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Ambition of generous aspiring Minds to express their Gratitude to Him who has placed them so much above the rest of the World; and when they find themselves happy now, to disdain to aim at any thing less than Everlasting Happiness hereafter. To be Miserable after Happiness, is an aggravation of Misery: but to receive Eternal Blessings, as the Fruits and Improvement of such as are Temporal, is the Privilege of those whom God has been pleased to distinguish from others by his Mercies, and who distinguish themselves by a regard to bis Honour and Service.
All that know BURGHLEY, (and who is there almost that doth not know it?) are surprised with Wonder and Delight, to observe what Art can do, and to behold the Splendour and the Magnificence of foreign Countries in our own : But the Glories and Rewards of Vertue shall continue, when BURGHLEY it self and the World shall be no more ; and will make Death but a Pasage and an Advancement from one Palace, from one Honour to another; and a
Removal only from the uncertain Riches and imperfect Felicities of this Life, to the Mansions of Eternal Bliss in Heaven.
That these my Endeavours may prove but in any measure serviceable to the Ends of Religion and Vertue, and thereby to the Glory and Happiness of Tour Honourable Family, in this and a better World, is, My Lord, the unfeigned Defire and Prayer of,
Your LORD SHIP'S
Most Humble, and
Servant and Chaplain,
Am sensible, that the Publication of a Treatise of this nature, will be liable to Exceptions, from those for whose Use and Be
nefit it is chiefly design'd, who will be ready to lay hold of all Pretences, to avoid the being convinced of what they have so little mind to believe. They will be apt to say, That if the Truth of Religion were so certain, and so evident, as it is maintain'd to be, there could be little need of so many Discourses upor, this Argument ; for it is no Sign of Certainty, when though such Numbers of Books are publish'd of this kind, that so many Men of Learning and Parts have written upon the Subject; yet others, it seems, are not satisfied in their Performances, but are continually offering something New upon it. They will likewise obje&t , That many of the Professors and Ministers of Religion, do not live as if they believed themselves, at least, not as if they were so very certain of what they teach ; and that if there were so
Certainty, there never could be so many Unbelievers, but all who had heard of it, must needs be convinced by such Evidence. I shall therefore shew
here, That the Number of Books written on this Subject, doth not prove the Uncertainty of Religion, but rather the contrary; and that the ill Lives of Men is no Argument against the Religion they profess. And then I shall enquire how it comes to pass, that a Religion which carries so plain and convincing Evidence along with it, should yet by too many be disbelieved, or disregarded,
1. To the First thing, it might be sufficient to say, That the Number of Writers is a great Confirmation of the Truth of our Religion ; since as many as have undertaken the Proof of it, have always agreed in the main Evidence, and differ only in Method, or in the Management of particular Arguments : and though all have not written with equal Strength and Clearness; yet there is not, I believe, one Author, but has brought sufficient Arguments to confute the Adversaries of Religion. They are pleas’d, indeed, to think otherwise: but they may at least take notice, how obvious it is, that if this Objection prove any thing, it must prove, that there is no such thing as Certainty in the World; because there is no Art nor Science concerning which divers Treatises are not daily published. But are therefore the Natures of Vertue and Vice uncertain? Is it the less certain, whether Justice, Temperance, and common Honesty, be Vertues ; or whether Murther, Adultery, and Theft, be Crimes; because Laws are made, and Sermons daily preached concern