
religion ; so 1 received information, that for a considerable 
time before, there constantly appeared in him such specimina 
of serious piety, as were very comfortable to his parents, and 
might be instructive to others that took notice of them. 

In the course of divers following years, he greatly improved, 
under domestic and private instruction, both in grammar- 
learning and academical studies, for which he wanted not apt 
helps. When there was great reason to hope he was so well 
established in religion and virtue as neither to be shocked by 
the importunate temptations of a sceptical vicious age in the ge- 
neral, nor betrayed by the facility of his own youthful age, his 
prudent, worthy father, judged it requisite, and not unsafe, to 
adventure him into a place of more hazard, but greater advan- 
tage for his accomplishment in that sort of culture and polish- 
ing that might, in due time, render him both in reality, and 
with better reputation, serviceable in a public station ; that is, 
where he might gain such knowledge of the world, of men, 
and of the laws of his country, as was proper for his rank, and 
one that was to make such a figure in the nation, as it was to 
be hoped he might ; and upon that account, not yet a year ago, 


brought him up to London, entered him in the Temple, took 
for him convenient lodgings there, and left him settled, unto 
mutual satisfaction. 

He was little diverted by the noise, novelties, or the gaieties 
of the town, but soon betook himself to a course of close study; 
discontinued not his converse with God, and thereby learned, 
and was enabled, to converse with men warily and with caution, 
so as he might be continually improving and gaining good, 
without doing or receiving hurt. 

The substance of the following account I received from a 
pious intelligent young man, who several years attended him 
before his coming to town, and afterwards, to the finishing of 
his course. 

" Mr. Hogliton's early seriousness increased with his years. 
His deportment was grave, composed, without any appearance 
of pride, which he carefully avoided. His diligence in study 
was unusual, and his proficiency very great ; neither was this 
less an effect of his conscientiousness in the improvement of his 
time, than of his desire after knowledge. 

" As to his demeanour and performance of duties towards 
his several relations, his self-denial, his sedateness of mind, 
his fear of sin, his tenderness of conscience, love of the best 
things, and unconcernedness about things of an inferior na- 
ture, so far as hath fallen under my observation, in near six 
years' time, I believe few, if any, of his years, did exceed 

" In Ills sickness he was very patient, submissively undergo- 
ing those heavy strokes it pleased God to lay upon him. 

tl Upon his apprehension of death, he seemed very little dis- 
couraged, but quietly resigned himself into the hands of the all- 
wise Disposer of all things. 

" Some time before his sickness, and in the time of it, he 
said, afflictions were very proper for God's children ; and those 
that were never afflicted, had reason to question the truth of 
their grace, and God's love to them ; quoting that Scripture, 
4 If ye are without chastening, then are ye bastards, and not 

"He often repeated those words, in the beginning of his 
illness : < It is a hard thing to make our calling and our elec- 
tion sure.' — ' I desire to glorify God.' 

" When he understood, from some expressions of his phy- 
sician, how dangerous his distemper was, he said, he knew very 
well the meaning of his physician's words ; but that however it 
proved, he hoped he was safe. 

64 the redeemer's dominion 

" He was so strict in the observation of the Lord's-day, that 
if he happened to lie longer than ordinary in the morning, he 
would continue the later in duties in the evening ; saying, we 
ought not to make that day shorter than other days. 

" Though he was very intent on his studies, yet on Sa- 
turdays he always broke them off at noon, and spent the after- 
noon in reading divinity, and preparing himself for the Lord's- 

u He was always constant in his secret duties, and suffered 
nothing to hinder him from the performing of them. 

" Before he expired, he spoke with great assurance of his fu- 
ture happiness, and hopes of meeting his relations in glory." 
Thus far goes that account. 

His sickness wa* short. When, hearing of it, I went to visit 
him, I was met in an anti-chamber, by his ingenious, dear 
brother, to whom it is no reproach to be second to him, and 
who, it is to be hoped, will be at. least truly so ; making him, 
though a fair example, yet not a standard ; who has for divers 
years been most intimately conjunct and conversant with him, 
known bis way, his spirit, his manner of life, his purity ; and 
may be led on and excited thereby, wherein he hath observed 
him to excel others, to endeavour not to come short, but, if it 
were possible, to excel him ; remembering, he is to be the 
next solace of his parents, hope of his family, and resort of his 
country, if God shall vouchsafe to continue him, in succeed- 
ing time. 

From him, I had little expectation of finding his sick brother 
in a conversable condition, the malignity of his fever having 
before seized his head, and very much disordered his intellects; 
but going in, 1 was much surprised to find it so far otherwise. 
He presently knew me, and his understanding, that served 
him for little else, failed him not in the concernments of re- 
ligion and of his soul. There was not an improper or mis- 
placed word, though the case could not admit of interchang- 
ing many, that cam? from him. Concerning the substance 
of the gospel of Christ, as it could be shortly summed 
up to him, he said, he had no doubt. And his transac- 
tions with Christ himself, accepting him, resigning and intrust- 
ing himself absolutely and entirely to him, and God in him, 
were so explicit, distinct, and clear, as could leave no place of 
doubt concerning him. He professed his concurrence to such 
requests as were put up to God concerning him, and the next 
morning slept quietly in the Lord. 

]Sor now will it be unfit, to shut up the discourse with some 


few suitable reflections upon this double subject : the text, and 
this providence, taken together. 

1. How happy is it, when this power of our great Redeemer 
and Lord, mentioned in the text, and a preparation, wkh cheerful 
willingness, dutifully to comport with it, concur and meet toge- 
ther, as they have done in this instance ! Our Lord hath shewn 
his power: he asserted it, in the text : in this instancehe used it ; 
giving an open testimony that he takes it to belong to him, to 
make such translations from one world to another, whensoever he 
judges it a fit season ; nor is solicitous whether men acknowledge 
his right so to do, or no, or what censures they will pass upon 
what he hath done. He does his own work, and leaves men 
to their own talk, or mutterings, or wonder, or amusement at 
it, as they will. So it becomes sovereign power to do, esta- 
blished upon the most unquestionable foundations, exercised 
according to the wisest and most righteous measures. He hath 
used his own right, and satisfied himself in the use of it. He 
thought not himself concerned to advise with any of us about 
it, who, as his counsellor, should instruct him, Isa. 40. 13. 
Rom. 11. 34. He owes so much to himself, to act as accounta- 
ble to no one, nor liable to any one's control. 

Here is most rightful, resistless power, justly and kindly used 
on the one hand ; and, on the other, how placid, how calm, a 
resignation ! Here was no striving, no crying, no reluctant 
motion, no querulous, repining voice : nothing but peaceful, 
filial submission ; a willingness to obey the summons given. 

This was a happy accord, the willingness of this departing 
soul, proceeding not from stupidity, but trust in him who 
kept these keys ; and such preparedness for removal, as the 
gospel required. O happy souls ! that, finding the key is 
turning, and opening the door for them, are willing to go forth 
upon such terms, as " knowing whom they have believed," 
&c. And that neither w principalities nor powers, life nor death, 
&c. can ever separate them from the love of God in Christ 
Jesus their Lord." Life, they find; hath not separated, 
whereof was the greater danger ; and death is so far from 
making this separation, that it shall complete their union with 
the blessed God in Christ, and lay them enfolded in the ever- 
lasting embraces of divine love ! Happy they, that can here- 
upon welcome death, and say, " Now, Lord, lettest thou thy 
servant depart in peace !" that before only desired leave to die, 
and have now obtained it ; that are, with certainty of the 
issue, at the point of becoming complete victors over the last 
enemy, and are ready to enter upon their triumph, and to 

vol. i. K 

66 the redeemer's dominion 

take up their linvkioy, " Death is swallowed up in victory. 
O death, where is thy sting ? O grave, where is thy victory > 
Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through Jesus 
Christ our Lord." Happy soul ! here will be a speedy end 
of all thy griefs and sorrows ; they will be presently swallowed 
up in an absolute plenitude and fulness of joy. There is 
already an end put to thy tormenting cares and fears ; for what 
object can remain to thee of a rational fear, when once, upon 
grounds such as shake not under thee, thou art reconciled to 
death ? This is the most glorious sort of victory, namely, by 
reconciliation. For so, thou hast conquered, not the enemy 
only, but the enmity itself, by which he was so. Death is 
become thy friend, and so no longer to be feared ; nor is there 
any thing else, from whence thou art to fear hurt ; for death 
was thy last enemy, even this bodily death. The whole region 
beyond it is, to one in thy case, clear and serene, when to 
others is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. There 
arc no terrible Wi^ara, no formidable consequences, no re- 
serves of misery, no treasures of wrath to be feared by thee. 
To one in thy condition, may that, without hesitation, be ap- 
plied, Nihil metuit, qui oplat mori ; He fears nothing, who 
desires to die. Sen. Tr. What is the product of some men's 
infidelity, is the genuine product of their faith. From so 
contrary causes may proceed the same efFect. The effect, a 
willingness to die, or a bold adventure upon death, is the 
same, but only in respect of the general kind ; with great dif- 
ferences in the special kind, according to the difference and 
contrariety of the causes, whereof they discernibly taste and 
savour. With infidels, it is a negative, dead, stupid, partial 
willingness, or but a non-aversion ; and in a lower, and much 
diminished degree : or if some present, intolerable, disgrace- 
ful calamity urge them, a rash, obstinate, presumptuous rush- 
ing upon death ; because they do not consider consequences. 
With believers, such as in reference to the concernments of the 
other world do walk by faith, while as yet they cannot walk 
by sight, in reference to those things, (2 Cor. 5. 7.) it is a 
positive, vital, courage, (v. 8.) 0«#«/*iv, We are confident ; 
and a preponderating inclination of will, " We are willing 
rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the 
Lord •" because, as is manifest, they do consider consequences, 
and how blessed a state will certainly ensue ! How vast are 
these special differences, of the same thing in the general, wil- 
lingness to die ! 

O the transports of joy that do now most rationally resulr 


From this state of the case, when there is nothing left lying 
between the dislodging soul, and the glorious unseen world, 
but only the dark passage of death, and that so little formida- 
ble, considering who hath the keys of the one, and the other ! 
How reasonable is it, upon the account of somewhat common 
herein, to the Redeemer and the redeemed, although every 
thing be not, to take up the following words, that so plainly 
belong to this very case : " Therefore my heart is glad, and 
my glory rejoiceth ; my flesh also shall rest in hope. For 
thou wilt not leave my soul in sheol^ or hades; thou wilt 
not forsake or abandon it in that wide world, neither wilt thou 
sutler thine holy one to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me 
the path of life ; the path that leads unto that presence of 
thine, where is fulness of joy, and to those pleasures which 
are at thy right hand ; or in thy power, and which are for ever- 
more ; and shall never admit either of end, or diminution," 
Ps. 16. 9—11. 

Now, what do we mean to let our souls hang in doubt ? Why 
do we not drive things for them to an issue ? Put them into 
those same safe hands that hold these keys ; absolutely resign, 
devote, intrust, and subject them to him ; get them bound up 
in the bundle of life ; so adjoin and unite them to him, (not 
doubting but as we give them up, he will, and doth, in that 
instant, take hold of them, and receive them into union with 
himself,) as that we may assure our hearts, that because he 
lives, we shall live also, John 14. 19. Thus the ground of 
our hope becomes sure, and of that joy which springs from 
,such a hope, Rom. b. 2. Our life, we may now say, is hid 
with Christ in God ; even though we are, in ourselves, dead, 
or dying creatures, Col. 3. 3. Yea, Christ is our Life ; and 
when he cc who is our Life shall appear, we shall appear with 
him in glory," v. 4. He hath assured us, that because " he 
is the Resurrection and the Life, he that believeth in him, 
though he were dead, shall yet live :" and that " whosoever 
lives, and believes in him," hath thereby a life already begun 
in him, in respect whereof " he shall never die," John 11. 
25, 26. What now can be surer than this ? So far Ave are at a 
certainty, upon the included supposition, that is, that we be- 
lieve in him. 

And what now remains to be ascertained ? What ? Only 
our own intervening death. We must, it is true, be absent 
from these bodies, or we cannot, as we would, be present with 
the Lord. And is that all ? Can any thing now be more 
certain than that ? O happy state of our case ! How should 

68 the redeemer's dominion 

our hear!"-, spring and leap for joy, that our affairs arc brought 
into this posture ; that in order to our perfect blessedness, no- 
thing is farther wanting but to die ; and that the certainty of 
death completes our assurance of it ! What should now hin- 
der our breaking' forth into the most joyful thanksgivings, that 
it, is so little doubtful we shall die ; that we are in no danger of 
a terrestrial immortalit}- ; and that the only thing that it re- 
mained we should be assured of, is so very sure : that we are 
sure it is not in the power of all this world to keep us always in 
it ; that the most spiteful enemy we havfe in all the world, can- 
not do us that spite to keep us from dying ! How gloriously 
may good men triumph over the impotent malice of their most 
mischievous enemies ! namely, thatthe greatest mischief, even 
in their own account, that it can ever be in their power to do 
them, is to put it out of their own power ever to hurt them 
more ; for they now go quite out of their reach . They can 
(being permitted) kill the body, and after that have no more 
that they can do, Luke 12. 4. What a remarkable, signifi- 
cant, after that, is this ! what a defiance doth it import of the 
utmost effort of human power and spite, that here it terminates ! 
It is now come to its ne phis ultra ! 

And so Ave are to look upon all our other trials and afflictions, 
that in any providential way may befal us ; we may be sick, 
in pain, in poverty, in disgrace, but we shall not be always in 
mortal flesh, which is the sublratum and the root of all the rest. 
Can we be upon better terms, having but two th ings to be con- 
cerned about, as necessary to our complete felicity, union with 
Christ, and disunion from these bodies ? God is graciously 
ready to assist us in reference to the former, though therein he 
requires our care, subserviently hereto : in reference to the 
latter, he will take care himself, in his own fit season, with- 
out any care or concern of ours in the matter ; and only ex- 
pects us to wait with patience, till that tit season come. And 
come it will, perhaps, sooner than we may think. He doth 
not always go by our measures in judging of the fit season, as 
this present instance shews. 

2. From the text, taken in conjunction with this act of pro- 
vidence, we may observe the great advantage of a pious edu- 
cation. Though the best means of such education do not al- 
ways prove effectual ; yet this being much the more probable 
course, upon which to expect God's blessing, than the parents' 
profane negligence of the souls of their children, such an ex- 
anfple, wherein God by his blessing testified his approbation of 


parental care and diligence, should greatly quicken the endea- 
vours of parents herein ; as hoping, hereby, to serve his great 
and merciful and most principal design, who hath these keys, 
and whose office it is, to transmit souls, when they are pre- 
pared and read} 7 , out of this world of ours, into that blessed, 
glorious world above. And though 1hey may think themselves 
disappointed, when, through God's blessing upon their en- 
deavours, they have educated one to such a pitch as this young 
gentleman was raised and brought up unto, with a prospect 
and hope of his having a long course of service to run through 
here on the earth, yet let parents hence learn to correct what 
was amiss, or what was wrong, not what was right and well. 
Their action and endeavour were, what ought to be ; their error 
or mistake, if there were any, was more principally, as the 
case is here stated, about their design and end. Not that they 
designed such an end, for that also was very justifiable and 
laudable : but if they designed it as their more principal end, 
which the case, as it k now put, supposes ; that is, that they 
take themselves to be disappointed : for no man complains of it 
as a disappointment, if he miss of an inferior end, and attain 
that which is far nobler and more excellent. Our great aim 
should be, the subserving the design of the great Lord of hea- 
ven and earth, which ultimately and supremely refers to the 
heavenly, eternal state of things ; and that souls may be ripened 
and fitted for that, and to do service here on earth, subordi- 
nately to the other, and while they are in preparation for the 
heavenly state. His principal design must be for that Avhich is 
principal : and concerning that, as was formerly argued, there 
can be no more doubt, than whether heaven or earth, eternity or 
time, a fixed, permanent, everlasting, or a temporary, transitory, 
vanishing state of things, be more valuable, and to be preferred. 
Our Redeemer hath acquired, and doth use these keys, for the 
translating- of souls, as soon as he shall judge them " meet to 
be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light," Col. 1. 12. 
Some he makes meet much earlier than others. His design, so 
far as it is known, or may be supposed, should give measure to 
ours ; therefore ours must be to make them meet, as early as 
is possible, for his purposes, as knowing it cannot be too early : 
they were devoted to him early, and pursuantly hereto, no time 
should be lost from the great business of fitting and forming 
them for him ; inasmuch also, as the same qualifications, namely, 
that are of higher excellency and value, do equally prepare 
them to serve and glorify him, in either world, as he shall 
choose to dispose of them. And it unquestionably belongs to 


kim to make his choice, as it does to us to endeavour to maW- 
them ready. If any of us, having purposely educated a son 
for the service of his prince, and present him accordingly, we 
should submit it to his pleasure, to choose the station wherein he 
shall serve him ; especially if he be a prince of celebrated wis- 
dom and goodness. And should we complain, that lie is put 
early into a station of much higher dignity than we thought of? 

How little is this matter considered, by most, that go under 
the name of Christian parents ; that are, more generally, very 
solicitous to have, as they call it, their children christened; 
but never have it in their thoughts to have them educated in the 
knowledge of Christ, or trained up for Christ. As if their 
baptism were intended for a mockery, their education, in the 
whole course of it, hath no such reference. It is how they 
may with better reputation bear up, not the name of Christ, but 
their own. Their aim looks no higher than that they may in- 
herit their lands, maintain the honour of their families ; appear, 
if such be their own rank, well-accomplished gentlemen : and of 
some of those little things that are thought requisite hereto, we 
may say, as our Saviour did in another case, These things 
ought ye to have done, and not to have left the other, the much 
greater things, undone. 

What should hinder, but that learning to sing, or dance, or 
fence, or to step gracefully, might consist with learning to 
know God in Christ, in which knowledge stands eternal life ! 
Whatsoever hath real excellency, or hath any thing in it of true 
ornament, will no way disagree with the most serious Christi- 
anity. And how lovely is the conjunction of the well-accom- 
plished gentleman, and the serious Christian ! Only sever in- 
consistencies, as how fashionably to curse, and swear, and 
damn, and debauch, which are thought to belong to good 

breeding in our age. / 

Let not religion, reason, shame, and common sense, be so 
totally abandoned all at once, as that the same persons shall 
take care to have their children baptized into Christ's name, and 
be taught to renounce, by their deeds, that great name, almost 
;is soon as tiny can pronounce the word. 

Whore so direct a course is not taken to make those of the 
succeeding age ignominiously bad, yet how little is dune to- 
wards the making of them truly and usefully good ? M uch care 
is taken to shape and adorn the outside of the man, how little 
to tbrm and furnish their minds ! Here, if they can be brought 
to make or judge of a verse, or a jest, or a piece of wit, it, is 
a great attainment. Or ii) at home, they can have them taught, 


so much law as shall hereafter enable them to squeeze their te- 
nants, and quarrel with their neighbours, or so much of beha- 
viour as shall qualify them to keep gentlemen company ; or if, 
as our pious poet phrased it, they ship them over, the thing is 
done : then they shall be able to talk a little of the fashions of 
this or that foreign country, and make much the better figure 
in their own. 

But if, with all other parts of useful knowledge and good 
breeding that are thought requisite for this world, they be also 
well instructed touching their Redeemer's dominion over it, 
and the other world also ; and concerning the nature, consti- 
tution, design, laws, and privileges of his kingdom ; if it be 
seriously endeavoured to make them apt and prepared instru- 
ments of serving his interest here, as long as he shall please to 
continue them in any station on earth ; and that they may also 
be made meet to be partakers, at length, of a far more excellent 
inheritance than an earthly parent could entitle them to, that 
of the saints in light; (Col. 1. 12.) if they can befitted to 
stand in the presence of the Eternal King, and to keep com- 
pany with angels and blessed spirits above — how worthy and 
noble a design is this ! And with what satisfaction is it to be 
reflected on, if the parents have ground to apprehend they are 
herein neither unaccepted nor disappointed ! 

3. It is of ill presage to our land, that when he that hath 
these keys, uses them in the so early translation of so hopeful a 
person as this young gentleman was, so few such are observed 
to spring up for the support of the truly Christian interest in 
the succeeding generation. That the act of our great Redeemer 
and Lord herein was an act of wisdom and counsel, we cannot 
doubt. Against the righteousness of it, v/e can have no ex- 
ception. The kind design of it towards them whom he so tran- 
slates, is so evident in the visible agreement of their spirit and 
way, with the heavenly state as their end, as puts that matter 
out of question. But we are so much the more to dread the 
consequences, and to apprehend what may make our hearts 
meditate terror. 

By the Christian interest, I am far from meaning that of a 
party : but what every one must take for Christianity, that 
will acknowledge there is any such thing. And for the support 
of that, in the most principal doctrines and laws of it, what is 
our prospect ? 

To go down here somewhat lower. 

Let us suppose a rational susceptibleness, or capacity of 
religion, to be the difference of man, wherein the controversy 


may seem (o admit of being compromised ; whether it be reli- 
gion alone, or reason alone, of which this must be said, that it 
distinguishes man from the inferior creatures. And let it be 
reason, with this addition, an aptness, suspicere nnmen, to be 
impressed with some religions sentiment, or to conceive of, 
and adore, an original Being ; the wise and mighty Author 
and Cause of all things. And now, how near akin are religion 
and humanity. 

Let us next understand Christianity to be the religion of 
fallen man, designing his recovery out of a lapsed and lost 
state : that is, man having violated the law of his creation, 
and offended against the throne and government of his Creator, 
the supreme and universal Lord of all, it was reckoned not be- 
coming so great a Majesty (though it was not intended to aban- 
don the offenders to a universal ruin, without remedy) to be 
reconciled, otherwise than by a mediator and a reconciling sa- 
crifice. For which, none being found competent but the Eternal 
Son of God, the Brightness of his glory, and the express Image 
of his own person, who was also the First and the Last, the 
Lord God Almighty ; and partaking with us of flesh and blood, 
was capable, and undertook to be both Mediator and Sacrifice. 
It seemed meet to the offended Majesty, to vouchsafe pardon 
and eternal life, and the renewing grace requisite thereto, to 
none of the offenders, but through him ; and accept from them 
no homage, but on his account. Requiring, wheresoever the 
gospel comes, not only repentance towards God, but faith in 
our Lord Jesus Christ, as the summary of the counsel of God 
contained therein ; (Acts 20. 21 — 27.) and that all should 
honour the Son, as the Father requires to be honoured, John 
5. 23. 

Whereas now so apt a course as this was established for re- 
storing man to himself and to God, through the influence of 
the blessed Spirit, flowing in the gospel dispensation from Christ 
as the Fountain ; what doth it portend when, amidst the clear 
light of the gospel, that affords so bright a discovery of the 
glorious Redeemer, and of all his apt methods for bringing to 
full effect his mighty work of redemption, an open war is 
commenced against him and his whole design, by persons, 
under seal, devoted to him ! If there were but one single in- 
stance hereof in an age, who would not with trembling expect 
the issue ? 

But when the genius of a Christian nation seems, in the rising 
generation, to be leading to a general apostasy from Christi- 
anity, in its principal and most substantial parts; and thev are 


only patient of sonic external rituals, that belong, or are made 
appendent to it, so as but to endure them, either wit li reluc- 
tancv, or contempt : when the juvenile wit and courage which 
arc thought to belong to a gentleman entering upon the stage 
of the world are employed in satirizing upon the religion into 
which they have been baptized, in bold efforts against the Lord 
that bought them ! whither doth this tend ? 

Some Mould seem so modest, as in the midst of their profane 
oaths, and violations of the sacred name of God, to beg his 
pardon, and say, God forgive them. But so ludicrously, as he 
whom Cato animadverts upon, for begging pardon, that he 
wrote in Greek, which he was unacquainted with, saying, he 
had rather ask pardon, than be innocent: * for what should in- 
duce him to do so unnecessary a thing, for which pardon should 
be necessary ? These men think pardons very cheap tilings ; 
but will God be mocked ? Or doth he not observe ? It is the 
prevailing atheistical spirit we are to dreadj as that which may 
provoke jealousy, and to make himself known by the judgments 
he shall execute. 

There is great reason to hope God will not finally abandon 
England. But is there not equal reason to fear, that before 
the day of mercy come, there may be a nearer day of wrath 
coming ? A day that shall burn as an oven, and make the 
hemisphere about us a fiery vault ! In our recovery from a 
lapsed state, which the religion professed among us aims at, 
there are two things to be effected : the restoring reason to its 
empire over the sensitive nature, that it may govern that, and 
the restoring religion and love to God to their place, and power, 
that he may govern us. While the former is not done, we re- 
main sunk into the low level with the inferior creatures ; and 
till the latter be effected, we are ranked with the apostate crea- 
tures that first fell from God. The sensuality of brutes, and the 
enmity of devils, rising and springing up observably among us, 
import the directest hostility against the Redeemer's design. 
And them that bid this open defiance to him, he hath every 
moment at his mercy ! 

In the mean time, is this Immanuel's land ? His right in u.s 
he will not disclaim. And because he claims it, we may ex- 
pect him to vindicate himself. His present patience, we are 
to ascribe to the wisdom and greatness of an all-comprehend- 
ing mind. He counts not a heap of impotent worms his match ! 
But when the besom of destruction comes, one stroke of it 

* Corn. Nep. Frag. 
VOL. I. L 

74 the redeemer's dominion 

will sweep away multitudes : then contempt will be answered 
with contempt. They cannot express higher, than to oppose 
and militate against a religion, introduced and brought into 
the world by so clear, divine light, lustre, and glory, not 
by arguments, but by jests ! O that we could but see their 
arguments, to dispute those keys out of his hands that holds 
them ! But do they think to laugh away the power of the 
Son of God ? "He also will laugh at their calamity," &c. 
(Prow I.) or expose them to the laughter of men wiser than 
they, Ps. b c 2. 5, 6. It is little wit to despise what they can- 
not disprove. When we find a connexion between death and 
judgment, how will they contrive to disjoin them. They 
will be as little able to disprove the one, as withstand the 

But a great residue, it is to be hoped, our blessed Redeemer 
will, in due time, conquer in the most merciful way, inspiring 
them with divine wisdom and love, detecting their errors, mol- 
lifying their hardness, subduing their enmity, making them 
gladly submit to his easy yoke and light burthen. He is, before 
the world end, to have a numerous seed, and we are not to 
despair of their rising up more abundantly than hitherto among 
ourselves, so as no man shall be therefore ashamed to be thought 
a serious Christian, because it is an unfashionable or an ungen- 
tee! thing. 

Then Will honour be acquired, by living as one that believes 
a life to come, and expects to live for ever, as devoted ones, 
to the Ruler of both worlds, and candidates for a blessed im- 
mortality, under his dominion. Nor will any man covet to 
leave a better name behind him, here, or a more honourable 
memorial of himself, than by having lived a holy, virtuous 
life. It signifies nothing, with the many, to be remembered 
when they are gone: therefore is this trust wont to be com- 
mitted to marbles and monumental stones. Some have been so 
wise, to prefer a remembrance among them that were so, from 
their having lived to some valuable purpose. When Rome 
abounded with statues and memorative obelisks, Cato forbad 
any to be set up for him, because (he said) he had rather it 
should be asked. Why he had not one, than why he had. Plu~ 
tan It de gerund. RepnbL 

What a balmy memory will one generation leave to another, 
when "the savour of the knowledge of Christ shall be diffused 
in every place," (2 Cor. l 2. 14.) and every thing be counted as 
dross and dung, that is in any competition with the excellency 
of that knowledge : when that shall overflow the world, and 


one age praise his mighty works, and proclaim his power and 
greatness to the next : and the brandies of religious families, 
whether sooner or later transplanted, shall leave an odour, 
when they are cut off, that shall demonstrate their nearer union 
with the true Vine, or speak their relation to the " Tree oflife, 
whose leaves are for the healing of the nations ;" even those that 
were deciduous, and have dropped off', may (without strain- 
ing a borrowed expression) signify somewhat towards this pur- 

4. From both the mentioned subjects, good parents may 
learn to do God and their Redeemer all the service they can, 
and have opportunity for, in their own time ; without reckon- 
ing too much upon what shall be done, by a well-educated, 
hopeful son, after they are gone, unless the like dispensation 
could be pleaded unto that which God gave to David, to re- 
serve the building of the temple to his son Solomon, which, 
without as express a revelation, no man can pretend. The 
great Keeper of these keys may cross such purposes, and with- 
out excusing the father, dismiss the son first. But his judgments 
are a great deep, too deep for our line : and his mercy is in the 
heavens, (Ps. 36.) extending from everlasting to everlasting, 
upon them that fear him ; and his righteousness unto children's 
children, Ps. 103. 











Soli's Cjristence, 



Against Atheism, or the Epicurean Deism. 






My honoured Lord, 
T HAVE not the opportunity of begging your Lordship's foregoing leave 

to prefix your name to these papers ; but despair not of your following 
pardon. Your name must be acknowledged great, through two potent 
empires, Christian and Mahometan ; and the services greater which you 
have done to many that may perhaps not have heard the sound of your 
name. Your prudent and prosperous negotiations in the Austrian and 
Ottoman courts, have obliged multitudes, whose better genius hath taught 
them more to value themselves, than to think they were born to slavery; 
from which you have found means, in great part, to save Europe: some- 
where, bv charming great power, so as to conquer the inclination to use 
it to so ill a purpose; elsewhere, by preventing its increase, where that in- 
clination was invincible. And hereby you have dignified England, in 
letting it be seen what it can signify in the world, when it is so happy as 
to have its interest managed by a fit and able hand. 

Yet that knowledge your Lordship hath heretofore allowed me to have 
of you, cannot suffer me to think you will account your name too great 
to patronise the cause asserted in the following discourse. That it is un- 
polished, will not affect your Lordship ; let that rest where it ought: the 
subject and design will, I doubt not, have your Lordship's countenance. 
And the rather, that it is not the temple of this or that party that is here 
defended, which would little agree to the amplitude of your Lordship's 
large mind, and your great knowledge of the world, but that wherein 
mankind have a common concern. A temple that is the seat of serious, 
living religion, is the more venerable, and the more extensive ; the more 
defensible, and the more worthy to be defended, by how much it is the 
less appropriate to this or that sect and sort of men, or distinguished by 
this or that affected, modifying form; that which according to its primi- 
tive designation may be hoped, and ought to be the resort of all nations : 
which it is vain to imagine any one, of this or that external form, not pre- 
scribed by God himself, can ever be; unless we should suppose it pos- 
sible, that one and thesame human prince, or power, could ever come to 
govern the world. Such uniformity must certainly suppose such a univer- 
sal monarchy as never was, and we easily apprehend can never be. There- 
fore, the belief that theCbristian religion shall ever become the religion 
of the world, and the Christian church become the common universal 


temple of mankind; that " the mountain of the Lord's house shall be es- 
tablished on the top of the mountains, and all nations flow to it;" (as, be- 
sides that, many other texts of holy Scripture do plainly speak ;) and an 
intemperate contentious zeal for one external, human form of God's tem- 
ple on earth, are downright inconsistencies. That belief, and this zeal, 
must destroy one another; especially, that which makes particular tem- 
ples, engines to batter down each other, because they agree not in some 
human additional*, though all may be charitably supposed to have some 
what of divine life in them. Therefore we plainly see, that this universal. 
Christian, living temple must be formed and finished, not by human might 
or power, but by the Spirit of the living God; which Spirit, poured forth, 
shall instruct princes, and the potentates of the world, to receive and 
cherish among their subjects the great essentials of Christian religion, and 
whatsoever is of plain divine revelation, wherein all may agree, rejecting, 
or leaving arbitrary, the little human additaments about which there is so 
much disagreement. 

Heaven did favour us with such a king : and thanks be to God, that he 
hath given us such a queen, who is not for destroying any temples that may 
have true vital religion in them, because they neither all have, or have 
not, the same pinnacles, or other pieces of ornature alike. God grant all 
Christian princes and powers may herein equally imitate them both; as 
many do seriously lament the loss of the former. 

It has been long the honour of your family to have had great esteem 
and reverence for such a temple. And I doubt not, but its having spread 
its branches into divers other worthy families of the Hampdens, Foleys, 
Ashhursts, Hunts, has given your Lordship much the more grateful and 
complacential view, for the affinity to your own in this respect. A temple 
80 truly (and even only) august and great, spreads a glory over the families, 
kingdoms, and nations where it can have place. What is here written is 
a mean oblation, for the service of this temple ; but acceptable, as even 
goats' hair was, by being consecrated, with a sincere mind, for the use of 
the tabernacle of old. 

The First Part betakes itself to your Lordship as an orphan, upon the 
decease of its former patron, in hope of some sort of a postliminary re- 
ception. And for the Second Part, it is (as your Lordship shall vouch- 
safe to receive it) originally and entirely yours. 

The former, your Lordship will see, had a former dedication: and T can- 
not think it will be displeasing to your Lordship, that 1 let it stand. For 
though it mav seem somewhat uncouth and unusual to have two such epis- 
tles come so near one another, yet the unfashionableness hereof, I con- 
ceive, will, in your Lordship's judgment, be over-balanced by considera- 
tions of a preponderating weight, that are suggested to the reader. While, 
in the mean time, 1 cannot suppose it unacceptable to your Lordship, 
that a person of true worth in his time, related to the same county in which 
your Lordship hath so considerable concerns, and not altogether unrelated 
to yourself, should have had a participation with you in the same sort of 
patronage; with whom your Lordship hath also a true participation, in all 
the honour, esteem, and sincere prayers that ever were conceived for 
him, by 

Your L*rdship's most obedient, 

And most devoted, humble Servant, 



T>E pleased to take notice, that the former part of this work was here- 
tofore inscribed to that worthy person, Sir John Skeffington, of Fisher* 
wick, in Staffordshire, Baronet : and who was at that time also, Viscount 
Lord Masserene, governor of the county of Londonderry, and one of the 
lords of his Majesty Charles the Second's most honourable Privy Council 
in the kingdom of Ireland; and now, since, deceased. 

I have, however, thought fit to let it be reprinted, (the incongruity 
being, by this advertisement, avoided, of making an address anew, in this 
new impression, to one no longer in our world,) that the memory of a 
person so truly valuable may, so far as this can contribute thereto, he 
preserved; and because also, many things in this epistle may be useful, 
as a preface, to shew the design of the following discourse. And as this 
purpose may be equally served by it as it is, the other purpose being also, 
thus, better served, I have not judged it necessary, though that had been 
easy, to alter the form; which was as follows : 

Although I am not, my Lord, without the apprehension that a temple 
OHght to have another sort of dedication, yet I have no such pique at the 
custom of former days, but that I can think it decent and just that a dis- 
course concerning one conceived under your roof, though born out of 
your house, should openly own the relation which it thereby hath, and 
the Author's great obligations to your Lordship; and upon this account I 
can easily persuade myself (though that custom hath much given place 
to this latter one) not to be so fashionable, as even to write in masquerade. 

It were indeed most unbecoming, in the service of so noble a cause, to 
act in disguise, or decline to tell one's name. And as the prefixing of 
one so obscure as that which the title page bears, will be without suspi- 
cion of a design to recompense, by the authority of a name, any feared 
weakness of the cause itself; so were it very unworthy, having nothing 
better, to grudge the bringing even of so mean a thing, as a sacrifice to 
the door of the temple. 

And although your Lordship's is of so incomparably greater value, yet 
also is it (as the equity of the case requires) exposed with less hazard ; 
since in common account, the vouchsafement of pardon (whereof I can- 
not despair) for such assumed liberty, can with no justice be understood 
to import more than only a favourable aspect on the design, without any 
interest or participation in the disrepute of its ill management. So that 
your honour is in no more jeopardy than the main cause itself, which 
is but little concerned in the successfulness or miscarriage of this or that 
effort, which is made on behalf of it; and which, you are secure, can re- 
ceive no real damage. For the foundations of this temple are more stable 
than those of heaven and earth, it being built upon that Rock against 
which the gates of hell can never prevail. 

And if, in any unforeseen state of things, you should ever receive pre- 

vol. i. M 


judiee, or incur danger by any real service you should design unto the 
temple of God, j-our adventure would be the more honourable, by how 
much it were more hazardous. The Order of Templars, your Lordship 
•well knows, was not, in former days, reckoned inglorious. 

But as (his temple is quite of another constitution and make than that 
at Jerusalem, and (to use those words of the Sacred Writer) u^poTioinr^f 
TtffiV'v « t<xvti>s ms Krlvtvs .—not made with hands, that, is to say, not of 
this building ; (Fleb. 9. 11.) so what is requisite to the interest and ser- 
vice of it, is much of another nature. Entire devotedness to God, sin- 
cerity, humility, charity, refinedness from the dross and baseness of the 
earth, strict sobriety, dominion of one's self, mastery over impotent and 
ignominious passions, love of justice, a steady propension to do good, 
delight in doing it, have contributed more to the security and beauty of 
Gods temple on earth ; conferred on it more majesty and lustre; done 
more to procure it room and reverence among men, than the most pros- 
perous violence ever did : the building up of this temple, even to the 
laying on the top-stone, (to be followed with the acclamations of Grace, 
Grace,) being that which must be done, not by might or power, but by 
the Spirit of the Lord. Which, inasmuch as the structure is spiritual, 
and to be situated and raised up in the mind or spirit of man, works, in 
order to it, in a way suitable thereto. That is, very much by soft and 
gentle insinuations, unto which are subservient the self-recommending 
amiableness and comely aspect of religion ; the discernible gracefulness 
and uniform course of such in whom it bears rule, and is a settled, liv- 
ing law. Hereby the hearts of others are captivated and won to look 
towards it: made not only desirous to taste its delights, but, in order 
thereto, patient also of its rigours, and the rougher severities which 
their drowsy security and unmortified lusts do require should accom- 
pany it; the more deeply and thoroughly to attemper and form them to 
it. Merely notional discourses about the temple of God, and the ex- 
ternal forms belonging to it, (how useful soever they be in their own 
kind and order,) being unaccompanied with the life and power whereto 
they should be adjoined, either as subservient helps, or comely expressions 
thereof, do gain but little to it in the estimation of discerning men. 

Much more have the apparently useless and unintelligible notions, 
with the empty formalities too arbitrarily affixed to it, by a very great, 
namely, the unreformed part of the Christian world, even there exposed 
it to contempt, where the professed (but most irrational and hopeless) de- 
sign hatb been to draw to it respect and veneration. 

And when these have become matter of strife, and filled the world with 
noise and clamour, through the imperious violence of some, and the fac- 
tious turbulency of others ; it hath made it look with a frightful aspect, 
and rendered the divine presence, so represented, an undesired, dreadful 
thing. This may make that the language of fear with some, (which is of 
enmity with the most,) " Depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of 
thy ways." 

Most of all ; when a glorying in these things, and contention about 
them, are joined with gross immoralities; either manifest impiety, sen- 
sual debaucheries, acts of open injustice, or the no less criminal evil of 
a proud, wrathful, ungovernable temper of spirit ; this hath made it a 
most hateful thing in the eyes of God and men, and turned that which 
should be the house of prayer unto all nations, into a den of robbers; 


hath cast the most opprobrious contumely upon him whom they would 
entitle the owner of it. That is, when men will steal, murder, com- 
mit adultery, swear falsely, oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the 
widow ; and yet cry, The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, 
&c. ; it is as if they would make the world believe, that the holy God, 
the great Lover and Patron of purity and peace, had erected, on pur- 
pose, a house on earth, to be the common harbour and sanctuary of 
the- vilest of men, the very pests of human society, and disturbers of 

And if they were not the verv worst, yet how absurd and senseless a 
thing were it, that he should be thought to appropriate a people to him- 
self, have them solemnly baptized into his name, and trained up in a pro- 
fessed belief of those his more peculiar revelations, which are without the 
common notice of the most; and in the use of certain (somewhat dif- 
ferent) external institutes, being yet content that, in all things else, they 
be but just like the rest of the world. 

Though he may be, for some time, patient of this indignity, and con- 
nive at such a state and posture of things, (as he did a great while 
towards the Jews of old,) yet, that this should be thought the top of his 
design, and the thing he lastly aimed at, and would acquiesce in, sup- 
poses such a notion of God, as than which, worshipping a stock were 
not more foolish and impious ; and professed atheism as rational and in- 

This hath spoiled and slurred the glory of the Christian temple, the 
most august and magnificent the world hath, (and which, indeed, only 
hath right to the name,) made the religion of Christians look like an 
empty vanity, and appear, for many ages, but as an external badge of 
civil distinction between them and another sort of men, that are only 
contending for enlarging of empire, and who shall grasp most power int6 
their hands; both having also their sub-distinguishing marks besides, 
under which too probably divers of those who have adjoined themselves 
to the so differenced parties, furiously drive at the same design. And 
these zealously pretend for religion and the temple of God; when, in 
the mean time, it were a thing perfectly indifferent (even in itself, as 
well as in the opinion of the persons concerned) what religion or way 
they were of, true or false, right or wrong, Paganish, Mahometan, Jew- 
ish, Christian, Popish, Protestant, Lutheran, Calvinistical, Episcopal, 
Presbyterial, Independent, &c. : supposing there be any of each of these 
denominations that place their religion in nothing else but a mere as- 
sent to the peculiar opinions, and an observation of the external for- 
malities, of their own party ; and that they never go further, but re- 
main finally alienated from the life of God, and utter strangers to the 
soul-refining, governing power of the true religion. Only, that their case 
is the worse, the nearer they approach, in profession, to the truth. 

And really, if we abstract from the design and end, the spirit and life, 
the tranquillity and pleasure, of religion, one would heartily wonder 
what men can see in all the rest, for which they can think it worth the 
while to contend, to the disquieting themselves and the world. Nobody 
can believe they regard the authority of God, in this doctrine or insti- 
tution, rather than auother, who neglect and resist the substance and 
main scope of religion, recommended to them by the same authority. 
And as to the matters themselves which will then remain to be disputed, 


we have first the distinguishing name; and if we run over all these befrae 
recited, is it a matter of that consequence, as to cut throats, and lay towns 
and countries desolate, only upon this quarrel, which of these hath the 
handsomer sound ? The different rites of this or that way, to them who 
have no respect to the authority enjoining them, must, in themselves, 
signify as little. And for the peculiar opinions of one or another sect, it 
may he soberly said, that a very great part understand no more of the 
distinguishing principles of their own, than he that was yet to learn how 
many legs a sectary had. Only they have learned to pronounce the word 
which is the Shibboleth of their party, to follow the common cry, and run 
with the rest, that have agreed to do so to. 

But if they all understood the notions ever so well, (not to speak of only 
those which are peculiar to their way, but,) which are most necessary to 
true religion itself; were it not, in them, a strange frenzy, to contend with 
clubs and swords about a mere notion, which has no influence on their 
practice, and they intend never shall ? If any should piofess to be of opi- 
nion that a triangle is a figure that hath four corneis, sober men would 
think it enough to say they were mad, but would let them quietly enjoy 
their humour, and never think it fit to levy armies against them, or em- 
broil the world upon so slender a quarrel. And wherein can the notions 
belonging to religion be rationally of higher account, with them, who 
never purpose to make any use of them, and against which it is impossi- 
ble for any to fight so mischievously by the most vehement, verbal oppo- 
sition, as themselves dr;, by their opposite practice, most directly assault- 
ing, and striking at, even what is most principally fundamental to religion 
and the temple of God ? Not that these great things are unworthy to be 
contended for. All that I mean is, what have these men to do with them ? 
or how irrationally and inconsistently with themselves do they seem so 
concerned about them ? 

For even lesser things, the appendages to this sacred frame, are not 
without their just value, to them who understand their intent and use. Nor 
am I designing to tempt your Lordship to the neglect or disesteem of any, 
the least thing appertaining to religion. And if any other should, I re- 
joice daily to behold in you that resolute adherence to whatsoever appa- 
rently divine truth and institution, to common order, decency, peace 
and unity, (which so greatly contribute both to the beauty and stability 
of God's house,) that may even defy and dismay the attempt; and gives 
ground, however, to be confident it would be labour bestowed as vainly, 
as it were impiously designed. So much greater assurance do you give of 
your constant fidelity and devotedness to the substance of practical reli- 
gion itself. 

Only how deeply is it to be resented, that while it should be so with all 
others, so few understand wherein that substance doth consist. I shall 
not now take notice of men's very different (which must infer some men's 
mistaken) apprehensions concerning the things necessary to be believed. 
But, besides that, though some religious sentiments be most deeply na- 
tural to men, (and, for aught we certainly know, as far extended as the true 
notion of humanity can be,) yet, in all times, there has been a too ge- 
neral mistake (not peculiar to the Paganish world only) of the true design, 
ar.d proportionably of the genuine principle of it. 

That is, it has not been understood as a thing designed to purify ar.d 
refine men's spirits, to reconcile and join them to God, associate them 
with him, and make them finally blessed in him. But only to avert or 


pacify his wrath, procure his favourable aspect on their secular affairs, 
(how unjust soever,) while, in the mean time, they have thought of no- 
thing less than becoming like to him, acquainted with him, and happy in 
him. A reconciliation hath only been di earned of on cne side, namely, 
on his, not their own ; on which, they are not so much as inclined to any 
thing else, than the continuance of the former distance and disaffection. 

Consonantly whereto, it is plainly to be seen, that the gieat principle 
which hath mostly animated religion in the world hath not been a gene- 
rous love, but a basely servile fear and dread. Whence the custom of 
sacrificing hath so generally prevailed (whencesoever it took its rise) in 
the Pagan world. And with so deep an apprehension of its absolute ne- 
cessity, that men of even so vile and barbarous manners* as the Gauls 
of old, chose, in matters of controversy, to submit their greatest con- 
cernments to the pleasure and arbitrament of their Druids, (those sacred 
persons, as they reckoned them) rather than be interdicted the sacrifices 
(the only punishment they could inflict) in case of their refusal: which 
punishment (as is testified by Julius Cassarf) they accounted the most 
grievous imaginable. And it needs not be said in what part of the world 
the same engine hath had the same power with men, even since they 
obtained to be called Christian. Which, while ithath been of such force 
with them, who, notwithstanding, persisted in courses of the most pro- 
fligate wickedness; whence could their religion, such as it was, proceed, 
save only fron a dread of divine revenge? What else could it design 
(though that most vainly J but the averting it, without even altering their 
own vile course? 

Now let this be the account and estimate of religion; only to propitiate 
the Deity towards flagitious men, still remaining so; and how monstrous 
a notion doth it give us of God, that he is one that by such things can 
ever be rendered favourable to such men ! Let it not be so, (while you 
sever its true and proper end also,) how most despicably inept and foolish 
a thing doth it make religion ! A compages and frame of merely scenical 
observances and actions, intended to no end at all. 

Ina word, their religion is nothing but foolery, which is not taken up 
and prosecuted with a sincere aim to the bettering their spirits ; the making 
them holy, peaceful, meek, humble, merciful, studious of doing good, 
and the composing them into temples, some way meet for the residence 
of the blessed God ; with design and expectation to have his intimate, 
vital presence, settled and made permanent there. 

The materials and preparation of which temple are no where entirely 
contained and directed, but in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: as, 
hereafter, we may with divine assistance labour to evince. The greater is 
the ignominy done to the temple of God, and the Christian name, by only 
titular and nick-named Christianity. Will they pretend themselves the 
temple of God, partakers in the high privilege and dignity of the Emma- 
nuel, (in whom most eminently the Deity inhabiteth,) who are discerni- 
biy, to all that know them, as great strangers to God, and of a temper of 
spirit as disagreeing to him, of as worldly spirits, as unmortified passions, as 
proud, wrathful, vain-glorious, envious, morose, merciless, disinclined 
to do good, as any other men ? When God cleanses his house, and 
purges his floor, where will these be found ? 

* See the character given of them by Cicero, Orat. pro Marc. Fon. 

f Comment, lib. ^ 


And for this temple itself, it is a structure whereto there is a concur- 
rence of truth and holiness ; the former letting in (it were otherwise a 
darksome, disorderly, uncomfortable house) a vital, directive, formative 
light, to a heavenly, calm, God-like frame of spirit, composed and made 
up of the latter. 

It is this temple, my Lord, which I would invite you both to continue 
your respect unto in others, and, more and more, to prepare and beautify 
in yourself. 

You will find little, in this part, offered to your view, more than only 
its vestibulum, or rathe - a very plain (if not rude) frontispiece; with the 
more principal pillars that must support the whole frame. Nor, whereas 
(by way of introduction to the discourse of this temple, and as most fun- 
damental to the being of it) the existence of the great Inhabitant is 
so largely insisted on, that I think that altogether a needless labour. Of 
all the sects and parties in the world, (though there are few that avow it, 
and fewer, ifany, that are so, by any formed judgment, unshaken by a 
suspicion and dread of the contrary,) that of atheists we have reason 
enough to suppose the most numerous, as having diffused and spread itself 
through all the rest, And though, with the most, under disguise, yet un- 
covering, with too many, its ugly face: and scarce ever more than in our 
own days. Wherefore, though it hath never been in any age more strongly 
impugned; yet, because the opposition can never be too common, to so 
common an enemy, this additional endeavour may prove not wholly out of 
season. And the Epicurean atheist is chiefly designed against in this dis- 
course ; that being the atheism most in fashion. 

Nor is any thing more pertinent to the design of the discourse intended 
concerning God's temple ; which, importing worship to be done to him, 
requires, first, a belief that he is. 

And surely the [El] inscribed of old, as Plutarch tells us, on the Del- 
phic Temple; signifying, (as, after divers other conjectures, he con- 
cludes it to do,) Thou dost exist, is an inscription much more fitly set in 
view, at our entrance into the temple of the living God, whose name is, 
/ AM. 

Amidst the pleasant entertainments of which temple, (made more inti- 
mate to you than human discourse can make it,) may you spend many 
happy days in this world, as a preparative and introduction to a happier 
eternity in the other. Whereto he is under many and deep obligations, 
by any means, to contribute to his uttermost, who must (especially in the 
offices relating to this temple) profess himself, 

My honoured Lord, 

Your Lordship's most humble, 
Devoted Servant, 










This notion common. Authorities needless. Insignificant with the 
atheistical, who have made it more necessary to defend religion, and a 
temple in general, than this, or that. Better defended against them 
by practice and use, than argument, whereof they are incapable. Fre- 
quent disputes of its principles not necessary to the practice of religion. 
Some consideration of those supposed in the general notion of a temple, 
pertinent, however, to this discourse. 

I. TT is so well known that this notion hath long obtained in 
JL the world, that we need not quote sayings to avouch it ; 
wherewith not the sacred writings only, but others, even of Pa- 
gans themselves, would plentifully furnish us. 

But as authorities are, in a plain case, needless to unpre- 
judiced minds ; so will they be useless to the prejudiced, be 
the case ever so plain. Nor is any prejudice deeper, or less 
vincible, than that of profane minds against religion. With 
such, it would in the present argument signify little, to tell 
them what hath been said or thought before by any others. 
Not because it is their general course to be so very circumspect 
and "Wary, as never to approve or assent to any thing, unless 
upon the clearest and most convincing demonstration : but 
front their peculiar dislike of those things only, that are of 
this special import and tendency. Discourse to them what you 
will of a temple, and it will be nauseous and unsavoury : not 
as being cross to their reason, (which Ihey are as IjLttle curious 


to gratifjr as any other sort of men,) but to their ill humour, 
and the disaffected temper of their mind ; whence also (though 
they cannot soon or easily get that mastery over their under- 
standing's herein, yet because they would fain have it so) they 
do what they can to believe religion nothing else but the effect 
of timorous fancy, and a temple, consequently, one of the most 
idle impertinencies in the world. 

To these, the discussion of the notion we have proposed to 
consider, will be thought a beating the air, an endeavour to give 
consistency to a shadow. And if their reason and power 
could as well serve their purpose as their anger and scorn, 
they would soon tear up the holy ground on which a temple is 
set, and wholly subvert the sacred frame. 

I speak of such as deny the existence of the ever-blessed 
Deity ; or, if they are not arrived to that express and formed 
misbelief, whose hearts are inclined, and ready to determine, 
even against their misgiving and more suspicious minds, that 
there is no God : who, if they cannot as yet believe, do wish 
there were none ; and so strongly, as in a great degree to pre- 
pare them for that belief : and who would fain banish him not 
only out of all their thoughts, but the world too ; and to whom 
it is so far from being a grateful sound, That the tabernacle of 
God is with men on earth, that they grudge to allow him a 
place in heaven. At least, if they are willing to admit the 
existence of any God at all, do say to him, Depart from us ; 
snd would have him so confined to heaven, that he and they 
may have nothing to do with one another : and do therefore 
rack their impious wits to serve their hypothesis either way ; 
that under its [."otection they may securely indulge themselves 
in a course, upon which they find the apprehension of a God, 
interesting himself in human affairs, would have a very unfa- 
vourable and threatening aspect. 

They are therefore constrained to take great pains with them- 
selves to discipline and chastise their minds and understand- 
ings, to that tameness and patience, as contentedly to suffer 
the razing out of their most natural impressions and sentiments. 
And they reckon they have arrived to a very hcroical perfec- 
tion, when they can pass a scoff upon any thing, that carries 
the least signitication with it of the fear of God ; and can be 
able to laugh at the weak and squeamish folly of those softer 
and efFeminatc minds, that will trouble themselves with any 
thoughts or cares, how to please and propitiate a Deity : and 
doubt not but they have made all safe, and effectually done 
their business, when they have learned to put the ignominious 


titles of frenzy, and folly, upon devotion, in whatsoever dress 
or garb ; to cry canting, to any serious mention of tbe name 
of God, and break a bold adventurous jest upon any the 
most sacred mysteries, or decent and awful solemnities, of 

II. These content not themselves to encounter this or that 
se ct, but mankind ; and reckon it too mean and inglorious an 
achievement, to overturn one sort of temple or another ; but 
would down with them all, even to the ground. 

And they are bound, in reason and justice, to pardon the 
emulation which they provoke, of vying with them as to the 
universality of their design ; and not to regret it, if they find 
there, be any that think it their duty to wave a while serving 
the temple of this or that party, as less considerable, to defend 
that one wherein all men have a common interest and concern- 
ment, since matters are brought to that exigency and hazard, 
that it seems less necessary to contend about this or that mode 
of religion, as whether there ought to be any at all. What was 
said of a former age, could never better agree to any, than our 
own, u that none was ever more fruitful of religions, and bar- 
ren of religion or true piety." It concerns us to consider, 
whether the fertility of those many doth not as well cause as 
accompany a barrenness in this one. And since the iniquity of 
the world hath made that too suitable, which were otherwise 
unseemly in itself, to speak of a temple as a fortified place, 
whose own sacredness ought ever to have been its sufficient 
fortification, it is time to be aware lest our forgetful heat and 
zeal in the defence of this or that out-work, do expose (not to 
say betray) the main fortress to assault and danger. For it 
hath long been by this means, a neglected, forsaken thing ; 
and is more decayed by vacancy and disuse, than it could 
ever have been by the most forcible battery ; so as even to pro- 
mise the rude assailant an easy victory. Who fears to insult 
over an empty, dispirited, dead religion ! which alive and 
shining in its native glory, (as that temple doth, which is com- 
pacted of lively stones united to the living corner stone,) bears 
with it a magnificence and state that would check a profane 
look, and dazzle the presumptuous eye that durst venture to 
glance at it obliquely, or with disrespect. The temple of the 
living God, manifestly animated by his vital presence, would 
not only dismay opposition, but command veneration also ; 
and be both its own ornament and defence. Nor can it be 
destitute of that presence, if we ourselves render it not inhos- 
pitable, and make not its proper inhabitant become a stranger 

VOL. I. N 


at home. If we preserve in ourselves a capacity of the divine 
presence, and keep the temple of God in a posture fit to re- 
ceive him, he would then no more forsake it, than the soul 
would a sound and healthy body, not violated in any vital 
part. But if he forsake it once, it then becomes an exposed 
and despised thing. And~as the most impotent, inconsider- 
able enemy can securely trample on the dead body of the 
greatest hero, that alive carried awfulncss and terror in his 
looks ; so is the weak-spirited atheist become as bold now, as 
he was willing before, to make rude attempts upon the tem- 
ple of God, when lie hath been provoked to leave it, who is 
its life, strength, and.glory. 

III. Therefore as they who will not be treacherous to the 
interest of God and man must own an obligation and necessity 
to apply themselves to the serious endeavour of restoring the 
life and honour of religion ; so will the case itself be found to 
point out to us the proper course in order hereto. That is, 
that it must rather be endeavoured by practice, than by dis- 
putation ; by contending, every one with himself, to excite 
the love of God in his own breast, rather than with the profane 
adversary to kindle his anger, more aiming to foment and 
cherish the domestic, continual fire of God's temple and altar, 
than transmit a flame into the enemies' camp. For what can 
this signify ? And it seldom fails to be the event of disputing 
against prejudice, (especially of disputing for the sum of 
religion at once against the prepossession of a sensual profane 
temper, and a violent inclination andresolvednessto be wicked,) 
to beget more wrath than conviction, and sooner to incense the 
impatient wretch than enlighten him. And by how much the 
more cogent and enforcing reasonings are used, and the less is 
left the confounded, baffled creature to say, on behalf of a 
cause so equally deplorate and vile ; the more he finds him- 
self concerned to fortify his obstinate will ; to supply his want 
of reason with resolution ; to find out the most expedite ways 
of diverting, from what he hath no mind to consider ; and to 
entertain himself with the most stupifying pleasures, (which 
must serve the same turn that opium is wont, to do in the case 
of broken, unquiet sleep,) or whatsoever may most effectually 
serve to mortify any divine principle, and destroy all sense of 
God out of his soul. 

And how grateful herein, and meritorious often, are the as- 
sistant railleries of servile, and it maybe mercenary, wits ? How 
highly will he oblige them, that can furnish out a libel against 
religion, and help them with more artificial spite to blaspheme 


what they cannot disprove. And now shall the scurrilous 
pasquil and a few bottles, work a more effectual confutation 
or* religion, than all the reason and argument in the world shall 
be able to countervail. This proves too often the unhappy 
issue of misapplying what is most excellent in its own kind and 
place, to improper and incapable subjects. 

IV. And v ho sees not this to be the case with the modern 
atheist, who hath been pursued with that strength and vigour 
of argument, even in our days, that would have baffled per- 
sons of any other temper than their own, into shame and si- 
lence ? And so as no other support hath been left to irreligion, 
than a senseless si upidity, an obstinate resolvedness not to con- 
sider, a faculty to stifle an argument with a jest, to charm their 
reason by sensual softnesses into a dead sleep ; with a strict 
and circumspect care that it may never awake into any exer- 
cise above the condition of dozed and half-witted persons; or 
if it do, by the next debauch, presently to lay it fast again. So 
that the very principle fails in this sort of men, whereto, in 
reasoning, we should appeal, and apply ourselves. And it 
were almost the same thing, to oiler arguments to the senseless 
images, or forsaken carcasses of men. It belongs to the gran- 
deur of religion to neglect the impotent assaults of these men : 
as it is a piece of glorjr, and bespeaks a worthy person's right 
understanding, and just value of himself, to disdain the com- 
bat with an incompetent or a foiled enemy. It is becoming 
and seemly, that the grand, ancient, and received truth, which 
tends to, and is the reason of the godly life, do sometimes keep 
state ; and no more descend to perpetual, repeated j anglings 
with every scurrilous and impertinent trirler, than a great and 
redoubted prince would think it fit to dispute the rights of his 
crown, with a drunken, distracted fool, or a mad-man. 

Men of atheistical persuasions having abandoned their rea- 
son, need what will more powerfully strike their sense — 
storms and whirlwinds, flames and thunderbolts ; things not 
so apt immediately to work upon their understanding, as their 
fear, and that will astonish, that they may convince, ihat the 
great God makes himself known by the judgments which he 
executes. Stripes are for the back of fools (as they are justly 
styled, that say in their hearts, There is no God). But if it 
may be hoped any gentler method may prove effectual with 
any of them, we are rather to expect the good effect from the 
steady, uniform course of their actions and conversation, who 
profess reverence and devotedness to an eternal Being ; and the 
correspondence of their way, to their avowed principle, that 


acts them on agreeably to itself, and may also incur the sense 
of the beholder, and gradually invite and draw his observation ; 
than from the most severe and necessitating argumentation that 
exacts a sudden assent. 

V. At least, in a matter of so clear and commanding evi- 
dence, reasoning many times looks like trifling ; and out of a 
hearty concernedne&s and jealousy for the honour of religion, 
one ■vvoukl rather it should march on with an heroical neglect 
of bold and malapert cavillers, and only demonstrate and re- 
commend itself by its own vigorous, comely, coherent course, 
than make itself cheap by discussing at every turn its prin- 
ciples : as that philosopher who thought it the fittest way to 
confute the sophisms against motion, only by walking. 

But we have nothing so considerable objected against prac- 
tical religion, as well to deserve the name of a sophism ; at 
least, no sophism so perplexing in the case of religious, as of 
natural motion ; jeers and sarcasms are the most weighty, con- 
vincing arguments : and let the deplorate crew mock on. 
There are those in ihc world, that will think they have how- 
ever, reason enough to persist in the way of godliness ; and 
that have already laid the foundation of that reverence which 
they bear to a Deity, more strongly than to be shaken and beaten 
off from it by a jest : and therefore will not think it necessary 
to have the principles of their religion vindicated afresh, every 
time they are called to i he practice of it. For sure! y they would 
be religious upon very uncertain terms, that will think them- 
selves concerned to suspend or discontinue their course as often 
as they are encountered in it with a, wry mouth or a distorted 
look ; or that are apt to be put out of conceit with their re- 
ligion by the laughter of a fool ; or by their cavils and taunts 
against the rules and principles of it, whom only their own 
sensual temper, and impatience of serious thoug ts, have made 
willing to have them false. That any indeed should commence 
religious, and persist with blind zeal in this or that discrimi- 
nating profession, without ever considering why they should do 
so, is unmanly and absurd ; especially when a gross ignorance 
of the true reasons and grounds of religion shall beshadowed 
over with a pretended awe and scrupulousness to inquire about 
things so sacred. And an inquisitive temper shall have an ill 
character put upon it, as if rational and profane were words 
of the same signification. Or, as if reason and judgment were 
utterly execrated, and an unaccountable, enthusiastic fury, 
baptized and hallowed, were the only principle of religion. 
But when the matter hath undergone already, a severe inquisi- 


tion, ajid been searched to the bottom ; when principles have 
been examined ; when the strength and firmness of its deepest, 
and most fundamental grounds have been tried, and an approving 
judgment been past in the case, and a resolution thereupon 
taken up, of a suitable and correspondent practice ; it were 
a vain and unwarrantable curiosity, after all this, to be per- 
petually perplexing one's easy path with new and suspicious re- 
searches into the most acknowledged things. Nor were this 
course a little prejudicial to the design and end of religion, (if 
we will allow it any at all,) the refining of our minds, and the 
fitting us for a happy eternity. For when shall that building 
be finished, the foundations whereof must be every day torn 
up anew, upon pretence of further caution, and for more di- 
ligent search ? Or when will he reach his journey's end, that is 
continually vexed (and often occasioned to go back from whence 
he came) by causeless anxieties about his way ; and whether 
ever he began a right course, yea or no ? 

Many go securely on in a course most ignominiously wicked 
and vile, without ever debating the matter with themselves, 
or inquiring if there be any rational principle to justify or bear 
thorn cut. Much more may they, with a cheerful confidence 
persist in their well-chosen way, that have once settled their 
resolutions about it upon firm and assured grounds and princi- 
ples, without running over the same course of reasonings with 
themselves in reference to each single, devotional act ; or 
thinking it necessary every time they are to pray, to have it 
proved to them, that there is a God. But many of these do 
need excitation ; and though they are not destitute of pious 
sentiments and inclinations, and have somewhat in them of the 
ancient foundations and frame of a temple, have yet, by neg- 
lect, suffered it to grow into decay. It is therefore the princi- 
pal intendment of this discourse, not to assert the principles of 
religion against those with whom they have no place, but to 
propound what may some way tend to reinforce and strengthen 
them, where they visibly languish; and awaken such as pro- 
fess a devotedness to God, to the speedy and vigorous endeavour 
of repairing the ruins of his temple in their own breasts ; that 
they may thence hold forth a visible representation of an in- 
dwelling Deity, in effects and actions of life worthy of such a 
presence, and render his enshrined glory, transparent to the 
view and conviction of the irreligious and profane. Which 
hath more of hope in it, and is likely to be to better purpose, 
than disputing with them that more know how to jest, than rea- 


son ; and better understand the relishes or meat and drink, than 
the strength of an argument. 

VI. But though it would be both an ungrateful and insig- 
nificant labour, and as talking to the wind, to discourse of re- 
ligion, with persons that have abjured all seriousness, and that 
cannot endure to think ; and would be like fighting with a 
storm, to contend against the blasphemy and outrage of inso- 
lent mockers at Avbatever is sacred and divine ; and were too 
much a debasing of religion, to retort sarcasms with men not 
capable of being talked with in any other than such (that is, 
their own ) language : yet it wants neither its use nor pleasure, 
to the most composed minds, and that are most exempt from 
wavering herein, to view the frame of their religion, as it 
aptly and even naturally rises and grows up from its very foun- 
dations ; and to contemplate its first principles, which they 
may in the mean time find no present iWAse or inclination to 
dispute. They will know how to consider its most fundamen- 
tal grounds, not with doubt or suspicion, but with admiration 
and delight ;. and can with a calm and silent pleasure enjoy 
the repose and rest of a quiet and well-assured mind, rejoicing 
and contented to know to themselves, (when others refuse to 
partake with them in this joy,) and feel all firm and stable under 
them, whereupon either the practice or the hopes of their religion 
do depend. 

And there maybe also many others of good and pious incli- 
nations, that have never yet applied themselves to consider the 
principal and most fundamental grounds of religion, so as to be 
able to give, or discern, any tolerable reason of them. For 
either the sluggishness of their own temper may have indisposed 
them to any more painful and laborious exercise of their minds, 
and made tliem to be content with the easier course of taking 
every thing upon trust, and imitating the example of others ; 
or they have been unhappily misinformed, that {t consists not 
with the reverence due to religion, to search into the grounds 
of it. Yea, and may have laid this for one of its main 
grounds, that no exercise of reason may have any place about 
it. Or perhaps having never tried, they apprehend a greater 
difficulty in coming to a clear and certain resolution herein, 
ilv.in indeed there is. Now such need to be excited to set their 
own thoughts to work this way, and to be assisted herein. 
They should therefore consider who gave them the under- 
standings which they fear to use. And can they use them to 
better purpose, or with more gratitude to him who made them 


intelligent, and not brute creatures, than in labouring to know, 
that they may also by a reasonable service worship and adore 
their Maker ? Are they not to use their very senses about the 
matters of religion ? For the invisible things of God, even his 
eternal power and Godhead, are clearly seen, &c. And their 
faith comes by hearing. But what ? are these more sacred and 
divine, and more akin to religion, than their reason and judg- 
ment, without which also their sense. can be of no use to them 
herein ? Or is it the best way of making use of what God hath 
revealed of himself, by whatsoever means, not to understand 
what he hath revealed ? It is most true indeed, that when we 
once come clearly to be informed that God hath revealed this 
or that thing, we are then readily to subject (and not oppose) 
our feeble reasonings to his plain revelation. And it were a 
most insolent and uncreaturely arrogance, to contend or not 
yield him the cause, though things have to us seemed other- 
wise. But it were as inexcusable negligence, not to make use 
of our understandings to the best advantage ; that we may both 
know that such a revelation is divine, and what it signifies, 
after we know whence it is. And any one that considers, will 
soon see it were very unseasonable, at least, to allege the writ- 
ten, divine revelation, as the ground af his religion, till he 
have gone lower, and fore-known some things (by and by to be 
insisted on) as preparatory and fundamental to the knowledge 
of this. 

And because it is obvious to suppose how great an increase 
of strength and vigour pious minds may receive hence, how 
much it may animate them to the service of the temple, and 
contribute to their more cheerful progress in a religious course ; 
it will therefore not be besides our present purpose, but very 
pursuant to it, to consider awhile, not in the contentious way of 
brawling and captious disputation, (the noise whereof is as un- 
suitable to the temple as that of axes and hammers,) but of 
calm and sober discourse, the more principal and lowermost 
grounds upon which the frame of religion rests, and to the sup- 
posal whereof, the notion and use of any such thing as a temple 
in the world, do owe themselves. 




I. The two more principal grounds which a temple supposes. First, The 
existence of God. Secondly, His conversableness with men: both 
argued from c ommo n consejit. Doubtful if the first were ever wholly 
denied in former days. The second also implied, First, In the known 
general practice of some or other religion. Evidenced, Secondly, In 
that some, no strangers to the world, have thought it the difference of 
man. II. The immodesty and rashness of the persons from whom any 
opposition can be expected. III. These two grounds, namely, the ex- 
istence of God, and his conversableness with men, proposed to be more 
strictly considered apart. And, FIRST, The existence of God, where the 
notion oi God is assigned. The parts whereof are proposed to be evinced 
severally of some existent being. First, Eternity. Secondly, Self-origina- 
tion, Thirdly, Independency. Fourthly, Necessity of existence. Fifthly, 
Self-activity. (The impossibility that this world should be this neces- 
sary self-active being. The inconsistency of necessary alterable matter, 
more largely deduced in a marginal digression.) Sixthly, Life. Seventhly, 
Vast and mighty power. A corollary. 

1. "VTOW the grounds more necessary to be laid down, and 

X ^1 which are supposed in the most general notion of a 
temple, are especially these two ; The existence of God, and 
his conversableness with men. For no notion of a temple can 
more easily occur to any one's thoughts, or is more agreeable 
to common acceptation, than that it is a habitation wherein 
God is pleased to dwell among men. 

Therefore to the designation and use of it, or (which is all 
one) to the intention and exercise of religion, the belief or per- 
suasion is necessary of those two things, (the same which we 
find made necessary on the same account,) " That God is, and 
that he is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek him ;" Heb. 
11.6. as will appear when the manner and design of that his 
abode with men shall be considered. 

These are the grounds upon which the sacred frame of a 
temple ought to stand, and without which it must be acknow- 
ledged an unsupported, airy fabric. And since it were vain 
to discourse what a temple is, or whereto the notion of it may 
be applied, unless it be well resolved that there is, or ought to 
be, any such thing. The strength and firmness of this its double 
ground should be tried and searched, and of its pretensions 

And though it be not. necessary in a matter that is so plain, 
and wherein so much is to be said otherwise ; yet it will not be 
impertinent to consider, here, what prescription (which in cleai- 



ing of titles is wont to signify nothing) will signify in the present 
case. And, 

First, For the existence of God, we need not labour much 
to shew how constantly and generally it hath been acknowledged 
through the whole world ; it being so difficult to produce an 
uncontroverted instance, of any that ever denied it in more 
ancient times. For as for them whose names have been in- 
famous amongst* men heretofore upon that account, there hath 
been that said, that at least wants not probability for the clear- 
ing them of so foul an imputation. That is, that they were 
maliciously represented as having denied the existence of a 
Deity, because Vaey impugned and derided the vulgar conceits 
and poetical fictions of those days, concerning the multitude 
and the ridiculous attributes of their imaginary Deities 1 . Of 
which sort Cicero f mentions not a few ; their being inflamed 
with anger, and mad with lust ; their Avars, fights ; wounds ; 
their hatreds, discords ; their births and deaths, &c. : who 
though he speaks less favourably of some of these men, and 
mentions one^: as doubting whether there were any gods or no, 
(for which cause his book in the beginning whereof he had in- 
timated that doubt, (as Cotta is brought in, informing us,) was 
publicly burnt at Athens, and himself banished his country,) 
and two others § as expressly denying them ; yet the more ge- 
nerally decried patron || of atheism (as he hath been accounted) 
he makes Velleius highly vindicate from this imputation, and 
say of him, that he was the first that took notice that even na- 
ture itself had impressed the notion of God upon the minds of 
all men : who also gives us these as his words ; (l What nation 
is there or sort of men that hath not, without teaching, a 
certain anticipation of the gods, which he calls a prolepsis, a 
certain preventive, or fore-conceived information of a thing in 
the mind, without which nothing can be understood, or sought, 
or disputed of?" Unto which purpose the same author H (as is 
commonly observed) elsewhere speaks ; that there is no nation 
so barbarous, no one of all men so savage, as that some appre- 
hension of the gods hath not tinctured his mind ; that many 

* Parker Tentamen. + De tiatura Deorum, liber 1. 

X Protagoras Abderites. 

§ Diagoras and Theodoras Cyrenaicus, who (as Diogenes Laertius, in 
Aristipides, reports) was surnamed aS £ ^, afterwards &©,. 

|| Epicurus, whom also his own Epistle to Menaeceus in Diogenes Laer- 
tius acquits of atheism, but not of irreligion ; as hereafter may be ob- 

^[ Cicero, Tusculan Questions, 1. 1. 

vol. i. a 


do think indeed corruptly of them, which is (saith he) the ef- 
fect of vicious custom ; but all do believe there is a divine 
power and nature. Nor (as he there proceeds) hath men's 
talking and agreeing together effected this. It is not an opinion 
settled in men's minds by public constitutions and sanctions ; 
but in every matter the consent of all nations is to be reckoned a 
law of nature. 

And whatever the apprehensions of those few (and some 
others that are wont to be mentioned' under the same vile cha- 
racter) were in this matter, yet so inconsiderable hath the dis- 
sent been, that as another most ingenious pagan author* 
writes, " In so great a contention and variety of opinons, (that 
is, concerning what God is,) herein you shall see the opoipum 
voiA.ov x«i xiyov — law and reason of every country to be harmonious 
and one ; that there is one God, the King and Father of all ; 
that the many are but the servants and oW^ovtej &« — co-rulcrs 
unto God; that herein the Greek and the Barbarian say the 
same thing, the islander and the inhabitant of the continent, 
the wise and the foolish : go to the utmost bounds of the ocean, 
and you find God there. Bnt if (says he) in all tunes, there 
have been two or three j aSsov >£, r«7rmov, k, a-vxto-Ses yivos — an atheist- 
ical, vile, senseless sort of persons, whose own eyes and ears 
deceive them, and who are maimed in their very soul, an ir- 
rational and steril sort, as monstrous creatures, as a lion with- 
out courage, an ox without horns, or a bird without wings ; 
yet, out of those, you shall understand somewhat of God : 
for they know and confess him, whether they will or no." 

Secondly, His conversableness with men, as well as his 
existence, is first implied in the use of a temple, and the exer- 
cise of religion, which have been so common, (though not 
altogether equally common with the former,) that it is the obser- 
vation of that famed moralist, t " That if one travel the world, 
it is possible to find cities without walls, without letters, without 
kings, without wealth, without coin, without schools and thea- 
tres. But a city without a temple, or that useth no worship, 
prayers, &c. no one ever saw. And he believes a city may 
more easily be built II^hs yaps — without a foundation , or ground 
to set it on, than any community of men have or keep a consist- 
ency without religion. 

And, secondly, it is no mean argument of the commonness of 
religion, that there have been some in the world, and those no 
idiots neither, that have accounted it the most constituent and 

* Maxim us Tyrius dissertationes I. t Plutarch adversus Colotcm. 


distinguishing thing in human nature. So that Platonic Jew * 
judgeth invocation " of God, with hope towards him, to be, if 
we will speak the truth, the only genuine property of man, and 
saith that only he who is acted by such a hope, is a man, and 
he that is destitute of this hope, is no niton ; f preferring this 
account to the common definition, (which he says is only of the 
concrete of man,) that he is a reasonable, and mortal, living 
crrature. And yet he extends not reason further, that is, to 
the inferior creatures ; for he had expressly said above, 
" That they who have no hope towards God, have no part or 
share in the rational nature." And a noble person % of our 
own says, " That upon accurate search, religion and faith ap- 
pear the only ultimate differences of man ; whereof neither 
divine perfection is capable, nor brutal imperfection /' rea- 
son, in his account, descending low among the inferior crea- 
tures. But these agreeing more peculiarly to man, and so uni- 
versally, that he affirms, 6i . There is no man well and entirely 
in his wits, that doth not worship some Deity." Who there- 
fore accounted it a less absurdity to admit such a thing as 
a rational beast, than an irreligious man. Now if these have 
taken notice of any instances that seemed to claim an exemp- 
tion from this notion of man, they have rather thought fit to 
let them pass as an anomalous sort of creatures, reducible to 
no certain rank or order in the creation, than that any should 
be admitted into the account, or be acknowledged of the so- 
ciety, of men, that were found destitute of an inclination to 
worship the common Author of our beings. And according 
to this opinion, by whatsoever steps any should advance in the 
denial of a Deity, they should proceed by the same, fo the 
abandoning their own humanity ; and by saying there is no God, 
.should proclaim themselves no men. 

However, it discovers (which is all that is at present intended 
by it) the commonness, not to say absolute universality of 
religion, in the observation of these persons, whom we must 
suppose no strangers to the world, in their own and former 
times. And if it afford any less ground for such an obser- 
vation in our present time, we only see that as the world grows 
older it grows worse, and sinks info a deeper oblivion of its 
original, as it recedes further from if. 

And (notwithstanding) this so common a consent is yet not 

* Philo. Ubr. dc eo quod deterius potion insid. 

t /aov©- EveXirts, avS/3w7r@- — o St-o^Xm? an affair©'.. 

X Herbert de vcritate. 


without its weight and significancy to our present purpose ; if 
we consider how impossible it is to give or imagine any tole- 
rable account of its original, if we do not confess it natural, 
and refer it to that common Author of all nature whom we are 
inquiring about : of which so much is said by divers others,* 
that nothing more needs here to be said about it. 

II. And at least so much is gained by it to a temple, that 
unless some very plain and ungalnsayable demonstration be 
brought against the grounds of it, (which will be time enough 
to consider when we see it pretended to,) no opposition, fit to 
be regarded, can ever be made to it. That is, none at all can 
possibly be made, but what shall proceed from the most im- 
modest and rash confidence, animated and borne up only by a 
design of being most licentiously wicked, and of making the 
world become so. Immodest confidence it must be, for it is 
not a man, or a nation, or an age, that such have to oppose, 
but mankind ; upon which they shall cast, not some lighter 
reflection, but the vilest and most opprobrious contumely and 
scorn that can be imagined. That is, the imputation of so 
egregious folly and dotage, as all this while to have wor- 
shipped a shadow, as the author of their being ; and a figment, 
for their common 'parent. And this not the ruder only, and 
uninquisitive vulgar, but the wisest and most considering per- 
sons in all times. Surely less than clear and pregnant demon- 
stration (at least not wild, incoherent, Self- confounding sup- 
positions and surmises, of which more hereafter) will never be 
thought sufficient to justify the boldness of an attempt that 
shall carry this signification with it. And it will be a confi- 
dence equally rash, as immodest. For what can be the under- 
takers' hope, either of success or reward ? Do they think it 
an easy enterprise, and that a few quirks of malapert wit will 
serve the turn to baffle the Deity into nothing, and unfeach 
the world religion, and raze out impressions renewed and 
transmitted through so many ages, and persuade the race of 
men to descend a peg lower, and believe they ought to live, 
and shall die, like the perishing beast ? Or, do they ex- 
pect to find men indifferent in a matter that concerns their 
common practice and hope, and wherein their zeal hath been 
wont to be such as that it hath obtained to be proverbial, to 

* See. Cicero in sundry places. Grotius de veritate Christianw Relifiionis. 
Du P leasts, same subject and title. Calvin s Institutes. Episcopius his 
Ins titntiones Theologies, who bath written nervously on this subject ; with 
many more : but especially Dr. Stillingfieet, in his Qrig, Sacr. 


strive as for the very altars ? And what should their 
reward be, when the natural tendency of their undertak- 
ing is to exclude themselves from the expectation of any in 
another world ? And what will they expect in this, from them 
whose temples and altars they go about to subvert ? • Besides, 
that if they be not hurried by a blind impetuous rashness, 
they would consider their danger, and apprehend themselves 
concerned to strike very sure. For if there remain but the 
least possibility that the matter is otherwise, and that the being 
doth exist, whose honour and worship they contend against, 
they must understand his favour to be 'of some concernment to 
them ; which they take but an ill course to entitle themselves 
-unto. Much more have they reason to be solicitous, when 
their horrid cause not only Wants evidence, nor hath hitherto 
pretended to more than a bare possibility of truth on their side, 
but hath so clear (and as vet altogether unrefutc-d) evidence 
lying against it, that quite takes away that very possibility, 
and all ground for that miserable languishing hope, that it 
could ever have afforded them. Therefore is it left also 
wholly unimaginable, what principle can animate their design, 
other than a sensual humour, impatient of restraints, or of any 
obligation to be sober, just, and honest, beyond what their 
own inclination, and much-mistaken interest or conveniency, 
would load them to. 

By all which we have a sufficient measure of the persons 
from whom any opposition unto religion can be expected, and 
how much their authority, their example; or (heir scorn, ought 
to signify with us. And that a more valuable opposition can 
never be made, our experience, both that hitherto it hath not 
been, and that it would have been if it could, might render us 
tolerably secure. For surely it may well be supposed, tluit in 
a world so many ages Idst in wickedness, all imaginable trials 
would have been made to dishnrthen it of religion ; and some- 
what that had been specious at least, to that purpose, had been 
hit upon, if the matter had been any way possible. And the 
more wicked the world hath been, so directly contrary and so 
continually assaulted a principle, not yet vanquished, appears 
the more plainly invincible. And that the assaults have been 
from the lusts of men, rather than their reason, shews the more 
evidently, that their reason hath only wanted a ground to work 
upon, which if it could have been found, their lusts had cer- 
tainly pressed it to their service in this warfare, and not have 
endured, rather, the molestation of continual checks and re- 
bukes from it. 


Nor need we yet told our minds hang* in suspense, or be in 
a dubious expectation, that possibly some or-other great wit 
may arise, that shall perform some great thing- in this matter, 
and discover the groundlessness and folly of religion, by plain 
and undeniable reasons that have not as yet been thought on ; 
but betake ourselves to a stricter and closer consideration of our 
own grounds, which if we can once find to be certainly true, 
we may be sure they are of eternal truth, and no possible con- 
trivance or device can ever make them false. 

III. Having therefore seen what common consent may con- 
tribute to the establishing of them jointly ; we may now apply 
ourselves to consider and search into each of them (so far as 
they are capable of a distinct consideration) severally and apart. 
Having still this mark in our eye, our own confirmation and 
excitation in reference to what is the proper work and business 
of a temple, religion and conversation with God : how little 
soever any endeavour in this kind may be apt to signify with 
the otherwise minded. 

FIRST, And for the existence of God ; that we may regu- 
larly and with evidence make it out to ourselves, that he is, or 
doth exist, and may withal see what the belief of his existence 
will contribute towards the evincing of the reasonableness of 
erecting a temple to him, it is requisite, before we evince the 
several parts of some existent being, that we settle a true notion 
of him in our minds ; or be at an agreement with ourselves, 
what it is that we mean, or would have to be signified by the 
name of God : otherwise we know not what we seek, nor when 
we have found him. 

And though we must beforehand professedly avow, that we 
take him to be such a one as we can never comprehend in 
onr thoughts ; that this knowledge is too excellent for us, or 
he is more excellent than that we can perfectly know him ; yet 
it will be sufficient to guide us in our search after his existence, 
if we can give such a description, or assign such certain clia- 
rjaclers of his being, as will severally or together distinguish 
him from all things else. For then we shall be able to call 
him by his own name, and say, This is God ; whatever his 
being -may contain' more j or whatsoever other properties may 
belong to it, beyond what we can as yet compass in our present 
thoughts of him. 

And sucJ) an account we shall have of what we are 
inquiring after, if we have the conception in our minds of an 
eternal, uncaused, independent, neccsssary Being, that hath 
active power, life, wisdom, goodness, and whatsoever other 


supposable excellency, in the highest perfection originally, in 
and of itself. 

Such a Being we would with common consent express by the 
name of God. Even they that would profess to deny or doubt 
of his existence, yet must acknowledge this to be the notion of 
that which they deny or doubt of. Or if they should say this 
is not it, or (which is all one) that they do not deny or doubt 
of the existence of such a Being as this ; they on the other 
hand that would argue for his existence, may conclude the 
cause is yielded them ; this being that, which they designed 
to contend for. 

It must indeed be acknowledged, that some things belonging 
to the notion of God might have been more expressly named. 
But it was not necessary they should, being sufficiently included 
here, as will afterwards appear : nor perhaps so convenient ; 
some things, the express mention whereof is omitted, being 
such as more captious persons might be apt at first to startle at ; 
who yet may possibly, as they are insinuated under other 
expressions, become by degrees more inclinable to receive 
them afterwards. And if this be not a full and adequate notion y 
(as who can ever tell when we have an express, distinct, parti- 
cular notion of God, which we are sure is adequate and full ?) 
it may however suffice, that it is a trite one, as far as it goes, 
and such as cannot be mistaken for the notion of any thing else. 
And it will be more especially sufficient to our present purpose, 
if enough be comprehended in it to recommend him to us as a 
fit and worthy object of religion ; and whereto a temple ought 
to be designed, as it will appear there is, when also we shall 
have added what is intended, concerning his conversableness 
with men. The ground whereof is also in great part included 
in this account of him ; so that the consideration of it cannot 
be wholly severed from that of his existence ; as hath been inti- 
mated above. That is, that if such a Being exist, unto Avhich 
this notion belongs, it will sufficiently appear, he is such as 
that he can converse with men, though it doth not thence cer- 
tainly follow that he will. For it were a rash and bold adven- 
ture, to say he could not be God, if he did not condescend to 
such terms of reconciliation and converse with apostate crea- 
tures. Whereof, therefore, more is to be said, than the mere 
manifesting his existence, in its own place. 

And as to this, we shall endeavour to proceed gradually, and 
in the most familiar and intelligible way we can. 

I am not unapprehensive that I might here indeed, follow- 
ing great examples, have proceeded in another method than 


that which I now choose ,And because we Can have no true, 
appropriate, or distinguishing idea or conception of Deity, 
which doth not include necessity of existence in it, have gone 
that shorter way, immediately to have concluded the existence 
of God, from liis ilea itself. And I see not, but treading.ihose 
wary steps which the incomparable Dr. Cudworth (in his In- 
tel!. System.) hath done, that argument admits, in spite of 
cavil, of being managed with demonstrative evidence. Yet 
since some most pertinaciously insist that it is at the bottom, 
]but a mere sophism ; therefore (without detracting anything 
from the force of it as it sjtahds in that excellent work, and the 
writings of some other noted authors) 1 have chosen to go this 
other way, as plainer and less liable to exception, though fur- 
ther about. And beginning lower, to evince from the certain 
present existence of tilings not existing necessarily, or of 
themselves, their manifest dependence on what doth exist ne- 
cessarily prof itself; and how manifestly impossible it was 
that any tiling should exist now, or hereafter to all eternity, if 
somewhat had not existed necessarily and of itself, from all 
eternity. And I trust that not only tins will appear with com- 
petent evidence in the sequel of this discourse, but also that this 
necessary self-existent Being, is God, a Being absolutely per- 
fect, such to whom U\c rest of his idea must belong ; and to 
whom religion or the honour of a temple is due. 

And because that was the point at which this discourse prin- 
cipally aims, and wherein it finally terminates, not merely the 
discovering of atheism, but irreligion ; (from an apprehension 
that as to use and practice, it was all one to acknowledge no 
God at all, as only such, a one to whom no temple or religion 
could belong:) it was besides my purpose, to consider the seve- 
ral forms or sq%ejne?o$ atheism, tfyatbave been devised in any 
age, as t}v.)i exceJlenj person hath dime ; and enough for my 
purpose, to refute the Epicurean atheism, or theism, (it is 
indifferent which you call it.) because thatsect rnaster while he 
was liberal in granting there were deities, yet was so impious as 
to deny worship to airy, accounting they were such, as between 
whom and man there could be do conversation ; on their party 
by providence, or on man\-, by religion. Therefore, if we 
shall have made it evident in the issue, that God is, and is 
conversable with men, both the Epicurean atheism vanishes 
from off the stage, and with it all atheism besides, and irre- 

We therefore begin with God's existence. For the evincing 
whereof we may be most assured, First, That there hath been 


somewhat or other from all eternity, or that looking back- 
ward, somewhat of real being must be confessed eternal. 
Let such as' have not been used to think of any thing 1 more 
than what they could see with their eyes, and to whom reason- 
ing only seems difficult, because they harve not tried what tliey 
can do in it, but use their thoughts a little, 8i;d by moving 
them a few easy steps, they will soon find themselves as sure 
of this, as that they see, or hear, or understand, or are any 

For being sure that something now is, (that you see, for in- 
stance, or are something,) you must then acknowledge, that 
certainly either something always was, and hath ever been, or 
been from all eternity ; or else you must say, that sometime, 
nothing was; or that all being once was not. And so, since 
you find that something now is, that there was a time when 
any thing of being did begin to be, that is, that till that time, 
there was nothing ; but now, at that time, somewhat first be- 
gan to be. For what can be plainer than that, if all being 
sometime was not, and now some being is, every thing of being 
had a beginning ? And thence it would follow that, some be- 
ing, that is, the first that ever began to be, did of itself start 
up out of nothing, or made itself to be, when before, nothing 

But now, do you not plainly see that it is altogether impos- 
sible any thing should do so ; that is, when it was as yet no* 
thing, and when nothing at all as yet was, that it should make 
itself, or come into being of itself ? For surely making itself 
is doing something. But can that which is nothing do any 
thing ? Unto all doing there must be some doer. Wherefore 
a thing must be, before it can do any thing ; and therefore it 
would follow that it was before it was ; or was and was not, 
was something and nothing, at the same time. Yea, and it 
was diverse from itself. For a cause must be a distinct thing 
from that which is caused by it. Wherefore it is most 
apparent that some being hath ever been, or did never begin 
to be. 

Whence further, it is also evident, Secpndl?/ ', That some being 
was uncaused, or was ever of itself withouT any cause. For 
what never was from another had never any cause, since nothing 
could be its own cause. And somewhat, as appears from v. ■■hat 
hath been said, never was from another. Or it may be plainly 
argued thus ; that either some being was uncaused, or all being 
was caused . But if all being were caused, then some one at least , 
was the cause of itself: which hath been already shewn impos- 
VOL. i. v 

106 the living TE:.:rLE. Part i. 

siblc. Therefore the expression commonly used concerning 
the first Being that it was of itself, is only to be taken nega- 
tively, that is, that it was not of another, not positively, as if 
it did sometime make itself. Or, what there is positive, sig- 
nified by that, form of speech, is only to be taken thus, that it 
was a being of that nature, as that it was impossible it should 
ever not have been* Not that it did ever of itself, step out of 
not being into being '. of which more hereafter. 

And now it is hence further evident, Thirdly, That some being 
is independent upon any other, that is, whereas it already ap- 
pears that some being did never depend on my other, as a pro- 
ductive cause : or was not beholden to any other, that it might 
come into being. Jt is thereupon equally evident that it is sim- 
ply independent, or cannot be beholden to any for its conti- 
nued being. For what did never need a productive cause, 
doth as little need a sustaining or conserving cause. And to 
n>ake this more plain, either some being is independent, or all 
being is dependent. But there is nothing without the compass of 
all being, whereon it may depend. V- Therefore to say, that all 
being doth depend, is to say it depends on nothing, that is, 
that it depends not. For to depend on nothing, is not to de- 
pend. It is therefore a manifest contradiction, to say that all be- 
ing doth depend : against which it is no relief to say, that all 
beings do circularly depend on one another. For so, however, 
the whole circle or sphere of being should depend on nothing, 
or one at last depend on itself; which negatively taken, as be- 
fore, is true, and the thing we contend for ; that One, the 
common support of all the rest, depends not on any thing 
without itself. 

Whence also it is plainly consequent, Fourthly, That such 
a Being is necessary, or doth necessarily exist : that is, that 
it is of such a nature as that it could not, or cannot but be. 
For what is in being neither by its own choice, or any other's, 
is necessarily. But what was not made by itself (which hath 
been shewn impossible that any thing should) nor by any other, 
(as it hath been proved something was not,) it is manifest, it 
neither depended on its own choice, nor any other's that it is. 
And therefore its existence is not owing to choice at all, but to 
the necessity of its own nature. Wherefore it is always by 
a simple, absolute, natural necessity ; being of such a nature, 
to which it is altogether repugnant, and impossible ever not 
to have been, or ever to cease from being. And now having 
gone thus far, and being assured that hitherto we feel the ground 
Jinn under us ; that is. having gained a full certainty that there 


is an eternal, uncaused, independent, necessary Being, and 
therefore actually and everlastingly existing ; we may advance 
one step further; 

And with equal assurance add, Fifthly, That, this eternal, 
independent, uncaused, necessary Being-, is self-active, that 
is, (which is at present meant,) not such as acts upon itself, 
but that hath the power of acting upon other tilings, in and of 
itself, without deriving it from any other. Or at least that 
there is such a Being as is eternal, uncaused, &c. having the 
power of action in and of itself. For either such a Being as 
hath been already evinced is of itself active, or unactive, or 
either hath the power of action of itself, or not. If we will 
say the latter, let it be considered what we say, and to what 
purpose we say it. 

1. We are to weigh what it is we affirm, when we speak of 
an eternal, uncaused, independent, necessary Being, that is of 
itself totally unactiye, or destitute of any active power. If Ave 
will say there is some such thing, we will confess, when Ave 
have called it something, it is a very silly, despicable, idle 
something, and a something (if Ave look upon it alone) as good 
as nothing. For there is but little odds betAveen being nothing, 
and being able to do nothing. AVe Avill again confess, eternity, 
self-origination, independency, necessity of existence, to be 
very great and highly dignifying attributes : and that import a 
most inconceivable excellency. For what higher glory can Ave 
ascribe to any being, than to acknoAvledge it to have been from 
eternity of itself,* Avifhout being beholden to any other, and 
to be such as that it can be, and cannot but be in the same state, 
self-subsisting, and self-sufficient to all eternity 'I And Avliat 

* We will acknowledgean impropriety in this word, and its conjugate, 
self-originate, sometimes hereafter used: which yet is recompensed by 
their conveniency; as they may perhaps find who shall make trial how to 
express the sense intended by them in other words. And they are used 
without suspicion, that it can be thought they are meant to signify as if 
ever God gave original to himself; but in the negative sense, that he 
never received it from any other- yea, and that he is, what is more than 
equivalent to his being, self caused; namely, a Being of himself so ex- 
cellent as not to need or be capable to admit any cause. Vid. c. 4. Sect. 
3. And with the expectation of the same allowance which hath been 
given to avlxlrios, or other like words. We also take it for granted, 
(which it may suffice to hint here once for all,) that when we use here the 
word self-subsisfe7}t, it will be understood we intend by it, (without logi- 
cal or metaphysical nicety,) not the mere exclusion of dependence on a 
subject, but on a cause. 


inconceivable myriads of little senseless deities must we upon 
that supposition admit ! (as would appear if it were fit to trou- 
ble the reader with an explication of the nature and true notion 
of matter, which the being now supposed, must be found to 
be !) but what can our reason either direct or endure, that we 
should so incongruously misplace so magnificent attributes as 
these, and ascribe the prime glory of the most excellent 
Being, unto that which is next to nothing ? What might 
further be said to demonstrate the impossibility of a self-sub- 
sisting and self-original, unactive Being, will be here unsea- 
sonable and pre-occupying. But if any in the mean time will 
be so sullen as to say such a thing, let it, 

2. Be considered to what purpose they say it. Is it to 
exclude a necessary self-active Being? But it can signify no- 
thing to that purpose. For such a Being they will be forced 
to acknowledge, let them do what they can (besides putting 
out their own eyes) notwithstanding, For why will they ac- 
knowledge any necessary being at all, that was ever of itself? 
Is it not because they cannot, otherwise, for their hearts tell 
how it was ever possible that any tiling at all could come into 
being ? But finding that something is, they are compelled to 
acknowledge that something hath ever been, necessarily and 
of itself. No other account could be given how other tilings 
came to be. But what ! doth it signify any thing towards the 
giving an account of the original of all other things, to sup- 
pose only an eternal, self-subsisting, unactive Being? Did 
that cause other tilings to be ? Will not their own breath 
choke them if they attempt to utter the self-contradicting 
words, an unactive cause (that is, efficient or author) of any 
thing. And do they not see they are as far from their mark ; 
or do no more towards the assigning the original of all other 
things, by supposing an eternal, unactive being only ; than if 
they supposed none at all. That which can do nothing, can 
no more be the productive cause of another, than that which 
is nothing. Wherefore by the same reason tiiat hath con- 
strained us to acknowledge an eternal, uncaused', independent, 
necessarj' Being, we are also unavoidably led to acknowledge 
this being to be self-active, or such asfiath the power of action 
in and of itself; or that there is certainly such a being, that is 
the cause of ail the things which our sense tells us are, besides, 
existent in the Avorld. 

For what else is left us to say or think? Will we 
think fit to say, that all things we behold, were, as they are, 
necessarily existent from all eternity ? That were to speak 


against our own eyes, which continually behold the rise and 
fall of living things, of whatsoever sort or kind, that can come 
under their notice. And it were to speak against the tiling it- 
self, that we say, and to say and unsay the same thing in the 
same breath. For all the things we behold are in some respect 
or other (internal, or external) continually changing, and 
therefore could never long be beheld as they are. And to saj 
then, tli^y have been continually changing from eternity, and 
yet have been necessarily, is unintelligible, and flat nonsense. 
For what is necessarily, is always the same ; and what is in this 
or that posture necessarily, (that is, by an intrinsic, simple, 
and absolute necessity, which must be here meant,) must be 
ever so. Wherefore to suppose the world in this or that state 
necessarily ; and yd that such a state is changeable, is an im- 
possible and self-contradicting supposition. t 

f And whether by the way this will not afford us (though that he none 
of our present business) plain evidence that there can be no such thing 
as necessary, alterable matter, may be examined by such as think fit to 
give themselves the diversion. For let it be considered, if every part and 
particle that makes up the matter of this universe were itself a necessary 
being, and of itself from all eternity, it must have not only its simple 
being, but its being such or such, of itself necessarily; or rather every 
thing of it, or any way belonging to it, must be its very simple being it- 
self. For whence should it receive any accession to itself, when it is sup- 
posed equally independent upon its fellows, as any of them upon it? Sup- 
pose then only their various intercurrent motion among themselves, requi- 
site to prepare them to, and unite them in, the composition of particular 
bodies, and no other change of any other individual particle needful 
thereto, but only of their figure, place, and situation, till they shall come 
aptly to be disposed in the now attempted composition. How is even this 
change possible? For suppose one of these particles from eternity of such 
or such a figure, as triangular, hooked, &c. how can it lose any thing from 
itself, or sutler any alteration of its figure which essentially and necessa- 
rily belonged to it from eternity ? That to which it is necessary to be such 
it is impossible to it not to be such. Or suppose no alteration of figure 
(which Epicurus admits not) were necessary; but of situation and motion 
till it become conveniently situate. Even this change also will be simply 
impossible. Because you can frame no imagination of the existence of 
this or that particle, but you must suppose it in some or other ubi, or point 
of space, and if it be necessarily, it is here necessarily j for what is simply 
nowhere is nothing. But if it be here necessarily, (that is, in this or that 
point of space, for in some or other it must be, and it cannot be here 
and there at once,) it must be here eternally, and can never not be here. 
Therefore we can have no, notion of necessary alterable or moveable 
matter, which is not inconsistent and repugnant to itself. Therefore also 
motion must proceed from an immoveable mover, as hath been (though 
upon another ground) concluded of old. But how action ad extra stands 
with the immutability of the Deity, must be fetched from the consider- 


And to s$y any thing is changing from eternity, signifies it is 
always undergoing a change which is never past over, that is, 
that it is eternally unchanged, and is ever the same. For the 
least imaginable degree of change is some change. What is 
in any, the least respect changed, is not in every respect the 
same. Suppose then any thing in this present state or posture, 
and that it is eternally changing in it ; either a new state and 
posture is acquired, or not. If it be, the former was tempo- 
rary, and hath an end; and therefore the just and adequate 
measure of it was not eternity, which hath no end ; much less 
of the change of it, or the transition from the one state to the 
other. But if no new state or posture be acquired, (which 
any, the least gradual alteration would make,) then it is eter- 
nally unchanged in any, the least degree. Therefore eternal 
changing is a manifest contradiction. 

But if it be said, though eternity be not the measure of one 
change, it may be of infinite changes, endlessly succeeding 
one another ; even this also will, be found contradictious and 
impossible. .For, (not to trouble the, reader with the more in- 

ation of other perfections belonging thereto. Of which metaphysicians 
and- schoolmen may be consulted, discoursing at large. See Suarez. Le- 
desma de divina perfection?, with many more, at leisure. Whatsoever dif- 
ficulty we may apprehend in this case, or if we cannot so easily conceive 
how an eternal mind foreseeing perfectly all futurity, together with an 
external efficacious determination of will concerning the existence of 
such and such things to such an instant or point of time, can suffice to 
their production without a super-added efflux of power at that instant ; 
which would seem to infer somewhat of mutation: yet as the former of 
these cannot he demonstrated insufficient, (nor shall we ever reckon our- 
selves pinched in this matter till we see that plainly and fully done,) so 
they are very obstinately blind that cannot see upon the addition of the 
latter the vast difference of these two cases, namely, the facile silent 
egress of a sufficient power, in pursuance to a calm, complacential, eter- 
ii.'.l purpose; for the production of this creation, by which the agent acts 
not upon itself, but upon its own creature made by its own action ; and the 
eternal, blind, ungoverned action of matter upon itself, by which it is 
perpetually changing itself, while yet it is supposed necessarily what it was 
: And how much more easily conceivable that is, than this; how 

also liberty of action consists with necessity of existence, divers have 
i : to which purpose somewhat not inconsiderable may be seen, Ftcin. 
l;5. 2 cap. 12 deimmprtal. Sfc. But in this there can be -little pretence 
to imagine a difficulty. For our own being, though not simply, yet as to 
us is necessary, that is, it is imposed upon us: for we come not into being 
by our own choice; and yet are conscious to ourselves of no prejudice 
hereby to our liberty of acting. Yea, and not only doth the former con- 
fist with this latter, but is inferred by it. Of which see Gilbeuf.de libcrlati 
/>/, Sf creat; re. 


tricafe controversy of the possibility or impossibility* of infinite 
or eternal succession, about which they who have a mind may 
consult others, *) if this signify any thing to the present pur- 
pose, it must mean the infinite or eternal changes of a necessary 
being. And how these very terms do clash with one another, 
methinks any sound mind might apprehend at the first men- 
tion of them ; and how manifestly repugnant the things are, 
may be collected from what hath been said ; and especially 
from what was thought more fit to be annexed m the margin. 

But now since we find that the present state of things is 
changeable, and actually changing, and that what is change- 
able is not necessarily, and of itself: and since it is evident 
that there is some necessary being ; (otherwise nothing could 
ever have been, and that without action nothing could be from 
it;) since also all change imports somewhat of passion, and 
all passion supposes action, and all action, active power, and 
active power, an original seat or subject, that is self-active, 
or that hath the power of action in and of itself: (for there 
could be no derivation of it from that which hath it not, and 
no first derivation, but. from that which hath it originally of 
itself; and a first derivation there must be, since all things that 
are, or ever have been, furnished with it, and not of them- 
selves, must either mediately or immediately have derived it 
from that which had it of itself;) it is therefore manifest that 
there is a necessary, self-active Being, the Cause and Author 
of this perpetually variable state and frame of things. 

And hence, since we can frame no notion of life which self- 
active power doth not, at least, comprehend, (as upon trial 
we shall find that we cannot,) it is consequent, Sixthly, That 
this being is also originally vital, and the root of all vitality, 
such as hath life in or of itself, and from whence it is propa- 
gated to every other living thing, f 

And so as we plainly see that this sensible world did some- 
time begin to be, it is also evident that it took its beginning 

* Parker Tentamen Phvsico-Theoligicum. Derodon. Philos. cont. Dr. 
More's Enchirid. Metaphys. 

f Which will also prove it to be a Spirit ; unto which order of beings 
essential vitality, or that life be essential to them, seems as distinguishing a 
property between it and a body, as any other we can fasten upon ; that is, 
tbat though a body may be truly said to live, yet it lives by a life that is 
accidental, and separable from it, so as that it may cease to live, and yet 
be a body still ; whereas a spirit lives by its own essence ; so that it can no 
more cea^e to live than to be. And as where that essence is borrowed 
and derived only, as it is with ail created spirits, so its life must needs be 


from a Being essentially vital and active, that had itself* no be- 

Nor can we make a difficulty to conclude, Seventh?//, That 
tli is Being (which now we have shewn is active, and all action 
implies some power) is of vast and mighty power, (we will not 
say infinite, lest wc should step too far at once ; not minding now 
todiscuss whether creation require infinite power,) whenwecon- 
sider and contemplate the vastness of the work performed by it. 
Unto which (if we were to make our estimate by nothing else) 
lye must*, at least, judge this power to be proportionable. For 
when onr eyes behold an effect exceeding the power of any 
cause which they can behoid, our mind must step in and sup- 
ply the defect of our feebler sense ; so as to make a judgment 
that there is a cause we see not, equal to this effect. As when 
we behold a great and magnificent fabric, and entering in we 
see not the master, or any living thing, (which was Cicero's 
observation * in reference to this present purpose,) besides mice 
and weasels, wc will hot think that mice or weasels built it. Nor 
need we in a matter so obvious, insist further. But only when 
our severer reason hath made us confess, our further contempla- 
tion should make us admire a power which is at once both so 
apparent, and so stupendous. 

Corollary. And now, from what hath been hitherto 
discoursed, it seems a plain and necessary consectary, that 
this world had a cause diverse from the matter whereof it is 

For otherwise matter that hath been more generally taken to 
be of itself altogether unactive, must be stated the only cause 
and fountain of all the art ion and motion that is now to be 
found in the whole universe : which is a conceit, wild and ab- 
surd enough ; not only as it, opposes the common judgment of 
such as have with the greatest diligence inquired info things 
of this nature, but as being in itself manifestly impossible to be 
true ; as would easily appear, if it were needful to press far- 

therewithal: so the eternal, self-subsisting Spirit, lives necessarily, and 
of itself, according as necessarily and of itself, it is, or hath its being. 

Which is onlyannoted, with a design not to trouble this discourse with 
any disquisition concerning the nature ?nd other properties of a spiritual 
Being. Of which enough hath been, with great evidence, said, by the in- 
comparable Dr. More. 

* De natiiia Deorum. 


ther Dr. More's * reasonings to this purpose ; which he hath 
done sufficiently for himself. 

And also that otherwise all the great and undeniable changes 
which continually happen in it must proceed from its own con- 
stant and eternal action upon itself, while it is yet feigned to be 
a necessary being ; with the notion whereof they are notoriously 
inconsistent. Which therefore we taking to be most clear ; 
may now the more securely proceed to what follows. 


I. The subject continued, wherein, Eighthly, Wisdom is asserted to belong 
to this Being. The production, of .this world by a mighty agent desti- 
tute of wisdom impossible. On consideration of, 1. What would be 
adverse to this production. 2. What would be wanting; some effects 
to which a designing cau.sc will, on all hands, be confessed necessary, 
having manifest characters of skill and design upon them. II. Absurd 
here to except the works of nature; wherein at least equal characters of 
wisdom and design are to be seen, as in any the most confessed pieces 
of art, instanced in the frame and motion of heavenly bodies. Ilf. A 
mean, unphilosophical temper, to be more taken with novelties, than 
common things of greater importance. Further instance, in the com- 
position of the bodies of animals. IV. Two contrary causes of men's 
not acknowledging the wisdom of their Maker herein. V. Progress is 
made from the consideration of the parts and frame, to the powers and 
functions of terrestrial creatures. Growth, nutrition, propagation of 
kind, spontaneous motion, sensation. VI. The pretence considered, 

~? that the bodies of animals are machines. First, How improbable it is. 
Secondly, How little to the purpose. VII. The powers of the human 
soul. It appears, First, Notwithstanding them, it had a cause; Secondly, 
By than, a wise and intelligent cause. It is not matter : that not capable 
of reason. They not here reflected on who think reasonable souls made 
of refined matter, by the Creator. Not being matter, nor arising from 
thence, it must have a cause that is intelligent. VIII. Subjeet of the 
former chapter continued, and, Ninthly, Goodness asserted to belong 
to this Being. 

I. r | iHE subject continued, and we therefore add, Eighthly, 
J. That this Beingis wise and intelligent, as wellas powerful; 
upon the very view of this world, it will appear so vast pow r er was 
guided byequalwisdom in the framing of it. Though this is wont 
to be the principal labour in evincing the existence of a Deity, 
namely, the proving that this universe owes its rise to a wise and 

* Both in his Immortality of the Soul; and Bnckirid. Metaphys. 
YOL. 1. Q 

H4 the living temple. paut i. 

designing cause ; (as maybe seen in Cicero's excellent perform- 
ance in this kind, and in divers later writers ;) yet the placing 
so much of their endeavour herein, seems in great part to have 
proceeded hence, that this hath been chosen for the great me- 
dium to prove that it had a cause diverse from itself. But if 
that once be done a shorter way, and it fully appear that this 
world is not itself a necessary being, having the power of all 
the action and motion to be found in it, of itself; (which al- 
ready seems plain enough ;) and it does most evidently thence 
also appear to have had a cause foreign to, or distinct from, 
itself; though we shall not therefore the more carelessly con- 
sider this subject ; yet no place of doubt seems to remain, but 
that this was an intelligent eaifse, and that this world was the 
product of wisdom and counsel, and not of mere power alone. 
For what imagination can be more grossly absurd, than to sup- 
pose this orderly frame of things to have been tha result of so 
mighty power, not accompanied or guided by wisdom and 
counsel ? that is, (as the case must now unavoidably be un- 
derstood,) that there is some being necessarily existent, of an 
essentially active nature, of inconceivably vast and mighty 
power and vigour, destitute of all understanding and know- 
ledge, and consequently of any self-moderating principle, but 
acting always by the necessity of its own nature, and there- 
fore to its very uttermost, that raised up all the alterable mat- 
ter of the universe (to whose nature it is plainly repugnant to be 
of itself, or exist necessarily) out of nothing; and by the ut- 
most exertion of that ungoverned power, put all the parts and 
particles of that matter into a wild hurry of impetuous motion, 
by which they have been compacted and digested into parti- 
cular beings, in that variety and order winch we now behold. 
And surely to give this account of the world's original, is, as 
Cicero speaks, not to consider, but to cast lots what to say ; 
and were as mad a supposition, " as if one should suppose the 
< one and twenty letters, formed (as the same author elsewhere 
speaks) la great numbers, of gold, or what you please else, and 
cast of any careless fashion together, and that of these loosely 
shaken out upon the ground, Ennius's Annals should result, so 
as to be distinctly legible as now we see them." ±Nay it were 
the supposition of a thing a thousand-fold more manifestly im- 

1. For before we consider the gross absurdity of such a 
supposed production, that is, trial a thing should be brought 
to pass by so mere a casualty, that so evidently requires an 
exquisitely-formed and continued design, even though there 


were nothing positively to resistor hinder it, let it be consider- 
ed what there will be that cannot but most certainly hinder any 
such production. To this purpose we are to consider, that it is 
a vast power which so generally moves the diffused matter of the 

Hereof make an estimate, by considering what is requisite 
to the continual whirling about of such huge In Iks as this 
whole ma sr-y globe of earth ; (according to some ;) or, which 
is much more strange, the sun, (according to others,) with 
that i: conceivably swift motion which this supposition makes 
necessary, together with the other planets, and the innumerable 
heavenly bodies besides, that are subject to the laws of a con- 
tinual motion. Adding hereto how mighty a power it is which 
must be sufficient to all the productions, motions, and actions, 
of all other things. 

Again, consider that all this motion, and motive power, 
must have some source and fountain diverse from the dull 
and sluggish matter moved thereby, unto which it already 
hath appeared impossible it should originally and essentially 

Next, that the might i/, aciiye Being, which hath been 
proved necessarily existent, and whereto it must Jirst belong, 
if we suppose it destitute of the self-moderating principle of 
wisdom and counsel, cannot but be always exerting its motive 
power, invariably and to the same degree : that is, to its very 
utmost, &nd can never cea>e or fail to do so. For its act 
knows no limit but that of its power ; (if this can have any ;) 
and its power is essential to it, and its essence is necessary. 

Further, that the motion impressed upon the matter of the 
universe must hereupon necessarily have received a continual 
increase, ever since it came into being. 

That supposing this motive power to have been exerted from 
eternity, it must have been increased long ago to an infinite 

That hence the coalition of the particles of matter for the 
forming of any thing had been altogether impossible. For let 
us suppose this exerted, motive power to have been, any in- 
stant, but barely sufficient for such a formation, because that 
could not be dispatched in an instant, it would by its conti- 
nual, momently increase, be grown so over-sufficient, as, in the 
next instant, to dissipate the particles, but now beginning to 

At least, it would be most apparent, that if ever such a frame 
of things as we now behold could haye been produced, that 


motive power, increased to so infinite an excess, must have 
shattered the whole frame in pieces, many an age ago ; or rather, 
never have permitted, that such a thing, as we call an age, could 
possibly have been. 

Our experience gives us not to observe any so destructive 
or remarkable changes in the course of nature : and this (as 
was long ago foretold) is the great argument of the atheistical 
scoffers in these latter days, that things are as they were from 
the beginning of the creation to this day. But let it be soberly 
weighed, how it is possible the general consistency, which we 
observe things are at throughout the universe, and their steady 
orderly posfure, can stand with this momently increase of mo- 
tion . 

And that such an increase could not, upon the supposition 
we are now opposing, but have been, is most evident. For, 
not to insist that nothing of impressed motion is ever lost, but 
only imparted to other things, (which, they that suppose it, do 
hot therefore suppose, as if they thought, being once im- 
pressed, it could continue of itself, but that there is a con- 
stant, equal supply from the first mover,) Ave will admit that 
there is a continual decrease, or loss, but never to the degree 
of its continual increase. For we see when we throw a stone 
out of our hand, whatever of the impressed force it imparts to 
the air, through which it makes its way, or not being received, 
vanishes of itself, it yet retains a part a considerable time, that 
carries it all the length of its journey, and all does not vanish 
and die away on the sudden. Therefore when we here con- 
sider the continual, momently renewal of the same force, al- 
ways necessarily going forth from the same mighty Agent, with- 
out any moderation or restraint ; every following impetus doth 
so immediately overtake the former, that whatever we can sup- 
pose lost, is yet so abundantly over-supplied, that, upon the 
whole, it cannot fail to be ever growing, and to have grown 
to that all-de&troying excess before mentioned. Whence there-* 
fore that famed restorer and improver of some principles of the 
ancient philosophy, hath seen a necessity to acknowledge it, 
as a manifest thing, " That God himself is the universal and 
primary Cause of all the motions that are in the world, who in 
the beginning created matter, together with motion and rest ; 
and doth now, by his ordinary concourse only, continue so 
much of motion and rest in it, as he first put into it. — For 
(saith h,) we understand it as a perfection in God, not only 
that he is unchangeable in himself, but that he works after a 
most constant and unchangeable manner. So that, excepting* 


those changes which either evident experience or divine reve- 
lation renders certain, and which we know or believe to be 
without change in the Creator, we ought to suppose none in 
his works, lest thereby any inconstancy should bV argued in 
himself." * Whereupon he grounds the laws and rule:? con- 
cerning motion, which he afterwards lays down, whereof we 
referred to one, a little above. 

It is therefore evident, that as without the supposiiiou of a 
self-active Being there could be no such thing as motion ; so 
without the supposition of an intelligent Being (that is, that 
the same Being be both self-active, and intelligent) there could 
be no regular motion ; such as is absolutely necessary to the 
forming and continuing of any the compacted, bodily sub- 
stances, which our eyes behold every day: yea, or of any 
whatsoever, suppose Ave their figures, or shapes, to be as rude, 
deformed, and useless, as we can imagine ; much less, such 
as the exquisite compositions, and the exact order of tilings, in 
the universe, do evidently require and discover. 

2. And if there were no sv.ch thing carried in this sup- 
position, as is positively adverse to what is supposed, so as 
most certainly to hinder it, (as we see plainly there is,) yet 
the mere want of what is necessary to such a production, is 
enough to render it impossible, and the supposition of it absurd. 
For it is not only absurd to suppose a production which some- 
what shall certainly resist and hinder, but which wants a cause 
to effect it : and it is not less absurd, to suppose it effected by 
a manifestly insufficient and unproportionable cause, than by 
none at all. For as nothing can be produced without a cause, 
so no cause can work above or beyond its own capacity and 
natural aptitude. Whatsoever therefore is ascribed to any 
cause, above and beyond its ability, all that surplusage is as- 
cribed to no cause at all : and so an effect, in that part at least, 
were supposed without a cause. And if then it iollow when 
an effect is produced, that it had a cause; why doth it not 
equally follow, when an effect is produced, having manifest 
characters of wisdom and design upon it, that it had a wise 
and designing cause ? If it be said, there be some fortuitous 
or casual (at least undesigned) productions, that look like the 
effects of wisdom and contrivance, but indeed are not, as the 
birds so orderly and seasonably making their nests, the bees 
their comb, and the spider its web, which are capable of no 
design ; that exception needs to be well proved before it be 

* D. Cartes Princip. Philosoph. part 2. 


admitted ; and that it be plainly demonstrated, both that these 
creatures are not capable of design, and that there is not a 
universal, designing 1 cause, from •« hose directive as well as ope- 
rative influence, no imaginable effect or event can be exempted ; 
(in which case it will no more be necessary, that every crea- 
ture that is observed steadily to work towards an end should 
itself design and know it, than that an artificer's tools should 
know what he is doing with them ; but if they do not, it is 
plain he must :) and surely it lies upon them who so except, to 
prove in this case what they say, and not to be so precarious 
as to beg or think us so easy, as to grant so much, only because 
they have thought lit to say it, or would fain have it so. That 
is, that this or that strange event happened without any design- 
ing cause. 

II. But, however, I would demand of such as make this 
exception, whether they think there be any effect at all, to 
which a designing cause was necessary, or which they will- 
judge impossible to have been otherwise produced, than by the 
direction and contrivance of wisdom and counsel ? 1 little 
doubt but there are thousands of things, laboured and wrought 
fey the hand of man, concerning which they would presently, 
upon first sight, pronounce they were the effects of skill, and 
not of chance : yea, if they only considered their frame and 
shape, though they yet understood not their use and end. They 
would surely think (at least) some effects or other sufficient to 
argue to us a designing cause. And would they but soberly 
consider and resolve what characters or footsteps of wisdom and 
design might be reckoned sufficient to put us out of doubt, 
would they not, upon comparing, be brought to acknowledge 
that there are nowhere anj/ more conspicuous and manifest, 
than in the things daily in view, that go ordinarily, with us, 
under the name of the works of nature ? Whence it is plainly 
consequent, that what men commonly call universal nature, if 
they would be content no longer to lurk in the darkness of an 
obscure and uninterpreted word, they must confess is nothing 
else but common providence, that is, the universal pozcer which 
is everywhere active in the world, in conjunction with the 
unerring wisdom which guides and moderates all its exertions 
and operations ; or the wisdom which directs and governs that 
power. Otherwise, when they see cause to acknowledge that 
such an exact order and disposition of parts, in very neat and 
elegant compositions, do plainly argue wisdom and skill in 
the contrivance ; only they will distinguish, and say, It is so 
in the effects of art, but not of nature. What is this, but to 


deny in particular what they granted in general ? To make 
what they have said signify nothing more than if they had 
said, Such exquisite order of parts is the effect of wisdom, 
where it is the effect of wisdom, but it is not the effect of wis- 
dom, where it is not the effect of wisdom ? And to trifle, instead 
of giving a reason why things are so and so? And whence 
take they their advantage for this trifling, or do hope to hide 
their folly in it, but that they think, while what is meant by 
art, is known, what is meant by nature, cannot be known ? 
But if it be not known, how can they tell but their distinguish- 
ing members are co-incident, and run info one ? Yea, and it" 
they would allow the thing itself to speak, and the effect to 
confess and dictate the name of its own cause, how plain is it 
that they do run into one, and that the expression imports no 
impropriety which we somewhere find in Cicero; The art of 
nature ; or rather, that nature is nothing else but divine art, at 
least in as near an analogy as there can be, between any things 
divine and human ? For, that this matter (even the thing itself, 
waving for the present the consideration of names) may be a. 
little more narrowly discussed and searched into, let some cu- 
rious piece of workmanship be offered to such a sceptic's view, 
the making whereof he did not see, nor of any thing like it, 
and we will suppose him not told that this was made by the 
hand of any man, nor that he hath any thing to guide his 
judgment about the way of its becoming what it is, but oidy 
his own view of the thing itself; and yet he shall presently, 
without hesitation, pronounce, This was the effect of much 
skill. I would here inquire, Why do you so pronounce? Or, 
What is the reason of this your judgment ? Surely he would 
not say he hath no reason at all for this so confident and un- 
wavering determination ; for then he would not be determined, 
but .speak by chance, and be indifferent to say that, or any 
thing else. Somewhat or other there must be, that, when he 
is asked, Is this the effect of skill ? shall so suddenly and ir- 
resistibly captivate him into an assent that it is, that he cannot 
think otherwise. Nay, if a thousand men Avere asked the 
same question, they would as undoubtingly say the same thing ; 
and then, since there is a reason fcr this judgment, what can 
be devised to be the reason, but that there are so manifest cha- 
racters and evidences of skill in the composure, as are not at- 
tributable to anything else ? Now here I would further de- 
mand, Is there anything in this reason, yea, or no? Doth it 
signify anything, or is it of any value to the purpose for which 
it is alleged ? Surely it is of very great, inasmuch as,, when it 


is considered, it leaves it not in a man's power to think any- 
thing- else ; and what can be said more potently and efficaci- 
ously to demonstrate ? But now, if this reason signify any- 
thing, it sig-nilies thus much ; that wheresoever there are equal 
characters, and evidences of skill, (at least where there are 
equal,) a skilful agent must be acknowledged, And so it will 
(in spite of cavil) conclude universally, and abstractly from 
what we can suppose distinctly signified by the terms of art, 
and nature, that whatsoever effect hath such, or equal charac- 
ters of skill upon it, did proceed from a skilful cause. That is, 
that if this effect be said to be from a skilful cause, as such, 
namely, as having manifest characters of skill upon it, then, 
every such effect, namely, that hath equally manifest charac- 
ters of skill upon it, must be, with equal reason, concluded to 
be from a skilful cause. 

We will acknowledge skill to act, and wit to contrive, very 
distinguishable things, and in reference to some works, (as the 
making some curious automaton, or self-moving engine,) are 
commonly lodged in divers subjects ; that is, the contrivance 
exercises the wit and invention of one, and the making, the 
manual dexterity and skill of others : but the manifest charac- 
ters of both, will be seen in the effect. That is, the curious 
elaborateness of each several part shews the latter, and the 
order and dependence of parts, and their conspiracy to one 
common end, the former. Each betokens design ; or at least 
the smith or carpenter must be understood to design his own 
part, that is, to do as he was directed : both together, do plain- 
ly bespeak an agent, that knew what he did ; and that the 
thing was not done by chance, or was not the casual product 
of only being busy at random, or making a careless stir, with- 
out aiming at any thing. And this, no man that is in his wits, 
would j upon sight of the whole frame, more doubt to assent 
unto, than that two and two make four. And he would cer- 
tainly be thought mad, that should profess to think that only 
by some one's making a blustering stir among several small 
fragments of brass, iron, and wood, these parts happened to 
be thus curiously formed, and caine together into this frame, of 
their own accord. 

Or lest this should be thought to intimate too rude a repre- 
sentation of their conceit, who think this world to have fallen 
into this frame and order, wherein it is, by the agitation of the 
moving parts, or particles of matter, without the direction of a 
wise mover ; and that we may also make the case as plain as 
is-possible to the most ordinary capacity, we will suppose (for 
instance) that one who had never before seen a watch, or any 


thing of that sort, hath now this little engine first offered to his 
view ; can we doubt, but he would upon the mere sight of its 
figure, structure, , and the very curious workmanship which 
we will suppose appearing in it, presently acknowledge the 
artificer's hand ? But if he were also made to understand the 
use and purpose for which it serves, and it were distinctly 
shewn him how each thing contributes, and all things in this 
little fabric concur to this purpose, the exact measuring and 
dividing of time by minutes, hours, and months, he would 
certainly both confess and praise the great ingenuity of the first 
inventor. But now if a by-stander, beholding him in this ad- 
miration, would undertake to shew a profounder reach and 
strain of wit, and should say, — Sir, you are mistaken concern- 
ing the composition of this so much admired piece ; it was 
hot made or designed by the hand or skill of any one ; there 
were only an innumerable company of little atoms or very 
small bodies, much too small to be perceived by your sense, 
that were busily frisking and plying to and fro about the 
place of its nativity ; and by a strange chance (or a stranger 
fate, and the necessary laws of that motion which they were 
unavoidably put into, by a certain boisterous, undesigning 
mover) they fell together into this small bulk, so as to compose 
it into this very shape and figure, and with this same number 
and order of parts which you now behold : one squadron of 
these busy particles (little thinking what they were about) 
agreeing to make up one wheel, and another some other, in 
that proportion which you see : others of them also falling, 
and becoming fixed in so happy a posture and situation, as to 
describe the several figures by which the little moving fingers 
point out the hour of the day, and the day of the month : and 
all conspired to fall together, each into its own place, in so 
lucky a juncture, as that the regular motion failed not to en- 
sue which Ave see is now observed in it, — what man is either 
so wise or so foolish (for it is hard to determine whether the ex- 
cess or the defect should best qualify him to be of this faith) as 
to be capable of being made believe this piece of natural his- 
tory ? And if one should give this account of the production 
of such a trifle, would he not be thought in jest? But if he 
persist, and solemnly profess that thus he takes it to have been, 
would he not be thought in good earnest mad ? And let but 
any sober reason judge whether we have not unspeakably more 
manifest madness to contend against in such as suppose this 
world, and the bodies of living creatures, to have fallen into 
voi . i. it 


this frame and orderly disposition of pails wherein they are, 
Without the direction of a wise and designing cause ? And 
whether there be not an incomparably greater number of most 
wild and arbitrary suppositions in their fiction , than in this? 
Besides the innumerable supposed repetitions of the same 
strange chances all the world over ; even as numberless, not 
only as productions, but as the changes that continually hap- 
pen to all the things produced. And if the concourse of atoms 
could make this world, why not (for it is but little to mention 
such a thing as this) a porch, or a temple, or a house, or a 
city, (as Tnlly speaks in the before recited place,) which were 
lessoperous and much more easy performances ? 

III. It is not to be supposed that all should be astronomers, 
anatomists, or natural philosophers, that shall read these lines ; 
and therefore it is intended not to insist upon particulars, and 
to make as little use as is possible of terms that would only be 
agreeable to that supposition. But surely such general, easy 
reflections on the frame of the universe, and the order of parts 
in the bodies of all sorts of living creatures, as the meanest 
ordinary understanding is capable of, would soon discover in- 
comparably greater evidence of wisdom and design in the con- 
trivance of these, than in that of a watch or a clock. And if 
there were any whose understandings are but of that size and 
measure as to suppose that the whole frame of the heavens 
serves to no other purpose than to be of some such use as that, 
to us mortals here on earth ; if they would but allow them- 
selves leisure to think and consider, might discern the most 
convincing and amazing discoveries of wise contrivance and 
design (as well as of vastest might and power) in disposing 
things into so apt a subserviency tothat meaner end. And that 
so exact a knowledge is had thereby of times and seasons, days 
and years, as that the simplest idiot in a country may be able 
to tell you, when the light of the sun is withdrawn from his 
eyes, at what time it will return, and when it will look in at 
such a window, and when at the other ; and by what degrees 
his days and nights shall either increase or be diminished ; and 
what proportion of time he shall have for his labours in this 
season of the year, and what in that ; without the least suspicion 
or fear that it shall ever fall out otherwise. 

But that some in later days whose more enlarged minds 
have by diligent search and artificial helps got clearer notices 
(even than most of the more learned of former times) concern- 
ing the true frame and vastness of the universe, the matter, 


nature, and condition of the heavenly bodies, their situation, 
order, and laws of motion ; and the great probability of their 
serving to nobler purposes, than the greater part of learned 
men have ever dreamed of before ; that, { say, any of these 
should have chosen it for the employment of their great in- 
tellects, to devise ways of excluding intellectual power from 
the contrivance of this frame of things, having so great advan- 
tages beyond the most of mankind besides to contemplate and 
adore the great Author and Lord of all, is one of the greatest 
wonders that comes under our notice ; and might tempt even J" 
a sober mind, to prefer vulgar and popular ignorance before 
their learned, philosophical deliration. 

Though j^et indeed, not their philosophy by which they 
would be distinguished from the common sort, but what 
they have in common with them, ought in justice to bear the 
blame. For is it not evident, how much soever they reckon 
themselves exalted above the vulgar sort, that their miserable 
shifting in this matter proceeds only from what is most meanly 
so ; that is, their labouring under the most vulgar and meanest 
diseases of the mind, disregard of what is common, and an 
aptness to place more in the strangeness of new, unexpected, 
and surprising events, than in things unspeakably more con- 
siderable, that are of every day's observation ? Than which 
nothing argues a more abject, unphilosophical temper. 

For let us but suppose (what no man can pretend is more 
impossible, and what any man must confess is less considerable, 
than what our eyes daily see) that in some part of the air near 
this earth, and within such limits as that the whole scene might 
be conveniently beheld at one view, there should suddenly 
appear a little globe of pure naming light resembling that of 
the sun ; and suppose it fixed as a centre to another body, or 
moving about that other as its centre, (as this or that hypo- 
thesis best pleases us,) which we could plainly perceive to be a 
proportionably-little earth, beautified with little trees and 
woods, flowery fields and flowing rivulets with larger 
lakes into which these discharge themselves ; and suppose 
we the other planets all of proportionable bigness to the 
narrow limits assigned them, placed at their due distances, 
and playing about this supposed earth or sun, so as to measure 
their shorter and soon absolved days, months, and years, or 
two, twelve, or thirty years, according to their supposed les- 
ser circuits ; — would they not presently, and with great amaze- 
ment confess an intelligent contriver and maker of this whole 
frame, above a Posidonius or anv mortal ? And have we not 


in the present frame of things a demonstration of wisdom and 
counsel, as far exceeding- that which is now supposed, as the 
making some toy or bauble to please a child is less an argu- 
ment of wisdom than the contrivance of somewhat that is of 
apparent and universal use ? Or, if Ave could suppose this 
present state of things to have but newly begun, and ourselves 
pre-cxistent, so that we could take notice of the very passing 
of things out of horrid confusion into the comely order they 
are now in, would not this put the matter out of doubt ? And 
that this state had once a beginning needs not be proved over 
again. But might what would yesterday have been the ef- 
fect of wisdom, better have been brought about by chance 
five or six thousand years, or any longer time ago ? It 
speaks not want of evidence in the thing, but want of con* 
sideration, and of exercising our understandings, if what 
were new would not only convince but astonish, and what 
is old, of the same importance, doth not so much as con- 
vince ! 

And let them that understand any thing of the compo- 
sition of a human body (or indeed of any living creature) but 
bethink themselves whether there be not equal contrivance at 
least, appearing in the composure of that admirable fabric, as 
of any the most admired machine or engine devised and made 
by human wit and skill. If we pitch upon any thing of known 
and common use, as suppose again a clock or watch, which 
is no sooner seen than it is acknowledged (as hath been said) 
the effect of a designing- cause ; will we not confess as much 
of the body of a man ? Yea, what comparison is there, when 
in the structure of some one single member, as a hand, a foot, 
an eye, or ear, there appears upon a diligent search, unspeak- 
ably greater curiosity, whether we consider the variety of parts, 
their exquisite figuration, or their apt disposition to the dis- 
tinct uses and ends these members serve for, than is to be seen 
in any clock or watch ? Concerning which uses of the several 
pails in man's body, Galen, * so largely discoursing in seven- 
teen books, inserts on the by, this epiphonema, upon the 
mention of one particular instance of our most wise Maker's 
provident care ; " Unto whom (saith he) I compose these com- 
mentaries," (meaning his present work of unfolding the useful 
figuration of the human body,) " as certain hymns, or songs 
of praise, esteeming true piety more to consist in this, that I 
first may know, and then declare to others, his wisdom, power,, 

* LU\ S, Dcu-su part, ex Lacuu. Epit, 


providence, and goodness, than in sacrificing: to him many 
hecatombs : and in the ignorance whereof there is greatest im- 
piety, rather than in abstaining irom sacrifice. * Nor" (as he 
adds in the close of that excellent work) " is the most perfect 
natural artifice to be seen in man only ; but you may find the 
like industrious design and wisdom of the Author, in any living 
creature which you shall please to dissect : and by how much 
the less it is, so much the greater admiration shall it raise in 
you : which those artists shew, that describe some great thing 
(contractedly) in a very small space : as that person (saith he) 
who lately engraved Phaeton carried in his chariot with his 
four horses upon a little ring — a most incredible sight ! Bat 
there is nothing in matters of this nature, more strange than in 
the structure of the leg of a flea." How much more might it 
be said of all its inward parts ? " Therefore (as he adds) the 
greatest commodity of such a work accrues not to physi- 
cians, but to them who are studious of nature, namely, the 
knowledge of our Maker's perfection, and that (as he had said 
a little above) it establishes the principle of the most perfect 
theology ; which theology (saith he) is much more excellent 
than all medicine." 

It were too great an undertaking, and beyond the designed 
limits of this discourse, (though it would be to excellent purpose, 
if it could be done without amusing terms, and in that easy, 
familiar way as to be capable of common use,) to pursue and 
trace distinctly the prints and footsteps of the admirable wis- 
dom which appears in the structure and frame of this outer 
temple. For even our bodies themselves are said to be the 
temples of the Holy Ghost, 1 Cor. 6. 19. And do dwell a 
while in the contemplation and discovery of those numerous 
instances of most apparent, ungainsayable sagacity and provi* 
dence which offer themselves to view in every part and particle 
of this fabric ; how most commodiously all things are order;- d 
in it ! With how strangely cautious circumspection and fore- 
sight, not only destructive, but even (perpetually) vexatious 
and afflicting incongruities are avoided and provided against, 
to pose ourselves upon the sundry obvious questions that might 
be put for the evincing of such provident foresight. As for 
instance, how comes it to pass that the several parts which we 
find to be double in our bodies, are not singte only ? Is this 
altogether by chance ? That there are two eyes, ears^ nostrils, 
hands, feet, &c. : what a miserable, shiftless creature had man 

* Sub. fin. I 17. 


been, if there had only been allowed him one foot ? A seeing, 
hearing, talking, unmoving statue. That the hand is divided 
into fingers ? Those so conveniently situate, one in so fitly op- 
posite a posture to the rest ? 

And what if some one pair or other of these parts had 
been universally wanting ? The hands, the feet, the eyes, the 
ears. How great a misery had it inferred upon mankind ! and 
is it only a casualty that it is not so ? That the back-bone is 
composed of so many joints, (twenty-four, besides those of that 
which is the basis and sustainer of the whole,) and is not all of 
a piece, by which stooping, or any motion of J he head or neck, 
diverse from that of the whole body, had been altogether im- 
possible ; that there is such variety and curiosity in the ways 
of joining the bones together in that, and other parts of the 
body; that in some parts, they are joined by mere adhe- 
rence of one to another, * either with or without an intervening 
medium, and both these ways, so diversely ; that others are 
fastened together by proper jointing, so as to suit and be ac- 
companied with motion, either more obscure or more manifest, 
and this, either by a deeper or more superficial insertion of one 
bone into another, or by a mutual insertion, and that so dif- 
ferent ways ; and that all these should be so exactly accom- 
modated to the several parts and uses to which they belong* 
and serve : — was all this without design ? Who, that views 
the curious and apt texture of the eye, can think it was not 
made on purpose to see with, t and the ear, upon the like view, 
for hearing, when so many things must concur that these ac- 
tions might be performed by these organs, and are found to do 
so ? Or who can think that the sundry little engines belonging 
to the eye were not made with design to move it upwards, 
downwards, to this side or that, or whirl it about as there 
should be occasion : without which instruments and their ap- 
pendages, no such motion could have been ? Who, that is 
not stupidly perverse, can think that the sundry inward parts 
(which it would require a volume distinctly to speak of, and 
but to mention them aud their uses would too unproportionably 
swell this part of this discourse) were not made purposely by 
a designing Agent, for the ends they so aptly and constantly 
serve for? The want of some one among divers whereof, or 

* Bartholin. Riolanus. 

t How foolish to think that art intended an end in making a window 
to see through, and that nature intended none in making an eye to sea 
with ; as Campanella in that rapturous discourse of his Atheismus trium- 


but a little misplacing, or if tilings had been but a little other- 
wise than they are, had inferred an impossibility that such a 
creature as man could have subsisted, or been propagated upon 
the face of the earth. As what if there had not been such a 
receptacle prepared as the stomach is, and so formed, and 
placed as it is, to receive and digest necessary nutriment ?* 
Had not the whole frame of man besides been in vain ? Or 
what if the passage from it downward, had not been made 
somewhat, a little way ascending', so as to detain a convenient 
time what is received, but that what was taken iiv were suddenly 
transmitted ? It is evident the whole structure had been ruin- 
ed as soon as made. What (to instance in what seems so small 
a matter) if that little cover bad been wanting at the entrance 
of that passage through which we breathe ; (the depression 
whereof by the weight of what we eat or drink, shuts it and 
prevents meat and drink from going down that way :) had not 
unavoidable suffocation ensued ? And who can number the 
instances that might be given besides ? Now when there is a 
concurrence of so many things absolutely necessary, (concern- 
ing which the common saying is as applicable, more frequently 
wont to be applied to matters of morality, u Goodness is from 
the concurrence of all causes, evil, from any defect,") each 
so aptly and opportunely serving its own proper use, raid #//, 
one common end, certainly to say that so manifold, so regular 
and stated a subserviency to that end, and the end itself, were 
undesigned, and things casually fell out thus, is to say we know 
or care not what. 

We will only, before we close this consideration, concern- 
ing the mere frame of a human body, (which hath been so 
hastily and superficially proposed,) offer a supposition which 
is no more strange (excluding the vulgar notion by which 
nothing is strange, but what is not common) than the thing 
itself, as it actually is ; namely, That the whole more external 
covering of the body of a man were made, instead of skin and 
flesh, of some very transparent substance, flexible, but clear 
as very crystal ; through which, and the other more inward 
{and as transparent) integuments or enfoldings, we could 
^plainly perceive the situation and order of all the internal parts, 
and how they each of them perform their distinct offices : if 
we could discern the continual motion of the blood, howit 
is conveyed, by its proper conduits, from its (y;st source and 

* Non prodest cibus neque corpori accedit, qui statim suipptus emitti- 
tor.. Seneca. 


fountain, partly downwards to the lower entrails, (if rather it 
ascend not from thence, as at least, what afterwards becomes 
blood doth,) partly upwards, to its admirable elaboratory, the 
heart ; where it is refined and furnished with fresh vital 
spirits, and so transmitted thence by the distinct vessels pre- 
pared for this purpose : could we perceive the curious con- 
trivance of those little doors, by which it is let in and out, on 
this side and on that ; the order and course of i(s circulation, 
its most commodious distribution by two social channels, or 
conduit-pipes, that every where accompany one another 
throughout the body: could we discern the curious artifice of 
the brain, its ways of purgation ; and were it possible to pry 
into the secret chambers and receptacles of tlie less or more 
pure spirits there ; perceive their manifold conveyances, and 
ihc rare texture of that net, commonly called the wonderful 
one : could we behold the veins, arteries, and nerves, all of 
them arising from their proper and distinct originals ; and their 
orderly dispersion for the most part, by pairs and conjuga- 
tions, on this side and that, from the middle of the back ; with 
the. curiously wrought branches, which, supposing these to 
appear duly diversified, as so many more duskish strokes in 
this transparent frame, they would be found io make through- 
out the whole of it ; were every smaller fibre thus made at once 
discernible ; especially those innumerable threads into which 
the spinal marrow is distributed at the bottom of the back : 
and could we, through the same medium, perceive those nu- 
merous little machines made to serve unto voluntary motions, 
(which in the whole body are computed, by some, * to the 
number of four hundred and thirty, or thereabouts, or so many 
of them as according to the present supposition could possibly 
come in view,) and discern their composition ; their various 
and elegant figures — round, square, long, triangular, &c. and 
behold them do their offices, and see how they ply to and fro, 
and work in their respective places, as any motion is to be per- 
formed by them: were all these things, I saj', thus made 
liable to an easy and distinct view, who would not admiringly 
cry out, How fearfully and wonderfully am I made ? And 
sure there is no man, sober, who would not, upon such a sight, 
pronounce that man mad, that should suppose such a produc- 
tion to have been a mere undesigned casualty. At least, if 
there be any thing in the world that maybe thought to carry 
sufficiently convincing evidences in it, of its having been made 

* Riolanus. 


industriously, and on purpose, not by chance, would not this 
composition, thus offered to view, be esteemed to do so much 
more ? Yea, and if it did only bear upon it characters equally 
evidential, of wisdom and design, with what doth certainly 
so, though in the lowest degree, it Avere sufficient to evince 
our present purpose. For if one such instance as this would 
bring the matter no higher than to a bare equality, that wouid, 
at least argue a maker of man's body, as wise, and as properly 
designing, as the artificer of any such slighter piece of work- 
manship, that may yet, certainly, be concluded the effect of 
skill and design. And then, enough might be said, from 
other instances, to manifest him unspeakably superior. And 
that the matter would be brought, at least, to an equality, upon 
the supposition now made, there can be no doubt, if any one 
be judge that hath not abjured his understanding and his eyes 
together. And what then, if we lay aside that supposition, 
(which only somewhat gratifies fancy and imagination,) doth 
that alter the case ? Or is there the less of wisdom and con- 
trivance expressed in this work of forming man's body, only 
for that it is not so easily and suddenly obvious to our sight ? 
Then we might with the same reason say, concerning some 
curious piece of carved work, that is thought fit to be kept 
locked up in a cabinet, when we see it, that there was ad- 
mirable workmanship shewn in doing it; but as soon as it is 
again shut up in its repository, that there was none at all. 
Inasmuch as we speak of the objective characters of wisdom 
and design, that are in the thing itself, (though they must 
some way or other come under our notice, otherwise we can 
be capable of arguing nothing from them, yet.) since we have 
sufficient assurance that there really are such characters in the 
structure of the body of man as have been mentioned, and a 
thousand more than have been thought necessary to be men- 
tioned here ; it is plain that the greater or less facility of find- 
ing them out, so that we be at a certainty that they arc, (whe- 
ther by the slower and more gradual scare* of our own eyes, or 
by relying upon the "testimony of such as have purchased them- 
selves that satisfaction by their own labour and diligence,) is 
merely accidental to the thing itself we are discoursing of; and 
neither adds to, nor detracts from, the rational evidence oi the 
present argument. Or if it do either, t lie more abstruse paths 
of divine wisdom in this, as in other tilings, do rather recom- 
mend it the more to our adoration and reverence, than if ewry 
thing were obvious, and lay open to the first glance of a more 
careless eye. The things which we are sure (or may be, if we 
vol. i. s 


do not shut our eyes) the wise Maker of this world hath done, 
do sufficiently serve to assure us that he could have done this 
also; that is, have made every thing in the frame and shape of 
our bodies conspicuous in the way but now supposed, if he 
had thought it fit. He hath done greater things. And since 
he hath not thought that tit, we maybe bold to say, the doing 
of it would signify more trifling, and less design. It gives us 
a more amiable and comely representation of the Being we are 
treating of, that his works are less for ostentation than use ; 
and that his wisdom and other attributes appear in them 
rather to the instruction of sober, than the gratification of vain 

We may therefore confidently conclude, that the figuration 
of the human body carries with it as manifest, unquestionable 
evidences of design, as any piece of human artifice, that most 
confessedly, in the judgment of any man, doth so ; and there- 
fore had as certainly a designing cause. We may challenge 
the world to shew a disparity, unless it be that the advantage 
is unconceivably great on our side. For would not any one 
that hath not abandoned at once both his reason* and his mo- 
desty, be ashamed to confess and admire the skill that is shew n 
in making a statue, or the picture of a man, that (as one inge- 
niously says) is but the shadow of his skin, and deny the wis- 
dom that appears in the composure of his body itself, that con- 
tains so numerous and so various engines and instruments for 
sundry purposes in it, as that it is become an art, and a very 
laudable one, but to discover and find out the art and skill that 
are shewn in the contrivance and formation of them ? 

IV. It is in the mean time strange to consider from how 
difFerent and contrary causes it proceeds, that the wise Con- 
triver of this fabric hath not his due acknowledgments on the 
account of it. For with some, it proceeds from their supine 
and drowsy ignorance, and that they little know or think what 
prints and footsteps of a Deity they carry about them, in their 
bone and flesh, in every part and vein and limb. With others, 
(as if too much learning had made them mad, or an excess of 
light had struck them into a mopish blindness,) these things 
are so well known and seen, so common and obvious, that they 
are the less regarded. And because they can give a very punc- 
tual account, that things are so, they think it, now, not worth 
the considering, how they come to be so. They can trace all 
these hidden paths and footsteps, and therefore all seems very 

* Parker Tentam. Physico-Theolog. 


easy, and they give over wondering. As they that would de- 
tract from Columbus's acquists of glory by the discovery he 
had made of America,* by pretending the achievement was 
easy ; whom he ingeniously rebuked, by challenging them to 
make an egg stand erect, alone, upon a plain table ; which 
when none of them could do, he only by a gentle bruising of 
one end of it makes it stand on the table without other support, 
and then tells them this was more easy than his voyage to Ame- 
rica, now they had seen it done ; before, they knew not how 
to go about it. Some may think the contrivance of the body of 
a man, or other animal, easy, now they know it ; but had 
they been to project such a model without a pattern, or any 
thing leading thereto, how miserable a loss had they been at,! 
How easy a confession had been drawn from them of the finger 
of God, and how silent a submission to his just triumph over 
their, and all human wit, when the most admired performances 
in this kind, by any mortal, have been only faint and infinitely 
distant imitations of the works of God ! As is to be seen in 
the so much celebrated exploits of Posidonius, Regiomontanus, 
and others of this sort. 

V. And now if any should be either so incurably blind as 
not to perceive, or so perversely wilful as not to acknowledge, 
an appearance of wisdom in the frame and figuration of the 
body of an animal (peculiarly of man) more than equal to 
what appears in any the most exquisite piece of human artifice, 
and which no wit of man can ever fully imitate ; although, as 
hath been said, an acknowledged equality would suffice to 
evince a wise maker thereof, yet because it is the existence of 
God we are now speaking of, and that it is therefore not enough 
to evince, but to magnify, the wisdom we would ascribe to him; 
we shall pass from the parts and frame, to the consideration of 
the more principal powers and functions of terrestrial creatures ; 
ascending from such as agree to the less perfect orders of these, 
to those of the more perfect, namely, of man himself. And 
surely to have been the Author of faculties that shall enable to 
such functions, will evidence a wisdom that defies our imita- 
tion, and will dismay the attempt of it. 

We begin with that of gromth. Many sorts of rare engines 
we acknowledge contrived by the wit of man, but who hath ever 
made one that could grow, or that had in it a self-improving 
power? A tree, an herb, a pile of grass, may, upon this ac- 
count challenge all the world to make such a thing. That is, 

* Archbishop Abbot's Geograph. 


to implant the power of growing into any thing to which it 
doth not natively belong, or to make a thing to which it doth. 

By what art would they make a seed ? And which way 
would they inspire it with a seminal form ? And they that 
think this whole globe of the earth was compacted by the casual 
(or fatal) coalition of particles of matter, by what magic 
would they conjure up so many to come together as should 
make one clod ? We vainly hunt with a lingering mind after 
miracles ; if we did not more vainly mean by them nothing else 
but novelties, we are compassed about with such. And the 
greatest miracle is, that we see them not. You with whom the 
daily productions of nature (as you call it) are so cheap, see 
if you can do the like. Try your skill upon a rose. Yea, 
but you must have pre-existent matter ? But can you ever 
prove the Maker of the world had so, or even defend the pos- 
sibility of uncreated matter ? And suppose they had the free 
grant of all the matter between the crown of their head and 
the moon, could they tell what to do with it, or how to manage 
it, so as to make it yield them one single flower, that they 
might glory in, as their own production ? 

And what mortal man, that hath reason enough about him to 
be serious, and to think a while, would not even be amazed at 
the miracle of nutrition ? Or that there are things in the world 
capable of nourishment ? Or who would attempt an imitation 
here, or not despair to perform any thing like it ? That is, to 
make any nourishable thing. Are we not here infinitely out- 
done ? Do we not sec ourselves compassed about w ith won- 
ders, and are Ave not ourselves such, in that we see, and are 
creatures, from all whose parts there is a continual defluxion, 
and yet that receive a constant gradual supply and renovation, 
by which they are continued in the same state ? As the bush 
burning, but not consumed. It is easy to give an artificial 
frame to a thing that shall gradually decay and waste till it be 
quite gone, and disappear. You could raise a structure of 
snow, that would soon do that. But can your manual skill 
compose a thing that, like our bodies, shall be continually 
melting away, and be continually repaired, through so long a 
tract of lime ? Nay, but you can tell how it is done ; you 
know in what method, and by Avhat instruments, food is re- 
ceived, concocted, separated, and so much as must serve for 
nourishment, turned into chyle, and that into blood, first 
grossei, and then more refined, and that distributed into all 
parts for this purpose. Yea, and what then? Therefore you 
are as wise as your Maker. Could you have made such a 



thing as the stomach, a liver, a heart, a vein, an artery ? Or 
are you so very sure what the digestive quality is ? Or if you 
are, a?id know what things best serve to maintain, to repair, or 
strengthen it, who implanted that quality ? Both where it is so 
immediately useful, or in the other things you would use for 
the service of that ? Or how, if such things had not been 
prepared to your hand, would you have devised to persuade 
the particles of matter into so useful and happy a conjuncture, 
as that such a quality might result ? Or, (to speak more suita- 
bly to the most,) how, if you had not been shewn the way, 
would you have thought it were to be done, or which way 
would you have gone to work, to turn meat and drink into 
flesh and blood ? 

Nor is propagation of their own kind, by the creatures that 
have that faculty implanted in them, less admirable, or more 
possible to be imitated by any human device. Such produc- 
tions stay in their first descent. AY ho can, by his own contri- 
vance, find out a way of making any thing that can produce 
another like itself. What machine did ever man invent, that 
had this power ? And the ways and means by which it is 
done, are such (though he that can do all things well knew 
how to compass his ends by them) as do exceed notour under- 
standing only, but our wonder. 

And what shall we say of spontaneous motion, wherewith 
we find also creatures endowed that are so mean and despicable 
in our eyes, (as well as ourselves,) that is, that so silly a thing 
as a fly, a gnat, &c. should have a power in it to move itself, 
or stop its own motion, at its own pleasure ? How far have all 
attempted imitations in this kind fallen short of this perfection ? 
And how much more excellent a thing is the smallest and most 
contemptible insect, than the most admired machine we ever 
heard or read of; (as Archytas Tarentinus's dove so anciently 
celebrated, or more lately Regiomontanus's fly, or his eagle, 
or any the like :) not only as having this peculiar poroer, above 
any thing of this sort, but as having the sundry other powers^ 
besides, meeting in it, whereof these are wholly destitute ? 

And should we go on to instance further in the several powers 
of sensation, both external and internal, the various instincts, 
appetitions, passions, sympathies, antipathies, the powers of 
memory, (and we might add of speech,) that we find the infe- 
rior orders of creatures either generally furnished with, or some 
of them, as to this last, disposed unto. How should we even 
over-do the present business ; and too needlessly insult over 
Jiuman wit, (which we must suppose to have already yielded 


the cause,) in challenging it to produce and offer to view a hear- 
ing, seeing- engine, that can imagine, talk, is capable of hun- 
ger, thirst, of desire, anger, fear, grief, &c. as its own creature, 
concerning which it may glory and say, I have done this ? 

It is so admirable a performance, and so ungainsayable an 
evidence of skill and wisdom, with much labour and long tra- 
vail of mind, a busy, restless agitation of working thoughts, the 
often renewal of frustrated attempts, the varying of defeated 
trials ; this way and that, at length to hit upon, and by much 
pains, and with a slow, gradual progress, by the use of who can 
tell how many sundry sorts of instruments or tools, managed 
by more (possibly) than a few hands, by long hewing, ham- 
mering, turning, filing, to compose one only single machine 
of such a frame and structure, as that by the frequent reinforce- 
ment of a skilful hand, it may be capable of some (and that, 
otherwise, but a very short-lived) motion? And it is no argu- 
ment, or effect of wisdom, so easily and certainly, without 
labour, error, or disappointment, to frame both so infinite a 
variety of kinds, and so innumerable individuals of every such 
kind of living creatures, that cannot only, with the greatest fa- 
cility , move themselves with so many sorts of motion, down- 
wards, upwards, to and fro, this way or that, with a progres- 
sive or circular, a swifter or a slower motion, at their own plea- 
sure ; but can also grow, propagate, see, hear, desire, joy, 
&c. Is this no work of wisdom, but only either blind fate 
or chance ? Of how strangely perverse and odd a complexion 
is that understanding, (if yet it may be called an understand- 
ing,) that can make this judgment ! 

VI. And they fliink they have found out a rare knack, and 
that gives a great relief to their diseased minds, who have 
learned to call the bodies of living creatures, (even the human 
not excepted,) by way of diminution, machines y or a sort of 
automatons engines. 

But how little cause there is to hug or be fond of this fancy, 
would plainly appear, if we would allow ourselves leisure 
to examine with how small pretence this appellation is so placed 
and applied : and, next, if it be applied rightly, to how Utile 
purpose it is alleged ; or that it signifies nothing to the exclu- 
sion 01 divine wisdom from the formation of them. 

And for the first, because we know not a better, let it be 
considered how defective and unsatisfying the account is,whirh 
the great* and justly admired master in this faculty gives, 

i * D, Cartes de passioaibus anima?. part 1. atque alibi. 


how divers of those tilings, which he would have to be so, are 
performed only in the mechanical way. 

For though his ingenuity must be acknowledged, in his mo- 
dest exception of some nobler operations belonging to ourselves 
from coming under those rigid necessitating laws, yet certainly, 
to the severe inquiry of one not partially addicted to the senti- 
ments of so great a wit, because they were his, it would appear 
there are great defects, and many tilings yd wanting, in the 
account which is given us of some of the meaner of those 
functions, which he w ould attribute only to organized matter, 
or (to use his own expression) to the conformation of the mem- 
bers of the body, and the course of the spirits, excited by the 
heat of the heart, &c. 

For howsoever accurately he describes the instruments and 
the way, his account seems very little satisfying e# the princi- 
ple, either of spontaneous motion, or of sensation. 

As to spontaneous motion, though it be very apparent that the 
muscles, seated in that opposite posture wherein they are 
mostly ibund paired throughout the body, the nerves and 
the animal spirits in the brain, and (suppose we) that glandule 
seated in the inmost part of it, are the instruments of the 
motion of the limbs and the whole body ; yet, what are all 
these to the prime causation, or much more, to the spontaneity 
of this motion ? And whereas, with us, (who are acknow- 
ledged to have such a faculty independent on the body,) an act 
of will doth so manifestly contribute, so that, when we will, 
our body is moved with so admirable facility, and we feel not 
the cumbersome weight of an arm to be lifted up, or of our 
whole corporeal bulk, to be moved this way or that, by a 
slower or swifter motion. Yea, and when as also, if we will, 
we can, on the sudden, in a very instant, start up out of the 
most composed, sedentary posture, and put ourselves, upon 
occasion, into the most violent course of motion or action. 
But if we have no such will, though we have the same agile 
spirits about us, we find no difficulty to keep in a posture of 
rest ; and are, for the most part, not sensible of any endea- 
vour or urgency of those active particles, as if they were 
hardly to be restrained from putting us into motion ; and against 
a reluctant act of our will, we are not moved but with great 
difficulty to them, and that will give themselves, and us, kite 
trouble. This being, I say, the case with us ; and it being 
also obvious to our observation, that it is so very much alike, 
in these mentioned respects, with brute creatures, how incon- 
ceivable is it, that the directive principle of their motions, and 


ours, should be so vastly and altogether unlike ? (whatsoever 
greater perfection is required, with us, ^is to those more noble 
and perfect functions and operations which are found to belong 1 
(o us. ) That is, that in us, an act of will should signify so very- 
much, and be, for the most part, necessary to the beginning, 
the continuing, the stopping, or the varying of our motions ; 
and in then?, nothing like it, nor any thing else besides, only 
that corporeal principle* which he assigns as common to them 
and us, the continual heat in the heart, (which he calls a sort 
of fire,) nourished by the blood of the veins ; the instruments 
of motion already mentioned, and the various representations 
and impressions of external objects, as there and elsewheret 
he expresses himself! upon which last, (though much is un- 
doubtedly to be attributed to it,) that so main a stress should 
belaid, as to the diversifying of -motion, seems strange ; when 
we may observe so various motions of some silly creatures, as 
of a fly in our window, while we cannot perceive, and can 
scarce imagine, any change in external objects about them : 
yea, a swarm of flies, so variously frisking and plying to and 
fro, some this way, others that, with a thousand diversities and 
interferings in their motion, and some resting ; while things 
are in the same state, externally, to them all. So that what 
should cause, or cease, or so strangely vary such motions, is 
from thence, or any thing else he hath said, left unimaginable. 
As it is much more, how, in creatures of much strength, as a 
bear or a lion, a paw should be moved sometimes so gently, 
and sometimes with so mighty force, only by mere mechanism, 
without any directive principle, that, is not altogether corpo- 
real. But most of all, how the strange regularity of motion 
in some creatures, as of the spider in making its web, and the 
like, should be owing to no other than such causes as he hath 
assigned of ihe motions in general of brute creatures. And 
what though some motions of our own seem wholly involun- 
tary, (as that of our eye-lids, in the case which he supposes,) 
doth it therefore follow they must proceed from a principle^ 
only corporeal, as if our soul had no other act belonging to it, 
but that of willing ? Which he doth not downright say ; but 
that ii is its only, or its chief act : and if it be its chief act 
only, what hinders but that such a motion may proceed from 
an act that is not chief ? Or that it may have a power that 
inay, sometimes, step forth into act (and in greater matter* 

* De Passion, part. 1. art. ft. 

t Princip. Philosoph. Dioptric, c. 4. Dissertat. de method.. 

% De Pass. art. IS. 


than that) "without any formal, deliberated command or direc- 
tion of our will ? So little reason is there to conclude, that all 
our motions* common to us with beasts, or even their motions 
themselves, depend on nothing else than the conformation of 
the members, and the course which the spirits, excited by the 
heat of the heart, do naturally follow, in the brain, the nerves, 
and the muscles, after the same manner with the motion of an 
automaton, &c. 

But as to the matter of sensation^ his account seems mucli 
more defective and unintelligible, that is, how it should be 
performed (as he supposes every thing common to us with 
beasts may be) without a soul. For, admit that it be (as who 
doubts but it is) by the instruments which he assigns, we are 
still to seek what is the sentient, or what useth these instru- 
ments, and doth sentire or exercise sense by them. That is, 
suppose it be performed in the brain, t and that (as he says) by 
the help of the nerves, which from thence, like small strings, J 
are stretched forth unto all the other members : suppose we 
have the three things to consider in the nerves, which he re- 
cites — their interior substance, which extends itself like very 
slender threads from the brain to the extremities of all the other 
members into which they are knit ; the very thin little skins 
which inclose these, and which, being continued with those 
that inwrap the brain, do compose the little pipes which con» 
tain these threads ; and lastly, the animal spirits which are 
conveyed down from the brain through these pipes — yet which 
of these is most subservient unto sense? That he undertakes 
elsewhere $ to declare, namely, that we are not to think (which 
we also suppose) some nerves to serve for sense, others for mo- 
tion only, as some have thought, but that the inclosed spirits 
serve for the motion of the members, and those little threads 
(also inclosed) for sense. Are we yet any nearer our purpose ? 
Do these small threads" sentire ? Are these the things that ul- 
timately receive and discern the various impressions of objects ? 
And since they aTe ail of one sort of substance, how comes it to 
pass that some of them are seeing threads, others hearing 
threads, others tasting, &c. Is it from the diverse and com- 
modious figuration of the organs unto which these descend from 
the brain ? But though we acknowledge and admire the cu- 

« As art. 16. tPrincip. Philosoph. Sect. 18$. 

X De Passion, art. 11. § Dioptr. c. 4. S. 4,, & 

VOL. 1. J 

» ".Q 


rious and, exquisite fprmatipH of t':ose organs, and their most 
apt usefulness (as organs, or instruments) to the purposes for 
which they are designed, yet wh,at do they signify, without a 
jproportiphably apt and able agent to Use them, or percipient 
to entertain and judge of the several notices, which by them 
are only transmitted from external things ? That, is, suppose 
we a drop of ever so pure and transparent liquor, or let there 
be three, diversely tinctured or coloured, and (lest they mingle) 
kept asunder by their distinct, infolding coats ; let these en- 
compass one the other, and together compose one little 
shining globe : are Ave satisfied that now this curious, pretty 
ball can see ? Nay, suppose we it ever so conveniently situate; 
suppose we the fore-mentioned strings fastened to it, and these, 
being hollow, well replenished with as pure air or Mind 
or gentle flame as you can imagine ; yea, and all the before- 
described little threads to boot ; can it yet do the feat ? 
Nay, suppose we all things else to concur that we can suppose, 
except a living principle, (call that by what name you will,) 
and is it not still as incapable of the act of seeing, as a ball of 
clay or a pebble stone ? Or can the substance of the brain 
itself perform that or any other act of sense, (Tor it is superflu- 
ous to sppajs distinctly of the res!,) any more than tjie pulp of 
an apple or a dish of curds? So that, trace this, matter 
whither you will, within the compass of your assigned l^i 

you are still at the same loss : range through the whole 
' what can you find but. flesh and bones, marrow and 
blood, strings and threads, humour and vapour ; and which 
of these, is capable of sense ? These are your materials and 
such tyke ; order tliern as you will, put them into what method 
you can devise, and except you can make it live, you cannot 
make it ; so much asfeel^ much less perform all other acts of 
sense besides, unto which, these fools alone seem as unpro- 
portionable, as a plough-share to the most curious sculpture, or 
a pair of tongs to the most melodious music. 

But how much more inconceivable it is, that the figuration 
and concurrence of the fore-mentioned organs can alone suffice 
to produce the several passions of love, fear, anger, &e. whereof 
we find so evident indications in brute creatures it is enough 
but to hint. And (but. that all persons do not read the same 
books) it were altogether unnecessary to have said so much, 
after so plain demonstration* already extant, that matter, how- 

* In Doctor More's Immortality of the Soul- 


soever modified, any of tile mentioned ways is incapable of 
sens 1 ". 

Nor would it seem necessary to attempt any thing in this 
kind, in particular and direct opposition to (lie very peculiar 
sentiments of this most ingenious author, (as he w ill undoubted- 
ly be reckoned in all succeeding time,) \v ho, when he under- 
takes to shew what sense is, and how it is performed, makes it 
the proper business of the soul, comprehends it under the 
name of cogitation j* naming himself a thinking thing, adds 
by way of question, What is that ? and answers, A thing 
doubting, understanding, affirming, denying, willing, hilling, 
and also imagining, and exercising sense ; says + expressly it is 
evident to all that it is the soul that exercises sense, not the 
body, + in as direct words as the so much celebrated Poet of 
old. The only wonder is, that under this general name of co- 
gitation he denies it unto brutes ; under which name, he may 
be thought less fitly to have included it, than to have affirmed 
them incapable of any thing to w r hich that name ought to be 
applied ; as hedoth not only affirm, but esteems himself by ri >sl 
firm reasons to have proved. § 

And yet that particular reason seems a. great deal more _ 
than it is cogent, which ne'givesfot liischodsing his particular 
way of differencing brutes from human creatures, namely, lest 
any prejudice should be done to the doctrine of the human 
soul^s immortality ; there being nothing, as he truly says, that 
doth more easily turn off weak minds from the path of virtue, 
than if they should think the souls of brutes to be of the same 
nature with our own ; and therefore that nothing remains to 
be hoped or feared after this life, more by us than by flies 
or pismires. For surely there were other ways of providing 
against that danger, besides that of denying them so much as 
sense, (other than merely organicai, || as he somewhere allevi- 
ates the harshness of that position, but without telling us what 
useth these organs,) and the making them nothing else but well- 
formed machines. 

But yet if we should admit the propriety of this appellation, 
and acknowledge (Ihe thing itself intended to be signified by it) 
that all the powers belonging to mere brutal nature are purely 
mechanical, and no more. 

To Avhat purpose, secondly, is it here alleged, or what 
can it be understood to signify ? What is lost from our cause 

* Piincip. Phil. part. 4. ISO. f Medifc 2. % Dioptr. c. 4. 

§ Resp. sextae. Dissert. De Method, e. r>. |j Resp. sexfce. 


by it? And what have atheists whereof to glory ? For was 
the contrivance of these machines their's ? Were they the 
authors of this rare invention, or of any thing like it ? Or can 
they shew any product of human device and wit, that shall be 
capable of vying with the strange powers of those machines ? 
Or can they imagine what so highly exceeds all human skill, 
to have fallen by chance, aiid without any contrivance or 
design at all, into a frame capable of such powers and ope- 
rations ? 

If they be machines, they are (as that free-spirited author 
speaks) to be considered as a sort of machine * made by the 
hand of God, which it is by infinite degrees better ordered, 
and hath in it more admirable motions, than any that could 
ever have been formed by the art of man. Yea, and we might 
add, so little disadvantage would accrue to the present cause 
(whatever might to some other) by this concession, that rat her 
(if it were not a wrong to the cause, which justly disdains we 
should allege any thing false or uncertain for its support) 
this would add much, we will not say to its victory, but 
to its triumph, that we did acknowledge them nothing 
else than mere mechanical contrivances. For, since they 
must certainly either be such, or have each of them a soul 
to animate, and enable them to their several functions ; it 
seems a much more easy performance, and is more conceiv- 
able, and within the nearer reach of human apprehension, 
that they should be furnished with such a one, than be made 
capable of so admirable operations without it ; and the former 
(though it were not a surer) were a more amazing, unsearch- 
able, and less comprehensible discovery of the most transcend- 
ent wisdom, than the latter. 

VII. But because whatsoever comes under the name of cogi- 
tation, properly taken, is assigned to some higher cause than 
mechanism ; and that there are operations belonging to man, 
which lay claim to a reasonable soul, as the immediate princi- 
ple and author of them ; we have yet this further step to ad- 
vance, that is, to consider the most apparent evidence we have 
of a wise, designing agent, in the powers and nature of this 
more excellent, and, among things more obvious to our notice, 
the noblest of his productions. 

And were it not for the slothful neglect of the most to study 
themselves, we should not here need to recount unto men the 
common and well-known abilities and excellencies which pe- 

* Dissert, de Method. Sect. 5. 


culiarly belong <o their own nature. They might take notice, 
without being- told, that first, as to their intellectual faculty, 
they have somewhat about them, that can think, understand, 
frame notions of tilings ; that can rectify or supply the false or 
defective representations which are made to them by their ex- 
ternal senses and fancies; that can conceive of things far above 
the reach and sphere of sense, the moral good or evil of ac- 
tions or inclinations, what there is in them of rectitude or 
pravity ; whereby they can animadvert, and cast their eye 
inward upon themselves ; observe the good or evil acts or in- 
clinations, the knowledge, ignorance, dulness, vigour, tran- 
quillity, trouble, and, generally, the perfections or imperfec- 
tions, of their own minds ; that can apprehend the general 
natures of things, the future existence of what, yet, is not, with 
the future appearance of that, to us, which, as yet, appears 

Of which last sort of power, the confident assertion, <c No 
man can have a conception of the future," (Hobbs's Human 
Nature,) needs not, against our experience, make us doubt ; 
especially being enforced by no better, than that pleasant rea- 
son there subjoined, for, the future is not yet ; that is to say, 
because it is future : and so (which is all this reason amounts 
to) we cannot conceive it, because we cannot. For though our 
conceptions of former things guide us in forming notions of 
what is future, yet sure our conception of any thing as future, 
is much another sort of conception from what we have of the 
same thing as past, as appears from its different effects ; for if 
an object be apprehended good, we conceive of it as past with 
sorrow, as future with hope and, joy ; if evil, with joy as past, 
with tear and sorrow as future. And (which above all the rest 
discovers and magnifies the intellectual power of the human 
>oul) that they can form a conception, howsoever imperfect, 
of this absolutely perfect Being, whereof we are discoursing. 
Which even they that acknowledge not its existence, cannot 
deny : except they will profess themselves blindly, and at a ven- 
ture, to deny they know not what, or what they have not so 
much as thought of. 

They may take notice of their power of comparing things, 
of discerning and making a judgment of their agreements and 
disagreements, their proportions and dispositions to one another; 
of affirming or denying this or that, concerning such or such 
things ; and of pronouncing, with more or less confidence, 
concerning the truth or falsehood of such afliriaations or ne- 


And moreover, of their power of argui>2g\ and inferring- one 
Ihirlg from another, so as from one plain and evident prin- 
ciple, to draw forth a long- chain of consequences, that may be 
discerned to be linked therewith. 

They have withal to consider the liberty and the large ca- 
pacity of the human zcill, which, when it is itself, rejects 
the dominion of any other than the supreme Lord's, and refuses 
satisfaction in any other titan the supreme and most compre- 
hensive good. 

vlnd upon even so hasty and transient a view of a thing 
furnished with such powers and faculties, we have sufficient 
occasion to bethink ourselves, How came such a thing as this 
into being; whence did it spring, or to what original doth it 
owe itself? More particularly we have here two things to be 
discoursed of — That, notwithstanding so high excellencies, the 
soul of man doth yet appear to be a caused being, that some- 
time had a beginning.- — That, by them, ii is sufficiently evi- 
dent, that it owes itself to a wise and intelligent cause. 

As to the first of these, we need say the less, because 
that sort of atheists with whom Ave have chiefly now to do, 
deny not human souls to have had a beginning, as supposing 
them to be produced by the bodies they animate, by the same 
generation, and that such generation did sometimes begin ; 
that only rude and wildly moving matter was from eternity, 
and that by infinite alterations and commixtures in that eter- 
nity, it fell at last into this orderly frame and state wherein 
things now are, and became prolific, so as to give beginning 
to the several sorts of living things which do now continue to 
propagate themselves ; theitiad folly of which random fancy 
we have been so largely contending against hitherto. The 
other sort, who were for an eternal succession of generations, 
have been sufficiently refuted by divers dtlieSrs, and. partly by 
what hath been already said in this discourse; and we may 
further meet with them ere it be long. We in the mean time 
find not any professing atheism, to make human souls, as such, 
necessary and self-originate lieings. 

Yet it is requisite to consider not only what persons of atheis- 
tical persuasions have said, but what also they possibly may 
say. And moreover, some, that have been remote rVoni 
atheism, have been prone, upon the cbhterttpfatiofi bf the ex- 
cellencies of the human soul, to' over-magnify,' yea and even 
no less than deify it. I? is therefore needful to s>v somewhat 
in this matter. For if nothing of direct and downright aihe- 
ism had been designed, the rash hyperboles, as we will cha- 


ritably call iliem, and unwarrantable rhetorications of these 
latter, should they obtain to be looked upon and received. as 
severe and strict assertions of truth, were equally destructive of 
religion, as the others' more strangely bold and avowed oppo- 
sition to it. * 

Such, I mean, as have spoken of (he souls of men as parts 
of God, one thing wi{h 3)!m ; a particle, of divine breath ; 
aTTO(n:xcriA.x eaviZ — an extract or dtrh:alioft of himself; that 
have rot '.' ;i PPlv *° them his most peculiar attributes, 

or say that of tin m, which Is most appropriate and incommu- 
nicably b long ■• to >hi«i tJonc. _> •■. give them his very 
na;t;i\ and say in . oisds they were God. t 

' would render a temple alike insigni^jqantj to sup- 
j no wovi-hipper, as to suppose none who should be wor- 
shipped. Anil what should be the worshipp r, when our 
souls arc thought the same tiling wish ^vhat should be the ob- 
ject pS our worship ? But methiuks, when we consider their 
necessitous indigent state, their wants and cravings, their 
pressures and groans, their grievances and complaints, we 
should find enough to convince us they are not the self-origi- 
•if-suiheient being. And miglit even despair any 
thing should be plain and easy to them, with whom it is a 
difficulty to distinguish themselves from God. Why are they 
iu a state which they dislike ? Wherefore arc they not full 
and satisfied ? Why do ihey wish and complain ? Is this God- 
like ? JSnt if any have a doubt hanging in their minds con- 
cerning the unity of souls with one another, or with the soul 
of the world, let them read what is already extant : and sup- 
posing them, thereupon, distinct beings : there needs no more 
to prove them not to be necessary, independent, uncaused 

* Seneca. Epistle 92. Hor. Serm. Marcus Antoninus. 

t The Pythagoreans, concerning whom it is said, they were wont to 
admonish one another to take heed, Mri S;a«rwiti rov, ev Ixvt:^; Shov — I 
Ifst they khuuld re/it Gud in thernsdvis. Jainbiich. de vita. Pytliag. l':ato, 
who undertakes to prove the immortality of the soul by such arguments; 
as, if they did conclude any thing, would conclude it to be God; that it 
is the fountain, the principle <nrty», £ &iX* °* niotion ; and adds, that 
the principle is unbegotten, &c. in Phaedro. Makes it the cause of all 
things, and the ruler of all, De Leg. 1. 10. though his words there seem 
meant of the soul of the world. Concerning which soul, afterwards, inquir- 
ing whether all ought not to account it God, he answers, Yes certainly, 
except any one be come to extreme madness. And whether an identity 
were not imagined of our souls, with that of the world, or with God, is too 
much left in deubt, both as to him and'some of his followers; to say no- 
thing of modern enthusiasts. 


ones, * than their subjection to so frequent changes ; their ig- 
norance, doubts, irresolution, and gradual progress to know- 
ledge, certainty, and stability in their purposes ; their very 
being united with these lwdies in "which they have been but a 
little while, as we all know ; whereby they undergo no small 
change, (admitting them to have been pre-existcnt,) and 
wherein they experience so many. Yca,Mhether those changes 
import any immutation of their very essence or no, the repug- 
nancy being so plainly manifest of the very terms, necessary 
and changeable. And inasmuch as it is so evident that a 
necessary being can receive no accession to itself; that it must 
always have, or keep itself, after the same manner, and in the 
same state ; that if it be necessarily such, or such, (as we can- 
not conceive it to be, but we must, in our own thoughts, affix 
to it some determinate state or other,) it must be eternally such, 
and ever in that particular unchanged state. 

Therefore be the perfection of our souls as great as our most 
certain knowledge of them can possibly allow us to suppose 
it, it is not yet so greed, but that we must be constrained to 
confess them no necessary, self-originate beings, and, by 
consequence, dependent ones, that owe themselves to some 

Nor yet, secondly, (that we may pass over to the other strange- 
ly distant extreme,) is the perfection of our souls so little, as to 
require less than an intelligent cause, endowed with the wis- 
dom which we assert and challenge unto the truly necessary, 
uncaused Being. Which, because he hath no other rival or 
competitor for the glory of this production, than only the for- 
tuitous jumble of the blindly-moving particles of matter, di- 
rects our inquiry to this single point : Whose image does the 
thing produced bear ? Or which does it more resemble ? Stupid^ 
senseless, inactive matter, (or at the best only supposed mov- 
ing, though no man, upon the atheists 1 terms, can imagine 
how it came to be so,) or thcaclire, intelligent Being, whom w« 
affirm the cause of all things, and who hath peculiarly entitled 
himself, the Father of spirits. 

That is, we are to consider whether the powers and operations 
belonging to the reasonable soid do not. plainly argue — That it 
neither rises from, nor is, mere matter ; whence it will be con* 
sequent, it must, have an efficient, diverse from matter — and, 
That it owes itself to an intelligent efficient. 

• Dr. More's Poem. Antimonopsuchia. His Immortality of the Soul. 
Mr. Baxter's Appendix to the Reasons of Christian Religion, &c 


I. As to the former, we need not deal distinctly and se- 
verally concerning- their original and their nature. For if they 
are not mere matter, it wiU be evident enough they do not 
arise from thence. 

(1.) So that all will be summed up in this inquiry, "Whether 
reason can agree to matter considered alone, or by itself? 

But here the case requires closer discourse. For, in order 
to this inquiry, it is requisite the subject be determined we in- 
quire about. It hath been commonly taken for granted, that 
all substance is either matter, or mind; when yet it hath not 
been agreed what is the distinct notion of the one or the other. 
And for the stating their difference, there is herein both an ap- 
parent difficulty and necessity. 

A difficulty ; for the ancient difference, that the former is 
extended, having parts lying without each other ; the latter* 
vmextended, having no parts ; is now commonly exploded, 
and, as it seems, reasonably enough ; both because we scarce 
know how to impose it upon ourselves, to conceive of a mind 
or spirit that is unextended, or that hath no parts; and that, 
on the other hand, the atoms of matter, strictly taken, must 
also be unextended, and be without parts. And the difficulty 
of assigning the proper difference between these two, is further 
evident, from what we experience how difficult it is to form 
any clCar distinct notion of substance itself, so to be divided 
into matter and mind, stripped of all its attributes. * Though, 
as that celebrated author also speaks, we can be surer of no- 
thing, than that there is a real somewhat, that sustains those at- 

Yet also, who sees not a necessity of assigning a difference? 
For how absurd is it, io affirm, deny, or inquire, of what 
belongs, or belongs not, to matter, or mind, if it be altogether 
unagreed, what Ave mean by the one, or the other. 

That the former, speaking of any continued portion of mat- 
ter, hath parts actually separable ; the other being admitted 
to have parts too, but that cannot be actually separated ; with 
the power of self-contraction, and self-dilatation, ascribed to 
this latter, denied of the former, seem as intelligible differences, 
and as little liable to exception, as any Ave can think of. Be- 
sides Avhat Ave observe of dulness, inactivity, insensibility, in 
one sort of substance ; and of vigour, activity, capacity of 
sensation, and spontaneous motion, Avith ay hat Ave can conceive 

* As is to be seen in that accurate discourse of Mr. Locke. His Essay 
on the Human Understanding, published since this was first •written. 
Y-OL. I. U 


of self- vitality, in this latter sort ; that is, that whereas mat- 
ter is only capable of having life imparted to it, from some- 
what that lives of itself, created mind or spirit, though depend- 
ing for its being on the supreme cause, hath life essentially 
included in that being, so that it is inseparable from it, and it 
is the same thing to it, to live, and to be. But a merely ma- 
teriate being, if it live, borrows its life, as a thing foreign to 
it, and separable from it. 

But. if, instead of such distinction, we should shortly and 
at the next have pronounced, that as mind is a cogitant sub- 
stance, matter is incogitant ; how would this have squared 
with our present inquiry? What antagonist would have 
agreed with us upon this state of the question ? that is, in ef- 
fect, whether that can reason or think, that is incapable of 
reason or thought ? Such, indeed, as have studied more to 
hide a bad meaning, than express a good one, have confounded 
<he terms matter or bodi/ y and substance. But take we matter 
as contradistinguished to mind and spirit, as above described : 
and it' is concerning this that we intend this inquiry. 

And here we shall therefore wave the consideration of their 
conceits, concerning the manner of the first origination of 
men, who thought their whole being was only a production of 
the earth. Whereof the philosophical account deserves as 
much laughter, instead of confutation, as any the most fabu- 
lously poetical : that is, how they were formed (as also the 
other animals) in certain little bags, or wombs of the earth, 
out of which, when they grew ripe, they broke forth, &c. 
Gassendi Epicur, Sj/ntag, 

And only consider what is said of the constitution and nature 
of the human soul itself; which is said 'Ef ari^u/v auriv wyxHa-9xi 
>.Holoi.Twt, *xi rpoyyvXxrdlTw, &c* to be composed of the smoothest 
and the roundest atoms ; and which are of the neatest 
fashion, and every way, you must suppose, the best con- 
ditioned the whole country could afford ; of a more excel- 
lent make, as there is added, than those of the fire itself. 
And these are the things you must know, which think, study, 
contemplate, frame syllogisms, make theorems, lay plots, 
contrive business, act the philosopher, the logician, the mathe- 
matician, statesman, and every thing else ; only you may 
except the priest, for of him there was no need. 

(2.) This therefore is our present theme, whether such things 
as these be capable of such, or any acts of reason, yea or no ? 

* s 

yntag. and in Epicurus's Epist. to Heroclot. in Laert, 


And if such a subject may admit of serious discourse ; in 
this way it may be convenient to proceed, namely, either any 
such small particle, or atom (for our business is not now with 
Des Cartes, but Epicurus) alone, is rational, or a good con- 
venient number of them assembled, and most happily met to- 
gether. It is much to be feared the former way will not do. 
For we have nothing to consider in any of these atoms, in its 
solitary condition, besides its magnitude, its figure, and its 
weight, and you may add also its motion, if you could devise 
how it should come by it. 

And now, because it is not to be thought that all atoms are 
rational, (for then the stump of a tree or a bundle of straw 
might serve to make a soul of, for aught we know, as good as 
the best,) it is <o be considered by which of those properties 
an atom shall be entitled to the privilege of being rational, and 
the rational atoms be distinguished from the rest. Is it their 
peculiar magnitude or size that so far ennobles them ? Epicurus 
would here have us believe, that the least are the fittest for this 
turn. Now if you consider how little we must suppose them 
generally to be, according to his account of them ; (that is, 
that looking upon any of those little motes a stream whereof 
you may perceive when the sun shines in at a window, and he 
doubts not but many myriads of even ordinary atoms, go to 
the composition of any one of these scarcely discernible 
motes ;) how sportful a contemplation were it, to suppose one 
of those furnished with all the powers of a reasonable soul ? 
Though it is likely they would not laugh at the jest, that think 
thousands of souls might be conveniently placed upon the 
point of a needle. And yet, which makes the matter more 
admirable, that very few, except they be very carefully picked 
and chosen, can be found among those many myriads, but will 
be too big. to be capable of rationality. Here sure the fate is 
very hard, of those that come nearest the size, but only, by a. 
very little too much corpulency, happen to be excluded, as 
unworthy to be counted among the rational atoms. But sure if 
all sober reason be not utterly lost and squandered away among 
these little entities, it must needs be judged altogether incom- 
prehensible, why, if upon the account of mere littleness any 
atom should be capable of reason, all should not be so : and 
then we could not but have a very rational world. At least, 
the difference in this point being so very small among them, and 
they being all so very little, methinks they should all be capa- 
ble of some reason, and have only less or more of it, according 
as they are bigger and less. But there is little doubt, that single 


properly of less magnitude, will not be stood upon as the 
charactcrisfical difference of rational and irrational atoms : and! 
because their more or less gravity is reckoned necessarily and 
so immediately to depend on that, (for those atoms cannot he 
thought porous, but very closely* compacted each one within 
itself,) this, it is likely, will as little be depended on.* And 
so their peculiar figure must be the more trusted to, as the dif- 
ferencing thing. And because there is in this respect so great 
a variety among this little sort of people, or nation, as this au- 
thor somewhere calls them, (whereof he gives so punctual an 
account,f as if he had been the generalissimo of their armies, 
and Avere wont to view them at their rendezvous, to form them 
into regiments and squadrons, and appoint them to the distinct 
services he found them aptest for,) no doubt it was a difficulty 
to determine which sort of figure was to be pitched on to make 
up the rational regiment. But since his power was absolute, 
and there was none to gainsay or contradict, the round figure 
was judged best, and most deserving this honour. Otherwise, 
a reason might have been asked (and it might have been a 
greater difficulty to have given a good one) why some other 
figure might not have done as well ; unless respect were had to 
fellow-atoms, and that it was thought, they of this figure could 
better associate for the present purpose ; and that we shall con- 
sider of by and by. We now proceed on the supposition that 
possibly, a single atom, by the advantage of this figure, might 
be judged capable of this high achievement. And in that case, 
it would not be impertinent to inquire whether, If an atom, 
were perfectly round, and so, very rational ; but by an un- 
expected, misadventure, it comes to have one little corner 
somewhere clapped on, it be hereby quite spoiled of its 
rationality? And again, whether one that comes somewhat 
near That figure, only it hath some little protuberancies upon 
if, might not by a little filing, or the friendly rubs of other 
atoms, become rational ? And yet, now we think on it, of this 

* Where yet it falls out somewhat crossly, that the least (and conse- 
quently the lightest) should he thought fitter to he the matter of the ra- 
tional soul, because they are aptest for motion, when yet no other cause 
is assigned of their motion besides their gravity, which cannot hut be 
more, as they are bigger; (for no doubt if you should try them in a pair, 
of scales, the biggest would be found to out-weigh :) whence also it should, 
seem to follow, that the heaviest having most in them of that which is 
Ihe cause of motion, should be the most moveable, and so by consequence 
the biggest. 

r That they are round, oblong, oval, plain, hooked, rough, smooth, 
bunch-barked, &c, 


improvement lie leaves no hope, because lie tells us, though they 
have parts, yet they are so solidly compacted that they are 
by no force capable of dissolution. And so -whatever their 
fate is in this particular, they must abide it without expecta- 
tion of change. And yet, though we cannot really alter it for 
the better with any of them, yet we may think as favourably 
of the matter as we please ; and for any thing that yet appears, 
whatever peculiar claim the round ones lay to rationality, we 
may judge as well ; and shall not easily be disproved of any 
of the rest. 

Upon the whole, no one of these properties alone, is likely 
to make a rational atom : what they will all do, meeting together, 
may yet seem a doubt. That is, supposing we could hit upon 
one single atom that is at once of a very little size, and conse- 
quently ver} T light and nimble, and most perfectly smooth, and 
imexceptionably round, (and possibly there may be found a 
good many such,) will not this do the business ? May we not 
now hope to have a rational sort of people among them, that is, 
those of this peculiar family or tribe ? And yet still the matter 
will be found to go very hard ; for if we cannot imagine or 
devise how any one of these properties should contribute any 
thing (as upon our utmost disquisition we certainly cannot) 
towards the power of reasoning, it is left us altogether unima- 
ginable how all these properties together should make a ra- 
tional atom ! There is only one relief remaining, that is, that 
we add to these other properties some peculiarly-brisk sort 
of actual motion : (for to be barely moveable will not serve, 
inasmuch as all are so :) but will not actual motion, added to 
its being irreprehensibly little, light, and round, especially if 
it be a very freakish one, and made up of many odd, unex- 
pected windings and turns, effect the business ? Possibly it 
might do something to actual reasoning, supposing the power 
were there before ; for who can tell but the little thing was 
fallen asleep, and by this means its power might be awakened 
into some exercise ? But that it, should give the power itself, 
is above all comprehension ; and there is nothing else to give 
it. These that have been mentioned, being all the prime qua- 
lities that are assigned to atoms singly considered ; all other 
that can be supposed, belonging to concrete bodies, that are 
composed of many of them meeting together. And therefore 
hither in the next place our inquiry must be directed, whether 
any number of atoms, definite or indefinite, being in themselves 
severally irrational, can become rational by association, or 
compose and make up a rational soul ? 


Hitherto it must be acknowledged we have not fdflgfit with 
any adversary ; not having met with any that have asserted 
the rationality of single, corporeal atoms ; yet because Ave 
know not what time may produce, and whither the distress 
and exigency of a desperate cause may drive the maintainers 
of it, it Mas not therefore lit to say nothing to that supposable 
or possible assertion, I mean possible to be asserted, howso- 
ever impossible it is to be true. Nor yet could it well admit 
of any thing to be said to it, but in that ludicrous and sportful 
way. If we will suppose any to be so foolish, they arc to be 
dealt with according to their folly. 

J?ut now as to this other conceit, that atoms, provided they' 
be of -the right stamp or kind, may, a competent number of 
them assembled together, compose a reasonable soul, is an 
express article of the Epicurean creed. And therefore, here, 
we are to deal more cautiously ; not that this is any whit a 
wiser fancy than the other, but that the truth in this matter, 
is surer to meet with opposition in the minds of some persons, 
already formed unto that wild apprehension, and tinctured 
with it. 

Wherefore such must be desired to consider in the first 
place, if they will be true disciples of Epicurus throughout, 
what he affirms of all atoms universally, that they must be 
simple, uncompounded bodies, (or, if you will, corpuscles,) 
not capable of division or section, by no force dissoluble, and 
therefore immutable, or in themselves void of any mutation. 

Hereupon let it be next considered, if there were in them, 
those that are of the right size, shape, and weight, severally, 
some certain sparks or seeds of reason, (that Ave may make 
the supposition as advantageous as we can,) or dispositions 
thereto, yet how shall it be possible to them to communicate, 
or have that communion with one another, as together to 
constitute an actually and completely rational or thinking 
thing? If every one could bring somewhat to a common 
stock that might be serviceable to that purpose ; how shall 
each one's proportion or share be imparted ? They can none 
of them emit any thing, there can possibly be no such thing 
as an ejjlinitwi from any of them, inasmuch as they are incapa- 
ble of diminution ; and are themselves each of them as little as 
the least imaginable effluvium, that we would suppose to pro- 
ceed from this or that particular atom'. They can at the most 
but touch one another; penetrate, or get into one another they 
cannot ; insomuch as if any one have a treasure in it, which is 
in readiness for the making up au intellective faculty or power 


among them tint should be common to them all ; yet each 
one remains so locked up within itself, and is so reserved and 
incommunicative, that no other, mud: less the whole body of 
them, can be any jot the wiser. So that, this is like to be a 
very dull assembly. 

But then, if there be nothing of reason to be communicated, 
we are yet at a greater loss ; for if it be said, having nothing 
else to com.mipiicale, (hey communicate themselves, what is 
that self? Is it a rational self? Or is every single atom that 
enters this composition, reason? Or is it a principle of rea- 
son ? Is it s seed ? Or is it a part ? Is it a thought ? What 
shall avc suppose ? Or what is (here in the properties assigned 
to this sort of atoms that can bespeak it any of these ? And 
if none of these can be supposed, what doth their association 
signify towards ratiocination ? They are little, what doth 
that contribute ? Therefore (here may need the more of them 
to make a good large sonl ; but why must a little thing, devoid 
of reason, contribute more towards it, than another somewhat 
bigger ? They are light, doth (hat mend (he matter? They 
are (he sooner blown away, (hey can (he less cohere, or keep 
together ; they are (he more easily capable of dissipation, the 
less of keeping their places in solemn counsel. They are 
round, and exactly smooth. But why do (hey the more con- 
veniently associate upon that account for this purpose ? They 
cannot therefore come so close together as they might have 
done, had they been of various figures. They cannot, indeed, 
give or receive so rude touches. This signifies somewhat 
towards the keeping of state, but what do(h it to the exercise 
of reason ? Their being so perfectly and smoothly round, 
makes them the more incapable of keeping a steady station, 
they are (he more in danger of rolling away from one ano(her ; 
they can upon (his account lay no hold of each other. Their 
counsels and resolves are likely to be the more lubricous, and 
liable to an uncertain volubility. It is no( to be imagined what 
a collection of individuals, only thus qualified, can do when 
they are come together, an assembly (hus constituted. Are we 
hence to expect oracles, philosophical determinations, maxims 
of state ? And since they are supposed (o be so much alike, 
how are the mathematical atoms to be distinguished from the 
moral? those from the political ? the contemplative from (he 
active ? Or when the assembly thinks fit (o entertain itself with 
matters of this or that kind, what must be its different compo- 
sure or posture ? Into what mould or figure must it cast itself 
for one purpose, and into what, for another ? It is hard to 


imagine that these Utile globular bodies, that we may well sup- 
pose to be as like as one egg can be to another, should by the 
mere alteration of their situation, in respect of one another, 
(and no alteration besides can be so much as imagined among 
them,) make so great a change in the complexion of this 
assembly ; so that now, it shall be disposed to seriousness, and 
by some transposition of the spherical particles, to mirth, now 
to business, and by and by to pleasure. And seeing all human 
sWls are supposed made of the same sort of material, how are 
the atoms modelled in one man, and how in another ? What 
atoms are there to dispose to this sect more, and what to ano- 
ther ? Or if a good reason can be assigned for their difference, 
what shall be given for their agreement ? Whence is it that 
there are so unquestionable, common notions every where re- 
reived ? "Why are not all things transposed in some minds, 
when such a posture of the atoms as might infer it, is as 
supposable as any other ! Yea, and since men are found not 
always to be of one mind with themselves, it is strange and 
incomprehensible, that one situation of these atoms, that con- 
stitute his soul, should dispose him to be of one opinion, and 
another of another. IIow are they to be ranged ? When for 
the affirmative, — how for the negative ? And yet a great deal 
more strange, that since their situation is so soon changed, and 
so continually changing, (the very substance of the soul being 
supposed nothing else than a thing very like, but a little finer 
than a busy and continually moving flame of fire,) any man 
should ever continue to be of the same opinion with himself, 
one quarter of an hour together ; that all notions arc not con- 
founded and jumbled ; that the same thing is not thought and 
unthought, resolved and unresolved a thousand times in a day. 
That is, if any thing could be thought, or resolved at all, or 
if this were a subject capable of framing, or receiving any sort 
of notion. 

But still that is the greatest difficulty, how there can be such 
a thing as thinking, or forming of notions. The case is plain 
of such notions as have no relation to matter, or dependence 
upon external sense. For what doth that contribute to my 
contemplation of my oavii mind, and its acts and powers ; to 
my animadversion, or knowing that 1 think, or will, this or 
that ? 

But besides, and more generally, what proportion is there, 
between a thought, and the motion of an atom ? Will we ap- 
peal to our faculties, to our reason itself ? And whither else 
will we ? Is there any cognation or kindred between the ideas 


we have of these things, the casual agitatron of a small parti- 
cle of matter, (be it as little or as round as we please to imagine,) 
and an act of intellection or judgment ? And what if there be 
divers of them together ? What can they do more towards tfie 
composing an intelligent thing, than many ciphers to the arith- 
metical composition of a number ? It would be as rational to sup- 
pose a heap of dust, by long lying together, might at last become 
rational. Yes, these are things that have, someway or other, 
the power of motion ; and what can they effect by that ? They 
can frisk about, and ply to and fro, and interfere among them- 
selves, and hit, and justle and tumble over one another, and 
that will contribute a great deal ; about as much, Ave may 
suppose, as the shaking of such dust well in a bag, by which 
means it might possibly become finer and smaller something ; 
and by continuing that action, at length rational ! No ; but 
these atoms, of which the soul is made, have a great advan- 
tage by their being disposed into a so well-contrived and fitly- 
organized receptacle as the body is. It is indeed true, and 
admirable, that the body is, as hath been before observed, so 
fitly framed for the purposes whereto the whole of it, and its 
several parts, are designed. But how unfitly is that commo- 
dious structure of it so much as mentioned, by such as will 
not allow themselves to own and adore the wisdom and power 
of its great Architect. 

And what if the composure of the body be so apt and useful, 
so excellent in its own kind ; is it so in every kind, or to all 
imaginable purposes ? Or what purpose can we possibly ima- 
gine more remote or foreign to the composition of the body, 
than that the power of ratiocination should be derived thence ? 
It might as well be said it was so made, to whirl about the sun, 
or to govern the motions of the moon and stars, as to confer 
the power of reason, or enable the soul to think, to under- 
stand, to deliberate, to will, &c. Yea, its organs, some of 
them, are much more proportionable to those actions, than any 
of them unto these. Which, though a well-habited body, 
while the soul remains in this imprisoned state, do less hinder, 
yet how doth it help ? And that it might perform these acts 
without bodily organs, is much more apprehensible than how 
they can properly be said to be performed by them. And 
that, though they are done in the body, they would be done 
much better out of it. 

But shall it be granted that these soul-constituting atoms, till 
they be (or otherwise than as they are) united with a duly or- 
ganized body, are utterly destitute of any reasoning or in* 

vol. i. X 


telligcnt power? Or are they, by themselves, apart from 
this grosser body, irrational ? If this be not granted, the 
thing- we intend must be argued out. Either then, they 
are, or they are not. If the latter be said, then they have it 
of themselves, without dependence on the organized body ; 
and so we arc fairly agreed to quit that pretence, without more 
ado, of their partaking reason from thence. And are only 
left to weigh over again what hath been ahead}' said to evince 
the contrary, that is, how manifestly absurd it is, to imagine 
that particles of matter, by their peculiar size, or v. eight, or 
shape, or motion, or all of these together ; and that, whether 
single or associated, should be capable of reasoning. If the 
former be the thing v.hich is resolved to be stuck to, that is, 
that they are of themselves irrational, but they become rea- 
sonable by their being united in such a prepared and organized 
body, this requires to be a little further considered. And to 
this purpose it is necessary to obviate a pitiful shift that it is 
possible some may think tit to use, for the avoiding the force 
of this dilemma ; and may rely upon as a ground, why they 
may judge this choice the more secure ; that is, that they say 
they arc rational by dependence on the body they animate ; 
because they are only found so united with one another there ; 
that there they have the first coalition ; there they are severed 
from such as serve not this turn: there they arc pent in, and 
held together as long as its due temperament lasts ; which, 
when it fails, they are dissipated, and so lose their great ad- 
vantage for the acts of reason, which they had in such a body. 
What pleasure soever this may yield, it will soon appear it 
does them little service. For it only implies, that they have 
their rationality of themselves, so be it that they were together ; 
and not immediately from the body ; or any otherwise, than 
that they are somewhat beholding to it, tor a fair occasion of 
being together ; as if it were, else, an unlawful assembly ; or 
that they knew not, otherwise, how to meet and hold toge- 
ther. They will not say that the body gives them being, for 
they are eternal, and self-subsisting, as they will have it. Yea 
and of themselves (though the case be otherwise with the Car- 
tesian particles) undiminishable, as to their size, and, as to 
their figure and weight, unalterable ; so that they have neither 
their littleness, their roundness, nor their lightness, from the 
body, but only their so happy meeting. Admit this, and only 
suppose them to be met out of the body. And why may not 
this b. thought supposable ? If they be not rational till they 
be met, they cannot have wit enough to scruple meeting, at 


least somewhere else, than in the body. And who knows but 
such a chance may happen ? As great as this, are by these 
persons supposed to have happened, before the world could 
have come to this pass it is now at ; who can tell but such a 
number of the same sort of atoms (it being -natural for things so 
much of a complexion and temper to associate and find out 
one another) might ignorantly, and thinking no harm, come 
together ? And having done so, why might they not keep to- 
gether ? Do they need to be pent in ? How are they pent in, 
whilst in the body ? If tin y be disposed, they have ways 
enough to get out. And if they must needs be inclined to 
scatter when the crasis of the body fails, surely a way might be 
found to hem them in, if that be all, at the time of expiration, 
more tightly and closely, than they could be in the bod v. And 
what reason catf bo devised, why, being become rational, by 
their having been assembled in the body, they may not a^ree 
to hold together, and do so in spite of fate, ormaugre all ordi- 
nary accidents, when they find it convenient to leave it ? And 
then upon these no-way impossible suppositions, (according to 
their principles, so far as can be understood, with whom we 
have to do.) will (hey now be rational out of the body ? Being 
still endowed (as they cannot but be) with the same high pri- 
vileges of being little, round, and light, and being still also 
together ;' and somewhat more, it may be, at liberty, to roll 
and tumble, and mingle with one another, than in the body ? 
Jf it be now affirmed, they will, in this case, be rational, at 
least as long as they hold together, then we are but where we 
were. And this shift hath but diverted us a little ; but so, as 
it was easy to bring the matter, again, about, to the same point 
■we were at before. Wherefore the shelter of the body being 
thus quite again forsaken, this poor expulsed crew of dislodg- 
ing atoms are exposed to fight in the open air, for their rati- 
onality, against all that was said before. 

But if this refuge and sanctuary of the body be not merely 
pretended to, but really and plainly trusted in and stuck to, 
then are we sincerely and honestly to consider what a body so 
variously organized can do, to make such a party of atoms 
(that of themselves are not so, singly, nor together) become 
rational. And surely, if the cause were not saved before, it 
is now deplorate, and lost without remedy. For what do they 
find here that can thus, beyond all expectation, improve them 
to so high an excellency ? Is it flesh, or blood, or bones, 
that puts this stamp upon them ? Think, what is the substance 
of the nobler parts, the liver, or heart, or brain, that thev 


should turn these, before, irrational atoms, when they fall 
into them, into rational, any more than if they were well 
soaked in a quagmire, or did insinuate themselves into a 
piece of soft dough ? But here they meet with a benign and 
kindly heat and warmth, which comfortably fosters and che- 
rishes them, till at length it hath hatched them into rational. 
But methinks they should be warm enough of themselves, 
since they are supposed so much to resemble fire. And, how- 
ever, wherein do we find a flame of fire more rational, than 
a piece of ice ? Yea but here they find a due temper of moisture 
as well as heat. And that surely doth not signify much ; for if 
the common maxim be true, that the dry soul is the wisest, 
they might have been much wiser, if they had kept them- 
selves out of the body. And since it is necessary the soul 
should consist of that peculiar sort of atoms before described ; 
and the organical body (which must be said for distinction 
sake, the soul being all this while supposed a body also) con- 
sists of atoms too, that are of a much coarser alloy, methinks 
a mixture should not be necessary, but a hinderance, and great 
debasement, rather, to this rational composition. Besides, 
that it cannot be understood, if it were necessary these atoms 
should receive any tincture from the body, in order to their 
being rational, what they can receive, or how they can receive 
any thing. They have not pores that can admit an adven- 
titious moisture, though it were of the divinest nectar, and 
the body could ever so plentifully furnish them with it, 
Wherein then lies the great advantage these atoms have by 
being in the body, to their commencing rational ? If there be 
such advantage, why can it not be understood? Why is it 
not as-signed? Why should we further spend our guesses 
what may possibly be said ? But yet, may not much be at- 
tributed to the convenient and well fenced cavity of the brain's 
receptacle, or the more secret chambers within that, where the 
studious atoms may be very private and free from disturbance ? 
let sure it is hard to say, why they that are wont to do it here, 
might not. as well philosophize in some well-chosen cavern, or 
hole of a rock ; nor were it impossible to provide them there t 
v, if h as soft a bed. And yet would it not be some relief to speak 
of the fine slender pipes, winding to and fro, wherein they 
yiay be conveyed so conveniently from place to place, that 
if they do not fall into a reasoning humour in one place, they 
may in another ? Why, what can this do? It seems some- 
what like Balaam's project, to gel into a vein of incantation, 
by changing stations. And transplace them as you will, it 


requires more magic than ever he was master of, to make those 
innocent, harmless things, masters of reason. 

For do but consider, what if you had a large phial capable 
of as great a quantity as you can think needful, of very tine 
particles, and, replenished with them, closely stopped, and 
well luted ; suppose these as pure and fit for the purpose as 
you can imagine, only not yet rational : will their faring to 
and fro, through very close and stanch tubes, from one sucii 
receptacle to another, make them at last become so ? It seems 
then, do what you will with them, toss and tumble them hither 
and thither, rack them from vessel to vessel, try what methods 
you can devise of sublimation or improvement, every thing 
looks like a vain and hopeless essay. For indeed, do what 
you please or can think of, they are such immutable entities, 
you can never make them less, or finer, than they originally 
were : and rational they were not, before their meeting in ihe 
body; wherefore it were a strange wonder, if that should so 
far alter the case with them, that they should become rational 
by it. 

And now, I must, upon the whole, profess not to be well 
pleased with the strain of this discourse ; not that I think it 
unsuitable to its subject, (for I see not how it is fitly to be 
dealt with in a more serious way,) but that I dislike ihe sub- 
ject. And were it not that it is too obvious, how prone the 
minds of some are to run themselves in-to any the grossest ab- 
surdities rather than admit the plain and easy sentiments of re- 
ligion ; it were miserable trifling to talk at this rate, and a loss 
of time not to be endured. But when an unaccountable aver- 
sion to the acknowledgment and adoration of the ever-blessed 
Deity, hurries away men, affrighted and offended at the lustre 
of his so manifest appearances, to take a bad, but the only 
shelter the case can admit, under the wings of any the most 
silly, foolish figment ; though the ill temper and dangerous 
state of the persons is to be thought on with much pity, yet the 
things which they pretend being in themselves ridiculous, if 
we will entertain them into our thoughts at all, cannot fitly be 
entertained but with derision. Nor doth it more unbecome a 
serious person to laugh at what is ridiculous, than gravely to 
weigh and ponder what is weighty and considerable ; provided 
he does not seek occasions of that former sort, on purpose to 
gratify a vain humour ; but only allow himself to discourse 
suitably to them, when they occur. And their dotage who 
would fain serve themselves of so wildly extravagant and im- 
possible suppositions, for the fostering their horrid misbelief, 


that they have no (Hod to worship, would certainly justify as 
sharp ironies, as the prophet Elijah bestows upon them who 
worshipped Baal, instead of the true God. 

(3.) Nor is any thing here said intended as a reflection on 
sueh, as b^ing unfurnished with a notion of created, intelligent 
spirits, that might distinguish their substance from the most 
subtile matter, hare therefore thought thai their mind or think. 
irig'pdwet might have some such substratum, unto which it is 
super-added, or impressed thereon by a divine hand ; in the 
mean time not. doubting their immortality > much less the ex- 
istence of a Deity, the Author and Former of them, and all 
things. For they are. no way guilty of that blasphemous non- 
sense, to make tlieni consist of necessary^ self-subsistent mat- 
ter, everj minute part ich whereof is judged eternal and im- 
mutable, and in themselves, for aught we can find asserted, 
destitute of reason ; aitd which yrt acquire it by no one knows 
what coalition, without the help of a wise efficient, that shall 
direct and order it to so unimaginable an improvement. These 
persons do only think more refined matter capable of that im- 
pression and stamp ; or of having such a power put info it, by 
the Creator's all-disposing hand. Wherein, to do them right, 
though, they should impose somewhat hardly upon themselves, 
if they will make this estimate of the natural capacity of mat- 
ter ; or if they think the acts and power of reason in man, al- 
together unnatural to him ; yvt they do, in effect, the more 
befriend the cause we are pleading tor • (as much as it can be 
befriended by a mis-apprehension ; which yet is a thing of that 
untoward genius, and. doth so ill consort with truth, that it 
is never admitted as a friend, in any one respect; but it re- 
pays it with a mischievous revenge, in some other, as might 
many ways be shewn in this instance, if it were within the 
compass of our present design :) it being evident, that if any 
portion of matter shall indeed be certainly found the actual 
subject of such powers, and to have such operations belong- 
ing to if, there is the plainer and more undeniable necessity 
and demonstration of his power and wisdom, who can make 
any thing, of any thing; of stones raise up children to Abra- 
ham ! and who shall then have done that which is so altogether 
impossible, except to him to whom all things arc possible. 
There is the more manifest need of his hand to heighten dull 
matter, to a qriaKfiedness for performances, so much above its 
nature; to make the loose and independent parts of so fluid 
matter, cohere, and hold together ; that, if it were once made 
capable of knowledge, and the actual subject of it; what so- 


ever notions were impressed thereon, might not be, in a mo- 
ment, confounded and lost : as indeed they could not but be, 
it* the particles of matter were the immediate seat of reason ; 
and so steady a hand did not hold them, in a settled compo- 
sure, that s they be not disordered, and men have, thence, the 
necessity of beginning afresh, to know any thing, every hour 
of the day. Though yet it seems a great deal more reasonable, 
to suppose the gouls of men to be of a substance in itself more 
consistent, and more agreeable to our experience ; who find a 
continual ebjnng and flowing of spirits, without being sensible 
of any so notable and sudden changes in our knowledge, as 
we could not but, thereupon, observe in ourselves : if they, 
or any as fluid finer matter, were the immediate subjects of it. 
It is therefore however sufficiently evident, and out of ques- 
tion, that, the human soul (be its own substance what it will) 
must have an efficient diverse from matter; which it was our 
present intendment to evince. 

2. Our way is clear to proceed to tlie second inquiry, 
whether it be not also manifest, from the powers and operations 
which belong to it as it is reasonable, that, it must have had an 
intelligent efficient^ That is, since we find, and are assured, 
that there is a sort of being in the world (yea somewhat of our- 
selves, and that hath best right, of; any thing else about us, 
to be called ourselves) that can think, understand, deliberate, 
argue, &c. and which we can most certainly assure ourselves 
(whether it were pre-* existent in any former state, or no) is not 
an independent or uncaused being : and hath therefore been 
the effect of some cause, whether it be not apparently the effect 
of a wise cause ? 

And tins, upon supposition of what hath been before proved, 
seems not liable to any the least rational doubt. For it is al- 
ready apparent, that it is not itself matter ; and 'u it were, it 
is however the more apparent, that its cause is not matter ; 
inasmuch, as if it be itself matter, its powers and operations 
are so much above the natural capacity of matter, as that it 
must have had a cause, so much more noble and of a more 
perfect nature than that, as to be able to raise and improve it, 
beyond the natural capacity of matter : which it was impossible 
for that, itself, to do. Whence it is plain, it must have a cause 
diverse from matter. 

Wherefore this its immaterial cause must either be wise and 
intelligent, or not so. But is it possible any man should ever 
be guilty of a greater absurdity than to acknowledge some cer- 
tain immaterial; agent, destitute of wisdom, the only cause 


and fountain of all that wisdom, that is, or hath ever been, in 
the whole race of mankind. That is as much as to say, that 
all the wisdom of mankind hath been caused "without a cause. 
For it is the same thing, after we have acknowledged any 
thing to be caused, to say it was caused by no cause, as to say 
it was caused by such a cause, as hath nothing of that in it, 
whereof we find somewhat to be in the effect. Nor can it 
avail any thing, to speak of the disproportion or superior ex- 
cellency in some effects to their second, or to their only partial 
causes. As that there are sometimes learned children of un- 
learned parents. For who did ever in (hat case say the pa- 
rents were the productive causes of that learning ? Or of 
them, as they were learned? Sure that learning comes from 
some other cause. But shall it then be said, the souls of men 
hav£ received their being from some such immaterial agent 
destitute of wisdom ; and afterward, their wisdom and intel- 
lectual ability came some other way ; by their own observa- 
tion, or by institution and precept, from others ? Whence 
then came their capacity of observing, or of receiving such 
instruction ? Can any tiling naturally destitute even of semi- 
nal reason, (as we may call it,) or of any aptitude or capacity 
tending thereto, ever be able to make observations, or receive 
instructions, whereby at length it may become rational ? And is 
not that capacity of the soul of man a real something ? Or is there 
no difference between being capable of reason and incapable ? 
What, then, did this real something proceed from nothing ? 
Or was the soul itself caused, and this its capacity, uncaused ? 
Or was its cause, only, capable of intellectual perfection, but 
not actually furnished therewith ? But if it were only capable, 
surely its advantages for the actual attainment thereof have 
been much greater than ours. Whence it were strange if that 
capacity should never have come into act. And more strange, that 
we should know, or have any ground to pretend, that it hath 
not. But that there was an actual exercise of wisdom in the 
production of the reasonable soul is most evident. For is it a 
necessary being ? That we have proved it is not. It is there- 
fore a contingent, and its being depended on a free cause, into 
whose pleasure, only, it was resolvable, that it should be, or 
not be ; and which therefore had a dominion over its own 
acts. If this bespeak not an intelligent agent, what doth ? 

And though this might also be said concerning every thing 
else which is not necessarily, and so might yield a more ge- 
neral argument to evince a free designing cause ; yet it con- 
cludes with greater evidence concerning the reasonable soul, 


whose powers and operations it is so manifestly impossible 
should have proceeded from matter. And therefore even that 
vain and refuted pretence itself, that other things might, by 
the necessary laws of its motion, become what they are, can 
have less place here. Whence it is more apparent that the 
reasonable soul must have had a free and intelligent cause, that 
used liberty and counsel, in determining that it should be, 
and especially that it should be such a sort of thing as v/e 
find it is. For when we see how aptly its powers and fa- 
culties serve for their proper and peculiar operations, who that 
is not besides himself can think that such a thing was made by 
one that knew not what he was doing ? Or that such powers 
were not given on purpose for such operations? And what is 
the capacity, but a power that should sometime be reduced into 
act, and arrive to the exercise of reason itself ? 

Now was it possible any thing should give that power that 
had it not any way ? That is, in the same kind, or in some 
more excellent and noble kind ? For we contend not that this 
Agent whereof we speak is in the strict and proper sense ra- 
tional, taking that term to import an ability or faculty of in- 
ferring what is less known from what is more. For we sup- 
pose all things equally known to him, (which, so far as is re- 
quisite to our present design, that is, the representing him 
the proper object of religion, or of that honour which the de- 
dication of a temple to him imports, we may in due time 
come more expressly to assert,) and that the knowledge which 
is with us the end of reasoning, is in him in its highest per- 
fection, without being at all beholden to that means ; that 
all the connexion of things with one another lie open to one 
comprehensive view, and are known to be connected, but not 
because they are so. We say, is it conceivable that man's 
knowing power should proceed from a cause that hath it not, 
in the same, or this more perfect kind ? And may use those 
words to this purpose, not for their authority, (which we ex- 
pect not should be here significant,) but for the convincing evi- 
dence they carry with them, cc He that teacheth man know- 
ledge, shall not he know ?" That we may drive this mat- 
ter to an issue, it is evident the soul of man is not a necessary, 
self-originate thing ; and had therefore some cause. We find 
it to have knowledge, or the power of knowing, belonging to 
it. Therefore we say, So had its cause. We rely not here 
upon the credit of vulgar maxims, (whereof divers might bo 
mentioned,) but the reason of them, or of the tiling itself we 

VOL. I, Y 


allege. And do now speak of the whole, entire cause of this 
being, the human soul, or of whatsoever is causal of it ; or 
of any perfection naturally appertaining to it. It is of an in- 
telligent nature. Did this intelligent nature proceed from an 
unintelligent, as the whole and only cause of it ? That were 
to speak against our own eyes, and most natural, common sen- 
timents ; and were the same thing as to say that something 
came of nothing. For it is all one to say so, and to say that 
any thing communicated what it had not to communicate. Or 
(which is alike madly absurd,) to say that the same thing Avas 
such, and not such, intelligent, and not intelligent, able to 
communicate an intelligent nature, (for sure what it doth it is 
able to do,) and not able, (for it is not able to communicate what 
it hath not,) at the same time. 

It is hardly here worth the while to spend time in counter-* 
mining that contemptible refuge, (which is as incapable of of- 
fending us, as of being defended.) that human souls may per- 
haps only have proceeded in the ordinary course of generation 
from one another. For that none have ever said any thing to 
that purpose deserving a confutation;, except that some sober 
and pious persons, for the avoiding of some other difficulties, 
have thought it more safe to assert the traduction of human 
souls, who yet were far enough from imagining that they 
could be total, or iirst causes to one another : and doubted not, 
but they had the constant necessary assistance of that same 
Being we are pleading for, acting in his own sphere, as the 
first cause in all such, as well as any other productions. 
Wherein they nothing oppose the main design of this discourse ; 
and therefore it is not in our way to oiler at any opposition unto 

But if any have a mind to indulge themselves the liberty of 
so much dotage as to say the souls of men were first and only 
causes to one another ; either they must suppose them to be 
material beings ; and then we refer them to what hath been 
already said, shewing that their powers and operations can- 
not belong to matter, nor arise from it; or immaterial^ and 
then they cannot produce one another in the way of genera- 
tion. For of what pre-existent substance are they made ? 
Theirs who beget them ? Of that they can part with nothing, 
separability, at least, of parts being a most confessed pro- 
perty of matter. Or some other ? Where will they find that 
other spiritual substance, that belonged not inseparably to 
some individual being before I And besides, if it were pre"* 


existent, as it must be if a soul be generated out of it, then 
they were not the first and only causes of this production. 
And in another way than that of generation, how will any form 
the notion of making a soul ? Let experience and the making 
of trial convince the speculators. By what power, or by what 
art, will they make a reasonable soul spring up out of nothing ? 
It might be hoped that thus, without disputing the possi- 
bility of an eternal, successive production of souls, this shift 
may appear vain. But if any will persist, and say, that how 
or in what way soever they are produced, it is strange if they 
need any nobler cause than themselves ; for may not any liv- 
ing thing well enough be thought capable of producing ano- 
ther of the same kind, of no more than equal perfection 
with itself? To this we say, besides that no one living 
thing is the only cause of another such ; yet if that were 
admitted possible, what will it avail ? For hath every soul 
that hath ever existed, or been in being, been produced, in 
this wa} r , by another ? This it were ridiculous to say ; for if 
every one were so produced, there was then some one. before 
every one; inasmuch as that which produces, must surely 
have been before that which is produced by it. But how can 
every one have one before it ? A manifest contradiction in the 
very terms ! For then there will be one without the compass 
of every one. And how is it then said to be every one ? There 
is then it seems one, besides, or more than all. And so all is 
not all. And if this be thought a sophism, let the matter be 
soberly considered thus. The soul of man is either a thing of 
that nature universally (and consequently every individual 
soul) as that it doth exist of itself, necessarily and indepen- 
dently, or not. If it be, then we have, however, a wise in- 
telligent being necessarily existing. The thing we have been 
proving all this while. Yet this concession we will not ac- 
cept, for though it is most certain there is such a being, we 
have also proved the human soul is not it. Whence it is evi- 
dently a dependent being, in its own nature, that could never 
have been of itself, and consequently not at all, had it not 
been put into being by somewhat else. And being so in 
its own nature, it must be thus with every one that partakes of 
this nature. And consequently it must be somewhat of another 
nature that did put the souls of men into being. Otherwise, 
the whole stock and lineage of human souls is said to have 
been dependent on a productive cause, and yet had nothing 
whereon to depend ; and so is both caused by another, and 
not caused. And therefore since it is hereby evident it was 


somewhat else, and of another nature, than a human soul, by 
which all human souls were produced into being: we again 
say, that distinct being either was a dependent, caused being, 
or not. If not, it being proved that the soul of man cannot 
but have had an intelligent, or wise cause, we have now what 
we seek — an independent, necessary, intelligent being, if it 
do depend, or any will be so idle to say so ; that, however, 
Will infallibly and very speedily lead us to the same mark. 
For though some have been pleased to dream of an infinite 
succession of individuals of this or that kind, I suppose we have 
no dream as yet, ready formed, to come under confutation, 
of infinite kinds or orders of beings, gradually superior, one 
above another ; the inferior still depending on the superior, 
and all upon nothing. And therefore, I conceive, Ave may 
fairly take leave of this argument from the human soul, as hav- 
ing gained from it sufficient evidence of the existence of a ne- 
cessary being, that is intelligent, and designingly active, or 
guided by wisdom and counsel, in what it doth. 

We might also, if it were needful, further argue the same 
thing from a power or ability manifestly superior to, and 
that exceeds the utmost perfection of human nature, namely, 
that of prophecy, or the prediction of future contingencies ; 
yea, and from another that exceeds the whole sphere of 
all created nature, and which crosses and countermands the 
known and stated laws thereof, namely, that of working 
miracles; both of them exercised with manifest design; as 
might evidently be made appear, by manifold instances, 
to as many as can believe any thing to be true, more than 
what they have seen with their own eyes. And that do not 
take present sense, yea and their own only, to be the alone 
measure of all reality. But it is not necessary we insist upon 
every thing that may be said, so that enough be said to serve our 
present purpose. 

Will. The subject of the preceding chapter continued; 
and that our purpose may yet be more fully served, and 
such a being evidenced to exist as we may with satisfaction 
esteem to merit a temple with us, and the religion of it, it is 
necessary, Ninthly, that we add somewhat concerning the 
d/rine goodness ; for unto that eternal Being, whose existence 
we have hitherto asserted, goodness also cannot but appertain ; 
together with those his other attributes we have spoken of. 

It is not needful here to be curious about the usual scholasti- 
cal notions of goodness, or what it imports, as it is wont to be 
attributed to being in the general, what, as it belongs in a pe- 



culiar sense to intellectual beings, or what more special import 
it may have, in reference to this. That which we at present 
chiefly intend by it, is a propension to do good with delight; 
or most freely, without other inducement than the agreeable- 
ness of it to his nature who doth it ; and a certain delectation 
and complacency, which, hence, is taken in so doing. The. 
name of goodness (though thus it more peculiarly signifies the 
particular virtue of liberality) is of a significancy large enough, 
even in the moral acceptation, to comprehend all other per- 
fections or virtues, that belong to, or may any way commend, 
the will of a free agent. These therefore we exclude not ; and 
particularly whatsoever is wont to be signified, as attributable 
unto God, by the names of holiness, as a steady inclination 
unto what is intellectually pure and comely, with an aversion 
to the contrary ; justice, as that signifies an inclination to deal 
equally, which is included in the former, yet as more express- 
ly denoting what is most proper to a governor over others, 
namely, a resolution not to let the transgression of laws, made 
for the preservation of common order, pass without due ani- 
madversion and punishment ; truth, whose signification also 
may be wholly contained under those former more general 
terms, but more directly contains sincerity, unaptness to de- 
ceive, and constancy to one's word : for these may properly 
be styled good things in a moral sense ; as many other things 
might, in another notion of goodness, which it belongs not to 
our present design to make mention of. But these are men- 
tioned as more directly tending to represent to us an amiable 
object of religion. And are referred hither, as they fitly 
enough may, out of an unwillingness to multiply, without neces- 
sity, particular heads or subjects of discourse. 

In the mean time, as was said, what we principally intend, 
is, That the Being whose existence we have been endeavour- 
ing to evince, is good, as that imports a ready inclination of 
will to communicate unto others what may be good to them ; 
creating, first, its own object, and then issuing forth to it, in 
acts of free beneficence, suitable to the nature of every thing 
created by it. Which, though it be the primary or first thing 
carried in the notion of this goodness, yet because that incli- 
nation is not otherwise good than as it consists with holi- 
ness, justice, and truth, these therefore may be esteemed se- 
condarily, at least, to belong to it, as inseparable qualifications 

Wherefore it is not a merely natural and necessary emana- 
tion we here intend, that prevents any act or exercise of couu- 


sel or design ; which would no way consist with the liberty of 
the Divine will, and would make the Deity as well a necessary 
Agent, as a necessary Being ; yea, and would therefore make 
all the creatures merely natural and necessary emanations, and 
so destroy the distinction of necessary and contingent beings : 
and, by consequence, bid fair to the making all things God. 
It would infer not only the eternity of the world, but would 
seem to infer either the absolute infinity of it, or the perfection 
of it, and of every creature in it, to that, degree, as that nothing 
could be more perfect in its own kind, than it is ; or would in- 
fer the finiteness of the Divine Being. For it would makewh t 
he hath done the adequate measure of what he can do, and 
Would make all his administrations necessary, yea, and all the 
actions of men, and consequently take away all law and go- 
vernment out of the world, and all measures of right and wrong, 
and make all punitive justice, barbarous cruelty : and conse- 
quently, give us a notion of goodness, at length, plainly in- 
consistent with itself. 

All this is provided against, by our having first asserted the 
wisdom of that Being, whereunto we also attribute goodness; 
which guides all the issues of it, according to those measures 
or rules which the essential rectitude of the divine will gives, or 
rather is, unto it : whereby also a foundation is laid of answer- 
ing such cavils against the divine goodness, as they are apt to 
raise to themselves, who are wont to magnify this attribute to 
the suppression of others ; which is, indeed, in the end, to 
magnify it to nothing. And such goodness needs no other de- 
monstration, than the visible instances and effects we have of it 
in the creation and conservation of this world ; and particular- 
ly, in his large, munificent bounty and kindness towards man, 
whereof his designing him for his temple and residence, will be 
a full and manifest proof. 

And of all this, his own seir-sufficient fulness leaves it im- 
possible to us to imagine another reason, than the delight he 
takes in dispensing his own free and large communications* 
Besides, that when we see some semblances and imitations of 
this goodness in the natures of some men, which we arc sure are 
not nothing, they must needs proceed from something, and have 
some fountain and original, which can be no other than the 
common Cause and Author of all things. In whom therefore, 
this goodness doth firstly and most perfectly reside. 



J, Generally all supposable perfection asserted of this Being, where, 
First, A being absolutely perfect is endeavoured to be evinced from 
the (already proved) necessary being, which is shewn to import, in. 
the general, the utmost fulness of being. Also divers things in par- 
ticular that tend to evince that genera!. 1. As that it is at the re- 
motest distance from no being. 2. Most purely actual. S. Most ab- 
stracted being. 4. The productive and conserving cause of all things 
else. 5. Undiminishable. 6. Incapable of addition. Secondly, Hence 
is more expressly deduced, 1. The infiniteness of this being. II. An 
inquiry whether it be possible the creature can be actually infinite? 
III. Difficulties concerning the absolute fulness and infinileness of God 
considered. 2, The onlinees of this Being. The Trinity not thereby 

I. QOME account hath been thus far given of that Being, 
C3 whereunto we have been designing to assert the ho- 
nour of a temple. Each of the particulars having been seve- 
rally insisted on, that concur to make up that notion of this 
being, which was at first laid down. And more largely, what 
hath been more opposed, by persons of an atheistical or irre- 
ligious temper. But because, in that lore-mentioned account 
of God, there was added to the particulars there enumerated 
(out of a just consciousness of human inability to comprehend 
every thing that may possibly belong to him) this general sup- 
plement, " That all other supposable excellencies whatso- 
ever, do in the highest perfection appertain also originally 
unto this Being," it is requisite that somewhat be said concern- 
ing this addition. Especially in as much as it comprehends 
in it, or may infer, some things (not yet expressly men- 
tioned) which may be thought necessary to the evincing the 
reasonableness of religion, or our self-dedication as a temple 
to him. 

For instance, it may possibly be alleged, that if it were ad- 
mitted there is somewhat that is eternal, uncaused, independ- 
ent, necessarily existent, that is self-active, living, powerful, 
wise, and good ; yet all this will not infer upon us a universal 
obligation to religion, unless it can also be evinced, That this 
Being is every way sufficient to supply and satisfy all our real 
wants and just desires. And, That this Being is but one, and 


so that all beat a certainty where their religion ought to ter- 
minate ; and that the worship of every temple must concentre 
and meet in the same object. Now the eviction of an abso- 
lutely perfect Being would include each of these ; and answer 
both the purposes which may seem hitherto not so fully satis- 
fied. It is therefore requisite that we endeavour, 

First, To shew that the Being hitherto described is absolutely 
or every way perfect ; and, 

Seco?idly> To deduce, from the same grounds, the absolute 
infinity, and the unity or the onliness thereof. 

And for the first part of this undertaking, it must be ac- 
knowledged absolute or universal perfection cannot be pretend- 
ed to have been expressed in any, or in all the works of God 
together. Neither in number, for aught we know, (for as we 
cannot conceive, nor consequently speak, of divine perfections, 
but under the notion of many, whatsoever their real identity 
may be, so we do not know, but that within the compass of 
universal perfection there may be some particular ones, of 
which there is no footstep in the creation, and whereof we 
have never formed any thought,) nor (more certainly )' w de- 
gree; for surely the world, and the particidar creatures in it, 
are not so perfect in correspondence to those attributes of its 
great Architect, which we have mentioned, namely, his power, 
wisdom, and goodness, as he might have made them, if he had 
pleased. And indeed, to say the world were absolutely and uni- 
versally perfect, were to make that God. 

Wherefore it must also be acknowledged that an absolutely 
perfect Being cannot be immediately demonstrated from its 
effects, as whereto they neither do, nor is it within the capa- 
city of created nature that they can, adequately correspond. 
Whence therefore, all that can be done for the evincing of the 
absolute and universal perfection of God, must be in some other 
way or method of discourse. 

Aj\d though it be acknowledged that it cannot be immediate- 
ly evidenced from the creation, yet it is to be hoped that medi- 
ately it. may. For from thence (as we have seen) a necessary 
self-originate being, such as hath been described, is, with the 
greatest certainty, to be concluded ; and, from thence, if we 
attentively consider, Ave shall be led to an absolutely perfect 
one. That is, since we have the same certainty of such a ne- 
cessary self-originate being, as we have that there is any thing 
existent at all. If we seriously weigh what kind of being this 
must needs be, or what its notion must import, above what 
hath been already evinced ; we shall not be found, in 


this way, much to fall short of our present ainij though we 
have also other evidence that may be produced in its own tit- 
ter place. 

Here therefore let us a while make a stand, and more dis- 
tinctly consider how far we are already advanced, that we may 
with the better order and advantage make our further pro- 

These two things then are already evident. That there is a 
necessary being that hath been eternally of itself, without de- 
pendence upon any tiling, either as a productive or conserving 
cause ; and, of itself, full of activity and vital energy, so as 
to be a productive and sustaining cause, to other things. Of 
this any the most confused and indistinct view of this world, or 
a mere taking notice that there is any thing in being that lives 
and moves, and withal that alters and changes, (which it is 
impossible the necessary being itself should do,) cannot but 
put us out of doubt. And, that this necessary self-originate, 
vital, active being hath very vast power, admirable wisdom, 
and most free and large goodness belonging to it. And of this, 
our nearer and more deliberate view and contemplation of 
the word do equally ascertain us. For of these things we find 
the manifest prints and footsteps in it. Yea, we find the 
derived things themselves, power, Avisdom, goodness, in the 
creatures : and we arc most assured they have not sprung from 
nothing : nor from any thing that had them not. And that 
which originally had them, or was their first fountain; must 
have them necessarily and essentially, (together with whatso- 
ever else belongs to its being,) in and of itself. So that the 
asserting of any other necessary being, that is in itself destitute 
of these things, signifies no more towards the giving any ac- 
count how these things came to be in the world, than if no 
being, necessarily existing, were asserted at all. We are 
therefore, by the exigency of the case itself, constrained to 
acknowledge, not only that there is a necessary being, but 
that there is such a one as could be, and was, the fountain and 
cause of all those several kinds and degrees of being and per- 
fection that we take notice of in the world besides. Another 
sort of necessary being should not only be asserted to no pur- 
pose, there being nothing to be gained by it, no imaginable use 
to be made of it, as a principle that can serve any valuable 
end ; (for suppose such a thing as necessary matter, it will, as 
hath been shewn, be unalterable ; and therefore another sort of 
matter must be supposed besides it, that may be the matter of 
the universe, raised up out of nothing for that, purpose, unto 

VOL. I. 7. 


which this so unwieldy and unmanageable an entity, can never 
serve;) but also it will be impossible to be proved. No man 
can be able with any plausible shew of reason to make it out. 
Yea, and much may be said, I conceive with convincing evi- 
dence, against it. As may perhaps be seen in the sequel of this 

In the mean time, that there is, however, a necessary being, 
unto which all the perfections whereof we have any footsteps 
or resemblances in the creation do originally and essentially 
belong, is undeniably evident. 

Now, that we may proceed, what can self-essentiate, unde- 
rived power, wisdom, goodness, be, but most perfect power, 
Wisdom, goodness? Or such, as than which there can never 
be more perfect ? For since there can be no wisdom, power, 
or goodness, which is not either original and self-essentiate, 
or derived and participated from thence; who sees not that the 
former must be the more perfect ? Yea, and that it compre- 
hended all the other (as what was from it) in itself, and con- 
sequently that it is simply the most perfect ? And the reason 
Will be the same, concerning any other perfection, the stamps- 
and characters whereof we find signed upon the creatures. 

Hut that the being unto which these belong is absolutely 
and universally perfect in every kind, must be further evi- 
denced by considering more at large the notion and import of 
such a self-originate necessary being. 

Some indeed, both more anciently,* and of late, have in- 
verted this course; and from the supposition of absolute per- 
fection, have gone about to infer necessity of existence, as 
being contained in the idea of the former. But of this latter 
we are otherwise assured upon clearer and less exceptionable 
terms. And being so, are to consider what improvement may 
be made of it to our present purpose. 

And in the general, this seems manifestly imported in the 
notion of the necessary being we have already evinced, that it 
have in it (some way or other, in what way there will be occa- 
sion to consider hereafter) the entire sum and utmost fulness of 
being, beyond which or without the compass whereof no 

* So that whatever there is of strength in that way of arguing, the glory 
of it cannot be without injury appropriated to the present age, much less 
to any particular person therein : it having, since Anselm, been venti- 
lated by divers others heretofore. D. Scot. dist. 2. Q. 2. Th. Aquin. P. 1. 
Q. 2. art. 1. contra CTentil. 1. 1. c. 10. Bradwardin, 1. 1. c. 1. And by di- 
vers of late, as is sufficiently known, some rejecting, others much con- 
fiding in it, both of these former, and of modern write) 3. 


perfection is conceivable, or indeed (which is of the same im- 
port) nothing. 

Let it be observed, that Ave pretend not to argue this from 
the bare terms necessary being- only, but from hence, that it 
is such as we have found it ; though indeed these very terms 
import not a little to this purpose. For that which is necessa- 
rily of itself, without being beholden to any thing, seems as 
good as all things, and to contain in itself an immense fulness, 
being indigent of nothing. Nor by indigence is here meant 
cravingness, or a sense of want only ; in opposition whereto, 
every good and virtuous man hath or may attain a sort of 
avrd^tia, or self-fulness, and be satisfied from bin- self : (which 
yet is a stamp of divinity, and a part of the image of God, 
or such a participation of the divine nature, as is agreeable to 
the state and condition of a creature :) but we understand by 
it (what is naturally before that) want itself really, and not 
in opinion, as the covetous is said to be poor. On the other 
hand, we here intend not a merely rational, (much less an ima- 
ginary,) but a real self-fulness. .And so we say, what is of that 
nature, that it is, and subsists wholly and only of itself, with- 
out depending on any other, must owe this absoluteness to 
so peculiar an excellency of its own nature, as we cannot 
well conceive to be less than whereby it comprehends iii 
itself the most boundless and unlimited fulness of being, life, 
power, or whatsoever can be conceived under the name of a 
perfection. For taking notice of the existence of any thing 
whatsoever, some reason must be assignable, whence it is that 
this particular being doth exist, and hath such and such pow- 
ers and properties belonging to it, as do occur to our notice 
therein. When we can now resolve its existence into some 
cause that put it into being, and made it what it is, we cease 
so much to admire the thing, how excellent soever it be, and 
turn our admiration upon its cause, concluding it to have all the 
perfection in it which we discern in the effect, whatsoever un- 
known perfection (which we may suppose is very great) it may 
have besides. And upon this ground we are led, when we be- 
hold the manifold excellencies that lie dispersed among parti- 
cular beings in this universe, with the glory of the whole re- 
sulting thence, to resolve their existence into a common cause, 
which we design by the name of God. And now considering 
him as'a wise Agent, (which hath been proved,) and conse- 
quently a free one, that acted not from any necessity of nature, 
but his mere good pleasure herein, we will not only conclude 
him to have all that perfection and excellency in him which 


We find Mm to have displayed in so vast and glorious a work, 
but will readily believe him (supposing Ave have admitted a 
conviction concerning what hath been discoursed before) to 
have a most inconccivabletrcasure of hidden excellency and per- 
fection in him, that is not represented to our view in this work 
of his : and account, that he who could do all this which we 
see is done, could do unspeakably more. For though, speak- 
ing of natural and necessitated agepts, which always act totheir 
uttennost, it would be absurd to argue from their having done 
some lesser thing, to their power of doing somewhat that is 
much greater ; yet as to free agents, that can choose their 
own act, and guide themselves by wisdom and judgment there- 
in, the matter is not so. As when some great prince bestows a 
rich largess upon some mean person, especially that deserved 
nothing from him, or was recommended by nothing to his 
royal favour, besides his poverty and misery ; we justly take 
it for a very significant demonstration of that princely munifi- 
cence and bounty, which Mould incline him to do much greater 
things, when he should see- a proportionable cause. 

But now, if taking notice of the excellencies that appear in 
caused beings, and inquiring how they come to exist and be 
what they are, we resolve all into their cause ; which, consi- 
dering as perfectly free and arbitrary in alibis communications, 
we do thence rationally conclude, that if he had thought fit, 
he could have made a much more pompous display of him- 
self; and that there is in him, besides what appears, a vast and 
most abundant store of undiscovered perfection. 

When next we turn our inquiry and contemplation more 
entirely upon the cause, and bethink ourselves, But how 
came he to exist and be what he is ? Finding this cannot be 
refunded upon any superior cause ; and our utmost inquiry can 
admit of no other result but this, that he is of himself what he 
is, we will surely say then, He is all in all. And that perfec- 
tion which before we judged vastly great, we will now conclude 
altogether absolute, and such beyond which no greater can be 

Adding, I say, to What pre-conceptions we had of his 
gte'atness , from the works which we see have been done by him, 
(for why should we lose any ground we might esteeem ourselves 
to have gained before ?) the consideration of his necessary self- 
subs sfenee : and that no other reason is assignable of his being 
what be is, but the peculiar and incommunicable excellency of 
his own nature ; whereby he was not only able to make such a 
a world, but did possess eternally and invariably in himseli 



all that he is, and hath : we cannot conceive that all to be less 
than absolutely universal, and comprehensive of whatsoever 
can lie within the whole compass of being. 

For when we find that among all other beings, (which is most 
certainly true not only of actual, but all possible beings also,) 
how perfect soever they arc or may be in their own kinds, 
none of them, nor all of them together, are or ever can be of 
that perfection, as to be of themselves without dependence pa 
somewhat else as their productive, yea and sustaining cause % 
we see besides, that their cause hath all the perfection, some 
way, in it that is to be found in them all : there is also thai ap- 
propriate perfect ion belonging thereto, that it could be; and 
eternally is (yea and could not But be) only of itself, by the 
underived and incommunicable excellency of its own being. 
And surely, what includes in it all the perfection of all actual 
and possible beings, besides its own, (for there is nothing possible 
which some cause, yea and even this, cannot produce,) and 
inconceivably more, must needs be absolutely and every way 
perfect. Of all which perfections this is the radical one, that 
belongs to this common Cause and Author of all things, that he 
is necessarily and only self-subsisting. For if this high prero- 
gative in point of being had been wauling, nothing at all had 
ever been. Therefore we attribute to God the greatest thing 
that can be said or thought, (and not what is wholly diverse 
from all other perfection, but which contains all others in it,) 
when we affirm of him that he is necessarily of himself. For 
though when Ave have bewildered and lost ourselves (as we 
soon may) in the contemplation of this amazing subject, we 
readily indulge our wearied minds the ease and liberty of re- 
solving this high excellency of self or necessary existence into 
a mere negation, and say that we mean by it nothing else than 
that he was not from another ; yet surely, if we would take 
some pains with ourselves, and keep our slothful shifting 
thoughts to some exercise in this matter, though we can never 
comprehend that vast fulness of perfection which is imported 
in it, (for it were not what we plead for, if we could compre- 
hend it,) y(tt we should soon see and confess that it contains 
unspeakably more than a negation, even some great thing that 
is so much beyond our thoughts, that we shall reckon we have 
said but a little in saying we cannot conceive it. And that, 
when we have stretched our understandings to the utmost of their 
line and measure, though we may suppose ourselves to have 
conceived a great deal, there is infinitely more that we con* 
ceive not. 


Wherefore that is a sober and most important truth which is 
occasionally drawn forth (as is supposed) from the so admired 
Des Cartes, by the urgent objections of his very acute, friendly 
adversary,* that the inexhaustible power of God is the reason 
for which he needed no cause ; and that since that unexhausted 
power, or the immensity of his essence, is most highly posi- 
tive, therefore he may be said to be of himself positively, that 
is, not as if he did ever by any positive efficiency cause him- 
self (which is most manifestly impossible) but that the positive 
excellency of his own being was such, as could never need, 
nor admit of, being caused. 

And that seems highly rational, (which is so largely insisted 
on by Doctor Jackson, and divers others,t) that what is with- 
out cause must also be without limit of being ; because all limit- 
ation proceeds from the cause of a thing, which imparted to it 
so much and no more ; which argument, though it seems 
neglected by Des Cartes, and is opposed by his antagonist ; yet 
I cannot but judge the longer one meditates, the less he shall 
understand, how any tiling can be limited ad intra, or from 
itself, &c. As the author of the Tenlam. Phys. Theol. speaks. 

But that we may entertain ourselves with some more parti- 
cular considerations of this necessary being, which may evince 
that general assertion of its absolute plenitude or fulness of 
essence : 

1. It appears to be such as is at the greatest imaginable dis- 
tance from non-entity. For what can be at a greater, than 
that which is necessarily, which signifies as much as whereto 
not to be is utterly impossible ? Now an utter impossibility 
not to be, or the uttermost distance from wo being, seems plainly 
to imply the absolute plenitude of all being. And, if here it. 
be said that to be necessarily and of itself needs be understood 
to import no more than a firm possession of that being which a 
thing hath, be it ever so scant or minute a portion of being ; 
1 answer, it seems indeed so, if Ave measure the significa- 
tion of this expression by its first and more obvious appear- 
ance. Cut if you consider the matter more narrowly, you will 
find here is also signified the nature and kind of the being pos- 
sessed, as well as the manner of possession, namely, that it is 
a being of so excellent and noble a kind, as that it can subsist 
alone without being beholden : which is so great an excel- 
lency, as that it manifestly comprehends all other, or is the 

* Ad ob. in Med. resp. quartae. 

t Of the Essence and Attributes of God. 


foundation of all that can be conceived besides. Whichj they 
that fondly dream of necessary matter, not considering, un- 
warily make one single atom a more excellent thing than the 
whole frame of heaven and earth : that being supposed simply 
necessary, this the merest piece of hap-hazard, the strangest 
chance imaginable, and beyond what any but themselves could 
ever have imagined. And which, being considered, would 
give us to understand that no minute or finite being can be ne- 

And hence Ave may sec what it is to be nearer, or at a further 
distance from not-being. 

For these things that came contingently into being, or at the 
pleasure of a free cause, have all but a finite and limited be- 
ing, whereof some, having a smaller portion of being than 
others, approach so much the nearer to not-being. Proportion- 
ably, what hath its being necessarily and of itself, is at the 
farthest distance from no-being, as comprehending all being in 
itself. Or, to borrow the expressions of an elegant writer, 
translated into our own language,* " We have much more non- 
essense than cssense ; if we have the essence of a man, yet not 
of the heavens, or of angels." " We are confined and li- 
mited Avithin a particular essence, but God, who is what he is, 
comprehendeth all possible essences." 

Nor is this precariously spoken, or as Avhat may be hoped to 
be granted upon courtesy. But let the matter be rigidly ex- 
amined and discussed, and the certain truth of it Avill most 
evidently appear. For if any thing be, in this sense, remoter 
than other from no-being, it must either be, Avhat is necessarily 
of itself, or Avhat is contingently at the pleasure of the other. 
But since nothing is, besides that self- origin ate necessary be- 
ing, but Avliat Avas from it ; and nothing from it but Avhat Avas 
Avithin its productive poAver; it is plain all that, Avith its OAvn 
being, Avas contained in it. And therefore, even in that sense, 
it is at the greatest distance from no-being ; as comprehending 
the utmost fulness of being in itself, and consequently abso- 
lute perfection. Which will yet further appear, in what 


2. We therefore add, that necessary being is most unmixed 
or purest being, Avithout allay. That is pure Avhich is full of 
itself. Purity is not here meant in a corporeal sense, nor in the 
moral ; but as, with metaphysicians, it signifies simplicity of 
essence. And in its present use is more especially intended to 

* Causin. 


signify that simplicity which is opposed to the composition of 
set and possibility. We sr> y tlien, that necessary being im- 
ports purest actuality ; which is the ultimate and highest per- 
fection of being. For it signifies no remaining possibility, yet 
unreplete or not filled up, and consequently the fullest exu- 
berancy and entire confluence of all being, as in its fountain 
and original source. We need not here look further to evince 
this, than the native import of the very terms themselves; 
necessity and possibility ; the latter whereof is not so fitly said 
to be excluded the former, as contingency is, but to be swal- 
lowed up of it ; as fulness takes up all the space which were 
otherwise nothing but vacuity or emptiness. It is plain then 
that necessary being engrosses all possible being, both that is, 
and (for the same reason) that ever was so. lor nothing can 
be, or ever was, in possibilily to come into being, but what 
either must spring, or hath sprung, from the necessary self- 
subsisting being. 

80 that unto all that vast possibility, a proportionable actu- 
ality of this being must be understood to correspond. Else 
tiie other were not possible. For nothing is possible to be 
produced which is not within the actual productive power of 
the necessary being : I say within its actual productive power ; 
for if its power for such production were not already actual, it 
could never become so, and so were none at all : inasmuch as 
necessary being can never alter, and consequently can never 
come actually to be what it already is not ; upon which account 
it is truly said, In cetcrnis posse <$' esse sunt idem. — In eternal 
things, to be capable of being and to be are the same thing. 
Wherefore in it, is nothing else but pure actuality, as profound 
and vast as is the utmost possibility of all created or producible 
being ; that is, it can be nothing other than it is, but can do all 
things, of which more hereafter,. It therefore stands opposed, 
not only, more directly, to impossibility of being, which is the 
most proper notion of no-being, but some way, even to possi- 
bility also. That is, the possibility of being any thing but 
what it is ; as being cyery way complete and perfectly full 

3. Again, we might further add, that it is the most abstract- 
ed being, or is being in the very abstract. A thing much in- 
sisted on by some of the schoolmen. And the notion which 
with much obscurity they pursue after their manner, may 
carry some such sense as this, (if it may, throughout, be called 
sense.) that whereas no created nature is capable of any other 


than mere mental abstraction, but exists always in concretion 
with some subject, that, be it ever so refined, is grosser and 
less perfect than itself; so that we can distinguish the mentally 
abstracted essence 3 and the thing which hath that essence ; by 
which concretion, essence is limited, and is only the particular 
essence of this or that thing, which hath or possesses that es- 
sence. The necessary being is, in strict propriety, not so 
truly said to have essence, as to be it, and exist separately by 
itself ; not as limited to this or that thing. Whence it is, in 
itself, universal essence, containing therefore, not formally, 
but eminently, the being of all things in perfect simplicity. 
Whence all its own attributes are capable of being affirmed of 
it in the abstract,* that it is wisdom, power, goodness; and 
not only hath these, and that upon this account it is a being, 
which is necessarily and of itself. For that which is necessarily 
and of itself, is not whatsoever it is by the accession of any 
thing to itself, whereof necessary being is incapable; but by 
its own simple and un variable essence. Other being is upon 
such terms powerful, wise, yea, and existent, as that it may 
cease to be so. Whereas to necessary being, it is manifestly 
repugnant, and impossible either simply not to be, or to be 
any thing else but what and as it is. And though other things 
may have properties belonging to their essence not separable 
from it, yet they are not their very essence itself. And, whereas 
they are in a possibility to lose their very existence, the knot 
and ligament of whatsoever is most intimate to their actual 
being, all then falls from them together. Here, essence, pro- 
perties, and existence, are all one simple thing that can never 
cease, decay, or change, because the whole being is necessary, 
Now, all this being supposed, of the force of that form of 
speech, when we affirm any thing in the abstract of another, 
we may admit the common sense of men to be the interpreter. 

* To which purpose we may take notice of the words of one, not the 
less worthy to be named, for not being reckoned of that forcmentioncd 
order. Si enim denominative de eo quippiam praedicaretur abstractum 
esset turn aliud ab ipso, turn ipso prius. Quod sane impium est, quare 
neque ens est sed essentia, ncque bonus sed bonitas est — If any quality 
were to be affirmed concerning the Deity, in expressions derived from 
an abstract term, the idea answering to that abstract term would be both 
distinct in existence from him and prior to him; which would certainly 
be impious. Jt follows therefore that the Deity is not so properly some- 
thing possessed of an essence, as the essence itself; not so properly a 
being possessed of goodness, as goodness itself. Julius Scalier, Excrc* 

VOL. I. 2 A 


For every body can fell, though they do not know the mean- 
ing of the word abstract, what we intend when we use that 
phrase or manner of speaking. As when we say, by way of 
hyperbolical commendation, Such a man is not only learned, 
but learning itself; or he not only hath much of virtue, justice, 
and goodness in him, but he is virtue, justice, and goodness 
itself, (as was once said of an excellent Pagan virtuoso, that 1 
may borrow leave to use that word in the moral sense,) every 
one knows the phrase intends the appropriating all learning, 
virtue, justice, goodness, to such a one. Which, because they 
know unappropriable to any man, they easily understand it to 
be, in such a case, a rhetorical strain and form of speech. And 
yet could not know that, if also they did not understand its 
proper and native import. And so it may as well be under- 
stood what is meant by saying of God, He is being itself. 
With which sense may be reconciled that of (the so named) 
Dionysius the Areopagite ; * that God is not so properly said 
to be of, or be in, or to have, or partake, of being, as that it 
is of him, &c. Inasmuch as he is the pre-existent Being to all 
being ; that is, if we understand him to mean all besides his 
own. In which sense taking being for that which is commu- 
nicated and imparted, he may truly be said, (as this author 
and the Platonists generally speak, Proclus in Plat. Theol. 
1. 2, c. 4.) to be super-essential or super-substantial. But 
how fitly being is taken in that restrained sense, we may saj 
more hereafter. 

In the mean time, what hath been said concerning this ab- 
stractedness of the necessary being, hath in it some things so 
unintelligible, and is accompanied with so great (unmentioned) 
difficulties, (which it would give us, perhaps, more labour 
than profit to discuss,) and the absolute perfection of God ap- 
pears so eyidenccable otherwise, by what hath been and may be 
further said, that we are no way concerned to lay the stress of 
the cause on this matter only. 

4. Moreover, necessary being is the cause and author of all 
being besides. Whatsoever is not necessary, is caused ; for 
not having being of itself, it must be put into being by some- 

* Kati xvro 5'e To zhxi ex th Wfocvi®^, xxi xvtS lurt ot to tivxi, xxi hx 
civtos tS slvxi, xxi h a.vru lari to ilvxt, xxi sx avlos ev tw tivxi, xxi xvro* 
sj^fiTo tlyxi, xxi in xvros t%ei to uvxi — His very being is of himself, as 
previously possessed of being ; being is of him, and not heof being ; being 
is in him, and not he in being; and being hath him, more properly than 
he hath being. Dt Divi/ris numin. Co. b. 


what else. And inasmuch as there is no middle sort of being 
betwixt necessary and not necessary, and all that is not neces- 
sary is caused, it is plain that Which is necessary must be the 
cause of all the rest. And surely what is the cause of all being 
besides its own, must needs, one way or other, contain its 
own and all other in itself, and is consequently comprehensive 
of the utmost fulness of being ; or is the absolutely perfect 
being, (as must equally be acknowledged,) unless any one 
would imagine himself to have got the notice of some perfection 
tliat lies without the compass of all being. 

Nor is it an exception worth the mentioning, that there may 
be a conception of possible being or perfection, which the ne- 
cessary being hath not caused. For it is, manifestly, as well 
the possible cause of all possible being and perfection, as the 
actual cause of what is actual. And what it is possible to it to 
produce, it hath within its productive power, as hath been said 

And if the matter did require it, we might say further, that 
the same necessary being which hath been the productive 
cause," is also the continual root and basis of all being, which 
1s not necessary. For what is of itself, and cannot, by the 
special privilege of its own being, but be, needs nothing to 
sustain it, or needs not trust to any thing besides its own eternal 
stability. But what is not so, seems to need a continual repro- 
duction every moment, and to be no more capable of continu- 
ing in being by itself, than it was, by itself, of coming into 
being. For (as is frequently alleged by that so often mention- 
ed author) since there is no connexion betwixt the present and 
future time, but what is easily capable of rupture, it is no way 
consequent that, because I am now, I shall therefore be the 
next moment, further than as the free Author of my being 
shall be pleased to continue his own most arbitrary influence, 
for my support. This seems highly probable to be true, 
whether that reason signify any thing or nothing. And that, 
thence also, continual conservation differs not from creation. 
Which, whether (as is said by the same author) it be one of 
the things that are manifest by natural light, or whether a po- 
sitive act be needless to the annihilation of created things, but 
only the withholding of influence, let them examine that ap- 
prehend the cause to need it. And if, upon inquiry, they 
judge it at least evidenceable by natural light to be so, (as I 
doubt not they will,) they will have this further ground upon 
which thus to reason : that, inasmuch as the necessary being 
subsists wholly by itself, and is that whereon all other doth 


totally depend, it hereupon follows, that it must, some way, 
contain in itself all being-. We may yet further add, 

5. That the necessary being we have evinced, though it hath 
caused and doth continually sustain all things, yet doth not 
its( U in the mean time suffer any diminution. It is not possible, 
nor consistent with the \cry terms necessary being, that it 
can. It is true, that if such a thing as a necessary atom were 
admitted, that would be also undiminishable, it were not else 
an atom. But as nothing then can flow from it, as from a per- 
fect parvitude nothing can, so it can effect nothing. And the 
reason is the same of many as of one. Nor would undiminish- 
ablcness, upon such terms, signify any thing to the magnifying 
the value of such a trifle. 

■ But this is none of the present case : for our eyes fell us 
here is a world in beine*. which we are sure is not itself neces- 

O 7 

sarily ; and was therefore made by him thai is. And that, with- 
out mutation or change in him : against which the very notion 
of a necessary being is most irreconcilably reluctant ; and there- 
fore without diminution, which cannot be conceived without 
change. * 

Wherefore how inexhaustible a fountain of life, being, and 
all perfection, have we here represented to our thoughts ! from 
whence this vast universe is sprung, and is continually spring- 
ing, and that in the mean time receiving no recruits or foreign 
supplies, yet suffers no impairment or lessening of itself! 
What is this bat absolute all-fulness ! And it is so far from ar- 
guing any deficiency or mutability in his nature, that there is 
this continual issue of power and virtue from him, that it de- 
monstrates its high excellency that this can be wifhout decay 
or mutation. For of all this, we are as certain as we can be 
of any thing: that manv things are not necessarily, that the 
bring must be necessary from whence all things else proceed, 
and that with necessary being change is inconsistent. It is 
therefore unreasonable to entertain any doubt that things are so, 
which most evidently appear to be so, only because it is beyond 
our measure and compass to apprehend Jwio they arc so. 
And it would be to doubt, against our own eyes, whether 
there be any such thing as motion in the world, or com- 

* 'Ev 5s ray}*}T»i %og£ix, xti§if£ myw fj.lv ^uw, wwyMv Vs vh, «fX** ov7©-, 
uyx^a ciirt'xv, pl^zv -^v^ys tsx. sK^to/xtvuv ccrf a.vru ov tytivu* IXx-rltsvTCD*— 
In this harmonic arrangement, behold the fountain both of life and of 
intellect, the beginning of all that exists, the efficient cause of good ; 
■while neither he, nor those primordial principles themselves, are capable 
of any diminution. Flotinus Enn. 6- I. (). c. o. 


position of bodies, because we cannot give a clear account, 
so as to avoid all difficulties, and the entanglement °f Uie 
common sophisms about them, how these things are per- 
formed. In the present case, Ave have no difficulty but what 
is to be resolved into the perfection of the Divine Nature, and 
the imperfection of our own. And how easily conceivable is 
it, that somewhat may be more perfect, than that we e:;n con- 
ceive it. If we cannot conceive the maimer of God's causa- 
tion of things, or the nature of his causative influence, it only 
shews their high excellency, and gives us the more ground 
(since this is that into which both his own revelation and the 
reason of things most naturally lead us to resolve all) to admire 
the mighty efficacy of his all-creating and alt-sustaining will 
and word ; that in that easy unexpensive way, by his mere fiat, 
so great tilings should be performed. 

G. We only say further, that this necessary Being is such to 
which nothing can be added ; so as that it should be really greater, 
or better, or more perfect, than it was before. And this not only 
signifies that nothing can b:^ joined io it, so as to become apart 
of it, (which necessary being, by its natural immutability, mani- 
festly refuses,) but we also intend by it, that all things else, with 
it, contain not more of real perfection than it doth alone. Which, 
though it carries a difficulty with it that we intend not wholly 
to overlook when it shall be seasonable to consider it, is a most 
apparent and demonstrable truth. For it is plain that all be- 
ing and perfection which is not necessary, proceeds from that 
which is, as the cause of it ; and that no cause could commu- 
nicate any thing to another which it had not, some way, in 
itself. Wherefore it is manifestly consequent that all other 
being was wholly before comprehended in that which is ne- 
cessary, as having been wholly produced by it. And what is 
wholly comprehended of another, that is, within its productive 
power, before it be produced, can be no real addition to it, 
when it is. 

Now what can be supposed to import fulness of being and 
perfection, more than this impossibility of addition, or that 
there can be nothing greater or more perfect ? 

And now these considerations are mentioned, without solici- 
tude whether they be so many exactly distinct heads. For ad- 
mit that they be not all distinct, but some are involved with 
others of them, yet the same truth may more powerfully strike 
some understandings in one form of representation, others in 
another, And it suffices, that (though not severally) they da 
together plainly evidence that the necessary being includes the 


absolute, entire fulness of all being and perfection actual and 
possible within itself. 

Having therefore thus dispatched th&tjirst part of this under- 
taking, the eviction of an every way perfect being, we shall 
now need to labour little in the second, namely, the more ex- 
press deduction of the infiniteness and onliness thereof. 

I. For as to the former of these, it is in effect the same thing 
that hath been already proved ; since to the fullest notion of 
infiniteness, absolute perfection seems every way most fully 
to correspond. For absolute perfection includes all conceiv- 
able perfection, leaves nothing excluded. And what doth 
most simple infiniteness import, but to have nothing for a boun- 
dary, or, which is the same, not to be bounded at all ? 

We intend not now, principally, infiniteness e.xtrinsically 
considered, with respect to time and place, as to be eternal 
and immense do import ; but mtrinsicatly, as importing bot- 
tomless profundity of essence, and the full confluence of all 
kinds and degrees of perfection, without bound or limit. This 
is the same with absolute perfection : which yet, if any should 
suspect not to be so, they might, hov. ever, easily and expressly 
prove it of the necessary being, upon the same grounds that 
have been already alleged for proof of that : — as that the ne- 
cessary being hath actuality answerable to the utmost possibility 
of the creature ; that it is the only root and cause of all other 
being, the actual cause of whatsoever is actually ; the possible 
cause of whatsoever is possible to be : which is most apparently 
true, and hath been evidenced to be so, by what hath been 
Said,, so lately, as that it needs not be repeated. That is, in 
fchorf, that nothing that is not necessarily, and of itself, could 
ever have been or can be, but as it hath been or shall be put 
into being by that which is necessarily, and of itself. So that 
this is as apparent as that any thing is, or can be. 

But now let sober reason judge, whether there can beany 
bounds or limits set to the possibility of producible being; 
either in respect of kinds, numbers, or degrees of perfection ? 
Who can say or think, when there can be so many sorts of 
creatures produced, (or at least individuals of those sorts,) that 
there can be no more ? Or that any creature is so perfect as 
that none can be made more perfect ? Which indeed, to suppose, 
were to suppose an actual infiniteness in the creature. And then 
it being, however, still but somewhat that is created or made, 
how can its maker but be infinite ? For surely nobody will be 
60 absurd as to imagine an infinite effect of a finite cause. 

II. Having evinced the infiniteness of this Being, it will be 



necessary, before we proceed to the onliuess thereof, to inquire 
if the creature can be actually infinite : for it follows either 
that the creature is, or some time may be, actually made so 
perfect that it cannot be more perfect, or not. If not, Ave 
have our purpose; that there is an infinite possibility on 
the part of the creature, always unreplete ; and consequent- 
ly, a proportionable infinite actuality of power on the Crea- 
tor's part. Infinite power, I say, otherwise there were not 
that acknowledged infinite possibility of producible being. 
For nothing- is producible, that no power can produce, be the 
intrinsic possibility of it (or its not-implying in itself, a contra- 
diction that it should exist) what it will. And I say infinite actual 
power, because the Creator, being what he is necessarily, what 
power he hath not actually, he can never have, as was argued 
before. But if it be said, the creature either is, or may some 
time be, actually so perfect as that it cannot be more perfect ; 
that, as was said, will suppose it then actually infinite ; and 
therefore much more that its cause is so. And therefore in this 
way our present purpose would be gained also. But we have 
. no mind to gain it this latter way, as Ave have no need. It is 
in itself plain, to any one that considers, that this possibility 
on the creature's part can never actually be filled up ; that it is 
a bottomless abyss, in Avhich our thoughts may still gradually 
go doAvn deeper and deeper, Avithout end : that is, that still 
more might be produced, or more perfect creatures, and still 
more, everlastingly, Avithout any bound ; Avhich sufficiently 
infers Avhat Ave aim at, that the Creator's actual poAver is pro- 
portionable. And indeed the supposition of the former can 
neither consist with the Creator's perfection, nor Avith the im- 
perfection of the creature; it would infer that the Creator's 
productive poAver might be exhausted ; that he could do no 
more, and so place an actual boundary to him, and make 
him finite. It Avere to make the creature actually full of being, 
that it could receive no more, and so would make that infinite. 
But it may be said, since all poAver is in order to act, and 
the \ r ery notion of possibility imports that such a thing, of 
which it is said, may, some time, be actual ; it seems very 
unreasonable to say, that the infinite poAver of a cause cannot 
produce an infinite effect; or that infinite possibility can 
never become infinite actuality. For that Avere to say and 
unsay the same thing, of the same : to affirm omnipotency and 
impotency of the same cause ; possibility and impossibility of 
the same effect. 

Hoav urgent soever this difficulty may seem, there needs 


nothing but patience and attentive consideration to disentangle 
ourselves, and get through it. For if we will but allow our- 
selves the leisure to consider, we shall find that pozce?- and 
possibility must here be taken not simply and abstractly, but 
as each of them is in conjunction with infinite. And what is 
infinite, but that which can never be travelled through, or 
whereof no end can be ever arrived unto ? Now suppose in- 
finite power bad produced all that it could produce, it were 
no longer infinite, there were an end of it : that is, it had 
found limits and a boundary beyond which it could not go. If 
infinite possibility were tilled up, there were an end of that also ; 
and so neither Mere infinite. 

It may then be further urged, that there is therefore no such 
thing as infinite power or possibility. For how is that cause 
said to have infinite power, which can never produce its pro- 
portionable effect, or that effect have, infinite possibility, which 
can never be produced ? It would follow then, that power 
and possibility, which arc said to be infinite, arc neither power 
nor possibility ; and that infinite must be rejected as a notion 
either repugnant to itself, or to any thing unto which we shall 
go about to affix it. 

I answer, It only follows, they are neither power nor possi- 
bility, whereof there is any bound or end ; or that can ever 
be gone through. And how absurd is it that they shall be 
said, as they cannot but be, to be both very vast, if they were 
finite ; and none at all, for no other reason but their being in- 
finite ! And for the pretended repugnancy of the very notion 
of infinite, it is plain, that though it cannot be to us distinctly 
comprehensible, yet it is no more repugnant than the notion of 
finiteness. Nor when we have conceived of power, in the 
general, and in our own thoughts set bounds to it, and made 
it finite, is it a greater difficulty (nay, they that try will find 
it much easier) again to think away these bounds, and make it 
infinite ? And let them that judge the notion of infiniteness 
inconsistent, therefore reject it if they can. They will feel it 
reimposing itself upon them, whether they will or no, and 
sticking as close to their minds as their very thinking power 
itself. And who was therefore ever heard of, that did not ac- 
knowledge some or other infinite ? Even the Epicureans them- 
selves, though they confined their gods, they did not the 
universe. Which, also, though some Peripatetic atheists 
made finite in respect of place, yet in duration they made it 
infinite. Though the notion of an eternal world is incumber- 
ed with such absurdities and impossibilities, as whereof there 


is not the least shadow, in that, of an every way infinite 

Briefly, it consists not with the nature of a contingent being, 
to be infinite. For what is upon such terms, only, in being, 
is reducible to nothing, at the will and pleasure of its maker ; 
but it is a manifest repugnancy, that what is at the utmost dis- 
tance from nothing (as infinite fulness of being cannot but be) 
should be reducible thither. Therefore actual infinity cannot 
but be the peculiar privilege of that which is necessarily. 

Yet may we not say, that it is not within the compass of in- 
finite power to make a creature that may be infinite. For it 
argues not want of power that this is never to be done, but a 
still infinitely abounding surplusage of it, that can never be 
drained or drawn dry. Nor, that the thing itself is simply 
impossible. It may be, as is compendiously expressed by 
that most succinct and polite writer, Dr. Boyle, * in fieri, not 
in facto esse. That is, it might be a thing always in doing, 
but never done. Because it belongs to the infinite perfection 
of God, that his power be never actually exhausted ; and to 
the infinite imperfection of the creature, that its possibility or 
capacity be never filled up : to the necessary self-subsisting 
being, to be always full and communicative ; to the communi- 
cated contingent being, to be ever empty and craving. One 
may be said to have that, some way, in his power, not only 
which he can do presently, all at once, but which he can do by 
degrees, and supposing he have sufficient time. So a man may 
be reckoned able to do that, as the uttermost, adequate effect 
of his whole power, which it is only possible to him to have 
effected, with the expiration of his life's-fime. God's measure 
is eternity. What if we say then, this is a work possible to be 
accomplished, even as the ultimate, proportionable issue of 
divine power, (if it were his will, upon which all contingent 
being depends,) that the creature should be ever growing in 
the mean while, and be absolutely perfect at the expiration of 
eternity ? If then you be good at suppositions, suppose that 
expired, and this work finished, both together. Wherefore if 
you ask, Why can the Avork of making created being infinite, 
never be done ? The answer will be, Because eternity (in every 
imaginable instant whereof, the inexhaustible power of God can, 
it he will, be still adding cither more creatures, or more per- 
fection to a creature) can never be at an end. 

* Bishop of Clogher, in his Contemplat. Metaphj/s. 
VOL. I. g B 


We might further argue the infinity of the necessary being, 
from what hath been said of its undiminishablcness, by all its 
vast communications. * Its impossibility to receive any ac- 
cession to itself, by any its so great productions, both which 
are plainly demonstrable, as we have seen, of the necessary 
being, even as it is such, and do clearly, as any thing can, 
bespeak infinity. But Ave have thence argued its absolute per- 
fection, which so evidently includes the same thing, that all 
this latter labour might have been spared ; were it not that it 
is the genius of some persons not to be content that they have 
the substance of a thing said, unless it be also said in their 
own terms. .And that the express asserting of God's simple 
infinitencss, in those very terms, is, in that respect, the 
more requisite, as it is a form of expression more known and 

III. There are yet some remaining difficulties in the matter 
we have been discoursing of; which partly through the de- 
bility of our own minds we cannot but find, and which partly 
the subtlety of sophistical wits doth create to us. It will be 
requisite we have some consideration of at least some of them, 
which we will labour to dispatch with all possible brevity; 
leaving those that delight in the sport of tying and loosing 
knots, or of weaving snares wherein cunningly to entangle 
themselves, to be entertained by the school-men; among 
whom they may find enough, upon this subject, to give them 
exercise unto weariness ; and, if their minds have any relish 
of what is more savory, I may venture to say, unto loathing. 

It may possibly be here said, in short, But what have we 
all this while been doing ? We have been labouring to prove 
that necessary being comprehends the absolute fulness of all 
being : and what doth this signify, but that all being is neces- 
sary ? That God is all things, and so that every thing is 
Cod ; that Aye hereby confound the being of a man, yea, of a 
stone, or Avhatever Ave can think of, with one another, and all 
with the being of God. 

And again, hoAv is it possible there should be an infinite 
self-subsisting being ? For then Iioav can there be any finite, 
since such infinite being includes all being, and there can be 
nothing beyond all ? 

* For howsoever disputable it may be, whether whatsoever is infinite 
can have nothing added to it; yet it is without dispute, that whatsoever 
is so 'full as that nothing can be added to it, is infinite. 


Here therefore it is requisite, having hitherto only asserted, 
and endeavoured to evince that, some way, necessary being 
doth include all being, to shew in what way. And it is plain 
it doth not include all, in the same way. It doth not so include 
that which is created by it and depends on it, as it doth its own, 
which is uncreated and independent. 

The one it includes as its own, or rather as itself; the other, 
as what it is, and ever was, within its power to produce. If any 
better like the terms formally and virtually, they may serve 
themselves of them at their own pleasure, which yet, as to many , 
will but more darkly speak the same sense. 

We must here know, the productive power of God termi- 
nates not upon himself, as if he were, by it, capable of adding 
any thing- to his own appropriate being, which is (as hath been 
evinced already) infinitely full, and incapable of addition, and 
is therefore all pure act ; but on the creature, where there is 
still a perpetual possibility, never tilled up ; because divine 
power can never be exhausted. .And thus all that of being is 
virtually in him, which, either having produced, he doth totally 
sustain, or not being produced, he can produce. 

Whereupon it is easy to understand, how necessary being 
may comprehend all being, and yet all being not be necessary. 
It comprehends all being, besides what itself is, as having 
had, within the compass of its productive power, whatsoever 
hath actually sprung from it, and having within the compass 
of the same power, -whatsoever is still possible to be produced. 
Which no more confounds such produced or producible be- 
ing with that necessary being which is its cause, than it con- 
founds all the effects of human power with one another, and 
with the being of a man, to say, that he virtually compre- 
hended them (so far as they were producible by him) within 
his power. And it is no wiser an inference from the former, 
than it would be from this latter, that a house, a book, and a 
child, are the same thing with one another, and with the per- 
son that produced them ; because, so far as they were pro- 
duced by him, he had it in his power to produce them. And 
that the effects of divine power are produced thereby totally, 
whereas those of human power are produced by it but in part 
only, doth, as to the strength and reasonableness of the argu- 
ment, nothing alter the case. . 

And as to the next, That infinite being should seem to ex- 
clude ail finite. I confess that such as are so disposed, might 
here even wrangle continually, as they might do about any 


thing in which infiniteness is concerned ; and yet therein shew 
themselves (as Seneca I remember speaks in another case) not 
a whit the more learned, bnt the more troublesome. But if 
one would make short work of it, and barely deny that infinite 
being excludes finite, (as Scotus doth little else ;* besides de- 
nying the consequence of the argument, by which it was be- 
fore enforced, namely, [that an infinite body would exclude a 
finite ; for where should the finite be, when the infinite should 
fill up all space ? And therefore by parity of reason, why 
should not infinite being exclude finite ?] shewing the disparity 
of the two cases,) it would perhaps give them some trouble 
also to prove it. For which way would they go to work ? 
Infinite self-subsisting being includes all being, very true ; 
and therefore, we say, it includes finite. And what then? 
Doth it, because it includes it, therefore exclude it ? And 
let the matter be soberly considered ; somewhat of finite being 
and power, we say, (and apprehend no knot or difficulty in 
the matter,) can extend so far as to produce some proportiona- 
ble effect, or can do such and such things. And what, doth it 
seem likely then, that infinite being and power can therefore 
do just nothing ? Is it not a reason of mighty force, and con- 
foundingly demonstrative, that an agent can do nothing, or 
cannot possibly produce any the least thing, only because he 
is of infinite power ? 

For if there be a simple inconsistency between an infinite 
being and a finite, that will be the case; that, because the 
former is infinite, therefore it can produce nothing. For what 
it should produce cannot consist with it, that is, even not be- 
ing finite; and then certainly if we could suppose the effect ?>z« 
finite, much less. But what, therefore, is power the less for 
being infinite ? or can infinite power, even because it is infi- 
nite, do nothing ? What can be said or thought more absurd, 
or void of sense ? Or shall it be said that the infiniteness of 
power is no hinderance, but the infiniteness of being ? But 
how wild an imagination were that of a finite being, that were 
of infinite power ? And besides, is that power somewhat, or 
nothing ? Surely it. will not be said it is nothing. Then it is 
some being ; and if some power be some being, what then is 
infinite power, is not that infinite being ? And now, therefore, 
if this infinite can produce any thing, which it were a strange 
madness to deny, it can at least produce some finite thing. 
Wherefore there is no inconsistency between the infinite and 

* Distinct. 2. Q. 2. Q. 1. 


finite beings, unless we say the effect produced, even by being: 
produced, must destroy, or even infinitely impair its cause, 
so as to make it cease at least to be infinite ! But that also can- 
not possibly be said of that which is' infinite and necessary ; 
which, as hath been shewn, cannot, by whatsoever productions, 
suffer any diminution or decay. If here it be further urged, 
But here is an infinite being now supposed ; let, next, be sup- 
posed the production of a finite : this is not the same with the 
other; for* surely infinite, and finite, are distinguishable 
enough, and do even infinitely ditl'er. This finite is either 
something or nothing ; nothing it cannot be said ; for it was 
supposed a being, and produced ; but the production of no- 
thing, is no production. It. is somewhat then ; here is there- 
fore an infinite being, and a finite, now besides. The infinite, 
it was said, cannot be diminished ; the finite, a real something, 
is added. Is there therefore nothing more of existent being 
than there was before this production ? It is answered, Nothing 
more than virtually was before ; for when we suppose an infi- 
nite being, and afterwards a finite ; this finite is not to be looked 
upon as emerging or springing up of itself out of nothing, or 
as proceeding from some third thing as its cause, but as pro- 
duced by that infinite, or springing out of that, which it could 
not do, bat as being before virtually contained in it. For the 
infinite produces nothing, which it could not produce. And 
what it could produce, was before contained in it, as in the 
power of its cause. And to any one that attends, and is not 
disposed to "be quarrelsome, this is as plain and easy to be un- 
derstood, as how any finite thing may produce another, or 
rather, more plain and easy, because a finite agent doth not 
entirely contain its effect within itself, or in its own power, as 
an infinite doth. If yet it be again said, that which is li- 
mited is not infinite, but suppose any finite thing produced in- 
to being after a pre-existent infinite, this infinite becomes now 
limited ; for the being of the finite, is not that of the infinite, 
each hath its own distinct being. And it cannot be said of the 
one, it is the other ; therefore each is limited to itself. I an- 
swer ; that which was infinite becomes not hereby less than it 
was ; for it hath produced nothing but what was before virtu- 
ally contained in if, and still is, for it still totally sustains the 
other. But whatsoever it actually doth, it can do, or hath 
within its power : therefore it were infinite before, and is not 
now become less, it is still infinite. 

Wherefore the true reason why the position of a finite thing 
after a supposed all-comprehending infinite, doth no way in- 


trench upon or detract from the other's all-comprehensive infi- 
nity, is, that it was formerly contained, and still is, within 
the virtue and power of the other. 

It is true, that if we should suppose any thing besides that 
supposed infinite to be of itself, that would infer a limitation of 
the former. Infer, I say, not cause it, that is, it would not 
make it cease to be all-comprehendingly infinite, but it would 
argue it not to have been so before ; and that the supposition 
of its infinity was a false supposition, because it would then 
appear that the former did not comprehend all being any way 
in itself. Somewhat being now found to be in being, which 
hath no dependence thereon ; whence it. Mould be evident nei- 
ther can be so. Of which, some good use may be made to a 
further purpose by and by. 

Here only we may by the way annex, as a just corollary, 
from the foregoing discourse, that as the supposition of neces- 
sary self-subsisting matter Mas before shewn to be a vain, it 
now also appears plainly to be altogether an impossible suppo- 
sition. For since the necessary self-subsisting being is infinite 
and all-comprehensive ; and if matter Mere supposed neces- 
sary, we must have another necessary being to form the Morld, 
inasmuch as matter is not self-active, much less intelligent, as 
it hath both been proved it cannot be, and that the Former of 
this world must be. It is therefore out of question, that be- 
cause both cannot be all-comprehensive, they cannot both be 
necessary. Nor can the vastly different kinds or natures of 
these things salve the business ; for be they of m hat kinds they 
will, they are still beings. Besides, if matter were necessary 
and self-subsisting, every particle of it must be so. And then 
we shall have not only two, but an infinite number of such in- 
finites, and all of the same kind. But being, only of this or 
that sort, (as is apparent Avherc more sorts do exist than one,) 
could not be simply infinite, except as the other depends 
thereon ; and as this one is radically comprehensive of all the 
rest, that can come under the general and most common notion 
of being. For that there is some general notion M'hereinall being 
agrees, and by which it differs from no being, is, I think, 
little to be doubted ; how unequally soever, and dependency 
the one upon the other, the distinct sorts do partake therein. 
Whereupon the expressions, super-essenlial, and others like 
it, spoken of God, must be understood as rhetorical strains, 
importing more reverence than rigid trulh. Except by es- 
sence, as Mas formerly said, only that which is created be 
meant. And that only a purer and more noble kind of essence 


were intended to be asserted to him,* which yet seems also 
unwarrantable and injurious, that a word of that import should 
be so misapplied and transferred from the substance, to signify 
nothing- but the shadow, rather, of being-. And that they who 
would seem zealously concerned to appropriate all being unto 
God, should, in the height of their transport, so far forget 
themselves as to set him above all being, and so deny him any 
at all. For surely that which simply is above all being, is no 

2. And as to the unity, or onliness rather, of this being, or 
of the God-head, the deduction thereof seems plain and easy 
from what hath been already proved; that is, from the abso- 
lute perfection thereof. For though some do toil themselves 
much about this matter, and others plainly conclude that it is 
not to be proved at all in a rational way, but only by divine 
revelation ; yet I conceive, they that follow the method (hav- 
ing proved some necessary self-subsisting being, the root and 
original spring of all being and perfection, actual and possi- 
ble, which is as plain as any thing can be) of deducing from 
thence the absolute, all-comprehending perfection of such 
necessary being, will find their work as good as done. For 
nothing seems more evident, than that there cannot be two 
(much less more) such beings, inasmuch as one comprehends 
in itself all being and perfection ; for there can be but one all, 
without which is nothing. So that, one such being supposed, 
another can have nothing remaining to it. Yea, so far is it 
therefore, if we suppose one infinite and absolutely perfect be- 
ing, that there can be another, independent thereon, (and of a 
depending infinity, we need not say more than we have, which 
if any such could be, cannot possibly be a distinct God,) that 
there cannot be the minutest, finite tiling, imaginable, which 
that supposed infinity doth not comprehend, or that can stand 
apart from it, on any distinct basis of its own. And that this 
matter may be left as plain as we can make it ; supposing it 
already most evident, namely, That there is, actually existing, 
an absolute, entire fulness of wisdom, power, and so of all 

* And we must suppose somewhat agreeable to this tobe the meaning 
«f Plotinus, when he denies knowledge to be in God, and vet also denies 
that there is in him any ignorance; that is, that he means his intelligence 
is of an infinitely distinct and more excellent sort from that which he 
causes in us, as appears by his annexed reason, to Ss moiiru^ ainoy, a^/» 
Ifiy ly.uvuv — That "which is the efficient cause of all things, cannot be one 
of those things of which it is the fazese. Enn. C. 1. 9« c. 6. 



other perfection — That such absolute entire fulness of per- 
fection, is infinite — That this infinite perfection must have its 
primary seat somewhere — That its primary, original seat can be 
nowhere, but in necessary self-subsisting being. We hereupon 
add, that if we suppose multitude, or any plurality of neces- 
sary self-originate beings, concurring to make up the seat 
or subject of this infinite perfection ; each one must either be 
of finite and partial perfection, or infinite and absolute. Infi- 
nite and absolute it cannot be, because one self-originate, infi- 
nitely and absolutely perfect being will necessarily compre- 
hend all perfection, and leave nothing to the rest. Nor finite, 
because many finites can never make one infinite ; much less 
can many broken parcels or fragments of perfection ever 
make infinite and absolute perfection; even though their num- 
ber, if that were possible, were infinite. For the perfection of 
unity would still be wanting, and their communication and 
concurrence to any work (even such as we see is done) be in- 
finitely imperfect and impossible. 

We might, more at large, and with a much more pompous 
number and apparatus of arguments, have shewn that there 
can be no more Gods than one. But to such as had rather be 
informed, than bewildered and lost, clear proof that is shorter, 
and more comprehensive, will be more grateful. 

Nor doth this proof of the unity of the God-head any way 
impugn the trinity, which is by Christians believed, therein, 
(and whereof some heathens, as is known, have not been 
wholly without some apprehension, however they came by it,) 
or exclude a sufficient, uncreated ground of trinal distinction. 
As would be seen, if that great dillerence of beings,, necessary 
and contingent, be well stated, and what is by eternal, neces- 
sary emanation of the divine nature, be duly distinguished 
from the arbitrary products of the divine will ; And the mat- 
ter be thoroughly examined, whether herein be not a sufficient 
distinction of that which isincrcated, and that which is created. 
In this way it is possible it might be cleared, how a trinity. 
in the God-head may be very consistently with the unity 
thereof. But that it is, we cannot know, but by his telling us 
so. It being among the many things of God, which are not to 
be known, but by the Spirit of God revealing and testifying 
them, in and according to the holy Scriptures : as the things 
of a man are not known but by the spirit of a man. And what 
further evidence we may justly and reasonably take from those 
Scriptures, even in reference to some of the things hitherto 
discoursed, may be hereafter shewn. 



I. Demands in reference to what hath been hitherto discoursed, with 
some reasonings thereupon: First, Is it possible that, upon supposi- 
tion of this Icings existence, it may be, in any way suitable to our pre- 
sent state, made known to us that it doth exist? Proved, 1. That it 
may. 2 . That, since any other fit way that can be thought on is as much 
liable to exception as that we have already, this must be, therefore, suf- 
ficient. II. Strong impressions. III. Glorious apparitions. IV. Terri- 
ble voices. V. Surprising transformations. VI. If these necessary, is 
it needful they be universal? frequent? VII. If not, more rare things 
of this sort not wanting. Second, Demand. Can subjects, remote from 
their prince, sufficiently be assured of his existence? Third, Demand. 
Can we be sure there are men on earth ? VIII. IteHeciions. 

I. A ND if any should in the mean time still remain either 
JLJL doubtful, or apt to cavil, after all that hath been said 
for proof of that being's existence which we have described, 
I Mould only add these few things, by way of inquiry or de- 
mand ; namely, 

First, Do they believe, upon supposition of the existence 
of such a Being, that it is possible it may be made kown to us, 
in our present state and circumstances, by means not unsuitable 
thereto, or inconvenient to the order and government of the 
world, that it doth exist ? It were strange to say or suppose, 
that a Being of so high perfection as this Ave have hitherto 
given an account of, if he is, cannot in any fit way make it 
known that he is, to an intelligent and apprehensive sort of/ 

1. If indeed he is ; and be the common Cause, Author, and 
Lord of us and all things, (which we do now but suppose : 
and we may defy cavil to allege any thing that is so much as 
colourable against the possibility of the supposition,) surely 
lie hath done greater things than the making of it known that 
he is. It is no unapprehensible thing. There hath been no 
inconsistent notion hitherto given of him ; nothing said con- 
cerning him, but will well admit that it is possible such a Being 
may be now existent. Yea, we not only can conceive, but 
we actually have, and cannot but have, some conception of 
the several attributes we have ascribed to him ; so as to apply 
them, severally, to somewhat else, if we will not apply them 3 

vol. i. 2 c 


jointly, to him. We cannot but admit there is some eternal, 
necessary being ; somewhat that is of itself active ; somewhat 
that 'is powerful, wise, and good. And these notions have in 
them no repugnancy to one another ; wherefore it is not im- 
possible they may meet, and agree together, in full per- 
fection to one and the same existent being. And hence 
it is manifestly no unapprehensive tiling, that such a Being 
doth exist. Now supposing that it doth exist, and hath 
hath been to us the cause and Author of our being ; hath given 
us the reasonable, intelligent nature which we find ourselves 
possessors of; and that very power whereby we apprehend the 
existence of such a Being as he is to be possible, (all which 
we for the present do stifl but suppose,) while also his actual 
existence is not unapprchensible : were it not the greatest mad- 
ness imaginable to say, that if he do exist, he cannot also make 
our apprehensive nature understand this apprehensible thing 
that he doth exist ? We will therefore take it for granted, and 
as a thing which no man well in his wits will deny, that upon 
supposition such a Being, the Cause and Author of all things, 
do exist, he might, in some convenient way or other, with suf- 
ficient evidence, make it known to such creatures as we, so as 
to beget in us a rational certainty that lie doth exist. 

2. Upon which presumed ground we will only reason thus 
or assume to it ; That there is no possible and lit way of doing 
it which is not liable to as mueh exception as the evidence we 
already have. Whence it will be consequent, that if the 
th'm^ be possible to be fitly done, it is done already. That is, 
that if we can apprehend how it may be possible such a Being, 
actually existent, might give us that evidence of his existence 
that should be suitable to our present state, and sufficient to 
out-weigh all objections to the contrary ; (without which it 
were not rationally sufficient :) and that we can apprehend no 
possible way of doing this, which will not be liable to the 
same, or equal objections, as may be made against the pre- 
sent means we have for the begetting of this certainty in us, 
then we have already sufficient evidence of this Being's exis- 
tence. That is, such as ought to prevail against all objec- 
tions, and obtain our assent that it doth exist. 

Here it is only needful to be considered what ways can be 
thought of, which we will say might assure us in this matter, 
that we already have not. And what might be objected against 
them, equally, as against the means we now have. 

II. Will we say such a Being, if he did actually exist, 
might ascertain us of his existence, by some powerful impres. 


sion of that trvitli upon our minds ? We will not insist, what 
(here is already. Let them consider, who gainsay what they 
can find of it in their own minds ; and whether they are not 
engaged by their atheistical inclinations in a contention against 
themselves, and their more natural sentiments, from which 
they find it a matter of no small difficulty lobe-delivered ? It. 
was not for nothing, that even Epicurus himself calls this of 
an existing Deity, a prolepiical notion. But you may say, 
the impression might have been simply universal, and so irre- 
sistible, as to prevent or overbear all doubt, or inclination to 

And, for the universality of it, why may we not suppose it 
already sufficiently universal 2 As hath been heretofore al- 
leged. With what confidence can the few dissenting atheists, 
(Jiat have professed to be of another persuasion, put that value 
upon themselves, as to reckon their dissent considerable enough 
" to implead the universality of this impression! Or what doth 
it signify more to that purpose, than some few instances may 
do, of persons so stupidly foolish, as to give much less disco- 
very of any rational faculty than some beasts ; to the impugn- 
ing the universal rationality of mankind. 

Besides that, your contrary profession is no sufficient argu- 
ment of your contrary persuasion, much less, that you never 
had any stamp or impression of a Deity upon your minds, or 
that you have quite razed it out. It is much to be suspected 
that you hold not your contrary persuasion, with that unshaken 
confidence, and freedom from all fearful and suspicious mis- 
givings, as that you have much more reason to brag of your 
disbelief for the strength, than you have for the goodness of 
it. And lhat you have those qualmish fits, which bewray the 
impression, (at least to your own notice and reflection, if you 
would but allow yourselves the liberty of so much converse 
with yourselves,) that you will not confess, and yet cannot 
utterly deface. But if in this you had quite won the day, 
and were masters of your design, were it not pretty to suppose 
that the common consent of mankind would be a good argu- 
ment of the existence of a Deity, except only that it wants 
your concurrence ? If it were so universalis to include your 
vote and suffrage, it would then be a firm and solid argument ; 
(as no doubt it is, without you, a stronger one than you can 
answer;) but when you have made a hard shift to withdraw 
your assent, you have undone the Deity, and religion ! Doth 
this cause stand and fall witli you I Unto which you can con- 


tribute about as much as the fly to the triumph ! Was that 
true before, -which now your hard-laboured dissent had made 
false ? But if this impression were simply universal, so as 
also to include you, it matters not what men would say 
or object against it ; (it is to be supposed they would be in no 
disposition to object any thing ;) but what were to be said, or 
what the case itself, objectively considered, would admit. 
And though it would not (as now it doth not) admit of any 
thing to be said to any purpose, yet the same thing were still 
to be said, that you now say. And if we should but again 
unsuppose so much of the former supposition, as to imagine 
that some few should have made their escape, and disburthened 
themselves of all apprehensions of God, would they not, with 
the same impudence as you now do, say that all religion were 
notrfing else but enthusiastical fanaticism; and that all man- 
kind, besides themselves, were enslaved fools ? 

And for the mere irresistibleness of this impression ; it is true, 
it. would take away all disposition to oppose, but it may be 
presumed this is none of the rational evidence which we sup- 
pose you to mean ; when you admit (if you do admit) that, 
some way or other, the existence of such a being might be 
possibly made so evident, as to induce a rational certainty 
thereof. For to believe such a thing to be true only upon a strong 
impulse, (how certain soever the thing be,) is not to assent to 
it upon a foregoing reason. Nor can any, in that case, tell 
whij they believe it, but that they believe it. You will not 
surely think any thing the truer for this, only, that such and 
nuch believe it with a sturdy confidence. It is true, that the 
universality and naturalness of such a persuasion, as pointing 
us to a common cause thereof, affords the matter of an argu- 
ment, or is a medium not contemptible nor capable of answer, 
as bath been said before. 

But to be irresistibly captivated into an assent, is no medium 
at all ; but an immediate persuasion of the thing itself, without 
a reason. 

III. Therefore must it yet be demanded of atheistical per- 
sons, what means, that you yet have not, Avould you think 
sufficient to have put this matter out of doubt ? Will you 
say, Some kind of very glorious apparitions, becoming the 
majesty of such a one as this Being is represented, would have 
satisfied ? But if you know how to fancy, that such a thing 
as the sun, and other luminaries, might have been compacted 
of a certain peculiar sort of atoms, coming together of their 


own accord, without the direction of a wise agent ; yea, and 
consist so long, and hold so strangely regular motions ; how 
easy would it 1)0 to object that, with much advantage, against 
what any temporary apparition, be it as glorious as you can 
imagine, might seem to signify to this purpose. 

IV. Would dreadful loud voices proclaiming him to be, of 
whose existence you doubt, have served the turn ? it is likely, 
if your fear would have permitted you to use your wit, yoa 
would have had some subtle invention how, by some odd ren- 
counter of angry atoms, the air or clouds might become thus 
terribly vocal. And when you know already, that they do 
sometimes salute your ears Avith very loud sounds, (as when it 
thunders,) there is little doubt but your great wit can devise a 
way how possibly such sounds might become articulate. And 
for the sense and coherent import of what were spoken ; you 
that are so good at conjecturing how things might casually 
happen, would not be long in making a guess that might serve 
that turn also ; except you were grown very dull and barren, 
and that fancy that served you to imagine how the Avhole frame 
of the universe, and the rare structure of the bodies of animals, 
yea, and even the reasonable soul itself, might be all casual pro- 
ductions, cannot now devise how, by chance, a few -words 
(for you do not say you expect long orations) might fall out to 
be sense though there were no intelligent speaker. 

V. But Avould strange and wonderful effects that might sur- 
prise and amaze you do the business ? We may challenge you to 
try your faculty, and stretch it to the uttermost ; and then tell 
us what imagination you have formed of any tiling more strange 
and wonderful, than the already extant frame of nature # , in the 
whole, and the several parts of it. WiM he that hath a while 
considered the composition of the world ; the exact and orderly 
motions of the sun, moon, and stars; the fabric of his own 
body, and the powers of his soul, expect yet a wonder, to prove 
to him there is a God ? But if that be the complexion of your 
minds, that it is not the greatness of any work, but the novelty 
and surprisingness of it, that will convince you, it is not ra- 
tional evidence you seek : nor is it your reason, but your idle 
curiosity, you would have gratified ; which deserves no more 
satisfaction than that fond wish, that one might come from the 
dead to warn men on earth, lest they should come into the 
place of torment. 

VI. And if such means as these that have been mentioned 
should be thought necessary ? I would ask, Are they necessary 


to every individual person, so as that no man shall be esteemed 
to have had sufficient means of conviction, who hath not with 
his own eyes beheld some such glorious apparition ; or himself 
heard some such terrible voire ; or been (lie immediate witness or 
subject of some prodigious wonderful work ? Or will the once 
seeing-, hearing, or feeling (hem suffice ? Is it not necessary (here 
should be a frequent repetition and renewal of these amazing 
things, lest the impression wearing off, there be a relapse, and a 
gradual sliding into an oblivion, and unapprehensivenessof that 
Being's existence, whereof they had, sometime, received a con- 
viction. Now if such a continual iteration of these strange 
things were thought necessary, would ihey not hereby soon cease 
to be strange ? And then if their strangeness was necessary, by 
that very thing, wherein their sufficiency for conviction is said 
to consist, they should become useless. Or if by their frequent 
variations (which it is possible to suppose) a perpetual amuse- 
ment be .still kept up in the minds of men, and they be always 
full of consternation and wonder, doth this temper so much 
befriend the exercise of reason, or contribute to the sober 
consideration of things? As if men could not be rational, 
without being half mad ! And indeed they might soon become 
altogether so, by being but a while beset with objects so full 
of terror, as are by this supposition made the necessary means 
to convince them of a Deity. * And were this a iit means of 
ruling the world, of preserving order among mankind ? What 
business could then be followed ? Who could attend the affairs 
of their callings ? Who could either be capable of governing, 
or of being governed, while all men's minds should be wholly 
taken up, either in the amazed view or the suspenseful .ex- 
pectation, of nought else but strange things ? To which pur. 
pose much hath been of late, with so excellent reason, t dis- 
coursed by a noted author, that i! is needless here to say more. 
And the aspect and influence of this state of things would be 
most pernicious upon religion, that should be most served 
thereby, and which requires the greatest severity and most 
peaceful composure of mind to the due managing the exercises 
of it. How little would that contribute to pious and devout 

* Now were not that a most improper course, and unsuitable to the na- 
ture of man, that should rather tend to destroy his reason or judgment, 
than convince it * 

t Dr. Spencer, of Prodigies. A discourse, which, though it disproves 
not the reality or true si gnificancy of such portents, yet aptly tends to pre- 
vent or correct the ill use of them. 


converses with God, that should certainly keep men's minds 
in a continual commotion and hurry ? This course, as our 
present condition is, what could it do but craze men's under- 
standings, as a too bright and dazzling light causeth blindness, 
or any over-excelling sensible object destroys the sense ; so 
tli at we should soon have cause to apply the Erpen. proverb, 
" Shut the windows, that the house may be light." And 
might learn to put a sense, not intolerable, upon those passages 
of some mystical writers, * that God is to be seen «\ 5 $«of 
7> ^'@. — in a divine cloud or darkness, as one ; and as another t 
speaks, with closed eyes ; though what was their very sense 1 
"will not pretend to tell ; /<.tVa;»Tas htSpveoSxi tv ayv^w x.xi y.^viplaj ran 
ovtwv r s*<i$i— shutting their et/es to endeavour to comprehend or 
attain the Lnozvledge of the unknown and hidden unity ; the 
source of beings. 

Besides that, by this means, there would naturally ensue 
the continual excitation of so vexatious and enthralling pas- 
sions, so servile and tormenting tears and amazements, as could 
not but hold the souls ol' men under a constant and com- 
fortless restraint from any free and ingenuous access to God, 
or conversation with him ; wherein the very life of religion 
consists. And then, to what purpose doth the discovery and. 
acknowledgment of the Deity serve ? Inasmuch as it is never 
to be thought, that the existence of God is a thing to be known, 
only that it may be known ; but that the end it serves for, is 
religion ; a complacential and cheerful adoration of him, and 
application of ourselves, Avith, at once, both dutiful and plea- 
sant affections towards him. That were a strange means of 
coming to know that he is, that should only tend to destroy or 
hinder the very end itself of that knowledge. Wherefore all 
this being considered, it is likely it would not be insisted upon 
as necessary to our being persuaded of God's existence, that 
he should so multiply strange and astonishing things, as that 
every man might be a daily, amazed, beholder and witness of 

VII. And if their frequency and constant, iteration be ac- 
knowledged not necessary, but shall indeed be judged wholly 
inconvenient, more rare discoveries of him, in the very ways 
we have been speaking of, have not been wanting. What 
would we think of such an appearance of God as that was upon 
Mouut Sinai, when he came down (or caused a sensible glory 

* Dionysius Areop. 1. tie myster. Theol. c. 1. 
\ Proclus in Plat. Theol. 


to descend) in the sight of all that great people ; wherein the 
several things concurred that were above mentioned ! Let U3 
but suppose such an appearance, in all the concurrent circum- 
stances of it, as that is said to have been. That is,", we will 
suppose an equally great assembly or multitude of people is 
gathered together, and solemn forewarning is given and pro- 
claimed among them, by appointed heralds or officers of state, 
that, on such a prefixed day, now very nigh at hand, the Di- 
vine majesty and glory (even his glory set in majesty) will 
visibly appear, and shew itself to them. They are most se- 
verely enjoined to prepare themselves, and be in readiness 
against that day. Great care is taken to sanctify the people, 
and the place ; bounds are set about the designed theatre of 
this great appearance ; all are strictly required to observe their 
due and awful distances, and abstain from more audacious ap- 
proaches and gazings ; lest that terrible glory break out upon 
them, and they perish : an irreverent or disrespectful look, 
they are told, will be mortal to them, or a very touch of any 
part of this sacred inclosure. In the morning of the appointed 
day, there are thunders, and lightnings, and a thick cloud 
upon the hallowed mount. The exceeding loud sound of 
trumpet proclaims the Lord's descent, lie descends in fire, 
the flames whereof envelop the trembling mount, (now floored 
with a sapphire pavement, clear as the body of heaven,) and 
ascend into the middle region, or, as it is expressed, into the 
midst or heart of the heavens. The voice of words, (a loud 
and dreadful voice,) audible to all that mighty assembly, in 
which were six hundred thousand men, (probably more than 
a million of persons,) issues forth from amidst that terrible 
glory, pronouncing to them that i" am Jehovah thy God. And 
thence proceeding to give them precepts so plain and clear, so 
comprehensive and full, so unexecptionably just and righte- 
ous, so agreeable to the nature of man, and subservient to his 
good, that nothing could be more worthy the great Creator, or 
more aptly suitable to such a sort of creatures. 

It is very likely, indeed, that such a demonstration would 
leave no spectator in doubt concerning the existence of God ; 
and would puzzle the philosophy of the most sceptical atheist 
to give an account; otherwise, of the phenomenon. And if 
such could devise to say anything that should seem plausible 
to some very easy half-witted persons, that were not present, 
they woidd have a hard task of it to quiet the minds of those 
that were ; or make them believe this was nothing else but 
some odd conjuncture of certain fiery atoms, that, by some 


strange accident happened into this occursion and conflict, 
with one another ; or some illusion of fancy, by which so great 
a multitude were all at once imposed upon ; so as that they 
only Seemed to themselves to hear and see, what they heard 
and saw not. Nor is it likely they would be very confident of 
the truth of their own conjecture, or be apt to venture much 
upon it themselves ; having been the eye and ear-witnesses of 
these things. 

But is it necessary this course shall be taken to make the 
world know there is a God ? Such an appearance, indeed, 
would more powerfully strike sense ; but unto sober and con- 
siderate reason were it a greater thing than the making such a 
world as this, and the disposing this great variety of particular 
beings in it, into so exact and elegant an order ; and the sus- 
taining and preserving it in the same state, through so many 
ages ? Let the vast and unknown extent of the whole, the ad- 
mirable variety, the elegant shapes, the regular motions, the 
excellent faculties and powers of that inconceivable number of 
creatures contained in it, be considered. And is there any 
comparison between that temporary, transient, occasional, 
and this steady, permanent, and universal discovery of God ? 
Nor (supposing the truth of the history) can it be thought the 
design of this appearance to these Hebrews was to convince 
them of the existence of a Deity, to be worshipped ; when 
of both they had so convincing evidence many ways be- 
fore ; and the other nations, that which they left, and those 
whither they went, were not without their religion and wor- 
ship, such as it was : but to engage them, by so majestic a 
representation thereof, to a more exact observance of his will, 
now made known. Though, had there been any doubt of the 
former, (as we can hardly suppose they could before have 
more doubted of the being of a God, than that there were 
men on earth,) this might collaterally, and besides its chief 
intention, be a means to confirm them concerning that also: 
but that it was necessary for that end, we have no pretence to 
imagine. The like may be said, concerning other miracles 
heretofore wrought, that the intent of them was to justify the 
divine authority of him who wrought them, to prove him sent 
by God, and so countenance the doctrine or message delivered 
by him. Not that they tended (otherwise than on the by) to 
prove God's existence : much less, was this so amazing an ap- 
pearance needful, or intended for that end ; and least of all, 
was it necessary that this should be God's ordinary way of 
making it known to men that he doth exist : so as that for 
vol. i. 2 c 


this purpose lie should often repeat so terrible representations 
of himself. And how inconvenient it were to mortal men, as 
well as unnecessary, the astonishment wherewith it possessed 
that people, is an evidence ; and their passionate affrighted 
wish, thereupon, " Let not God any more speak to us, lest we 
die." They apprehended it impossible for them to outlive 
such another sight ! 

And if that so amazing- an appearance of the Divine Majesty 
(sometime afforded) were not. necessary, 1 but some way, on the 
by, useful, for the confirming that people in the persuasion 
of God's existence, why may it not be useful also, for the 
same purpose even now, to us ? Is it that we think that can 
be less true now. which was so gtforiouslv evident to be true four 
thousand years ago ? Or is it that we can disbelieve or doubt 
the truth of the history ? What should be the ground or pre- 
tence of doubt ? If it were a fiction, it is manifest it was 
feigned by some person that had the use of his understanding, 
and was not beside himself, as the coherence and contexture 
of parts doth plainly shew. But would any man not beside 
himself, designing to gain credit to a forged report of a matter 
of fact, ever say there were six hundred thousand persons 
present at the doing of it ? Would it not rather be pretended 
that it was done in a corner ? Or is it imaginable it should never 
have met with contradiction ? That none of the pretended by- 
standers should disclaim the avouchment of it, and say they 
knew of no such matter ? Especially if it be considered that 
the laws said to be given at that time, chiefly those which were 
reported to have been written in the two tables, were not so 
favourable to vicious inclinations, nor that people so strict and 
scrupulous observers of them ; but that they would have been 
g-lad to have had any thing to pretend, against the authority 
of the legislature, if the case could have admitted it. When 
they discovered, in that and succeeding time, so violently 
prone and unretr-actable a propension to idolatry and other 
wickednesses, directly against the very letter of that law, how 
welcome and covetable a plea had it been, in their frequent, 
and, sometimes, almost universal apostasies, could they have 
had such a thing to pretend, that the law itself that curbed 
them was a cheat ! But we always find, that though they la- 
boured, in some of their degeneracies, and when they were 
lapsed into a more corrupted state, to render it more easy to 
themselves by favourable glosses and interpretations ; yet f 
evf n in the most corrupt, they never went about to deny or 
implead its divine original, whereof they were ever so religious 


assertors, as no people under heaven could be more ; and the 
awful apprehension whereof prevailed so far with them, as 
that care was taken (as is notoriously known) by those ap- 
pointed to that charge, that the very letters should be number- 
ed of the sacred writings, lest there should happen any the 
minutest alteration in them. Much more might be said, if it 
were needful, for the evincing the truth of this particular piece 
of history, : and it is little to be doubted but any man who, 
with sober and impartial reason, considers the circumstances 
relating to it ; the easily evidenceable antiquity of the records 
whereof this is a part. ; the certain nearness of the time of 
writing them, to the time when this thing is said to have been 
done ; the great reputation of the writer even among pagans ; 
the great multitude of the alleged witnesses and spectators ; the 
no-contradiction ever heard of; the universal consent and 
suffrage of that nation through all times to this day, even when 
their practice hath been most contrary to the laws then given ; 
the securely confident and unsuspicious reference of later 
pieces of sacred Scripture thereto, (even some parts of the New 
Testament,) as a most known and undoubted thing ; the long 
series and tract of time through which that people are said to 
have had extraordinary and sensible indications of the divine 
presence; {which, if it had been false, could not, in so long 
a time, but have been evicted of falsehood;) their miraculous 
and wonderful eduction out of Egypt, not denied by any, 
and more obscurely acknowledged by some heathen writers ; 
their conduct through the wilderness, and settlement in Ca- 
naan ; their constitution and form of polity; known for many 
ages to have been a theocracy ; their usual ways of consulting 
Ciod, upon all more important occasions : — whosoever, I say, 
shall soberly consider these tilings, (and many more might 
easily occur to such as would think fit to let their thoughts 
dwell awhile upon this subject,) will not only, from some of 
them, think it highly improbable, but from others of them, 
plainly impossible that the history of this appearance should 
have been acontrived piece of falsehood. Yea, and though, 
as was said, the view of such a thing with one's own eyes 
would make a more powerful impression upon our fancy, or 
imagination, yet, if we speak of rational evidence (which is 
quite another thing) of the truth of a matter of fact that were 
of this astonishing nature, I should think it were as much (at 
least if I were credibly told that so many hundred thousand 
persons saw it at once) as if I had been the single unaccom- 
panied spectator of it myself. Not to say that it were ap- 


parently, in some respect, much greater ; could we but obtain 
of ourselves to distinguish between the pleasing of our curiosi- 
ty, and the satisfying of our reason. So that, upon the whole, 
I see not why it may not be concluded, with the greatest con- 
fidence, that both the (supposed) existence of a Deity is pos- 
sible to be certainly known to men on earth, in some way that 
is suitable to their present state ; that there are no means fitter 
to be ordinary, than those we already have, and that more ex- 
traordinary, additional confirmations are partly, therefore, not 
necessary, and partly not wanting. 

Again, Secoi/dlj/, It may be further demanded, (as that 
which may both immediately serve our main purpose, and 
may also shew the reasonableness of what was last said,) Is it 
sufficiently evident to such subjects of some great prince as live 
remote from the royal residence, that there is such a one now 
ruling over them ? 

To say No, is to raze the foundation of civil government, 
and reduce it wholly to dome ^tical, by such a ruler as may 
ever be in present view. Which yet is upon such terms never 
possible to be preserved also. It is plain many do firmly 
enough believe that there is a king reigning over them, who 
not only never saw the king, but never heard any distinct ac- 
count of the splendour of his court, the pomp of his attend- 
ance, or, it may be, never saw the man that had seen the 
king. And is not all dutiful and loyal obedience wont to be 
challenged and paid of such, as well as his other subjects ? 
Or would it be thought a reasonable excuse of disloyalty, that 
any such persons should say they had never seen the king, or 
his court? Or a reasonable demand, as the condition of re- 
quired subjection, that the court be kept, sometime, in their 
village, that they might have the opportunity of beholding at 
least some of the insignia of regality, or more splendid ap- 
pearances of that majesty, which claims subjection from them? 
Much more would it be deemed unreasonable and insolent, 
that every subject should expect to sec the face of the prince 
every day, otherwise they will not obey, nor believe there is 
any such person. Whereas it hath been judged rather more 
expedient and serviceable to the continuing the veneration of 
majesty, (and in a monarchy of no mean reputation for wisdom 
and greatness,) that the prince did very rarely offer himself to 
the view of the people, Surely more ordinary and remote dis- 
coveries of an existing prince and rider over them, (the effects 
of his power, and the influences of his government,) will be 
reckoned sufficient, even as to many parts of his dominions 


that possibly through many succeeding generations never had 
any other. And yet how unspeakably less sensible, less im- 
mediate, less constant, less necessary, less numerous, are the 
effects and instances of regal human power and wisdom, than, 
of! he divine; which latter we behold which way soever we 
look, and feel in every thing we touch, or have any sense of, 
and may reflect upon in our very senses themselves, and in 
all tlie parts and powers that belong to us ; and so certainly, 
that if Ave would allow ourselves the liberty of serious thoughts, 
we might soon find it were utterly impossible such effects 
should ever have been without that only cause : that without 
its influence, it had never been possible that we could hear, or 
see, or speak, or think, or live, or be any thing, nor that 
any other thing could ever have been, when as the effects that 
serve so justly to endear and recommend to us civil govern- 
ment, (as peace, safety, order, quiet possession of our rights,) 
we cannot but, know, are not inseparably and incommunLcably 
appropriate, or to be attributed to the person of this or that 
particular and mortal governor, but may also proceed from 
another : yea and the same benefits may (for some short time 
at least) be continued Avifhout any such government at all. 
Nor is this intended merely as a rhetorical scheme of speech, 
to beguile or amuse the unwary reader : but, without arro- 
gating any thing, or attributing more to it, than that it is an 
altogether in-artificial and very defective, but true and naked 
representation of the very case itself as it is. It is professedly 
propounded, as having somewhat solidly argumentative in it. 
That is, that (whereas there is most confessedly sufficient, yet) 
there is unspeakably less evidence to most people in the world, 
under civil government ; that there actually is such a govern- 
ment existent over them ; and that they are under obligation 
to be subject to it ; than there is of the existence of a Deify, 
and the consequent reasonableness of religion. If therefore 
the ordinary effects and indications of the former be sufficient 
which have so contingent and uncertain a connexion with their 
causes, (while those which are more extraordinary are so ex- 
ceeding rare with the most,) why shall not the more cer. 
tain ordinary discoveries of the latter be judged sufficient 
though the most have not the immediate notice of any such 
extraordinary appearances as those are which have been before 
mentioned ? 

Moreover, Thirdly, I yet demand further, whether it may 
be thought possible for any one to have a full rational cer- 
tainty that another person is a reasonable creature, and hatli 


in him a rational soul, so as to judge he hath sufficient ground 
and obligation to converse with him, and carry towards him 
as a man? Without the supposition of this, the foundation of 
all human society and civil conversation is taken away. And 
•what evidence have we of it, whereunto that which we have of 
the being of God (as the foundation of religious and godly con- 
versation) will not at least be found equivalent. 

Will we say that mere human shape is enough to prove 
such a one a man ? A philosopher would deride us, as the 
Stagyrite's disciples are said to have done the Platonic man. 
But we will not be so nice. We acknowledge it is, if no 
circumstances concur (as sudden appearing, vanishing, trans- 
formation or the like) that plainly evince the contrary; so 
far as to infer upon us an obligation not to be rude and un- 
civil ; that we use no violence, nor carry ourselves abusively 
towards one that only thus appears a human creature. Yea, 
and to perform any duty of justice or charity towards him 
within our power, which Ave owe to a man as a man. As 
suppose we see him wronged or in necessity, and can presently 
right or relieve him ; though he do not or cannot represent 
to us more of his case than our own eyes inform us of. And 
should an act of murder be committed upon one whose true 
humanity was not otherwise evident, would not the offender be 
justly liable to the known and common punishment of that 
offence ? Nor could he acquit himself of transgressing the 
laws of humanity, if he should only neglect any seasonable 
act of justice or mercy towards him, whereof he beholds the 
present occasion. But if any one were disposed to cavil, or 
play the sophist, how much more might be said, even by 
infinite degrees, to oppose this single evidence of any one's true 
humanity, than ever was or can be brought against the entire 
concurrent evidence we have of the existence of God. It is, 
here, most manifestly just and equal, thus to state the case, 
and compare the whole evidence we have of the latter, with 
that one of the former ; inasmuch as that one alone is appa- 
rently enough to oblige us to carry towards such a one as a 
man. And if that alone be sufficient to oblige us to acts of 
justice or charity towards man, he is strangely blind that can- 
not see infinitely more to oblige him to acts of piety towards 

But if we would take a nearer and more strict view of this 
parallel, we would slate the general and more obvious aspect 
of this world on the one hand, and the external aspect and 
shape of a man on the other ; and should then see the former 


cloth evidence to us an in-dwelling* Deity diffused through the 
whole and actuating* every part with incomparably greater cer- 
tainty, than the latter doth, an in-dwelling reasonable soul. 
In which way we shall find what will aptly serve our present 
purpose, though wc are far from apprehending any such union 
of the blessed God with this world, as is between the soul and 
body of a man. It is manifestly possible to our understand- 
ings, that there may be, and (if any history or testimony of 
others be worthy to be believed) certain to experience and 
sense, that there often hath been, the appearance of human 
shape and of agreeable actions without a real man. But it is 
no way possible such a world as this should have ever been 
without God. That there is a world, proves that eternal Being 
to exist, whom we take to be God, (suppose we it as rude a 
heap as at first it was, or as we can suppose it,) as external 
appearance represents to us that creature which we take to be 
a man: but that as a certain infallible discovery, necessarily 
true ; this but as a probable and conjectural one, and (though 
highly probable) not impossible to be false. 

And if we will yet descend to a more particular inquiry into 
this matter, which way can we fully be ascertained that this 
supposed man is truly and really what he seems to be ? This 
we know not how to go about, without recollecting what is 
the differencing notion we have of a man ; that he is a reasonable, 
living creature, or a reasonable soul, inhabiting, and united with 
a body. And how do we think to descry that, here, which 
may answer this common notion we have of a man ? Have we 
any way besides that discovery which the acts and effects of 
reason do make of a rational or intelligent Being ? We will 
look more narrowly, that is, unto somewhat else than his ex- 
ternal appearance ; and observe the actions that proceed from 
a more distinguishing principle in him, that he reasons, dis- 
courses, doth business, pursues designs ; in short, he talks and 
acts as a reasonable creature : and hence we conclude him to 
be one, or to have a reasonable soul in him. 

And have we not the same way of procedure in the other 
case? Our first view or taking notice of a world full of life 
and motion, assures us of an eternal active Being, besides it, 
which we take to be God, having now before our eyes a darker 
shadow of him only, as the external bulk of the human body 
is only the shadow of a man. Which, when Ave behold it 
stirring and moving, assures us there is somewhat besides that 
grosser bulk, (that of itself could not so move,) which we take 
lo be the soul of a man. Yet, as a principle that can move 


the body makes not up the entire notion of this soul, so an eter- 
nal active being, that moves the matter of the universe, makes 
not up the lull notion of God. We are thus far sure in both 
cases, that is, of some mover distinct from what is moved. 
But we are not yet sure, by what we hitherto see, what the one 
or the other is. But as when we have upon the first sight 
thought it was a reasonable soul that was acting in the former; 
or a man, (if we will speak according to their sense who make 
the soul the mat),) in order to being sure, (as sure as the case 
can admit,) we have no other way, but to consider what be- 
longs more distinguish ingly to the notion of a man, or of a rea- 
sonable soul ; and observe how actions and effects, which we 
have opportunity to take notice of, do answer thereto, or serve 
to discover that. So when we would be sure what that eternal 
Relive Being is (which that, it is, we are already sure, and) 
which we have taken to be God, that, I say, we may be sure 
of that also, we have the same thing to do. That is, to con- 
sider what more peculiarly belongs to the entire notion of God, 
(and would even in the judgment of opposers be acknowledged 
to belong to it,) and see whether his works, more narrowly in- 
spected, do not bear as manifest correspondency to thai notion 
of God, as the works and actions of a man do to the notion we 
have of him. And certainly we cannot but tind they do cor- 
respond as much. And that, upon a serious and considerate 
view of the works and appearances of God in the world ; hav- 
ing diligently observed and pondered the vastness and beauty 
of this universe, the variety, the multitude, the order, the ex- 
quisite shapes and numerous parts, the admirable and useful 
composure, of particular creatures; and especially the consti- 
tution and powers of the reasonable soul of man itself; we can- 
not, surely, if we be not under the possession of a very volun- 
tary and obstinate blindness, and the power of a most vicious 
prejudice, but acknowledge the making, sustaining, and go- 
verning such a world, is as God-like, as worthy of God, and 
as much becoming him, according to the notion that hath been 
assigned of him, as at leastthe common actions of ordinary men, 
are of a man ; or evidence the doer of them to be a human 
creature. Yea, and with this advantageous difference, that 
the actions of a man do evidence a human creature more un- 
certainly, and so as it is possible the matter may be otherwise. 
But. these works of God do with so plain and demonstrative 
evidence discover him the Author of them, that it is altogether 
impossible they could ever otherwise have been doiie. 

Now therefore, if we have as clear evidence of a Deitv 3 as 


we can have, in a way not unsuitable to the nature and present 
state of man ; (and we can have in a suitable way, that which 
is sufficient;) if wc have clearer and more certain evidence of 
God's government over the world, than most men have or can 
have, of the existence of their secular rulers ; yea, more sure 
than that there are men on earth, and that thence (as far as the 
existence of God will make towards it) there is a less disputable 
ground for religious than for civil conversation ; we may reckon 
ourselves competently well ascertained, and have no longer 
reason to delay the dedication of a temple to him, upon any 
pretence of doubt, whether we have an object of worship exist- 
ing, yea or no. 

Wherefore we may also by the way take notice how im- 
pudent a thing is atheism, that by the same fulsome and poison- 
ous breath whereby it would blast religion, would despoil man 
of his reason and apprehensive power, even in reference to the 
most apprenhensible tiling: would blow away the rights of 
princes, and all foundations of policy and government, and 
destroy all civil commerce and conversation out of the world, 
and yet blushes not at the attempt of so foul things. 

VIII. And here it may perhaps prove worth our while 
(though it can be no pleasant contemplation) to pause a little, 
and make some short reflections upon the atheistical temper 
and genius, so as therein to remark some few more obvious 
characters of atheism itself. 

And such as have not been themselves seized by the infa- 
tuation, cannot but judge it, first, a most unreasonable thing, 
a perverse and cross-grained humour, that so oddly writhes 
and warps the mind of a man, as that it never makes any effort 
or offer at any thing against the Deity; but it therein doth 
(by a certain sort of serpentine involution and retortion) seem 
to design a quarrel with itself: that is, with (what one would 
think should be most intimate and natural to the mind of man) 
his very reasoning power, and the operations thereof. So near 
indeed was the ancient alliance between God and man, (his 
own Son, his likeness and living image,) and consequently be- 
tween reason and religion, that no man can ever be engaged 
in an opposition to God and his interest, but he must be equally 
so to himself and his own. And any one that takes notice how 
the business is carried by an atheist, must think, in order to 
his becoming one, his first plot was upon himself: to assassine 
his own intellectual faculty, by a sturdy resolution, and violent 
imposing on himself, not to consider, or use his thoughts, at 
least, with any indifferency, but with a treacherous pretfeter- 

vol. i. 2 E 


mi nation to the part resolved on before-hand. Otherwise, it 
is hard to be imagined how it should ever have been possible 
that so plain and evident proofs of a Deity as every where offer 
themselves unto observation, even such as have been here pro- 
posed, (that do even lie open, for the most part, to common 
apprehension, and needed little search to find them out ; so 
that it was harder to determine what not to say, than what to 
say,) could be over-looked. 

For what could be more easy and obvious, than taking notice 
that there is somewhat in being, to conclude that somewhat 
must be of itself, from whence whatever is not so, must have 
sprung ? That, since there is somewhat effected or made, (as 
is plain, in that some things are alterable, and daily altered, 
which nothing can be that is of itself, and therefore, a neces- 
sary being,) those effects have then had an active being for 
their cause ? That since these effects are partly such as bear 
the manifest characters of wisdom and design upon them, and 
are partly, themselves, wise and designing ; therefore they 
must have had a wisely active and designing cause ? So much 
would plainly conclude the sum of what we have been plead- 
ing for ; and what can be plainer or doth require a shorter 
turn of thoughts ? At this easy expense might any one that had 
a disposition to use his understanding to such a purpose, save 
himself from being an atheist. And where is the flaw ? What 
joint is not firm and strong in this little frame of discourse* 
which yet arrogates nothing to the contriver ; for there is no- 
thing in it worthy to be called contrivance : but things do them- 
selves lie thus. And what hath been further said concerning 
the perfection and oneness of this Cause of all things, (though 
somewhat more remote from common apprehension,) is what is 
likely would appear plain and natural to such as would allow 
themselves the leisure to look more narrowly into such things. 

Atheism therefore seems to import a direct and open hos- 
tility against the most native, genuine, and facile dictates of 
common reason. And being so manifest an enemy to it, we 
cannot suppose it should be at all befriended by it. For reason 
will be always true and constant to itself, whatsoever false 
shews of it a bad cause doth sometimes put on ; that having 
yet somewhat a more creditable name, and being of a little 
more reputation in the world, than plain downright madness 
and folly. And it will appear how little it is befriended, bjr 
any thing that can justly bear that name, if we consider the 
pitiful shifts the atheist makes for his forlorn cause ; and what 
infirm tottering supports the whole frame of atheism rests upon. 


For what is there to be said for their hypothesis, or against the 
existence of God, and the dnencss of religion ? For it, there 
is directly nothing at all. Only a possibility is alleg; d, things 
might be as they are, though God did not exist. Arid if this 
were barely possible, how little doth that signify? Where 
reason is not injuriously dealt with, it is permitted the liberty 
of balancing things equally, and of considering which scale 
hath most weight. And is he not perfectly blind, that sees not 
what violence is done to free reason in this matter ? Are there 
not thousands of things, not altogether impossible, which \<A 
he would be concluded altogether out of his wits, that should 
profess to be of the opinion they are, or were actually so ? And 
as to the present case, how facile and unexceptionable, how 
plain and intelligible, is the account that is giv r en of the original 
of this world, and the things contained in it, by resolving all 
into a Deity, the Author and Maker of them? AVhereas 
the wild, extravagant suppositions of atheists, if they were ad- 
mitted possible, are the most unlikely that could be devised. 
So that if there had been any to have laid wagers, when things 
were taking their beginning, there is nobody that would not 
have ventured thousands to one, that no such frame of things 
(no not so much as one single mouse or flea) would ever have 
hit. And how desperate hazards the atheist runs, upon this 
mere supposed possibility, it will be more in our way to take 
notice by and by. But besides, that pretended possibility 
plainly appears none at all. It is impossible any thing should 
spring up of itself out of nothing ; that any thing that is alter- 
able, should have been necessarily of itself, such as it now is ; 
that what is of itself unactive, should be the maker of other 
things ; that the Author of all the wisdom in the world, should 
be, himself, unwise. These cannot but be judged most ab- 
solute impossibilities, to such as do not violence to their own 
minds; or with whom reason can be allowed any the least ex- 
ercise. Wherefore the atheistical spirit is most grossly un- 
reasonable, in withholding assent, where the most ungainsay- 
able reason plainly exacts it. 

And are not the atheist's cavils as despicably silly against 
the Deity, and (consequently) religion? Whosoever shall 
consider their exceptions against some things in the notion of 
God, eternity, infinity, &c. which themselves, in the nieau 
lime, are forced to place elsewhere, will he not see they talk 
idly ? And as for such other impeachments of his wisdom, 
justice, and goodness, as they take their ground for, from- the 
state of affairs, in some respects, in this present world, (manj 


of which may be seen in Lucretius, and answered by Dr. More 
in his Dialogues,) how inconsiderable will they be, to any 
one that bethinks himself, with how perfect and generous a 
liberty this world was made, by one that needed it not; who 
had no design, nor could have inclination to a fond, self-in- 
dulgent, glorying and vaunting of his own work; who did it 
with the greatest facility, and by an easy, uncxpensive vouch- 
safement of his good pleasure; not with an operose curiosity, 
studious to approve itself to the peevish eye of every froward 
Momus, or to the nauseous, squeamish gust of every sensual 
Epicure. And (o such as shall not confine their mean thoughts 
to that V( ry clod or ball of earth on which they live ; which, 
as it is a very small part, may, for aught we knoAv, but be the 
worst Or most abject part of God's creation, which yet is full 
of his goodness, and hath most manifest prints of his other ex- 
cellencies besides, as hath been observed ; or that shall not 
look upon the present state of things as the eternal state, but 
upon this world only as an antichamber to another, which 
shall abide in most unexceptionable perfection for ever : — how 
fond and idle, I say, will all such cavils appear to one that shall 
but thus use his thoughts, and not think himself bound to mea- 
sure his conceptions of God, by the uncertain, rash dictates 
of men born in the dark, and that talk at random; nor shall 
affix any thing to him, which plain reason doth not dictate, or 
which he doth not manifestly assume, or challenge to himself. 
But that because a straw lies in my way, I would attempt to 
overturn heaven and earth, what raging frenzy is this ? 

.Again, it is, secondly, a base, abject temper, speaks a mind 
sunk and lost in carnality, and that having dethroned and ab- 
jured reason, hath abandoned itself to the hurry of vile appetite, 
and sold its liberty and sovereignty for the insipid, gustless 
pleasures of sense ; an unmanly thing — a degrading of one's 
self. For if there be no God, what am 1 ? A piece of moving, 
thinking clay, whose ill-compacted parts will shortly fly 
asunder, and leave no other remains of me than what shall be- 
come the prey and triumph of worms! 

It is, thirdly, a sad, mopish, disconsolate temper ; cuts off 
and quite banishes all manly, rational joy ; all that might 
spring from the contemplation of the divine excellencies and 
glory, shining in the works of his hands. Atheism clothes the 
world in black, draws a dark and duskish cloud over all things; 
doth more to damp and stifle all relishes of intellectual plea- 
sure, than it would of sensible, to extinguish the sun. What 
is this world (if we should suppose it still to subsist) without 


God ? How grateful an entertainment is it to a pious miud to 
behold his glory stamped on every creature, sparkling in every 
providence ; and by a firm and rational faith to believe (when 
Ave cannot see) how all events are conspiring to bring about the 
most happy and blissful state of things ? The atheist may 
make the most of this world ; he knows no pleasure, but what 
can be drawn out of its dry breasts, or found in its cold em- 
braces ; which yields as little satisfaction, as lie finds, whose 
arms, aiming to inclose a dear friend, do only clasp a stiff 
and clammy carcass. How uncomfortable a thing is it to him, 
that having neither power nor wit to order things to his own 
advantage or content, but finds himself liable to continual dis- 
appointments, and the rencounter of many an unsuspected, 
cross accident, hath none to repose on, that is wiser and 
mightier than himself? But when he finds he cannot com- 
mand his own affairs, to have the settled apprehension of an 
Almighty Ruler, that can with the greatest certainty do it for 
us the best way, and will, if we trust him — how satisfying and 
peaceful a repose doth this yield ? And how much the rather, 
inasmuch as that filial, unsuspicious confidence and trust, 
which naturally tends to and begets that calm and quiet rest, is 
the very condition required on my part ; and that the chief 
thing I have to do, to have my affairs brought to a good pass, 
is to commit them to his management ; and my only care, to 
be careful in nothing. The atheist hath nothing to mitigate 
the greatness of this loss, but that he knows not what he loses ; 
which is an allay that will serve but a little while. And when 
the most unsupportable, pressing miseries befal him, he must 
in bitter agonies groan out his wretched soul without hope, 
and sooner die under his burden, than say, Where is God my 
Maker ? At the best, he exchanges all the pleasure and com- 
posure of mind which certainly accompany a dutiful, son-like 
trust, submission, and resignation of ourselves, and all our 
concernments, to the disposal of fatherly wisdom and love, for 
a sour and sullen succumbency to an irresistible fate or hard 
necessity, against which he sees it is vain to contend. So 
that at the best he only not rages, but tastes nothing of con- 
solation ; whereof his spirit is as uncapable, as his desperate 
affairs are of redress. And if behave arrived to that measure 
of fortitude, as not to be much discomposed with the lighter 
crosses which he meets with in this short time of life, what a 
dreadful cross is it that he must die ! How dismal a thing is 
a certain, never to be avoided death! Against which as 
atheism hath not surely the advantage of religion in giving 


protection ; so it hath greatly the disadvantage, in affording 
no relief. What would the joy be worth in that hour, that 
arises from the hope of the glory to be revealed ? And is the 
want of that, the total sum of the atheist's misery at this hour? 
"What heart can conceive the horror of that one thought, if 
darted in upon him at that time, (as it is strange, and more 
sad, if it be not,) What becomes now of me, if there prove to 
be a God ? Where are my mighty demonstrations, upon which 
one may venture, and which may cut oft* all fear and danger 
of future calamity in this dark, unknown state I am going 
into ? Shall I be the nest hour nothing, or miserable ? Or if I 
had opportunity, shall I not have sufficient cause to proclaim, 
(as* once one of the same fraternity did, by way of warning 
to a surviving companion) — A great and a terrible God ! A 
great and a terrible God ! A great and a terrible God ! 

I only add, it is, fourthly, a most strangely mysterious and 
unaccountable temper ; such as is hardly reducible to its 
proper causes : so that it would puzzle any man's inquiry to 
find out or even give bid probable conjectures, how so odd 
and preternatural a disaffection as atheism should ever come to 
have place in a human mind. It must be concluded a very 
complicated disease, and yd, when our thoughts have fasten- 
ed upon several things that have an aspect that way, as none of 
them alone could infer it, so it is hard to imagine, how all of 
them together should ever come to deprave reasonable nature 
to such a degree. 

1. It is most astonishingly marvellous (though it is apparent 
this distemper hath its rise from an ill will) that any should so 
much as will that which the atheist hath obtained of himself to 
believe ; or affect to be, what he is. 

The commonness of this vile disposition of will, doth but 
sorrily shift off the wonder, and only with those slight and 
trilling minds that have resigned the office of judging things 
to their (more active) senses, and have learned the easy way of 
Avaving all inquiries about common things, or resolving the ac- 
count into this only, that they are to be seen every day. But 

* Which story I confidently refer to, being of late date, and having 
had a certain and circumstantial account of it, by one (a very sober and 
intelligent person) who had the relation from him to whom that dreadful 
warning was given, by his then lately deceased associate. But I shall 
not by a particular relation gratify the scorn of this sort of men, who, 
taking advantage from the (sometime deceived) credulity of well-mean- 
ing people, have but that way of answering all such things, by the one 
word which served once so learnedly to confute Bellarmine. 


if we allowed ourselves to consider this matter soberly, we 
should soon find, that howsoever it must plainly appear a 
very common plague upon the spirits of men (and universal 
till a cure be wrought) to say, by way of wish, No God, or 
I would there were none : yet, by the good leave of them who 
would thus easily excuse the thing, the commonness of this 
horrid evil doth so little diminish, that it increases the wonder. 
Things are more strange, as their causes are more hardly as- 
signable. What should the reason be, that a being of so in- 
comparable excellency, so amiable and alluring glory, purity, 
love, and goodness, is become undesirable and hateful to his 
own creatures ! that such creatures, his more immediate, 
peculiar offspring, stamped with his likeness, the so vivid 
resemblances of his own spiritual, immortal nature, are become 
so wickedly unnatural towards their common and most indul- 
gent parent ! what, to wish him dead ! to envy life and being, 
to him from whom they have received their own ! It is as 
.strange as it is without a cause. But they have offended him, 
are in a revolt, and sharply conscious of fearful demerits. 
And who would not wish to live, and to escape so unsupport- 
able revenge ? It is still strange we would ever offend such a 
one! Wherein were his laws unequal, his government grie- 
vous ? But since we have, this only is pertinent to be said by 
them that have no hope of forgiveness, that are left to despair of 
reconciliation — Why do we sort ourselves with devils ? We 
profess not to be such . 

Yea, but we have no hope to be forgiven the sin we do not 
leave, nor power to leave the sin which now we love. This, 
instead of lessening, makes the wonder a miracle. O wretched, 
forlorn creature ! Wouldest thou have God out of being for 
this ? (I speak to thee who dost not yet profess to believe there 
is no God, but dost only wish it.) The sustainer of the 
world ! the common basis of all being ! Dost thou know what 
thou sayest ? Art thou not wishing thyself and all things into 
nothing ? This, rather than humble thyself, and beg forgive- 
ness ! This, rather than become again a holy, pure, obe- 
dient creature, and again blessed in him, who first made 
thee so ! It can never cease, I say, to be a wonder, we 
never ought to cease wondering, that ever this befel the na- 
ture of man, to be prone to wish such a thing, that there were 
no God ! 

But this is, it is true, the too common case ; and if we will 
only have what is more a rarity go for a wonder, how amazing 
then is it, 


2. That if any man would, even never so fain, lie ever 
can make himself believe there is no God! and shape his 
horrid course according to that most horrid misbelief! By 
what fatal train of causes is this ever brought to pass ? Into 
what can we devise to resolve it ? 

Why such as have arrived to this pitch are much addicted 
to the pleasing of their senses ; and this they make their busi- 
ness ; so as that, for a long time, they have given themselves 
no leisure to mind objects of another nature ; especially that 
should anyway tend to disturb them in their easy course ; un- 
til they are gradually fallen into a forgetful sleep, and the 
images of things are worn out with them, that had only more 
slightly touched their minds before. And being much used to 
go by the suggestions of sense, they believe not what they nei- 
ther see nor feel; 

This is somewhat, but does not reach the mark ; for there 
are many very great sensualists, (as great as they at least,) 
w ho never arrive hither, but firmly avow it that they believe a 
Deity, whatsoever mistaken notion they have of him ; where- 
upon they imagine to themselves impunity in their vicious 

But these, it maybe said, have so disaccustomed themselves 
to the exercise of their reason, that they have no disposition 
to use their thoughts about any thing above the sphere of 
sense ; and have contracted so dull and sluggish a temper, 
that they are no fitter to mind or employ themselves in any 
speculations that tend to beget in them the knowledge of God, 
than any man is for discourse or business when he is fast 

So indeed, in reason, one would expect to find it; but the 
case is so much otherwise, when Ave consider particular in- 
stances, that we are the more perplexed and entangled in this 
inquiry, by considering how agreeable it is, that the matter 
should be thus ; and observing that it proves, oft-times, not 
to be so : insomuch that reason and experience seem herein 
not to agree, and hence we are put again upon new conjectures 
what the immediate cause of this strange malady should be. 
For did it proceed purely from a sluggish temper of mind, 
unapt to reasoning and discourse ; the more any were so, the 
more disposed they should be to atheism : whereas, every one 
knows that multitudes of persons of dull and slow minds, io 
any thing of ratiocination, would rather you should burn their 
houses, than tell them they did not believe in God ; and would 
presently tell you, it were pity he should live, that should but 


intimate a doubt whether there were a God or no. Yea, and 
many, somewhat more intelligent, yet in this matter are shy of 
using their reason, and think it unsafe, if not profane, to go 
about to prove that there is a God, lest they should move a 
doubt, or seem hereby to make a question of it. And in the 
mean time, while they offer not at reasoning, they more mean- 
ly supply that want, after a sorry fashion, from their educa- 
tion, the tradition of their fore-fathers, common example, and 
the universal profession and practice of some religion round 
about them ; and it may be only take the matter for granted, 
because they never heard such a thing was ever doubted of or 
called in question in all their lives. 

Whereas, on the other hand, they who incline to atheism 
are perhaps some of them the greatest pretenders to reason. 
They rely little upon authority of former times and ages, upon 
vulgar principles and maxims, but are vogued great masters 
of reason, diligent searchers into the mysteries of nature, and 
can philosophize (as sufficiently appears) beyond all imagina- 
tion. But it is hoped it may be truly said, for the vindication 
of philosophy and them that profess it, that modern atheists 
have little of that to gdorv in ; and that their chief endowments 
are only their skill to please their senses, and a faculty with a 
pitiful sort of drollery to tincture their cups, and add a grace 
to their otherwise dull and flat conversation. Yet all this 
howsoever being considered, there is here but little advance 
made to the finding out whence atheism should proceed. For, 
that want of reason should be thought the cause, what hath 
been already said seems to forbid. That many ignorant parsons 
seem possessed with a great awe of a Deity, from which divers, 
more knowing, have delivered themselves. And .yet neither 
doth the former signify any thing (in just intrepretation) to the 
disrepute of religion. For truth is not the less tne, for that 
some hold it they know not how or why. Nor doth the latter 
make to the reputation of atheism, inasmuch as men, other- 
wise rational, may sometimes learnedly dote. But it confirms 
us that atheism is a strange thing;, when its extraction and 
pedigree are so hardly found oat, and it seems to be directly of 
the lineage, neither of knowledge nor ignorance, neither sound 
reason nor perfect dotage. 

Nor doth it at all urge to say, And why may we not as well 
stand wondering, whence the apprehension of a God, and an 
addictcdncss to religion should come, when we find them pe- 
culiar neither to the more knowing nor the more ignorant ? 
vol. i. 2 f 


For they are apparently and congruously enough to be de- 
rived from somewhat common to them both — the impression 
of a Deity, universally put upon the minds of all men, (which 
atheists have made a shift to raze out, or obliterate to that 
degree, as to render it illegible,) and that cultivated by the 
exercise of reason, in some, and in others, less capable of that 
help, somewhat confirmed by education, and the other acces- 
saries mentioned above. 

S, Therefore is this matter still most mysteriously intricate, 
that there should be one temper and persuasion, agreeing to 
tzco so vastly different sorts of persons, while yet Ave are to 
seek for a cause (except what is most tremendous to think of) 
from whence it should proceed, that is common to them both. 
And here is, in short, the sum of the wonder, that any, not 
appearing very grossly unreasonable in other matters, (which 
cannot be denied even of some of the more sensual and lewder 
sort of atheists,) should, in so plain and important a case, be 
so, beyond all expression, absurd ; that they without scruple 
are pleased to think like other men in matters that concern and 
relate to common practice, and wherein they might more 
colourably, and with less hazard, go out of the common road; 
and are here only so dangerously and madly extravagant. 
Their's is therefore the dementia quoad hoe, a particular mad- 
ness ; so much the stranger thing, because they whom it 
possesses do only in this one case put off themselves, and are 
like themselves and other men in all things else. If they 
reckoned it a glory to be singular, they might (as hath been 
plainly shewn) more plausibly profess it as a principle, that 
they are not bound to believe the existence of any secular ru- 
ler (and consequently not be subject to any) longer than they 
sec him, and so subvert all policy and government ; or pre- 
tend an exemption from all obligation to any act of justice, or 
to forbear the most injurious violence towards any man, because 
they are not infallibly certain any one they see is a human 
wight, and so abjure all morality, as they already have so 
great a part ; than offer with so fearful hazard to assault the 
Deity, (of whose existence, if they would but think a while, 
they might be most infallibly assured,) or go about to subvert 
the foundations of religion. Or, if they would get themselves 
glory bv great adventures, or show themselves brave men by 
expressing a fearless contempt of divine power and justice; 
this fortitude is not human. These are without the compass of 
its object ; as inundations, earthquakes, &e., are -said to be. 


unto which, that any one should fearlessly expose himself, 
can bring no profit to others, nor therefore glory to him. 

In all this harangue of discourse, the design hath not been to 
fix upon any true cause of atheism, but to represent it a strange 
thing ; and an atheist, a prodigy, a monster, amongst man- 
kind ; a dreadful spectacle, forsaken of the common aids af- 
forded to other men ; hung up in chains to warn others, and 
let them see what a horrid creature man may make himself by 
voluntary aversion from God that made him. 

In the mean time, they upon whom this dreadful plague is 
not fallen, may plainly see before them the object of that wor- 
ship which is imported by a temple — an existing Deity, a God 
to be worshipped. Unto whom we shall yet see further rea- 
son to design and consecrate a temple for that end, and even 
ourselves to become such, when we have considered what 
comes next to be spoken of: his cowcersableness xcith men. 


I. The subject of the second chapter continued; wherein is inquired, 
SECONDLY, What is intended by Cod's conversableness with men, 
considered only as fundamental and presupposed to a temple. II. An 
account of the Epicurean Deity. 1. Its existence impossible any way 
to be proved, if it did exist. 2. Nor can be affirmed to any good in- 
tent. 3. That such a being is not God. 4. That it belongs to the true 
notion of Cod, that he is such as can converse with men. III. That 
the absolute perfection proved of God represents him a fit object of 
religion. From thence more particularly deduced to this purpose, 
First, His omnisciency. Secondly, Omnipotency. Thirdly, Unlimited 
goodness. Fourthly, Immensity. 1V T . Curcelkeus's arguments against 
this last (his immensity) considered, 

I- "TVT^^ * s * ne thing here intended less necessary to atem- 
i.^1 pie and religion than what Ave have hitherto been dis- 
coursing of. For such a sort of Deity as should shut up itself, 
and be reclused from all converse with men, would leave us 
as disfurnished of an object of religion, and would render a 
temple on earth as vain a thing, as if there were none at all. 
It were a being not to be worshipped, nor with any propriety 
to be called God, more (in some respect less) than an image 


or statue. We might with as rational design worship for a 
God what were scarce worthy to be called the shadow of a man, 
as dedicate temples to a wholly unconversable Deity. That is, 
to such a one as not only rvill not vouchsafe to converse with 
men, but that cannot admit, it ; or whose nature were altogether 
incapable of such converse, 

SECONDLY, We arc therefore to inquire what is intended 
by God's conversableness with men ? For that measure and 
latitude of sense must be allowed unto the expression, as that 
it signifies both capachVy and propension to such converse : 
that God is both by his nature capable of it, and hath a gra- 
cious inclination of will thereunto. Yea and we will add, 
(what is also not without the compass of our present theme nor 
the import of this word whereby we generally express it,) that 
he is not only inclined to converse with men, but that he ac- 
tually doth it. As we call him a conversable person that upon; 
all befitting occasions doth freely converse with such as have 
any concern with him. It will indeed be necessary to distin-» 
guish God's converse with men, into that which he hath in 
common with all men, so as to sustain them in their beings, 
and some way influence their actions ; (in which kind he is also 
conversant with all his creatures ;) and that which he more 
peculiarly hath with good men. 

And though the consideration of the latter of these will be- 
long to the discourse concerning his temple itself which he 
hath with and in them ; yet it is the former only we have now 
to consider as presupposed thereto, and as the ground thereof; 
together with his gracious propension to the latter also. 

As the great Apostle, in his discourse at Athens, lays the 
same ground for acquaintance with God (which he intimates 
should be set afoot and continued in another sort of temple 
than is made with hands) that he hath given to all breath and 
being and all things, and that he is near and ready, (whence 
they should therefore seek him, if haply they might feel after 
him, and find him out,) in order to further converse. And 
here, our business will have the less in it of labour and diffi- 
culty ; for that we shall have little else to do, besides only the 
applying of principles already asserted (or possibly the more 
express adding of some or other that were implied in what hath 
been said) to this purpose. From which principles it will ap- 
pear, that he not only can, but that in the former sense h« 
doth converse with men, and is graciously inclined thereto 
in the fatter. And yet because the former is more deeply fvn. 


damental, as whereon all depends, and that the act of it is 
not denied for any other reason than an imagined impossibility ; 
that is, it is not said he doth not sustain and govern the world 
upon any other pretence, but that he cannot, as being incon- 
sistent with his nature and felicity. This we shall therefore 
more directlv apply ourselves to evince, That his nature doth 
not disallow it, but necessarily includes an aptitude thereto. 

Nor yet, though it may be a less laborious work than the 
former that we have dispatched, is it altogether needless to 
deal somewhat more expressly in this matter ; inasmuch as 
what opposition hath been made to religion in the world, hath 
for the most part been more expressly directed against this 
ground of it. I say more expressly ; for indeed by plain and 
manifest consequence it impugns that also of God's existence : 
that is, through this it strikes at the other. For surely (how- 
soever any may arbitrarily, and with what impropriety and 
latitude of speech they please, bestow titles and eulogies here 
or there) that being is not God, that cannot converse with 
men, supposing them such as what purely and peculiarly be- 
longs to the nature of man would bespeak them. So that they 
who have imagined such a being, and been pleased to call it 
God, have at once said and unsaid the same thing. That Deity 
was but a creature, and that only of their own fancy ; and 
they have by the same breatli blown up and blasted their own 
bubble, made it seem something and signify nothing : have 
courted it into being, and rioted it again quite out of it. In 
their conceit, created it a God, in their practice, a mere nul- 
lity. And it equally served their turn and as much favoured 
the design of being wicked, to acknowledge only a God they 
could imagine and dis-imagine at their own pleasure, as to 
have acknowledged none at all. It could do no prejudice to 
their affairs to admit of this fictitious Deity that they could 
make be what, or where they pleased ; that should affect ease 
and pleasure, and (lest his pleasures and theirs should inter- 
fere) that they could confine to remote territories, and oblige 
to keep at an obedient and untroublesome distance. Nor,, 
though no imagination could be more madly extravagant than 
that of a God no way concerned in the forming and governing 
of the world ; and notwithstanding whom, men might take 
their liberty to do what they listed ; yet (as hath been observ- 
ed long ago, that no opinion was ever so monstrously absurd, 
as not to be owned by some of the philosophers) hath not this 
wanted patronage, and even among them who have obtained 
to be esteemed (not to say idolized) under that name. Which 


would be seen, if it were worth the while to trouble the reader 
with an account of the Epicurean Deity. 

II. This can be done only with this design, that the repre- 
sentation may render it (as it cannot but do) ridiculous to sober 
men ; and discover to the rest, the vanity of their groundless 
and self-contradicting hope, (si ill too much fostered in the 
breasts of not a few,) who promise themselves impunity in the 
most licentious course of wickedness, upon the security only 
of this their own idle dream. That is, that if there be a God, 
(which they reckon it not so plausible flatly to deny,) he is a 
being of either so dull and phlegmatic a temper that he cannot 
be concerned in the actions and affairs of men, or so soft and 
easy that he will not. But because his good will alone was 
not so safely to be relied on, it was thought the securer way 
not to let it be in his power to intermeddle with their concern- 
ments. And therefore being to frame their own God, to their 
own turn, the matter was of old contrived thus. 

Great care was taken, First, That he be set at a distance 
remote enough ; that he be complimented out of this world, as 
a place too mean for his reception, and unworthy such a pre- 
sence ; they being indeed unconcerned where he had his resi- 
dence, so it were not too near them. So that a confinement of 
him somewhere, was thought altogether necessary. * 

And then, Secondly, With the same pretence of great ob- 
servance and respect, it is judged too great a trouble to him, 
and inconsistent with the felicity of his nature and being, that 
he should have given himself any diversion or disturbance, by 
making the world ; from the care and labour whereof he is 
with all ceremony to be excused, it being too painful and 
laborious an undertaking for an immortal and a happy being. 
Besides that he was altogether destitute of instruments and uten- 
sils requisite to so great a performance, t 

* Ac designate quidem non licet quibus in locis Dii degant. Cum ne 
poster quid em hie mundus, digna sit iljorum sedes — It is unlawful to as- 
sign any places as habitations of the gods; since this world itself is un- 
worthy of being their residence. Phil. Epiciif. Sj/tifag. 

j" — n Si<« tyvtris tsqos ftxvrx [/.rioxijJn in^a-xyiy^u, i>.Xx a.\siTupyrir&> 
otetrngnerStot, xxi h ry Trxarj j,'.xy.xfioTvrt — The divine nature must not 
he applied to these [inferior] objects, but must be preserved free from all 
occupation, and in perfect happiness. Lacrl/us, I. 10. 

Qua- moliti->, quas ferramenta, qui vectes, qua; machinae, qui minisfri 
fanti muncri' fuerunt — What toil, what immense machinery, what at- 
tendants, must such a task have required ! Veil, apud Cictr. tit natura 


Whence also, Thirdly, He was with the same reason to be 
excused of all the care and encumbrance of government ; * as 
indeed, what right or pretence could lie have to the govern- 
ment of a world that chose him not, which is not his inherit- 
ance, and which he never made ? But all is very plausibly 

* Nihil beatius, nihil omnino bonis omnibus affluentius excogitari po- 
test. Nihil enim agit, nullis occupationibus est implicatus, &c. — Nothing 
can be imagined more happy, nothing more abundant in all possible 
kinds of enjoyment: for he does nothing, he is involved in no concerns, 
&C. Id. "Otoui, tt/v Sfiasv tyicrtv f*w Xsnrv^yiuv duoXvtiHjiv — 1 hey destroy 
the divine nature, when they fail to represent it as ceasing from every 
kind of work. Laert.ibid. Itaque imposuistis cervicibis nostris sempi- 
ternum dominum, quern, dies & noctes, timeremus. Quis enim non 
timeat omnia providentem, & cogitantem, & animadvertentem, & om- 
nia ad se pertinere putantem, curiosum & plenum negotii Deum — So vuu 
have imposed on our necks a perpetual master, whom we should dread 
day and night! For who would not dread a God of universal foresight, 
and thought, and judgment, a God who claimed a right to all things, a 
God of attention and full of concerns ? Veil, ubi supra. Humana ante 
oculos foede cum vita jacere. In terris oppmsa gravi sub religionePrjaaua 
Graius homo mortalis — 

Not thus mankind. Them long the tyrant power 
Of superstition swayed, Uplifting proud 
Her head to heaven, and with horrific limbs 
Brooding o'er earth; till he, the man of Greece, 
Auspicious rose. Good's Transl. 

{meaning Epicurus, the first champion of irreligion.) Lucret. To vhich 
purpose besides -what ive have in Letert. To /j.xxcicfioy y.xi afS*£Toy, Sre xvrl 
•KgocyfAZTa. tyti, hts a.\\w ntos-^tyti iff oun ogyits, ovrs ya.^iat crvv'iytlzf |» 
i.'jSvjc'i yap TiS.t to to/«W — The blessed and immortal being hath no af- 
fairs to mind, nor attends to any thing so as to be affected by passions 
either painful or agreeable : for every such affection is an attiibute of 
weakness. /. 10. Much more is collected in the Synlagm. Nam & 
prsestans Deorum natura hominum pietate coleretur, cum sterna esset & 
beatissima. Mabet enim venerationem justam quicquid excdlit. Et me- 
tusomni,;, a vi atque ira Deorum pulsus esset. Intelligitur enim a beata 
immortalique natura, & iram & gratiam segregari. Quibus remotis, 
nullos a superis impendere metus, Sec. — The supreme divine nature 
should be served by the homage of men, since it is eternal and infinitely 
happy. For all excellence is entitled to respect. All fear from the power 
and anger of the gods should be banished ; for it is the attribute of the 
blessed and immortal nature to be infinitely remote from the passions of 
wrath or kindness; which being excluded from our consideration, no 
dread need be entertained of the gods, Src. Sect. 1. cap. 3. An & mun- 
dum. fecit, & in mundo homines ut ab hominibus coieretur ? At quid 
Deo cultus hominum confert, beato, &: nulla re indigenti — Did lie create 
the world, and yet is he to be served in the world, as men are by their 
Billow-men ? But what advantage could ti.e services of men confer on 
God, a being happy in himself and incapable of having any need ? Sect, 2. 
cap. 3. . 


shadowed over with a great appearance of reverence and ve- 
neration, with magnificent elogies of his never-interrupted fe- 
licity ; whence also it is made a very great crime not to free 
even the divine nature itself from business : though yet the 
true ground and root of this Epicurean faith doth sometime 
more apparently discover itself, even an impatiency of the di- 
vine government, and a regret of that irksome bondage which 
the acknowledgment of a Deity, that were to be feared by men, 
would infer upon them. 

And therefore, Fourthly, He is further expressly asserted to 
be such as need not be feared, as cares not to be worshipped, as 
with whom neither anger nor favour hath any place. So that 
nothing more of duty is owing to him than a certain kind of 
arbitrary veneration, which we give to any thing or person 
that we apprehend to excel us, and to be in some respect 
better than ourselves : an observance merely upon courtesy. 
But obedience and subjection to his government, fear of his 
displeasure, expectation of his favour and benefits, have no 
place left them. We are not obliged to worship him as one 
with whom we have any concern, and do owe him no more 
homage than we have to the Great Mogul, or the Cham of 
Tartary, and indeed are less liable to his severity, or capable 
of his favours, than theirs ; for of theirs, we are in some re- 
mote possibility, of his, in none at all. In one word, allcon- 
verse between him and man, on his part by providence, and 
on ours by religion, is quite cut off. Which evidently ap- 
pears (from what hath been already collected out of his own 
words, and theirs who pretended to speak that so admired au- 
thor's mind and sense) to be the scope and sum of the Epi- 
curean doctrine, in this matter ; and was indeed observed to 
be so long ago, by one that we may suppose to have had bet- 
ter opportunity and advantages to know it, than we : who, 
discoursing that a man cannot live pleasantly, according to 
the principles of Epicurus ; and that according to his doctrine 
beasts are more happy than men ; plainly gives this reason * 

* Kxt to; u fjt.iv !v Trj ttfoXv^ii th Jin Trjy CT£ovo;«y airiXtroy , styxitcwrb 
«» lAn'iai ^fr^xTs irXiov ivovTis o; <£>fd»</xo; to>v Zripiwv vspQh to vpius (r» J 
lirsi os TtX(ak r.v rn mpi §iuv \oyn, to [a* tpofitiaZxi Siov, xXXx tsxvuxaZxi 
•nqxrlo^hdi, fisffxioTtgo* cu(Axt tSto, &c. — And truly, as they have left out 
providence from their conception of the deity, do intellectual beings 
possess any better hopes of happiness than the beasts ? Since their oliject, 
in their doctrine about the gods, was to exclude (iod as an object of fear, 
and to allay the terrors of men's minds, I deem this a very forcible argu- 
ment against them. PluL 


why lie says so, namely, that the Epicureans took away provi- 
dence, and that the design of their discoursing concerning God 
was, that we might not fear him. 

Unto which purpose also much more may be seen in the 
same author elsewhere, when he more directly pleads (among 
divers more philosophical subjects) on behalf of religion 
against the Epicurean doctrine, which he saith * they leave to us 
in word and shew, but by their principles take away indeed, as 
they do nature and the soul, &c. 

It is then out of question, that the doctrine of Epicurus ut- 
terly takes away all intercourse between God and man. Which 
yet were little worth our notice or consideration, nor would 
it answer any valuable end or purpose to revive the mention 
of such horrid opinions, or tell the world what such a one 
said or thought two thousand years ago ; if their grave had 
been faithful to its trust, and had retained their filthy poisonous 
savour within its own unhallowed cell. 

But since ("against what were so much to have been desired, 
that their womb might have been their grave) their grave becomes 
their womb, where they are conceived, and formed anew, and 
whence by a second birth they spring forth afresh, to the great 
annoyance of the world, the debauching and endangering of 
mankind ; and that it is necessary some remedy be endeavoured 
of so mortal an evil, it was also convenient to run it up to its 
original, and contend against it as in its primitive state and 

Wherefore this being a true (though it be a very short) ac- 
count of the Epicurean god, resulting all into this shorter sum, 

Adversus Colotem. n£$ ovv otito^.tlirtiiTt (pitriv kocl -^vyr,)/ xxi £wov ; us 
ofxoy, us Iv%vh, us Zvanxv, us •GJgoaxwwv, pv^xn xctt Xoyv, axi t» (baiiou xx: 
'Esgotj'rtoieivii&i xxi owjj.x(eiv , a. txis cc^yxis xxi toTs ooyuoariv avxipxtrtv— 
How do they apparently admit nature and the soul and a living essence 1 
As they admit of oaths, prayers, sacrifices, and acts of worship; in word 
and pretence, in simulation and profession, while they destroy them by 
their principles and doctrines. To which purpose is that also in Tully, 
At etiam de sanctitate, de pietate adversus Deos libros scripsit Epicurus. 
At quomodo in his loquitur? ut Coruncanium aut ScEevoIam Pontifices 
maximos te audire dicas non eum, qui subtulerit omnem funditus reli- 
gionem: Nee manibus ut Xerxes, sed rationibus Templa Deorum & aras 
everterit — Yet Epicurus even wrote books on sanctity and on piety to the 
gods. But how does he speak in them ? So that you might suppose you 
were listening to the pontifices maximi Coruncanius or Scaevola. He 
would destroy the temples and altars of the gods, not by violence, like 
Xerxes, but by arguments. Dc natura Deorum, 
vol.i. 2g 

226 T1IF. LIVING TF..V.PL1!. I'ART T» 

That lie is altogether unconversable with men, (and such there* 
fore as cannot inhabit their temple, and for whom they can 
have no obligation or rational design to provide any,) it will 
be requisite in reference hereto, and suitable to our present. 
scope and purpose, severally to evince these things : — That 
the existence of such a being as this were impossible ever to 
be proved unto men, if it did exist— That being supposed 
without any good ground, it is equally unimaginable that the 
supposition of it can intend any valuable or good end — That 
this supposed being cannot be God, and is most abusively so 
called ; as hereby, the true God, the Cause and Author of all 
things, is intended to be excluded — That it belongs to, and 
may be deduced from, the true notion of God which hath 
been given, (and proved by parts of a really existent Being,) that 
he is such as can converse with men. 

1. That there is noway to prove the existence of such a be- 
ing, is evident. For what ways of proving it can be thought of, 
which the supposition itself doth not forbid and reject ? Is it 
to be proved by revelation ? But that supposes converse with 
men, and destroys what it should prove, that such a being, 
having no converse with men, doth exist. And where is that 
revelation ? Is it written or unwritten ; or who are its vouch- 
ers ? Upon what authority doth it rest? Who was appointed 
to inform the world in this matter ? Was Epicurus himself the 
common oracle ? W hy did he never tell men so ? Did he 
ever pretend to have seen any of these his vogucd gods ? No, 
they are confessed not to be liable to our sense, any more than 
the inane itself. And what miracles did he ever work to con- 
firm the truth of his doctrine in this matter ? Which sure was 
reasonably to be expected from one who would gain credit to 
dictates so contrary to the common sentiments of the rest of 
mankind, and that were not. to be proved any other way. And 
what other way can be devised ? Can it admit of rational de- 
monstration ? What shall be the medium ? Shall it be from 
the cause ? But what cause can (or ever did) he or his fol- 
lowers assign of God ? Or from elfects ? And what shall they 
be, when the matter of the whole universe i-s supposed ever 
to have been of itself, and the particular frame of every thing 
made thereof, to have resulted only of the casual coalition of 
tjtte parts of that matier, and no real being is supposed besides ? 
Or shall it be that their idea, which they have of God, includes 
existence, as so belonging to him that he cannot but exist ? 
But by what right do they allix such an idea to their petile 

C1TAP. VI. Till', LTVIYG TEMPT K. '> -7 

and fictitious deities ? How will they prove their Idea true ? 
Or arc we bound <o take their words for it ? Yea it is easily 
proved false, and repugnant to itself, while they would have 
dial to be necessarily existent (as they must if they will have 
it existent at all) unto which, in the mean time, they deny the 
other perfections which necessary existence hath been proved 
to include. But how vain and idle trifling is it, arbitrarily 
and by a random fancy to imagine any thins: what we please, 
and attributing of our own special grace and favour neces- 
sary existence to it, thence to conclude that it doth exist, only 
because we have been pleased to make that belong to the no- 
tion of it? What so odd and uncouth composition can we 
form any conception of, which wc may not make exist, at this 
rate ? 

But the notion of God is not arbitrary, but is natural, pro- 
leptical, and common to men, impressed upon the minds of 
all : whence they say it ought not to be drawn into contro- 
versy. What ! the Epicurean notion of him 2 We shall 
inquire further into that anon. .And in the mean time need not 
doubt to say, any man might with as good pretence imagine 
the ridiculous sort of gods described in Cicero's ironical sup- 
position,* and affirm them to exist, as they those they have 
thought tit to feign, and would impose upon the belief of 
men. And when they have fancied these to exist, is not that 
ay mighty proof that they indeed do so ? But that which for 
the present we allege, is, that supposing their notion were ever 
so absolutely universal, and agreeing with the common senti- 
ments of all other men, they have yet precluded themselves of 
any right to argue, from its commonness, to the existence of 
the thing itself. Nor can t]\cy upon their principles form 
an argument thence, that shall conclude or signify any thing 
to this purpose. None can be drawn hence, that will con- 
clude immediately and itself reach the mark, witliout the ad- 
dition of some further thing, which so ill sorts with the rest of 
their doctrine, that it would subvert the whole frame. That 
is, it follows not, that because men generally hold that there 
is a God, that therefore there is one ; otherwise than as that 
consequence can be justified by this plain and irrefragable 
proof — That no reason can be devised of so general an agree- 
ment, or of that so common an impression upon the minds of 

* Deos, Strabones, paetulos, naevum hnbentes, silos, flaccos, frontone*, 
capitones— Gods deformed, looking asquint, Hat-nosed, flap-eared, beetle- 
browed, jolt-headed. De Xa(ura Deoryw, I. 1. 


men, but this only ; that it must have proceeded from one 
common cause, namely, God himself; who having made man 
so prime a part of his creation, hath stamped with his own 
signature this nobler piece of his workmanship, and purposely 
made and framed him to the acknowledgment and adoration of 
his Maker. 

But how shall they argue so, who, while they acknowledge 
a God, deny man to be his creature, and will have him and 
all things to be by chance, or without dependence on any 
Maker ? What can an impression infer to this purpose, that 
comes no one can tell whence or how ; but is plainly denied 
to be from him,, whose being they would argue from it ? 

The observation of so common an apprehension in the minds 
of men, might (upon their supposition) beget much wonder, 
but no knowledge ; and may perplex men much, how such a 
thing should come to pass, without making them any thing the 
wiser ; and would infer astonishment, sooner than a good con- 
clusion, or than it would solidly prove any important truth. 
And do they think they have salved the business, and given us 
a satisfying account of this matter, by telling us, This impres- 
sion is from nature, as they speak ? It were to be wished some 
of them had told us, or could yet tell us, what they meant by 
nature. Is it an}' intelligent principle, or was it guided by 
any such ? If yea, whence came this impression, but from 
God himself? For surely an intelligent Being, that could 
have this universal influence upon the minds of all men, is 
much more likely to be God than the imaginary entities they 
talk of, that are bodies, and no bodies ; have blood, and no 
blood ; members, and no members ; are somewhere, and no- 
where ; or if they be any where, are confined to some certain 
places remote enough from our world ; with the affairs where- 
of, or any other, they cannot any way concern themselves, 
without quite undoing and spoiling their felicity. If they say 
No, and that nature, which puts this stamp upon the minds of 
men, is an utterly unintelligent thing, nor was ever governed 
by any thingwiser than itself- — strange ! that blind and undesign- 
ing nature should, without being prompted, become thus igno- 
yantlyoffjcious to these idle, voluptuary godlings ; and should so 
effectually take course they might be known to the world, who 
no way ever obliged if, nor were ever like to do ! But to re- 
gress a little, fain I would know what is this thing they call na- 
ture ? Is it any thing else than the course and inclination of 
conspiring atoms, which singly are not pretended to bear any 
s>uch impression ; but as they luckily club and hit together. 


in the composition of a human soul, by the merest and strangest 
chance that ever happened ? But would Ave ever regard what 
they say whom we believe to speak by chance ? Were it to be 
supposed that characters and words serving to make up some 
proposition or other, were by some strange agitation of wind 
and waves impressed and figured on the sand ; would we, if 
we really believed the matter came to pass only by such an odd 
casualty, think that proposition any whit the truer for being 
there, or take this for a demonstration of its truth, anymore 
than if we had seen it in a ballad ? Because men have casually 
come to think so, therefore there are such beings, (to be called 
gods,) between whom and them there never was or shall be any 
intercourse or mutual concern. It follows as well, as that 
because the staff stands in the corner, the morrow will be a 
rainy day. The dictates of nature are indeed most regardable 
things taken as expressions of his mind, or emanations from 
him, who is the Author and God of nature : but abstracted 
from him, they are and signify as much as a beam cut off from 
the body of the sun ; or a person that pretends himself an am- 
bassador, without credentials. 

Indeed, (as is imported in the words noted from that grave. 
Pagan (Plutarch) a little before,) the principles of these men 
destroy quite nature itself, as well as every thing of relio-ion ; 
and leave us the names and shew of them, but take away the 
things themselves. In sum, though there be no such impres- 
sion upon the minds of men as that which they talk of, yet 
if there were, no such thing can be inferred from it, as 
they would infer ; their principles taking away all con- 
nexion between the argument, and what thoy would argue 
by it. 

2. We have also too much reason to add, That as the sup- 
position of such a being, or sort of beings, can have no suf- 
ficient ground ; so it is equally unconceivable that it can be 
intended for any good end. Not that we think the last asser- 
tion a sufficient sole proof of this ; for we easily acknowledge, 
that it is possible enough men may harmlessly and with inno- 
cent intentions attempt the building very weighty and import- 
ant truths upon weak and insufficient foundations ; hoping they 
have offered that as a support unto truth, which proves only a 
useless cumber. Nor were it just to impute treachery, where 
there is ground for the more charitable censure, that the mis- 
adventure proceeded only from want of judgment and short- 
ness of discourse. But it is neither needful nor seemly, that 
the charity which can willingly wink in some cases, should 


therefore be quite blind ; or that no difference should be made, 
of well-meant mistakes, and mischief thinly hid and covered 
over with specious pretences. And let it be soberly consider- 
ed, what can the design be, after the cashiering of all solid 
grounds for the proving of a Deity, at, length to acknowledge 
it upon none at all ? As if their acknowledgment must owe 
itself not to thHr reason, but their courtesy. And when they 
have, done what they can to make the rest of men believe they 
have no need to own a?iy God at all, and they can tell how all 
that concerns the making and governing the world may well 
enough Ix; dispatched without any, yet at last they will be 
so generous as to be content there shall be one, however. 
What, 1 say, Can the design of this be, that they who have 
contended with all imaginable obstinacy against the most plain 
and convincing evidences, that do even defy cavil ; have quite 
fought themselves blind, and lost their eyes in the encounter ; 
yo that i\\ey are ready to swear the sun is a clod of dirt, and 
noon-day light is to them the very blackness of darkness ? 
They cannot see a Deity encircling them with the brightest 
beams, and shining upon them With the most conspicuous 
glory through every thing that occurs, and all things that en- 
compass them on every side. And yet when all is done, and 
their thunder-struck eyes make them fancy they have put our 
the sun : they have won tin 1 day, have cleared the held, and 
are absolute victors ; they have vanquished the whole power 
of their most dreaded enemy, the light thai reveals God in his 
works — after all this, without any inducement at all, and hav- 
ing triumphed over every thing that looked like an argument 
to prove it, they vouchsafe to say however, of their own ac- 
cord, There is a God. Surely if this have any design at all, 
it must be a very bad one. And see whither it tends. They 
have now a God of their own making ; and all the being he 
hath, depends upon their grace and favour. They are not his 
creatures, but he is (heir's : a precarious Deity, that shall be 
as long, and what, and where, they please to have him. And 
if he displease them, they can think him back into nothing. 
Here seems the depth of the design. For see with what cau- 
tions and limitations ihey admit him into being. There shall 
be a God, provided he be not meddlesome, nor concern him- 
self in their affairs to the crossing of any inclinations or hu- 
mours which they are pleased shall command and govern their 
lives; being conscious that if* they admit of any at all that 
shall have to do with their concernments, he cannot but be 
such as the ways they resolve on will displease. Their very 

CKAP. VI. Til P." I. IYIXC TEMPI. H. 2"1 

shame will not permit them lo call that God, which if he take 
any cognizance at.all of their contSe will not dislike it. Ami 
herein that they may be the more secure, they judge it the most 
jprudent course, not to allow him any part or interest in the affairs 
of the world at all. 

Yet all this while they court him at a great rate, and all re- 
ligion is taken away under pretence of great piety: worship 
they believe he cares not for, because lie is full and needs 
nothing. In this world he must not be, for it is a place 
unworthy of him. He must have had no hand in framing, 
nor can they think it fit he should have any in the government 
of it. For it would be a great disturbance to him, and inter- 
rupt his pleasures. The same thing as if certain licentious 
courtiers, impatient of being governed, should address them- 
selves to their prince in such a form of speech, that it is beneath 
him to receive any homage from them, it would too much de- 
base majesty ; that his dominions afford no place fit for his re- 
sidence, and therefore it would be convenient for him to be- 
take himself into some other country, that hath better air and 
accommodation for delight ; that diadems and sceptres are 
burthensome things, which therefore if he will quit to them, 
he may wholly give up himself to ease and pleasure. 

Yea and whatsoever would any way tend to evince his ne- 
cessary existence, is with the same courtship laid aside ; (al- 
though if he do not exist necessarily and of himself, he can- 
not have any existence at all ; for as they do not allow him to 
be the cause of any thing, so they assign nothing to be the 
cause of him :) that is, with pretence there is no need it should 
be demonstrated, because all men believe it without a reason, 
nature having impressed this belief upon the minds of all ; or 
(which is all one) they having agreed to believe it because 
they believe. But though they have no reason to believe a 
Deity, they have a very good one why they would seem to 
do so, that they may expiate with the people their irreligiou 
by a collusive pretending against atheism. And because they 
think it less plausible plainly to deny there is a God, they 
therefore grant one to please the vulgar, yet take cave it shall 
be one as good as none, lest otherwise they should displease 
themselves : and so their credit and their liberty are both cared 
for together. But this covering is too short, and the art by 
which they would fit it to their design, when it should cheat 
others, deceives themselves. For it is most evident, 

3. That the being with the pretended belief whereof they 
would mock the world, is no God ; and that consequently. 


while they would seem to acknowledge a Deity, they really 
acknowledge none at all.. Our contest hath not, all this while, 
been a strife about words, or concerning the name, but the 
thing itself. And not whether there be such a thing in being 
to which that name may, with whatsoever impropriety, be 
given, but whether there be such a Being as whereto it pro- 
perly belongs : supposing, and taking for granted as a matter 
out of question, that (even in their own sense) if such a being 
as we have described do exist, it is most properly God ; and 
that they will not go about to call it by another name ; or that 
they will not pretend this name agrees to any other thing so fitly 
as to him. And because we have already proved this being dotli 
exist, and that there can be but one such, it plainly follows 
their's is in propriety of speech (even though he did exist) no 
God ; and that much less should he appropriate the name, and 
exclude the only true God. For since the high and dignify- 
ing eulogies, which they are wont to bestow upon their feigned 
deity, do plainly shew they would have it thought they esteem 
him the most excellent of all existent Beings ; if we have 
proved a really existent Being to be more excellent than he, it 
is evident, even upon their own grounds, that this is God. 
Hither the Deity must be deferred, and their's must yield, and 
give out : inasmuch as we cannot suppose them so void of 
common sense, as to say the less excellent being is God, and 
the more excellent is no God. But if they should be so, 
(whereas the controversy is not about the name,) we have our 
main purpose, in having proved there is a Being actually ex- 
istent, that hath all the real excellencies which they ascribe to 
their deities, and infinitely more. And as concerning the 
name, who made them dictators to all the world, and the sole 
judges of the propriety of words ; or with what right or pre- 
tence will they assume so mucli to themselves, so as, against 
the rest of the world, to name that God, from which they cut 
off' the principal perfections wont to be signified by that name ? 
And if we speak of such perfections as tend to infer and 
establish religion and providence, who, but themselves, did 
ever call that God in the eminent sense, that they supposed 
could not hear prayers, and thereupon dispense favours, relieve 
the afflicted, supply the indigent, and receive suitable ac- 
knowledgments ? They indeed (saith a famed writer* of Ro- 
man history) that exercise themselves in the atheistical sorts 

* »<toi [aw *» T«r «9e*j ae-aSfl-^ QtXoffotplxs, Sec. D. Halicarnass. Ant. 
Rom. 1. 2. 


of philosophy, (if we mag call that 'philosophy,) as they arc 
wont to jeer at all appearances of the gods, whether among 
the Greeks or the Barbarians, will make themselves matter 
of laughter of our histories, not thinking that any God takes 
care of any man. — Let the story be there tells, shift for itself, 
in the mean time it appears they escaped not the infamy of 
atheists, who (whatever deities they might imagine besides) 
did deny God's presence, and regard to men. Which sort 
of persons he elsewhere often animadverts upon. But do we 
need to insist, that all the rest of the world acknowledged no 
gods, whom they did not also worship ? What meant their 
temples and altars, their prayers and sacrifices ? Or did they 
take him for God, whom they believed to take no care of them, 
or from whom they expected no advantage ? Even the barba- 
rous Scythians themselves understood it most inseparably to 
belong to a Deity, to be beneficent ; when they upbraid ingly 
tell Alexander, * That if he were a God, (as they it seems had 
heard he vogued himself,) he should bestow benefits upon men, 
and not take from them what was their own. 

And by the way, it is observable how contradictious and 
repugnant the Epicurean sentiments are in this, even to them- 
selves : that speaking of friendship, t (of which they say many 
generous and brave things,) they gallantly profess (as Plutarch 
testifies of them) that it is a more pleasant thing to benefit 
others than to receive benefits one's self. They yet, while 
they seem so greatly concerned % that their gods be every way 
most perfectly happy, deny to them this highest and most, 
excellent part of felicity. That a virtuous man may a great 
deal more benefit the world than they, and consequently have 
more pure and lively relishes of a genuine and refined pleasure. 

Upon the whole, it is manifest they so maim the notion of 
God, as to make it quite another thing. And if they think to 
wipe off any thing of the foul and odious blot wherewith their 
avowed irreligion hath stained their name and memory, by 
the acknowledgment of such a God ; they effect the like thing 
by it, and gain as much to the reputation of their piety as he 
should of his loyalty, who being accused of treason against 
his prince, shall think to vindicate himself by professing so- 
lemn! v to own the king; provided you only mean by it the 

* See their ambassador's oration, in Q. Curtius. 
' t Lib. non posse suaviter vivi, &c. 
+ Vid. &r lib. maxime cutn prineip. vim Phil. &c f 
VOL. I. 2 H 


king of clubs, or any such painted one the pack affords. But 
here it may be demanded, Is every misapprehension of God 
to be understood as a denial of his being ? If so, whom can 
we undertake to assoil of atheism ? Or who can certainly ac- 
quit himself? For how impossible is it to be sure we have no 
untrue conception of a Being so infinitely, by our own con- 
fession, above all our thoughts ? Or how is it to be avoided, 
in somewhat or other, to think amiss of so unknown and 
incomprehensibly excellent a Being, either by detracting 
somewhat that belongs to it, or attributing somewhat that be- 
belongs not ? And since many, wc are sure, have thought and 
spoken unworthily of God, besides Epicureans, are all these to 
go into the account of atheists ? Or whereas it is commonly wont 
to be said, Whatsoever is in God, is God : how can they who 
deny any thing of him, which is really in him, be excused of 
denying his whole being ? Or where will we fix the bounds 
of our censure ? 

Many things should be said (if we will speak at all) to so 
manifold an inquiry : but it belongs not to the design of this 
discourse to examine and discuss all men's sentiments of God 
that have been exposed to the view of the world, or arbitrate 
among the dissenting parties ; much less to explain or abet 
every school-maxim that hath reference to this theme ; the 
authors or lovers whereof will be sufficiently prompted by their 
own genius to do at least as much as can be requisite herein - 
But whatever the real sameness is supposed to be, of the things 
attributed to God, it is acknowledged we cannot but conceive 
of them as divers ; and so that our conception of any one is 
not adequate to the entire object, which is confessed incom- 
prehensible. Yet any one attribute gives a true notion of the 
object, so far as it reaches, though not a full. As I may be 
said truly to see a man, when I only see his face, and view 
not every part and limb; or to know him, while yet I have 
not had opportunity to discern every quality in his temper, and 
what his dispositions and inclinations, in all respects, are. 
Moreover, it is one thing to deny any divine perfection, another, 
only not to know it. 

And such mere nescience is so far from being guilty of the 
horrid crime of atheism, that it is not so much as culpable,, 
further than as it is obstinately persisted in, against sufficient 
evidence : for we are not obliged to know every thing, but 
what is io us knowable, and what we are concerned to know. 
Again, (and which is most considerable to our purpose,) we are 


not concerned to know what God is in himself, otherwise than 
as we may thereby know Avhat he is in relation to us, namely, 
as he is the Author of our beings, the Governor of our lives 
and actions, and thereupon the Object of our religion : for a 
religious respect unto him is the very end of that knowledge. 
Now, if any other than that sort of persons Ave oppose have 
taken up apprehensions of him not so suitable to that end, it 
xvere to be wished they saw it, and would unth ink all those 
thoughts.. But surely, they who most professedly contend 
against the very notions themselves which directly influence all 
our practice toward God, so considered, and would suggest such 
as are wholly inconsistent therewith ; who oppose the know- 
ledge of God to the end of that knowledge, and do not mere- 
ly mistake the way to that end while they are aiming at it, but 
most avowedly resist and disclaim the end itself; are to be 
distinguished from them who professedly intend that same 
end, only see not wherein their misapprehensions arc preju- 
dicial and repugnant to it ; otherwise are ready to reject them. 
And the former are therefore most justly to be singled out, and 
designed the objects of our direct opposition. Nor are they 
so fitly to be opposed under any other notion, as that of 
atheists. For since our knowledge of God ought chiefly to 
respect him in that fore-mentioned relative consideration, and 
the inquity, What is God ? signifies, as it concerns us, What 
is the object of religion ? they denying any such thing, deny 
there is a God. Nor do they deny him in that relative con- 
sideration only ; but (as every relation is founded in some- 
what that is absolute) the very reason of their denying him so, 
is, that they deny in him those absolute and positive perfec- 
tions that render him such ; as certain of those do, that have 
been proved to belong to him. Which is that we have next to 
consider, namely, 

4. That it may evidently be deduced from what hath been 
said, tending to prove those things of God which are included 
in the notion of him, and from that notion itself, that he is such 
as can converse with men. That is, having proved — That there 
is an eternal, self-subsisting, independent, necessary Being, 
of so great activity, life, power, wisdom, and goodness, as 
to have been the Maker of this world : and by this medium — 
That we see this world is in being, which otherwise could 
never have been, much less such as we see it is : it therefore 
follows, that this great Creator can have influence upon the 
creatures he hath made, in a way suitable to their natures. It 
follows, I say, from the same medium, (the present visible 


existence of this world, which could not otherwise be now in 
being,) that he can thus have influence upon his creatures : 
for it is hence manifest that he hath ; they depend on him, 
and are sustained by him ; nor could more subsist by them- 
selves, than they could make themselves, or of themselves 
have sprung out of nothing. And if it were possible they could, 
being raised up into being, continue in being of themselves ; 
yet since our present question is not concerning what they 
need, but what God can do ; and our adversaries in the pre- 
sent cause do not (as hath been noted) upon any other pretence 
deny that he doth concern himself in the affairs of the universe, 
but that he cannot ; (that is, that it consists not with his fe- 
licity, and he cannot be happy ;) is it not plain that he can 
with the same facility continue the influence which he at first 
gave forth, and with as little prejudice to his felicity ? For 
if it be necessary to him to be happy, or impossible not to be 
so, he must be ever so. PI is happiness was not capable of 
being discontinued, so long as while he made the world, settled 
the several orders and kinds, and formed the first individuals 
of every kind of creatures. Therefore having done this, and 
without diminution to his happiness, was it a more toilsome 
and less tolerable labour to keep things as they were, than to 
make them so ? If it were, (which no man that understands 
common sense would say,) surely that blind thing which they 
more blindly call nature, (not understanding or being able to 
tell what they mean by it,) and would have to be the only cause 
of all things, acting at first to the uttermost, and having no 
way to recruit its vigour and reinforce itself, its labour and 
business being so much increased, had jaded and grown 
weary ; had given out, and patiently suffered all things to 
dissolve and relapse into the old chaos long ago. But if the 
labour were not greater, to continue things in the state wherein 
they were made, than to make them ; surely a wise, intelligent 
Deity, which we have proved made them, could as well sustain 
them, being made, as their brutal (and as unintelligible, as un- 
intelligent) nature do both. 

So much then of intercourse God could have with his crea- 
tures, as his continual communication of his influence to be 
received by them amounts to. And then man not being ex- 
cluded their number, must share in this possible privilege ac- 
cording to the capacity of his nature. And inasmuch as we 
have also proved more particularly concerning man, that he 
immediately owes the peculiar excellencies of his intelligent na r 
Jure, as it is such, to God only ; it is apparently consequent, 


that having formed this his more excellent creature, according 
to his own more express likeness, stamped it with the glorious 
characters of his living image, given it a nature suitable to his 
own, and thereby made it capable of rational and intelligent 
converse with him ; he hath it ever in his power to maintain a 
continual converse with this creature, by agreeable commu- 
nications ; by letting in upon it the vital beams and influences 
of his own light and love, and receiving back the return of 
its grateful acknowledgments and praises. Wherein it is 
manifest he should do no greater thing than he hath done : for 
who sees not, that it is a matter of no greater difficulty to con- 
verse with, than to make a reasonable creature ? Or who 
would not be ashamed to deny, that he who hath been the 
only Author of the soul of man, and of the excellent powers 
and faculties belonging to it, can more easily sustain what he 
hath made, and converse with that his creature, suitably to 
the way wherein he hath made it capable of his converse ? 
"Whereto the consideration being added of his gracious nature, 
(manifested in this creation itself,) it is further evident, that 
he is (as things are now ordered, whereof more hereafter) not 
only able, but apt and ready to converse with men, in such a 
way as shall tend to the improving of their being unto that 
blessedness whereof he hath made them naturally capable ; if 
their own voluntary alienation and aversion to him (yet not 
overcome) do not obstruct the way of that intercourse. And 
even this were sufficient to give foundation to a temple, and 
both afford encouragement and infer an obligation to religion ; 
although no other perfection had been, or could be, demon- 
strated of the Divine Being, than what is immediately to be 
collected from his works, and the things whereof he hath been 
the sole and most arbitrary Author. For what if no more were 
possible to be proved, have we not, even by thus much, a re- 
presentation of an object sufficiently worthy of our homage and 
adoration ? He that could make and sustain such a world as 
this, how inexpressibly doth he surpass in greatness the most 
excellent of all mortal creatures ! to some or other of whom, 
upon some (merely accidental) dignifying circumstances, we 
justly esteem ourselves to owe a dutiful observance and sub- 

If he did not comprehend within his own Being simply alt 
perfection ; if there were many gods and worlds besides, and 
he only the Creator and absolute Lord of our vortex ; were not 
lhat enough to entitle him to all the obedience and service we 


could give him, and (o enable him sufficiently to reward it, 
and render his presence and cherishing' influences (which he 
could every where diffuse within this circle, and limited por- 
tion of the universe) even infinitely covetable and desirable to 
us ? Yea, if he were the only entire Author of our own par- 
ticular being 1 , how much more is that, than the partial, subor- 
dinate interest of a human parent, to whom (as even an Epi- 
curean would confess) nature itself urges and exacts a duty, 
the refusal whereof even barbarian ingenuity would abhor, yea 
and brutal instinct condemn ? How much greater and more 
absolute is the right which the parentage of our whole being 
challenges ? If every man were created by a several God, 
whose creative power were confined to only one such creature, 
and each one were the solitary product and the charge of an 
appropriate Deity, whose dominion the state of things would 
allow to be extended so far only, and no further ; were there 
therefore no place left for religion, or no tie unto love, re- 
verence, obedience, and adoration, because the Author of my 
being comprehended not in himself all perfection, when as 
yet lie comprehended so much as to be the sole cause of all 
that is in me ; and his power over me, and his goodness to 
me, are hereby supposed the same which the only one God 
truly hath and exerciseth towards all ? If all that I am and 
have be for him, I cannot surely owe to him less than all. 

Such as have cither had, or supposed themselves to have, 
their particular tutelary genii, (of whom there will be more 
occasion to take notice hereafter,) though they reckoned them 
but a sort of deputed or vicarious deities, underling gods, 
whom they never accounted the causes of their being; yet 
how have they coveted and gloried to open their breasts to be- 
come their temples, and entertain the converse of those sup- 
posed divine inhabitants ? If they had taken one of these to 
be their alone creator, how much greater had their veneration 
and their homage been ? This, it may be hoped, will be thought 
sufficiently proved in this discourse, (at least to have been so by 
some or other,) that we are not of ourselves ; and that our ex- 
traction is to be fetched higher than from matter, or from only 
human progenitors. Nothing that is terrene and mortal could 
be the author of such powers as we find in ourselves; we are 
most certainly the offspring of some or other Deity. And he 
that made us, knows us thoroughly, can apply himself in- 
wardly to us, receive our addresses and applications, our ae* 
knowledgments and adoration; whercunto we should have, 


even upon these terms, great and manifest obligation, although 
nothing more of the excellency and perfection of our Creator 
were certainly known to us. 

III. But it hath been further shewn, That the necessary 
Being from whence we sprang, is also an absolutely and in- 
finitely perfect Being : — That necessary Being cannot be less 
perfect, than to include the entire and inexhaustible fuin-ss of 
all being and perfection : — That therefore the God to whom 
this notion belongs, must consequently be every way sufficient 
to all, and be himself but one ; the only Source and Fountain of 
all life and being ; the common Basis and Support of the uni- 
verse ; the absolute Lord of this great creation, and the cen- 
tral Object of the common concurrent trust, fear, love, and 
other worship of his intelligent and reasonable creatures. And 
therefore there remains no greater or other difficulty, in ap- 
prehending how he can, without disturbance to himself or in- 
terruption of his own felicity, intend all the concernments of 
his creatures, apply himself to them according to their several 
exigencies, satisfy their desires and cravings, inspect and 
govern their actions and affairs ; than wc have to apprehend a 
Being absolutely and every way perfect. Whereof if we can- 
not have a distinct apprehension ail at once, that is, though 
we cannot comprehend every particular perfection of God in 
the same thought, (as our eye cannot behold, at one view, 
every part of an over-large object, unto which, however, pari' 
by part, it may be successively applied,) we can yet in the 
general apprehend him absolutely perfect ; or such to whom,, 
we are sure, no perfection is wanting : and can successively 
contemplate this or that, as we are occasionally led to con- 
sider them : and can answer to ourselves difficulties that occur 
to us, with this easy, sure, and ever ready solution ; That he 
can do all things ; that nothing is <oo hard for him ; that he 
is full, all-sufficient, and every way perfect. Whereof we 
are the more confirmed, that we find we cannot, by the utmost 
range of our most enlarged thoughts, ever reach any bound or 
end of that perfection, which yet Ave must conclude is neces- 
sarily to be attributed to an absolutely perfect Being. And this 
we have reason to take for a very sufficient answer to any doubt 
that can arise, concerning the possibility of his converse wilh 
us ; unless we will be so unreasonable as to pretend, that what 
is brought for solution hath greater difficulty in it than the 
doubt; or that because we cannot apprehend at once infinite 
perfection, therefore it cannot be ; which were as much as tc* 
&ay, that it cannot be because it is infinite ; for it were not in- 


finite, if we could distinctly apprehend it. And so were to 
make it a reason against itself, which is most injuriously and 
with no pretence attempted, except we could shew an incon- 
sistency in the terms ; which it is plain we can never do, and 
should most idly attempt. And it, were to make our present 
apprehension the measure of all reality, against our experience ; 
which (if our indulgence to that self-magnifying conceit do 
not suspend our farther inquiries and researches) would daily 
bring to our notice things we had no apprehension of before. 
It were (instead of that just and laudable ambition of becoming 
ourselves like God, in his imitable perfections) to make him 
like ourselves ; the true model of the Epicurean deity. 

Nor can any thing be more easy, than that v, herein we pre- 
tend so great a difficulty ; that is, to apprehend somewhat 
may be more perfect than we can apprehend. What else but 
proud ignorance can hinder us from seeing, that the more we 
know, the more there is that we know not ? How often are 
we out-done by creatures of our own order in the creation ! 
How many men are there whom we are daily constrained to 
admire, as unspeakably excelling us, and whom we cannot 
but acknowledge to be far more knowing, discerning, appre- 
hensive of things, of more composed minds, of more penetrat- 
ing judgments, of more quick and nimble wits, easily turning 
themselves to a great variety of objects and affairs without 
distraction and confusion, of more equal and dispassionate 
tempers, less liable to commotion and disturbance than our- 

How absurd and senseless a pretence is it against the thing 
itself, that we cannot apprehend an infinite perfection in one 
common fountain of all perfection ; or because we cannot go 
through a multitude of businesses without distraction, that 
therefore he that made us and all things cannot. If we would 
make ourselves the measure, it is likely we should confess we 
were out-stripped, when we are told that Julius Caesar could 
dictate letters, when he was intent upon the greatest affairs, to 
four (and if he had nothing else to divert him, to seven) se- 
cretaries at once ; that Cyrus * could call by name all the 

* Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. 7. c. 25. Id. 1. 7. c Ql. vid. & Xenopb. de Cyr. 
Pted. 1. 5. Who, though he expressly says not lie knew all the soldiers 
names, but seems rather to mean it of their officers, (for, saith he, he 
reckoned it an absurd thing a mechanic should know the names of all his 
tools, &c. and a general not know the names of his captains under him, 
&c.) yet he saith the soldiers wondered wwr ovo//.a£«y InreM.sro — that he 
sJwuld be able to call than by their names when he gavt the word of command. 


soldiers in his numerous army : with divers other strange in- 
stances of like nature. And since the perfections of some so 
far exceed the measure of the most. Why is it then uncon- 
ceivable that divine perfection should so far surpass all, as 
that God may intend the affairs of the world, according to 
the several exigencies of his creatures, without any ungrateful 
diversion to himself, or diminution to his felicity ? And since 
they who partake of some, and but a small portion of perfec- 
tion only, can be concerned in many affairs, with little trouble ; 
why cannot he that comprehends all perfection, be concerned 
in all, without any ? For though we have, in what hath been 
last said, endeavoured to represent it as not so unapprehen- 
sible as is pretended, that it may be also ; we take it, in the 
meantime, as formerly sufficiently proved, that so it is ; that 
God is a being absolutely perfect, or that includes eminently 
all perfection in himself. 

III. Which general perfection of his being, as it modifies 
all his attributes, so we shall particularly take notice that it 
doth so as to those that have a more direct influence upon, and 
tend more fully to evince his conversableness with men. As, 
First, his wisdom and knowledge (for we need not to be so 
curious as at present to distinguish them) must be omniscient. 
About which, if any place were left for rational doubt, it 
would be obvious to them to allege it who are of slower incli- 
nations towards religion ; and object, (against all applications 
to, or expectations from him,) that if we be not sure he 
knows simply all things, so as wisely to consider them and 
resolve fitly about them, it will be no little difficulty to deter- 
mine which he doth, and which not ; or to be at a certainty, 
that this or that concernment of theirs, about which they might 
address themselves to him, be not among the unknown things. 
At least, we shall the less need to be curious in distinguishing, 
or to consider what things may be supposed rather than other, 
to be without the compass of his knowledge ; if it appear that 
it universally encompasses all things, or that nothing can be 
without its reach. And because we suppose it already out of 
doubt, that the true notion of God imports a Being absolutely 
or every way perfect ; nothing else can be doubted in this 
matter, but whether the knowledge of all things be a per- 

The greatest difficulty that hath troubled some in this mat- 
ter, hath been, How it is possible there should be any certain 
knowledge of events yet to come, that depend upon a free and 
self-determining cause. But methinks we should not make a 

VOL. I. 2 I 


difficulty to acknowledge, that to know these tilings, imports 
greater perfection than not to know them ; and then it would 
be very unreasonable, because we cannot shew how this or 
that thing was performed which manifestly is done, therefore 
to deny that it is done at all. It would be so highly unrea- 
sonable to conclude against any act of God, from our ignorance 
of the manner of it, that we should reckon it very absurd to 
conclude so, concerning any act of our own, or our ability 
thereto^ What if it were hitherto an unknown thing, and im- 
possible to be determined, how the act of vision is performed 
by us ; were it a wise conclusion, that therefore we neither do 
nor can see ? Ifow much more rash and presuming a confi- 
dence were it to reason thus concerning the Divine acts and 
perfections ! Would we not in any such case be determined 
rather by that which is more evident, than by what is more 
obscure ? As in the assigned instance, we should have but 
these two propositions to compare — That I do (or have sueh a 
perfection belonging to me that I can) see, and, — That whatso- 
ever act I do or can do, I am able to understand the course 
and method of nature's operations therein — and thereupon to 
judge which of these two is more evident. Wherein it may 
be supposed there is no man in his wits, to whom the determi- 
nation would not be easy. Accordingly, in the present case we 
ha ve only these two assert ions that can be in competition, in point 
of evidence, between which we are to make a comparison, and 
a consequent judgment ; namely — Whatsoever perfection be- 
longs to a Being absolutely perfect, enabling it to do this or 
that, the wit of man can comprehend the distinct way and 
manner of doing it ; and, — It imports greater perfection to know 
all things, than to be ignorant of some — and here surely whoso- 
ever shall think the determination difficult, accounts the wit of 
man so exceeding great, that he discovers his own to be very 
little. For what can the pretence of evidence be in the former 
assertion ? Was it necessary that he, in whose choice it was 
whether we should ever know any thing or no, should make 
us capable of knowing everything belonging to his own being? 
Or will we adventure to be so assuming, as while we deny it to 
God that he knows all things, to attribute to ourselves that we 
do ? But if we will think it not altogether unworthy of us to 
be ignorant of something, what is there of which we may with 
more probability, or with less disparagement be thought so, 
than the manner of God's knowing things ? And what place 
is there for complaint of inevidence in the latter ? Is not. that 
knowledge more perfect, which so fully already comprehends 


all things, as upon that account to admit of no increase ; than 
that which shall be every day growing, and have a continual 
succession of new objects emerging and coming into view be- 
fore altogether unknown ? And will not that be the case, if 
we suppose future contingencies to lie concealed from the pe- 
netrating eye of God ? For whatsoever is future, will some 
time be present, and then we will allow such contingencies to 
be known to him. That is, that God may know them, when 
we ourselves can ; and that nothing of that kind is known to 
him, which is not knowable some way or oilier to ourselves, 
at least successively, and one thing after another. We will 
perhaps allow that prerogative to God, in point of this know- 
ledge, that he can know these things now fallen out, all at 
once ; we, but by degrees ; while yet there is not any one that 
is absolutely unknowable to us. But why .should it be thought 
unreasonable, to attribute an excellency to the knowledge of 
God above ours ; as well in respect of the manner of knowing, 
as the multitude of objects at once known ? We will readily 
confess, in some creatures, an excellency of their visive fa- 
culty above our own ; that they can see tilings in that dark- 
ness, wherein they are to us invisible. And will we not allow 
that to the eye of God, which is as a flame of fire, to be able 
to penetrate into the abstrusest darkness of futurity, though we 
know not the way how it is done ; when yet we know that 
whatsoever belongs to the most perfect being, must belong to 
his ? And that knowledge of all things imports more per- 
fection, than if it were lessened by the ignorance of any 

Some, who have thought the certain foreknowledge of fu- 
ture contingencies not attributable to God, have reckoned the 
matter sufficiently excused by this, That it no more detracts 
from the divine omniscience, to state without the object of it 
things not possible, or that imply a contradiction (as they sup- 
pose these do) to be known ; than it doth from his omnipotency, 
that it cannot do what is impossible, or that implies a contra- 
diction to be done. But against this there seems to lie this 
reasonable exception, that the two cases appear not sufficiently 
alike ; inasmuch as the supposition of the former will be found 
not to leave the blessed God equally entitled to omnisciency, 
as the latter to omnipotency. For all things should not be 
alike the object of both ; and why should not that be under- 
stood to signify the knowledge of simply all things, as well as 
this the power of doing simply all things ? Or why should all 
things, included in these two words, signify so very diversely; 


that is, there properly all things, here some things only ? And 
why must we so difference the object of omnisciency and omni- 
potency, as to make that so much narrower than this ? And 
then how is it all things, when so great a number of tilings will 
be left excluded ? Whereas from the object of omnipotency 
(that we may prevent what would be replyed) there will be no 
exclusion of any thing: not of the things which are actually 
already made ; for they are still momently reproduced by the 
same power : not of the actions and effects of free causes yet 
future ; for, when they become actual, God dotli certainly 
perform the part of the first cause, (even by common consent,) 
in order to their becoming so; which is certainly doing some- 
what, though all be not agreed what that part is. Therefore 
they are, in the mean time, to be esteemed within the object 
of omnipotency, or to be of the things which God can do ; 
namely, as the first cause virtually including the power of the 
second. But more strictly ; all impossibility is either natural 
arid absolute, or moral and conditional. What is absolutely 
or naturally impossible, or repugnant in itself, is not properly 
anything. Whatsoever simple being, not yet existent, we 
can form any conception of, is producible, and so within the 
compass of omnipotency ; for there is no repugnancy in sim- 
plicity. That wherein therefore we place natural impossibili- 
ty, is the inconsistency of being this thing, whose notion is 
such ; and another, wholly and entirely, whose notion is di- 
verse, at the same time, that which (more barbarously than 
insignificantly) hath been wont to be called incompossibility. 
But surely all things are properly enough said to be naturally 
possible to God, while all simple beings are producible by 
him, of which any notion can be formed ; yea and compound- 
ed, so as by their composition to result into a third thing. So 
that it is not an exception, to say that it is naturally impossible 
this thing should be another thing, and yet be wholly itself 
still at once ; that it should be and not be, or be without itself. 
There is not within the compass of actual or conceivable be- 
ing, such a thing. Nor is it reasonable to except such actions 
as are naturally possible to other agents, but not to him ; as to 
walk, for instance, or the like. Inasmuch as, though the ex- 
cellency of his nature permits not they should be done by him, 
yet since their power of doing them proceeds wholly from him, 
he hath it virtually and eminently in himself : as was formerly 
said of the infiniteness of his being. And for moral impossi- 
bility, as to lie, to do an unjust act ; that God never does 
them, proceeds not from want of power, but an eternal aver- 


sion of will. It cannot be said he is not able to do such a tiling, 
if he would ; but so is his will qualified and conditioned, by 
its own unchangeable rectitude, that he most certainly never 
will ; or such things as are in themselves evil are never done 
by him, not through the defect of natural power, but from 
the permanent stability and fulness of all moral perfection. And 
it is not without the compass of absolute omni potency to do 
what is but conditionally impossible, that absence of which 
restrictive condition would rather bespeak impotency and im- 
perfection, than omnipotency. Therefore the object of omni- 
potence is simply all things ; why not of omniscience as well ? 
It may be said, all things, as it signifies the object of om- 
niscience, is only restrained by the act or faculty, signified 
therewith in the same word, so as to denote the formal object 
of that faculty or act, namely, all knowable things. But 
surely that act must suppose some agent, whereto that know- 
able hath reference. Knowable ! To whom ? To others or to 
God himself? If we say the former, it is indeed a great 
honour we put upon God, to say he can know as much as 
others ; if the latter, we speak absurdly, and only say he can 
know all that he can know. It were fairer to deny omniscience 
than so interpret it. But if it be denied, what shall the pre- 
tence be ? Why, that it implies a contradiction future con- 
tingents should be certainly known ; for they are uncertain, 
and nothing can be otherwise truly known than as it is. * 

And it must be acknowledged, that to whom any thing is 
uncertain, it is a contradiction that to him it should be certain- 
ly known. But that such things arc uncertain to God, needs 
other proof than I have met with, in what follows in that cited 
author, or elsewhere : all which will amount to no more than 
this, that such tilings as we cannot tell how God knows them, 
must needs be unknown to him. But since we are sure many 
such things have been certainly foretold by God, (and of them 
such as we may be also sure he never intended to effect,) we 
have reason enough to be confident that such things are not 

* Qualis res est talis est rei cognitio. Si itaque res sit incerta (puta 
incertum est hoc ne sit futurum, an non) non datur ulla eerta ejus noti- 
tia. Quomodo enim fieri potest ut certo sciatur ad fore, quod certo fu- 
turum non est, &c. — As a thing is, such is the knowledge of that thing; 
if a thing be uncertain, (uncertain whether it will come to pass or not,) 
there is no certain knowledge of that thing : for how can it be certainly 
known that a thing will be, which, whether it will be or not, is uncer- 
tain ? Strangius de vuluutate c\ Aclionibus Dei, &(c. L S. c. 6. as he there 
objects to himself. 


unknowable to him. And for the manner of his knowing them, 
it is better to profess ignorance about it, than attempt the ex- 
plication thereof, either unintelligibly, as some have to no pur- 
pose, or dangerously and impiously, as others have adventured 
to do to very bad purpose. And it well becomes us to sup- 
pose an infinite understanding may have ways of knowing 
things which we know nothing of. To my apprehension, that last- 
mentioned author doth with ill success attempt an explication 
of God's manner of knowing this sort of things, by tbe far less 
intelligible notion of the indivisibility of eternity, compre- 
hending (as he says) all the parts of time, not successively, 
but together. And though he truly says that the Scotists' way 
of expressing how future contingents are present to God, that 
is, according to their objective and intentional being only, af- 
fords us no account why God knows them, (for which cause 
he rejects it, and follows that of the Thomists, who will have 
them to be present according to their real and actual existence, 
I should yet prefer the deficiency of the former way, before 
the contradict ionsness and repugnancy of the latter ; and con- 
ceive these -words in the Divine Dialogues, (Dr. More,) as good 
an explication of the manner of his knowledge, as the case 
can admit, (which yet is but the Scotists' sense,) " That the 
whole evolution of times and ages is so collectedly and pre- 
sentificly represented to God at once, as if all things and ac- 
tions whichever were, are, or shall be, were at this very in- 
stant, and so always really present and existent before him." 
Which is no wonder, the animadversion and intellectual com- 
prehension of God being absolutely infinite, according to the 
truth of his idea. I do therefore think tliat a sober resolution 
in this matter, (of Bathymus, in the same Dialogues,) " That it 
seems more safe to allow this privilege to the infinite under- 
standing of God, than to venture at all to circumscribe his 
omniscience : for though it may safely be said that he knows 
not any thing that really implies a contradiction to be known, 
yet we are not assured but that may seem a contradiction to us, 
that is not so really in itself." And when we have only human 
wit to content with in the case, reverence of this or that man, 
Chough both in great vogue in that kind, needs not restrain us 
from distinguishing between a mere seeming latent contradic- 
tion, and a fiat, downright, open one. Only as to that instance 
of the commcnsurableness of the diagonal line of a quadrate to 
one of the sides ; whereas though there are great difficulties on 
both sides, namely, that these are commensurable, and that 
they are not ; yet any man's judgment would rather incline to 


the latter, as the easier part : I should therefore also think it 
more safe to make choice of that, as the parallel of the present 
difficulty. Upon the "whole, we may conclude that the know- 
ledge of God is every way perfect ; and being so, extends to 
all our concernments : and that nothing" remains, upon that 
account, to make us decline applying ourselves to religious 
converses with him, or to deny him the honour and entertain- 
ment of a temple : for which we shall yet see further cause, 
when we consider, 

Secondly, That his power is also omnipotent. Which 
(though the discourse of it have been occasionally somewhat 
mingled with that of the last) might be directly spoken of for 
the fuller eviction of that his conversablencss with men, which 
religion and a temple do suppose. Nor indeed is it enough, 
that he knows our concernments, except he can also provide 
effectually about them, and dispose of them to our advantage. 
And we cannot doubt but he, who could create us and such a 
world as this, can do so, even though he were supposed not 
omnipotent. But even that itself seems a very unreasonable 
supposition, that less than iniinite power should suffice to the 
creation of any thing. For however liable it may be to con- 
troversy, what a second cause might do herein, being assisted 
by the infinite power of the first ; it seems altogether unimagin- 
able to x us, how, though the power of all men were met in one, 
(which we can easily suppose to be a very vast power.) it 
could, alone, be sufficient to make the minutest atom arise into 
being out of nothing. And that all the matter of the universe 
hath been so produced, namely, out of nothing, it will be no 
great presumption to suppose already fully proved ; in that 
though any such thing as necessary matter were admitted, yet 
its essential unalterableness -would render it impossible it should 
be the matter of the universe. Therefore when we cannot de- 
vise what finite power can ever suffice (suppose we it ever so 
much increased, but still finite) to the doing of that which we 
are sure is done, what is left us to suppose, but that the pow r cr 
which did it is simply infinite : much more when we consider, 
not only that something is actually produced out of nothing, 
but do also seriously contemplate the nature of the production ! 
Which carries so much of amazing wonder in it, every where, 
that even the least and most minute things might serve for suf- 
ficient instances of the unlimited greatness of that power which 
made them ; as would be seen, if we did industriously set our- 
selves to compare the effects of divine power with those of hu- 
man art and skill, As is the ingenious and pious observation 


of the most worthy Mr. Hook, (in his Microgfaphia,) who upon 
his viewing with his microscope the point of a small and very 
sharp needle, (than which we cannot conceive a smaller thing 1 
laboured by the hand of man,) fakes notice of sundry sorts of 
natural things, "that have points many thousand times sharper: 
those of Ihe hairs of insects, &c. that appearing broad, irre- 
gular, and uneven, having marks upon it, of the rudeness and 
bungling of art. So unaccurafe (saith he) it is in all its pro- 
ductions, even in those that seem most neat, that if examined 
truly with an organ more acute than that by which they were 
made, the more we see of their shape the less appearance will 
there lie of their beauty. Whereas in the works of nature the 
deepest discoveries shew us the greatest excellencies : an evi- 
dent argument that he that was the Author of these things, 
w as no other than omnipotent, being able to include as great a 
variety of parts, in the yet smallest discernable point, as in 
the vaster bodies, (which comparatively are called also points,) 
such as the earth, sun, or planets." And I may add, when 
those appear but points, in comparison of his so much vaster 
work, how plainly doth that, also argue to us the same thing ? 
And let us strictly consider the matter. Omnipotency, as hath 
been said, imports a power of doing all things possible to be 
done, or indeed, simply all things ; unto which passive power, 
an active one must necessarily correspond. That is, there is 
nothing in itself possible to be done, but it is also possible to 
some one or other to do if. If we should therefore suppose 
God not omnipotent, it would follow some one or other were 
able to do more than God. For though possibility do import 
a non-repugnancy in the thing to be done ; yet it also connotes 
an ability in some agent to do if. Wherefore there is nothing 
possible which some agent cannot do. And if so, that agent 
must either be God, or some other. To say it is God. is what 
we intend. That is, there is nothing possible which God can- 
not do ; or he can do all things. But to say it is some other, 
and not God, were to open the door to the above-mentioned 
horrid consequence ; which no one that acknowledges a God 
(and we are not now discoursing with them who simply deny 
his being) would not both blush and tremble to avow. 

Some indeed have so over-done the business here as to deny 
any intrinsical possibility of any thing, and say that things 
are only said to be possible, because God can do them ; which 
is the same thing as thus to explain God's omnipotency ; that 
is, that he can do all things which he can do : and makes a 
chimccra no more impossible in itself to be produced, than a 


not yet existent man. And the reason of the denial is, that 
what is only possible is nothing, and therefore can have no- 
thins- intrinsical to it ; s if it were not sufficient to the in- 
trinsical possibility of a thing;, that its idea have no repugnancy 
in it. Yet entire and full possibility connotes a reference to 
the productive power of an agent ; so that it is equally absurd 
to say that things are only possible, because there is no repug- 
nancy in their ideas, as it is to say they are only possible, be- 
cause some agent can do them ; inasmuch as the entire possi- 
bility of their existence imports both that there is no repug- 
nancy in their ideas, which if there be, they are every way 
nothing, (as hath been said before,) and also that there is a 
sufficient power to produce them. Therefore, whereas we 
might believe him sufficient every way for us, though we did 
not believe him simply omnipotent ; how much more fully are 
we assured, when we consider that he is ? Whereof also no 
place of doubt can remain, this being a most unquestionable 
perfection, necessarily included in the notion of an absolutely 
perfect Being. But here we need not further insist, having 
no peculiar adversary (in this matter singly) to contend with, 
as indeed he would have had a hard province, who should have 
undertaken to contend against omnipotency. And now join 
herewith again, 

Thirdly, The boundlessness of his goodness, which upon 
the same ground of his absolute perfection, must be infinite 
also, and which it is of equal concernment to us to consider, 
that we may understand he not only can effectually provide 
about our concernments, but is most graciously inclined so to 
do. And then, Avhat rational inducement is wanting to re- 
ligion, and the dedication of a temple ; if we consider the joint 
encouragement that arises from so unlimited power and good- 
ness ? Or what man would not become entirely devoted to 
him, who, by the one of these, we are assured, Awa^h* ^ vdIvtk 
fivXoptytj) Se t» «§<$•«. Phil. Jud. de Abr. can do all things, 
and by the other, will do what is best. Nor therefore is there 
any thing immediately needful to our present purpose, the 
eviction of God's co?iversableness with men, more than hath 
been already said. That is, there is nothing else to be thought 
on, that hath any nearer influence thereon ; the things that 
can be supposed to have such influence, being none else than 
his power, knowledge, and goodness, which have been par- 
ticularly evinced from the creation of the world, both to have 
been in some former subject, and to have all originally met in 
a necessary being, that alone could be the Creator of it. Which 

vol. i. 2k 


necessary Being-, as it is sucb, appearing also to be infinite y 
and absolutely perfect ; the influence of these cannot but the 
more abundantly appear to be such as can and may most 
sufficiently and fully correspond, both in general to the several 
exigencies of all creatures, and more especially to all the real 
necessities and reasonable desires of man : so that our main 
purpose seems already gained. Yet because it may be grate- 
ful when we are persuaded that things are so, to fortify (as 
much as we can) that persuasion, and because our persuasion 
concerning these attributes of God will be still liable to assault 
unless we acknowledge him everywhere present; (nor can it 
vfril be conceivable otherwise, how the influence of his know- 
ledge, power, and goodness, can be so universal, as will be 
thought necessary to infer a universal obligation to religion ;) 
it will be therefore requisite to add, 

Fourthly, Somewhat concerning his omnipresence, or be- 
cause some, that love to be very strictly critical, will be apt 
to think that, term restrictive of his presence to the universe, 
(as supposing to be present is relative to somewhat one may 
be said present unto, whereas they will say without the uni- 
verse, is nothing,) we will rather choose to call it immensity. 
For though it would sufficiently answer our purpose, that his 
presence be universal to all his creatures ; yet even this is to 
be proved by such arguments as will conclude him simply im- 
mense ; which therefore will with the greater advantage infer 
the thing Ave intend. This part of divine perfection we will 
acknowledge to have been impugned, by some that have pro- 
jessed much devotedness to a Deity and religion: we will 
therefore charitably suppose that opposition to have joined 
with inadvertencv of the ill tendency of it; that is, how un- 
warrantably it would maim the notion of the former, and shake 
the foundations of the latter. Nor therefore ought that charity 
to be any allay to a just zeal for so great concerns. 

It seems then manifestly repugnant to the notion of an in- 
finitely perfect Being, to suppose it less than simply immense. 
For, upon that supposition it must either be limited to some 
certain place, or excluded out of all. The latter of these 
would be most openly to deny it ; as hath with irrefragable 
evidence been abundantly manifested by the most learned Dr. 
More, (both in his Dialogues and Enchiridio7i Metapfij/s.) 
whereto it would be needless and vain to attempt to add any 
thing. Nor is that the thing pretended to by the sort of persons 
1 now chiefly intend. 

And for the former, 1 would inquire, Is amplitude of es- 


sence no perfection ? Or were the confining of this Being to 
the very minutest space we cnn imagine, no detraction from 
the perfection of it ? What if the amplitude of that glorious 
and ever-blessed Essence were said to be only of that extent 
(may it be spoken with all reverence, and resentment of the 
unhappy necessity we have of making so mean a supposition} 
as to have been confined unto that one temple to which of old. 
he chose to confine his more solemn worship ; that he could be 
essentially present, only here at once, and nowhere else ; were 
this no detraction ? They that think him only to replenish and 
be present by his essence in the highest heaven, (as some are 
wont, to speak,) would they not confess it were a meaner and 
much lower thought to suppose that presence circumscribed 
within the so unconceivably narrower limits as the walls of a 
house ? If they should pretend to ascribe to him some per- 
fection beyond this, by supposing his essential presence com- 
mensurable to the vaster territory of the highest heavens ; even 
by the same supposition, they should deny to him greater per- 
fection than they ascribe. For the perfection which in this 
kind they would ascribe, were finite only ; but that which they 
would deny, Avere infinite. 

Again, they will however acknowledge omnipotency a per- 
fection included in the notion of an absolutely perfect Being ; 
therefore they will grant, he can create another world (for 
they do not pretend to believe this infinite ; and if they did, 
by their supposition, they Avould give away their cause J at 
any the greatest distance we can conceive from this ; therefore 
so far his power can extend itself. But what, his power with- 
out his being ? What then is his power ? Something, or 
nothing ? Nothing can do nothing ; therefore not make a 
world. It is then some being, and whose being is it but his 
own ? Is it a created being ? That is to suppose him first, 
impotent, and then to have created omnipotency, when he 
could do nothing. Whence by the way we may see to how 
little purpose that distinction can be applied in the present case 
of essential and virtual contact, where the essence and virtue 
cannot but be the same. But shall it be said, he must, in 
order to the creating such another world, locally move thither 
where he designs it ? I ask then, But can he not at the same 
time create thousands of worlds at any distance from this round 
about it ? No man can imagine this to be impossible to him 
that can do all things. W hcrefore of such extent is his power, 
and consequently his being. Will they therefore say he can 
immensely, if he please, diffuse his being, but he voluntarily 


contracts it ? It is answered, that is altogether impossible to a 
being, that is whatsoever it is by a simple and absolute neces- 
sity, for whatsoever it is necessarily, it is unalterably and eter- 
rally, or is pure act, and in a possibility to be nothing which 
it already is not. Therefore since God can every way exert 
his power, he is necessarily, already, everywhere : and hence, 
God's immensity is the true reason of his immobility ; there 
being no imaginable space, which he doth not necessarily re- 
plenish. Whence also, the supposition of his being so con- 
fined (as was said) is immediately repugnant to the notion of a 
necessary Being, as well as of an absolutely perfect, which hath 
been argued from it. We might moreover add, that upon 
the same supposition God might truly be said to have made a 
creature greater than himself, (for such this universe apparently 
were,) and that he can make one (as they must confess who deny 
him not to be omnipotent) most unconceivably greater than 
this universe now is. Nothing therefore seems more manifest 
than that God is immense, or (as we may express it) extrinsi- 
cally infinite, with respect to place ; as well as intrinsically, 
in respect to the plenitude of his being and perfection. Only 
it may be requisite to consider briefly what is said against it 
by the otherwise minded, that pretend not to deny his infinity 
in that other sense. Wherein that this discourse swell not 
beyond just bounds, their strength, namely, of argument, (for it 
will not be so seasonable here to discuss with them the texts of 
scripture wont to be insisted on in this matter,) shall be viewed 
as it is collected and gathered up in one of them. 

IV. And that shall be, Curcellams, * who gives it as suc- 
cinctly and fully as any I have met with of that sort of men. 
The doctrine itself we may take from him thus. On the negative 
part, by way of denial of what we have been hitherto asserting, 
he says, " The foundation," (that is, of a. distinction of Ma- 
resius's to which he is relying, for so occasionally comes in the 
discourse,) « namely, the infinity of the divine essence, is not 
so firm as is commonly thought." And that therefore it may 
be thought less firm, he thinks fit to cast a slur upon it, by 
making it the doctrine of the Stoics, exprest by Virgil, 
Jovis omnia plena — all things are full of Jupiter; (as 
if it must needs be false, because Virgil said it, though I 
could tell, if it were worth the while, where Virgil speaks 
more agreeably to his sense than ours, according to which he 
might as well have interpreted this passage, as divers texts of 

* De Vocibus Trinit. &c. 


scripture ; and then his authority might have been, of some 
value ;) and by Lucan, who helps, it seems, to disgrace and 
spoil it ; Jupiter est quodeunque vides, quoeunque moveris 
— Jupiter is, whatever you see and wherever you g'o. He 
might, if he had a mind to make it thought Paganish, have 
quoted a good many more, but then there might have been 
some danger it should pass for a common notion. Next, he 
quotes some passages of the Fathers that import dislike of it, 
about which we need not concern ourselves ; for the question 
is not what this or that man thought. And then, for the posi- 
tive account of his own judgment in the case, having cited di- 
vers texts out of the Bible that seemed as he apprehended to 
make against him, he would have us believe, that these all 
speak rather of God's providence and power by which he con- 
cerns himself in all our works, words, and thoughts, whereso- 
ever we live, than of the absolute infinity of his essence. 
And afterwards, * That God is by his essence in the supreme 
heaven, where he inhabits the inaccessible light, but thence he 
sends out for himself a spirit, or a certain force, whither he 
pleases, by which he is truly present, and works there. 

But we proceed to his reasons, which he saith are not to be 
contemned. We shall therefore not contemn them so far, as 
not to take notice of them ; which trouble also the reader may 
please to be at, and afterward do as he think fit. 

First, That no difference can be conceived between God and 
creatures, if God, as they commonly speak, be wholly, in 
every point, or do fill all the points of the universe with his 
whole essence : for so whatsoever at all is, will be God himself. 

Anszo. And that is most marvellous, that the in-being of one 
thing in another must needs take away all their difference, and 
confound them each with other ; -which sure would much 
rather argue them distinct. For certainly it cannot, without 

* Unto which purpose speaks at large VoUcclius de vera Relig. Quia enim 
Dei & potentia & sapientia ad res omnes extenditur, uti & potestas sivc 
imperium; ideo ubique prasens, omniaque numine suo complere dicitun, 
&c. — Because the power and wisdom of God extend to all things, as also 
his authority or dominion; therefore he is said to be everywhere present, 
and to fill all things with his divinity. /. 1. c. 97- Slichtingius Artie, de 
fiho Dei. Ad Ps. 139. 6, 7. Nee loquitur David de spiritu sancto, qui 
peculiaris quidem Dei spiritus est, sed de spiritu Dei simpliciter. Nee 
dicit spiritum istum ubique re esse sed tantum docet nullum esse locum, 
ad quern is nequeat pertingere, &c— Nor does David speak of the Holy 
Spirit, but of the Spirit of God simply. Nor does he say that that Spirit 
is really everywhere, but only informs us there is noplace to which it can- 
not extend. So also F. Socin. Smalcius. And {though not altogether so eic- 
pressly as the rest) Vontius, Crellius, #c. 


great impropriety, be said that any thing is in itself: and is 
both the container and contained. How were these thoughts 
in his mind ? And these very notions which he opposes to each 
other, so as not to be Confounded with his mind, and conse- 
quently with one another ? So that it is a great wonder he was 
not of both opinions at once. And how did he think his soul 
to be in his body, which, though substantially united with it, 
(and that is somewhat more, as we will suppose he knew was 
commonly held, that to be intimately present,) was not yet the 
same thing ? However, himself acknowledges the power and 
providence of God to be every where : and then at least every 
thing must, it seems, be the very power and providence of 
God. But he thought, it may be, only of confuting the words 
of Lucan, and chastising his poetic liberty. And if he would 
have been at the pains to turn all their strains and raptures 
into propositions, and so have gravely fallen to confuting them, 
he might perhaps have found as proper an exercise for his 
logic as this. As for his talk of a whole, whereof we acknow- 
ledge no parts, (as if he imagined the divine essence to be com- 
pounded of such, he should have said so, and have proved it,) 
it is an absurd scheme of speech, which may be left to him, 
and them that use it, to make their best of. 

Secondly, No Idolatry can be committed, if there be not the 
least point to be found, that is not wholly full of Avhole God : 
for whithersoever worship shall be directed, it shall be directed 
to God himself, who will be no less there than in heaven. 

Answ. This proceeds upon the supposition that the former 
would be granted as soon as it should be heard, as a self-evi- 
dent principle, that whatsoever is in another, is that in which 
it is; and so his consequence were most undeniable. But 
though we acknowledge God to be in every thing, yet so to 
worship him in anything, as if his essential presence were 
confined thereto, while it ought to be conceived of as immense, 
this is idolatry : and therefore they who so conceive of it, as 
confined, (or tied in any respect, wherein he hath not so tied it 
himself, )are^oncerned to beware of running upon this rock. 

Thirdly, Nor can the opinion of fanatics be solidly refuted, 
who call themselves spiritual, when they determine God to be 
all in all ; to do not only good but evil things, because he is 
to be accounted to be essentially in all the atoms of the world, 
in whole ; and as a common soul, by which all the parts of the 
universe do act. 

Answ. We may in time make trial whether they can be re- 
futed or no, or whether any solid ground will be left for it ; at 
this time it will suffice to say, that though he be present every 


where as a necessary Being, yet he acts as a free cause, and 
according as his wisdom, his good pleasure, his holiness and 
justice do guide his action. 

Fourthly, So God will be equally present with the wicked, 
and with the holy and godly, with the damned in hell, and 
devils, as with the blessed in heaven, or Christ himself. 

Ansio. So he will, in respect of his essential presence. How 
he is otherwise (distinguishingly enough) present in his temple, 
we shall have occasion hereafter to shew. 

Fifthly, That I say not how shameful it is to think, that 
the most pure and holy God should be as much in the most 
misty places as in heaven, &c. (I forbear to recite the rest of 
this uncleanly argument, which is strong in nothing but ill sa- 
vour.) But for 

Answ. How strange a notion was this of holiness, by which 
it is set in opposition to corporeal filthiness ! As if a holy man 
should lose or very much blemish his sanctity, by a casual 
fall into a puddle. Indeed, if sense must give us measures of 
God, and every thing must be reckoned an offence to him that 
is so to it, we shall soon frame to ourselves a God altogether 
such a one as ourselves. The Epicureans themselves would 
have been ashamed to reason or conceive thus of God, who 
tell us the Divine Being is as little capable of receiving a stroke, 
as the inane ; and surely (in proportion) of any sensible of- 
fence. We might as well suppose him in danger, as Dr. More 
(in his Dialogues) fitly expresses it, to be hurt with a thorn, 
as offended with an ill smell. 

^ r e have then enough to assure us of God's absolute im- 
mensity and omnipresence, and nothing of that value against 
it as ought to shake our belief herein.. And surely the consi- 
deration of this, added to the other of his perfections, (and 
which tends so directly to facilitate and strengthen our per- 
suasion concerning the rest,) may render us assuredly certain, 
that we shall find him a conversable Being ; *if we seriously 
apply ourselves to converse with him, and will but allow him 
the liberty of that temple within us, whereof we are hereafter 
(with his leave and help) to treat more distinctly and at large. 













VOL. I. 



Shewing the inducement and general contents of this Second Part. The 
occasion of considering Spinosa, and a French writer who pretends to 
confute him. A specimen of the way and strength of the former's 
reasoning, as an introduction to a more distinct examination of such 
of his positions, as the design of this discourse was more directly con' 
cerned in. 

TT is not worth the while to trouhle the reader with an account why 
-"- the progress of this work (begun many years ago, in a former Part) 
hath been so long delayed; or why it is now resumed. There are cases 
wherein things too little for public notice, may be sufficient reasons to one's 
self: and such self-satisfaction is all that can be requisite, in a matter of 
no more importance than that circumstance only, of the time of sending 
abroad a discourse, of such a nature and subject, as that if it can be use- 
ful at any time, will be so at all times. The business of the present dis- 
course, is religion; which is not the concern of an age only, or of this 
or that time, but of all times; and which, in respect of its grounds 
and basis, is eternal, and can never cease or vary. But if in its use and 
exercise it do at any time more visibly languish, by attempts against its 
foundations, an endeavour to establish them, if it be not altogether unfit 
to serve that purpose, will not be liable to be blamed as unseasonable. 
Every one will understand, that a design further to establish the grounds 
of religion, can have no other meaning, than only to represent their 
stability unshaken by any attempts upon them ; that being all that is either 
possible in this case, or needful. Nothing more is possible: for if there 
be not already, in the nature of things, a sufficient foundation of reli- 
gion, it is now too late; for their course and order cannot begin again. 
Nor is any thing, besides such a representation, needful : for have the 
adventures of daring wits (as they are fond of being thought) altered the 
nature of things ? Or hath their mere breath thrown the world off from its 
ancient basis, and new-moulded the universe, so as to make things be after 
the way of their own hearts ? Or have they prevailed upon themselves, 
firmly to believe things are as they would wish ? 

One would be ashamed to be of that sort of creature, called Man, and 
count it an unsufferable reproach to be long unresolved, Whether there. 


ought to be such a thing in the world as religion, yea, or no. What ever 
came on it, or whatsoever I did or did not besides, I would drive this 
business to an issue; I would never endure to be long in suspense about 
so weighty and important a question. But if I inclined to the negative, 
I would rest in nothing short of the plainest demonstration : for I am to 
dispute against mankind ; and eternity hangs upon it. If I misjudge, 1 run 
counter to the common sentiments of all the world, and I am lost for ever. 
The opposers of it have nothing but inclination to oppose to it, with a bold 
jest now and then. But if I consider the unrefuted demonstrations brought 
for it, with the consequences, religion is the last thing in all the world upon 
which I would adventure to break a jest. And I would ask such as have 
attempted to argue against it, Have their strongest arguments conquered 
their fear? Have they no suspicion left, that the other side of the question 
may prove true ? They have done all they can, by often repeating their 
faint despairing wishes, and the mutterings of their hearts, " No God ! no 
God !" to make themselves believe there is none; when yet the restless toss- 
ings to and fro of their uneasy minds; their tasking and torturing that little 
residue of wit and common sense, which their riot hath left them, (the. 
excess of which latter, as well shews as causes the defect of the former,) to 
try every new method and scheme of atheism they hear of, implies their 
distrust of all; and their suspicion, that do what they can, things will still 
be as they were, that is, most adverse and unfavourable to that way of liv- 
ing, which however at a venture, they had before resolved on. There- 
fore, they find it necessary to continue their contrivances, how more ef- 
fectually to disburden themselves of any obligation to be religious; and 
hope, at least, some or other great wit may reach further than their own ; 
and that either by some new model of thoughts, or by not thinking, it may 
be possible at length to argue or wink the Deity into nothing, and all 
religion out of the world. 

And we are really to do the age that right, as to acknowledge, the ge- 
nius of it aims at more consistency and agreement with itself, and more 
cleverly to reconcile notions with common practice, than heretofore. 
Men seem to be grown weary of the old dull way of practising all manner 
of lewdnesses, and pretending to repent of them ; to sin, and say they are 
sorry for it. The running this long-beaten circular tract of doing and 
repenting the same things, looks ridiculously, and they begin to be ashamed 
of it. A less interrupted and more progressive course in their licen- 
tious ways, looks braver ; and they count it more plausible to disbelieve 
this world to have any ruler at all, than to suppose it to have such a one 
as they can cheat and mock with so easy and ludicrous a repentance, or 
reconcile to their wickedness, only by calling themselves wicked, while 
they still mean to continue so. And perhaps of any other repentance they 
have not heard much ; or if they have, they count it a more heroical, or 
feel it an easier thing to laugh away the fear of any future account or 
punishment, than to endure the severities of a serious repentance, and a 
regular life. Nor can they, however, think the torments of any hell so 
little tolerable as those of a sober and pious life upon earth. And for their 
happening to prove everlasting, they think they may run the hazard of 
that. For as they can make a sufficient shift to secure themselves from 
the latter sort of torments, so they believe the champions of their caus? 
have taken sufficient care to secure them from the former. 


As religion bath its gospel and evangelists, so hath atheism and irre- 
ligion too. There are tidings of peace sent to such as shall repent and 
turn to God : and there have been those appointed, whose business it 
should be to publish and expound them to the world. This also is the 
method for carrying on the design of irreligion. Doctrines are invented 
to make men fearless, and believe they need no repentance. And some 
have taken the part to assert and defend such doctrines, to evangelize the 
world, and cry " peace, peace," to men, upon these horrid terms. And 
these undertake for the common herd, encourage them to indulge them- 
selves all manner of liberty, while they watch for them, and guard the 
coasts: and no faith was ever more implicit or resigned, than the infi- 
delity and disbelief of the more unthinking sort of these men. They 
reckon it is not every one's part to think. It is enough for the most to 
be boldly wicked, and credit their common cause, by an open contempt 
of God and religion. The other warrant them safe, and confidently tell 
them they may securely disbelieve all that ever hath been said, to make 
a religious regular life be thought necessary; as only invented frauds of 
sour and ill-natured men, that envy to mankind the felicity whereof their 
nature hath made them capable, and which their own odd preternatural 
humour makes them neglect and censure. 

And for these defenders of the atheistical cause, it being their part and 
province to cut off* the aids of reason from religion, to make it seem an 
irrational and a ridiculous thing, and to warrant and justify the disuse 
and contempt of it, and as it were, to cover the siege, wherewith the 
common rout have begirt the temple of God; they have had less leisure 
themselves, to debauch and wallow in more grossly sensual impurities. 
Herewith the thinking part did less agree: and they might perhaps count 
it a greater thing to make debauchees than to be such, and reckon it 
was glory enough to them to head and lead on the numerous throng, 
and pleasure enough to see them they had so thoroughly disciplined to 
the service, throw dirt and squibs at the sacred pile, the dwelling of 
God among men on earth, and cry, "Down with it even to the ground." 
Nor for this sort of men, whose business was only to be done by noise and 
clamour, or by jest and laughter, we could think them no more fit to be 
discoursed with than a whirlwind, or an ignis fatuus. But for such as have 
assumed to themselves the confidence to pretend to reason, it was not fit 
they should have cause to think themselves neglected. Considering, 
therefore, that if the existence of a Deity were fully proved, (that is, 
such as must be the fit object of religion, or of the honour of a temple,) 
all the little cavils against it must signify nothing, (because the same 
thing cannot be both true and false,) we have in the former part of 
this discourse, endeavoured to assert so much in an argumentative way. 
And therefore first laid down such a notion of God, as even atheists 
themselves, while they deny him to exist, cannot but grant to be the 
true notion of the thing they deny; namely, summarily, that he can be 
no other than a being absolutely perfect. And thereupon next proceeded 
to evince the existence of such a being. And whereas this might have been 
attempted in another method, as was noted Part 1. Ch. 1. by concluding 
the existence of such a being first from the idea of it, which (as a fundamental 
perfection) involves existence; yea, and necessity of existence, most appa? 
rently in it. Because that was clamoured at as sophistical and captious, 


(though very firm unslidingsteps might,with caution, be taken in that way,*) 
yet we rather chose the other as plainer, more upon the square, more easily 
intelligible and convictive, and less liable to exception in any kind; that 
is, rather to begin at the bottom, and rise from necessity of existence, to 
absolute perfection, than to begin at the top, and prove downward, from 
absolute perfection, necessity of existence. 

Now, if it do appear from what hath been said concerning the nature 
of necessary, self-existing being, that it cannot but be absolutely perfect, 
even as it is such, since nothing is more evident than that some being or 
other doth exist necessarily, or of itself, our point is gained without more 
ado: that is, we have an object of religion, or one to whom a temple 
duly belongs. We thereupon used some endeavour to make that good, 
and secure that more compendious way to our end ; as may be seen in 
the former Part. Which was endeavoured as it was a nearer and more 
expeditious course ; not that the main cause of religion did depend upon 
the immediate and self-evident reciprocal connexion of the terms, ne- 
cessary existence, and absolute perfection, as we shall see hereafter in the 
following discourse : but because there are other hypotheses, that pro- 
ceed either upon the denial of any necessary being that is absolutely per- 
fect, or upon the assertion of some necessary being that is not absolutely 
perfect; it hence appears requisite, to undertake the examination of 
what is said to either of these purposes, and to shew with how little pre- 
tence a necessary most perfect being is denied, or any such imperfect ne« 
cess a ry being, is either asserted or imagined. 

We shall therefore in this Second Part, First, take into consideration 
what is (with equal absurdity and impiety) asserted by one author, of the 
identity of all substance, of the impossibility of one substance being pro- 
duced by another, and consequently of one necessary self-existing be- 
ing, pretended with gross self-repugnancy, to be endued with infinite per- 
fections, but really represented the common receptacle of all imaginable 
imperfection and confusion. — Next, what is asserted by another in avow- 
ed opposition to him, of a necessary self-existent being, that is at the same 
time said to be essentially imperfect. — Then we shall recapitulate what 
had been discoursed in the former Part, for proof of such a necessarily 
existent and absolutely perfect being, as is there asserted. — Thence we 
shall proceed to shew how reasonably scripture testimony is to be relied 
upon, in reference to some things concerning God, and the religion of 
his temple, which either are not so clearly demonstrable, or not at all 
discoverable the rational wav. — And shall lastly shew how it hath comfr 
to pass, if God be such as he hath been represented, so capable of a 
temple with man, so apt and inclined to inhabit such a one, that he 
should ever not do so; or how such a temple should ever cease, or be un- 
inhabited and desolate, that the known way of its restitution may be the 
more rcgardable and marvellous in our eyes. 

The authors against whom we are to be concerned, are Benedictus Spinosa, 
a Jew, and an anonymous French writer, who pretends to confute him. 
And the better to prepare our way, we shall go on to preface something con- 
cerning the former, namely, Spinosa, whose scheme, (as it is laid down in his 

* As by the excellent Dr. Cud worth, in his Intellectual System, we find 
it done. 


posthumous Ethicks,) though with great pretence of devotion, it acknow- 
Ledgesa Deity, yet so confounds this his fictitious Deity with every sub- 
stantial being in the world besides, that upon the whole it appears alto- 
gether inconsistent with any rational exercise or sentiment of religion at 
aJL And indeed, the mere pointing with the finger at the most discerni- 
ble and absurd weakness of some of his principal supports, might be 
*ufficient to overturn his whole fabric; though perhaps he thought 
the fraudulent artifice of contriving it geometrically must confound all 
the world, and make men think it not liable to be attacked in any part. 

But whether it can, or no, we shall make some present trial ; and for 
a previous essay, (to shew that he is not invulnerable, and that his scales 
do not more closely cohere, than those of his brother-leviathan,) do but 
compare his definition of an attribute. * " That which the understand- 
ing perceives of substance; as constituting the essence thereof" with 
his fifth Proposition, " There cannot be two, or more substances of the. 
same nature, or attribute," which is as much as to say that two sub- 
tances cannot be one and the same substance. For the attribute of any 
substance (saith he) constitutes its essence ; whereas the essence there- 
fore of one thing, cannot be the essence of another thing, if such an 
attribute be the essence of one substance, it cannot be the essence of 
another substance. A rare discovery ! and which needed mathematical 
demonstration! Well, and what now? Nothing it is true can be 
plainer, if by the same attribute or nature, he means numerically the 
same; it only signifies one thing is not another thing. But if he mean 
there cannot be two things or substances, of the same special or general 
nature, he hath his whole business yet to do, which how he does, we shall 
see in time. 

But now compare herewith his definition of what he thinks fit to 
dignify with the sacred name of God, t "By God (saith he) I under- 
stand a being absolutely infinite ; that is, a substance consisting of in. 
finite attributes, every one whereof expresses an infinite essence." And 
behold the admirable agreement ! how amicably his definition of an at- 
tribute, and that mentioned proposition, accord with this definition (as he 
calls it) of God ! There cannot be two substances, he saith, that have the 
same attribute, that is, the same essence. But now it seems the same sub- 
stance may have infinite attributes, that is, infinite essences ! O yes, very 
conveniently : for, he tells you that two attributes really distinct, we cannot 
conclude do constitute two divers substances. J And why do they not ? 
Because it belongs to the nature of substance, that each of its attributes be 
conceived by itself, &c Let us consider his assertion, and his reason for it. 
He determines, you see, two really distinct attributes do not constitute 
two divers substances. You must not here take any other men's notion of 
an attribute, according to which, there may be accidental attributes, that, 
we are sure, would not infer diversity of substances for their subjects ; or, 
there may be also essential ones, that only flow from the essence ot the 
thing to which they belong ; so, too, nobody doubts one thing may have 
many properties. But we must take his own notion of an attribute, ac- 
cording whereto it constitutes, or (which is all one) is, that very essence. 
Now will not such attributes as these, being really distinct, make di- 

* Ethic. Part 1. Def. 4. t Definit. 6. J Schol. in Prop. 10. 

264 A' PREFACE. 

vers substances ? Surely what things are essentially diverse, must be 
concluded to be most diverse. But these attributes are by himself sup- 
posed to be really distinct, and to constitute (which is to be) the essence 
of the substance. And how is that one thing, or one substance, which 
hath many essences? If the essence of a thing be that, by which it is what 
it is, surely the plurality of essences must make a plurality of things. 

But it may be said, Cannot one thing be compounded of two or more 
things essentially diverse, as the soul and body of a man ; whence there- 
fore, the same thing, namely, a man, will have two essences? This is 
true, but impertinent. For the very notion of composition signifies these 
are two things united, not identified, that are capable of being again 
separated ; and that the third thing, which results from them both united, 
contains them still distinct from one another, not the same. 

But it may be said, though these attributes are acknowledged and as- 
serted to be distinct from one another, they are yet found in one and th« 
same substance common to them all. And this no more ought to be 
reckoned repugnant to common reason, than the philosophy heretofore 
in credit, which taught that the vast diversity of forms throughout the 
universe, which were counted so many distinct essences, do yet all reside 
in the same first matter, as the common receptacle of them all. 

Nor yet cloth this salve the business, were that philosophy ever so sure 
and sacred. For you must consider he asserts an attribute is that which 
constitutes the essence of the substance in which it is. But that philoso- 
phy never taught the forms lodged in the same common matter were its 
essence, though they were supposed to essentiate the composite/, which 
resulted from their union therewith. Yea, it did teach they were so 
little the essence of that common matter, that they might be expelled 
out of it, and succeeded by new ones, and yet the matter which received 
them still remain the same. But that an attribute should be supposed to 
he the essence of the substance to which it belongs ; and that another 
superadded attribute, which is also the essence of substance, should not 
make another substance essentially distinct, is an assertion as repugnant 
to common sense, as two and two make not four. But that which com- 
pletes the jest, (though a tremendous one upon so awful a subject,) is, 
that this author should so gravely tell the world, they who are not of his 
Sentiment, being ignorant of the causes of things, confound all things ; 
imagine trees and men speaking alike, confound the divine nature with 
the human, &c. * Who would imagine this to be the complaining voice 
of one so industriously labouring to mingle heaven and earth ! and to 
make God, and men, and beasts, and stones, and trees, all one and the 
same individual substance ! 

And now let us consider the reason of that assertion of his ; f why two 
attributes really distinct, do not constitute two beings, or two distinct 
substances ; because, saith he, it is of the nature of substance that each of 
its attributes be conceived by itself, &c. A marvellous reason ! Divers 
attributes, each whereof, as before, constitutes the essence of substance, 
do not make divers substances ; because those attributes may be con- 
ceived apart from each other, and are not produced by one another. It 
was too plain to need a proof, (as was observed before,) that there cannot 

* Schol. S. in Prop. .8. Part l. f Schol. in Prop. 10. 


be two substances of one attribute, or of one essence, (as bis notion of an 
attribute is,) that is, two are not one. But that two attributes or essences 
of substance, cannot make two substances, because they are diverse, is 
very surprisingly strange. This was (as Cicero upon as good an occasion 
speaks) not to consider but cast lots what to say. And it deserves obser- 
vation too, how well this assertion, " That two distinct attributes do not 
constitute two distinct substances," agrees with that,* "Two substances 
having divers attributes, have nothing common between them.'' This 
must certainly suppose the diversity of attributes to make the greatest 
diversity of substances imaginable; when they admit not there should be 
any thing (not the least thing r) common between them ! And yet they 
make not distinct substances ! 

But this was only to make way for what was to follow, the overthrow of 
the creation. A thing he was so over intent upon, that in the heat of his 
zeal and haste, he makes all fly asunder before him, and overturns even 
bis own batteries as fast as he raises them; says and unsays, does and un- 
does, at all adventures. Here two substances are supposed having distinct 
attributes, that is, distinct essences, to have therefore nothing common be- 
tween them; and yet presently after, though two, or ever so many distinct 
attributes, give unto substance two, or ever so many distinct essences, yet 
they shall not be so much as two, but one only. For to the query put by 
himself, By what sign one may discern the diversity of substances? he 
roundly answers, (Schol. in Prop. 10.) The following propositions would 
shew there was no other substance but one, and that one infinite, and 
therefore how substances were to be diversified would be inquired in vain. 
Indeed, it would be in vain, if knowing them to have different essences, 
we must not yet call them different substances. But how the following 
propositions do shew there can be no more than one substance, we shall 
see in time. We shall for the present take leave of him, until we meet 
bim again in the following discourse. 

* Prop. <?. 

VOL. I. 2 H 





Wherein is shewn, I. The destructiveness of Spinosa's scheme and design 
to religion and the temple of God. II. The repugnancy of his doctrine 
to this assertion — That whatsoever exists necessarily and of itself, is 
absolutely perfect; which is therefore further weighed. III. His v*rm 
attempt to prove what hedesigns: also his second proposition considered. 
IV. His definition of a substance defective; and proves not his pur- 
pose. V. His third, fourth, fifth, and sixth propositions considered. 
VI. His fourth axiom examined. VII. His seventh and eighth pro- 
positions ; his eighth Scholia. VIII. His inconsistency with himself, 
and with reason and religion. IX. The manuductio ad pantosophiam— 
A guide to all kinds of wisdom. X. Concluding remarks. 

HITHERTO we have discoursed only of the Owner of 
this temple, and shewn to whom it rightfully belongs ; 
namely, That there is one only necessary, self-existing, and 
most absolutely-perfect Being, the glorious and ever-blessed 
God — who is capable of our converse, and inclined thereto j 
whom we are to conceive as justly claiming a temple with us, 
and ready, upon our willing surrender, to erect in us, or 
repair such a one, make it habitable, to inhabit and replenish 
it with his holy and most delectable presence, and converse 
with us therein suitably to himself and us ; that is, to his own 
excellency and fulness, and to our indigency and wretched- 
ness. And now the order of discourse would lead us to behold 
the sacred structure rising, and view the surprising methods 
by which it is brought about, that any such thing should have 
place in such a world as this. But we must yield to stay, and 
be detained a little by some things of greater importance than 
merely the more even shape and order of a discourse ; that is, 
looking back upon what hath been much insisted on in the 


former Pari — Tliat some being or other doth exist necessarily 
and of itself, which is of absolute or universal perfection — 
and taking notice of the opposite sentiments of some hereto ; 
because the Avhole design of evincing an object of religion 
would manifestly be much served hereby, we could not but 
reckon it of great importance to consider what is said against 
it. We have observed in the Preface a two-fold opposite hy- 
pothesis, which therefore, before we go further in the discourse 
of this temple of God, require to be discussed. 

I. The first is that of Spinosa, which he hath more ex- 
pressly stated, and undertaken with great pomp and boast to 
demonstrate, in his Posthumous Ethicks ; which we shall 
therefore so far consider, as doth concern our present design. 
He there, as hath been noted in the Preface, asserts all " sub- 
stance to be self-existent, and to be infinite ; that one substance 
is improducible by another ; that there is but one, and this one 
he calls God, &c." Now this horrid scheme of his, though he and 
his followers would cheat the world with names, and with a spe- 
cious shew of piety, is as directly levelled against all religion, 
as any the most avowed atheism : for, as to religion, it is all one 
whether we make nothing to be God, or every thing ; whether we 
allow of no God to be worshipped, or leave none to worship him. 
His portentous attempt to identify and deify all substance, at- 
tended with that strange pair of attributes, extension and 
lfious:kt, (and an infinite number of others besides,) hath a 
manifest design to throw religion out of the world that way. 

II. And it. most directly opposes the notion of a self-existent 
Being, which is absolutely perfect : for such a being must be 
a substance, if it be any thing ; and he allows no substance but 
one, and therefore none to be perfect, unless all be so. And 
since we are sure some is imperfect, it will be consequent there 
is none absolutely perfect ; for that the same should be imper- 
fect, and absolutely perfect, is impossible. Besides, that he 
makes it no way possible to one substance to produce another, 
and what is so impotent must be very imperfect : yea, and 
whatsoever is not omnipotent, is evidently not absolutely per- 
fect. We are therefore cast upon reconsidering this proposition 
— Whatsoever being exists necessarily and of itself, is absolutely 
perfect. It is true that if any being be evinced to exist necessarily 
and of itself, which is absolutely perfect, this gives us an ob- 
ject of religion, and throws Spinosa's farrago, his confused 
heap and jumble of self-existent being, into nothing. But 
if we carry the universal proposition as it is laid down, though 


that will oblige us afterwards as Avell to confute his French 
confuter, as him ; it carries the cause of religion with much the 
greater clearness, and with evident, unexceptionable self-con- 
sistency. For indeed that being cannot be understood to be 
absolutely perfect, which doth not eminently comprehend the 
entire fulness of all being in itself; as that must be a heap of 
imperfection, an everlasting chaos, an impossible, self-repug- 
nant medley, that should be pretended to contain all the va- 
rieties, the diversifications, compositions, and mixtures of 
things in itself formally. And for the universal proposition: 
the matter itself requires not an immediate, self-evident, re- 
ciprocal connexion of the terms — necessarily self-existent, and 
absolutely perfect. — It is enough that it however be brought 
about by gradual steps, in a way that at length cannot fail ; 
and I conceive hath been in the method that Avas followed in 
the former Part. 

For, to bring the business now within as narrow a compass 
as is possible : nothing is more evident than that some being 
exists necessarily, or of itself; otherwise nothing at all could 
now exist. Again, for the same reason, there is some neces- 
sary or self-existent being that is the cause of whatsoever be- 
ing exists not of itself ; oilier wise, nothing of that kind could 
ever come into being. Now that necessary being, which is 
the cause of all other being, will most manifestly appear to be 
absolutely perfect. For, if it be universally causative of all 
other being, it must both have been the actual cause of all be- 
ing that doth actually exist, and can only be the possible cause 
of all that is possible to exist. Now so universal a cause can 
l)e no other than an absolutely or universally perfect being. 
For it could be the cause of nothing, which it did not virtually 
or formally comprehend in itself. And that being which com- 
prehends in itself all perfection, both actual and possible, must 
be absolutely or universally perfect. And such a being, as hath 
also further more particularly been made apparent, must be an 
intelligent and a designing agent, or cause ; because, upon the 
whole universe of produced beings, there are most manifest cha- 
racters of design, in the passive sense ; that is, of their having 
been designed to serve ends to which they have so direct and 
constant an aptitude: so that the attempt to make it be believed 
they were forced or fell into that posture of subserviency to such 
and such ends, by any pretended necessity upon their prin- 
cipal cause or causes, or by mere casualty, looks like the most 
ludicrous trifling to any man of sense. For among produced be- 


ings there are found to be many, that are themselves actively 
designing, and that do understanding! y intend and pursue ends ; 
and consequently that they themselves must partake of an in- 
telligent, spiritual nature, since mere matter is most manifest- 
ly incapable of thought or design* And also, by the most 
evident, consequence, that their productive cause, (namely, 
the necessary, self-existing being, whereto till other things 
owe themselves,) must be a mind or spirit, inasmuch as to sup- 
pose any effect to have any thing more of excellency in it than 
the cause from whence it proceeded, is to suppose all that ex- 
cellency to be effected without a cause, or to have arisen of 
itself out of nothing. See former Part, Chap. III. Sect. VII. 
Page IU. 

Therefore if it did not immediately appear that necessary 
being, as such, is absolutely perfect being ; yet, by this series 
of discourse, it appears that the main cause of religion is still 
safe ; inasmuch as that necessary being which is the cause of 
all things else, is hoAvever evinced to be an absolutely perfect 
Being, and particularly a necessary self-existent Mind or Spirit, 
which is therefore a .most apparently fit and most deserving 
object of religion, or of the honour of a temple ; which is the 
sum of what we were concerned for. Nor did we need to be 
solicitous, but that the unity or onliness of the necessary Be- 
ing, would afterwards be made appear, as also we think it 
was. For since the whole universe of produced being must 
arise out of that which was necessary self-existent Being, it 
must therefore comprehend all being in itself, its own formally, 
and eminently all other ; that is, what was its own, being 
formally its own, must be eminently also all being else, con- 
tained in all possible simplicity, within the productive power 
of its own. This Being therefore containing in itself all that 
exists necessarily, Avith the poAver of producing all the rest, 
which together make up all being, can primarily be but one, 
inasmuch as there can be but one all. Upon the Avholc there- 
fore, our general proposition is sufficiently evident, and out 
of question — That Avhatever exists necessarily, and of itself, is 
absolutely perfect. Nor is it at all incongruous that this matter 
should be thus argued out, by such a train and deduction of con- 
sequences, drawn from effects, that come under our present no- 
tice ; for Iioav come Ave to knoAV that there is any self-existing 
Being at all, but that Ave find there is somewhat in being that is 
subject to continual mutation, and which therefore exists not 
necessarily, (for Avhatsoever is AYhat it is necessarily, can never 


change, or be oilier than what it is,) but must be caused by 
that which is necessary and self-existent. Nothing- could be 
more reasonable or more certain than the deduction from what 
appears of excellency and perfection in such being as is 
caused; of the correspondent, and far-transcendent excellency 
and perfection of its cause. But yet, after all this, if one set 
himself attentively to consider, there must appear so near a con- 
nexion between the very things themselves, self-existence, and 
absolute perfection, that it can be no easy matter to conceive 
them separately. 

Self-existence ! Into how profound an abyss is a man cast 
at the thought of it ! How doth it overwhelm and swallow up 
his mind and whole soul ! Willi what satisfaction and delight 
must he see himself comprehended, of what he finds he can 
never comprehend ! For contemplating the self-existent Be- 
ing, he finds it eternally, necessarily, never-not existing! 
He can have no thought of the self-existing Being, as such, 
(Des Cartes,) but as always existing, as having existed always, 
as always certain to exist. Inquiring into the spring and 
source of this Being's existence, Whence is it that it doth 
exist? His own notion of a self-existing Being, which is not 
arbitrarily taken up, but which the reason of things hath im- 
posed upon him, gives him his answer ; and it can be no 
other, in that it is a self-existent Being, it hath it of itself, that 
it doth exist. It is an eternal, everlasting, spring and foun- 
tain of perpetually-existent being to itself. What a glorious 
excellency of being is this! What can this mean, but the 
greatest remoteness from nothing that is possible ; that is, the 
most absolute fulness and plenitude of all being and perfection ? 
And whereas all caused being, as such, is, to every man's 
understanding, confined within certain limits : what can the 
uncaused self-existent Being be, but most unlimited, infinite, 
all-comprehending, and most absolutely perfect ? Nothing 
therefore can be more evident, titan that the self-existent Being 
must be the absolutely perfect Being. 

.And again, if you simply convert the terms, and let this 
be the proposition, — That the absolutely-perfect Being is the 
self-existent Being — it is most obvious to every one, that the 
very notion of an absolutely-perfect Being carries necessity of 
existence, or self-existence, in it ; which the notion of nothing 
else doth. And indeed one great Master (Dr. More) of this 
argument for the existence of God, hath himself told me, 
" That though wfeen lie had puzzled divers atheists with it 
they had been wont to quarrel at it, as sophistical and falla- 


cious, he could never meet with any that could detect the so- 
phism, or tell where any fallacy in it lay ; and that, upon the 
whole, he relied upon if, as most solid and firm.'" And I 
doubt not but it may be managed with that advantage as to be 
very clearly concluding ; yet, because I reckoned the way I 
have taken more clear, I chose it rather. But finding that so 
near cognation and reciprocal connexion between the terms 
both ways, I reckoned this short representation hereof, an- 
nexed to the larger course of evincing the same thing, might 
add no unuseful strength to it ; and doubt not to conclude, 
upon the whole, that — whatsoever Being exists necessarily, 
and of itself, is absolutely perfect — and can, therefore, be no 
other than an intelligent Being ; that is, an infinite, eternal Mind, 
and so a most fit, and the only fit deserving object of religion, 
or of the honour of a temple. 

III. But now, be all this ever so plain, it will, by some, be 
thought all false, if they find any man to have contrivance 
enough to devise some contrary scheme of things, and con- 
fidence enough to pretend to prove it ; until that proof be 
detected of weakness and vanity, which must first be our fur- 
ther business -with Spinosa. And not intending to examine 
particularly the several parts and junctures of his model, inas- 
much as I find his whole design is lost, if he fail of evincing 
these things, — That it belongs to all substance, as such, to 
exist of itself, and be infinite — And, (which will be sufficiently 
consequent hereupon,) That substance is but one, and that it 
is impossible tor one substance to produce another. I shall 
only attend to what he more directly says to this elfect, 
and shall particularly apply myself to consider such of his 
propositions as more immediately respect this his main design : 
for they will bring us back to the definitions and axioms, or 
other parts of his discourse, whereon those are grounded, and 
even into all the darker and more pernicious recesses of his la- 
byrinth ; so as every thing of importance to the mentioned pur- 
pose will be drawn under our considevation, as this thread shall 
lead us. 

His first proposition we let pass ; 6i That a substance is, in 
order of nature, before its affections;" having nothing ap- 
plicable to his purpose in it, which we shall not otherwise 
meet with. 

His second, " That two substances, having divers attributes, 
have nothing common between them ;" or, which must be 
all one, do agree in nothing, I conceive it will be no great 
presumption to deny. And since he is pleased herein to be 


divided from himself, it is a civility to his later and wiser self 
to do so, who will afterwards have substance, having a multi* 
tude of distinct attributes j that is, essences, (Schol. in Prop* 
10.) and which therefore cannot but be manifold, to have 
every thing common. So little Kath he common with him* 

And it will increase the obligation upon him, to deliver him 
from the entanglement of his demonstration, as he calls it, of 
this proposition ; as I hope we shall also of the other too, for 
no doubt they are both false. Of this proposition his de- 
monstration is fetched from his third definition, namely, of a 
substance, " That which is in itself, and conceived by itself; 
that is, whose conception needs the conception of nothing else, 
whereby it ought to be formed ;" so is his definition defined 
over and over* 

IV. We are here to inquire t — Into his definition of a sub- 
stance : and, Whether it sufficiently prove his proposition. 

First, For his definition of a substance. He himself tells 
us, (Schol. in Prop. 8.) " A definition ought to express no- 
thing but the simple nature of the thing defined ;" and we may 
ajs well expect it distinctly to express that. Doth this defini- 
tion express the simple nature of a substance, U That which is 
in itself," when it is left to divination what is meant by is 9 
whether essence, or existence, or subsistence ? And when we 
are to be at as random a guess, what is intended by being in, 
itself? Whether being only contained, or being also sustain- 
ed in, and by, or of itself? And supposing this latter to be 
meant, whether that self-subsistence exclude dependence only 
on another, as a subject^ which we acknowledge true of all 
substance ; or dependence as on an efficient, which if he will 
have to be taken for true of all, he was in reason to expect it 
should be so taken from his effectual proof, not from the re- 
verence of his authority only t for what he adds, " And that 
is conceived by itself; and whose conception needs not the 
conception of any other thing by which it ought to be form- 
ed ;" — would he have us believe this to be true, when afterward 
his tenth proposition is, "-" That every attribute of substance 
ought to be conceived by itself?' 1 Whereupon then so many 
attributes, so many substances, it being the nature of a substance 
to be conceived by itself* But passing from his notion of a 
substance, let us consider, 

Second///, How it proves his proposition, that u Two sub- 
stances, having different attributes, have nothing common be- 
tween them," According to him, every attribute of substance 

vol. i, 2 n 


is to be conceived by itself; and yet have one and the same 
substance common to them all : therefore the distinct concep- 
tion of things is, even with him, no reason why they should 
have nothing common between them. But as to the thing it- 
self, he must have somewhat more enforcing than his defini- 
tion of a substance, to prove that two (or many) individual sub- 
stances may not have the same special nature common to them, 
and yet be conceived by themselves ; having different individual 
natures or attributes, or different special natures, having the 
same general nature. Yea, and an equal dependence on the 
same common cause, which is a less ingredient in the concep- 
tion of a thing, than the general or special nature is. And 1 
doubt not, we shall find he hath not disproved, but that there 
is somewhat, in a true sense, common to them and their cause, 
that is of a conception much more vastly different from them 

V. Whereupon, it is necessary to take distinct notice of 
his third proposition, " What things have nothing common 
between them, of them the one cannot be the cause of the 
other." In which nothing is to be peculiarly animadverted 
on, besides the contradiction in the very terms wherein it is 
proposed, What things have nothing common between them. 
How can they be things, and have nothing common between 
them ? If they be things, they have sure the general notion 
of things common to them ; there can therefore be no such 
things, that have nothing common. And let this be supposed 
to have been absurdly set down on purpose ; yet now, for his 
demonstration hereof, it rests upon a palpable falsehood — that 
causes and effects must be mutually understood by one another ; 
as we shall see more hereafter. 

His fourth proposition we let pass ; what it hath regardable 
in it, being as fitly to be considered under the fifth ; " There 
cannot be two or more substances, in the whole universe, of 
the same nature or attribute j" unto which, besides what hath 
been said already, we need only here to add, that (whereas 
he hath told us, by the attribute of a substance, he means the 
essence of it) if he here speak of the same numerical essence or 
attribute, it is ridiculously true ; and is no more than if he 
had said, One thing is but one thing. If he speak of the same 
special or general attribute or essence, it is as absurdly false ; 
and for the proof of it, in the latter sense his demonstration 
signifies nothing. There may be more than one (as a stone, a 
tree, an animal) that agree in the same general attribute of 
corporeity, and axe diversified by their special attributes ; and 


there may be many of the same special attribute, (namely, of 
rationality,) as John, Peter, Thomas, &c. that are distin- 
guished by their individual ones. He might as well prove, 
by the same method, the identity of his modi, as oC substan- 
ces ; as that there can be but one individual triangle in all the 
world, of one attribute or property, as but one substance- 
Let (for instance) one at Park, another at Vienna, a third at 
Rome, a fourth at London, describe each an equilateral tri- 
angle of the same dimensions, or in a thousand places besides ; 
each one of these do only make one and the same numerical 
triangle, because they have each the same attribute. But 
how are the attributes of these several triangles the same ? 
What ! the same numerically ? Then indeed they are all the 
same numerical triangle ; for one and the same numerical es- 
sence makes but one and the same numerical thing. But who 
that is in his right wits would say so ? And if it be only said 
they have all attributes of one and the same kind, what 
then is consequent, but that they are all triangles of one kind ? 
Which who in his right wits will deny ? And if the attribute 
of a substance be that which constitutes its essence, the attri- 
bute of any thing else is that which constitutes its essence. See 
then how far Spinosa hath advanced with his demonstration 
of the identity of substance ! If he prove not all substance to 
be numerically the same, he hath done nothing to his purpose. 
And it is now obvious to every eye how effectually he hath 
done that. 

Whence also it is further equally evident, that his demon* 
stration dwindles into nothing ; and gives no support to his 
sixth proposition, which contains the malignity of his whole 
design, namely, " That one substance cannot be produced 
by another substance," which rests (as you see) partly upon 
the fifth, " That there cannot be two substances of the same 
attribute," which in his sense is, as hath been shewn, most 
absurdly false, and the attempt of proving it as absurd ; part- 
ly upon his second, ll That two substances, of different attri- 
butes, have nothing common between them," which might be 
said of whatsoever else, as truly as of substances ; but which 
is also most evidently untrue ; and partly, upon his third, 
<£ That such things as have nothing common between them, 
the one of them cannot be the cause of the other," which de- 
pends upon two false suppositions, — " That there can be two 
things, which have nothing common between them ;" which, 
as hath been noted, contradicts itself, and needs not be further 
stood upon. And-r- u That whatsoever things are cause and 


effect, the one to the other, must be mutually understood by 
one another," which we shall here more distinctly consider, 
it being also his second demonstration of the corollary of this 
his sixth proposition, (which nothing but a disposition to trifle, 
or having- nothing to say, could have made him mention, as a 
corollary from this proposition, it being in effect but a repeti- 
tion of the same thing,) namely, u That if one substance can be 
produced by another, (agent, or substance, which you please,) 
the knowledge of it must depend upon the knowledge of its 
cause, (by the fourth axiom, )and thereupon (by definition third) 
it should not be a substance." 

VI. We are here to examin this hi fourth axiom, ii That 
the knowledge of an effect depends upon the knowledge of its 
cause, and doth involve it." An effect may be considered two 
ways ; absolutely, as it is in itself, or relatively, as it is the effect 
of an efficient cause. It cannot, it is true, be understood to be the 
effect of such an efficient, but the knowledge that this was its ef- 
ficient, is involved therein ; for it is the same thing, and so much 
maybe known, without knowing any thing of the nature of 
either the efficient or effect. But this signifies nothing to his pur- 
pose. He must therefore mean, that the knowledge of an effect 
absolutely considered, and in its own nature, depends upon and 
involves the knowledge of the nature of its efficient. Surely, 
the nature of a thing may be competently known by its true 
definition. But is the efficient cause, wont to be universally 
put into definitions? He tells us himself (Scholium second upon 
proposition eighth) u A true definition contains, or expresses, 
nothing, besides the mere nature of the tiling defined." And 
let any man that thinks it worth it, be at the pains to examine 
his own definitions in the several parts of this ethico-geometri- 
cal tract, and see whether he always puts the efficient cause 
into every definition. And (no doubt) he thought himself to 
define accurately. If all other men, who have so generally 
reckoned the efficient and end, external causes, and only mat- 
ter and form internal, and ingredient into the nature of things, 
and therefore only fit to be put into definitions, were thought 
by him mistaken and out in their reckoning, it was however 
neither modest nor wise, to lay down for an axiom, a thing so 
contrary to the common sentiment .of mankind ; and, without 
the least attempt to prove it, go about to demonstrate by it, in 
so portentous a cause ; and lay the whole weight of his horrid 
cause upon it ; expecting all the world should be awed info an 
assent, by the authority of his bare word ; and not presume 
to, disbelieve or doubt it, only because he is pleased to stamp the 


magisterial name of an axiom upon it. Jf therefore any man 
assume the boldness to deny his axiom, what is become of his 
demonstration ? And whereas it is commonly apprehended, 
that definitions are not of individual things, but of special 
kinds, and is acknowledged by himself, {Prop. 21.) — " That 
the essence of things produced by God, involves not existence, 
and the production of a thing is nothing else but the putting 
it into actual existence ;" why may not the abstract essmce, 
or nature of things, be well enough conceived and defined, 
without involving the conception of their productive cause ? 
And this enough shews, also, That this definition of a sub- 
stance proves not, that one substance cannot be produced by 
another : namely, u That which can be conceived by itself," 
for so it may, without involving the conception of that which 
produces it ; and so be a substance sufficiently according to 
his definition. Though there can be no inconvenience in ad- 
mitting, that things understood apart, by themselves, may 
be afterwards further and more clearly understood, by con- 
sidering- and comparing them in the habitudes and references 
which they bear as causes and effects (or otherwise) to one 

VII. And now is his seventh proposition, " That it belongs 
to the nature of substance to exist." Which is so great a pil- 
lar, left itself without support > and being understood of sub- 
stance as such, as his terms and design require it to be, it is 
manifestly impious, communicating the most fundamental at- 
tribute of the Deity, to all substance. And it is as little be- 
friended by reason, as it be-friends religion ; for it rests upon 
nothing but the foregoing baffled proposition : and this de- 
finition, (5.) of that which is its own cause ; which is, « That 
whose essence involves existence, or which cannot be con? 
ceived otherwise than as existing ;" whereas, it is sufficiently 
plain, we have a conception clear enough of the general na- 
ture of a substance as such, abstracted from existence, or noiir 
existence, conceiving it only to be such, as if it exist, doth 
subsist in and by itself, that is, without having a subject to 
support it; though it maybe such as to have needed a pro- 
ductive, and continually to need a sustaining efficient cause. 
Nor is there less clearness in this abstract conception of a sub- 
stance, than there is in that of a modus, or accident, which 
we may conceive in an equal abstraction, from actual existence, 
or non-existence ; understanding it to be such, as ihat if it 
exist, it doth inexisf, or exist only in another. And now is 
our way sufficiently prepared to the consideration of his eighth. 


proposition ; u That all substance is necessarily infinite." And 
liow is it demonstrated ? Why, by his fifth proposition, — 
** That there can t>e but one substance, of one and the same at- 
tribute,'" — which hath been sufficiently unravelled and exposed, 
60 as not to be left capable of signifying any thing here, as the 
reader "will see by looking back to what hath been said upon 
it. And now it must quite sink; its next reliance failing if, 
namely, the foregoing seventh proposition, — " That it belongs 
to it, to exist necessarily." I grant the consequence to be 
good, and reckon it a truth of great evidence and concern- 
ment, " That whatsoever exists necessarily, is infinite." I 
heartily congratulate Spinosa's acknowledgment of so very 
clear and important an assertion ; and do hope, as in the fore- 
going discourse I liaye made some, to make further good use 
of it. But for what he assumes, that all " substance neces- 
sarily exists ;" you see it rests upon nothing, and so conse- 
quently doth what he would conclude from it, that all sub- 
stance is infinite. And his further proof of it avails as little, 
namely, that it cannot be finite ; because (by his second de- 
finition^ if it be so, it must be limited by something of the same 
nature, &c. Which would be absurd by proposition fifth, — i 
*• That there cannot be two substances of the same attribute :" 
for that there be two, of the same individual attribute, to bound 
one another is unnecessary (as well as impossible) and absurd- 
ly supposed for this purpose. For if there were two of the 
same individual nature and attribute, they would not bound 
one another, but run into one ; inasmuch as having but one 
attribute, the}' should, according to him, have but one and 
the same essence ; and so be mr>st entirely one, and that there 
cannot be two, or many times two, of the same special or ge- 
neral nature, is unproved ; and the contrary most evident, as 
maybe seen, in what hath been said upon that fifth proposition, 
No man needs wish an easier task, than it would be to shew 
the falsehood or impcrtinency of his Scholia upon this pro- 
position, and of his following discourse, to the purpose above 
mentioned. But I reckon it unnecessary, his principal sup- 
ports being (I will not say overthrown, but) discovered to be 
none at all. I shall therefore follow his footsteps no fur- 
ther, only take notice of some few things that have a more 
direct aspect upon his main design, and make all the haste 1 
can to take leave of him, that I may be at liberty to pursue 
my own. What is in his first Scholium follows, he says, only 
upon his seventh proposition, which itself follows upon no- 
thing; and therefore, I further regar it not. His second 


Scholium would have his seventh proposition pass for a com- 
mon notion ; and so it will, when he hath inspired all man- 
kind with his sentiments. But why must it do so ? Because 
substance is that which is in itself, and is conceived by itself? 
.Now compare that with his tenth proposition, — " Every attri- 
bute of substance ought to be conceived by itself." There the 
definition of substance, is given to every attribute of snbstance ; 
therefore, every attribute of substance is a substance, since 
the definition of substance (def. 3.) to which he refers hs in 
the demonstration of that proposition, agrees to it ; therefore, 
so many attributes, so many substances. What can be plain- 
er ? We have then his one substance multiplied into an in- 
finite number of substances. By his sixth definition, we shall 
see his own confession of this consequence, by and by. 

And whereas in this Scholium he would make us believe, 
that modifications, men may conceive as not existing, but 
substances they cannot. Let the reason of this assigned dif- 
ference be considered ; u That by substance tiiey must un- 
derstand that which is in itself, and is conceived by itself, its 
knowledge not needing the knowledge of another thing. But 
by modifications they are to understand that which is in another, 
and whose conception is formed by the conception of that 
thing in which they are : wherefore, we can have true ideas 
of not-existing modifications, inasmuch as though they may 
not actually exist, otherwise than in the understanding, yet 
their essence is so comprehended in another, that they may 
be conceived by the same. But the truth of substances is not 
otherwise without the understanding, than in themselves, be- 
cause they are conceived by themselves, &c." Which reason 
is evidently no reason. For with the same clearness, where- 
with I conceive a substance, whensoever it exists, as existing 
in itself; I conceive a modification, whensoever it exists, as exist- 
ing in another. If therefore, any thing existing in another, be 
as truly existing, as existing in itself, the existence of a sub- 
stance is no more necessary, than the existence of a modifica- 
tion. And if we can have true ideas of not-existing modifica- 
tions, we may have as true, of not-existing substances : 
especially since (according to him) we cannot conceive of sub- 
stance, without conceiving in it some or other modification. 
For he tells us, ** The essence of modifications is so compre- 
hended in another, that they may be conceived by the same." 
Now, what means he by the essence of modifications being 
comprehended in another ? By that other, he must mean 
substance : for modifications do modify substances ; or nothing ; 


and if the essences of modifications be contained in substances, 
they must (according to him) be contained in the essence of 

For there is, saith Iie^ nothing in nature, besides substance? 
and their affections or modifications (demonstration of pro- 
position fourth, and definition fifth). Therefore, since nothing 
can be conceived in substance, antecedent to these modifica- 
tions, besides its own naked essence, they must be contained 
immediately, in the very essence of substance, or in substance 
itself ; wherefore, if all substance be necessarily existent, they 
must be necessarily inexistent. .And if the essence of sub- 
stance contains the inexisting modi, the essence of the modi 
doth equally contain their inexistence in substance. Where- 
upon, by consequence also, the essence of these modifications, 
doth as much involve existence (since no one can affirm, in- 
existence to be existence) as the essence of substance doth, 
in direct contradiction to proposition twenty-fourth, which ex- 
pressly (and most truly) says, " The essence of things produced 
by God 5 ' (which he, as untruly, intends of these modifications 
alone) " do not involve existence." 

And now for his not undo in this Scholium by which he would 
conclude, that there is no other than this one infinite substance 
in being, p. 31. It is true indeed, that the definition of a 
thing (which we have before said is of specific natures, not of 
individuals) expresses not any certain number of existing in* 
dividuals (be it man, or triangle, or what else you please) nor 
any at all. For surely the definition of man, or triangle, 
would be the same, if every individual of each^ should be 
abolished and cease. But that, if any do exist, some cause 
must be assignable why they exist, and why so many only* 
What is to be inferred from this ? That the reason being the 
same, as to every substance whose essence involves not ex- 
istence in it, (which that the essence of every substance doth, 
or of substance as such, he hath not proved, nor ever can,) 
when any such substance is found to exist, the cause of its 
existence, not being in its own nature, must be external. And 
therefore, so many only do exist, because a free agent, ablo 
to produce them, (for the very substance of created beings itself, 
owes not its production to a merely natural, undesigning, or to 
any subordinate agent only,) was pleased to produce so many, 
and no more. And so hath this unhappy author himself, with 
great pains and sweat, reasoned out for us the very thing wc 

JJut that it may bo further seen, how incurious a writer this 


man of demonstration is, and how fatally, white he Is design- 
ing the overthrow of religion, he overthrows his own design, 
I shall not let pass what he says, in demonstrating his twelfth 
proposition, — " That no attribute of substance can be truly 
conceived, from which it may follow, tliat substance can be 
divided." How he proves it by proposition eighth, and after by 
the sixth, I shall not regard, until I see those propositions 
better proved i But that which I at present remark, is his ar- 
gument from proposition fifth, — " That if substance could be 
divided, each part must consist of a different attribute; and 
so of one substance many might be constituted." A fair con- 
fession, that many attributes will constitute many substances. 
And himself acknowledges many attributes of substance, (de- 
finition sixth, and proposition eleventh.) And therefore, though 
he here call this an absurdity, it is an absurdity which he hath in- 
evitably now fastened upon himself, having here allowed, plain- 
ly, the consequence (as was above promised to be shewn) that if 
there be diversity of attributes, they will constitute a diversity of 
substances, which it was before impossible to him to disallow ^ 
having defined an attribute (as was formerly noted) to be (def. 4.) 
that which constitutes the essence of substance. Therefore, his 
whole cause is here fairly given away ; for his one substance 
is now scattered into many, and the pretended impossibility of 
the creation of any substantial being, quite vanished into thin 
and empty air. The many inconsistencies to be noted also in his 
annexed letters, with several parts of his discourse, it is not my 
business particularly to reflect on. It is enough, to my pur- 
pose, to have shewn that he comes short of hu. 

VIII. Upon the whole, little more seems needful for the re- 
futation of this his horrid doctrine of the unity, self-existence, 
and infinity of all substance, than only to oppose Spinosa to 
Spinosa. Nor have I ever met with a discourse so equally in- 
consistent with all principles of reason and religion, and 
with itself. And so frequently doth he overthrow his own ill 
design, in this very discourse, that it is altogether unnecessary 
to insist on the inconsistencies of this, with his demonstrations 
of Des Cartes's principles, written divers years before. Against 
which, every one that hath compared, knows these his later 
sentiments to import so manifest hostility, that I may well spare 
that vain and useless labour, it being sufficient only to note the 
more principal, in the margin. * 

* As his asserting Cod to be a most simple being, and that his attri- 
butes do only differ, ratione. Whereas now, he mal.es his attributes as 
VOL, i. 2o 


His following propositions (and among them those most sur- 
prising ones, the sixteenth and twenty-eighth) tend to evince 
the onliness of substance, and the absolute necessity of all 
actions ; but upon grounds so plainly already discovered to 
be vain and false, that we need follow aim no further. Nor is 
it necessary to disprove his hypothesis, or charge it with the 
many absurdities that belong to it, they are so horrid and 
notorious, that to any one who is not in love with absurdity for 
itself, it will abundantly suffice to have shewn he hath not 
proved it. 

JX. I cannot but, in the mean time, take some notice of the 
genius, which seems to have inspired both him, and his devo- 
tees. A fraudulent pretence to religion, while they conspire 
against it. Whereof many instances might be given ; as the 
prefixing that text of holy Scripture to so impure a volume, 
on the title page, I John 4. 13. a By this we know that we dwell 
in God, and God dwelleth in us, because he hath given us of 
his Spirit." That the preface to his posthumous works is 
filled up with quotations out of the Bible ; which it is their 
whole design to make signify nothing. The divine authority 
whereof, an anonymous defender of his, in that part of his 
work which he entitles, Specimen artis ratiocinandi, natura- 
lis Sr artificialis ad pantosophiai principia 7nanuducens — A 
specimen of the art of reasoning, natural and artificial, con- 
ducting to the principles of all hinds of wisdom— undertakes to 
demonstrate (because, as he says, all religion depends upon 
the word of God) by an argument, which, he says, he can 
glory, that after many years meditation, the divine grace fa- 
vouring him, he hath found out, by which he tells us, (p. 
24 J, &c.) he is able (to do what, that he knows, no man hath 
ever done before him) to demonstrate naturally the truth of 
the sacred Scripture, that is, That it is the word of God. An 
argument, he says, able to convince the most pertinacious 
Pagan, &c. And it is taken from the idea of God, compared 
with that divine saying, Exod. 3. 14. " 1 am that lam." 
Whereupon, what he says, will to any one who attentively 
reads shew his design, namely, at once to expose religion, and 
hide himself. And so doth his collusion sufficiently appear in 

divers', as extension and thought, and says, they ought to be conceived a? 
really distinct. Scholia in Proposition .tenth. There he asserts all things to 
be created by God, here, nothing. There he makes corporeal substance 
divisible; here, all substance indivisible, &c. And yet in this work 
(vide Scholia in proposition nineteenth) refers us to the former, as if, whets 
the one destroys the other, both were firm. 


making the soul philosophically mortal, and Christ ianly im- 
mortal, p. 70, &c. But if the Philosopher perish for ever, 
what will become of the Christian ? 

This author also finds great fault with tire instances usually 
given to exemplify the common definition of substance, That 
?$, a being subsisting bj/ itself, or in itself, (Manudud, p. 
11, 12.) because he thought them not agreeable enough to his 
master Spinosa\s notion of the unity and identity of all sub- 
stances, and consequently of the improducibility of any. And 
he fancies them to contradict themselves, that while they call 
the sun, the moon, the earth, this or that tree, or stone, sub- 
stances, they yet admit them to be produced by another. For 
how can it be, saith he, that they should be in, or by them- 
selves, and yet depend on another, as on a subject, or as an 
efficient cause ? He is very angry, and says they by it do but 
crucify and mock their readers, only because it crosses and 
disappoints his and his master's impious purpose of deifying 
every substance. And therefore, to serve that purpose as he 
fancies the belter, he would more aplly model all things and 
reduce them to two distinct kinds only, namely, Of things 
that may be conceived primarily and in themselves, without 
involving the conception of another ; and again, of things that 
we conceive not primarily and in themselves, but secondarily 
and by another, whose conception is involved in their concep- 
tion. But all the while, what is there in this, more than what is 
common and acknowledged on all hands ? as the sense of the 
trivial distich he takes the pains to recite, 

Summus Aristoteles, &c. 

But when all this is granted, what is he nearer his mark ? 
Of that former sort, still some are from another ; and one 
other only of and from itself. But then (says he) how are 
those former conceived in and by themselves ? Well enough, 
say I ■ for they are to be conceived, as tiiey are to be defined ; 
but the definition of a thing is to express only its own nature 
and essence (as Spinosa himself says Scholium second, in pro- 
position eighth) considered apart by itself, into which (as 
hath been said) the efficient cause, which is extrinsical to it, 
enters not; and without considering whether it exist or exist 
not. Because definitions are of special kinds, or common na- 
tures, that exist not as such ; not of existing individuals, ex- 
cept the one, only self-subsisting, original Being, of whose 
essenco existence is ; which Spinosa himself acknowledges, 
and makes his twentieth proposition ; as on the other hand 


that "The essence of things produced by God involves not ex- 
istence" is his twenty-fourth. 

X. But thai the substance of things, whose essence involves 
existence, and whose essence involves it not, should be one 
and t he same, exceeds all wonder ! One would think, so vast- 
ly different essences of substance should at least make different 
•substances ; and that when Spinosa hath told us so expressly, 
that an " attribute of substance constitutes the essence of sub-? 
stance • and that all the attributes of substance are distinctly 
conceived ; the conception of the one, not involving the con-; 
cepfion of another;" and so do most really differ from 
each oth r, and make so many essences therefore, of sub- 
stance really distinct, (though he once thought otherwise of 
the divine attributes, that they did only differ from each other 
ratione, and that God was a most simple Being, which he also 
takes pains to prove, K. D. Cartes. Princip. Philos. Append, 
part. 2d. Cap. 5. p. 117, 118.) one would surely hereupon 
think, that so vastly different attributes, as necessary existence, 
and contingent, should constitute the most different substances 
imaginable. For what is an attribute ? Id quod intellectus de 
substantia percipit, tanquam ejus essentiam constituens — That 
which the understanding perceives concerning' a substance as 
constituting its essence. (Jlefinition fourth.) Noav the essence 
of some substance the understanding most clearly perceives 
as involving existence in it. Existence therefore constitutes 
the essence of such substance, and is therefore an attribute 
of it. Some other essence it as clearly perceives, that in- 
volves not existence. Now this sort of essence is the attribute 
of somewhat. And of what is it the attribute ? Why, he hath 
told us, "An attribute is what the understanding perceives of 
substance as constituting its essence ;" therefore, some sub- 
stance hath such an essence as involves not existence. 

Now let it hereupon be considered (albeit that I affect not to 
give high titles to any reasonings of mine) whether this amount 
not to a demonstration against the hypothesis of Spinosa, and 
the rest of his way, that all substance is self-existent; and 
that, even upon their own principles and concessions, so fre- 
quently acknowledging the world to be produced, and not self-. 
existent, that even the substance of it is produced also ; which 
they deny, namely, (Manudiict. p. 107.) That whose essence 
this unnamed author says, includes not existence, either hath 
some substance belonging! io its essence, or it hath not. If 
not, it may exist without substance; and then unto what is it 
an attribute, or what iloih it modify ? If yea, there is then 


some substance, and particularly that of this world, in whose 
essence, existence is not included ; and that by consequence, 
the substance of this world is produced. But if any make a 
difficulty of it to understand, how all being and perfection 
should be included in tlie Divine Being, and not be very God ; 
so much is already said to this in the former Part of this dis- 
course, (namely, Chap. 4. Sect. Ill, &c.) that as I shall not 
here repeat what hath been said, so 1 think it unnecessary to 
say more. 

And it is what Spinosa himself had once such sobriety of 
mind as to apprehend, when(Prineip. R. D, Cart. Philosoph. 
moreGeometr. demonstrat. Append, Part 1. Cap. §.) he says 
thus of God, or of increate substance, that God doth emi- 
nently contain that which is found formally in created things, 
that is, God hath that in his own nature, in which all created 
things are contained in a more eminent manner ; and that there 
is some attribute in God, wherein all the perfections, even of 
matter, are after a more excellent manner themselves contain- 
ed. Having before told us, (Princip. Part 1. Axiom. 8.) That 
by eminently, he understood when a cause did contain all the 
reality of its effect more perfectly, than the effect itself; by 
formally, when it contained it in equal perfection. And so he 
might have told himself of somewhat sufficiently common 
(though not uni vocally) to the substance of the Divine Nature, 
and that of creatures ; whereon to found the causality of the 
former, in reference to the latter, as effected thereby. But 
as he grew older, his understanding either became less clear ? 
pr Avas more perverted by ill design. 


J, Animadversions upon a French writer, nameless. If. His pretence to 
confute Spinosa: and the opinion of the world's being made of inde- 
pendent self-existing matter; chosen by him and asserted against two 
other opinions. III. The opinion of matters being created out of no- 
thing, and charged (falsely) by him with novelty. IV. Moses, and the 
author to the Hebrews misalleged, vindicated. V. Self-originate, in- 
dependent matter disproved : asserted by this author with evident self- 
contradiction; and without necessity. 

J. 13 UT having here done with him and that sort of men, I 
Jt) shall now briefly consider the forementioned author's 


way of confuting him. The conceit, that there must be such 
a thing as necessary self- subsisting matter, hath I confess 
seemed to be favoured by some or other name among the Eth- 
nics of that value, as to have given some countenance to a bet- 
ter cause ; besides some others, who wi'h greater incongruity, 
and more injury to it, have professed the Christian name. It 
Lath been of late espoused, and asserted more expressly, by 
this French gentleman, who hath not thought fit to dignify it 
with his name, doubting perhaps whether the acquainting 
the world with it, might not more discredit his cause, than his 
cause (in this part of it) could better the reputation of his 
name. However it be, though my inquiry and credible irw 
formation hath not left me ignorant, I shall not give him oc- 
casion to think himself uncivilly treated, by divulging what; 
he seem6 willing should be a secret. For though it was not 
intrusted to me as such, I shall be loath to disoblige him by 
that, whereby that I know 1 can oblige nobody else. It is 
enough that his book may be known by its title, Ij ' Impie con- 
xuincu. It is professedly written against the atheism of Spino- 
sa. And when I first looked into it, I could not refrain think- 
ing of Plato'* repartee to Diogenes, when the latter undertook 
to reprehend the other's pride, that he did it with greater pride. 
Although I think not the application is- to be made in the 
strictest terms. For I will neither be so indulgent to Spinosa, 
as to reckon that any man's atheism can be greater than his ; 
nor so severe to this his adversary, as positively to conclude 
he designed the service of any atheism at all. IJut I think 
him at least, unwarily and without any necessity, to have 
quitted one of the principal supports of the doctrine of a Deity ; 
and that he hath undertaken the confutation of atheism, upon a 
ground that leads to atheism. 

11. He thinks, it seems, Spinosa not otherwise confutable, 
than upon the hypothesis of eternal, independent matter, 
which he thus explains in his preface, it being the second 
of the three distinct hypotheses whereof he there gives an ac- 

The second,* he says, is theirs who assert two beings or 
two substances increate, eternal, independent, as to their sim-< 
pie existence, though very differently ; the former whereof is 
God, the infinitely perfect Being, Almighty, the Principle of 
all perfection ; and the second, matter, a being essentially im- 
perfect, without power, without life, without knowledge ; but 

* La seconde est celle de ceux qui, &c. Avertissement. 


capable nevertheless of all these perfections, by impression 
from God, and his operations upon it. This he, pretends to 
have been the hypothesis of the ancient philosophers and di- 
vines (after he had acknowledged the former hypothesis— 
*' That the world, and the matter of it, were drawn out of 
nothing by the infinite power of the first and supreme Being, 
which itself alone was eternal and independent," — was the hy- 
pothesis of the greater part of Christian divines, and philoso- 
phers.) And this second, he says, is the hypothesis which 
lie shall follow, rejecting th6 first, but now mentioned ; and in 
opposition to the third, which makes the world and its produc- 
tion to be nothing else than an emanation of the Divine Sub- 
stance, whereby a part of itself is formed into a world. And 
this, he says, was the opinion of the ancient Gnostics and 
Priscillianists, and is for the most part of the Cabbalists, of the 
new Adamiles or the illuminated, and of an infinite number of 
Asiatic and Indian philosophers. 

III. To qualify the ill savour of that second opinion which 
he follows, he would have us believe it to be the more creditable, 
than the (rejected) first, which he says is a new tiling in the world, 
and that it was not born until some ages after Christ; which is 
gratis dictiun — spoken without proof. And whereas he tells us, 
he takes notice, that Tertullian was the first that maintained it 
against a Christian philosopher, who defended the eternal 
existence of matter : he had only reason to take notice, That 
the philosopher he mentions, was the first, that calling him- 
self a Christian, had the confidence to assert an opinion so re- 
pugnant to Christianity and to "all religion, and who there- 
fore first gave so considerable an occasion to one who was a 
Christian indeed, to confute it. Nor was Hermogenes a much 
more creditable name with the orthodox, ancient Christians, 
than those wherewith he graces the third opinion, besides the 
other ill company which might be assigned it, if that were a 
convictive way of fighting, by names. 

IV. And for what he adds. That Moses was, he dares say, of 
his opinion; because he only gives such an account of the 
creation, as that it was made of an unformed pre-existent mat- 
ter : and the apostle Paul to the Hebrews, saying, God drew 
these visible things out of those that were not visible. He 
shews indeed, more daringncss than solid judgment, in ven- 
turing to say the one or the other upon so slender ground. As 
if every thing were false, which Moses and Paul did not s;iy. 
But it appears rather from his way of quoting, (who, it is like. 


did not much concern himself to turn over the leaves of th£ 
Bible, that he might be sure to quote right,) that God did 
create that unformed matter, as he calls it. For it is expressly 
said, God created heaven, and earth, and that this earth (not 
matter) was without form, and void. Gem 1. 1, 2. And if this 
unformed earth and matter be, as with him It seems, all one, 
then the unformed matter is said to have been created. For God 
is said to have created that unformed earth ; which must indeed 
exist unformed.} previously to its being brought into form ; but 
not prior to all creation. And the same thing must be understood 
of the unformed heaven too, though Moses's design was to give 
us a more distinct account of what was nearer us, and wherein 
we were more concerned. And indeed, it seems most agreeable 
to the letter of the text$ and to the following history, so to un-* 
derstand those words ; " In the beginning God created heaven 
and earth, " namely ^ That in the beginning, he created that, 
which afterwards became heaven and earth, that is, unform* 
ed matter. For heaven and earth as now they are, or as they 
were in their formed stat.e$ were not created in a moment, in 
the very beginning ; but in several successive days, as the fol» 
lowing history shewSi And so much Tertullian aptly enough 
intimates to that Pseudo-christian Hermogenes, Terrte nomeii 
redigit in materiam.) &c- — The name of earth he reduces into 
matter, Sfbi Nor is Hob. Ih 3. capable of being tortured into 
any sense more favourable to his gross fancy, which (as the 
Greek tvxt y if any will consult it$ shews) doth not sayj The 
tilings that are seen were made of tilings not appearing, but 
were not made of things appearing. As to what he adds .touch- 
ing the word creer, &c. I let it pass, not liking to contend 
about words often promiscuously used. 

V". But shall apply myself to the consideration of the thing 
in question, and shew how inconsistently this author asserts 
independent matter, both with the truth and with himself; 
and also how unnecessarily he doth it, and that the defence of 
the common cause against Spinosa, did no way oblige him to it. 

First, How inconsistently he asserts it, 1. With the truth o£ 
the thing ; for, 

(1.) Whatsoever exists independently and necessarily, is 
infinite. And herein I must do Spinosa that right, as to ac-< 
knowledge he hath, in asserting it, done right to truth ; though 
the grounds upon which he asserts it, are most perniciously 
false. But I conceive it is capable of being clearly proved 
(and hath been proved, Part 1st.) otherwise, namely, that ne- 


cessary, self-originate Being, is the root and fountain of all 
bring, whether actual or possible ; since there is nothing* ac- 
tually brought in to being, which is not actually from it, and no- 
thing possible, but whose possibility depends upon it. And 
that which virtually comprehends all being, actual and pos- 
sible, cannot but be infinite. For without the compass of such 
all-comprehending Being, there is nothing to bound it. And 
what is bounded by nothing, is unbounded or infinite. Where- 
upon also, matter plainly appears not to be of itself. For if it 
Mere, for the same reason it must be infinite and all-compre- 
hending. But nothing were more apparently contradictious 
and sell-repugnant, than the assertion of two all-comprehend- 
ing beings ; and if there be but one, that matter is not that one. 
But that it must be a necessary, self-originate, intelligent 
Being, which is the root of all being, 1 conceive already suf- 
ficiently proved in (he former part of this discourse. Wherein 
it is also shewn, that finite created beings, arising from that 
infinite self-originate one, limit it not, nor do detract any thing 
from iiii infinity, but concur to evidence its infinity rather ; 
inasmuch as they could never have been, had they not been before 
contained within the productive power of that iucreate self-ori- 
ginate being. It is, by the way, to be noted that the notion of 
infinity we now intend, doth not merely import unconfinedness 
to this or that certain space, (though it include that too,) for 
that, alone, were a very maimed, defective notion of infinite- 
ness. But we understand by it the absolute all-comprehending 
profundity and plenitude of essence and perfection. Where- 
upon, it signifies nothing to the preserving entire the infinity 
of the self-originate, intelligent Being, only to suppose it such, 
as that it can permeate all the space that can be taken up by 
another (supposed) self-originate being. For still, since its 
essence were of itself, it were not virtually contained in the 
other. Which therefore would evince that other not to be in 
the true sense infinite. Whereupon we 

(2.) Prove the impossibility of independent, self-originate 
matter, from the known, agreed notion of God, namely. 
That he is a Being absolutely perfect, or comprehensive of all 
perfection. Even they that deny his existence, confess (though 
to the contradiction of themselves) this to be the notion of the 
thing they deny. Now, though this assertor of independent 
matter acknowledges it a being essentially imperfect, he can 
only mean by that, less perfect ; not that it hath, simply, no 
perfection at, all. It is idle trifling, to brangle about words. 
Perfection hath been wont to go for ah attribute of being. He 
vol. i. 2 i* 


calls it a being ; it must therefore have some perfection, some 
goodness, be of some value. Is it not better than nothing; ? 
Then, that perfection must be eminently contained in God ; 
otherwise, how is he a Being comprehensive of all perfection ? 
The imperfections of mailer belong not to him ; nor of any 
thing else. For imperfection is nothing : nor do the perfec- 
tions of any creature belong to him formally, or in the same 
Special kind, but eminently, and in a higher and more noble 
kind. And so, to have, all being and perfection, either for his 
own, or within his productive power, cannot, without contra- 
diction, be denied of him, who is confessed to be God. And 
again, to be able to create, is surely a perfection. Omnipo- 
tency, more a perfection than partial iinpotency. Where- 
fore to assert matter could not be created by God, is to assert 
an impotent, imperfect God. Or (since God can be conceived 
under no other notion than of a Being absolutely perfect) to 
assert none at all. 

(').) This supposition not only denies to God all perfection, 
but it ascribes to matter, which he himself confesses the meanest 
sort of being, (as shortly it will be fitter to take further notice,) 
the high excellency of self-subsistence, the first and most fun- 
damental of all divine perfections. 

(4.) If matter be, as such, an independent, self-originate 
thing, then every part or particle of matter must be so. And 
then, let such matter be supposed to fill up infinite space, we 
shall have an infinite number of independent entities, co-exist- 
ing for ever ; for a finite number cannot replenish infinite 
space : or let it be supposed (more agreeably to the pretended 
sentiments of this author) confined within the limits of the 
formed universe ; and how unreasonably is such a thing as 
independent matter, supposed to be of itself, limited to one 
spot of immense space ! For let the universe be supposed 
finite, though ever so vast, it must yet be conceived but as a 
minute spot, to the infinite unbounded vacuity that lies with- 
out it; and which yet he seems to acknowledge replenished 
with the Divine Being. Now let a man set himself to consider, 
and try how easy it will be to his thoughts to conceive one 
little portion of boundless space, taken up with a mean being, 
next to nothing, that is of itself there, and cannot but be 
there, and nowhere else, imposed upon the infinitely perfect 
Being ; the all-wise and almighty God, who fills up all space 
unavoidably and from all eternity, so that he could not, if 
he thought it a cumber, disencumber or rid himself of it ; and 
rather seemed of necessity, than of choice, to have made a 


world of it, as not knowing else what to do with it ; with which 
imagination also the youth of the world so ill agrees, for why 
then was it so lately made ? 

(5.) But it further seems very evident, and more fully evi- 
dential of the absurdity of this conceit, that if there were such 
matter, the world could never have been made of it. For 
how great alterations must such rude, undigested, unformed 
matter have undergone, in forming of such a world as this ? 
But what greater inconsistency can we imagine, than that 
what exists necessarily, or of itself, should be alterable ? 
What is of itself what it is, must be eternally and without 
change what it is. So absurd, as well as profane, it will be 
to ascribe to dull and senseless matter, or to any thing else, so 
peculiar and appropriate an attribute and name as that of 
the Deity, 7 am that I am. For, hereupon, such matter were 
not only supposed vainly and to no purpose, being never 
possible to be the matter of the world, but destructively, 
and against the very purpose that should be served by it. 
For such matter being supposed to occupy the space of the 
formed world, must exclude thence any other matter of which 
it could be formed ; and make it, consequently, impossible 
there should ever have been any such world as this, where the 
supposition itself makes it be. This see discoursed more at 
large, Part 1. Ch. 2. 

(6.) And whereas his great reason for such self-originate, in- 
dependent matter, namely, the imagined impossibility of crea- 
tion, or that any thing can be produced out of nothing, (which 
so far as is needful, we partly have, and further shall con- . 
sider, in its proper place,) doth as much oppose the creation 
of any spiritual being, as material. If all that hath been said 
in the former Part of this discourse, and by many authors be- 
sides, do sufficiently prove there are such spiritual or imma- 
terial beings that are created, or are not of themselves ; and 
that, of the property of thought, which is found belonging to 
them, matter is not capable, (which I shall think to have been 
done until I see the contrary evinced,) we must judge him 
very absurdly to have asserted such self-originate, indepen- 
dent matter. And as lie hath asserted it very inconsistently 
with the truth of the thing ; so 

2. It will appear he hath done it as little consistently with 
himself. For 

(1.) He acknowledges God to be Uelre infniment par- 
fait, tout puissant, 8c h principe de toute perfection — a 
Being- infinitely perfect, almighty, and the principle of all 


perfection. Now how is he infinitely perfect, if his being 
include not all perfection ? How is he almighty, if he cannot 
create ? How is he the fountain or principle of all perfec- 
tion, if the perfection of matter (which, as hath been said, 
though he make it essentially imperfect, must have some per- 
fection belonging to it, since it is not mere nothing) be not 
eminently comprehended in his being ? 

Besides that here acknowledging God to be omnipotent* 
and having denied the necessary, eternal, independent mat- 
ter, which he imagines to be infinite, but limited .and con- 
fined to the created universe only ; I would hereupon demand 
of him, Cannot the blessed God, if he please, create many 
worlds ? If he say, No, then how is he omnipotent? — If Yea, 
of what matter must they be made ? Not of his (imagined) 
necessary, independent matter, for of that really none could: 
but according to him the present universe is made : it is al- 
ready taken up, and pre-engaged therein, and it is limited 
thereto. Therefore the matter is yet to be created, of which 
the other worlds are to be made ; and it can be so, otherwise 
no more worlds can be made : and thereupon the great God is, 
not without blasphemy, said to have gone to the utmost of his 
power, to have done in this kind all that he can. And this 
must be said, by this author, in express contradiction to the 
truth of the thing, to the most common and agreed idea or 
notion of the Divine Being; and now, most apparently, to 
himself. And therefore his high rant against Spinosa, p. 47, 
48, (in this point more orthodox than himself,) That he con- 
founds in his philosophy being and perfection, Pretendant 
que, ce qui est, ft tie ten ferine aucune negation d'etre, est line 
perfection, S$c. — Pretending that whatsoever is, and includes 
not in its notion any negation of being, is a perfection, 8?c. is 
vain, and as much without cause, as what he afterwards says 
about it is without sense. For he adds, That for his part he finds 
nothing more false or extravagant ; and why so ? Because 
then pain and sorrow must be reckoned among perfections, 
and such real perfections as are worthy of God, or a Being 
infinitely perfect. And upon this, he triumphs over such 
men, as supplanters of the Deity, instead of defenders of so 
great a Being, and as having lost their senses and their reason, 
&c. But if he had not lost his own, and abandoned himself to 
that fury and rage of insolence which he there imputes to his 
opposers, he might have been capable of so much calm and 
sober consideration, as to have bethought himself, that among 
creatures, a sense of pain, real grief and sorrow, correspond- 



ent to their present, true causes, import more perfection, than 
stupidity, insensibleness, and apathy ; and if so, though 
pain and grief cannot formally agree to the most perfect be- 
ing of God, to -whom their causes cannot agree, that the life 
and pcrcipiency do eminently agree to him, by which he can 
apprehend an injury, though not a real hurt, (which he can 
therefore only not apprehend, not because the perceptive 
principle is wanting, but the object.) and by the power of im- 
parting whereof, he is able to make a creature capable of pain 
and grief, where the objects shall (as they may deservedly) 
occur, and meet the perceptive principle ; and that the power 
of making such a creature, is a greater perfection than an 
impotency of doing it. Which perfection, therefore, he could 
not, consistently with himself, deny to God, having acknow- 
ledged him a Being infinitely perfect, or comprehensive of all 

(2.) Nor doth he assert necessary increate matter, consistent- 
ly with his own reasonings for the possibility of a vacuum, 
(p. 110.) where he takes it for granted, that God can anean- 
ttr une petite partie de la matiere, 8pc. -^-annihilate some small 
particle of matter, one stone, for example, or one grain of 
sand. Which how ridiculously is it supposed, by one who 
supposes such matter necessarily self-existent ! For who sees 
not that necessity of existence, and impossibility of non-exist- 
ence, do infer one another, or signify rather the same thing. 
Therefore, no man, except Spinosa, could be at once more 
daring and more unhappy than this author. And as it hath 
thus appeared, that he hath asserted such self-originate, inde- 
pendent matter, very inconsistently both with the truth of the 
thing and with himself; so, 

Secondly, It will also appear he hath done it very unneces- 
sarily ; and particularly, without that necessity Avhich he pre- 
tends of answering Spinosa. For there is no necessity of it so 
much as pretended, upon any account besides that of the 
common maxim, that nothing can come out of nothing ; the 
sense whereof must first be inquired before it can be under- 
stood, how far it will serve his purpose, or infer the necessity 
of independent matter. The sense of it must either be this — 
That a being could never arise out of no-being, of itself, with- 
out a pre-existeht, creative cause ; which is most evidently 
true, but as evidently not to his purpose : or this — That what 
once was not, could never be produced into being by a pre- 
existent, omnipotent Cause : which were to his purpose, but 


is evidently, and by apparent self-contradiction, untrue.* And 
what can make it have so much as the least semblance of 
truth ? Either the authority of the maxim, or some plausible 
reason. For its authority : though (hat •which he claims to it 
of the ancient philosophers were little considerable, if ever 
so truly claimed, we have no ground to think it otherwise 
claimed than most untruly. Its authority, as he represents 
it, depends upon a worse authority. lie is so modest as to 
expect it to be believed, upon his bare word, that this was 
the opinion of all the ancient philosophers before Christ's 
time; while yet he thinks not fit to tell us his name. But if 
their reasonings from it be considered, that generations are 
out of matter, and corruptions are into matter, we have 
no cause to apprehend they understood it otherwise than 
that natural agents did neither create nor annihilate any 
thing. Besides that, there is positive ground enough to con- 
clude, that the more instructed and wiser Pagans, long before 
Christ's time, did believe all things to have sprang from one 
intelligent, self-subsisting original, matter itself not being 
excepted. As, with the Egyptians, the inscription of the tem- 
ple at Sais shews, " I am all that is, or was, or shall be, &c." 
and with the Grecians, their worshipping God, under the 
name of .Prt/z ; which could mean no other thing, than that 
they thought the Deity to comprehend eminently or virtually 
all being besides, in its creative or productive power. And 
we have reason to think that Pagan philosophers since Christ, 
such asHierocles, Jambliehus, Porphyry, Plotinus, &c. who 
(as others have observed) were manifestly of this sentiment, 
understood the minds of the more ancient philosophers as well 
as this French gentleman ; nor do they pretend to contradict 
them herein. 

And for the reason of the thing itself, he hath not the least 
appearance of any on his part, but that, because the finite power 
of a creature cannot bring a thing out of nothing, therefore 
omnipotency cannot; which is so far from concluding for 
him, that (as hath been intimated) it manifestly contradicts 
itself, and concludes the contrary. For how is that omnipo- 
tency, which cannot do every thing that implies not a contra- 
diction ? And how is that a contradiction, that what once was 
not, should afterwards come to be ? there being no objective 
impossibility or intrinsic repugnancy in the thing itself to exist, 

* Of this see at lar^e Dr. Cudworth's Intellectual System. 


but that it were truly ens possibile — a possible agent /(and we 
are out of doubt concerning matter for instance, or whatsoever 
else we are sure doth exist, that it could exist ;) and supposing 
also that there be a sufficient, causative power, to make it exist, 
or produce it into being : and what cause can be more suf- 
ficient than an omnipotent one, such as our author confesses 
God to be? Nor doth he deny that there are intelligent spirits, 
that were not of themselves; only he would have us think 
them but finer matter, impressed with intellectual power. But 
what akin is a mind to matter, except his own ? .And suppos- 
ing a mind or intellect be stamped upon matter, it is then 
but added to it, not drawn out of it, as if matter had before 
contained it. And even thus, since mind or intellect is not 
nothing, (unless he will say himself differs by nothing from 
unthinking clay,) we have something out of nothing. And who 
can think it more impossible to Oinnipotency, to create matter, 
than a mind ? 

But if he reckon thought, or intellect, is contained in mat- 
ter, or included in tlie notion of it, then matter, as such, must 
be intelligent, and consequently all matter ; and this will be 
absurdity enough, to give him as good a title to the privilege 
of not being reasoned against, as, from his magisterial way of 
writing, we may count Spinosa thought himself to have. Nor 
indeed will it leave any man so much as a conjecture at the 
reason why he should pretend to differ from him. For who 
can imagine, why his matter, endued with the attributes of ex- 
tension and thought, might not do as well as Spinosa's sub- 
stance ? 

Or if he think matter, as such, to have only seminal reason 
or intellect in it. antecedently to his supposed divine impress 
upon it, how will that agree with his v making it esseyitiellement 
imparfait — essrn/iaf/j/ imperfecta (Preface.) Or what means 
his added capable neanmoins, its being nevertheless capable 
of all such perfections by the impression of God upon it ? 
Is that capacity something, or nothing ? Or what sense is it to 
make it capable of having those perfections, which it is essential 
to it not to have ? 

And surely, as he will attribute to matter more perfec- 
tion than he intended, so he will attribute less to God. For 
he will, at. this rate, attribute no more to him, than hath been 
generally ascribed to ordinary natural agents ; that is, to pro- 
duce into actual being, out of matter, that whereto there was 
in it some seminal disposition before. 


And here, indeed, is the source of his error, his reducing 
infinite power to the measures of finite ; an insolent presuming 
to circumscribe Omnipotency, and making that simply im- 
possible even to Almightincss itself, which is only so to created, 
agents. And to this purpose, I find some reasonings in 
Sextus Empiricus, who tells us how the sceptics attempt to 
prove (besides their disputing against the other three sorts of 
causation) that ao-u^xlov — an incorporeal thing, cannot be «/]«» 
ci^x^. — the cause of any thing corporeal ; arguing (and slight- 
ly enough) from the common methods of subordinate agents, 
to the operations of the supreme Cause. Nor is it appre- 
hensible, how one can find a medium : or while they make 
matter independent, how not to make God dependent.- 

And when the author Ave are concerned with took a 
friendly notice of Hermogenes' consent with him upon this 
subject, he might as well have been at the pains to consider 
somewhat of what Tertullian wrote against him, that hereby, 
in some respect, God is made inferior and subject to )n otter, 
when loithont it he could not have made a world. JSJateria 
suptrior invenitur, quce illi eopiam operandi subministraxit, 
<!y Dcus subject us material videtur, cujus substantia; eguit ; 
nemo non subjicilur ei cujus eget, 6,-c. — Ever// one is subject to 
what he stands in need of. Terlull. contra Hermog. 



I. The reason of what next follows- II. Directions to readers not wont 
to inquire into the grounds of their religion. III. A summary and 
plainer proposal unto such, of what hath heen said in the former Part, 
concerning God's existence and conversableness with men. IV. The 
reasonableness (so much being already evinced) of alleging, and re- 
lying upon the testimony of the holy Scriptures: First, The express- 
ness of that testimony concerning the unity of the Godhead, the 
trinity therein. Secondly, The absolute perfection of the Divine Na- 
ture. Thirdly, The infiniteness of God's knowledge, power, good- 
ness, and presence. Fourthly, His propensions towards men, and apt- 
ness (supposing there were no obstruction) to human converse : mat- 
ters of doubt herein resolved. 

I. AND having thus far established and vindicated so prin- 
Jt\_ cipal a ground-work in this important cause, — That 
"what is necessarily, or of itself, is an absolutely perfect Being, 
distinct from all things else ; and a proper Object of religion, 
or whereto a temple, and all the worship thereof, duly belong 
— I shall now only sutler myself to be a little further diverted 
from my intended course, apprehending that their case is 
also to be considered, who have beea less accustomed to this 
course, of reasoning out to themselves the principles of their 
religion : unto whom therefore what hath been hitherto at- 
tempted may seem, if not obscure in its parts, yet so tire- 
some in the whole, as not to meet with patience enough to 
trace the design that hath been driven on, to its issue and 
period ; it being very incident to unexercised and less-at- 
tentive readers, to lose their thread, and forget the scope of a 
discourse, and so still have the truth to seek even in the midst 
of it. And if what hath been hitherto said, prove unsatisfy- 
ing to any, that justice must be done to the cause itself and 
to them, as to avow that it must rather proceed either from 
this infirmity in the reader, or from the unskilfulness of the 
writer to propound things happily and to advantage ; than 
either from the inevidence of the things themselves, or from 
want of capacity, even in an ordinary understanding. Nor doth 
any undertaking seem more feasible, or less to be despaired 
vol. i. , °q 


of, than plainly and salisfyingly to evince, to an unprejudiced 
understanding that shall attend, these first foundations of re- 
ligion and a temple, namely, That God is ; and — That he 
is conversable with men, or is such as is capable and apt to 
receive worship from them, and impart blessedness to them. 
We shall therefore so far interrupt the current of this discourse, 
as to endeavour this, by giving a brief and plain sum of the 
more principal things that have been said to this purpose al- 

II. But to prepare for it, must desire you that have not been, 
as yet, v/ont to employ your minds this way, to observe the fol- 
lowing directions. 

First 3 That you would not give place to discouragement, 
nor think too meanly of Ihe understanding whereby God hath 
distinguished you from the. inferior creatures. There is that, 
mind and spirit in man, which doth compass many things of 
far greater difficulty than it is here to be employed about; 
though it can be exercised about nothing of so great conse- 
quence. That apprehensive poAver that can take in the or- 
derly frame of such notions as are requisite to the exact skill of 
numbering or of measuring things, of navigation, of trade, 
of managing the common affairs of human life ; that can lay 
down to itself such prudent maxims and rules whereby the 
inconveniencies may in great part be avoided which are in- 
cident to common conversation, and the advantages gained 
which may serve one's own private and secular interests ; 
that understanding which can do all this, would far more easily 
comprehend as much as is needful to the certain knowledge 
of God's existence, and that he is such as we ought to worship, 
and may enjoy, if it apply itself hereto. Do not so despair as 
not to make an attempt; you know not the strength of your 
own mind until you have tried it. 

Secondly, That you indulge not, or do not suffer yourselves 
to be insensibly seized by a mean and sordid sloth. Set your 
thoughts awork with vigorous diligence. Give not out before 
you have well begun. Resolve, since you have a thinking 
power about you, you will use it to this most necessary pur- 
pose ; and hold your thoughts to it. See that your mizids do 
not presently tire and flag ; that you be rationally peremptory, 
and soberly obstinate, in this pursuit : yield not to be diverted. 
Disdain, having minds that can reach up to the great Original 
and Author of all things, that they should be confined to this 
dirty earth, or only to things low and mean. 

Thirdly, Look on things that are ratioually evident to your 


understandings, as equally certain with what you see with 
your eyes. Are you not as sure that two and two make four 
(which judgment is the act of your mind) as that this thing 
which you look upon is black or white, or of this or that shape or 
figure ? Do not so debase your own understandings, as to 
think nothing certain that comes under their judgment. It is 
true, they are apt enough to be deceived in many things, and 
so us your sense too ; but if your sense could make you cer- 
tain of nothing, what would become of justice and govern- 
ment among men ? Who could take an oath before a magis- 
trate ? What would become of the common actions and affairs 
of life ? How could you eat or drink, or buy or sell, if you 
could not certainly distinguish one thing from another ? Some 
things are so plain as that you can be in no doubt about them, 
as that this is bread, not a stone ; that a horse, not a sheep ; 
otherwise all the world must stand still, and all commerce and 
action cease. And if there were not some things sure to your 
minds, that you may certainly say, in some plain cases at 
least, this is true and that false, this right and that wrong, you 
would beat as great a loss. Otherwise, you might be apt to 
think a part of a thing greater than the whole, or that the 
same man might be at London and at Kome at the same time ; 
and you might be as ready to kill your own father astodohiin 
reverence, or to commit robbery upon jour rich neighbour as 
relieve the poor, and judge the one as good an action as the 

Fourthly, As any particular thing is offered to you, for 
the purpose we are here aiming at, consider it well by itself, 
before you go further ; and think thus, Is this plain and cer- 
tain, yea or no ? If at the first sight you think it not so, ob- 
serve diligently what is brought for the proof of it, and seo 
whether now it be not manifestly certain ; and when you once 
find it is, fix it in your mind as a certainty ; say, Thus far I 
am sure. Let not your thoughts run back to this as a doubt- 
ful thing any more, or unravel their own work ; but make use 
of it as a certainty, to your further purpose. 

III. Being thus prepared, take this brief account of what 
hath before been discoursed more at large. 

First, As to this first and great principle, — That there is a 
God. Be but patient of being led by the hand a few easy steps 
in a way that is in some part sufficiently beaten, or at least that 
is sufficiently plain, and it is to be hoped you will soon see 
that matter put out of all doubt. Let this then be your first 


1. That somewhat or other there is, that hath been from 
all eternity necessarily and of itself, without dependence upon 
any thing- else. If this be not at the first view evident to you, 
or if it seem too large a step, we will divide it into parts ; 
and consider well what is said for the proof of it, by these de- 

(1.) Somewhat or other must ever have been: for other- 
wise, how could any thing come to be at all ? Do you think 
it was possible, if ever there was nothing at all in being, of one 
sort or other, that any thing should have come into being ? 
No surely, for which way should it be ? It could not be made 
by another, there being no other to make it ; and it could not 
make itself, itself being as yet nothing. But sure you can 
easily apprehend, that to make a thing be, is to do something ; 
and as easily, that what is nothing, can do nothing. There- 
fore, when your own eyes tell you that something now is, 
you may be as sure, as of what you see with your eyes, that 
somewhat or oilier hath ever been. Say with yourself, Some- 
what now is, therefore somezchat hath exer been. If you dis- 
cern not the clearness of this consequence, take the opposite to 
it: Nothing now is, therefore nothing zcill ever be; it is as 
broad as long. 

(2.) You may next proceed thus, that something or other 
hath been of itself ; that is, without depending upon any 
thing else, or being beholden to any other thing for its being. 
Now here pause a while, and consider what is said to make 
this plain to you. Either you must acknowledge something 
hath ever been of itself, or you must say that all things that 
are, or ever have been, were from another, without any ex- 
ception. But mark now, if you say that all things that .arc, 
or ever have been, without excepting any, were from another, 
you contradict yourself ; for besides all things that are, or 
ever have been, without excepting any, there is not another 
from whom they could be. Therefore it is impossible that all 
things without exception should have been from another ; 
whence then it is plain that something must have been of 
itself, without depending for its being upon any thing else : 
for it will come to the same contradiction, if you say all things 
depend upon some other ; since there is nothing beyond all 
things : therefore, to say that all things depend, is to say they 
depend on nothing, that is, they do not depend. And to say 
they have all depended on one another for their being, or made 
one another, is altogether as absurd ; for it will make the Avholc 
compass or circle of all being to depend upon nothing, or come 


at length to litis, that some one made itself, or even {which is 
more gross) made its own maker ; unless you will rest in some 
one that made all the other, and was itself not made by any of 
them. If you do not apprehend this yourself, desire anyone 
that hath a belter understanding to explain it to you, and 
you will soon seethe matter intended by it to be as evident as 
your heart can wish. And so this will be out of question with 
you — That somewhat was of itself ; which added to what was 
proved before, comes to this — That somewhat was ever of 
itself. And both these thus conjoined, plainly appear from 
what hath been said. For we have seen that nothing could 
possibly make itself, (which would absurdly imply, that before, 
it both was and was not,) and therefore, whatsoever was of 
itself, must ever have been, or never had beginning of being. 
80 much then, I suppose, you take to be most certain, that 
.something hath ever been of itself. Whereupon you may 
further add, 

(.9.) That what was ere r of itself, was necessarily. I hope 
you understand what is meant by being necessarily, that is, 
being so as that it could not possibly but be. You may per- 
ceive that some things are so as that it was possible they might 
not have been, as a house, a town, a garment, or whatsoever 
was made by such makers as might have chosen whether they 
would have made it, or no. Yea, or whatsoever is any way 
made to be, having before not been ; for what once was not, it 
is manifest it was then possible for it not to be. But to be ne- 
cessarily, is to be so as that it could never possibly but have 
been ; that is, that which is necessarily, is somewhat of so 
excellent a nature, as that it could never be out of being. 
IS'ow what was ever of itself, it was in this sense necessarily ; 
namely, so as that the excellency of its nature was such, as 
could never permit that it should not be ; whence the name 
I AM agrees peculiarly and always thereunto. Nothing can 
otherwise be of itself, (not by making itself, which you have 
seen is impossible,) but by an everlasting possession of that 
excellency of being, which excludes all possibility of not being. 
It depends upon no one's choice or power, whether that which 
is of itself shall be or not be. 

(4.) What hath thus ever been necessarily, still is, and 
will ever be ; which is plain upon the same ground. What 
could never but be, can never but be ; for its nalure is such, 
as whereto not to be is impossible. Otherwise, if its nature 
had not been such, there being nothing else by which it should 
be made, it could never have been. Wherefore thus far you. 


have firm footing in (his first step ; no part of the ground 
■which it measures shakes under you. Yon may say you are 
sure of this — That somewhat there now is, that hath been 
from all eternity, necessarily and of itself, without depend- 
ence upon any thing else, and that can never cea.^e to be. 
— Set this down therefore for a certainty, and then add 
to it, 

2. That whatsoever is not necessarily and of itself, is from 
and by that which is necessarily and of itself, as the first Au- 
thor and Cause thereof. This is so certain, that nothing 
needs to be said for the proof of it more than hath been said 
already, so that you do but understand the meaning of it ; 
which you cannot but do, if you consider that all things that 
are, or ever were, must be of these two sorts, namely, what 
was of itself, and what was not of itself, but from another : 
therefore, what is not of the first sort, must be of the second ; 
that is, what was not of itself, must be from another ; and 
then, what other must it be from ? Surely from what was of 
itself, as its first and chief cause, whatsoever interior or secon- 
dary causes it may have had besides, that were before it, 
caused by that first. So that you now have plainly before you, 
find in view, some or other eternal, necessary Being, not only 
to be considered as it is in itself, but as the original and root 
of all besides. Then go forward a little, and further add, 

3. Neither this visible world, nor any thing of it, is neces- 
sarily, or of itself, without depending upon any thing else ; 
and was therefore created and made by some more excel- 
lent Being that was so, and is quite distinct and diverse from 
it. That this may be made evident to you, consider, 

(I.) That whatsoever is changeable or imperfect, and 
capable of becoming more perfect, is not necessarily, and of 
itself, without dependence on any thing else. For what is of 
itself necessarily, and without dependence on any other, must 
nave whatsoever belongs to it, all at once ; for from whence 
should any addition or change happen any way to it ? Not from 
any other, for it no more depends on another for addition, than 
it is liable to diminution by another, being what it is, necessa- 
rily, or from itself: for nothing can impart or add what it hath 
not ; and what it hath was in it before, and was in it necessarily, 
and therefore unalterably, and without possibility of any change. 
Now you know this visible world is continually changing, and 
in an imperfect state ; and we may add, that there is somewhat 
invisible, of whose present being we are certain, that was not. 
of itself, and that did not make this world. For instance, we 


are certain of the present being- of onr own mind and spirit, 
which we cannot see with our eyes, but by self-reflection we 
are sure we have somewhat in us that can think. Nor is there 
any thing that comes under our immediate, certain observa- 
tion, more excellent than man himself, especially his mind 
and soul. And do you not yourself know, and find hovr 
changeable, indigent, and imperfect that is ? Therefore you 
may be sure it is not of itself, nor the maker of this visible 
world. If all the men in the world should join all their wit 
and power together, which way would they go to work to make 
such a world as this ? Yea, or even to make one single pile 
of grass, or grain of sand ? Which way can you devise then, 
they should make the sun or stars, or such an earth as this ? It 
is plain, then, that all this worid had a maker, distinct from 

(2.) Whatsoever being is of itself, is more excellent than 
what is not of itself. This you cannot but assent to at the 
first sight : for besides that you must needs acknowledge it 
better to live of one's self, than to be beholden to another, you 
must also know that whatever being is not of itself, hath no 
excellency in it, but what was in that being that was of itself 
before ; and therefore it had in it all the excellency that is 
in such tilings as proceeded from it, (unabated because in it ne- 
cessarily,) together with the proper excellency of its own being, 
whereas the other sort of beings have but their own derived 
excellency only. Wherefore this also is most evident, that 
this world had a maker distinct from and more excellent than 
itself, that changes not, and whereto that name most properly 
agrees, I AM THAT I AM. Being sure of this, you may pro- 
ceed, and conclude, 

4. That the things which are manifestly not of themselves, 
but created and made, do plainly shew r that the maker of them 
doth excel in power, wisdom, and goodness. The greatness 
of his works shews his mighty power ; the nature, exactness, 
and order of them, his admirable wisdom ; and his own self- 
sufficiency, and independency on the things made, shew his rich 
and vast goodness in making them, as you may see more at 
large in Part I. Now therefore, if you have attended, you 
cannot but find that you are sure and at a plain certainty con- 
cerning these four things : — That somewhat was ever, and is 
necessarily ; — that what was not so, did arise from that which 
was ; — that this Avorld being not so, did therefore spring 
from that eternal, necessary, self-subsisting Being; — and that 
this Being hath those particular excellencies, whereof there 


are the manifest appearances and footsteps in the works that 
are made by him, (namely, especially power, wisdom, and good- 
ness,) in himself. And thus the invisible things of him from 
the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by 
the things that are made, even his eternal power and godhead ; 
so that they who see them not are without excuse. Rom. 1. 
20. If you be sure that any thing is, you may be sure some- 
what was ever of itself: if you be sure any thing that was 
not of itself hath appearances of power, wisdom, and good- 
ness in the frame of it, you maybe sure that that Being which 
was of itself is the powerful, wise, and good Creator and Maker 
of it. It is to be hoped, then, you are at a certainty, — That 
God is. 

Secondly, And now as to the second principle, that hath 
been insisted on also in 1\\c former Part, — 1 'hat this God is con- 
versable with inert. You cannot surely doubt, but that he 
that made you, and gave you all that any way belongs to your 
being, can apply himself to you, or any of his creatures, in a 
way suitable to the natures which he hath put into you and 
them ; nor that he is ready to Converse with you, in a way 
suitable to the nature he hath given you, if you be such 
towards him, and so apply yourself to him, as you ought. 
For it is not a greater thing to do so, nor more exceeding or 
going beyond the reach of his power, wisdom, and goodness, 
as you caimot but see, than to have given being to you, and 
all tilings. 

But now if what is further discoursed in that former Part, 
concerning the oneness of the Divine Being, and the infinite- 
*ness thereof, or concerning any other perfections there par- 
ticularly asserted unto it, seem not so plain to you as is re- 
quisite to guide and facilitate your applications to him ; 
what hath been more plainly said in this, is however sufficient, 
as more primarily fundamental and prerequisite to that 
further knowledge of his nature and will towards you, which 
in another way is to be had and sought after. 

A cloud and darkness are now drawn over the world of 
mankind : and though it be still very easily discernible that 
God is) it is yet more difficult to attain to so distinct apprehen- 
sions what he is, as are necessary to our conversing with him. 
Against this difficulty, he hath afforded a gracious relief; 
that is, he hath provided there should be a more express dis- 
covery of him extant among men, than can be collected by 
their making observations upon this world. The case was 
such with man, (grown now so great a stranger to God,) as to re- 


quire a written revelation of his nature and will; and we have 
it in those scriptures which bear with us the name of the word 
of God. It were indeed very unseasonable and absurd, to 
urge their authority in the inquiry, whether there be a God 
or no ? For what authority have they more than other writings, 
but as they are God's word ? Therefore to expect or give 
assent to them as such, while yet it remains an undecided con- 
troversy, whether there be any such one, or no, for whose 
sake the assent should be given, were to expose our religion, 
not to prove it. These holy writings were not intended, by 
their affirmation of it, to inform us of God's existence, which 
they suppose, and do not prove, as a thing we may otherwise 
be certain of; but to teach us our duty towards him, and 
what our expectations may be from him ; and do therefore 
give us a true representation and discovery of his nature, (so 
far as it was needful for us preparatively first to know it,) and 
then next, of the present state of things between him and us, 
that we might be directed how to apply ourselves to him suit- 
ably to both the one and the other. It is true, that we can 
never know that there is a God, without knowing somewhat 
of his nature, or what a one he is. We cannot so much as 
inquire whether he be or no, but we must have some notion 
in our minds of the thing we inquire about ; and so much as 
is necessary to this purpose, may be plainly gathered in the 
way we have gone hitherto. For if we understand the dif- 
ference between something and nothing, between being and no 
being, and find that something is, or that there is some being; 
and again, if we understand the difference between a thing's 
being of itself, and being of or from another, and find the 
former must be the original of the latter, we cannot but un- 
derstand ourselves, when we say there is an Original Being. 
And having some understanding what is meant by power, 
wisdom, and goodness ; withal finding that not only the 
effects of these, but these very things themselves, are in the 
world, we cannot but be sure (because these things come 
not of nothing) that the Original Being is powerful, wise, 
and good. And now when we have thus found out an Ori- 
ginal Being, that is of wisdom, power, and goodness sufficient 
to be the Author of such a world as this, we at once know 
both what God is, (sufficiently to distinguish Iiim from all things 
else,) and are at a certainty that he is. 

When we perceive that he hath given to all breath and 
being and all things ; we have sought, and even felt and found 
him out, and found that he is not far from any one of us, 

VOL. i. 2 R 


since in him we live and move and have our being ; that he 
is every where present, in this his crealion, as the great Sus* 
tainer and the Life of the universe ■ and forasmuch especially 
as we are his offspring, (as even the light of a Heath- n poet 
could reach to discover,) even zee, who are a sort of intelligent, 
designing, active beings, that therefore the Godhead is not 
like silver, or gold, &c. but of a nature more nearly re- 
sembling that, of our own souls, and the higher excellencies 
of the best of his creatures, although eminently containing in 
himself also all the real perfections, virtues, and powers of 
all the rest: when we understand so much of God, (as we 
may by the light of our own reason,) we understand enough to 
give a foundation to religion, and to let us see he ought to have 
a temple, and worship : and another sort of temple than is 
made by men's hands, other worship than can be performed by 
the hands of men ; as is there clearly argued, and inferred by 
the apostle, upon those plain grounds. Now when we are ar- 
rived thus far, it is seasonable to make use of the further help 
which we may observe the great, and wise, and good God to 
have most condescendingly, most aptly, and most mercifully 
a/Forded us, for our more distinct understanding of his nature, 
and our own state ; and how we are to behave ourselves towards 
him thereupon. 

IV. Taking notice therefore that there is a written revela- 
lion of him extant in the world, that bears his name, and 
gives itself out to be from him; if now we look into it, ob- 
serve the import and design of it, compare it with what we 
before knew of his nature and our own ; consider what is most 
obvious to an easy self-reflection in our own state and case, 
and how exactly this written revelation agrees and corresponds 
to those our former notices ; taking in withal the many con- 
siderations that concur besides, to evidence to us the divine 
original and authority thereof: we cannot but have much 
rational inducement and obligation to receive, with all reve- 
rence and gratitude, this revelation, as from God ; and to rely 
upon it, as a sure and sacred light sent down from heaven, to 
direct us in all our concernments God-ward. For finding our 
own great need of such an additional light, and apprehending 
it. sufficiently agreeable to the divine goodness to afford it, and 
expecting it to be such, in itsscopfc and design, as we find it 
is : if we further consider it must have had some author, and 
perceiving it not easy, with any plausible pretence, to affix it 
to any other than God himself: if we consider that it was 
impossible it could be invented by men, without some design 


of self-advantage, either in this world or in the other; and 
}iow absurd any such expectation must be, either from men 
here, (the contents thereof being so repugnant to the common 
inclinations of men, as to oblige those that owned them to the 
severest sufferings on that account,) or from God hereafter, 
^vho could not bo expected to reward forgery, falsehood, and 
the usurpation of his name ! If again, we further observe the 
positive attestations whereby he hath challenged and owned it 
as his own, and wherein the divine power hath borne witness 
to the divine truth contained in it ; if the matters of fact on 
"which all depends appear not less certain than that there were 
men and nations in the world, that we have not seen, and before 
we were born : if we see it not only improbable, but even next 
to impossible, that the records of those miraculous attestations 
should have been forged, and nations imposed upon thereby ; 
and amongst them, many of the wisest of men in those very 
times when the things recorded were alleged to have been 
done, and in a matter wherein their eternal hope was concern- 
ed ; * we shall upon the whole see cause to judge, That as it 
were most absurd to suppose such a revelation given by God, 
and no sufficient rational evidence withal given that it is from 
him, (without which it cannot serve its end, and so would 
signify nothing,) so that there is nothing wanting, in divine 
estimate itself, to make up such a sufficient, rational evidence ; 
nor in our own, unless we would suppose it necessary that 
every man should have a Bible reached him down by an im- 
mediate hand from heaven, or make some other supposition as 
fond and vain as that ; or that we count not that sufficient evi- 
dence, which ought to satisfy our reason, if it do not gratify 
our fancy and curiosity too. It is not fit, here, to say more 
of the divine original of those holy writings, nor needful; so 
much being written already, + with so great clearness, on that 
subject, by many. That therefore being out of question what 
you cannot reason out yourselves, or apprehend from the rea- 
sonings of others, concerning God's nature tending to represent 
him worthy of a temple with you, and capable of receiving and 
rewarding your sincere and spiritual worship, fetch out from 
that divine volume ; for you may be sure, though you can- 

* If we t^ke notice that in some parts of this Vol. there are very ancient 
predictions, of the strangest and most unlikely events, that we see exactly 
fulfilled in the other parts. 

t Ur. Stillingffeet, in his Origincs Sacne. Grotius deVerit. Chr. Relig. 
Huet. Demonstr. Evangel. &C, Mr. Baxter's Reasons of Christian Religion. 
With many more. 


not search him out unto perfection, he perfectly understands 
himself, and is certainly such, as he there tells you he is : and 
he there reveals himself to be such, as to whom the temple 
aiid worship we here intend, cannot be doubted (as he hath 
ordered things) to be both due and grateful. Whatever might 
be otherwise matter of doubt, is by his express discovery of 
himself, taken away. 

If it were still a doubt, after all that hath been formerly said 
for the reasoning out of these things, whether the Deity be one 
only, or manifold ; whether the world had but one, or had 
not many makers ; and so, whether there be no danger of 
misapplying our religion, or of mistaking the object of our 
worship. This word plainly tells us, 

First, That there is but one God, the Father, of whom are 
all things. 1 Cor. 8. 6. That he is God, and there is none 
else. Isa. 45. 21, 22. And that however there be three 
that bear witness in heaven, and the stamp of whose name 
is, in our baptism, distinctly and solemnly put upon us ; 
Mat. 28. 1 John 5. yet (as in many other instances, that 
may be in some respect three, which in some other respect is 
but one) without the unnecessary, punctual declaration, how 
these are three, and how but one, it expressly tells us, these 
three tire one. 

And if it be yet a doubt with us (in which the reasonings of 
some may be too short to determine and resolve them) whether 
this one God be so absolutely and every way perfect as to 
be sufficient for us all ; whether he can understand all our con- 
cernments, relieve us in all our necessities, hear our prayers, 
satisfy our desires, receive our acknowledgments and thanksgiv- 
ings, and take notice with what love and sincerity they are 
tendered unto him ; or, if he can do for us according to our 
necessities, and reasonable desires ; whether we have any 
ground io believe that he will ; this word of his plainly as- 
sures MS, 

Secondly, Thaihe is God all-sufficient; Gen. 17. 1. that he hath 
all fulness in him. It often represents him to us, under the name 
of the Lord God Almighty : tells us that he can do every 
thing, and that he doth whatsoever it pleaseth him. It tells us his 
understanding is infinite, and particularly assures us that he 
searches the hearts of men, and tries their reins ; that they can- 
not think a. thought, or speak a word, but he understands 
them afar off, and knows them altogether : that his eyes are upon 
all the ways of men ; that he knows all things, and therefore 
knows if they love him. 


And that we may be the more fully put out of doubt bow easy 
it is to him to do so, we are assured, 

Thirdly y That he is everywhere present, that he fills heaven 
and earth, that the heaven, and heaven of heavens, can- 
not contain him : that there is no going from his Spirit, or fly- 
ing from his presence ; that if one go up to heaven, he is 
there ; lie down in hell, he is there : go to the uttermost part 
of the sea, yet there his hand shall lead, and his right hand 
hold them. 

Fourthly, And that all doubt may vanish, concerning his 
will and gracious inclination, how expressly doth he make 
himself known by this name ? namely, That he is the Lord, 
the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-sufFering, and 
abundant in goodness and truth, &c. Exod. 34. 7. And by 
the same blessed and inspired penman of a part of these holy 
writings, (the beloved disciple, who lay in the bosom of his 
only-begotten Son ; who also is in the bosom of the Father, 
and hath declared him,) we are not only told that God is 
Light, whereby the knowledge, purity, simplicity, and glory 
of the Divine Being are represented, but also, once and 
again, that God is Love, that we might understand him as 
a Being not of more glorious excellency in himself, than 
of gracions propensions towards his creatures. And lest 
it should be thought our meanness should exempt us, and 
put us beneath his regard, we are told, lie taketh care for 
sparrows, he heareth the ravens when they cry ; and generally, 
that the eyes of all Wait upon him, and he gives them their 
meat in season, Ps. 145. (which even the brute creatures are 
emphatically said to seek of God) and that he opens his hand, 
and satisfies the desire of every living thing. Ps. 104. 
And besides what he hath so expressly testified concerning his 
oavii .nature, his favourable inclinations towards men might 
sufficiently be collected from that very nature which he hath 
given to man, considered in comparison and reference to his 
own : that lie made him in his own image ; and that he being 
the Father of spirits, hath placed a spirit in man, so agreeable 
to his own spiritual nature ; and by his own inspiration given 
him that understanding, that the mind begotten corresponds, 
by its most natural frame and constitution, to the mind 
that begot, the vots ven^vtl^ (as it was anciently called,) his oxen 
Eternal Mind: and that if its own original be remember- 
ed, it turns itself towards him, seeks his acquaintance by 
an instinct he hath himself implanted in it, and cannot rest 
until he have such a temple erected in it, wherein both he and 


it may cohabit together. By all this, his aptness to that con- 
verse with men, which is imported in the notion of a temple, 
doth so far appear, that at least it is evident such converse 
cannot fail to ensue, supposing that there were nothing 1 in the 
way that might be a present obstruction thereto. And it will 
more appear, when we have considered (since there is some* 
what that obstructs this converse) what he hath done to remove 
the obstruction, and how he hath provided that the inter- 
course may be restored, and his temple be resettled with menj 
upon everlasting foundations. 


I. That there is an obstruction to this intercourse. If The method of 
the following discourse. Fin/, Man's apostasy from God, and the 
vitiated state of his nature; 1. Not only represented in the sacred 
Scriptures, but also, 2. Acknowledged and lamented by Pagans:— 
in some respects very mistakenly; wherein perhaps some of them not 
justly understood:— This not the primitive state of man ; therefore not 
to be imputed to the Author of nature. Secondly, The temple of God 
hereby made waste and desolate, and become, 1. Unfit for the divine 
presence, being, (1.) Unsuitable, and, (2.) Disaffected. 2. Hereupon for- 
saken, and most justly. Thirdly, The new foundation and platform of 
his present temple laid in Immanuel. 

I. ~JT\ UT so far it is, that there should want probability of 
X3 a very inwr.rd commerce between God and man, that 
we have reason to think it rather strange, considering- his na- 
ture and our own, it should not have been continual ; and that 
his unbounded and self-communica<ive fulness was not by him 
always afforded, and always imbibed and drawn in by so 
capable and indigent a creature. One would wonder what 
should have discontinued this intercourse! What can be so 
apt to give and flow out, as fulness ? What should be so apt 
to receive and take in, as want and emptiness ? Such a com- 
merce then as con be supposed between one * that is rich and 
full, and them that are poor and necessitous, one would think 
should have never failed. So a fabulous dream may be sig- 
nificant, and not uninstructive, touching the reason and way 

• Porus and Penia. „ 


of commerce between God and creature. We are therefore 
put upon a new inquiry, and need no longer spend ourselves 
in anxious thoughts, Can there be any converse between God 
and men ? That we may rather say, How can it not be ? or, 
How strange is it there is not more ! that he hath not a temple 
in every human breast, replenished with his vital presence ! 
that there are nothing but ruins and desolation to be found, 
where one would expect a fabric worthy of God, and an in- 
dwelling Deity ! This must therefore be the sad subject of 
our thoughts a while, What hath rendered the blessed God so 
much a stranger on earth, and occasioned him in so great part 
to forsake his terrestrial dwelling ? Whence we shall have the 
advantage (seeing how just cause there was, on his part, for 
this deplorable distance) to adore the grace that returns hiin 
to us, and inclined him to take that strange course, which we 
find he did, to repair his forlorn temple, and fill this desolate, 
forsaken world with the joyful sound of those glad tidings, 
" The tabernacle of God is with men." We shall find he is 
no further a stranger in this world, than as we have made and 
continued him so : no further a home-dweller in it, than as 
by an admirable contrivance of wisdom and love, which will 
be the eternal wonder of the other world, he hath made way 
for himself: whereby his propensions towards men, prevailing 
against so great an obstruction, do even now appear at once 
both evident and marvellous, and ought to be not only the mat- 
ter of our belief, but admiration. 

II. Wherefore our discourse must here proceed by these 
steps, to shew — That mankind hath universally revolted, and 
been in a state of apostasy from God ; — that hereby the tem- 
ple of God in man hath been generally made waste and 
desolate; — and that he hath laid both the new foundations 
arid the platform of his present temple in Immanuel, God with 
us, his own incarnate Son, who rebuilds, beautifies, fur- 
nishes, inhabits it, and orders all the concernments of it. 

First, Mankind hath universally revolted, and been in & 
state of apostasy from God. This we do little need to labour 
in — every man's own reflection upon the vitiated powers of his 
own soul, would soon, as to himself, put the matter out of 
doubt ; whence each one's testimony concerning his own 
case, would amount to a universal testimony. No man that 
takes a view of bis own dark and blinded mind, his slow and 
dull apprehension, his uncertain staggering judgment, roving 
conjectures, feeble and mistaken reasonings about matters that 
concern hira most ; ill inclinations, propension to what is un- 


lawful to him, and destructive, aversion to his truest interest 
and best good, irresolution, drowsy sloth, exorbitant and raven- 
ous appetites and desires, impotent and self- vexing passions — 
can think human nature, in him, is in its primitive integrity, 
and so pure as when it first issued from its high and most pure 
original. By such reflection, every man may perceive his 
own ill case, in these and many more such respects ; and by ob- 
serving the complaints of the most serious, and such as have 
seemed most to study themselves, collect it is generally so with 
others also. 

I. They that have read the sacred volume, cannot be ig- 
norant that all flesh have corrupted their way ; (Gen. 6.) that 
the great God, looking down from heaven upon the children 
of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did 
seek God, (Ps. 14. 2.) hath only the unpleasing prospect be- 
fore his eyes even of a universal depravation and defection ; 
that every one of thera is gone back ; they are altogether become 
filthy, there is none tliat doeth good, no not one ; that all 
have sinned, and come short of the glory of God ", (Rom. 3. 
10 — 23.) that this world lieth in wickedness : (1 John 5. 19.) 
and that this was not the first state of man, but that he is de- 
generated into it from a former and better state: that il God 
made him upright," but that he is become otherwise, by his 
own "many inventions :" (Eccl. 7. 29.) that by trying, con- 
clusions to better a state already truly good, he brought him- 
self into this woeful plight ; and by aiming at somewhat above, 
sunk so far beneath himself into that gulf of impurity and misery, 
that is now become to him as his own element and natural 
state. ... 

- 2. Yea and the matter hath that evidence, that 'even many 
of them who, for aught We know,, never conversed with those 
sacred records, have no less clearly discovered their sense of the 
present evil state of man, than their ignorance of the original 
of that evil, though some of them carefully acquit God of 
it. • Max. Ty'r. Diss. .25. • \Ve find their complaints * of the 
malignity of ignorance surrounding ail the earth, and that 
corrupts the soul shut up in the body : that, as a garment and 
■web, inwraps the minds of men, that they cannot .look to him 
whose pleasure it is to be known, and who is not to be heard 
with ears, nOr seen with eyes, or expressed by words. That 
till it be rent in pieces, they have upon them t the bo7id of cor- 

*The so controverted Merc. Trismeg. c. 7. Secund. M. Ficin. Interpret. 

CHAP.IT. the living temple. SIS 

ruplion, the dark coverture, the living death, the sensible 
■carcass, a moving sepulchre, which they carry about with 

We find complaints, that * by bonds and chains our mind is 
held, from our infancy : of certain " mean and debasing 
passions, that i\o fasten and even nail the soul to the body :" 
©f+ much greater evils, and more grievous , than the most pain- 
ful bodily diseases, gouts, stranguries, dysenteries, and my~ 
riads of the like; namely, all manner of sins, wickednesses, 
transgressions, ungodlinesses, which wc have to lament as the 
maladies or disaffections of our soul. 

Of certain £ old or inveterate spots, that are by all means to 
l)c washed and purged out : that there are certain ^ -princi- 
ples of viciousness, as pleasures, griefs, lusts, fears, enkindled 
from the body, but mixed with the soul, and that absurdly bear 
rule over it. 

And the naturalness of these is more than intimated, while 
they are said to be f] rather from parents and our first elements 
than ourselves : or, ? rather to be imputed, as is elsewhere 
said, to those that plant, than those that are planted. 

Whence also, **vice is said to be involuntary : (being rooted 
in our natures:) that whosoever are vicious, become so, from 
such things as do even prevent our choice. And that ft all 
men do more evil than good, beginning even from their very 

And (as another expresses it) we offend from certain || in* 
voluntary passions, in which the pravity of the soul is made to 
consist : or §§ that zee here partake a certain mundane nature, 
which, he says, is mixed of mind and necessity. 

* tigy(A.Zv xxi avvSi'Ttuv rlv xx\yj>{j.imv, tx fieitywy, vav. Iamb, de vit. 

f zsigt to Gupx zsAiv^iTiois, tttgiirfav[jLOWJii, (patriots, 'aooxygxi , Tgxy 
yovgtxi, ovo-tvltglxi, tffc. 'csigi cis Trr; \J/uj£»iv OToXXjj p.si£pvx xxi %x\£ZJwkgx. 
«3c(T/xa;, xxxx, 7rx^iWfj.lxi } a.<j%$-hit.x\x. Idem. 

+ ~-\yxxTzaiuppuiAriixt x.Yi>J<$is, p. 256, Hippar. Pythag. 

§ ct^yxi xxxlxs. 

|l lx rwv yivsloguv xxi ^otynuv, (A.a.7y.oy v 11; x/aiccv. Plat. Tim. Locr. 

T) ailixlsov (a.sv rtss tyvlivovlxs xh, rut <$viivo[Aivm fx.aAAov, Idem Timaeus. 

** xxxoi, oi' xy.narJflxlx yiyv&fAtZx. Ibid. 

tt «f|«'/«- £W< £ * ttxi^uv, xj s| uy.x%rxvx<jiv xnoilts. Idem Hipp. Major, 
p. 296. 

XX ttxucriot -vsx^rn*.x\x. Plotin. Enne. 1. Lib. 8. 

§§ [A.s[Aiyphr) yx% »» $r, 3 tb xo<r/x» f vtftt Ix Tt wv, xj uyciyxrtt. Idem 
p. 77. 

VOL. i. 2 s 


And even from hence that * virtue is voluntary ; vice is, by 
another, concluded to be involuntary. " For," says that au- 
thor, a who can willingly, in the most lovely and most noble 
part of himself, choose that which is the greatest of all evils ?" 
esteeming vicious inclination the most repugnant thing to 
liberty, (as it is indeed in the moral sense,) and the greatest 
slavery. Whereupon, another inquiring, since God doth no- 
thing but what is good, whence evils should come, resolves that 
whatsoever is good is from heaven, but t all evil from our self- 
natural vileness. And another speaks of an evil adhering to our 
being, and not only acquired, but ^ even connatural to us ; yea, 
and this evil is said to be the very death of the soul. The sadness 
of the common case of man in this respect, hath been therefore 
emblematically represented by § a potion of error and igno- 
rance, presented to every one at their first coming into the 
world) and whereof it is said all do drink, more or less ; a 
woman called Imposture, accompanied by other harlots, Opi- 
nion, Lust, Pleasure, &c. seizing and leading away every one. 
And hence are || bitter complaints and accusations poured forth 
even against nature itself, as being a mere force and war, and 
having nothing pure or sincere in it, but having its course 
amidst many unrighteous passions ; yea, and its rise and first 
production are lamented, as founded in unrighteousness. The 
discontentful resentments whereof have made some not spare to 
censure our very make and frame, the uniting ^.of an immortal 
thing to a mortal in the composition of man, as a kind of dis- 
tortion of nature, that the thing produced, should be made to 
delight in having parts so unnaturally pulled and drawn to- 

Ho that some of the ethnick philosophers have been so far 
from denying a corruption and depravation of nature in man, 
that they have overstrained the matter, and thought vicious 
inclination more deeply natural than indeed it is ; and so 

* tcj oe rriv a.gelnv exbViov hvcci 'izsilxi to ty,v yttXKixv UKtsaiov lzjdgj(ztv } &C. 
Alcinous Cap. 30. 

■J- e| avhpvus lAO-y^^'ia.-;, Max. Tyr. Dissert. 25. 

% to "cjoigtzTofAivov t-7) ao-<jT v5/xtiv xzHov. Hiero. in Carm. Pytliag. 

§ T«'y hsTjogtvois.ev&s eis rov /3/ov isoli^et, 'zsavlis 'GslvHcrtv, aX\a. hi (xtv zjXe^ov, 
o< Se %-flov. Tab. Cebetis. 

|| Empedocles and Heraclitus are represented as (-rroXXaxts o^v^d^stoi k, 
l.oioogxvUs Tfiv tyv&iv us ocvxyw) x.tz.1 'noXtf/.ov tiaxv, oc^iyis de [Ainotv /xriOs nXixgins 
i'%ao-xv) often bewailing and reproaching human nature, as being a prin- 
ciple of force and hostility, and having nothing pure or sincere. 

^f tw QvrtTu avngyopivH a§<W!s, &C. Pint, de solert. anim. p. Q64-. 


taxed and blamed nature, in the case of man, as to be too 
liable to implied reflections even on the blessed Author of 
nature himself. Whereto the known principles of the sect 
of the Stoics * do too plainly tend, who give in so vast a ca- 
talogue of the diseases and distempers of the mind of man : 
taking every thing into the account that hath the least of 
perturbation in it, without excepting so much as mercy it- 
self, or pity towards them that suffer unjustly ; and yet seem 
to subject all things to fate and natural necessity, whereby all 
these evils in the mind of man would be rejected upon the 
holy God, as their original Cause. Whence therefore some 
that were more sober have made it their business to vindicate 
God from so horrid an imputation ; + and one of much note 

* D. Laert. L. 7. But perhaps they have been somewhat misunder- 
stood by their prejudiced opposers, or some unwary expressions of theirs 
been stretched beyond what was meant. For though they reckon 'i\£©* 
{compassion) among the distempers of the mind; yet so afterwards they 
do a.nXtt]^o(7vvr, {the want of compassion) too. Whence it is probable they 
intended to place e'Xj©* {compassion) among the evils of man's nature no 
otherwise than as it should include undue perturbation in it, or as it 
might urge those who are more apt to be passionate upon such occasions, 
than just and wise, to the doing of unfit or unseasonable things for the 
afflicted person's relief; than which nothing is more supposable: which 
occasioned that famous general Agesilaus, when his sick friend impor- 
tuned him with tears, to stop the (then necessary) march of his army for 
his sake, (looking sadly back upon him,) to say, us yjxKimav eV<v iXeelv x^PfoveJv, 
(How hard is it to Ic pitiful and wise!) Plutar. Apophtheg. Lacon. And that 
afterwards making «ysX£»//.oo-i'm vicious too, their meaning was, that a 
calm and sedate will or propension to relieve persons in distress was the 
virtue, both the other the opposite vices. Which seems more likely than 
Menagius's way of salving the lya.v\to<pavis } by supposing a.vi'hinyi.oavvri here 
to have been miswritten for IXzyi^oGmyi, by some very assuming transcri- 
bers, that were willing rather to express their own mind than their au- 
thor's. Observ. in Locum. 

t And though in what follows they are sharply taxed, as laying all the 
evils of the world (moral as well as other) upon God and nature. This 
seems to have proceeded from some lavish speeches of Chrysippus, that 
justly fell under the representation of Plutarch's severer and more sound 
judgment. Yet surely they did suppose another, and purer state of na- 
ture, out of which man was lapsed ; otherwise, how come they, when 
they assign the common notion of vicious perturbation or passion, to call 
it an irrational and [<&•«$>* fyva-tv xivncris] preternatural motion? What 
nature is that, which it is supposed to swerve from ? Besides that, they 
constantly call these diseases of the soul, therefoie they understood them, 
not to be its very nature : for then what were the diseased subject ? Nor 
could it agree with that known dogma of theirs, that virtue is ^axlov ru 
a thing to be taught, if they should suppose vice in that sense natural. 
And indeed, that Plutarch entitles that book he hath against them, 


animadverts upon the mistakes of such as seemed so to charge 
him, sharply blaming them for such an intimation ; but more 
sharply (perplexing others in his own dubious twilight) for 
the excuse they give of it, namely, That God doth what they 
attribute to him in this matter, for the punishment of wicked 
men; * alleging it were a grievous matter that God should 
will and revenge the same thing, that wickedness should both 
be, and be punished, according to the mind of God. + Some 
do, with great reverence of the divine majesty, confess the 
rise of all this evil to be from man himself, namely, even that 
sort of evil which is called by the name of wickedness, is 
said to be from an innate principle, which the arbitrary power 
of a man's own soul hatcheth and fosters, and the fault is hi* 
who admits it: but God is faultless :| that God did place the 
soul over a terrene body, as a charioteer over a chariot, which 
it might govern or neglect, &"c. § 

So another snys, || that whatsoever things come into this 
7&orld from God, are good; but evils proceed from a certain 
ancient nature, <Sc By which what could he mean, but 
the hereditary pravity which hath in a long series descended 
from depraved progenitors, so as no longer to be a new thing ; 
but of a forgotten original, and from of old reigning in the 
world ? 

They of this famous sect, the Platonists, seem often to attri- 
bute vicious inclination to the soul's being united with the 
body • (as supposing it to have existed pure and sinless before ;) 

<ffff< ro7x.«y Uavllm, argues, they intended not the gross things he re- 
futes, for no man intends contradiction to himself. And since no man- 
can hold both parts of a contradiction, it is candid to suppose they would 
have chose rather to let go the worse part. 

AXKa. fj.lt rov -?£o> y.oKaX^'4 tpvo-i Tri» kockiooi >y TtotXx 770<ei> §771 ttiha&f* 
t»v vorngm — They admit, however, that God punishes wickedness, and 
does many things for the punishment of the wicked. 

*}" ferh [/.si ay th% Seivov to nxl yitscr-Jxi T'/;v •x.u.y.'.a.t nai KsXa-'etTZzi xxlec ra» 
t« Atos Xoyov — This is indeed a dreadful notion, that, pursuant to the 
appointment of God, evil should both exist and be punished. Plutar. de 
Repugnan. Stoicorum. 

% a-eyiw Tr>* (zvlopvT}, r> ■vj/y^rjr equina- xvirxet re v.au Ti\t>pofv, v> DMf/Mt- 
f«>JC§»}f/a. ecvis tk hho[/,h>i aii'ut. Qsoi avxtTsQ — The self-born principle, 
which the power of the soul conceives and biings to maturity, and whose 
name is mischief. The cause lies in the being who chooses it. God is not 
chargeable with it. Max. Tyr. ubi supra. 

§ As he there proceeds. 

JJ oa-a. nta.^a. SeS, xya^tk' t* Je jckk* sk rnt a.^.-/»ia.t P tf3 " J ' w »V Plot. EnuesJi 
1. 1. 8. p. 77- 


yet even they appear also not to have thought it impossible a 
human soul should sometime have been in an earthly body 
without sin. For their renowned leader discourses at large 
of a former incorrupt state of man in the body, (a golden age, 
as others also call it,) and of a defection or apostasy from it ; 
which state, though his Egyptian tradition, misinformed him 
about the continuance of it, he excellently describes (as also 
man's declining from it,) telling us, that "then God familiarly 
conversed with men, taking care of them, as a shepherd of 
his flock : that he was chiefly intent upon the ducture and 
government of their minds ; that (as he afterward says in ano- 
ther part of that unfinished discourse) while *the godlike na- 
ture continued in sufficient vigour with them, they were 
obedient to laws, and behaved themselves friendly towards 
that t divine thing that teas akin to them. Then they pos- 
sessed thoughts that were true, and altogether great ; using 
meekness and prudence in reference to their own conditions 
and one another: that thev disregarded all things in com- 
parison of virtue. They easily bore a prosperous condition, 
esteeming all outward things little. They were not intoxicated 
or drunken with sensual delights ; but sober and quick-sight- 
ed, and all things increased upon them through their mutual 
love and virtue. But they growing at length into a too great 
esteem and love of terrene things — \and that participation which 
they had of God decaying (whereas all was well while the 
Divine Nature remained with them) and being variously in- 
termingled with ^ much deadly evil, and a kind of human cus- 
tom or course of living," as elsewhere he so expresses sinfui 
corruption, " prevailing among them, and they not able to 
bear a prosperous condition, came to shame, and to ruin with 
it ; having lost the loveliest of their most precious things." 
Agreeably whereto, another, discoursing of the nature and ori- 
ginal of evil, places it in our being plunged and sunk into 
matter and corporeity : and commenting upon a noted passage 
of his master, (in Theatet.) namely, " That our recovery 
must be by a speedy flight to God," &c. says, that || this Jlight 
is not to depart from the earth, hut that we become, even while 
we are on earth, righteous, and holy, and wise. 

Therefore also have we with this sort of men, so frequent 
discourses of the purgative virtues, which suppose a lapse 

i t« Qiov Qvair avius s^jjfxn. -f isgo: to ovyytns Qetot, 

II «« to ex yv ivih^Hi «>7.«, &c, Plot, Enne. 1. lib. L 


into great impurities ; yet not so inseparable from our natures, 
but that by divine help (which they also sometimes speak of as 
necessary) a cure and redress maybe wrought. 

Nor, if we consider, can it be so much as imaginable to us, 
that the present state of man is his primitive state, or that he 
is now such as he was at first made. For neither is it con- 
ceivable, the blessed God should have made a creature with 
an aversion to the only important ends, whereof it is naturally 
capable: nor particularly, that he created man with a disaf- 
fection to himself; or that ever he at first designed a being of 
so high excellency as the spirit of man, to drudge so meanly, 
and be so basely servile to terrene inclinations; or, that since 
there are manifestly powers in him of a superior and infe- 
rior sort and order, the meaner should have been, by original 
institution, framed to command ; and the more noble and ex- 
cellent, only to obey and serve : as now, every one that ob- 
serves may see the common case with man is. And how far he 
is swerved from what he was, is easily conjecturable, by com- 
paring him with the measures which shew what he should be. 
For it cannot be conceived for what end laws were ever given 
him, if, at least, we allow them not the measures of his primi- 
tive capacity, or deny him ever to have been in a possibility 
to obey. Could they be intended for his government, if con- 
formity to them were against or above his nature ? or were they 
only for his condemnation ? or for that, if he was never capable 
of obeying them ? How inconsistent were it with the good- 
ness of the blessed God, that the condemnation of his creatures 
should be the first design of his giving them laws ; and with 
his justice, to make his laws the rule of punishment, to whom 
they could never be the rule of obedience and duty ; or with 
his wisdom, to frame a system and body of laws, that should 
never serve for either purpose, and so be upon the whole 
useful for nothing? The common reason of mankind teacheth 
us, to estimate the wisdom and equity of law-givers, by the 
suitableness of their constitutions to the genius and temper of 
the people for whom they are made ; and Ave commonly reckon 
nothing can more slur and expose government, than the im- 
posing of constitutions most probably impracticable, and which 
are never Hkely to obtain. How much more incongruous must 
it be esteemed to enjoin such as never possibly could ! Pru- 
dent legislators, and studious of the common good, would be 
shy to impose upon men under their power, laws against their 
genius and common usages, neither alterable easily, nor to any 


advantage. Much more absurd were it, with great solemnity 
and weighty sanctions io enact statules for brute creatures ! 
And wherein were it more to purpose to prescribe unto men strict 
rules of piety and virtue, than to beasts or trees, if the former 
had not been capable of observing them as the latter were not ? 
We insist not on the written precepts in the sacred volume, 
(where we have also the history of man's creation and fall,) 
but let the law be considered which is written in men's hearts; 
the vo/a©' ^//./sfyoto*, the t«£<* mo//.©-, or the lex tiala (in the 
ethnick language) * which the eternal' lawgiving mind hath 
created in our souls. And how evidently doth that law con- 
vince, that we neither are, nor do what we should? How 
gross and numerous deformities do we daily behold by that 
shattered and broken glass ? how many things which we dis- 
approve, or certainly would, if we discussed the matter with 
ourselves ? How frequent bulTetings are many, when they re- 
flect, constrained to suffer at their own hands ; even wherein 
(not having another law) they are only " a law to themselves, 1 ' 
and have only their own thoughts, either their excusers, or 
accusers ? And what doth that signify, but a lapse and recess 
from their original state? the broken imperfect memorials 
whereof, are a standing testimony against their present course ; 
their notions of right and wrong, comely and uncomely, re- 
monstrating against their vicious inclinations and ways. For 
would they ever reprove themselves for what was not possible 
to be otherwise ? Or was man created a mere piece of self- 
contradiction ; or with a nature made up of repugnancies, 
and perpetually at war with itself? This I should do, but 
that which is clean contrary I have a mind to. Were thes£ 
ever like to be impressions, both, signed upon him by the same 
hand ? Nothing is plainer therefore, than that he is corrupted 
from his primitive integrity, and become a depraved and a 
degenerate thing. 

Secondly, We go on then, in the next place, to shew, — 
That by this degeneracy, the temple of the living God among 
men, became waste and desolate : namely, both uninhabitable 
or unfit for his blessed presence ; and — thereupon, deserted 
and forsaken of it. And (because in breaches and disagree- 
ments man hath the first hand and part) we shall therefore 
treat, 1. Of the unfitness of man, in his state of apostasy, to en- 
tertain the divine presence, or be any longer God's temple ; 

* t«J/«o yo/AG&t'jr vols $ix$t<riAO§tTa, tout ^vyxis. Hierocl. p. 19. and 

320 the living temple. tart If. 

and, 2. Of the blessed God's absenting himself, and estrange- 
ment from him hereupon. 

I. That the spirit of man, by his having apostatized, be- 
came unfit to answer the purposes of a. temple, will too plainly 
appear, by considering the nature of that apostasy ; which, 
what was it. but a severing himself from God; a recess and se- 
paralion ? Not in respect of place, (which was impossible,) but 
the temper of his mind and spirit; or not by a local removal, 
but by unsuitableness and disaffection, departing in heart from 
the living God. It is true indeed, that by this his revolt, he 
became indisposed to all other converse which belonged to 
him as a creature intelligent and virtuous, but chiefly to divine : 
the blessed God being the chief term of this defection arid revolt. 
For man, by his original rectitude, was principally determined 
towards God; and by the same due bent and frame of spirit 
by which he stood rightly postured towards him, he was in a 
right disposition to every thing besides wherewith he had any 
concern. And adhering to him as his centre and prime ob- 
ject, he kept his due order towards all other things : whence 
by forcing and relaxing the bonds that held him united to 
God, and by changing his posture towards him, he came to 
stand right no way. Turning to him the back, and not the 
face, all things are inverted to him. He is now become most 
directly opposite to God, and unduly disposed towards other 
things Only by means of that opposition. As then he is unfit 
for every other good use, so most of all for that of a temple ; 
and that upon both the above-mentioned accounts, as being 
first unsuitable to the blessed God, and then thereupon dis- 

(1.) Man was become most unsuitable to him; the divine 
image (which where should it, be but in his temple) being 
now defaced and torn down. We speak not now of the na- 
tural image of God in man, or the representation the soul of 
man hath of its Maker in the spiritual, intelligent, vital, and 
immortal nature thereof, which image we know cannot be 
lost ; but its resemblance of him in the excellencies which ap- 
pear to be lost, and which were his duty, a debitum inesse, 
and could not be lost but by his own great default. And 
those are both such as wherein the soul of man did imitate 
and resemble God, as knowledge, purity, justice, benignity, 
&c. and such as wherein though it could not imitate him, 
yet was to bear itself correspondency towards him; as he be- 
ing the absolute Sovereign, to be subject to him, obey and 
serve him : and he being the all-sufficient Good, to trust itt 


him, depend upon him, know, love, and delight in him, 
unite with him, and expect blessedness only in and from him. 
How unlike and disagreeable to God in all these respects is 
apostate man ! That whereas the notion given us of God, is, 
that he is Light, and with him is no darkness at all ; (J John 1.) 
it is said of such as have been involved in the common apostasy, 
in reference to that their former state, "Ye were darkness;" 
as if that were the fittest and truest account that could be given 
of this revolted creature : not that he is in darkness, or there 
is much darkness in him, but, "He is darkness." He and 
darkness may define one another — That is he ; and he is that. 
A dismal horrid cloud hath inwrapped his soul, that resists 
and yields not easily to tlie most piercing beams, excludes 
light, wheresoever it would insinuate itself. This hath made 
the soul of man a most unmeet receptacle for the divine pre- 
sence, and more like a dungeon than a temple. And as lie is 
now sunk into carnality, and a low, abject, earthly spirit, how 
unfit is he for divine converse ! How unapt to savour the things 
of God ! How unlike the Father of Spirits ! And whereas he 
was of a middle nature, partaking somewhat of the angelical, 
somewhat of the animal life, how is he swallowed up of the 
latter, and become like the beasts that perish ; as the horse 
and mule without understanding, as the dog and swine both 
for fierceness and impurity ; as the one is both apt to bite and 
devour, and return to his own vomit, and tlie other both to 
rend such as stand in his way, and wallow in the mire. We 
might add the sundry other Scripture resemblances of wolves, 
bears, lions, serpents, adders, vipers, &c. whereby many brutes 
seem to meet in one man ; and to have made a collection, and 
contributed their worst qualities, and all the venom of their na- 
tures, to the making up of one mischievous composition in him. 
So that instead of a temple, he is a cage of every unclean and 
hurtful thing : he is, in short, of a reprobate mind, full of 
all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, coyetousness, 
maliciousness, envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity, &c. 
How repugnant, in all respects, to tiie holy, pure, benign, 
merciful nature of God ! How remote from the imitation 
of his Maker, wherein he hath offered himself as his most 
imitabie pattern! And wherein he is not imitabie, but re- 
quires a proportionable and correspondent deportment or 
conformity ; as by trust to his all-sufficiency, by subjec- 
tion to his sovereign power and government. How dismal 
is the case, and how horrid the effects of the apostasy in these 
regards ! How preposterous and perverse are his dispositions 
vol. i. 2 T 


and the course he hath run ! For wherein it was permitted to 
him to imitate and affect likeness to a Deity ; where he was put 
under no restraints, and his highest aspirings had been not 
only innocent, but most worthy of praise, (as to imitate God in 
wisdom, righteousness, sincerity, goodness, purity, &c.) here 
nothing would please but utmost dissimilitude, and to be as 
unlike God as he could devise. But in those things that were 
within the inclosure, and appropriate most peculiarly to the 
Godhead ; to be the first and the last, the Alpha and Omega ; 
the only one on whom all must depend, and to whom all must 
be subject and obey : these sacred regalia, the highest rights 
and flowers of the eternal crown, these are thought fine things, 
and beheld with a libidinous devouring eye, caught at by a 
profane sacrilegious hand. Nothing would satisfy but to be 
Godlike in this most disallowed and impossible sense. Man, 
when he hath reduced himself to the lowest pitch of vileness, 
misery and penury, now will be self-sufficient ; and when he 
is become the most abject slave to ignominious lusts and pas- 
sions, now he will be supreme : that is, having made himself 
viler than the meanest creature, and worse than nothing, he 
will be a God, even his own, a God to himself. Having severed 
and cut himself off from God, he will supply the room, and 
live only within himself ; be to himself what God was, and 
should ever be. He now moves wholly in his own sphere, 
disjoined from that of the whole world, and is his own centre. 
All he does is from himself, and for himself. Thus is the true 
image of God torn down from his own temple, and that alien- 
ated, and become the temple of a false God, dedicate to that 
abominable idol, self. 

(2.) Whence it comes to pass, that man is most disaffected 
to God, and full of enmity. So Scripture testifies concerning 
the carnal mind, Rom. 8. 8.