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PREF A C E.
EFORE I come to treat of this Noble Subje&t, The Astronomical 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 Satisfaétion wherein, all such Discourses will be of little Effe&t with many of its Perusers : I mean tbe Enquiry about that Temper of Mind, which is necessary for the Discovery of Divine
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 tó bim for bis Direktion, Blessing, and Asistance; and a proper Submission to him, before bewiú 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 real 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 his Aid, and Submission to his Will, which He bas detere mined shall be the Conditions of his Communications to them; especially if they como with the contrary Dispoptions, 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 be the Case,as to the Divine Knowledge, as I believe it is, it cannot but be highly neces sary for us all to consider of this Matter beforehand, and to endeavour after the proper
Qualifications, before we set our felves about the main Enquiries themselves. If it bas also pleased God to expe&t from us fome more Deference and Regard for bim, than for our poor fallible Fellow-Creatures here below; and to claimour Belief and Obedience, upon plain external Evidence, That certain Do&trines or Duties are derived from bim, with out our being always let into the Secrets of his Government, or acquainted with the Reasons of bis Condu&t; 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 helieve 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 Casesis not to be 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. in ii . A 2
As to the former of these Enquiries, or that Temper of Mind which is necesary for the Discovery of Divine Trutb; it can certainly he no other than what the Light of Nature, and the Consciences of Men influenc'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 Praktice of such Truths and Duites, as we do all along discover to be the Word and Will of God; together with such a Modesty, or Refignation of Mind, as will rest Satisfy'd in certain sublime Points, clearly above our Determination, with full Evidence that they are revealed by God, without aluvays in fisting, upon knowing the Reasons of the Divine Condu&t therein immediately, before we will believe that Evidence. These are such things as all honest and sobers Men, who have naturally Sense of Virtue and of God in their Minds, must oven their Obligation to. We all know, by 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 Convi&tions; that we are but Weak, Frail, Depen