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every thing which we see, shews the Folly CHAP. of This, considered as an Objection against IV. the Truth of Christianity. For, according to our Manner of Conception, God makes use of Variety of Means, what we often think tedious ones, in the natural Course of Providence, for the Accomplishment of all his Ends. Indeed it is certain, there is somewhat in this Matter quite beyond our Comprehension : But the Mystery is as great in Nature, as in Christianity. We know what . we ourselves aim at, as final Ends: and what Courses we take, merely as Means conducing to those Ends. But we are greatly ignorant, how far things are considered by the Author of Nature, under the single Notion of Means and Ends ; so as that it may be faid, This is merely an End, and That merely Means, in His Regard. And whether there be not some peculiar Absurdity in our very Manner of Conception, concerning this Matter, somewhat contradictory arising from our extreamly imperfect Views of things, it is impossible to say. However, thus much is manifeft, that the whole natural World and Government of it is a Scheme or Syftem; not a fixt, but a progressive one: a Scheme, in which the Operation of various Means takes up a great Length of Time, before the Ends they tend to can be attained.

The

Par r The Change of Seasons, the Ripening of the II. Fruits of the Earth, the very History of a

Flower, is an Instance of this: And so is human Life. Thus vegetable Bodies, and those of Animals, though possibly formed at once, yet grow up by Degrees to a mature State. And thus rational Agents, who animate these latter Bodies, are naturally directed to form, each his own Manners and Character, by the gradual gaining of Knowledge and Experience, and by a long Course of Action. Our Existence is not only fucceffive, as it must be of Necessity; but one State of our Life and Being, is appointed by God, to be a Preparation for Another; and That, to be the Means of attaining to another succeeding one: Infancy to Childhood, Childhood to Youth; Youth to mature Age. Men are impatient, and for precipitating things: but the Author of Nature appears deliberate throughout his Operations ; accomplishing his natural Ends, by flow successive Steps. And there is a Plan of things beforehand laid out, which, from the Nature of it, requires various Systems of Means, as well as Length of Time, in order to the carrying on its several Parts into Execution. Thus, in the daily Course of natural Providence, God operates in the very same Manner, as in the Dispensation of

Christia

Christianity: making one thing subservient CHAP. to another; This, to somewhat farther; and JV. so on, through a progressive Series of Means, m which extend, both backward and forward, beyond our utmost View. Of this Manner of Operation, every thing we see in the Course of Nature, is as much an Instance, as any Part of the christian Dispensation.

CH A P.

284

CHAP. V.

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Of the particular System of Chriftia

nity; the Appointment of a Me-
diator, and the Redemption of the
World by bim.

HERE is not, I think, any thing
T

relating to Christianity, which has mubeen more objected against, than the Media

tion of Christ, in some or other of its Parts.
Yet, upon thorough Consideration, there seems
nothing less justly liable to it. For,

PART

II.

:

1. The whole Analogy of Nature removes all imagined Presumption against the general Notion of a Mediator between God and Man a. For we find all living Creatures are brought into the World, and their Life in Infancy is preserved, by the Instrumentality of Others And every Satisfaction of it, some way or other, is bestowed by the like Means. So that the visible Government, which God exercises over the World, is by the Instrumentality and Mediation of Others. And how far his invisible Government be or be not fo,

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1 Tim. ii. 5.

it is impossible to determine at all by Reason. CHAP. And the Supposition, that Part of it is so, V. appears, to say the least, altogether as credible, as the contrary. There is then no Sort of Objection, from the Light of Nature, against the general Notion of a Mediatorbetween God and Man, considered as a Doctrine of Christianity, or as an Appointment in this Dispensation : since we find by Experience, that God does appoint Mediators, to be the Instruments of Good and Evil to us; the Instruments of his Justice and his Mercy. And the Objection here referred to is urged, not against Mediation in That high, eminent and peculiar Sense, in which Christ is our Mediator ; but absolutely against the whole No. tion itself of a Mediator at all.

II. As we must suppose, that the World is under the proper moral Government of God, or in a State of Religion, before we can enter into Consideration of the revealed Doctrine, concerning the Redemption of ic by Christ; so that Supposition is here to be distinctly taken Notice of. Now the divine moral Go vernment which Religion teaches us, implies, that the Consequence of Vice shall be Misery, in some future State, by the righteous Judgment of God. That such consequent Punishment shall take Effect by his Appointment, is necessarily implied. But, as it is not

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