صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors]

but of what is as meer a Fact, as his doing so CHAP.
at present would be. This future Fact I have, VIII.
not indeed proved with the Force with which
it might be proved, from the Principles of
Liberty and moral Fitness; but without them
have given a really conclusive practical Proof
of it, which is greatly strengthened by the
general Analogy of Nature : a Proof, easily
cavilled at, easily shewn not to be demon-
strative, for it is not offered as such ; but im-
possible, I think, to be evaded or answered.
And thus the Obligations of Religion are
made out, exclusively of the Questions con-
cerning Liberty and moral Fitness; which
have been perplexed with Difficulties and ab«
struse Reasonings, as every thing may.

Hence therefore may be observed distinctly,
what is the Force of this Treatise. It will
be, to such as are convinced of Religion up-
on the Proof arising out of the two last men-
tioned Principles, an additional Proof and a
Confirmation of it : To such as do not admit
those Principles, an original Proof of it, and
a Confirmation of that Proof. Those who
believe, will here find the Scheme of Chri-
stianity cleared of Objections, and the Evi-
dence of it in a peculiar Manner strengthened:
Those who do not believe, will at least be
shewn the Abfurdity of all Attempts to prove
p. 167, &c.


[ocr errors]

Ee 3

PART Christianity false, the plain undoubted Credi

II. bility of it ; and, I hope, a good deal more.

And thus, though some perhaps may ferioully think, that Analogy as here urged, has too great Stress laid upon it ; and Řidicule, unanswerable Ridicule, may be applied, to shew the Argument from it in a disadvantageous Light : yet there can be no Question, but that it is a real one. For Religion, both natural and revealed, implying in it numerous Facts ; Analogy, being a Confirmation of all Facts to which it can be applied, as it is the only Proof of most, cannot but be admitted by every one to be a material thing, and truly of Weight on the Side of Religion, both natural and revealed : And it ought to be particularly regarded by fuch as profess to follow Nature, and to be less satisfied with abstract Reasonings.




HATEVER Account may be given, PART

of the strange Inattention and Dir. regard, in some Ages and Countries, to aun Matter of such Importance as Religion ; it would, before Experience, be incredible, that there should be the like Disregard in those, who have had the moral System of the World laid before them, as it is by Christianity, and often inculcated

them: Because this moral System carries in it a good Degree of Evidence for its Truth, upon its being barely proposed to our Thoughts. There is no Need of abstruse Reasonings and Distinctions, to convince an unprejudiced Understanding, that there is a God who made and governs the World, and will judge it in Righteousness ; though they may be necessary to answer abstruse Difficulties, when once such are raised : When the very Meaning of those Words, which express most intelligibly the general Doctrine of Religion, is pretended to be uncertain ; and the clear Truth of the thing it



Eé 4


Part self is obscured, by the Intricacies of Specu

II. lation. But to an unprejudiced Mind, ten m thousand thousand Instances of Design, can

not but prove a Designer. And it is intuitively manifest, that Creatures ought to live under a dutiful Sense of their Maker and that Justice and Charity must be his Laws, to Creatures whom He has made social, and placed in Society. Indeed the Truth of revealed Religion, peculiarly so called, is not self-evident, but requires external Proof, in order to its being received. Yet Inattention, among Us, to revealed Religion, will be found to imply the same diffolute immoral Temper of Mind, as Inattention to natural Religion : Because, when both are laid before us, in the Manner they are in Christian Countries of Liberty; our Obligations to inquire into both, and to embrace both upon Supposition of their Truth, are Obligations of the same Nature. For, Revelation claims to be the Voice of God : and our Obligation to attend to His Voice, is, surely, moral in all Cafes. And as it is insisted, that its Evidence is conclusive, upon thorough Confideration of it ; so, it offers itself to us with manifest obvious Appearances of having something more than human in it, and therefore in all Reason requires, to have its Claims most seriously examined into. It is to be added, that though Light and Knowledge, in what Manner for

ever afforded us, is equally from God; yet a PART miraculous Revelation has a peculiar Tenden- II. cy, from the first Principles of our Nature, to awaken Mankind, and inspire them with Reverence and Awe : And this is a peculiar Obligation, to attend to what claims to be so with such Appearances of Truth. It is therefore most certain, that our Obligations to enquire seriously into the Evidence of Christianity, and, upon Supposition of its Truth, to embrace it ; are of the utmost Importance, and moral in the highest and most proper Sense. Let us then suppose, that the Evidence of Religion in general, and of Christianity, has been seriously inquired into, by all reasonable Men among us.

Yet we find many professedly to reject both, upon speculative Principles of Infidelity. And all of them do not content themselves with a bare Neglect of Religion, and enjoying their imaginary Freedom from its Restraints. Some

Some go much beyond this. They deride God's moral Government over the World. They renounce his Protection, and defy his Justice. They ridicule and vilify Christianity, and blafpheme the Author of it ; and take all Occasions to manifest a Scorn and Contempt of Revelation. This amounts to an active setting themselves against Religion ; to what may be confidered as a positive Principle of Irreligion : Which they cultivate within themselves, and,


« السابقةمتابعة »