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an Objection against the Constitution of Na-CHAP. ture; it amounts to no more in Conclusion V. than this, that a divine Appointment cannorum be necessary or expedient, because the Objector does not difcern it to be fo: though he muft own that the Nature of the Case is fuch, as, renders him uncapable of judging, whether it be fo or not; or of seeing it to be necessary, though it were fo
It is indeed a Matter of great Patience to reasonable Men, to find People arguing in this Manner : objecting against the Credibility of such particular things revealed in Scripture, that they do not see the Necefsity or Expediency of them. For though it is highly right, and the most pious Exercise of our Understanding, to enquire with due Reverence into the Ends and Reasons of God's Dispensations: Yet when those Reasons are concealed, to argue from our Ignorance, that such Dispensations cannot be from God, is infinitely absurd. The Presumption of this Kind of Objections, seems almost lost in the Folly of them. And the Folly of them is yet greater, when they are urged, as usually they are, against things in Christianity analogous; or like to those natural Dispenfátions of Providence, which are Matter of Experience. Let Reason be kept to: and if any Part of the Seripture-account of the Redemption of
Part the World by Christ, can be sewn to be
II. really contrary to it, let the Scripture, in the
poor Creatures as we, go on objecting against
Lastly, That not only the Reason of the thing, but the whole Analogy of Nature, should teach us, not to expect to have the like Information concerning the divine Conduct, as concerning our own Duty. God instructs us by Experience, (for it is not Reafon, but Experience which instructs us) what good or bad Consequences will follow from our acting in such and such Manners: and by this he directs us, how we are to behave ourselves. But, though we are sufficiently instructed for the common Purposes of Life: yet it is but an almost infinitely small Part of natural Providence, which we are at all let into. The Case is the same with regard to Revelation. The Doctrine of a Mediator between God and Man, against which it is objected, that the Expediency of some things in it is not understood, relates only to what was done on God's Part in the Appointment,
and on the Mediator's in the Execution of it. CHAP. For what is required of us, in Consequence V. of this gracious Dispensation, is another Sub-w ject, in which none can complain for Want of Information. The Constitution of the World and God's natural Government over it, is all Mystery, as much as the Christian Dispensation. Yet under the first, He has given Men all things pertaining to Life; and under the other, all things pertaining unto Godliness. And it may be added, that there is nothing hard to be accounted for in
of the common Precepts of Christianity: though if there were, surely a Divine Command is abundantly sufficient to lay us under the strongest Obligations to Obedience. But the Fact is, that the Reasons of all the Christian Precepts are evident. Positive Institutions are manifestly necessary to keep up and propagate Religion amongst Mankind. And our Duty to Christ, the internal and external Worship of him; this Part of the Religion of the Gospel, manifestly arises out of what he has done and suffered, his Authority and Dominion, and the Relation, which He is revealed to stand in to us..
p. 220, &c.
CH A P.
CH A P. VI.
Of the Want of Universality in Re
velation : and of the supposed De
ficiency in the Proof of it. PART II.
T has been thought by some Persons, that IT if the Evidence of Revelation appears doubtful, this itself turns into a positive Argument against it: because it cannot be fupposed, that if it were true, it would be left to sublift upon doubtful Evidence. And the Objection against Revelation from its not being universal, is often insisted upon as of great Weight.
Now, the Weakness of these Opinions may be Thewn, by observing the Suppositions on which they are founded: Which are really such as these; that it cannot be thought God would bare bestowed any Favour at all upon us, unless in the Degree, which, we think, he might, and which, we imagine, would be most to our particular Advantage; and alfo that it cannot be thought he would bestow a Favour upon any, unless he bestowed the same upon all: Suppositions which we find contra
dicted, not by a few Instances in God's natu-CHAP. ral Government of the World, but by the VI. general Analogy of Nature together.
· Persons who speak of the Evidence of Religion as doubtful, and of this supposed Doubtfulness as a positive Argument against it, Ihould be put upon considering, what That Evidence indeed is, which they act upon with regard to their temporal Interests. For, it is not only extreamly difficult
, but, in many Cases, absolutely impossible, to balance Pleasure and Pain, Satisfaction and Uneafiness, so as to be able to say, on which Side the Overplus is. There are the like Difficulties and Impoflibilities in making the due Allowances, for a Change of Temper and Tast, for Sațiety, Disgusts, Ill-health: any of which render Men incapable of įnjoying, after they have obtained, what they most eagerly defired. Numberless too are the Accidents, besides that one of untimely Death, which may eyen probably disappoint the best concerted Schemes: And strong Objęcțions are often seen to lie against them, not to be removed or answered, but which seem overbalanced by Reasons on the other Side ; so as that the certain Difficulties and Dangers of the Pursuit asę, by every one, thought justly disregarded, upon account of the appearing greater Advantages in Case of Success, though there be