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HUMAN REASON, imperfect though it be, is still the offspring of God, allied to him intimately, and worthy of its Divine Parent. There is no extravagance in calling it, as is sometimes done, "a beam of the infinite light," for it involves in its very essence those immutable and everlasting principles of truth and rectitude, which constitute the glory of the Divine Mind. It ascends to the sublime idea of God, by possessing kindred attributes, and knows him only through its affinity with him. It carries within itself the germ of that spiritual perfection, which is the great end of the creation. Is it not then truly a "partaker of a Divine Nature?" Can we think or speak of it too gratefully, or with too much respect? The infinity of God, so far from calling on me to prostrate and annihilate reason,
exalts my conception of it. It is my faith in this perfection of the Divine Mind, that inspires me with respect for the human, for they are intimately connected, the latter being a derivation from the former, and endued with the power of approaching its original more and more through eternity. Severed from God, reason would lose its grandeur. In his infinity it has at once a source and a pledge of endless and unbounded improvement. God delights to communicate himself, and therefore his greatness, far from inspiring contempt for human reason, gives it a sacredness, and opens before it the most elevating hopes. The error of men is not, that they exaggerate, but that they do not know or suspect the worth and dignity of their rational nature. Some may say that reason is not to be denied universally, but only in cases where its teachings are contradicted by revelation. A contradiction between reason and a genuine revelation cannot exist. A view, claiming a divine origin, would refute itself by opposing any of the truths which reason intuitively discerns, or which it gathers from nature. God is the "Father of lights and the Author of concord,” and he cannot darken
and distract the human mind by jarring and irreconcilable instructions. He cannot subvert the authority of the very faculty through which we arrive at the knowledge of himself. A revelation from the Author of our rational nature, will certainly be adapted to its fundamental laws. It is very possible to give the name of reason to rash prejudices and corrupt opinions, and on this ground we may falsely pronounce a genuine revelation to be inconsistent with reason; and our liableness to this delusion binds us to judge calmly, cautiously, and in the fear of God. The light in our own breasts is his primary revelation, and all subsequent ones must accord with it, and are, in fact, intended to blend with and brighten it. It was given, not to supersede our rational faculties, but to quicken and invigorate them, to open a wider field to thought, to bring peace into the intellect as well as into the heart, to give harmony to all our views.
WRITTEN BY WILLIAM PENN TO THE INDIANS, BEFORE HIS FIRST VOYAGE TO AMERICA, AND READ TO THEM BY THOMAS HOLME, SURVEYOR-GENERAL, ON THE SPOT WHERE PHILADELPHIA NOW STANDS, THE 6th мo. 1682.
THE great God, who is the power and wisdom that made you and me, incline your hearts to righteousness, love, and peace. This I send to assure you of my love, and to desire your love to my friends, and when the great God brings me among you, I intend to order all things in such manner, that we may all live in love and peace one with another, which I hope the great God will incline both you and me to do. I seek nothing but the honour of his name, and that we, who are his workmanship, may do that which is well pleasing to him. The man which delivers this unto you, is my special friend,
sober, wise, and loving, you may believe him. I have already taken care that none of my people wrong you; by good laws I have provided for that purpose; nor will I ever allow any of my people to sell rum to make your people drunk. If any thing should be out of order, expect when I come it shall be mended; and I will bring you some things of our country that are useful and pleasing to you. So I rest in the love of our God that made us, and am your loving friend.
England, 21st 2d Mo. 1682.
I read this to the Indians by an interpreter.