Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

are an equal balance to all those temptations the present conftitution of things unavoidably leads him into; and which capacity will, in reason and equity, render him inexcusable if he miscarries. I say, man considered as above, has a right, by the laws of common equity, to such a capacity ; because if the case be otherwise, then he is unfairly and. unequahy dealt with. And if the present conftitution of things be otherwise than what I have shewn it ought to be, such a constitution is manifestly wrong, by being unequal and repugnant to reason. It is as unequal in this case, as the requiring bricks without affording materials for the making them: It is the same, as laying a heavy burthen without giving Itrength to bear it; and punilhing without a fault: all which are contrary, to reason and equity, and therefore most certainly ought not to be. And what a horrid imputation is this upon the great Maker and Governor of the world! as if he wanted either understanding or disposition to have made and constituted things better, or to have dealt fairly and equitably with his creatures; which surely is very dishonourable to him, as it fupposes him grossly defective, either in his na. tural or in his moral capacity. And, '

The injustice in this case, is so plain and evident, even to the lowest understanding, as not to need many words to shew it to be fo: it being evidently i. nequal and repugnant to reafor, for God to call a fpecies of crea

tures

[ocr errors]

tures into being, to make them accountable for their actions, and to reward or punish them in another world, according as they behave themselves in this; and yet, not to furnilh them with a capacity or power fufficia ent to answer the purposes of such creatures : I say, such a procedure is so unequal and -reasonable, as that the bare proposing the case, plainly shews it to be so, to every person that will but attend to it. And from hence it evidently follows, that if this be the truth of the case, then God must have been very defective either in his natural or his inoral capacity; that is, he must have wanted either understanding, or disposition, to have made and constítuted things better. And it will likewise as evidently follow, that reason either is, or that it ought to be, a sufficient guide in matters of religion, which is the point I undertook to make good.

If it should be urged, that man, as originally constituted, was endowed with such a capacity or power, as I have before described; but that by Adam's eating the forbidden fruit, this capacity was lost to him, and to all his pofterity:

I answer; this does not at all help the case, because the inequality of the present constitution of things is the same to mankind, whether Adam had originally such a power, or not. And as our species was no way acceffury to Alams transgression; so it is very unseasonable and unequal, that they should be

such

such sufferers by it, as the present argument fupposes. That is, it is very unequal and unreasonable, that mankind should still be accountable for their actions, and should be rewarded or punished in another world, according as they have behaved themselves in this; when they lof in Adam the capacity to disa cover what it is they are accountable for; and what it is which renders them the proper objects of God's favour or displeasure; and likewise what those motives to a right behaviour are, which would be an equal balance to all the temptations, that the present conftitution of things unavoidably leads them into. Besides, such a constitution of things would be wrong. That is, it would be apparently wrong for things to be so constituted, as that the capacities of a whole species of ac gents (which capacities are of the utmost consequence to them) should be thus hazarded upon one single fact only; and that it should be left to the will and pleasure of Adam, whether this power, upon which our all depended, should remain to his numberless pofterity, or not. So that, I think, the case must and will stand as I inferred above, viz. that either reason is, or else that it ought to be, a sufficient guide in matters of religion.

If it should be farther urged, that as Adam was originally endowed with such a capacity or power, as I have before described, so this capacity was not sunk, or totally loft to him and his pofterity, by his transgressi

on;

on; butonly, that thereby it became so weakned and impaired, as rendered it insufficient to aniwer the purposes for which it was intended; and that hereupon, mankind are not unfairly dealt with, neither is the present conftitution of things unequal; because God will deal with, and judge every man, according to the ability he has, and not according to

what he has aindwer; first, it do

To this I answer; first, it does not appear from the history, that Adam's discerning faculty suffered such a change by his transgreffion, as is here supposed; but that the contrary is rather declared, as in Gen. iii. 6, 7. And when the woman jaw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise ; The took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and be did eat. And the eyes of them both were opere ed, and they knew that they were naked, &c: Verse 22. And the Lord God faid, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil, &c. Here we see, that Adam's discerning faculty was sc far from being weakned and impaired, that, on the contrary, it is represented as being rather improved by his transgression. And, if Adam's fin had no such eifect upon himself, as to weaken and impair his own undertanding, but had rather a contrary effect; why then should it be prefumed, that his fin had luch a physical effect upon the diícerning faculties of

all

all his posterity, as is here supposed; seeing there is nothing in the history, nor in philosophy, nor experience, to ground such a presumption upon ? And as what is here presumed, ought not in reason to be admitted in argument; so it may more justly be presumed, that what is urged above, upon this head, is false and groundless. Again,

I answer, secondly, supposing Adam's sin had such a physical effect upon all his posterity (tho' it had no such effect upon himself) as that their discerning faculties became weakned and impaired thereby; then the proper question will be, whether the weakness which our species are fallen under by Adam's transgression does not, or whether it does, render us incapable of knowing and doing enough to make us the proper objects of God's favour; and to render us, in justice and equity, inexcusable if we miscarry. If the former be the case; that is, if the weakness which Adam's sin brought upon our species, does not render us incapable of knowing and doing, as aforesaid, which seems to be implied in the objection in which it is said, that mankind are not unfairly nor unequally dealt with, in and by the present constitution of things, and that God will deal with and judge every man, according to the ability they have, and not according to what they have not;) then, I lay, that realon is a sufficient guide in matters of religion; and that it is sufficient (notwithstanding Adam's

« AnteriorContinuar »