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season of God's mercy, and loving kindness to them. Faith in, or an afsenting to the truth of any proposition, whether human or divine, when considered abstractedly, cannot, in the nature of the thing, render men more or less pleasing to God; because, in this case, they are so far passive, as that if they attend to the subject, they cannot possibly think and judge otherwile of that proposition than they do; and therefore it is repugnant to reason, that God should make it the ground of his favour or displeasure. And,

As the doctrines I have now been examining, are manifestly repugnant to reafon, and therefore cannot be the truth of the case; so if it could be made appear (which I think cannot be done) that those doctrines are contained in the christian revelation; then that would be an evident proof, that that revelation could not possibly be divine. It is true, Christ is said to redeem us to God by bis Blood, and many like expressions are contained in the New Testament; but then thefe are plainly figures of speech, which were not intended to be a foundation and support for the doctrines I have now been considering. And as those doctrines cannot be dif covered by reason, because the are repugnant to it; fo, I think, what is urged on this head, does not prove, that reason is not a sufficient guide in matters of religion. Again,

If it should be farther urged, supposing that repentance and reformation be the only

proper

mercy to the tranfgreffors of his law; yet this is what reason could not discover, at least it could not come to any certainty that this would be the case: : .i

i I answer that repentance and reformation are proper grounds of forgivenets is most evident to reaton when discovered; and to say, that reason cannot discover, what is moft agreeable to itself when discovered, is presum, ing a point, without the least ground for it. And farther, to fay that no man who was destitute of divine revelation, ever did discern the fitness of such a conduct, vix, of pardoning a tranfgressor upon his repentance and amendment of life, is venturing to say what furely is not true. And if reason may be supposed capable of discovering the fitness of such conduct, of which, I think, we may be certain that it is ; then reason may come to a certainty, that this would be the case, with respect to God and his finful creatures, upon their repentance and amendment of life; becaufe reason assures us, that God will always do what is right and fit, and that he never will act otherwise. But admitting that reafon is uncapable of discerning the certainty of this point, and that lych certainty is necessary to be discovered, in order to engage mankind in the practice of their duty under their present circumstances; then, I lay, that reafon ought to have been sufficient for this purpose, feeing divine revelation, which

makes

makes the discovery, has been withheld from much the greatest part of our Species. The cafe is the lame, with respect to the knowledge and certainty of the resurrection of the body, and a judgment to come; of a future ftate of rewards and punishments, and of the perpetuity of these. For, if the knowledge and certainty of these, are necessary to engage mankind in the practice of their duty, as they are by the present constitution of things, unavoidably subjected to manifold and strong temptations; and if reason is uncapable of making such discoveries: then, I say, that in justice and equity it ought, however, to be sufficient for these purposes; seeing (as I faid before) divine revelation, which makes these discoveries, has been withheld from much the greatest part of mankind. Again,

If it should be farther urged, lasily, that reason is not a sufficient guide in matters of religion, as is evident from the fate of those ages and parts of the world, which have been deftitute of divine revelation; who, having only their reason to guide them, have run into the most vile and abominable principles and practices; of which my Lord Bishop of Lon'don, in his second pastoral Letter, has given a large and full account: · I answer ; it is true, that reasonable creatures, or creatures endowed with the use of reason, when they neglect, or abuse, or lay aside the use of that noble faculty, are liable to run into the most vile and abominable

opinicns

opinions and practices; and this is abundantly evident from my Lord Bisbop of London's account of this matter : but, that reason, when duly and faithfully exercised, is not a fufficient guide in matters of religion, does by no means follow, from any thing which his Lordship has advanced on this head. But farther ; fupposing what my Lord Bishop of London has urged, be to his purpose, and that it proves his point, viz. that reason is not a sufficient guide in matters of religion; yet then, I say, that it does not take off the force of my argument. For if the true ground of the pagan world's running into all those vile and abominable opinions and practices, was the weakness and deficiency of reason to have directed and guided them better, then, lurely, reason ought to have been fufficient for this purpose; that so those pagans might have been prevented from running into such extravagancies, or might have been inexcufable if they had : I lay, that in jupice and equity, this ought to have been the case, seeing those pagans have been destitute of divine revelation. .

Upon the whole, I think, I have made good the point I undertook; and have shewn, that either reason is, or else that it ought to be, a sufficient guide in matters of religion, And if reason ought to be a sufficient guide in matters of religion (that is, if it be repugnant to reason for the case to be otherwise;) then this is a fair step towards the proving it to be so. Amongst the several arguments, which have been urged against the doctrine of absolute election and reprobation, none, I think, has bore harder upon that doctrine than this, viz. that it is repugnant to reason, That is, it is unreafonable, that God should make a species of creatures capable of future bliss or torment, and that he should pre-ordain a few of that species to a state of unspeakable arid eternal happiness, and the rest of them to a state of extream and eternal mifery: which determination is fupposed to result folely from sovereign and arbitrary pleas fure, antecedent to, and independent of the

behaviour of those creatures, which might · render them the proper objects of his approbation or dislike. And as such a procedure is unreasonable in itself, and is thereupon ree pugnant to our natural notions of the Deity; fo this has been very juftly esteemed a cunclusive argument against the truth of the aforesaid doctrine. In like manner, if it be unreafonable, (of which, I think, every man is a judge, when the case is fairly proposed to him) that God should call a lpecies of creatures into being, should render them accountable for their actions, and will reward or punish them in another world, according as they behave themselves in this ; and yet should not funish them with a capacity, or power, which (when faithfully and duly exercised) is sufficient to discover what it is they are accountable for; what it is which will

render

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