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all Men may know who are his Difciples; and if they who thus love one another are of Course his Difciples, whose Disciples then are They, who, as all Men know, make People hate, and harrass one another; and pretend Chrift's Commiffion for fo doing?
Origen fpeaking of the Faith of Chriftians, cou'd not (was there any Thing peculiar in their Faith) have said; Origen contra «Tis the Conformity of our Faith with the common inCelfum. 1. 3. 135.
nate Notions of all Mankind, that has given it Entrance "into the Minds of candid and ingenuous Hearers. And,
OUR Divines (fince the Liberty they enjoy has enabl'd them to think, and speak their Thoughts more freely than formerly) when they write in Defence of Christianity, endeavour to fhew that the Faith the Scripture requires, is conformable to what Origen calls, The common, and innate Notions of Mankind. I do not find, that the Dean of Sarum is cenfur'd for affirming in Defence of Christianity, that Origin of Mo." The Scripture Notion of Faith is very plain and obvious, ral Evil. p.90.« viz. not a fpeculative and philofophical, but a religious
" and practical Faith; and 'tis built on this Principle, That "God is, and that He is a Rewarder of them that diligently
feek him; That religious Faith is a full Conviction of "Mind, that an eternal, immenfe Being, infinitely wife,
juft, and good, not only actually exifts, but is the Go"vernor of the World; prefcribes Laws to the ConfcienCo ces, and to the Actions of Men; takes Notice of their Compliance with, or Tranfgreffion of them; and will certainly reward, or punish them, according as their " Works have been. To live under this Senfe and Expec"tation, is to live a Life of Faith, and is co-incident with
a Life of Virtue. All the Species, or particular Instances of Faith may be reduc'd to this, as fo many Branches
springing from it; And to explain them in any other "Senfe, as if Faith and Reason were oppos'd to each other, "and Religion and Virtue two different Things, is to blind "Mens Understandings, and to confound the plainest, and "most numerous Texts of Scripture.
ANOTHER learned Divine, in Defence of the Chriftian Religion, fays, "If it fhould happen, that we cannot fo fa- Nye of Nat, & Reveal.Relig. "tisfactorily evince the Certainty of the Scripture-History p. 127. "against scrupulous, nice, and fceptical Wits, yet we find
ourselves oblig'd to the Belief and Practice of what is really the Christian Religion; becaufe 'tis nothing else, as to the Faith and Morals of it, but Natural Religion.
Grotius de Ve
lib. 6. Sect. 2.
THE great Grotius, in a Difcourfe own'd to be the best that was ever writ in Defence of Chriftianity, lays it down. as a Maxim, that ""Tis abfolutely repugnant to the Good"nefs of God, that thofe, who without respect to worldly rit. chr. Relig. "Advantage, feek after the Way which leads to eternal' Happiness; imploring withal the divine Affiftance, and "fubmitting themselves intirely to his Providence, should "not be able to find it." And if this is too evident to be sc deny'd, can there be any Thing either in relation to Faith "or Manners in the Way that leads to eternal Happiness, "but may be found at all Times and Places of every One, "who diligently fearches after it.
AND an eminent Divine, who is not look'd on to have altogether fo extenfive a Charity as Grotius, yet fays, "I "think we may pronounce fafely in this Matter, That the "Goodness and Mercy of God is such, that he never dé"ferts a fincere Perfon, nor fuffers any one that shall live
(even according to these Measures of Sincerity) up to "what he knows, to perish for Want of any Knowledge neceffary; and what is more, fufficient to fave him. "
Which fuppofes no Faith, or Knowledge neceffary to Salvation, but what All are capable of acquiring by Virtue of that Light, which lighteth every Man that cometh into the World. And our Saviour himself says, Seek, aud ye shall Mat. 7. 7. find. By this you may see what Faith is requir'd, and for
If Man, as our Divines maintain against Hobbs, is a social Creatnre, who naturally loves his own Species, and is full of Pity, Tenderness, and Benevolence; and if Reason, which is the proper Nature of Man, can never lead Men to any Thing but univerfal Love and Kindness, and there be no Part of Natural Religion, or any Faith it requires, but highly tends to improve this kind and benign Temper; how comes it to pass, that what is taught for Religion in fo many Places of Christendom, has transform'd this mild and gentle Creature into fierce and cruel; and made him act with Rage and Fury against those who never did, or intended him the least Harm? Is not this chiefly owing to fuch a Faith as works not by Love; and fuch a Zeal as, not being according to Knowledge, has deftroy'd all good Works, and is utterly inconfiftent with the End of all Religion. But no Wonder, if Men, who most uncharitably damn one another for fuch Matters of Faith as they dare not trust Reason to judge of, fhou'd hate, and perfecute each other on the fame Account.
THE Epicureans, tho' they had exalted Notions of their Gods, yet because they afferted it beneath their Dignity to concern themselves with human Affairs, were at all Times cenfur'd as Atheists; which fhews that 'twas accounted much the fame to believe no Gods, as to believe them ufelefs to Mankind: But certainly, believing the Deity to be indolent, can't be fo bad as believing him fo cruel, as to
oblige Chriftians to perfecute, ruin, and destroy even their Brethren, for Things too, no Ways contributing to the Good of Mankind; fince this is downright Demonifm: And yet in what Age of the Church, wou'd not those conscientious People that chanc'd to be undermoft, have thought themfelves happy, if the Men in Power had not had a worse Notion of the Deity than That of Indolence.
C H A P. VI.
That the Religion of Nature is an abfolutely perfect Religion; and that external Revelation can neither add to, nor take from its Perfection; and that True Religion, whether internally or externally reveald, must be the fame.
AVING prov'd, That God requires nothing for his own fake; I fhall now, the Way being thus prepar'd, fhew you, That the Religion of Nature is abfolutely perfect; and that external Revelation can neither add to, nor take from its Perfection: And in Order to it let me ask you, Why you believe the Gospel a Law of abfolute Perfection, incapable of any Addition, Diminution, or Alteration ?
B. BECAUSE is the last Law of God's giving.
A. Was it not such in itself, That cou'd not make it fo; fince the Law given to the Jews was for many Ages the Only External Law: And yet, I fuppofe, you grant that this abrogated Law was far from deferving fuch a Character; but were there any Thing in this Argument, it makes