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the Garden of Eden, into ferious confideration of the nature of the Precept his Mafter gave him and reflected on the Wisdom of the Supreme Law-giver, that made it; on the immense Bounty his great Benefactor had crowned him withal; on the abominable Ingratitude he would make himself guilty of, by breaking fo reafonable an Injunction. Had he but recollected himfelf, (when tempted to eat of the dangerous Fruit, under a pretence that it would open his Eyes,and make him as wife as God) and thought, that the Creator of Heaven and Earth knew beft, what degree of wisdom and knowledge became a Creature of his quality and condition; and he that was all Love, and Beauty, and Kindnefs, would not have interdicted him that Fruit if the Food might have any way advanced his Happiness, and that therefore there must be some cheat in the Temptation: That the Angels, which were lately thrown down from their Glory, could not but envy the Felicity he enjoyed, and for that reafon would appear in all manner of fhapes, and try a thousand ways to weaken the favour of God towards him; and that it was, without all peradventure, the fafest way to prefer an express Command before an uncertain Suggestion. That it was below the Almighty to fay and unfay; to forbid, and yet permit; to caution, and yet to connive; to declare his will to day, and countermand it to morrow; and that fuch Weaknesses are scarce reconcilable to the temper of a wife Man on Earth, much lefs to the Rules of Infinite Wif
dom. Had his Mind taken a view of fuch Argu ments as thefe, and of the uninterrupted Profperity and Immortality he was promised upon his Obedience; it's not the Charms, or Rhetorick, or foft Language of a Wife, nor the Subtilty of a Serpent, nor the pretended Omniscience the Devil flatter'd him withal, would have made him leave that happy ftate, which the infinite Goodness of Heaven had placed him in. But while he tuffers the Pleasure of a Garden to tranfport his Soul, and to blind it, fears no ill, no mifchief, no danger among the Rofes and Flowers of Paradife, embraces the deceitful Suggeftion, without examining the cause, the manner, or the end of it; fwallows the fatal Bait without chewing; believes a Wife, and a Beaft, without confidering the confequence of the Fact, and inquires nor how God may refent his Curiofity; he falls into Death and Mifery, and drags all his Pofterity
Had the Inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah reflected, like rational Men, on the Reproofs and Admonitions of righteous Lot, ruminated on his paffionate Expreffions,taken notice of the Motives he used, of the Incouragements he alledged, of the Commiffion he produced, of the Authority by which he acted, confidered the kindness of the Almighty in fending them fuch a Preacher, and thought with themfelves, That fure it could not be the Preacher's intereft to fet himself against their Vices: That except Confcience, and a Divine Commiffion, had prompted him to attempt their Reformation, it was not probable he could enrage
a debauched City against himself, and make himfelf obnoxicus to the fury of the People; that the righteous Man fpake nothing but Reason, and fought nothing but their Good; that God's Patience would certainly be tired e'er long, and his Long-fuffering turn into Vengeance; that the Fire of their Luft would fhortly pull down other Fire, and the heat of their unclean defires break into more confuming Flames: That Sins against Nature made Men worse than Beasts; and for God not to revenge fuch Crimes, would certainly give the World occafion to believe, there was no Governour that took care of Sublunary Objects, or be a means to deftroy Human Society: That God would not always put up Affronts, nor fuffer his Methods to reclaim them, to be baffled everlastingly: That they could not hope to efcape God's Indignation,no more than the Men of the first World, and when their Sins were equal, God's Judgments would overtake them, as well as they did their Brethren: That God could intend them no harm, by calling them to repentance; and being the great preferver of Men, could not but defign their Well-being and Felicity.
Had they fuffered their Thoughts to dwell on fuch Truths as these, made fuch Confiderations familiar to their Souls, they would have melted and humbled themselves, and kept back that fire and Brimstone,which afterwards confumed them. Want of Confideration made them fecure in Sin, and that Security prepared them for their Devastation.
Indeed there is no Sin almoft, but is comR 2 mitted
mitted for want of Confideration. Men confider not what Sin is, nor how loathfom it is to that God, who carries them on his wings as the Eagle doth her young, nor what injury they do to their own Souls,nor what the dreadful effects and confequences of it are, and that makes them fupine and negligent of their Duty.
To give a few inftances: Did the Atheist but look up to Heaven; did his fwinish and brutifh Appetite but give him leave to contemplate that glorious Fabrick, the orderly pofition of the Stars, the regular motion of thofe Celestial Lamps, and the Mathematical contrivance of that curious Globe; how is it poffible he could dream of a cafual concurrence of Atoms, or forbear to acknowledge a moft wife, moft perfect, and moft powerful Architect, even that God, who commanded them into Being, and ftill preferves them from decay and Ruin?
Would he but confider, how things that have a beginning could not make themselves, unless they were before they were, (which implies a contradiEtion,) and therefore muft certainly be made, and produced at firft by fome Supream caufe that is Eternal and Omnipotent. Would he but reflect on the Univerfal Confent of Mankind, how not only the civilized, but the moft barbarous Nations in all Ages, have had a fenfe of a Deity; and how this fenfe never changes, althô Kingdoms and Republicks, their Government, Laws, Conftitutions, Inhabitants, and Customs change; and how improbable it is, that all Mankind fhould confpire into fuch a Cheat, if there were
no Supream power; how rational it is, that when Men of different Conftitutions, Complexions, Principles, Defires, Interests, Opinions, do all, or most of them agree in one thing, there muft neceffarily be fomething more than ordinary in it, and the Notion must be fuppofed either imprinted by God on the Hearts of all Men, or carefully delivered to Pofterity by the first Planters of the World, which in all probability they would not have done, except they had very good ground and reafon for it; and thô here and there fome few have been found, who either out of ambition of being thought wits,or in a humour, or through fome strange corruption of their minds, have denied the Being of a Deity, or have believed none, yet that thofe few are inconfiderable, compared with the greatest part of Mankind, and guided rather by their lufts and vices, whose interest it is, there fhould be no God to take notice of them ? and not by the true light of Reason: Would the Fool, I fay, but think seriously on these familiar Arguments, how could he fay in his heart There is no God?
How could the Wretch deny a Providence if he did but take notice, how all things are preferved in those stations, fpheres, and tendencies, they Were at firft created in. How things contrary to one another, are kept from destroying one another. How every thing profecutes the end for which it was produced. How the Sea that's higher than the Earth, is kept from overrunning and drowning it. How Kingdoms, Empires, and Common-wealths, are continued