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it pleased God, to endure much more Sickness under the Care of my Mother and Friends, than at Cambridge; where I cannot have those Comforts and Supports both for Soul and Body, as in the Country I may reasonably expect from those who have as well a nearer Relation, as a greater Affection for me. To my great and chief Benefactor therefore do I address myself.

O thou Father of Mercies, through whom I was born; who haft exercised a particular Care and Providence over me in Soul and Body all my Life long; who haft led me fafely through the various Stages of Infancy, Childhood, and Youth; and haft especially manifefted the Care of my eternal Intereft, O thou Lover of Souls, in giving me pious Parents, and inclining my Heart to thee early, in keeping me out of Temptation, and in preventing my going aftray from thee, efpecially at Cambridge, where fo many Temptations on every Side did furround me; accept of this unfeigned Sacrifice of Praife and Thankfgiving, which I offer to thy Majefty, for all thefe, and all other thy innumerable and undeferved Benefits to me; who am lefs than the least of all thy Mercies; and a miserable Offender against thy divine Majefty, and holy Laws. To thee I defire to offer all Laud, Love, Adoration, and Bleffing, for all these thy infinite Favours. What am I, O Lord, that thou shouldft fo regard me, and be fo loth that I should perish? What am I but Duft and Ashes, that the Lord of Glory fhould lead me by the Hand to this comfortable Time, and not fuffer my Enemies to triumph


umph over me? I thank thee for my Life, Health, Food, Clothing, Prefervation, Protection, kind Relations, and Friends, and all other the Mercies, thou haft heap'd upon me as to this World; but above all, for what concerns another, the constant Affiftance of thy Grace, Checks of my Confcience, happy Providences, and every thing else that thou haft done in order to my Salvation. To thee do I dedicate and devote myself Soul and Body, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively Sacrifice, to be always employed in Religion, or Innocence, to do thy Will, and obey all thy Commandments. Do thou therefore pardon all my paft Sins, and grant me thy Grace, that hereafter I may always be dying to Sin, and rifing again to Righteousness, continually mortifying all my evil and corrupt Affections, and daily proceeding in all Virtue and Godlinefs of Living. That I may perform every Trust and Duty incumbent on me faithfully, and with an upright Heart. Do thou direct me as to my Choice of my Condition of Life, and in all Things in which I may stand in need of, that Wisdom which only flows from thee its Source and Fountain: And in whatsoever Employment or Place thy Providence fhall call me to, that I may obtain Mercy to be faithful; and may always endeavour to have a Confcience void of Offence towards thee and towards all Men; that when thou fhalt call me out of this World, I may be willing to depart, and to be with Chrift; faying with the Apoftle, I have fought a good Fight, I have finished my Course, I bave kept the Faith; henceforth is laid up for me a Crown of Righteousness, which the Lord the righ


teous Judge fball give me at that Day. Grant all this O Father! through Jesus Christ our Lord, and Saviour. Amen!

September 21, 1690.


IX. Of Atheism Speculative and Practical.

T was a noble Saying of a Heathen, That fuppofing he thought there were no God to govern the World, it would not be worth his while to live in it; and certainly, were all Acknowledgment of a fupreme all-feeing Power, banished from among Men, it would be highly eligible for a wife Man to choose to be annihilated, and return to a State of Infenfibility; or at least to the Condition of the Brutes that perifh, rather than live among Canibals and lawless Monsters, (fuch as Mankind, by fuch a Disbelief, would degenerate into) a Prey to every one stronger than himself, and without any Hope. or glimmering Expectation of ever seeing the World reform'd; and in utter Defpair of ever enjoying himself better than he would then do. What Comfort could a Man reap in any Affliction, ́if all were nothing but inexorable Fate, or unthinking Chance? Whither should a diftreffed Innocent apply himself when he is unjustly condemned? What 'could engage a prudent Man to Generofity, and Patience under the irremediable Load of worldly Cares, Troubles, Difappointments, and Vexations? Finally, where fhould a fick, dying Creature address his Prayers? Whither should he look for a little Support, and Allay, for his Heart-pier

cing Throws and Pangs? And how, with any tolerable View, could he reflect on the King of Terror's Approach, and flide into an abhorred Nonentity; as he must fancy at beft. But far worse is the Atheist's Cafe, if his Confcience awakes before he dies; and he finds, by its cutting Lashes, and dire Forebodings; by its condemning Sentence, and dreadful foretelling the approaching Judgment, and fubfequent Burnings; that his fullen and obftinate Incredulity has not annihilated the God of Heaven, but only heated the Fire of his Indignation feven Times hotter than otherwise it would have been; If, I fay, the Cafe should stand thus with the guilty Wretch, where now is the Confidence with which he dar'd the Almighty? What will all his fenfual Pleasures now confer to his Comfort and Satisfaction, and his jolly Company, the Clubs of Debauchees; how will they be able to adminifter one Dram of Confolation in his greatest Need? Miferable, thrice miferable Man! thus to have, by thy own Obstinacy and Infidelity, precluded all Hope from thyfelf at thy latter End! thus to have been without God all thy Life, but only to be thy Torment at thy dying Minute! So to have spent that Life which might have been improved into never-fading Pleafures in Heaven, as to have precipitated thyself headlong into thofe Flames which have been thy Sport and Paftime, and now like to prey upon thee to all Eternity! Wretch that thou waft! for a wanton, vile, contradictious Humour; for a few fading, withering, beaftly Pleasures; for a not confiderable Time of Licentiousness and Uncleanness,


of Sin and Profaneness; for the Sake of fome base, hectoring, damning Companions: To have denied and provoked that Infinite Being, which would have been thy Support and Protector, thy Hope and Satisfaction, thy Comforter and Benefactor, and to have rendered him bound in Justice to make good his infupportable Threats in thy everlasting Perdition! This, this is the fad and deplorable Cafe of an Atheist awakened just as the Pit of Hell is opening its Mouth to receive him; not to mention all the fecret Stings and Goads of his Conscience in an Affliction, or in a fober Interval; the Meannefs and Pufillanimity his Atheism betrays him into; the Voice of Nature, and the Fears and Mifgivings, left at last he should be mistaken, and fo be loft irrecoverably. This is the Way of them that forget God, and endeavour to root out the Belief of the Being of their own omnipotent Creator, from the Minds of Men: And fuch are the Wages of their daring Sin, and hectoring Profaneness. O my Soul come not thou into their Secrets; enter not into their Society here, as ever thou defireft not to enjoy it hereafter. The Condition of the fpeculative Atheist, as is described before, one would think were as bad, as miferable as is any way poffible to fancy. But yet the worse Half is yet to come; the Folly of the former is notorious; but confider awhile, and you will fee the practical Atheift is the greater Fool, and more inexcufable, and fo perhaps must abide a greater Punishment in Hell. The other had fo much Cunning as to fee the Belief of a God would be a fevere Restraint to

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