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PAR T versal. And indeed the same Principles of

II. arguing, which would lead us to conclude, Muthat they must be so, would lead us likewise

to conclude, that there could be no Occasion for them; i. e. that there could be no Diseases at all. And therefore, our Experience that there are Diseases, shews, that it is credible beforehand, upon Supposition Nature has provided Remedies for them, that these Remedies may be, as by Experience we find they are, not certain, nor perfect, nor universal; because it Thews, that the Principles upon which we should expect the contrary, are fallacious.

And now, what is the just Consequence from all these things? Not that Reason is no Judge of what is offered to us as being of divine Revelation. For, this would be to infer, that we are unable to judge of any thing, because we are unable to judge of all things. Reafon can, and it ought to judge, not only of the Meaning, but also of the Morality and the Evidence, of Revelation. First, It is the Province of Reason to judge of the Morality of the Scripture; i, e. not whether it contains Things different from what we should have expected, from a wise, just and good Being; for Objections from hence have been now obviated: but whether it contains things plainly contradictory to Wisdom, Justice or


Goodness; to what the Light of Nature CHAP. teaches us of God. And I know nothing of III. this Sort objected against Scripture, excepting such Objections as are formed upon Suppositions, which would equally conclude, that the Constitution of Nature is contradictory to Wisdom, Justice or Goodness; which most certainly it is not. Indeed there are some particular Precepts in Scripture, given to particular Persons, requiring Adions, which would be immoral and vicious, were it not for such Precepts. But it is easy to see, that all these are of such a Kind, as that the Precept changes the whole Nature of the Case and of the Action; and both constitutes, and shews That not to be unjuft or immoral, which, prior to the Precept, must have

appeared and really have been so; which may well be, since none of these Precepts are contrary to immutable Morality. If it were commanded, to cultivate the Principles, and act from the Spirit, of Treachery, Ingratitude, Cruelty; the Command would not alter the Nature of the Case or of the Action, in any

of these Instances. But it is quite otherwise in Precepts, which require only the doing an external Action: for Instance, taking away the Property or Life of any. For Men have no Right to either Life or Property, but what arises solely from the Grant of God: When this Grant is revoked, they cease to

Par T have any Right at all, in either: And when

II. this Revocation is made known, as surely it is mu possible it may be, it must cease to be unjust to deprive them of either.

And though a Course of external Acts, which without Command would be immoral, must make an immoral Habit; yet a few detached Commands have no such natural Tendency. I thought proper to say thus much of the few Scripture Precepts, which require, not vicious Actions, but Actions which would have been vicious had it not been for such Precepts; because they are sometimes weakly urged as immoral, and great Weight is laid upon Objections drawn from them. But to me there seems no Difficulty at all in these Precepts, but what arises from their being Offences: i.e. from their being liable to be perverted, as indeed they are, by wicked designing Men, to serve the most horrid Purposes; and perhaps, to mislead the weak and enthusiastick. And Objections from this Head, are not Objections against Revelation; but against the whole Notion of Religion, as a Trial; and against the general Constitution of Nature. Secondly, Reason is able to judge, and must, of the Evidence of Revelation, and of the Objections urged against That Evidence : which shall be the Subject of a following Chapter k.

Ch. vii..


But the Consequence of the foregoing Ob-CHAP. servations is, that the Question, upon which III. the Truth of Christianity depends, is scarce at all, what Objections there are against its Scheme, since there are none against the Morality of it; but what Objections there are against its Evidence: or, what Proof there remains of it after due Allowances made for the Obječtions against that Proof: Because it has been shewn that the Obje&tions against Christianity, as distinguished from Objections against its Evidence, are frivolous. For surely very little Weight, if any at all, is to be laid upon a way of arguing and objecting, which, when applied to the general Constitution of Nature, Experience shows not to be conclusive: and such, I think, is the whole way of objecting treated of throughout this Chapter. It is resolveable into Principles, and goes upon Suppositions, which mislead us to think, that the Author of Nature would not act, as we experience He does; or would act, in such and such Cases, as we experience he does not in like Cases. But the Unreasonableness of this Way of objecting, will appear yet more evidently from hence, that the chief things thus objected against, are justified, as shall be farther shown, by distinct, particu! Ch. iv. latter part. And v, vi.


PART lar, and full Analogies, in the Constitution

II. and Course of Nature.

But it is to be remembred, that, as frivolous as Objections of the foregoing Sort against Revelation are, yet, when a supposed Revelation is more consistent with itself, and has a more general and uniform Tendency to promote Virtue, than, all Circumstances confidered, could have been expected from Enthusiasm and political Views; this is a prefumptive Proof of its not proceeding from Thein, and so of its Truth: because we are competent Judges, what might have been expected from Enthusiasm and political Views.

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