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tion; and not be as immutable as the Author of it? Can Revelation, I fay, add any Thing to a Religion thus abfolutely perfect, univerfal, and immutable? Besides, If God has giv'n Mankind a Law, he must have giv'n them likewife fufficient Means of knowing it; he wou'd, otherwise, have defeated his own Intent in giving it; fince a Law, as far as it is unintelligible, ceases to be a Law. Shall we fay, that God, who had the forming human Understanding, as well as his own Laws, did not know how to adjust the one to the other?

If God, at all Times, was willing all Men fhould come to the Knowledge of his Truth; cou'd not his infinite Wisdom and Power, at all Times, find fufficient Means, for making Mankind capable of knowing, what his infinite Goodness defign'd they fhou'd know.

B. I grant You, that God was always willing, that ALL Men fhou'd come to the Knowledge of True Religion; and we fay, that the Chriftian Religion being the Only True and Abfolutely Perfect Religion, was what God, from the Beginning, defign'd for all Mankind.

(A, IF fo, it follows, That the Chriftian Religion has existed from the Beginning; and that God, both Then, and Ever fince, has continu'd to give all Mankind fufficient Means to know It; and that 'tis their Duty to know, believe, profefs, and practise It; fo that Chriftianity, tho' the Name is of a later Date, muft be as old, and as extenfive, as humane Nature; and as the Law of our Creation, must. have been Then implanted in us by God himself.

B. Ir wou'd be too prefuming in us poor Mortals, to pretend to account for the Methods Providence takes, in Relation to the Discovery of its Will; and, therefore, a Perfon of lefs Moderation, might condemn your Questions as captious, prefumptuous, and founded in Heterodoxy.

A. IF God never intended Mankind fhou'd at any Time be without Religion, or have falfe Religions; and there be but One True Religion, which ALL have been ever bound to believe, and profefs; I can't fee any Heterodoxy in affirming, that the Means to effect this End of infinite Wif dom, must be as univerfal and extenfive as the End itself; or that All Men, at all Times, must have had fufficient Means to discover whatever God defign'd they shou'd know, and practise. I do not mean by This, that All fhou'd have equal Knowledge; but that All fhou'd have what is sufficient for the Circumftances they are in.

B. SINCE You have ask'd me Questions, let me, in my Turn, demand of You, What are your Sentiments in this Matter? Particularly, What are thofe Means, which, You fuppofe, God bas, at all Times, given the whole Race of Mankind, to enable them to discover what he wills them to know, believe, profefs, and practife?

A. I ask'd You thofe few Questions at prefent, not to determine the Point; but only to let You fee, You had no Reason to be furpris'd at my faying, Natural, and Reveal'd Religion only differ as to the Manner of their being communicated; I shall now readily answer your Questions; and, as I think it my Duty never to difown my religious Sentiments, fo I freely declare, that the Ufe of thofe Faculties, by which Men are diftinguish'd from Brutes, is the Only Means they have to difcern whether there is a God; and whether he concerns himself with human Affairs, or has given them any Laws; and what thofe Laws are? And as Men have no other Faculties to judge with, fo their ufing Thefe after the best Manner they can, muft anfwer the End for which God gave them, and justify their Conduct: -For,


If God will judge Mankind as they are accountable, that is, as they are rational; the Judgment must hold an exact Proportion to the Ufe they make of their Reafon. And it wou'd be in vain to use it, if the due Use of it wou'd not justify them before God; and Men wou'd be in a miserable Condition, indeed, if whether they us'd it, or not, they fhou'd be alike criminal. And if God defign'd all Mankind fhou'd at all Times know, what he wills them to know, believe, profefs, and practife; and has giv'n them no other Means for this, but the Ufe of Reafon; Reafon, human Reafon, must then be that Means; for as God has made us rational Creatures, and Reafon tells us, that 'tis his Will, that we act up to the Dignity of our Natures; fo 'tis Reafon muft tell when we do fo. What God requires us to know, believe, profess, and practise, must be in itself a reasonable Service; but whether what is offer'd to us as fuch, be really fo, 'tis Reafon alone which muft judge; as the Eye is the fole Judge of what is vifible; the Ear of what is audible; fo Reason of what is reasonable. If then, Reason was giv'n Men to bring them to the Knowledge of God's Will, That must be fufficient to produce its intended Effect, and can never bring Men to take That for his Will, which he defign'd, They, by using their Reason, shou'd avoid as contrary to it./

B. IF Men, having done all in their Power, all that God requires of 'em to find out his Will, fhou'd fall into oppofite Sentiments; must it not be the Will of God that it shou'd be fo? Can God will fuch a previous Examination, and not will what he foreknows must be the neceffary Consequence?

A. THERE is, I think, no Way to avoid this Objection, of God's willing Contrarieties; but by fuppofing he requires nothing of Men, but what is founded on the Nature of Things, and the immutable Relations they bear to one another; and


what, consequently, they are, as far as concerns 'em, capable of knowing. But this Objection is unanswerable by thofe, who believe the Will of God is not always thus founded ; but may contain many merely pofitive Things; fince Men may, after having taken all poffible Care to be in the right, have very opposite Sentiments; and be oblig'd, by the Will of God, to hold, and act Contrarieties.

B. THO' this Subject is attended with the utmoft Difficulties, yet I find little, or nothing, faid to folve 'em; I, for my Part, know not how to deny Mens being acceptable to God, whatever their Opinions may be, after having us'd all the Means God has endow'd 'em with for the Discovery of his Will; and yet I don't know how to admit it: For then, what Religion foever Men are of, if they have duly us'd fuch Means as God ordain'd for the Difcovery of his Will; That, I fay, how oppofite foever to Chritianity, must be the Religion God defign'd 'em. And on the other Hand, fhou'd I own, that the duly ufing thofe Means wou'd have caus'd Men to have been all of one Religion; yet I can't see how That cou'd be the Christian Religion, except It has exifted from the Beginning; and all Men, at all Times, have had fufficient Means to discover it. For,

If God was always willing, That All Men fhould come to the Knowledge of his Truth; and there never was a Time, when God intended Men shou'd have no Religion, or such an imperfect Religion, which cou'd not answer the End of its being instituted by an infinitely wife Legislator; This seems to my bewilder'd Reafon to imply, that there was from the Beginning but One True Religion, which all Men might know was their Duty to embrace; and if This is true, I can't well conceive, how this Character can confift with Christianity; without allowing it. at the fame Tme, to be as


old as the Creation. And yet notwithstanding all these seeming Difficulties, I am confident the Chriftian Religion is the Only True Religion; but fince thefe Difficulties are of your railing, I may, in Juftice, expect that You shou'd

folve 'em.

A. THIS, I must own, is a difficult Point; however, I shall tell you my Sentiments; which, I, far from being a Dogmatizer, am ready to give up, if You can frame any other Hypothefis not liable to the fame Objections ; or Others equally strong; tho' I may venture to say, that I take mine to be the Only One, which can give any tolerable Satisfaction to your present Doubts. And therefore, I shall attempt to fhew You, That Men, if they fincerely endeavour to discover the Will of God, will perceive, that there's a Law of Nature, or Reafon; which is fo call'd, as being a Law, which is common, or natural, to all rational Creatures; and That this Law, like its Author, is abfolutely perfect, eternal, and unchangeable; and That the Defign of the Gospel was not to add to, or take from this Law; but to free Men from that Load of Superftition, which had been mix'd with it: So that TRUE CHRISTIANITY is not a Religion of Yesterday, but what God, at the Beginning, dictated, and ftill continues to dictate to Chriftians, as well as Others. If I am so happy as to fucceed in this Attempt, I hope, not only fully to fatisfy yonr Doubts, but greatly to advance the Honour of External Revelation; by fhewing the perfe& Agreement between That, and Internal Revelation ; and by fo doing, deftroy one of the most fuccessful Attempts that has been made on Religion, by setting the Laws of God at Variance.


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