Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

Dew ? Out of whose Womb came the Ice? SERM,
and the hpary Frost of Heaven, who hath, I.,
gender'd it ? Can'st thou lift up thy Voice
to the Clouds, that abundance of Waters.
may cover thee a Canist thou send Light-
nings that they may go, and say unto thee,
Here we are ? Who hath put Wisdom in
the inward Parts? or who hath given
Understanding to the Heart . In this sub-
lime manner did God condescend to talk with
Job, and ascrib'd the Creation of all Things
to himself by challenging him to find out
another Author of Nature.
. . And, indeed, if we can't afcribe all these
· things to the Wisdom of God, to what can

we ascribe them? Can we afcribe them,
as the Epicureans of old foolishly did, to
Chance, to that which has no real Existence
in the World ? for Chance is nothing but
only the Ignorance of Certainty. Wher,
therefore, we ascribe any thing to Chance
we don't mean by it that Chance is any
thing real, much less that it is the Cause of
any thing, however some may be amus'd
by the Sound of the Word, but 'tis an Ex-
pression we make use of to fhew our Igno-
rance of the true Caufe. Thus when any
Eyent happens in Life, which we could not
foresee, 'tis common enough to attribute it

[ocr errors][merged small]

SERM. to Chance, because we can't see the Reason
I of it, i. e. the Train of Causes that have

produc'd it; for in any other Sense 'tis im-
pofsible there should be any such thing in
Nature as Chance, there being a certain and
necessary Reason for cvery thing ; and to
a Being that sees all Things, and the Rea.
fons of them, 'tis all Certainty, there can
be no such thing as Chance; but to a Being
who can't see all Things the Case is thus : As
far as he can discover the Reasons of Things,
fo far they are certainties to such a one too ;
and as far as he cannot do this, fo far they stand
to him upon the Foot of Chance.Whatshallwe
fay then, that these wonderful Works of the
Creation are, as the Epicureans fay, the
Effects of certain Atoms, or fine Parts of
Matter meeting together by Chance ? Be-
fides the Absurdity of supposing those to
meet that will be for ever falling at certain
Distances from each other, or to fall not in
perpendicular Lines, but a little declining,
which they suppofe for no Reason in the
World but to support a tottering Hypo-
thesis ; yet as Chance has been prov'd to be
nothing but the Ignorance of the Cause, to
fay that these Things met by Chance is no
fatisfactory Account ; for supposing this
were true, yet we are not to rest here, but

must must go on to enquire for the Cause, the SERM, Cause even of that Chance, or rather of I. that which appears to us to be fo; and what m e can that be but God? But all this while the Atoms themselves are not accounted for, which yet must be done in order to make a consistent Scheme ; for whatever is must have a Cause, except the self-existent. Being hin,self, the Supposition of whose Nature excludes all Cause.

But suppose, according to the vulgar Notion of it, that Chance were something real, a fort of a giddy Agent, that does things at Random, without any Thought or Design; can we imagine that this beautiful Frame of the Universe can poflıbly be the Effect of such a whimsical, uncertain Cause ? Can we suppose that the constant and invariable Laws of Nature are the Effect of Casualty, or that the Worlds were made by Accident ? Can we suppose that Matter madly thrown together should form fo glorious a Body as the Sun is ? or, could the lucky Hit be carried ftill further to Stars innumerable ? How comes their Motion and Periods to be so regular, since Chance is by the Suppofition so uncertain ? Doubtless blind Fortune has not done all this, but the Hand of an all-wise God. What fortuitous Concourse

of

m

SERM. of Atoms could produce such a Creature as I. Man? or how came he to be endued with

R eason? Is this by Virtue of a few Particles of Matter ? Can any Thing give what it is not possess’d of? or, can Thought and Reason be suppos'd to proceed from a dull inanimate Substance ?. But why han’t these Atoms, or this Chance, rais'd some lofty Fabrick or convenient Houfes, as well as Men to inhabit them? These Conjectures are too weak to impose upon rational Cream tures, and are as senseless as the Atoms them selves. Who looks into the vegetative World, when all Nature is in its Bloom, when the flowery Meadows and Groves delight the Smell, and with pleasing Disorder and beautiful Irregularity falute the Eyes, and a scribes all this to Chance, and not rather to the highest Wisdom? In short, if the Harmony of the Universe was the Effect of Chance, then this plain Contradiction must necessarily follow; That nothing can be imagin’d more certain and regular than Casualty and Accident. So that if Chance means Regularity, Order, Uniformity, Contrivance, &c. then 'tis co-incident with the highest Wisdom, and becomes identified with it. Thus this ridiculous Error, like all others, when pursued far enough, runs up at last into Truth, and the Epicurean

Chance,

Chance, abating only the Contradi&tion of SERMA the Word, is no less than the great God of I. Heaven and Earth. Which brings me,

ne mn as I propos'd,

· Secondly, To make fome Reflections upon the Whole. And, first, The Wisdom, which is every where display'd in the Works of the Creation, fhould lead us to praise and adore the great Creator. Man is the only Creature upon this Globe that is capable of discerning the infinite Beauty and Contri. vance of them; for, tho' other Creatures are naturally fensible of the Use and Benefit of a great many of them, as, for Example, that the Grass is good for Food, the Tree for Shelter, &c. yet Man alone is capable of seeing how wisely and beautifully they are order'd and contrivd, because he alone is endued with Faculties capable of such a Contemplation ; he alone then is able to express a just Sense of it, to praise the Lord for his Goodness, and declare the Wonders that he doth for the Children of Men; and hence arises his Obligation to do it.

But Man is more especially concern'd to do this, because he is placed at the Head of Things, at least in this part of the Creation, where all Things were made for his Use and

G . . Service,

« FöregåendeFortsätt »