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are no better than the World, and the Ungodly and Reprobates, who tho they may have more Moral Virtues than some others, yet have no Grace.
And the mischief of this increases, when men are fainted after death: Had it not been for this Trick, the Church of Rome had had very few Saints to worship, none but the Virgin Mary and the Apostles, whom they might certainly conclude to be in Heaven; but as for their other Saints, who were the great Founders and Examples of their Superstition, they are Saints of their own making , just as the Heathens made their Gods; and it is the Stories and Legends of these Saints, which support the Superftition of the Church of Rome ; for who dares question the Examples of those who are canonized Saints in Heaven? Hac arte Pollux, & vagus
Hercules innixus, arçes attigit igneas.
And there are another fort of men, who are not behind-hand with them in this, who have a great many more Saints than the Church of Rome, though they don't pray to them ; who fend great ihoals to Heaven, especially if they have been zealous for promoting a Party, which hides all other Faults, and fanctires very doubtful Actions; and how powerful must the Example of such Saints be to excite others to an imitation of their Virtues ?
In a word, when we pretend to send men to Heaven, wemake them our Rules and Examples; we hope to go to Heaven with all the Faults they had; and those who knew them, poffibly knew a great many; and what they were eminent for, we conclude were great Virtues, and fit for our imi
tation, tho otherwise of a doubtful and suspicious nature.
There is not a more dangerous thing than to make any man our Rule and Example, and that we necessarily do,when we send him to Heaven? for who would not think himself safe in imitating those whom he believes to be in Heaven? and if we consider, at what rate both the Church of Rome, and others make Saints, we must needs be sensible how infinitely dangerous this is to mens Souls.
To conclude this Head : Let us judge charitábly of all men, and hope well according to the different reasons we have to hope ; but let us, leave their final State to God, neither peremptorily damn or save them. It is to be feared, that Human Judgment has sent many men to Heaven, who will never get thicher ; and to be hoped, that many mén
shail meet with a more favourable Sentence in the next World, than they do in this. God is the Judge of the Worid, and he will certainly judge us, and there is no inconvenience in staying till the Day of Judgment, to see what mens final Sentence shall be, but very great Mifchief in pronouncing a rash and hásty Judgment our selves.
Fourth Inference : To refer al Difficulties to the Day
of Judgment. IV./F God will Judge the World, let us refer
all Difficulties to the Day of Judgment. It must be confessed, that there are very great Difficulties in Providence, such as the Wiseft Men cannot understand, and I can by no means say it is a Fault for Men to search into Providence, and to be very inquisitive into the Reasons of it; for what can more become a reasonable Creature, than to study the Works of God?. And what Works more worth our Study than the Divine Providence, and the wonderful Mysteries of God's governing the World ?
But the Difficulty is to set Bounds to the Curiosity of Mankind, to teach them to study Providence with the Modesty of Creatures, and with the just Reverence which we owe to God, whose Wisdom is infinite and unsearchable; to be contented to discover what we can, to admire and adore the Wisdom, and Goodness, and Justice of Providence in what is plain; and there is enough plain to exercise our devout Meditations, to be matter of our Praise and Thanksgivings, and a sure Foundation of our Trust in God.
And this wife and good Menare contented with; but moft Men take leaft notice of what is plain, as if that were of no use, and not worth notice, but puzzle their Thoughts, and lose themselves in those vast Depths and Abysses which no Human Understanding can fathoin: To correct this Mif
carriage would do great Service to Religion, would give great Peace and Satisfaction to Mens Minds, and prevent a great many fcandalous Difputes
about the Divine Providence; and therefore if I discourse this a little more at large than my present Argument requires, I hope it will be no great Fault. Now to set bounds to our Curiosity, and to make us modest in our Enquiries into Providence, I shall shew you,
I. How dangerous it is to search too narrowly
into the Secrets of Providence. II. How unreasonable it is to difturb our
Minds with such Difficulties as we cannot
answer. III. That what cannot be known in this World,
it is time enough for us to know in the
World to come.
to believe, that what we cannot know in this
the Day of Judgment. I. As for the first, How dangerous such curious Enquiries into Providence are, this is plain in the evil Effects of it.
1. For first, this either makes Men Atheists, or at least is made a Pretence to justifie Atheism. The Natural Notion all Men have of God is, That he is an infinitely Wise, and Good, and Juft, and Powerful Being: Now when Men observe such things, either in the Make or Frame of the World, or in the Conduct and Government of it, as they
cannot reconcile with the Notions they have of Wisdom and Justice,and Goodness,they presently conclude, that there is no God, or that he is nothing to them, that he neither made nor governs the World.
This indeed is a very rash and hasty Conclufion to deny the Being of God, because we cannot find out God to Perfection; when we must confess, that it is impossible for a finite Understanding to comprehend all the Reasons of an Infinite Mind: but thus it must be, when Men won't be contented to be ignorant of any thing, nor permit God to do what they can't understand, but will have a Reason ofevery thing God does, or will not allow him to be God: A modeft Enquirer fees enough in the Works of Creation and Providence to satisfy him that the World was made, and is governed by a wife Being; but those who think themselves wise enough to make and govern a World a great deal better than this world is made and governed, or are upon other Accounts averse to the Belief of a God and have a mind to quarrel with him, take
no notice of what is wife and good, and proves God to be infinitely Wise and infinitely Good, tho they cannot open their Eyes without seeing a thousand such Instances of Wisdom and Goodness; but imploy the little Wit they have to find Faults, and account every thing they can't understand a Fault. This is such Irreverence to God, such Presumption and Arrogance, and such Impiety, that they seem to be Atheists first, and then to quarrel with God's Works to find out some Pretence to deny his Being: it is certain, whoever indulges himself in this, has in a great measure loft his Reverence for God, and Atheism is a na