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"faith; who, for the joy that was set before "him, endured the cross, despising the shame,
" and is now set down at the right hand
" of God."
PSALM xiv. Ver. 1.
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.
AMID the various dangers and accidents to
which human life is exposed, it seems the only true basis of consolation to a reasonable mind, that there is a God, who ruleth over all: that nothing happens in heaven or in earth, but by his pleasure and permission; and that we may, therefore, securely rely on his wisdom, who best knows what is fitting and convenient for us.
It cannot, therefore, but seem strange, that any should be foolish enough to reject this anchor of hope, and, by denying the providence of God, expose themselves, friendless and unprotected, to the tempestuous ocean of human life.
life. Yet that such there have been, and still are, the Psalmist's declaration, and our own experience in this licentious age, will leave us no room to doubt.
“ For the ungodly is so proud " that he careth not for God, neither is God in “ all his thoughts.”
Let us see then upon what grounds these men usually proceed, and, I trust, we shall easily discover the absurdity of their conduct, and have reason to say, with the same Psalmist, “ The fool,” and the fool only, “ hath said in his heart, There is no God.”
Now whoever renounces a Providence, and rejects God's authority over him, must do it upon one of these two principles; either through a spirit of infidelity, because he neither believes nor acknowledges such a Providence, or else through the corruption of his heart, which will not let him submit to it, though he does, believe it.
And first then, If it proceeds from a spirit of infidelity, because he does not believe a Providence, I would ask any serious man, what can be a greater folly than to deny that which is not only the most credible thing in the world, but the very foundation of all things that are credible? To dleny what the most sensible heathens belieyed by the bare light of nature? To deny
what has been, and can be proved by a variety of arguments, which no effrontery can contradict, no subtilty evade? And yet this is the very : case of every man that denies a Providence. For first, he shuts his eyes against the very fountain of light, which is the being of a God. For the first and most immediate consequence that can be drawn from the being of a God is, that there is a Providence: he, therefore, that denies a Providence, either denies the being of a God wholly; or else, which comes to the same thing, makes him such a supine and indolent being, as takes no care of his creatures; and, therefore, can neither be just, nor wise, nor good: for all these perfections must be wanting in him, if he neglected to take care of the work of his hands : and, without these perfections, he can be no Deity. He, therefore, that denies a Providence, in fact denies the first principle and foundation of all knowledge, the being of a God.
And secondly; in reality, therefore, though he may profess Christianity, such a man is worse than a heathen: for there was scarce any sect among the pagans that denied or doubted of a Providence, except those, who like the fiends of a neighbouring nation, by their abominable principles plunged men into the most diabolic practices, and whose interest, therefore, led them to wish and maintain that
there was neither God, nor law, nor rewards, nor punishments, nor Providence, nor justice, either in this world or the next; but that one eternal sleep might close together their crimes and their lives.
But farther. As it is the particular character of religion to make us hope even against hope, so he that depies a Providence becomes faithless and unbelieving against the strongest proof, the conviction of his own mind, and the conclusions of his own reason.
For put the matter in other words, and we shall find him, in reality, allowing the justice and certainty of those reasonings, upon which we found the notion of a Providence. He believes that a state cannot be well governed without the wisdom and council of a prince;-that a ship cannot be safely steered without the attention and dexterity of a pilot ; --that a family cannot subsist in good order without the vigilance and care of a master :and when he sees the kingdom flourish in peace and due subordination,--the ship ride safely in the midst of contending elements,--and the family acting, in their several departments, with harmony and concord, --he. concludes without hesitation, that they are severally governed by the wisdom of some intelligent being. Is it not, therefore, the flattest contradiction to his