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us with Peftilence, or with the Sword: We can't facrifice in the Exod, 8. 25. Land, for we shall facrifice the Abomination of the Egyptians ; Our Cattle must go with us, for thereof we must ferve the 10.26. Lord. And at last, when Pharoah, whofe Heart God had frequently harden'd, comply'd with their Request, he bids

- 12.35.



them go ferve the Lord, as ye have faid; and upon this Oc-—— 12. 31; casion, they borrow'd of the Egyptians, as the Lord order'd them, Jewels of Gold and Silver, and Raiment, even to the Spoling of them; and when Pharaoh (who all along seem'd jealous of their Defign, and bids them not go far away; found that this folemn Sacrifice was a meer Pretence, and that they really fled with all they had borrow'd of his People, he perfu'd the Fugitives; the Confequence was, that the Egyptians, instead of obtaining Reftitution, were miraculously deftroy'd, and Pharaoh loft his Life as well as his Subjects; and those who had dealt thus treacherously with them, were as miraculously preferv'd.

A. As to this Point, I can only advise You to confult our learned Commentators, who will fatisfy You in this Matter, as well as why the Terror of the Lord hinder'd Ju-Gen. 35. 5. ftice to be done upon the two Sons of Jacob, for the vilest Piece of Cruelty and Treachery, they committed on the Shechemites. But not to meddle with Things foreign to our Purpose,

I will venture to fay, that this Rule of acting according as the Circumstances we are under, point out to us, to be for the general Good, is a Rule without Exception; whereas all other general Rules are of little Ufe, when apply'd to particular Cafes; because of the many Exceptions to them, founded on other Rules, equally general: And further, that this univerfal, and unexceptionable Rule is highly neceffary, in explaining all the Precepts of our Saviour;

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efpecially thofe relating to loving of Enemies, and forgiving Injuries. And the rather, because

THE Ecclefiafticks, tho' they cry up the Precepts of Mens loving their Own Enemies; yet they effectually evade this, and all other moral Precepts, by telling them 'tis their Duty to hate God's Enemies; and those to be fure, are God's Enemies, who refuse blindly to fubmit to their Dictates; efpecially in Matters relating to their Power and Profit: And have too found out many Ways of making the Precept of forgiving Injuries useless; more particularly by telling Men, that 'tis for the Correction of Manners, for the Good of their own, as well as their Neighbours Souls, that the Spiritual Courts are erected; where People, for fuch hafty and angry Words, as no Action (there being no real Damage) will lye for at Common Law, are to be cenfur'd: And thus Numbers of ordinary People are, on this Pretence, to the great Benefit of thofe Courts, frequently undone; and fpiteful Perfons gratify their Malice, without any Satisfaction, but that of ruining their Neighbours, and very often themselves.

I might fhew You, in Support of my never-faling Rule of judging of Actions by their Tendency, that we are carefully to diftinguish between the Actions of Jefus himself; fince in fome (thefe being no otherwife to be accounted for) he, as Divines themfelves own, acted by Virtue of his Prophetical Office; thefe, confequently, can be no Precedent for us; but of this hereafter.

B. You have already, I muft own, taken a great deal of Pains, to fhew, that God, in creating Mankind, had no other Defign than their Happineís; and that all the Rules he gave them (it being repugnant to his Nature to have any arbitrary Commands) cou'd have no other Tendency; and that by making them moral Agents, he made them


capable of knowing wherein their Happiness confifts; or in other Words, of difcovering whatever the Relations they ftand in to God, and their Fellow-Creatures make fit to be observ'd. And from thence You conclude, Mens Happinefs, at one Time as well as another, confifting in the fame Things; that the Gofpel (which can make no Alteration in the Relations Men ftand in to God, and one another; or the Duties that flow from thence ;) cou'd only be a Republication, or Restoration of that Religion, which is founded on the eternal Reafon of Things; which, You fuppofe, is what we are ftill govern'd by; fince we are oblig'd to recede from the Letter, tho' the Words are ever so plain, if that recedes from the Reason of Things; as all own the Letter does, in innumerable Places relating to God himfelf; by imputing human Parts, human Infirmities, and human Paffions, even of the worst Kind, to him; and making thofe the Cause of many of his Actions: And that as in the Old Teftament there are feveral Things, either commanded, or approv'd, which wou'd be criminal in us to obferve, because we can't reconcile our doing them with the Reason of Things; fo in the New Teftament, its Precepts are for the most Part deliver'd either fo hyperbolically, that they wou'd lead Men aftray, were they govern'd by the ufual Meaning of Words; or elfe exprefs'd in fo loofe, general, and undetermin'd a Manner, that Men are as much left to be govern'd by the Reason of Things, as if there were no fuch Frecepts: And the Scripture not diftinguishing between thofe Precepts which are occafional, and which are not, we have no Ways to distinguish them, but from the Nature of Things; which will point out to us thofe Rules, which eternally oblige, whether deliver'd in Scripture, or not. Thefe Sentiments You fo


ftrongly inforce, that I fhou'd find it difficult not to yield, had I not fo able a Combatant as Dr. S. Clark, for my Second; who, in his Excellent Difcourfe of the unalterable Obligation of Natural Religion, and the Truth, and Certainty of the Chriftian Revelation; not only fhews, that they are distinct Religions; but the infinite Advantage the latter has above the former: And tho' this good, as well as great Man is dead, whereby the Church has fuftain'd an irreparable Lofs, yet he will for ever live in this Immortal Work.




Dr. CLARK'S Difcourfe of The Unchangeable Obligation of Natural Religion, and the Truth, and Certainty of the Chriftian Revelation, confiter'd; and from thence is fhewn, bow inconfiftent foever with the Defign of that Discourse, that nothing can be a Part of Religion, but what is founded on the Nature, and Reafon of Things.

Own, the Dr. got immortal Honour by that Difcourfe; how 'tis admir'd, the seventh Edition fhews: And we may well imagine, an Author, who usually exhausts the Subject he writes on, has here omitted nothing that makes for his Purpose. And, therefore, fince 'tis your Pleafure, I will fully confider this Difcourse, and begin with the Character he gives the Law of Nature; and fee whether he does not reprefent it so abfolutely perfect, as to take in every Thing that God requires of Mankind: And then examine what he fays in Behalf of Revelation, in Contradistinction to the Religion of Nature,

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