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either in whole, or part; because Truth being before Falfhood, and Mens Ancestors having once poffefs'd it, no Change cou'd afterward ever happen: Whereas, on the contrary, tho' there have been at Times great Numbers of traditional Religions, yet as far as it appears, no One of them has long remain'd the fame; at least, in fuch Points as were merely founded on Tradition.

I fee no Middle, but that we muft either own, that there are fuch internal Marks fix'd to every Part of the true Religion, as will enable the Bulk of Mankind to diftinguish it from all falfe Religions; or elfe that all traditionary Religions are upon a Level: Since those, who, in every Country, are hir'd to maintain them, will not fail to affert, they have all external Marks; fuch as Uninterrupted Traditions, incontested Miracles, Confeffion of Adverfaries, Number of Profelites, Agreement among themselves; and all thofe other external Arguments, that the Papifts and Mahometans set fo high a Value on. In this Cafe, what can the common People do, who understand not a Word of the Language, their Religion, and its external Proofs are writ in, but be of the Religion in which they are educated; especially, if nothing is fuffer'd to be publifh'd, which may, in the least, tend to make them queftion its Truth; and all other Religions are reprefented asfull of the groffeft Abfurdities.

HAD the People of Rome, in the primitive Times of Christianity, been govern'd by external Marks, none of them had quitted their old Religion, which had every external Mark proper to recommend it; and under which they were fo blefs'd, as to become Mafters of the best Part of the known World. But,

BECAUSE

BECAUSE this is a Point, wherein the greatest Part of Mankind are, at all Times, nearly concern'd, I fhall beg Leave to mention, tho' it be fomewhat long, what Mr. Lock fays on this Head.

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HAVE the Bulk of Mankind no other Guide, but of human "Accident, and blind Chance, to conduct them to their c, 19. Sect. 3. Underft. 1. 4. "Happiness, or Mifery? Are the current Opinions, and 399. Edir.2. "licensed Guides of every Country fufficient Evidence and "Security to every Man, to venture his greatest Con66 cernments on; nay, his everlasting Happiness, or Mifery? Or, can those be the certain and infallible Ora"cles and Standards of Truth, which teach one Thing "in Christendom, and another in Turkey? Or, shall a poor Country-man be eternally happy, for having the "Chance to be born in Italy; or a Day-Labourer be 66 unavoidably loft, because he had the ill Luck to be "born in England? How ready fome Men may be to "fay fome of these Things, I will not here examine; "but this I am fure, that Men must allow one or other ❝of these to be true; (let them chute which they please ) or elfe grant, that GOD has furnished Men with Fa..culties fufficient to direct them in the Way they shou'd "take, if they will but feriously employ them that Way, "when their ordinary Vocations allow them the Leisure."There can't be a more dangerous Thing to rely on than b. 1.4.c. 15. "the Opinion of others, nor more likely to mislead One ; 2. "fince there is much more Falfhood and Error among Mer "than Truth and Knowledge: And if the Opinions and Per"fuafions of others, whom we know, and think well of, be

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a Ground of Affent, Men have Reafon to be Heathens in "Japan, Mahometans in Turky, Papists in Spain, Protef tants in England, and Lutherans in Sueden.

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WAS there a Set of Friefts, on whofe Authority the common People were every where to depend for their religious Sentiments, they must be known by fome plain, external Marks: To fay the People muft follow those Priefts that are in the right,. is to fuppofe People muft judge what is right; and then judge (if that concern'd them) whether any. Set of Priefts are in the right; and if Men can't believe, when they fee no Reason for-believing, what Reafon can the Bulk of Mankind have to prefer one Religion before a Number of Others, on the Account of fuch Things, as, upon Prieftly Authority, are believ'd to belong to every. One of them; such as Vifions,, Dreams, Trances, Extacies, Infpirations, Conference with Spirits, traditionary Report about Miracles, &c.?. And fhou'd the Chance of Education throw Men into the True traditionary Religion, yet confidering its Style is not very exact, there being generally more exprefs'd than is meant ; and Things of the greatest Confequence are often fo treated, as that Men can't from thence perceive the Nature and Extent of their Duty; and even Precepts of the greatest Moment are fometimes fo far from being deliver'd plainly and fimply, that they are exprefs'd after a general, undetermin'd, nay, hyperbolical Manner; fo that even in this Cafe, there's a Neceffity for the common People to have Recourfe to the Reason of Things.

ARE not the unlearned wholly unacquainted with those Keys of Solution (as they are call'd) which the learned' have fuch frequent Recourfe to; fuch as those of a Tranfpofition of Words, or Claufes, Errors of Copies, various Readings, various Meanings of the fame Word, Pun&tuation, Taking away, or Adding of the Negative Particle i

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Allufion to Cuftoms, Confideration of the Matter - in hand,
Exaggeration, Interrogation, Parenthesis, literal Senfe, figu
rative Senfe; Want of exactness in the facred Writers, Pru-
dence in concealing fome Things, or in complying with fome O-
pinions prevailing in their Times; Condefcention to Pagans or
Jews; ufing fuch Ideas as prevail'd in fuch a Religion; Pre-
judication in the Hearers, Anfwers fuitable to their Needs,
rather than to their Queries; compendious Expreffions, Phra-
feology of that Time, the Author's Nation, or native Country;
Parallel Paffages, Precepts peculiar to the Apostles, Advices
to Perfection, Cenfures against certain Hereticks, the Cir-
cumftances of the Subject, the Scope of the Author, what goes
before, and what follows; the Barrenness of the Hebrew
Tongue; and confequently, its Ambiguity, its particular
Idioms, the various Senfes of the fame Verb, in different Con-
jugations; the Want of certain Ways of Expreffion us'd in
other Tongues; the fublime, and metaphorical Expressions most
frequent in the Oriental Languages; the Imitation of the
Hebrew Idiom in the LXX Verfion; and in the Original
Text of the New Testament Greek of the Synagogue, &c.
THE Bulk of Mankind being incapable of Metaphyfical
Speculations, and their Understandings giv'n them to difcerne
those Rules of Action which God prescribes them, he has, no ali dr
doubt, adjusted one to the other; and confequently, the Sim-
plicity, the Reasonablenefs, the Conveniency and Ufefulness of
thefe Rules, point them out to be the Will of God, to Men &
in all Places, and Conditions of Life; but to carry Things
further, can only ferve the Defigns of ill Men, who have s
taken an Occafion from thence to abuse their Credulity to de
the vileft Purpoles.

*

CAN, for Instance, the common People, who understand not a Word of the Language, the Jewish Books are writ in,

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be better Judges than the Jews themfelves of the Meaning of their own Books; and of their own Prophets speaking in their own Language? Or, are the common People capable of judging of the innumerable Disputes among Chriftians; if those likewife depend, not on the Reason of Things, but on the critical Understanding of Books, written in dead Languages; nay, what do they know of the distinguishing Doctrines of their own Churches? They, indeed, on all Sides, know, whom their Leaders wou'd have them hate, but little, or nothing of thofe Opinions, which divide their Leaders.

B. Is there any Divine of Note, who makes Revelation thus difficult to be understood by the ignorant, and unlearned?

A. I fhall mention one, against whom You have no Exception, who reprefents it thus obfcure, even to the learned. Is not Bishop Taylor (highly cfteem'd for his devotional, as well as polemical Works) a competent Judge in this Matter? And he (fumming up, and that very briefly, what he Polem.Works had spent several Chapters to prove at large) says,

P. 452.

It: p. 453.

"Since

"there are so many Copies with infinite Varieties of Reading; fince a various Interpunction, a Parenthesis, a Let་ ter, an Accent may much alter the Senfe; fince fome "Places have divers literal Senfes, many have fpiritual,

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myftical and allegorical Meanings; fince there are fo แ many Tropes, Metonomies, Ironies, Hyperboles, Pro"prieties and Improprieties of Language, whofe Under"ftanding depends upon fuch Circumstances, that it is al"moft impoffible to know the proper Interpretation; now "that the Knowledge of fuch Circumstances, and parti"cular Stories is irrecoverably loft: Since there are some "Myfteries, which, at the beft Advantage of Expreffion

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