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and taking the other might be attended with CHAP.
the greatest, must appear, to unprejudiced VII.
Reason, of the highest Moment towards dem
termining, how we are to act. But the
Truth of our Religion, like the Truth of
common Matters, is to be judged of by all
the Evidence taken together. And unless the
whole Series of things which may

be alledged
in this Argument, and every particular thing
in it, can reasonably be supposed to have
been by Accident ; (for here the Stress of the
Argument for Christianity lies ; ) then is the
Truth of it proved : In like manner, as if in
any common Case, numerous Events acknow-
ledged, were to be alledged in Proof of any
other Event disputed; the Truth of the dif-
puted Event would be proved, not only if any
one of the acknowledged ones did of itself
clearly imply it, but, though no one of them
singly did so, if the Whole of the acknow-
ledged Events taken together, could not in
Reason be supposed to have happened, unless
the disputed one were true.

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It is obvious, how much Advantage, the Nature of this Evidence gives to those Persons, who attack Christianity, especially in Conversation. For it is easy to Thew, in a short and lively Manner, that such and such things are liable to Objection, that this and another thing, is of little Weight in itself ; Dd


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Part but impossible to shew, in like Manner, the

II. united Force of the whole Argument in one nView.

However, Laftly, as it has been made appear,

that there is no Presumption against a Revelation as miraculous ; that the general Scheme of Christianity, and the principal Parts of it, are conformable to the experienced Constitution of things, and the Whole perfectly credible : So the Account now given of the positive Evidence for it, shews, that this Evidence is such, as, from the Nature of it, cannot be destroyed ; though it fhould be leffened.


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Of the Obječtions which may be made

against arguing from the Analogy
of Nature, to Religion.

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F every one would consider, with such CHAP.

Attention as they are bound, even in VIII. Point of Morality, to consider, what they w judge and give Characters of; the Occafion of this Chapter would be, in some good Measure at least, superseded. But since this is not to be expected; for fome we find do not concern themselves to understand even what they write against : Since this Treatise, in common with most others, lies open to Objections, which may appear very material to thoughtful Men at first sight ; And, besides That, seems peculiarly liable to the Objections, of sugh as can judge without thinking, and of such as can censure without judging ; it may not be amiss to set down the chief of these Objections which occur to me, and consider them to their Hands. And chey are such as these ;

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“ That it is a poor thing to solve DifficulII. “ ties in Revelation, by faying, that there ma are the same in Natural Religion ; when

“ what is wanting is to clear both of them,

of these their common, as well as other “ their respective, Difficulties : But that it is

a strange Way indeed of convincing Men “ of the Obligations of Religion, to fhew “ them, that they have as little Reason for “ their worldly Pursuits : And a strange Way “ of vindicating the Justice and Goodness of « the Author of Nature, and of removing " the Objections against both, to which the “ System of Religion lies open, to Thew, " that the like Objections lie against natural « Providence ; a way of answering Objecti

ons against Religion, without so much as

pretending to make out, that the System of “ it, or the particular things in it objected a

gainst, are reasonable-especially, perhaps some may be inattentive enough to

add, must this be thought strange, when “ it is confessed that Analogy is no Answer to “ such Objections : That when this Sort of

Reasoning is carried to the utmost length “ it can be imagined capable of, it will yet " leave the Mind in a very unsatisfied State : « And that it must be unaccountable Igno

rance of Mankind, to imagine they will

66 be

“ be prevailed with to forego their present CHAP. “ Interests and Pleasures, from Regard to Re- VIII.

ligion, upon doubtful Evidence.

Now, as plausible as this Way of talking may appear, that Appearance will be found in a great Measure owing, to Half-views, which shew but Part of an Object, yet shew That indistinctly; and to undeterminate Language. By these Means weak Men are often deceived by others, and ludicrous Men, by themselves. And even those, who are serious and considerate, cannot always readily disintangle, and at once clearly see through the Perplexities, in which Subjects themselves are involved ; and which are heightened by the Deficiencies and the Abuse of Words. To this latter sort of Persons, the following Reply to each Part of this Objection severally, may be of some Assistance ; as it may also tend a little to stop and silence Others.

First, The thing wanted, i.e. what Men require, is to have all Difficulties cleared. And this is, or at least for any thing we know to the contrary, it may be, the same, as requiring to comprehend the divine Nature, and the whole Plan of Providence from everlasting to everlasting. But it hath always been allowed to argue, from what is acknowledged, to what is disputed. And it is in no other DI 3


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