صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

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.

THE

THE

A N A L O GY

OF

RELIGION

Τ Ο Τ Η Ε

Constitution and Course of NATURE.

PART II.
OF REVEALED RELIGION.

CH A P. I.
Of the Importance of Christianity.

S

OME Persons, upon Pretence of the CHAP.
Sufficiency of the Light of Nature, a- I.

vowedly reject all Revelation, as, in its
very Notion, incredible, and what must be
fictitious. And indeed it is certain, no Re-

velation

!

.

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,

upon them.

to talk quite wildly and at random. Nor CHAP.
would it be more extravagant to affirm, that I.
Mankind is so entirely at ease in the present
State, and Life so compleatly happy; that it
is a Contradiction to suppose our Condition
capable of being, in any Respect, better.

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
“ and practiced, upon the Evidence and Mo-
“ tives of Nature or of Revelation, is no

great matter a”. This Way of considering
a Invenis multos propterea nolle fieri Christianos,
quia quafi fufficiunt fibi de bona vita sua. Bene vivere Opus
eft
, ait

. Quid mihi præcepturus eft Christus ? Ut bene vivanı?
Jam bene vivo. Quid mihi neceffarius est Christus ? Nullum
homicidium, nullum furtum, nullam rapinam facio, res alienas
non concupisco, nullo adulterio contaminor. Nam inveniatur
in vita mea aliquid quod reprehendatur, & qui reprehenderit
faciat Christianum. Aug. in Psal. xxxi.

P

Revela

[ocr errors]

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.

But

« السابقةمتابعة »