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CHA P.think thereon with Reverence; for it is not needful XVIII. for thee to see with thine Eyes the Things that are
Secret ; be not curious in unnecessary Matters, for more Things are seven unto thee than Men understand, and many are deceiv'd with their own vain Opinion *. Hardly do we guess aright at Things that are upon Earth, and with Labour do we find the Things that are before us; but the Things that are in Heaven who hath searched out ? Touching the Almighly we can't find him out to Perfection, nor can we order our Words by reason of Darkness t.
Yet after all the Labyrinths of Dispute in Philofophic Theory, Christians are agreed (I speak to the Deifts) in the religious Sense of one God, and of the Spirit of God fanétifying us, and in the general Practice of worshipping God through the Mediator, and in paying Divine Honour and Obedience to him, as well as to the Father, according to the Commandment. But why is the Deift and Sceptick so unfair, as to attend only to those Speculations wherein they differ, and not likewise to those Principles wherein they agree. They ftand condemn'd by all Sides, and have no Right to condemn either, as neither joining in the Speculations wherein they vary, nor in the better Foundation wherein they agree; nor yet to condemn both Sides, unless there happens, a Want of Temper, since that Foundation has been shewn to stand so sure. Whether there be three Minds or one Mind, three Wills or one Will, since it is agreed that the three Divine Persons co-operate together in creating, redeeming, and fan&tifying ; they act as one God, tho’ not as one Person;
therefore the Deifts have no
* Eccl. iii. 21, 8C
+ Wild. ix. 26.
Right to be so sollicitous in a Dispute wherein CHAP, they have no Share, excluding two of the Per. XVIII, sons from having any thing to do in their Salvation.
IT remains then, that there is not that Dila agreement between Reason and Faith objected by fome, and as weakly yielded by other some ; but a perfect good Understanding, Friendship, and Harmony between them; and that they are of mutual Service and sincere Benefit to each other.
IF Reason seeks the Religion of the End, which is so valuable, that it is desirous of knowing it better, and of finding out the best Means for perfoming it to the pleasing God, Faith is that obliging Friend offering that better knowledge, and best Means; and Reason to prove itself what it is, accepts the Offer with all Thankfulness, and, to improve, and enjoy the Friendship as it ought, out of Love to the End so much clearer brought to Light, makes use of the Affistance of Faith as a Means only of what it offers itself, but still the best and only Means of pleasing God. And so the moral Obligation of the Law of Nature becomes Religious; and by believing also in Christ, becomes Christian, which is the Perfection of all Religion.
1. IF Reason is taken for the universal Law of Reason, implanted in the Hearts of all Men, directing what is Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, in all Relations of Persons, and Things, in their several Circumstances: The Christian Faith is so far from disagreeing with it, that it is its profess’d End and the declar'd Object of all its Ef
CH A P. forts, a's coming from the same heavenly Source XVIII. of Light and Truth, to ratify all that kept to
ics true Original, and supply all that was wanting, or irregular through Corruption, or Tract of Time; and purposely to furnish the wanted, the most efficacious, admirable Means in all the World for carrying it into all the Perfection it is capable of in Life.
2. If it is taken for the Cause, as Eccl. vii. 25. I applied my Heart to seek out Wisdom and the Reason of Things; or the Ground or Motivë of a Thing, as i Pet. iii. 15. Be ready to give an Answer to every Man that asketb you a Reason of the Hope that is in you; there arises from Faith to this fort of Reason, all manner of Concord, Illustration, and Improvement. For in the moral Government of the World and the Truths relating to that (the Sphere of Truth, Cause and Effect, it especially confines itself to; after settling the Creation of the World, and the deftroying Deluge, both creating a moral Dependance, it speaks of common natural Truths only popularly, and occasionally) it opens the FOUNTAIN of moral Causes, and their Effects; shews the Concatenation between moral Means and Ends, and the Advantage of the best Means to the best Ends; and for Grounds and Motives of Action, and Forbearance of Action, it produces and proffers the greatest and highest that can be offer'd: Whilst it exhibits the Grounds of its own Stability as firm as a Rock, and the Motives' of its Persuasion to be the Strength of all Reason, that can ever be collected from the Truth of Record, or the Reason of Things. Was it deserted of Reason, it would sink into Credulicy ; but as it effentially founds itself upon rational Af
sent, it glories in the Name of Faith by main. CHAP, taining itself to be the highest Reafon ; and there. XVIIL fore can never disagree with Reason, without difagreeing with itself. Thus when the Christian is order'd to be ready to give an Answer or Apology to every Man that asketb the Reason or Ground
of the Hope that is in him, i. e. Remission of Sins, Access, and Acceptance with God, Resurrection of his Body and eternal Life ; what furer or more satisfying, or more rational Ground can he set forth to others, or fupport himself with, than Jesus Christ the Mediator? By that Faith in him, he fančtifies the Lord God in bis Heart, in all those Particulars.
3. If it is taken for the understanding Faculty, as it apprehends, judges, and infers, as Dan. iv. 36. My Reason return’d to me, i. e. my Understanding ; Christian Faith is the best Friend it has in the World; it amicably corrects it, when it exceeds itself, by advising to think soberly, and not more highly than it ought to think, nor to pretend to be wise above what is written; it diffipates Error and Vice which blinds and befools it, governing the Passions that prejudice or precipitate it; it opens a new Fountain of the choiceft of all Knowledge for healing all its Master's Infirmities, and drinking thereat, may never thirst for other Remedies, there all its Powers are invited to regale themselves with what they naturally pant after; and encourages its discoursive Faculties to examine themselves whether they are in the Faith, or out of the Influences of it; to search, try, prove, and disapprove, as they find it right fo
CH A P.
judges what is the Mind of God, and though it