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We may undoubtedly misemploy our time, as many have done, in obscure and fruitless speculations about the nature of such things as we can never fully understand. But the New Testament itself does not only not require us to do fo, but will condemn us for so doing: and it had been much happier for the christian world, and much more for the honour and true interest of the religion of Christ, if no one had ever done fo..

But is it not equally true, that we may, in like manner, study, write, and argue, on many points.connected with Natural Religion, and moral virtue, to just as little purpose, or as bad effect? Yet notwithstanding this, very excellent use may be made of the doctrines of mere reason, and so there may likewise of those peculiar to revelation. Nor is this misapplication of our own abili, ries any argument against the trụth either of the One or the Other; or against any thing, but our own prudence in the application of those faculjies which God has entrusted to our care.

The New Testament itself seems to enter, no further into the nature of those things, concerning which it reveals fome perfectly intelligible, though fupernatural, truths ; than appears to have been natural at least, if not strictly necessary, im order to set before us a sufficient view of the difpenfatjon it, contains; and by that means to conduce to the excellent moral purposes it is calculated to promote : nor is it possible for us to peruse with an honest and ingenuous disposition, those accounts which the New Testament itself has given us, of our own proneness to Sin;-The merciful terms of salvation there offered to us ;The faith in Christ there required of us ; --The indispensable conditions there laid down for our final justification ;--- The merciful disposition of



the Father towards us ; ---The amazing goodness of the Son in doing and fuffering what he underwent for us ;---And the share ascribed to the Holy Ghost in the whole accomplishment of our Salvation; -We cannot feriously peruse what the Nede Teftament itself intelligibly reveals to us on these most important fupernatural points; or indeed on any others connected with them, of which it does not' reveal to us a complete' knowledge and coinprehension; without becoming sincerely disposed to practise those moral virtues, which the Gospel Difpenfation is fo manifestly and so admirably fitted to inculcate. Whatever objections therefore may lie against some fruitless human speculations upon the several fupernatural points revealed in the Gospel; and the simproper manner in which disputes may have been fometimes carried on about them; no arguinent whatever can be drawn from this topic against the Divine Authority of fo much of these particulars, as is expressly revealed in the Old and New Testament Themselves.

Besides, will this Author have the presumption to determine, what particular truths or facts. God may reveal to mankind, and what he may not? Let us suppose it utterly beyond our power, as undoubtedly it is, to assign the reasons why God has gone just so far in revealing some truths in the New Testament, and no farther; and that we are not able to perceive the use of revealing-so much in some particulars, as is there made known. Are we justifiable in presuming to determine, that what we cannot see the reafon for revealing, cannot therefore have been revealed ? Is it not certain, that things which appear at first to be of very little importance in themselves, may at length be found connected with such as are of the highest concérn? Nothing could appear of less moment, in the i material world, at first, than electricity :


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yet that now appears to be one of the great instru.
ments of nature. And if such instances are found
in the natural world, why may not similar inftan-
ces exist in the moral; since the fame Gad is the
Author of both? If no revealed truths can be
made known to us, the use of knowing which we
cannot comprehend; how came we to be fo con-
ftituted, that any natural truths should come be-
fore us, the uses of which we know listles or abso-
lutely nothing of?

The New Testament expressly teaches us, that
after this life is over we are to enter upon a new
ftate of exiltence, concerning the particular cir-
cumstances of which we are wholly in the dark.
And how does this Author know, that the reve-
lation of such particulars in the New Testament,
as we do not appear to derive any immediate use
from the knowledge of at present, may not have
its uses in that future ftare, concerning which we
as yet know nothing Notorious it is, that even
our present usefulness, our happiness, and our virtue
itself, when we are arrived at mature agę, even in
life; depends in great measure upon our having this
been previously instructed in many truths, during
our childhood, the necessity or usefulness of which,
we, at the time of being taught them, could by
no means understand. And have we not the strong
est reason to conchade, that the whole of our ex-
istence here will be found at length but a state of
mere childhood, considered with respect to that
upon which we are to enter hereafter? And what
then can there be unreasonable in supposing, that
the previous revelation of such truths, as we our-
felves cannot discover the precife reafon for our
being made acquainted with here, will at length
be found productive of some beneficial effects,
when we shall enter upon that unknown state here-
after? When we observe that God has in fact



placed us in such circumstances, as to make this method of treatment useful, and even neceffary to us, in one instance; we muft at least acknowledge it possible, that he may have acted in the same manner towards us in another.

To object therefore to many particulars contained in the New Testament, that the knowledge of them does not appear to be attended with any

be. nefit to us at present; and to contend, that for this reason they cannot have been revealed is arguing about the divine dispensations to man, in such a manner, as the actual circumftances of our present existence itself unanswerably prove to be inconclusive, frivolous, and falfe. In short, the only point to be considered with respect to Divine Revelations, to the morality of whích no objections can be made, is What external evidence is produced to prove them to have been really revealed? If the evidence of THE FACT, i.e. the Revelation itfelf, is fufficient ; all objections founded on our inability to point out the use of any particulars revealed, or on the want of any other qualifications, which we may be led to imagine they ought to have; are entirely beside the question : since it is utterly impossible for us to judge adequately what God may, and what he may not, reveal to man; except only, that he cannot reveal any thing inconsistent with goodness, holiness, and truth.

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S E © T. V.

The Author's Principles with respect to BELIEF i

and his Inference from Jesus's Anfwer to the joung Ruler, considered.


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NOT HER argument the Author has urg

ed, to thew that no fupernatural truths can be required to be believed in the genuine religion of CHRIST, is drawn from his notions of the nature of Belief itself.

He asserts, That “ Belief always arises out of « fufficient evidence, and can never arise at all " where such evidence is wanting; and therefore, " that it cannot with propriety be the subject of command * "

That “ To believe without to examining is no Belief :1."-That “ Bare be

lieving carries in it no merit, because it is involuntary, and depends on evidence. That even

tually, it may be useful; as the Belief of the Beแ

ing and Attributes of God may induce a man is

to live virtuously; but in nowise meritorious. I.' — Agreeably to which he says likewise,

man be truly virtuous, it cannot be material by , what' name he is called; whether denoni

nated a Believer, or an Unbeliever, a; Jew, a “ Mahometan, a Deist, or a Christian ii.”

If it be true, as the Author says, that Belief always arises out of sufficient evidence, and can never arise where that is wanting ; and that to believe without examining is not Belief; then certainly no one can ever have believed what was not true, or what he had not employed his best abilities in considering; so that no one can ever.

6 If a


P. 309

+ P. 351.

I P. 360, 363.

|| P. 362.


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