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EFORE I come to treat of this

Noble Subject, The Astronomi-
B

cal System of the Universe,
with its wonderful Consequences

as it is now discovered to us by the good Providence of God, and the laborious Searches of this and the last Age; and chiefly, by the surprizing Sagacity and Penetration of the Illustrious Sir Isaac Newton; I think it proper to premise two Enquiries, as of great Consequence in way of Preparation tothe receiving real Advantage by this Treatise.; and without Satisfa&tion wherein, all such Discourses will be of little Effeet with many of its Perusers : I mean tbe Enquiry about that Temper of Mind, which is necessary forthe Discovery of Divine

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Truthi

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Truth; and the Enquiry into that Degree of Evidence, that ought to be expected in Divine Matters. For, if all our Knowledge be derived from God, and if it bas pleased God to require a certain Degree of Probity, Seriousness, Impartiality, and Humility of Mind; together with hearty Prayers bim for bis Direction, Blessing, and Alistance; and a proper Submission to him, before be wil communicate bis Truths to Men; I mean, at least, communicate the same so as shall make a due Impression upontheir Minds, and turn to their réal Profit and Edification, to their true Improvement in Virtue and Happiness : And if Men at any time come to the Examination either of the Works or Word of God, without that Temper of Mind, and without those Addresses for bis Aid, and Submission to his Will, which He bas determined shall be the Conditions of his Communications to them; especially if they come with the contrary Dispositions, with a Wicked, Partial, Proud, and Ludicrous Temper, and with an utter Disregard to God, bis Providence, Worship, and Revelation; all their Researches will come to nothing. If, I say, this bethe Case,as to the Divine Knowledge, as I believe it is, it cannot but be highly necefsary for us all to consider of this Matter beforehand, and to endeavour after the proper

Qualifi

Qualifications, before we set our felves about the main Enquiries themselves. If it has also pleased God to expeet from us some more Deference and Regard

for bim, than for our poor fallible Fellow-Creatures here below

i and to claimour Belief and Obedience, upon plain external Evidence, That certain Do&trines or Duties are derived from bim, without our being always let into the Secrets of his Government, or acquainted with the Reasons of bis Conduet ; and also to expe&t that this plain external Evidence be treated, as it is in all the other Cases of Human Determinations and Judgments; I mean, that it be submitted to, and acquiefced in, when it appears to be fuch, as in all other Cafes would be allowed to be fatisfactory, and plainly fuperior to what it alledged to the contrary: If, I say, this also be the Case as to Divine Knowledge, as I believe it is; It will be

very proper for us all to confider of this Matter before-band also; that so we may not be afterward disappointed, when in our future Progress we do not always find thatirresistible and over-bearing Degree of Evidence for certain Divine Truths, which in such Cafésis not tobe bad; which in truth is almost peculiar tothe Mathematicks ; and the Expectation of which is so common, tho' unjust

, a Pretence for Infidelity among us.

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As to the former of these Enquiries, or that Temper of Mind which is necesary for the Discovery of Divine Trutb; it can certainly be no other than what the Light

of Nature, and the Consciences of Men infienc'd thereby, dietate to us; those, I mean, already intimated; such as Seriousness, Integrity, Impartiality, and Prayer to God; with the faithful Belief, and ready Practice of such Truths and Duites, as we do all along discover to be the Word and Will of God

j together with such a Modesty, or Resignation of Mind, as will rest satisfyd in certain sublime Points, clearly above our Determination, with full Evidence that they are revealed by God, without always insisting, upon knowing the Reasons of the Divine Conduet therein immediately, before we will believe that Evidence. These are such things as all honest and sobers Men, who have naturally a Sense of Virtue and of God in their Minds, must owen their Obligation to. We all know, hy the common. Light of Nature, till we éclipse or corrupt it by our own Wickedness, That we are to deal with the utmost Fairness, Honesty, and Integrity in all, especially in Religious Matters; that we are to bearken to every Argument, and to consider every Testimony without Prejudice, or Byass, and ever to pronounce agreeably to our Convittions; that we are but Weak, Frail, Depen

dent

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