Sivut kuvina

The intrinfic Excellency of the
Scriptures, a Proof of their Infpi-



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Be ready always to give an Answer to every
Man that afketh you a Reason of the
Hope, that is in you.



O affirm, as fome have done, that SER. VII. unenlightened Reason is abfolutely fufficient, and that a Revelation is needlefs, is neither better nor worfe; than to fay, that Men either are, or may be, fo wife of themselves, that it is not in the Power of God himself to make them wiser; that their natural Abilities are fo very confiderable, as to fuperfede the Use of any fupernatural Notices, even from the Father of Lights: A Pō

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SER. VII. fition fo fhocking, that if it be not downright Blafphemy; it certainly maketh very near Approaches to it *.

But, you will fay, where was God's impartial Goodness in with-holding from others thofe Advantages, which he has afforded us? If a Revelation were wanted, why was not that, which was equally wanted by all, made equally known to all, at all Times?

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If we trace this Objection to it's Original, we shall find it ftands on a wrong Foundation: It fuppofes the Deity to be determined by the Wants of Men, exclufively of all other Regards: Whereas what may be very fit, the Wants of Men fingly


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I would not be thought to depreciate Reafon in general, which, rightly understood, as taking in all Helps and Evidences, whether intrinfic or extrinfic, is the only Facul ty we have to difcern Truth from Falfhood. It is no more a Disparagement to Reafon to affert, it can do little in religious Affairs without the Help of Revelation; than to maintain, it would make a flender Figure without the Af fiftance of Education: For what is Revelation but Affiftances and Inftructions from Heaven; às Education is Inftruc tion communicated to us from our Fellow Creatures? Deduct thofe religious Truths that were discovered to us, and

only place those down, that were discovered by us; and the remaining Sum of our Knowledge, at the Foot of the Ac-count, will not be very confiderable.




confidered; may be unfit upon the Whole, SER. VII. all Circumstances and Confiderations being = laid together. Thus confider the Neceffities of a poor Man feparately, and you may think it proper he should be relieved: But if you know he will abufe your Charity in Drunkennefs, or do himself or others fome Prejudice, the Fitness ceaseth. Here then the Fallacy lieth. We form our Judgment of what God ought to do upon one fingle View of the Neceffities of Men; where feveral other Particulars ought to be taken into the Account to make our Reasoning juft and exact. We know not, for Inftance, whether an Attempt to remedy the Disadvantages of those, who want a Revelation, might not be attended with greater Difadvantages to them: Whether they might not inflame their Account by rejecting it, if offered; or abufing it, if received. He alone, who fees through the whole Plan of the Creation, who knows before-hand the different Tempers and Difpofitions of all Mankind, in all Ages and Nations, and the various Confequences that would arise from every possible Männer of acting at every Period of Time; knew alone, at what Period of


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SER. V.H. Time, to what Ages and Nations it was
proper to give a Revelation.
God then
might be equally willing at all Times to
make a fuller Manifeftation of his Will
(for fome Traces and Remains of a Reven
lation Men ftill had :) But Men might not
at all Times be equally difpofed and quali
fied to receive it.

I answer farther, that it might as well be objected, why has not God given to alb Men equal inward Abilities to discover the Truth as why he has not given to all Men equal external Evidences? The Anfwer is the fame to both Objections, viz. that God is not obliged to deal equally with all his Creatures in the Dispensation of his Favours, having a Right to do what he will with his own: It is enough to vindicate his moral Character, that he will deal equitably with them according to the Improvement of their refpective Talents, compenfating for fome People's want of Knowledge, whether natural or revealed, by making favourable Allowances to them, and balancing the fuperior Advantages of others, by making larger Demands from them, and requiring no more of any Person than he has given him fufficient Means to


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lance the Account. greater Knowledge greater Difficulty they do well

know, and Ability to perform, Let us bay SERVIL To the Chriftians greater Duty greater Reward, if greater Punishments,



ill. To the Heathens lefs Light




less Punishment if ill.

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lefs Reward if they do well




Hands Hefu Thus all feeming Inequalities are adjufted, Where the Difficulty of the Conqueft is the greateft, there the Triumph ought to be the most glorious, and the Prize moft valuable. If thofe, who have the most clear and diftinct Notices: of their Duty, will be more feverely punished for their Crimes than others; it is but equitable, that they should be entitled to superior Rewards, when their Practice in fome Measure keeps Pace with their Knowledge: Otherwife, Knowledge would be a great Misfortune, and Darkness better. than Light. C PHÍA That Reafon therefore is fo far fufficient, as to enable Men to procure as much Hapel piness here and hereafter, as God, accord ing to the Variety cf his Difpenfations to Creatures, whether of the fame or a dif ferent Order, has, in his comprehensive Wisdom,


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