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6 of Religion, that are not plainly required “ by the Law of Nature." To all which it is replied, That, since, on the contrary, the Religion of Nature (how sufficient soever it may be supposed for the Conduct of our first Parents, in their State of Innocence) was nor, even then, in itself absolutely perfeet; and is far from deserving that Character now: since Mankind are confessedly fallen from their original Rectitude, and labour under a manifest Weakness and Depravity ; insomuch, that their boasted Knowledge is little more, at first, than the result of their Education, and all their Lives long, a Principle as capable of Error, as it is of Truth, and as productive of Vice, as it is of Virtue in them : fince human Reason, in its highest point of Improvement, is perfectly unable to settle a proper Rule of Religion and Morality; for as much as the greatest Philosophers were at a loss how to devise an acceptable Form of divine Worship, and how to atattain a Reconciliation with God, whenever they had offended him by their Sins, and (confidering the Carelessness and Ináttention, as well as the Passions and Prejudices of most Men) in no Condition to instruct the World, either by · . Argument, or by their own Authority: and,

lastly, since it is true in fact, that the greatest Men in the Heathen World were certainly ig.. i norant of some of the most fundamental Points, and very doubtful and uncertain in all the reft; were over-run with Wickedness themselves, and too eager Afferters of many vicious and corrupt Principles, which is enough to humble the Pride and arrogant Pretensions of modern Unbelievers, (and all this our Author proves ac large ;) it mult needs follow, that natural Reli

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gion, or the Light of Reason, was not fufficient for the Conduct of humane Life; and that therefore a more perfect Discovery of the divine Will was a thing very desirable to Mankind, in their State of Ignorance and Defection. And, since, again, it is not only agreeable to the State and Condition of Man, but highly consistent with the Attributes of God, for him to vouchsafe à Revelation to his own Creatures, in order to lighten the Darkness of their Understanding, and reforin the Irregularity of their Lives, for which the Christian Religion is peculiarly adapted; as containing a compleat Rule of Faith and Manners: since, in this Re: ligion; there are Doctrines of different kinds, some that are mysterious, and past Man's finding out, and others more obvious and discoverable by the Light of Reason ; the more obvious (as. they have a natural Tendency to promote all Virtue and Godliness in us): upon their own account deserving our Reception; and the mysterious (as they are no more, than: what might be expected in a supernatural Revelation, and become such only by the sublimity of the Subjectthey treat on; and, when rightly considered, imply no Absurdity or Contradiction, but tend plainly to the Credit and Advantage of the whole Dispensation) upon the Authority of God, and in acknowledgment of his Veracity, requiring our Assent: since the positive Institutions of this holy Religion are not only requisite to our Initiation and Confirmation in it, but Pledges likewise of God's Love, and visible Assurances of fpiritual Blessings to us, no ways liable to any fuperftitious Abuse from those, who attend to the Precepts of Scripture concerning them; and in

such, as devoutly observe them, capable of : exciting all manner of good Affections and



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Dispositions: And, lastly, since the moral Part. of this Religion contains many more Laws and Precepts, and these established by more powerful Motives and Sanctions, and enforced by more sublime Reasons and Considerations, than ever, the World was acquainted with before, (all which our Author proves fully and unexceptionably) it will necessarily follow, that, since this Light is come into the World, the condition of Mankind is much bettered, if so be that they love not Darkness rather than Light, because their works are evil...

The 24th, and last Section, treats of the Date and Efficacy of the Christian Dispensation ; and here it is objected, 6. That if Christiani

ty be of such advantage to Mankind, how os came God, who is a God of Mercy and Com“pallion, to suffer the World to lie in dark“ ness so long, even to the Term of four “. Thousand Years, and not instantly, supply

them with a Remedy? Or how comes he, “ who has declared himself no Respecter of Persons, to permit, even at this day, the far “ greater part of Mankind to live destitute " of this Remedy, if it be of such sovereign * Use as is pretended? But that indeed is the : “ Question: For whoever compares the 'for“ mer and present Condition of Mankind, " will find no great Alteration for the better, “ since the Time of Tiberius." To which, the Answer is, That since a particular Revelation to some more than others, is consonant to God's Proceedings in his Works of Creation and Providence, wherein he has made a visible Difcrimination of Things > Creatures of different Orders, and Men of different Capacities and Means of Improvement : and since a Revelation receives every thing that is peculiar in it,


both as to Persons and Times, not so much from the Justice and Goodness, as from the Foreknowledge of God, which chiefly confiders what, in all Ages, will be most beneficial to all Mankind ; .no Imputation of Partiality can fall upon God, though, where this Favour exa traordinary'is imparted, there, all grateful Acknowledgments are due. - And, in like manner, though the Duration of Time be, in God's aci count, of 'no avail; yet, since in all Ages of the World, he has, one way or other, made Discoveries of himself and of the true Religion, both to Jews and Gentiles, and (upon a proper use of the Means, which 'he afforded them) received them all into Covenant, and a state of Salvation : Since, according to the wise 'appointment of God, it was requifite, that there Ihould be a Subordination of Dispenfations, the Gospel be usher'd in gradually, and not fully'appear, till the World was sufficiently prepared for it: And lastly, since, not long before it appeared, all extraordinary Means of Knowledge were ceased, and both Fows and Gentiles funk into so wretched a State of Degeneracy, as call'd loudly.for a Reformation ; then was there plainly no Cruelty, in God's delaying the Christian Revelation so long, but a great deal of Wisdom and Goodness both, in timing it just as he did. Once again, since the Christian Religion, at its first setting out, by the force and influence of its Doctrine, made a wonderful Reformation in the World, in general; and, while the Zeal of its Profeflors was warm, discover'd itself abundantly, not only in the common Virtues, but in all the difficult Duties, which were 'enjoin'd them ; and fince, notwithstanding the present depra

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vity of the Age, and the wickedness and infi delity of too many nominal Christians, (which nevertheless is a Proof of the Truth of our Holy Religion, in that it foretells, that such a Defection, in the last Days, should come to pass) its good Effects are perceived in the general Order and Regularity, which are seen in most Christian Countries, and in the exemplary Piety and Holiness, which are found among many Christian Professors at this day. This will be enough to justify the Character, which the Apostle gives us of it: Tbe Grace of God, which bringeth Salvation, bath appeared unto all Men, teaching us, that denying Ungodliness and worldly Lufts, we pould live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present World, &c. . THIS, with a warm and pathetick Conclufion, exposing the folly and madness of some modern Schemes of Infidelity, is the full Purport of the Book'; wherein our Author (as we faid) has stated the several Arguments of the Antifcripturists in a full Light'; and generally, in their own Terms, has answered them with great compass of Learning, and clearness of Argument: and, to enable him to do this, has not only made use of his own Sentiments, but of whatever else he could compile from other Authors, that treated of the fame Subject. So that the Book is like to prove not only a Monument of the Poison, which has been vended from the Press in this profane Age, but a Repository' likewise of what the ableft Men among us have, at the same time, done, to defend our common Christianity, from the rude Attacks of Infidelity; and, in this sense, may be a proper Record to confult, when many smaller Tracts, that have


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