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PART consider this Subject usually in the Way of
II. Mirth and Sport: if they attend to Forms
of Expression, instead of the real Things in-
, or any of these things,
ness, Passion, and Prejudice, do hinder us CHAP.
and left so, as that those who are defirous of evading moral Obligations, should not see it; and that honeft-minded Persons should: Or, Whether it comes to pass by any other Means.
Farther : The general Proof of natural Religion and of Christianity, does, I think, lie Level to common Men; even those, the
and xi. 25.
f Dan. xii. 10.
and xiii. 11, 12. Job. ii. 19. Joh. v. 44. 1 Cor. ii. 14. and 2 Cor. iv. 4. 2 Tim. ii. 13. and That affectionate, as well as authoritative Admonition, lo very many Times inculcated, He that hath Ears to hear, let him hear. Grotius faw so strongly the thing intended in these and other Passages of Scripture of the like Sense, as to say, that the Proof given us of Christianity was less than it might have been, for this very Purpose: Ui ita Sermo Evangelii tanquam lapis effet Lydius ad quem ingenia fanabilia explorarentur. De Ver. R. C. L. 2, towards the End.
PART greatest Part of whose Time, from Child
II. hood to Old-age, is taken up with provimding, for themselves and their Families, the
common Conveniencies perhaps Necessaries
But then a thorough Examination into Reli- CHAP. gion, with regard to these Objections, which VI. cannot be the Business of every Man, is a m Matter of pretty large Compass, and, from the Nature of it, requires fome Knowledge, as well as Time and Attention; to see, how the Evidence comes out, upon balancing one thing with another, and what, upon the whole, is the Amount of it. Now if Persons who have picked up these Objections from Others, and take for granted they are of Weight, upon the Word of those from whom they received them, or, by often retailing of them, come to see or fancy they see them to be of Weight; will not prepare themselves for such an Examination, with a competent Degree of Knowledge; or will not give that Time and Attention to the Subject, which, from the Nature of it, is necessary for attaining such Information : in this Case, they must remain in Doubtfulness, Ignorance or Error; in the same way as they must, with regard to common Sciences and Matters of common Life, if they neg. lect the necessary Means of being informed in them.
But still perhaps it will be objected, that
Part that they should always bear the certain
II. Marks, who they came from, and that their w Sense should be always plain: so as that
there should be no poffible Doubt, if he could help it, concerning the Authority or Meaning of them.
Now the proper Answer to all this kind of Objections is, that, wherever the Fallacy lies, it is even certain we cannot argue thus with respect to Him, who is the Governor of the World : and particularly that he does not afford us such Information, with respect to our temporal Affairs and Interest, as Experience abundantly shews. However, there is a full Answer to this Objection, from the very Nature of Religion. For the Reason why a Prince would give his Directions in this plain Manner, is, that he absolutely desires luch an external Action Thould be done, without concerning himself with the Motive or Principle upon which it is done : i.e. he regards only the external Event, or the thing's being done; and not at all, properly speaking, the Doing of it, or the Action. Whereas the whole of Morality and Religion consisting merely in Action itself, there is no Sort of Parallel between the Cases. But if the Prince be supposed to regard only the Action ; i. e. only to desire to exercise, or in any Sense prove, the Understanding or