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DAGE 15. Line 2. read about 45000. p. 16. 1. 8. r. 1 200,000.000. p.25. 1. 13.8.47". p. so. 1. 20. Marg. 1. Fig. V. p. 135. 1. 30, 31. r. Mankind : For all this, &c. [Vid. Errat reliq. in calce, p. 304. ]

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PREFACE.

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E FOR E I come to treat of this

B Noble Subject, The Astronomii c al 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 to the receiving real Advantage hy this Treatise ; and without Satisfaction wherein, all such Discourses will be of little Effect with many of its Perusers : I mean the Enquiry about that

A

Temper

Temper of Mind, which is necesary 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 has pleased God to require a certain Degree of Probity, Seriousness, impartiality, and Humility of Mind ; together with hearty Prayers to him for his Direction, Blesling, and Asistance; and a proper Submission to him, before he will communicate his Truths to Men ; I mean, at least, communicate the same so as Jhall make a due Impresion upon their 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 bis Will, which He has deter, mined shall be the Conditions of his Communications to them ; especially if they come with the contrary Difpoftions, with a Wicked, Partial, Proud, and Ludicrous Temper, and with an utter Difregard to God, bis Providence, Worship, and Revelation ; all thair Researches will come to nothing. If, I say, this be the Cafe, as to Divine Knowledge, as I believe it is, it cannot but be highly neceffary for us all to consider of this Matter bez forehand, and to endeavour after the proper

Qualifi

Qualifications, before we set our selves about the main Enquiries themselves. If it bas also pleased God to expect from us same more Deference and Regard for bim, than for our poor fallible Fellow-Creatures bere below ; and to claim our Belief and Obedience, upon plain external Evidence, That certain Do. &trines or Duties are derived from him, without our being always let into the Secrets of his Government, ar acquainted with the Reasons of his Canduct ; and alfa to expect 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 acquiesced in, when it appears to be fuck, as in all other Cases would be allowed to be satisfactory, and plainly superior to what is alledged to the contrary : If, I say, this also be the Cafe as to Divine Knowledge, as I believe it is; It will be very proper for us all to consider' of this Matter before-band also; that so we may not be afterward disappointed, when in our future Progress we do not always find that irresistible and over-bearing Degree of Evidence for certain Divine Truths, which in such Cafe's in not to be bad; which in truth is almost pecue lier to the Mathematicks ; and the Expectation of which is fe common, tho' unjust, 4 Pretence for Infidelity among us.

As to the former of these Enquiries, or that Temper of Mind which is necessary for the Discovery of Divine Truth; it can certainly be no other than what the Light of Nature, and the Consciences of Men inflaenc'd thereby, di&tate 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 Duties, as we do all along discover to be the Word and Will of God together with such a Modesty, or Resignation 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 always insisting, upor knowing the Reasons of the Divine Conduit therein immediately, before we will believe that Evidence. These are such things as all honest and sober Men, who have naturally a Sense of Virtue and of God, in their Minds, must own their Obligation to. We all know, by the common Light of Nature, till we eclipse 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 Teftimony without Prejudice, or Byas, and ever to pronounce agreeably to our Convictions ; that we are but Weak, Frail, Depen

dent

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