An Antidote Against Atheism/Book I/Chapter I

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Chap. I.

1. That the Pronenesse of these Ages of the World to winde themselves from under the awe of Superstition makes the attempt seasonable of endeavouring to steer them off from Atheisme. 2. That they that adhere to Religion in a mere superstitious and accustomary way, if that tye once fail, easily turn Atheists. 3. The usefulness of this present Treatise even to them that are seriously Religious.

1.The grand Truth which we are now to be imployed about and to prove, is, That there is a God: And I made choice of this Subject as very seasonable for the Times we are in, and are coming on, wherein Divine Providence more universally loosening the minds of men from the awe and tyranny of mere accustomary Superstition, and permitting a freer perusal of matters of Religion then in former Ages, the Tempter would take advantage, where he may, to carry men captive out of one dark prison into another, out of Superstition into Atheism it self.

2. Which is a thing feasible enough for him to bring about in such men as have adhered to Religion in a mere externall way, either for fashion sake, or in a blinde obedience to the Authority of a Church. For when this externall frame of Godliness shall break about their ears, they being really at the bottome devoid of the true fear and love of God, and destitute of a more free and unprejudic'd use of their Faculties, by reason of the sinfulness and corruption of their natures, it will be an easy thing to allure them to an assent to that which seems so much for their present Interest; and so being imboldened by the tottering and falling of what they took for the chief Structure of Religion before, they will gladly in their conceit cast down also the very Object of that Religious Worship after it, and conclude that there is as well no God as no Religion; that is; they have a mind there should be none, that they may be free from all wringings of Conscience, trouble of correcting their Lives, and fear of being accountable before that great Tribunall.

3. Wherefore for the reclaiming of these, if it were possible, at least for the succouring and extricating of those in whom a greater measure of the love of God doth dwell, (who may probably by some darkening cloud of Melancholy, or some more then ordinary importunity of the Tempter, be dissettled and intangled in their thoughts concerning this weighty matter) I held it fit to bestow mine endeavours upon this so useful and seasonable an enterprise, as to demonstrate That there is a God.