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A Difcourfe wherein Divine Revelation is made appear to be a congruous and con-natural Way of affording proper Means for making Man eternally Happy, through the perfecting of his Rational Nature.
There is an abfolute perfect Being, which is Self-exiftent, Eternal, only One, Infinite, Immutable, a pure Act, entirely Simple, one Formality, and a Spirit.
Hatfoever has Perception, the fame has a Being; for what is not, can have no Perception. And that there is Perception, the very Denyer of it
(if there be any one fo vain, as to contradict the rest of Mankind) may be convinced from his own denyal. For the denyal of it, if the denyer be ferious, must proceed from this, that he thinks there is no fuch thing as Perception; which Thought of his, he cannot otherwife chufe but grant to be either true or falfe; if he grant it to be falfe, he owns in effect there is Perception. But in cafe he will have his Thought to be true,he muft yield that his veryThought it felf is a right Perception; and fo either way he'll be neceffitated to acknowledg, that there is for certain Perception.
2. Perception then most certainly there is, and confequently fomething that perceives, or that has an actual Being which is the Subject of Perception. And whatsoever has an actualBeing or doth Exift, the fame must have it's existence either intrinfecal of it felf, or from fome other thing that is extrinfecal to it. Whatfoever receives its exiftence from any thing that is extrinfecal to it, that fame is not the perfectest Being that is, (because it depends upon another for its exiftence) provided there be any Being at all, which has nothing of Existence from another.
3. And that there is fome Being which
has nothing of exiftence from another, is clear from hence, that, fince the reafon of a things exifting by virtue of another, is be cause there is fome other thing which caufes it to exist ; and that an endlefs Series, or infinite number of things caufing others to exist is impoffible to have been, (becaufe a by-paft Series of things may be encreased by a new addition made unto it, and a Series of things which may be encreased is not infinite, for otherwife there might be something that would be more, or greater than infinite, which queftionless cannot be) there muft of neceffity be fome firft caufe which receives nothing from another, but exifts wholly of it felf, and is thereupon the most perfect Being.
4. That which is the moft perfect Being or firft Caufe, muft of neceffity have al ways exifted, or been from Eternity; because if there had been a time when it was not, it must of nothing have become fomething, feeing it felf was first. And in cafe it fhould of nothing have become fomething, it would have been, or exift ed, before it had a Being, or Existence, and confequently have been and not have been, or exifted and not existed at once, which is impoffible. For being fuppofed
fed to be the first Being, if ever it had al Beginning, it must have been as well the Producer, as the thing to be produced, and fo as it was the Producer must be supposed to have had a Being, and as it was the thing to be produced, to have had no Being, and both at the fame Inftant, which is a manifeft Contradiction.
5.The prime or firft Being then is neceffarily eternal à parte antè, and what is neceffarily Eternal, à parte antè, is likewife fo parte poft, because having nothing of existence from another (Paragraph 3.) it must neceffarily exift of it felf, and what neceffarily exifts of it felf, has existence effential to its and what has existence effential to it,cannot but exift, and what cannot but exift, doth perpetually exift; and confequently the firft Being, as it never had a Beginning, fo fhall it never have Ending, and that under the neceffity of a Contradiction to be otherwise, fince neceffarily and effentially to exift is to be impoffible at any time not to exift,
6. Since then Existence is effential to the first Being, and that because it is the firft Being, and has no dependence on another, but exists entirely of it self, there are of neceffity no more First Beings but One. For in cafe we fhould fuppofe there