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CH A P. IV.
Of Christianity, considered as a
Scheme or Conftitution, imperfeEtly
T hath been now shewn that the Ana-Chap.
logy of Nature, renders it higly credi-
ble beforehand, that supposing a Revelation
to be made, it must contain many things
very different from what we should have ex-
pected, and such as appear open to great Ob-
jections: And that this Observation, in good
measure, takes off the Force of those Objec-
tions, or rather precludes them. But it may
be alledged, that this is a very partial Answer
to such Objections, or a very unsatisfactory
Way of obviating them: because it doch not
Thew at all, that the Things objected against
can be wise just, and good; much less, that
it is credible they are so. It will therefore be
proper to Thew this distinctly; by applying
to these Objections against the Wisdom, Jul-
tice and Goodness of Christianity, the Answer
above given to the like Objections against
· the Constitution of Nature: before we con-
PAR T sider the particular Analogies in the latter, to
II. the particular things objected against in the mu former. Now that which affords a fufficient
Answer to Objections against the Wisdom,
Justice and Goodness of the Constitution of
Nature, is its being a Constitution, a System
or Scheme; imperfectly comprehended; a
Scheme, in which Means are made use of
to accomplish Ends; and which is carried on
by general Laws. For from these things it
has been proved, not only to be possible, but
also to be credible, that those things which
are objected against, may be consistent with
Wisdom, Justice and Goodness; nay, may
be Instances of them; and even that the
Constitution and Government of Nature
be perfect in the highest possible Degree. If
Christianity then be a Scheme, and of the
like Kind; it is evident, the like Objections
against it, must admit of the like Answer.
I. Christianity is a Scheme, quite beyond our Comprehension. The moral Government of God is exercised, by gradually conducting things so in the Course of his Providence, that every one, at length and upon the whole, shall receive according to his Deserts; and neither Fraud nor Violence, but Truth and Right, shall finally prevail. Christianity is a particular Scheme under this general Plan of
Providence, and a Part of it, conducive to CHAP.
its Completion, with regard to Mankind: IV.
consisting itself also of various Parts, and am
mysterious Oeconomy, which has been car-
rying on from the Time the World came in-
to its present wretched State, and is still car-
rying on, for its Recovery, by a divine Pera
son, the Messiah ; who is to gather together
in one, the children of God, that are scattered
abroad", and establish an everlasting King-
dom, wherein dwelleth Righteousness d. And
in order to it; after various Manifestations of
things, relating to this great and general
Scheme of Providence, through a Succession
of many Ages: (For the Spirit of Christ
which was in the Prophets
, testified beforehand
his sufferings, and the glory that mould follow :
Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto
themselves, but unto us they did minister the
things which are now reported unto us by them
that have preached the Gospel; which thing's
the Angels defre to look into :)after va-
rious Dispensations, looking forward, and pre-
paratory, to this final Salvation: in the full-
nefs of time, when infinite Wisdom thought
fit; He, being in the form of God, made
bimself of no reputation, and took upon him
form of a Servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fasion • Joh xi. $2.
2 Pet. iii. 13. i Pet. i. 11, 12.
PART as a man, he humbled himself, and became obe-
II. dient to death, even the death of the cross :
Wherefore God also hath bighly exalted him,
and given him a name which is above every
name : That at the name of Jesus every knee
should bow, of things in heaven, and things in
the earth, and things under the earth ; And
that every tongue should confess, that Jesus
Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Fa-
thers. Parts likewise of this Oeconomy, are
the miraculous Mission of the Holy Ghost,
and His ordinary Affistances given to good
Men : the invisible Government, which
Christ at present exercises over his Church:
That which he himself refers to in these
words, . In my Father's house are many
fionsI go to prepare a place for you: and
his future Return to judge the World in Righ-
teousness, and compleatly re-establish the King-
dom of God. For the Father judgeth no
Man ; but hath committed all judgment unto
the Son: That all Men should honour the Son,
even as they honour the Father h. All power,
is given unto him in heaven and in earth i.
And be must reign, till be hath put all enemies
under his feet. Then cometh the end, when be
hall have delivered up the kingdom to God,
even the Father ; when he shall bave put down
all rule, and all authority and power. And
f Phil. ii.
8 Joh. xiv. 2.
Joh. v, 22, 23.
Matth. xxviii, 18.
when all things shall be subdued unto him, then Chap. fall the Son also himself be subject unto him IV. that put all things under him, that God may be all in all k Now little, surely, need be said to Thew, that this System, or Scheme of things, is but imperfectly comprehended by
The Scripture expressly asserts it to be so. And indeed one cannot read a Passage relating to this great Mystery of Godlinefs, but what immediately runs up into something which shews us our Ignorance in it; as every thing in Nature shews us our Ignorance in the Conftitution of Nature. And whoever will seriously consider That Part of the Christian Scheme, which is revealed in Scripture, will find so much more unrevealed, as will convince him, that, to all the Purposes of judging and objecting, we know as little of it, as of the Constitution of Nature.
Our ignorance, therefore, is as much an Answer to our objections against the Perfection of one, as against the Perfection of the other m.
II. It is obvious too, that in the Christian Dispensation, as much as in the natural Scheme of things, Means are made use of to accomplish Ends. And the Observation of this furnishes us with the same Answer, to. Objections against the Perfection of Christia1 Cor. xv. Ti Tim. iii. 16.
p. 181, &c. T2