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lished to this, and to another work of the fame Author, intitled,
The Scheme of literal Prophecy considered. Bishop Warburton
also, in the fixth Book of the Divine Legation of Mofes, has an-
swered what Collins had objected againn a second Sense of Pro-
phecy. Lastly, Doctor Fortin, not to mention some learned Au-
thors who are still alive, and who have written very ably on Pro-
phecy, has given us fome very judicious Observations, both con-
cerning Prophecy in general, and concerning a double Sense of
some Prophecies, in the firft Volume of his Remarks on Eccle-
fiaftical History

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THE

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THE

REASONABLENESS

OF

CHRISTIANITY,

AS DELIVERED IN THE

SCRIPTURES.

P R E F 'À CE.

THE little satisfaction and consistency that is to be found in most of the systems of divinity I have met with : made me betake myself to the sole reading of the feripture (to which they all appeal) for the understanding the Christian religion.

What from thence, by an attentive and unbiaffed search I have received, Reader, I here deliver to thee.

If by this my labour thou receivest any light or confirmation in the truth, join with me in thanks to the Father of lights for his condescension to our understandings.

If, upon a fair and unprejudiced examination, thou findest I have mistaken the sense and tenor of the gospel, I beseech thee, as a true Christian, in the spirit of the gospel (which is that of charity), and in the words of fobriety, set me right in the doctrine of salvation.

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I
T is obvious to any one who reads the New Testament, that

the doctrine of redemption, and consequently of the gospel, is founded upon the supposition of Adam's fall

. To understand there. fore what we are restored to by Jesus Christ, we must consider what the scripture shews we lost by Adam. This I thought worthy of a diligent and unbiafled search: since I found the two extremes, that men run into on this point, either on the one hand shook the foundations of all religion, or on the other made Christianity almost nothing. For whilff some men would have all "Adam's posterity doomed to eternal infinite punishment, for the transgression of Adam, whom millions had never heard of, and no one had authoVol. IV. B

rized

rized to transact for him, or be his representative; this seemed to others so little consistent with the justice or goodness of the great and infinite God, that they thought there was no redemption necefsary, and consequently that there was none, rather than admit of it upon a supposition so derogatory to the honour and attributes of that Infinite Being; and so made Jesus Christ nothing but the restorer and preacher of pure natural religion; thereby doing violence to the whole tenor of the New Testament. And, indeed, both fides will be suspected to have trespassed this way, against the written word of God, by any one, who does but take it to be a collection of writings designed by God for the instruction of the illiterate bulk of mankind in the way, to falvation'; and therefore generally and in neceffary points to be understood in the plain direct meaning of the words and phrases, such as they may be supposed to have had in the mouths of the speakers, who used them according to the language of that time and country wherein they lived, without fuch learned, artificial, and forced senses of them, as are fought out, and put upon them in most of the systems of divinity, according to the notions that each one has been bred up in.

To one that thus unbiased reads the scriptures, what Adam fell from, is visible, was the state of perfect obedience, which is called « justice” in the New Testament, though the word which in the original signifies justice be translated righteousness :” and by this fall he loft paradise, wherein was tranquillity and the tree of life, i.e. he lost bliss and immortality. The penalty annexed to the breach of the law, with the sentence pronounced by God upon it, shews this. The penalty stands thus, Gen. ii. 17. In the day that thou

eatest thereof thou thalt surely die.". How was this executed ? He did eat, but in the day he did eat, he did not actually die, but was turned out of paradise from the tree of life, and Thut out for ever from it, left he thould take thereof and live forever. This thews that the state of paradise was a state of immortality, of life without end, which he loft that very day that he eat : his life began from thence to hosten and waste, and to have an end ; and from thence to his actual death, was but like the time of a prisoner between the sentence paft. and the execution, which was in view and certain. Death then entered and thewed his face, which before was fhut out, and not known. So St. Paul, Rom. v. 12. « By one man o fin entered into the world, and death by fin;" i. e. a state of death and mortality : and 1 Cor. xv. 22. “ In Adam all die ;" i. e. by reason of transgtesfion all men are mortal, and come to die.

This is so clicar in these cited places, and so much the current of the New Testament, that nobody can deny but that the doctrine of tlre gospel is, that death came on all men by Adam's fin; only they differ about the signification of the word “i death.” For some will have it to be a state of guilt, wherein not only he, but all his posterity was so involved, that every one descended of him deserved endless torment in hell-fire. I fháll say nothing more here, how far, in the apprehensions of men, this consists with the justice and

goodness goodness of God, having mentioned it above : but it seems a strange way of understanding a law, which requires the plainest and directest words, that by death” should be meant eternal life in misery. Could any one be fupposed by a law, that says, " for felony thou « shalt díe," not that he should lose his life, but be kept alive in perpetual exquisite torments? And would any one think himself fairly dealt with, that was so used ?

To this they would have it be also a state of necessary finning and provoking God in every action that men do: a yet harder sense of the word « death” than the other. God says, " That in the day 6 that thou eatest of the forbidden fruit, thou shalt die;" i. e. thou and thy posterity Thall be ever after uncapable of doing any thing, but what shall be finful and provoking to me, and shall justly de serve my wrath and indignation. Could a worthy màn be supo posed to put such terms upon the obedience of his subjects ? much less can the righteous God be supposed, as a punishment of one fin wherewith he is displeased, to put a man under a neceffity of finning continually, and so multiplying the provocation. The reason of this strange interpretation we shall perhaps find in some mistaken places of the New Testament. I must confess, by death here, I can understand nothing but a ceasing to be, the lofing of all actions of life and sense. Such a death came on Adam and all his pofte. rity by his first disobedience in paradise, under which death they would'have lain for ever, had it not been for the redemption by Jesus Christ. If by death threatened to Adam, were meant the corruption of human nature in his posterity, it is strange that the New Teftament should not any where take notice of it, and tell US, that corruption seized on all because of Adam's transgression, as well as it tells us so of death. But, as I remember, every

one's sin is charged upon himself only.

Another part of the sentence was, " Cursed is the ground for thy « fake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life, in " the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou's

return unto " the ground : for out of it waft thou taken ; duft thou art, and to " duft ihalt thou return.”. Gen. iii. 17, 19. This lhews that paradise was a place of bliss as well as immortality, without toil and without forrow. But when man was turned out, he was exposed to the toil, anxiety, and frailties of this mortal life, which Tould end in the dust, out of which he was made, and to which he should return; and then have no more life or sense than the dust had, out of which he was made.

As Adam was turned out of paradise, so all his posterity was born out of it, out of the reach of the tree of life. Au like their father Adam in a state of mortality, void of the tranquillity and bliss of paradise. Rom. v. 12.“ By one man sin entered into the world, u and death by fin.” But here will occur the common objection, that so many stumble at: how doth it consist with the justice and goodness of God, that the posterity of Adam fhould suffer for his tin; the innocent be punished for the guilty ? Very well, if keep

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