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much our Interest and Advantage to be drawn CHAP. to God by an Attraction as strong as infinite; XVIII. and because we are to take measure of it in our Contemplation, there are Dimensions given to it, Breadth, Length, Depth, and Height; that being fillid therewith, we may be fillid, as it is express’d, with all the Fulness of God.
“ It is true indeed, says the present worthy “ Dean of Christ-Church, any Pains taken in
fixing the Meaning of the Words ; in stating " the Doctrines; or freeing them from the Charge " of Contradiction, will be usefully employ'd : “ Because whatever Doctrines have been deli“ ver'd by God, he hath given withal fufficient “ Means of rightly understanding them: And “ it is our Duty to ufe our best Endeavours “ both to understand them rightly, and to clear “ them from such Objections as may be urged “ against them. But to proceed farther than “ this; to frame Hypotheses by which to solve “ Difficulties by us insolvable, and to explain “ things by us inexplicable, is (to use the softest “ Expression) a very extraordinary Proceeding." Mysteries of the Christ. Rel. Serm. at Oxford, pag. 23
The Author of CbaraEteristicks, “ without " the least Difficulty allows of Mystery in the “ Honestum and Pulchrum *.” Why not in this, which transcends all his Beautifuls?
2. Not only in Scripture, but in Nature, how uniform is God, who has given us all things appertaining to Life and Godliness, TÁVTA APÓS Swag nad ỀUCECECRV, in his Dispensations of Know* Charact. Vol. III. pag. 182.
CHA P.ledge? As in the former he reveals in part, XVIII. and reserves in part ; so he discovers and obscures
in part, in the latter ; “ concealing from the “ Mind of Man any other Knowledge even of “ such familiar things, but what concerns the “ Ways of using them; and the Sciences which " are design'd for the Knowledge of their Na“ ture, discover nothing in them but what is of « use to us, and we find all things wrapt up in “ so much the greater Darkness, the more we “ endeavour to penetrate into their Nature beyond what is useful *.”
There are Spots and dark Places to be seen in the bright shining Sun in the Firmament, upon a closer Inspection; it is therefore uniform, that there should be something obfcure and unintelligible in the Sun of Righteoufness, which enlightens the moral World. Origen has with great Sublimiry and beauty of Thought, observ'd this Uniformity in the Revelation of the Words of God, as Author of that Revelation ; as in his Works, as Author of Nature, " That “ he who acknowledges the Scriptures to have “ proceeded from him who created the World, “ or is the Author of Nature, may well expect « to meet with the like kind of Unintelligibles, cs and Difficulties in them, as are to be met “ with in the Constitution of Nature 7."
It is plain then, that Reason and Nature is full as deficient in regard to the Modus and Manner of Things, as Revelation ; and therefore no more fault to be found with one than the other: which should afford an Argument of Similitude, that boch derive from the same divine Original ; and that the present Defect of Know* Principles of Law in general, pag. 6. of Orig
Phil. pag. 23
ledge, as to the Manner of the Truth and Ex-CHAP. istence of Things, is perfectly and adequately ne
XVIII. cessary for confining our limited Faculties to their proper Subject, their Hoc age, to what verily and indeed concerns us in the one, as well as the other. Sir Isaac Newton, that great Secretary of Natural Knowledge, says, “ We do not
at all know what the Substance of any thing is.” Light itself, (the fame may be said of Knowledge if there be too much of it) if increased beyond a due Proportion to our present Organ, causes a very unserviceable Sensation. And Mr. Locke, “I may confidently fay, that the " intellectual and sensible World are in this per“ fectly alike. That that part which we fee of “ either of them, holds no Proportion with " what we fee not; and whatsoever we can “ reach with our Eyes or our Thoughts of $ each of them, is but a Point, almost nothing “ in comparison of the rest.”. “He that knows “ any thing, knows this in the first place, that 6 he need not seek long for Instances of his Ig
norance There is the Philosophy of Air, Fire, and Water, daily Necessaries, and absolutely fo : But what is the Life of the Body concerned in this Scheme, or that? What is more obvious
or better known even to the Deist himself, than the Omnipresence of God, that he is not far from any of us ; that in him we live, move, and have our Being? Yet what darker, more intricate, or unprofitable of Solution, than the physical disputatious Disquisition of the same ? but what plainer, more certain, or more edifying Truch in all Nature, than the Tbing itself:
Human Underflanding, B. IV. Ch. III. §. 23.
CH A P.
If this is the very Constitution of Things with respect to human Understanding, and God has set one and the same Horizon to our Knowledge of Things natural and revealed ; making them partly known so far, and no farther than as they are of real use to us ; and partly unknown, so far as it is otherwise : And if the innumerable acknowledgd Mysteries of the former so far tally with the few of the latter, as that we learn one as well as the other by Degrees; and before we know the Uses of cither, it may be affirmed of the Knowledge of each, that it was bid from us ; but when known, and so far as is known, revealed, and no longer hid. Does it follow, either in Revelation, or Nature, that we know nothing, or not enough, because we don't perceive the totum cognoscibile, the All of Things ? Or that some Part is not clearly understood, and good for Use, in each of them, because some other Parc is occult and undiscover'd in them both"?
And seeing it is regularly true and undeniable, that Things known to us by the Light of Nature, are nevertheless in some respect unintelligible and inexplicable, and we are informed of them but in part, and yet sufficiently informed: Is it not agreeable to the common Reason of Things, and the common Measure by 'which Knowledge is dealc out to human Capacity, to allow of Mystery likewise in Revelation and to confess the Divine Goodness and Wisdom in one as well as the other ; i. e. some part undiscovered and incomprehensible, whilst another, and that the better Portion, is plainly addressed to the Aflent of the Mind,
conveyed over to our spiritual Occasions, and is CH A P. thereunto very fufficient, tho' a Knowledge in XVIII.
It must therefore be impious Scandal to Truth, and Offence to the God of Nature, to hear Men abuse their own Reason, in exclaiming so bitterly, as they do, against Mystery in his Revelation of divine Things. Not only ibese Men, but Mr. Bayle * and others, are moft immodestly and outrageously guilty of this wittels Ridicule. Can that ever be a Proof of an elevated Understanding, or a clear Sight into Religion, which is so apparent a Demonstration of the Shallowness of one, and the Want of the other? If Mystery and Natural Knowledge are not inconsistency, errant Jumble, absurd Nonsense, opposite or contradictory Terms, but co-incident in the fame Subject, Nature ; Why should Mystery and revealed Knowledge be ridiculed, and not admitted, in like manner, to be co-incident in the fame Subject, in Holy Scripture?
And because this Faith is misrepresented, as
ledge, Faith and Reason, in Matters of
As Faith is the governing Principle of the
* In his celebrated Dictionary almost every where ; and three of his four Explanations at the End, and in most of his Writings that I have seen.