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Sect.II. 34. To conclude, let no Body thinli <^-y^-' to be excus'd by this imaginary Corruption, but learn from the Scripture, pur insallible Oracle, that the Gospel, if it be the Word of God, is only contrary to the Opinions and Wishes of 2 Pet. 3.3. lewd Men, that love to walk after their own Lusts; of those that speak Evil of the things which they understand not, and Jude,v.io. debauch themselves in what they know in common with Brutes. It is hid to them 2 Cor. 4. whose Minds are blinded by the God of g, 4- this World • and to those who live by the Ignorance and simple Credulity of their Brethren. To be brief, It is contrary to the salse Reasoning of all that will not know what it is to reflect; or consider; but it is not above the Possibility of their Reason when they shall better improve their Faculties. The Creation of the World was against the system of Aristotle, the Immortality of the Soul against the Hypothesis of Epicurus, and the At Liberty
of of the Will was impugned by many Ch. 4. antient Philosophers. But is this to be WV contrary to Reason? Have not these Men been quite baffl'd by as very Heathens as themselves? And;are not their other Errors since detected and exploded by most of the Learned? Besides, they wanted a principal mean of Information, viz. REVELATION,
|| Han the absolute Liberty we experience in our selves,% consistent with God's Omnipotency and ourDependante oti hiht, fiall in due Place be consider 'd\
SECT. Ill .•-.
that there is nothing MY STERIOVS, or A BOVE Reason in the GOSPEL.
E come at length to enquire whether any DoBrine of the GOSPEL he ABOVE, tho not contrary to REASON. This Expression is taken in a twofold Signification. First, It denotes a thing intelligible of it self, but socover'd by figurative Words, Types and Ceremonies, that Reason cannot penetrate the Vail, nor fee what is under ittill it be removed. Secondly, It is made to signify a thing of its own Nature inconceivable, and not to be judged of by our ordinary Faculties and Ideas, tho it be never so clearly revealed. In both these senses to be
above above Reason is the same thing with Ch; i* MYSTERY; and, in effect, they (•y^ are convertible Terms in Divinity.
. CHAP. I.
the fflflory and Signification of MTSTE^T in the Writings of the GENTILES.
"HAT is meant by REASON we have already larfflsly discoursed; but to understand aright what the word MTSTERT imports, We must trace the Original of it ,as far :back as the Theology of the ancient Gentiles+ whereof it was a considerable Term. Those Nations; who r ... , (as Paul elegantly describes them)Ron1, lie, prof effing themselves wise, became Fools;' who changed the Glory of the incorruptible God into the Imsge fnd Likeness of corruptible Man, of Birds, of Beasts, and creeping things , who turned the Truth of God into a. Lie, and worshiped the treasure as well as (and sometimesinore than) the Creator: Those Nations, I
$ d fey;
Sect. 2. say, ashamed or afraid to exhibit their "' Religion naked to the view of all indifferently, disguis'd it with various Ceremonies, Sacrifices, Plays, &c making the superstitious People believe that admirable things were adumbrated by these Externals. The Priests, but very rarely, and then obscurely, taught in publick, pretending the Injunctions of their Divinities to the contrary, left their Secrets, forsootb,should be exposed to the Prosanation of the Ignorant, or Violation of the Impious. They performed the highest Acts of their Worfhip,consisting of ridiculous, obscene, or inhumane Rites, in the inmost Recesses of Terns les or Groves consecrated for that purpose: And it was inexpiable Sacrilege for any to
* enter these, but such as had a special Mark and Privilege, or as much as to ask Questions about what pafs'd in them. All the Excluded were for that Reason RiMthePROFJNE, as those not in Orders with us the LAITT.
• .7. But
* Procul, O procul este Prosani 1
• Conclamat vates, totoq; absistite luco, Vitg. I. 6. Æneid. v. 259. Callimach. Hymn, in Apofc v. z. 'Eels ti&f fas Aa/t#v.