Page images
[ocr errors]

Writ to contradict any of the most Evident Mathematical Truths, is, because it never was the Intereft of any Prince or People to have the Contrary believ'd; else he do's not doubt

upon due Encouragement from hopes of Reward, Ambition, Self-Love, or other like Motives, but that the moft Evident and Certain Principles in Geometry might have been as much the Subject of Debate and Controversy as even Morality, or Politicks, or Divinity. This sounds somewhat odd, and almost incredible at first hearing: but we must do him this right to own, that his Own Example made his Observation good. For He himself after all his high Flights and Flourishes, over and over, upon every Occasion, upon no Occasion pour d out in Praise of his Once beloved Mathematicks, especially for their convincing Clearness and undoubted Certainty; as soon as his Vanity and Ambition and Self-Love came to be concern'd in the Cause, by his being baffled and expos’d for Pretending to more in his Way than he Understood, fets himself on Work to dispute against the plainest Demonftrations, with as much Vehemence and Ill Manners as ever any Dispute of Right or Wrong was manag‘d with. Now he tells us, that there are full as great Cheats, Errors, and Falsehoods in the Proofs of Geometricians as any other Men, Geometrarum,

says says he, totam invado Nationem, he proclaims War with the whole Race of 'em, and is forc'd at last to this Extravagant Exclama. tion; “Either I my self, or all the Mathema. ticians in the World beside are stark Mad! I made use the racher of this Instance, and dwelt the longer upon it, because it is of the Man who by his Writings has been One of the greatest Promoters of Atheism, that this last Age has produc'd; That his Difciples may consider and observe, by their Master's Example, how mighty and controlling a Force the Affections and Pallions have over the Judgement and Understanding; and not wonder therefore, if They themselves, bringing with 'em a strong Inclination and vehement Desire to get rid of the Sense of Religion, fhould take even the triffling Sophiftry of the Leviathan for no less than Demonftration.

And this strong Byafs, by which Men's Wills and Desires draw over & engage their Opinions and Belief, appears no where more visible, than where upon the Account of the Infinite and Eternal importance of the Subject, it ought least of all to bear any sway, namely in Matters of Religion." And here it may fafely be affirm’d,that the great & lamentable Encrease & dayly Progress of Atheism & Infidelity, so much & fo justly complain'd of among us, had its Rise not so much from


[ocr errors]

any Rational Reluctance in the Understanding, pretended by Some, to the High Myfterys; as in an Unreasonable Aversion of the Will, too Visible in All, to the Holy Precepts of Chriftianity. Could we look to the Bottom of the Heart of the Generality of Unbelievers, we should plainly fee, that 'tis not the suspected Truth, but the acknowledgʻd Goodness of the Gospel that gives indeed the great Offence. They deny the One, but it is because they hate the Other. In a word, the Opposition that by moft Men is made against Religion, whatever they may pretend, proceeds not from the Difficulty to Apprehend its Doctrines, but from the Unwillingness to Obey its Commands; And the Gospel is rejected, not because in it the Objects of Faith are too Obscure, but because the Obligations to Holiness are too Plain.

That it is not for want of sufficient Evidence to convince them of the Truth of Religion is demonstrable from this ; That they Believe many, innumerable things befide upon very much flenderer Proof. Nay, there is nothing almoft in the World that is beliey'd, the Belief of which is not founded upon less fatisfying Grounds than those, upon which is built our most Holy Faith. It must therefore necessarily be the Prejudice of the Sensual Appetites and Affections


[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

and lower Faculties that hinder their Be. lief: and for One Infidel made so by a too weak Understanding; we may safely affirm, there are Thousands by a too headftrong Will. The Necessity of Denying all Ungodliness and Worldly Lufts, of Renouncing the Pleasures, and Pomps, and Vanitys of this World, is so unwelcome a piece of News to Men that are wholly engagʻd, and as it were swallow'd

up in them; that their first Care is not to hear this diftaftful Message; and if that can't be avoided, their next endeavour is to lessen and vilify, and, if posfible, quite overthrow the Credit of it. Thus as St Paul says, 2 Cor. 4. 3, 4. If the Gospel be bid, it is bid to them that are lost; In whom the God of this World has blinded the Minds of them that believe not, left the Light of the Glorious Gospel of Christ should

shine unto them. Should they let this Glorious Light shine in upon’em, it would shame and confound’em. They cannot bear the Piercing of its Beams and the Discoverys it makes, and therefore they wilfully turn away their Eyes from it, or obstinately shut and close them against it. They cannot endure to be forc'd to see, that they are constantly acting against the clear Manifestations of Divine Revelation, as well as the Natural Dictates of their Own Reason; and nothing being so uneasy, nay so insupportable, to the very


[ocr errors][merged small]

Nature of Man as to continue doing that, wherein he shall always condemn himself; they resolving still to continue the pursuit of the Course that they have begun, are necessarily driven to devise all the Shifts that Wit can invent for the smothering this Light, which to their Condemnation is come into the World. For Every one that doth Evil hateth the Light, neither cometh to the Light, left bis Deeds should be reproved.

These Men say in their Hearts the very fame of Religion itself, as the Atheists in the second Chapter of Wisdom do of the Religious Man, It is not for Our turn, it is clean contrary to Our Doings, it upbraideth us with the offending the Law, it was made to reprove Our Thoughts, it is grievous unto us even to behold. No wonder then if they would be very glad to rid themselves of such an Eyefore, that they should endeavour to destroy Religion from off the face of the Earth ; just as the foremention'd Wretches conclude to use the Religious Person; Let us Examin Him with Despitefulness and Torture, Let us Condemn Him with a shameful Death, who would make us alhamd of Our Lives.

But it is not for the sake of the Shame only, which this glorious Light of the Gofpel shining in upon em must and do's necessarily produce, tho that itself is fufficiently grievous and tormenting; but also,



« PreviousContinue »