Imágenes de páginas


That God requires nothing for his own fake; no, not the Worship we are to render him, nor the Faith we are to bave in him...

B.XXXOUR Arguing from the Nature of God, that every Thing, confequently Faith in him, and

even the Worship and Service we render to XXXXX him, is wholly for our own fake, will hardly down with the Bulk of Mankind, who imagine, they by thofe Acts do him fome real Service.


A. If they think fo, 'tis a Sign they have not been well inftructed; the most eminent of our Divines wou'd teach them, That Prayer itself, God knowing before-hand what we will ask, chiefly becomes a Duty, as it raises in us a due Contemplation of the divine Attributes, and an Acknowledgement of his great and conftant Goodness, and ferves to keep up a conftant Senfe of our Dependance on him; and as it difpofes us to imitate those Perfections we adore in him, in being kind and beneficent to one another. There are few fo grofs as to imagine, we can direct infinite Wisdom in the Difpenfation of Providence, or perfuade him to alter those Laws he contriv'd before the Foundation of the World for putting Things in a regular Course.

" "TIS,


[ocr errors]

To 2, 681.

"Tis, fays Arhbishop Tillotson, a great Condefcention Vol. 7. P. 28. " and Goodness in him, to accept our imperfect Praises, and "ignorant Admiration of him; and were he not as won"derfully good, as he is great and glorious, he wou'd "not suffer us to fully his great and glorious Name by ❝ taking it in our Mouths; and were it not for our Advantage and Happiness to own and acknowledge his Benefits, for any real Happiness and Glory that comes 66. to him by it, he cou'd well enough be without it, "and difpenfe with us for ever entertaining one Thought "of him; and were it not for his Goodness might de"fpife the Praises of his Creatures, with infinitely more "Reason than wife Men do the Applause of Fools."

Life. Part 2.

"To imagine, as Dr. Scot obferves, that God needs our Scer's Chrift. ❝Services, and requires them to serve his own Interest, is vol, 1.Ch. 6. "to blafpheme his All-fufficiency, and suppose him a poor indigent Being, who for Want of perfect Satisfaction within "himself, is forc'd to roam abroad, and raise Taxes on his "Creatures, to enrich and fupply himself: So that what"foever fome high-flown Enthufiafts may pretend, that 'tis fordid and mercenary to ferve God for our Good, I am "sure, to serve him for his Good is profane and blafphe


As able a Divine as this, produc'd, obferves, that "

of Incred. Eng.

or perhaps any other Age has Nothing can be more falfe, or LeClerk's Cauf. contrary to the Nature of the Gospel, than to fancy God' Tranfl. p. 219. "in part-defign'd to fhew he was Mafter, by enjoining fome

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Commands, which have no Relation to the Good of Man

kind; Religion was reveal'd for us, and not for God; who, absolutely speaking, neither wants what we think of him, "nor the Worship we pay him, but has manifefted himself to us, only to make us happy." And, therefore, if from


Excess of Devotion, a Man neglects the Duties of civil Life, he is fo far from doing a Thing acceptable to God, that he mistakes the End of Religion, which is to render him as perfect as may be in all moral Duties whatever.


If any Command was ever given for the fake of God, it must certainly be That relating to the Inftitution of the Sabbath; and yet we find it faid, The Sabbath is made for Man, and not Man for the Sabbath: So true is it in Divinity as well as Politicks, that The Good of the People is the fupreme Law.

IN fhort, the Worship God requires, is either for his own fake, which fuppofes his Happiness fome Way or other depends on it; or else (except he requires Things to no Purpose) for the fake of Men, to raise and keep in their Minds the Contemplation of an infinitely good Being, and of his Laws, all founded on a disinterested Love to the whole Race of Mankind. To imagine the Worship of God is ordain'd on any other Account, not only deftroys one of the greatest Motives of Mens doing Good to one another; but supposes God not fufficient for, or infinitely happy in himself; but subject to the Paffions of ambitious and vain-glorious Mortals.

THE Generality of Chriftians not only believe, that in worshipping God they do him real Service, but think he is extreamly uneafy, if publick Worship is not perform'd in fuch a Manner, and with such Rites and Ceremonies; and being endlefly divided about thefe Trifles, think they make their Court to Heaven, and highly oblige an omnipotent Being, in destroying those formidable Enemies of God, who prefume, without their Leave, to worship him after that Manner they judge agree able to his Will. And,


THERE are no Measures, tho' ever so destructive, but what They, who do not confider the End of God's Laws, may be brought into; as all History fufficiently proves. The Jews not only thought that doing the greatest Good on their Sabbath, was profaning the Day; but were so fuperftitious as to think, that all Self-defence was then unlaw- Maccab. 2. ful; and therefore durft not lift up their Hands against their Enemies, who butcher'd them as they pleas'd: And many of the primitive Fathers thought the Gospel forbid all Self-defence; and herein they are follow'd by a modern Sect, who are their strict Imitators in most Things.

"Tis no Wonder, if fome Ecclefiafticks have not been very forward to teach People, that what Worship God requires of them, is for their own Sakes; fince then they cou'd not on Pretence of that Worship, have claim'd fuch Powers and Privileges, as are inconsistent with the common Good; and People might then think it their Duty fo to regulate Matters as that their Priefts, upon the whole, confidering the Charge of maintaining them, and other Incidents, fhou'd do more Good than Hurt; which can never happen, till Men are taught 'tis their Duty to do Good to all, notwithstanding their wideft Differences as to Worship, or any other Matter of meer Religion; and 'tis to the Honour of our Clergy at present, that fo many of them now endeavour to infuse such human and benevolent Principles into a People, who not long fince, thought they fhew'd a fufficient Zeal for Religion, in hating Those their Priests hated, without knowing wherefore; and fir'd by their Pulpit Invectives, thought it their Duty to pull down Houses of religious Worship, and were ready at the Direction of their impious Leaders, to have perpetrated worfe Crimes.


B. THERE'S One Difficulty, which to me seems infuperable, how to make the Faith requir'd by the Religion of Nature and of the Gofpel, to have the fame Views, and tend to the fame End.

A. IF Faith in God himself, no more than in any other Act of Religion, is requir'd for God's fake, but our own; can Faith in One sent by God be requir'd for any other End? Especially confidering, that no Perfon is ever the more known to Pofterity, because his Name is tranfmitted to them; when we fay, Cafar conquer'd Pompey, we having no Idea of either can only mean, Some-body conquer'd Some-body; and have we more diftinct Ideas of Jesus and Pilate? And tho' we had a perfonal Idea of the former, he cou'd receive no Advantage or Dif advantage by what we thought of him. And if Faith in him was requir'd for a Cause antecedent to his being fo fent, founded in his and our Nature, and the Relation we always ftood in to him; wou'd not the eternal Reason of Things have made it manifeft? That which concern'd all, must be knowable by all, for which Reafon the Apostle says, That which may be known of God (and none can know That which may not be known) was manifeft in the Gentiles. And,

THE End of Chrift's Coming feems not to teach Men new Duties, but (Repentance being the first Thing preach'd by him and his Apostles both to Jews and Gentiles) to repent of the Breach of known Duties. And Jefus does not fay, He was fent to all Ifrael, but to the loft Sheep of the Houfe of Ifrael; and that the Son of Man is come 18. fave that which was loft: And his Parabie about the And when it was loft Sheep, fuppos'd All were not lost. objected to him, that he kept Company with Sinners, he

Mat. 15. 24.

Luke 15. 7.


« AnteriorContinuar »