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is fufficiently tryed by the many and strong temptations with which we are surrounded on every side, without this expedient; and therefore, this expedient is not necessary to answer that end. Besides, this expedient cannot an= swer any good purpose to us, but may answer many bad ones. It cannot raise in us a just and worthy sense of God, but may raise in us a mean and unworthy sense of him; viz. as one who acts the part of an arbitrary and a tyrannical governor. It cannot excite in us the affection of love to God, but may excite in us a Navish fear and dread of him. It cannot increase our virtue, but may greatly increase our guilt, if our disobedience is to be considered as such. And supposing we yield obedience to such commands, that obedience, to say the most, would be only yielding to the humour and unreasonable will of a law-giver, whom it would be wrong to contend with, or disoblige. And obedience, surely, in such cases, cannot render a person equally valuable with him who obeys a moral law from a much nobler principle. And, to admit the supposie tion that the Deity would go so far out of his way, (if I may so speak,) and would act so contrary to his general character as a wise and good governor, by commanding as aforesaid, is, (I think,) little less than blasphemy, as it is blasting the moral character of the great governor of the universe. But then, it is to be remembered, that when I say God will not act
thus when the reason of things can be a rule of action to him, and as to all other instances and cases he muft act arbitrarily if he -acts at all; and therefore, he may and will act thus when the reason of the thing requires that he fhould. As thus, fuppofing a common or general good to have been the end of creation, to the Deity when he called the folar system into being; then, there was a reason resulting from the nature of things why God should create the solar system rather than let it have remained in a state of non-existence. And, fuppofing it to have been perfectly indifferent whether the solar syften were placed in that particular part of space in which it now exists, or in some other part of space; then, as there was a reason for the Deity to act in calling the folar fyftem into being, so there was likewise a reafon that he should act arbitrarily, in appointing the particular part of space it Nould exist in; because without the latter, he could not have performed the former. And, this reafon will hold good in all parallel cafes, whether the Deity be confidered as acting the part of a Creator, or a Governor, or of a kind Physician to his creatures ; supposing such cases can take place when God acts in either of these capacities.
As to divine or positive inftitutions, (as they are commonly called,) if God gives any of these, he is to be considered as acting the part, not of a governor or legipator, but of a Physician to his creatures. And these
institutions are to be considered, not as laws or rules of action, but as kind prescriptions to mankind; because this is more properly and truly the state of the case. Man, is not only weak, and infirm with regard to his body, but also with regard to his mind; and divine inftitutions are intended to answer the same purpose to the mind, as food and pbyfick does to the body. The mind of man is liable to be over-acted, (if I may so speak,) and thereby rendered weak and infirm various ways. The business, the cares, the troubles, the pleasures of life, and the like, are apt to engross the thoughts and captivate the minds of men, and render them weak and infirm; by which means man becomes less able to act a worthy and a manly part, and to stand out with firmness and resolution against the many and strong temptations with which he is surrounded. And this makes it necessary that the mind of man, Thould be sometimes taken off from there, and turned to subjects of a more serious nature; by which the mind is recruited, and renews it's strength. And this is the purpose that divine institutions are intended to serve, viz. to take off mens minds, for a time, from the business, the cares, the troubles, and pleaa sures of life; to awaken in them a just and worthy sense of God, to draw forth their minds in suitable affections towards him; to excite in them a proper sense of the great end and business of life, to lead them to examine how far that end has been answered by them,
and wherein they have been defective, to point out to them how they ought to behave in time to come, and the like. These are the purposes that divine institutions are intended to serve; and thus they become both food and phyfick to the mind of man. But then, in divine institutions there can be nothing dark or mysterious, because by such a conduct God would disappoint the very end he proposes to obtain by them; viz. the strengthening and recruiting the mind of man. Mysteries in a prescription for the mind would answer the same end as powder of post, when called by a name that is not understood, would do in a prescription for the body, supposing powder of post to have no physical quality in it; that is, it would serve only to amuse and mislead the patient, which surely can never be the case with respect to God, in his prescriptions (as a spiritual Physician) to mankind." Darkness and mysteries are proper expedients to carry on and support base and unworthy designs; but God has no such designs to execute; and therefore, we may be assured that he has nothing to do with darkness and mysteries in any of his prescriptions to mankind. It is true that nature is full of mysteries, and yet nature is of God; and the reason of this is evident, viz. because our understandings are too weak to discover all the secrets and powers in nature. The mysteries in nature must of course bear a proportion to that measure of understanding which every creature pofseffes for the contemplation of it. If the understanding is weak, nature is more mysterious : if it is strong, nature is less mysterious. But then, what has this to do
with divine prescriptions, which in the very i nature of the thing ought to be plain and
clear? Is it to be supposed that God will be darkness, where the reason of the thing requires he fhould be all light? Will God deal with his creatures in darkness and mystery, when the nature of the thing requires that he should deal with them in plainness and truth? No surely. God has no end to answer to himself by any prescription he may give to mankind; and, as such prescriptions are intended for our good only ; so the nature of the thing requires that they should be delivered in the plainest and clearest manner. And therefore, if any prescriptions are at any time delivered to mankind that are dark and mysterious in whole, or in part, this, I think, proves to a demonItration that luch prescriptions are not divine. If it should be said that prescriptions for the body are generally dark and mysterious to the patient, and yet have their proper influence notwithstanding; and therefore, why may not prescriptions for the mind be dark and myfte. rious to the patient and have their proper influence also ? Answer, the prescriptions for the body are physical, and as such have a physical influence upon the body; whereas prescriptions for the mind are moral, and as such have a moral influence upon the mind. And therefore, tho? physical prescriptions for the body