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PART Motives to Religion, are the proper Proofs of
I. it, from our moral Nature, from the Presages m of Conscience, and our natural Apprehension
of God under the Character of a righteous Governor and Judge ; a Nature and Conscience and Apprehension given us by Him: and from the Confirmation of the Dictates of Reason, by Life and Immortality brought to light by the Gospel; and the wrath of God revealed from Heaven, against all ungodliness, and unrighteousness of Men.
The End of the First PART.
A N A L O GY
Τ Ο Τ Η Ε
Constitution and Course of NATURE.
CH A P. I.
OME Persons, upon Pretence of the CHAP.
vowedly reject all Revelation, as, in its
PAR T velation would have been given, had the II. Light of Nature been sufficient in such a
Sense, as to render one not wanting and useless. But no Man, in Seriousness and Simplicity of Mind, can possibly think it so, who considers the State of Religion in the heathen World, before Revelation, and its present State in those Places which have borrowed no Light from it: particularly, the Doubtfulness of some of the greatest Men, concerning things of the utmost Importance, as well as the natural Inattention and Ignorance of Mankind in general
. It is impossible to say, who would have been able to have reasoned out That whole System, which we call natural Religion, in its genuine Simplicity, clear of Superstition: but there is certainly no Ground to affirm, that the Generality could. If they could, there is no Sort of Probability, that they would. Admitting there were, they would highly want a standing Admonition, to remind them of it, and inculcate it
them. And farther still, were they as much disposed to attend to Religion, as the better Sort of Men are: yet even upon
this Supposition, there would be várious Occasions for supernatural Instruction and Assistance, and the greatest Advantages might be afforded by them. So that to say, Revelation is a thing superfluous, what there was no Need of, and what can be of no Service; is, I think,
to talk quite wildly and at random. Nor CHAP.
There are other Persons, not to be ranked with these, who seem to be getting into à way of neglecting, and, as it were, overlooking Revelation, as of small Importance, provided natural Religion be kept to. With little Regard, either to the Evidence of the former, or to the Objections against it, and even upon Supposition of its Truth ; " the
only Design of it,” say they, “must be, to “ establish a Belief of the moral System of “ Nature, and to enforce the Practice of na“ tural Piety and Virtue. The Belief and « Practice of these things were, perhaps, “ much promoted by the first Publication of
Christianity: But whether they are believed
great matter a”. This Way of considering
. Quid mihi præcepturus eft Christus ? Ut bene vivanı?
PART Revelation, though it is not the same with the
II. former, yet borders nearly upon it, and very Wmuch, at length, runs up into it: and re
quires to be particularly considered, with regard to the Persons, who seem to be getting into this Way. The Consideration of it will likewise farther shew the Extravagance of the former Opinion, and the Truth of the Observations in Answer to it, juft mentioned. And an Inquiry into the Importance of Christianity, cannot be an improper Introduction to a Treatise concerning the Credibility of it.
Now if God has given a Revelation to Mankind, and commanded those things, which are commanded in Christianity; it is evident, at first sight, that it cannot in any wise be an indifferent matter, whether we obey or disobey those Commands: unless we are certainly assured, that we know all the Reafons for them, and that all those Reasons are now ceased, with regard to Mankind in general, or to Ourselves in particular. And it is absolutely impossible, we can be assured of this. For our Ignorance of these Reasons proves nothing in the Case : fince the whole Analogy of Nature shews, what is indeed in itself evident, that there
that there may be infinite Reasons for things, with which we are not acquainted.