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"chief, when it is in his Power, is thought not much better "than he who does it.

BUT to return to the Dr, where is the Difference in Relation to the Goodness of God, and the Happinefs of Mankind, between God's creating them in a State, as he calls it, of univerfal Degeneracy and Corruption; or caufing them by the Folly of Adam, which infinite Wisdom cou'd not but foresee, to fall unavoidably into this bad State? What Dignity, what Perfection cou'd Adam's Nature have, that the Nature of his Pofterity has not? Are they not as much fram'd after the Image of their Maker? Are not their Souls as much immediately from God as Adam's ? And are not their Bodies exactly made after the fame Manner? Were not all other Animals at first created by God as well as Men? Had thefe any Dignity, or Perfection in their Animal Nature, which the fame Creatures fince have not? Befides, is not this fuppos'd high State of Perfection in Adam, giving the Lye to the History? fince this very perfect Man, notwithstanding all the original Dignity of his Nature, had no better Excufe for his yielding to the firft Temptation, than that the Wo-Gen 3.-12man, whom Thou gavest to be with me, gave me of the Trce, and I did eat. How can we fuppofe his Underftanding was in the leaft impair'd by this Crime, fince God himself fays (tho' to whom it does not appear) Behold the Man is become like one of us, to know Good and Evil; and to prevent his being fo, both for Immortality as well as Knowledge, God placed Cherubims with a flaming Sword, which turned every Way to keep the Way of the Tree of Life. Wou'd it not be very strange, that his Pofterity (while his Understanding receiv'd no Hurt,) fhou'd fuffer fo greatly in theirs; as the Dr

- Ver. 22,

wou'd.

Ver. 24.

1.14. C.23,24.

De Civit, Dei. wou'd have it thought? Indeed, St. Auftin fuppofes, that Adam before the Fall cou'd have erected his Membrum genitale ad voluntatis nutum ; and that Motions of the Flesh were perfectly fubordinate to his Will, like his Fingers. But this Notion not being orthodox at prefent, and the Lofs of this Faculty no ways infers the Loss of Understanding; I may venture to fay, that the Dr's Defcription of human Nature in all, but one Pair, (and that too, perhaps, but for a Day, ) is a Libel on the Dignity of human Nature; and an high Reflection on the Wisdom and Goodness of its Author; in placing them, without any Fault of theirs, in an unavoidable State of Degeneracy and Corruption for 4000 Years together, and continuing the greatest Part ftill in the fame State.

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BUT let us fee, whether the Dr. has, better Success with his other Arguments, by which he endeavours to curtail the univerfal Goodnefs of God; and, therefore, I fhall take Notice of two other Things, which he insists on, to fhew the grofs, and unavoidable Ignorance of the Philofophers, in the most momentous Points of Religion : pag. 182: The first is, "That, which of all Things the beft, and "wifeft of the Philofophers were entirely, and unavoidably ignorant of; and yet was of the greatest Importance for finful Men to know; viz. The Method, by "which fuch as have erred from the right Way, and have offended God, may yet restore themfelves to his Favour.” 1g7 183. And here he concludes, "That there arifes from Nature no fufficient Comfort to Sinners, but an anxious, and "endlefs Solicitude, about the Means of appeafing the "Deity.

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To answer the Dr, I need only quote what another able Divine, writing on the fame Subject of Natural, and

Re

of Nat.

and Rev. Re

Reveal'd Religion, fays, "I affirm, it is an Article of Na"tural Religion, that Forgiveness does certainly follow lig. r. 35, 85. "Repentance. If God be a merciful, and benign Being,

"he will accept the Payment we are able to make; and

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not infift on impoffible Demands, with his frail, bankrupt Creatures. No generous Man, but will forgive "his Enemy, much more his Child; if he difapproves the Wrong he has done, is really griev'd for it, is de"firous to make Amends, even by fuffering for the Ho"nour of the Perfon injur'd. How much more shall God

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forgive all Perfons thus difpos'd, and reform'd; fince "there's no Generofity in Man, but what is, with his "Nature, infus'd into him by God.

"NOT only Mercy, but Wisdom will effectually dif "pofe God to forgive the Penitent, because the Crea"ture reform'd by Penitence is fuch as it ought to be, "and fuch as God willeth it; which being fo, it can "be no Wisdom in God to afflict it unneceffarily. "Tis 66 not Justice, but Rage, to punish where the Perfon is "already mended. When we argue thus, from any of "the known, and certain Attributes of God, we are as "fure of the Conclufion, as if the Thing was to be dif"cern'd by Sense; fince no fenfible Thing is more cer"tain, than the Attributes of God.

"God Reafonablen.

MR. Lock has the fame Sentiments, and fays, "had, by the Light of Reason, reveal'd to all Mankind, "who wou'd make ufe of that Light, that he was Good, p. 255, 256,

"and Merciful. The fame
" and Knowledge in Man,
"fhewed him the Law he
"him alfo the Way of atoning the merciful, kind, com-
"paffionate Author, and Father of him, and his Being,

Spark of the divine Nature,
which making him a Man,
was under as a Man; fhewed

of Chaiftianity, &c.

"when

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"when he had tranfgreffed that Law. He that made Ufe of this Candle of the Lord, fo far as to find what was "his Duty; cou'd not mifs to find alfo the Way to "Reconciliation and Forgiveness, when he had fail'd of "his Duty.

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"THE Law is the eternal, immutable Standard of Right. And a Part of that Law is, that a Man shou'd forgive, not only his Children, but his Enemies; upon "their Repentance, asking Pardon, and Amendment. And therefore, he cou'd not doubt, that the Author of this "Law, and God of Patience and Confolation, who is rich "in Mercy, wou'd forgive his frail Off-fpring; if they

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acknowledg'd their Faults, difapproved the Iniquity of "their Tranigreffions, begg'd his Pardon, and refolved in "earnest for the future, to conform their Actions to this "Rule, which they own'd to be Juft and Right. This "Way of Reconciliation, this Hope of Atonement, the 66 Light of Nature revealed to them.

*

HAD the Dr. only faid, that we can't know from the Light of Nature, that There's more Joy in Heaven over one Sinner that repents, than over ninety nine just Perfons, who need no Repentance; That, if ftrictly taken, might, perhaps, be better difputed; but nothing, fure, can be more fhocking, than to fuppofe the unchangeable God, whofe Nature, and Property is ever to forgive, was not, at all Times, equally willing to pardon repenting Sinners; and equally willing they fhou'd have the Satisfaction of knowing it.

IF God's Ways are equal, and he has, at one Time as well as another, the fame Goodnefs for the Sons of Men, in relation to their eternal Happiness; how can we fuppofe he left all Mankind, for fo many Ages, and the

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greatest Part, even at prefent, in a most miserable State of Doubt, and Uncertainty, about the Pardon of Sin; and confequently, about the Poffibility of any Man's being fav'd? If this Notion, that even the best, and wifest of Mankind, were, not only abfolutely, but most abfolutely ignorant of That, which of all Things, it was of the greateft Importance for Mankind to know, be not inconfiftent with the divine Goodness; I am at a Lofs to know what is fo.

Ir the Defign of God, in communicating any Thing of himself to Men, was their Happiness; wou'd not that Defign have oblig'd him, who, at all Times, alike defires their Happiness, to have, at all Times, alike communicated it to them? If God always acts for the Good of his Creatures, what Reason can be affign'd, why he shou'd not, from the Beginning, have discover'd fuch Things, as make for their Good; but defer the doing it till the Time of Tiberius? fince the fooner This was done, the greater wou'd his Goodness appear to be: Nay, is it confiftent with infinite Benevolence, to hide That for many Ages, which, he knew, was as useful at first to prevent; as afterwards it cou'd be, to put a Stop to any Thing he dislik'd.

AND, indeed, without denying that God, at all Times, intended Mankind That Happiness, their Nature is сараble of; we must allow, that, at all Times, he has giv'n them the Means of obtaining it, by the Rules he has prefcrib'd them for their Conduct; and confequently, these Rules must have been discoverable at all Times. For, if God acts upon rational Motives, muft not the fame Motives, which oblig'd him to difcover any Thing that's for the Good of Mankind, have oblig'd him to discover every Thing that is so; and that too, after the fame plain Manner: And not do E e e this,

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