611 A225ev 1825


THE character of Mr. ADDISON, and his writings, for justness of thought, strength of reasoning, and purity of style, is too well established to need a recommendation; but their greatest ornament, and that which gives a lustre to all the rest, is his appearing throughout à zealous advocate for virtue and religion, against profaneness and infidelity.

And because his excellent dis

courses upon those subjects lie dispersed among his other writings, and are by that means not so generally known and read as they deserve, it was judged to be no unseasonable service to religion at this time to publish them together in a distinct volume, in hopes that the politeness and beauty peculiar to Mr. ADDISON's writings would make their way to persons of a superior character, and a more liberal education; and that, as they come from the hands of a layman, they may be the more readily received, and considered by young gentlemen as a proper manual of religion.

Our modern sceptics and infidels are great pre

tenders to reason and philosophy, and are willing to have it thought that none who are really possessed of those talents can easily assent to the truth of Christianity. But it falls out very unfortunately for them and their cause, that those persons within our own memory, who are confessed to have been the most perfect reasoners and philosophers of their time, are also known to have been firm believers, and they laymen; I mean Mr. Boyle, Mr. Locke, Sir Isaac Newton, and Mr. Addison; who, modestly speaking, were as good thinkers and reasoners as the best among the sceptics and infidels at this day. Some of them might have their particular opinions about this or that point in Christianity, which will be the case as long as men are men; but the thing here insisted on is, that they were accurate reasoners, and at the same time firm believers.

Mr. Boyle, the most exact searcher into the works of nature that any age has known, and who saw Atheism and Infidelity beginning to shew themselves in the loose and voluptuous reign of King Charles II., pursued his philosophical inquiries with religious views, to establish the minds of men in a firm belief and thorough sense of the infinite power and wisdom of the great Creator.

The following account we have from Dr. Burnet, who was intimately acquainted with him, and

preached his funeral sermon :-"It appeared to those who conversed with him in his inquiries into nature, that his main design in that (on which, as he had his own eye most constantly, so he took care to put others often in mind of it,) was to raise in himself and others vaster thoughts of the greatness and glory, and of the wisdom and goodness, of God. This was so deep in his thoughts, that he concludes the article of his will, which relates to that illustrious body, the Royal Society, in these words: Wishing them a happy success in their laudable attempts to discover the true nature of the works of God; and praying that they, and all other searchers into physical truths, may cordially refer their attainments to the glory of the great Author of nature, and to the comfort of mankind." The same person also speaks thus of him: "He had the profoundest veneration for the great God of heaven and earth that ever I observed in any person. The very name of God was never mentioned by him without a pause, and a visible stop in his discourse."

And of the strictness and exemplariness of the whole course of his life, he says, "I might here challenge the whole tribe of libertines to come and view the usefulness, as well as the excellence, of the Christian religion, in a life that was entirely dedicated to it."

Against the Atheists he wrote, his "Free Inquiry into the received Notion of Nature," (to confute the pernicious principle of ascribing effects to Nature, which are only produced by the infinite power and wisdom of God; and also his "Essay about Final Causes of Things Natural," to shew that all things in nature were made and contrived with great order, and every thing for its proper end and use, by an all-wise Creator.

Against the Deists he wrote a treatise of things above reason; in which he makes it appear that several things, which we judge to be contrary to reason, because above the reach of our understanding, are not therefore to be thought unreasonable because we cannot comprehend them, since they may be apparently reasonable to a greater and more comprehensive understanding. And he wrote another treatise, to shew the possibility of the resurrection of the same body.

The veneration he had for the Holy Scriptures, appears not only from his studying them with great exactness, and exhorting others to do the same, but more particularly from a distinct treatise, which he wrote on purpose to defend the Scripture style, and to answer all the objections which profane and irreligious persons have made against it. And speaking of morality, considered as a rule of life, he says, "I have formerly taken

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