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Few Things come up, even at first, to what they promised : and such as do, fall below it very soon ; leaving the Mind, at best, languid and unsatisfied. But if such Persons have taken, as they commonly do take, forbidden Ways, amongst others, to their Ends; then additional Uneasinesses croud in
them : painful Reflections on their past Behaviour ; folicitous Apprehensions of what may
follow, both here and hereafter. For there is deeply rooted in the Heart of Man an inbred Sense of Right and Wrong; which, however heedlesly overlooked, or studiously suppressed by the gay or the busy Part of the World, will, from Time to Time, make them both feel, that it hath the justest Authority to govern all that we do, as well as Power to reward with the truest Consolation, and punish with the acutest Remorse.
Others, therefore, see the absolute Necessity of bringing Virtue and Duty into the Account, when they deliberate concerning the Behaviour that leads to Happiness. And were the Regard, which they pay to these, universal and uniform, their Happiness would be as complete as human Nature and Circumstances permit. But too often they, who practise conscientiously A 2
some Duties, with strange Inconsistency utterly despise others. And, which is stranger yet, many, who profess the most general Concern for moral Obligations, quite forget the first and strongest of them all, the Reverence due to Him, who made us. The Ties, which unite them to their Fellow-creatures, they readily acknowledge: but unaccountably flight their absolute Dependence on their Creator, and the consequent Veneration, which they owe to that Being, of whom, and for whom, and to whom are all Things'. Now if any Dispositions are good, religious ones are such. They proceed from the same Principle, with the very best of others: the Exercise of them is the noblest Exertion of that Principle; and yet some affect to set up Virtue in Opposition to Piety; and would be thought desirous to serve the former, by depreciating the latter. Some again, who are more upon their Guard, yet explain themselves freely, on Occasion, to allow nothing further than this; that Religion may be of Use to keep the Bulk of Mankind in Order: not reflecting, that the upper
Part have still greater Need of its Restraints, than di Cor, viii, 6.
Heb. ii. 10.
the lower; and that whenever it comes to be fpoken of, as only an Instrument of Policy, it will be no longer so much as that. But lighter Minds run wilder Lengths by far : and absolutely indifferent what Harm may come of it, perpetually treat all facred Subjects, as if Freedom of Thought about them consisted in pouring the utmost Contempt upon them that was possible.
Yet perhaps very few, if any, of these, would they consult their Hearts honestly, do so much as imagine they have any Reason to doubt, but a World, so visibly full of beautiful Order and gracious Design, must have been firft formed, and be still governed by a most powerful, intelligent, and beneficent Cause. This, the least degree of consideration, how else the Frame of Things could be what it is, will sufficiently shew : and every Advance in the Knowledge of Nature, makes the Proof, in Proportion, fuller and more obvious. If then there exists a Sovereign of the Universe, Almighty and All-wise, it cannot be a Matter that we are unconcerned in. He, by whose Pleasure we are, and according to whose Determinations about us we shall be happy or miserable, is not a Being unrelated to us :
nor, while he continually superintends every Thing else on this Earth with the exactest Care, will he ever neglect the worthiest Object, which it presents to his View, the Affections and Behaviour of his rational Creature, Man. He must expect every Thing to act, as its Nature requires. And having distinguished ours with the Knowledge of Himself; he cannot have left it in our Choice, to lay him afide out of our Thoughts, as if we knew Him not: but must have intended, that we should pay Him those Regards, which are his due.
Now the first of these, and the Foundation of all the rest, is a proper Temperature of Fear and Love: two Affections, which ought never to be separated in thinking of God : and, therefore, whichsoever is expressed implies the other.
The text hath mentioned önly Fear : but evidently means that Kind, which Children feel towards a wise and good Parent ; which the Psalmist had in his Thoughts, when he said, There is Mercy with thee : therefore shalt thou be feared. As God is infinitely good; and hath not only bestowed on us all the temporal Blessings that we enjoy;
b Psal. cxxx. 4•
but offered us, on the most equitable Terms, through the Mediation of his blessed Son, and the Grace of his holy Spirit, Pardon of our Sins, Assistance of our Weakness, and everlasting Life ; surely he is amiable in the highest Degree: and Insensibility to his Goodness, whilst we are moved with the faint Shadows of it in his Creatures, would be shocking Depravity. But then he is also inconceivably awful; absolute in Authority, resistless in Power: we and all Nature are intirely in his Hands, and depend on the Breath of his Mouth. Such a Being, we must own, is greatly to be feared, and had in Reverence of the Highest of them that are round about himo: Much more then ought the Sons of Men to contemplate him with Abasement, and even rejoice in him with Trembling". Far is this from being below the firmest and the bravest Soul, Not to feel a Dread of God, must be the -grossest Stupidity: and not to own it, the most impotent Affectation. A worthy Heart will think Pride against its Maker the Extre, mity of Wickedness: and value itself on expressing zealously that loyal and thankful Submission, which is due so justly to the King of . Pf. lxxxix. 7.
& Pf. ii. 11.