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for the 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 bappy now, to disdain to aim at any thing less than Everlasting Happiness bereafter. To be Miserable after Happiness, is an aggravation of Misery; but to receive Eternal Blesings, as - the Fruits, and Improvement of such as are Temporal, is the Privilege of those whom God has been pleafed to distinguish from others by bis Mercies, and who distinguish themselves by a regard to his Honour and Service,
All that know BURGHLEY; (and who is there almost that doth not know it?) are furprised with Wonder and Delight, toob serve what Art can do, and te bebold the Splendour and the Magnificence of foreign Countries in our own : - But she Glories and Rewards of Vertue shall continue, when BURGHLEY it felf and the World shall be no more ; and will make Death but a Pallage 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 Your Honourable Family, in this and a better World, is, My LORD, the unfeigned Defore and Prayer of,
Most Humble, and
Şervant and Chaplain,
AM sensible, that the Publication
of a Treatise of this nature, will be I liable to Exceptions, from those for
whose Use and Benefit 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 upon this Argument; for it is no sign of Certainty, that, though such Numbers of Books are publish'd of this kind, which 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 object, That many of the Professors and Ministers of Religion, do not live as if they believed themselves, at leait, not as if they were so very certain of what they teach; and that if there were so great Certain
ty, there never could be so many Unbelievers, but all who heard of it, mult needs be convinced by fuch 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 nô Argument against the Re. ligion they profess. And then I shall enquire how it comes to pass, that a Religion which carries fo plain and convincing Evidence along with it, Thould yet by too many be disbelieved, or disregarded.
1. To the Firft thing, it might be sufficient to say, That the Number of Writers is a great Confirmation of the Truth of our Religion ; fince 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 fufficient Arguments to con fute 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 iu 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 Mur