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PART nity, as to Objections of the like Kind, a

II. gainst the Constitution of Nature. It shews mthe Credibility, that the things objected a

gainst, how foolish n soever they appear to
Men, may be the very best Means of accom-
plishing the very best Ends. And their

ap-
pearing Foolishness is no Presumption against
this, in a Scheme fo greatly beyond our Com-
prehension

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III. The Credibility, that the christian Dirpensation may have been, all along, carried on by general Laws', no less than the Courfe of Nature, may require to be more distinctly made out. Consider then, upon what Ground it is we say, that the whole common Course of Nature is carried on according to general foreordained Laws. We know indeed several of the general Laws of Matter : and a great Part of the natural Behaviour of living Agents, is reducible to general Laws. But we know in a manner nothing, by what Laws, Storms and Tempests, Earthquakes, Famine, Pestilence, become the Instruments of Destruction to Mankind. And the Laws, by which Persons born into the World at such a Time and Place, are of such Capacities, Genius's, Tempers ; the Laws, by which Thoughts come into our Mind, in a multin i Cor. i. op. 187, 188.

pp. 189, 190.

tude

tude of Cases; and by which innumerable CHAP. things happen, of the greatest Influence upon IV. the Affairs and State of the World; these Laws are so wholly unknown to us, that we call the Events which come to pass by them, accidental : though all reasonable Men know certainly, that there cannot, in Reality, be any

such thing as Chance ; and conclude, that the things which have this Appearance are the Result of general Laws, and may be reduced into them. It is then but an exceeding little Way, and in but a very few Respects, that we can trace up the natural Course of things before us, to general Laws. And it is only from Analogy, that we conclude the Whole of it to be capable of being reduced into them : only from our seeing, that Part is so. It is from our finding, that the Course of Nature, in some Respects and so far, goes on by general Laws, that we conclude this of the rest. And if That be a just Ground for such a Conclusion, it is a just Ground also, if not to conclude, yet to apprehend, to render it supposeable and credible, which is sufficient for answering Obje&tions, that God's miraculous Interpositions may have been, all along in like manner, by general Laws of Wisdom. Thus, that miraculous Powers should be exerted, at such Times, upon such Occasions, in such Degrees and Manners, and with re

gard

T 3

PART gard to such Persons, rather than Others;

II. that the Affairs of the World, being permitWted to go on in their natural Course so far,

should, just at such a Point, have a new Direction given them by miraculous Interpofitions; that these Interpositions should be exactly in such Degrees and Respects only; all this may have been by general Laws. These Laws are unknown indeed to us: but no more unknown, than the Laws from whence it is, that Some die as soon as they are born, and Others live to extream Old-age; that One Man is so superior to Another in Understanding; with innumerable more things, which, as was before observed, we cannot reduce to any Laws or Rules at all, though it is taken for granted, they are as much reducible to general ones, as Gravitation. Now, if the revealed Dispensations of Providence, and miraculous Interpositions, be by general Laws, as well as God's ordinary Government in the Course of Nature, made known by Reason and Experience ; there is no more Reason to expect, that every Exigence, as it arises, should be provided for by these general Laws of miraculous Interpofitions, than that every Exigence in Nature should, by the general Laws of Nature. Yet there might be wise and good Reasons, that miraculous Interpofitions should be by general Laws: and that

these

.

imperfeEtly comprehended.

279 these Laws should not be broken in upon, or CHAP. deviated from, by other Miracles.

IV.

Upon the whole then: The Appearance of Deficiencies and Irregularities in Nature, is owing to its being a Scheme but in part made known, and of such a certain particular Kind in other Respects. Now we see no more Reason, why the Frame and Course of Nature should be such a Scheme, than why Christianity should. And that the former is such a Scheme, renders it credible, that the latter, upon Supposition of its Truth, may be so too. And as it is manifest, that Christianity is a Scheme revealed but in part, and a Scheme in which Means are made use of to accomplish Ends; like to That of Nature : So the Credibility, that it may have been all along carried on by general Laws, no less than the Course of Nature, has been distinctly proved. And from all this it is beforehand credible that there might, I think probable that there would, be the like Appearance of Deficiencies and Irregularities in Christianity, as in Nature : i. e. that Christianity would be liable to the like Objections, as the Frame of Nature. And these Objections are answered by these Observations concerning Christianity; as the like Objections against the Frame of Nature, are answered by the

like

T4

PAR Tlike Observations concerning the Frame of

II. Nature.

T

HE Objections against Christianity,

considered as a Matter of Fact, having, in general, been obviated in the preceding Chapter ; and the same, considered as made against the Wisdom and Goodness of it, having been obviated in this: the next thing, according to the Method proposed, is to shew, that the principal Objections, in particular, against Christianity, may be answered, by particular and full Analogies in Nature. And as one of them is made against the whole Scheme of it together, as just now described, I chuse to consider it here, rather than in a distinct Chapter by itself. The thing objected against this Scheme of the Gospel, is,“ that it seems to fup

pose, God was reduced to the Necessity of a long Series of intricate Means, in order

to accomplish his Ends, the Recovery and " Salvation of the World: In like Sort as “ Men, for Want of Understanding or Pow

er, not being able to come at their Ends directly, are forced to go round-about

Ways, and make use of many perplext 66 Contrivances to arrive at them, Now A.P; !7.9:

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