by requiring nothing in general to be believed, CHAP. that is contrary to Reason, nor any thing with VIII. explicit Particularity, that is above the Apprehenfion of it.

The true Medium therefore is, to give to Faith the Things that are Faith's; in first bringing the Discovery of those heavenly divine Truths, which were above the Capacity of human Underftanding to have found out, or have any manner of explicit Knowledge of, without the Assistance of Revelation. And to give to Reason the Things that are Reason's; in allowing it the Right of its Province and the Uses of its Function, in modestly enquiring, and usefully finding out the true Meaning of those reveald Truths..

Mr. Le Clerc has shewn, That the Defeet of Reasoning is one of the Causes of INFIDELITY* It certainly was the Cause of the Unbelief of our first Parents, and their Credulity of the Devil, the first Inlet of Sin; and ever since, all over the World, departing from Faith in the God of Truth, the Creator of the World, has been Man's Departure from his own Happiness. And as the Scope of God and his Truth is to bring us to Happiness, by true Rea. foning and an honest Heart; the Defect of it, in believing a Lye for the sake of countenancing beloved Unrighteousness, may deservedly be branded with Obstinacy, Credulity, and Bigottry in Fallhood and Sin. Archbishop Tillot. Serm. Heb. xi. 18, 19. has finely shewn that the Excellency of Abraham's Faith, (the great Pattern of all Faith) was wholly owing to the strongest and justest Reasoning that ever could be, in the Case. Treatise of Incredulity, pag. 63.


CH A P. For that to be fure was solid and unftagger'd XVIII. Reasoning in him, which was so ready and able

to reconcile two Revelations from God, which seemed to clash with one another. To which may be added the Centurion's Faith, the Greatness of which exceeding all in Ifrael, was owing to the Greatness of his Reasoning. And indeed all true and strong Faith is true and strong Realoning upon the Evidences of it:. And the honeft Heart that is a Friend and Improver of Reason from the Relation and Connection of Things, as the Author of Nature has fram'd, and Revelation discover'd them, is the true Friend of Faith; whilst Enthusiasm, Sopbistry, and Ridicule are the greatest Enemies to Reason, betray their own Defects, and every Cause they undertake; and as long as they continue Adversaries to Reason, can have no true Friendship for Faith.

But such wretched Sophistry is the Author of Christianity as old, &c, guilty of, to the total Subversion of Faith, Sense, and Conscience, where he asserts, “ Indeed it's an odd Jumble to " prove che Truth of a Book by the Truth of “ the Doctrine it contains, and at the same time “ conclude those Doctrines to be true, because “ contain'd in that Book: And yet that is a " Jumble every one makes, who contends for “ Mens being absolutely govern'd both by Rea" son, and Authority By Authority he means Revelation, as he expreffes himself a little above: “ Now we Chriftians have two supreme, “ independent Rules, Reason and Revelation; “ and both require an absolute Obedience." For, is it not a great Fallacy to make those two

* Pag. 164


Rules both supreme, and independent of one an-C HA P. ocher, when they are actually subordinace and XVIII. dependent on each other, and accord in perfect Harmony and Friendship, in recommending one and the fame End to all Men, who have Knowledge of the Revelation, and will truly pursue that End. What one calls the Happiness of Man, the other ftiles the Salvation of the Soul, both meaning the same Thing. Reason is subordinate and dependent upon Revelation, in one Sense, and ought to be very thankful for discovering such glorious Doctrines, such heavenly and effectual Means for that End, which were above its Sphere ever to have found out, unaslisted by the other. And Revelation is subordinate and dependent upon Reason in another Sense, by appealing to its Search and Inquiry into the Meaning of its Truths, and the Ends and Uses of its Doctrines.

I BEFORE join'd Ifue with our Author upon his own Criterion, che internal Evidence, Fitness, and Goodness of the peculiar Doctrines or Pafia tives of Christianity, upon which as a Deist he puts

the whole Strefs of his Cause, exclusive and in derision of the Evidence of Miracles, viz. Whether chose Doctrines are worthy to have God for their Author, and are design'd for the Good of Men. When I treated of the Sacraments, and the Mediator, I appealed to Reason for the Wifdom and Goodness of those Institutions, in both Respects; and proved him a most unreasonable Writer in accuGng God and Revelation of Arbitrariness, and that his Misrepresentacions proceeded from his Ignorance, or Wickedness, or both. Where he turns Sceptick as to the external Evidence attesting the Conveyance of the Re


CHA P.velation, I shall answer him hereafter as a Sceptick. XVIII

. But here he acts the Deist in rejecting Revelation, as an Authority incompatible with Reason.!.

Now what is the Authority of Revelation, but an Authority of Truth, Love, and Goodness, recommending itself to our Reason and Choice, from the God who created us for Happiness ; who, being still defirous of it, when the Means fail'd through the Perverseness of Man, supplied such from Heaven, as should be effectual even co, a greater Happiness, and put him in a new and better State of Probation than before, and again propound that 'to his Choice ; to fome People and Nations more explicitly than others? It does not offer to command Men for commanding fake, or to lead them blindfold, but by the evidene Prospect of their own Happiness, and the Dread they ought to have of their own Misery ; these two, the most sovereign and controuling Instincts of human Nature, are laid open before them, under the appointed Captain of Salvation ; therefore fo called because he leads all the Means, and is the Author and Finisher of that Faith which is the Means. When Reason, seeing abundant Evidence that it comes from God, and that such an immense Love and Goodness can have no other Author, submits accordingly to its own Interest and Benefit, is not the Authority, in that Case, of Reason's own chusing and imposing ? How then is such an Authority inconsistent with Reason, when it is the highest Reason in the World to be govern'd by it absolutely, and without Reserve? And when the Rule of Reason and the Rule of Revelation are both obey'd, they both become coordinate to the fame End, and Guide to the fame Place. So perfectly well may a Man be

absolutely absolutely govern'd both by Reason, and by fucb CHAP.

XVIII. an Authority, at the fame Time.

And as it makes frequent mention of God and his Attributes, it would be a just Objection, if every thing of such a Being was made level to human Comprehension (could that be done) any farther than was useful to our present State, which might easily be done, and is done. Therein if there are some Truths necessary to the Salvacion of the Believer, which unaffitted Reason could have discover'd, a Suspicion might arise of all being an buman Invention ; but as the heavenly Sublimity of its Love and Benefits furpasses all its Invention, has not Reason the firmer Ground to believe it came from thence, seeing the Con-; trivance, and Discovery so well agree with every Perfection that rules there?

He says it is an “ odd Jumble, to prove the “ Truth of a Book by the Truth of the Dog“ trines it contains; and at the same Time to “ conclude these Doctrines to be true, because “ contain'd in that Book.” But the Jumble lay in his own Brains, that could put such a Fallacy upon himself, or offer it to others. He might know what every body acknowledges, that the Proof of the Truth of the Book does not wholly depend upon the internal Evidence of the Truth of the Doctrine contain'd, but external Evidence of other Truths concur, and are expected by every Inquirer, to co-attest, and complete the Proof of the Truth of the Book. A curious Searcher will not be contented with one, wichouc the other; the former serves to satisfy, that there is no Objection from the Falfhood or Unreasonableness of the Contents, to proceed to a fur» VOL. II.



« ElőzőTovább »