« ForrigeFortsett »
HE Character of Mr. Ad. difon and his Writings, for Justness of thought, Strength of reafoning, and
Purity of stile, is too well established to need a Recommendation; but their greatest Ornament, and that which gives a Lustre to all the rest, is his appearing, throughout, a zealous Advocate for Virtue and Religion against Profaneness and Infidelity. And because his excellent Discourses upon those Subjects lie dispersed among his other Writings, and are by that means not so generally koown ang read as they deserve, it was judg’d to be no unfeasonable Service to Religion at
this time, to move the Bookseller to publish them together in a distinct Volume; in hopes, that the Politeness and Beauty peculiar to Mr. Addison's Writings would make their way to persons of a superior Character and a more liberal Education; and, that as they come from the hands of a Layman, they may be the more readily receiv'd and consider'd by young Gentlemen, as a proper Manual of Religion.
Our modern Sceptics and Infidels are great Pretenders to Reason and Philosophy, and are willing to have it thought that none who are really poffefs'd of those Talents, can easily affent to the Truth of Chriftianity. But it falls out very unfortunately for them and their Cause, that those persons within our own memory, who are: confess’d to have been the most perfect. Reasoners and Philosophers: of: thex: time, are also known:10: have been firm Believers, and they: Laymen; I mean Mr. Boyle, Mr. LOCK, Sir ISAAC
NEWTON, and Mr. ADDISON: who, modestly speaking, were as good Thinkers and Reasoners, as the best among the Sceptics and Infidels at this day. Some of them might have their particular Opinions about this or that point in Christianity, which will be the case as long as men are men ; but the thing here infisted on, is, That they were accurate Reasoners and at the same time firm Believers.
Mr. Boyle, the most exact Searcher into the Works of Nature that any Age has known, and who saw Atheism and Infidelity beginning to Thew themfelves in the loose and voluptuous reign of King Charles the Second, pursu'd his Philosophical Inquiries with Religious Views, to establish the minds of men in a firm belief and thorow sense of the infinite Power and Wisdom of the great Creator.
This account we have from Dr. Burnet. one who was intimately acquainted with him, and preach'd his
funeral Sermon: “It appear’d to thofe Life,
who convers'd with him in his p. 22. ^ Inquiries into Nature, that his
main design in that (on which as ' he had his own eye most constant
ly, so he took care to put others
often in mind of it) was to raise in · himself and others, vaster thoughts ! of the Greatness and Glory, and of
the Wisdom and Goodness of God. · This was so deep in his thoughts,
that he concludes the Article of his
Will, which relates to that Illu' ftrious Body, the Royal Society, in ""these Words: wishing them a happy success in their laudable Attempts, tu discover the true nature of the Works
of God; and praying that they and ' all other Searchers into Physical
Truths, may cordially refer their At• tainments to the Glory of the great • Author of Nature, and to the Com
fort of Mankind.' The same person also speaks thus of him, « He had " the profoundest Veneration for the great God of Heaven and Earth,