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ACTS xxviii. 22.
But we defire to hear of thee what thou thinkeft: For
as for this fect, we know that every where it is
Printed for J. CLARK and R. HETT, at the Bible and Crown in the
PREFA C E.
HERE has lately appeared in our world, to confront the Atheist, and confirm the moral Theift in his natural theology, a moft excellent treatise, intituled, The Religion of Nature delineated. It is pity, but the fagacious author had Delineated the Revealed Religion too; and thereby displayed its wondrous harmony and correfpondence with the dictates of natural reason and religion; and its neceffity (in cafe GOD will please to have mercy on the world) to fupply the defects of it; or, at least, that he had led his rational Moralift a step or two nearer towards the Religion of Jefus.
I. In treating of the immortality or natural vitality of the foul, he foon finds himself at a loss. Here I begin (fays he, p. 211.) to be very fenfible how much I want a guide. Senfe, brings us to the grave; and reafon, to fome fort of territories beyond the grave: But they are dark and gloomy to the mere rational spectator. 'Tis the fuperadded revelation, that opens to us the region of departed fpirits; and affures the purified fouls, that when their earthly houfe of this tabernacle (of this present habitation) shall be diffol ved, they have a building of and from God (and built on purpose for defecated fpirits) eternal in the hea
It is added, But as the Religion of Nature is my Theme, I muft, at prefent, content my felf with That light which Nature affords; my business being, as it feems, only to fhew what a heathen Philofopher, without any other help, and almost Autodidantos, may be fuppofed to think. Noble is the light, that is here afforded; and fuch as would reflect great honour upon the heathen Philofopher, were he fuppofed of himself, to convey it. Which of all thofe fages argued the existence, the perfection and unity of GOD, at the rate that is here argued? Had any one of them compofed fuch a ratiocinative tract as this, in fupport of the Religion of Nature, he would not have been thought 'Aurodi♪axтos, taught only by native reason, but, in fome measure, fidants, affifted by fome of thofe fecret inftillations, or fudden influences, the author himself (in p. 105. n. 4.) thinks not impoffible. And the more poffible or probable fuch fuper
nal influences are there rendered, the more credible it may be, that (for the good of a nation, or the welfare of the world) fuch divine irradiation as is ufually called infpiration, might, fome time or other, be afforded. But, I hope, (proceeds he) that neither the doing this, nor any thing else contained in this delineation, can be the leaft prejudice to any other true religion. To be fure, other true religion must be founded on this; or must suppose the principal heads of religion, here argued (whether the mode of argument be always neceffary or no) as the bafis of it. And the more any other (any farther or fuperadded) religion. comports with the religious truth, here delineated, the more intrinfic evidence it brings along with it. And fo this delineation wili, as, it is there faid, pave the way for its reception.
II. In one thing, the learned author might have: been a little more clear, that he may not be misapprehended. He would feem to establish religion even: antecedently to the confideration of the divine exiftence. In fect. 1. p. 7. he founds the diftinction between moral good and evil. Upon the diftinction betwixt moral good and evil, he immediately founds. religion. And then in fect. 5. p. 65. he advances to the proof of the divine existence. The firft fection begins, The foundation of religion lies in that difference between the acts of men which diftinguibes: them into good, evil, and indifferent.. If antecedently to the confideration of the divine existence, fome: fitting rule may be laid down, in conformity or dif conformity to which, human acts (called fpontaneous.