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kind, on the Account of Religion, have done either to themfelves, or one another.
CHA P. IX.
Human Happiness being the ultimate Defign, and End of all Traditional, as well as Original Revelation, they must both prescribe the fame Means; fince thofe Means, which, at one Time, promote human Happiness, equally promote)-it at all Times.
CHA P. X.
God does not act arbitrarily, or interpofe unneceffarily; but leaves thofe Things, that can only be confider'd as Means (and as fuch, are in their own Nature mutable;)` to human Difcretion; to determine as it thinks most conducing to thofe Things, which are in their own Nature obligatory. p. 115.
The fuppofing Things merely pofitive, to be made the Ingredients of Religion, is inconfiftent with the Good of Mankind, as well as the Honour of God.
That They, who, to magnify Revelation, weaken the Force of the Religion of Reason and Nature, ftrike at all Religion; and that there can't be Two Independent Rules for the Government of human Actions.
CHRISTIANITY as old as the CREATION :
That God, at all Times, has given Mankind fufficient Means of knowing whatever he requires of them; and what thofe Means are.
HIS early Vifit, Sir, gives me Hopes it will not be a fhort One.
B. I come to talk with You on a Subject, which may, perhaps, keep me longer with You than You defire.
A. YOUR uncommon Temper and Candor, in debating even the most important Points, will always make your Converfation agreeable, tho" ever fo long; but pray, what is to be the Subject of our Morning's Difcourfe?
B. I was Yesterday in Company with a great many Clergymen, it being our Bishop's primary Vifitation; where the
Complaint was general, of the Coldnefs and Indifference, with which People receiv'd the speculative Points of Chri_ stianity, and all its holy Rites; for which formerly they had shewn so great a Zeal. This Coldness they chiefly imputed to thofe Low Church-men, who lay the main Stress on Natural Religion; and withal fò magnify the Doctrine of Sincerity, as in Effect to place all Religions on a Level, where the Profeffors are alike fincere. The Promoters of thefe Notions, as well as the Notions themselves, were expos'd with Warmth; how justly I will not determine, till we have talk'd the Matter over with our ufual Freedom: For which Reafon, I have made You this early Vifit, and wou'd be glad to know the Sentiments of so good a Judge, on these Two important Points; viz. Sincerity, and Natural Religion.
A. I thank You for this Favour, and fhall freely tell You, I fo little agree with thofe Gentlemen in relation to Sincerity, that I think a fincere Examination into religious Matters can't be too much prefs'd; this being the Only Way to difeover True Chriftianity: The Apostles thought themfelves oblig'd, in making Profelites, to recommend an impartial Search; they both defir'd, and requir'd Men to judge for themselves, to prove all Things, &c. this they thought neceffary, in Order to renounce a Religion, which the Force of Education had impress'd on their Minds; and embrace another directly contrary to the Notions, and Prejudices, they had imbib'd. Nay, even thofe very Men, who most ridicule the Doctrine of Sincerity, never fail on other Occafions to affert, that Infidelity is owing to the Want of a fincere Examination; and that whofoever impartially confiders Christianity, must be convinc'd of its Truth. And I might add, That cou'd we fuppofe, a fincere Examination wou'd
not always produce this Effect, yet muft it always make Men acceptable to God; fince that is all God can require; all that it is in their Power to do for the Discovery of his Will. Thefe, in short, are my Sentiments as to This Point; and as to the Other, I think, too great a Strefs can't be laid on Natural Religion; which, as I take it, differs not from Reveal'd, but in the Manner of its being communicated: The One being the Internal, as the Other the External Revela tion of the fame Unchangeable Will of a Being, who is alike at all Times infinitely Wife and Good.
B. SURELY, Sir, this must be extremely heterodox. Can you believe, that Natural and Reveal'd Religion differ in nothing, but the Manner of their being convey'd to us?
A. As heterodox as I may feem at present, I doubt not, but by asking you a few Questions, to let you see, I advance nothing in either of these Points without Reafon; and in Order to it, I defire to be inform'd, Whether God has not, from the Beginning, given Mankind fome Rule, or Law, for their Conduct? And whether the obferving That did not make 'em acceptable to him?
B. THERE can be, no Doubt, but the obferving fuch a Law, must have answer'd the End for which it was giv'n; and made Men acceptable to God.
A. WHAT more can any external Revelation do, than render Men acceptable to God? Again,
IF God, then, from the Beginning, gave Men a Religion; I ask, was That Religion imperfect, or perfect?
B. Most perfect, without Doubt; fince no Religion can come from a Being of infinite Wisdom and Perfection, but what is abfolutely perfect.
A. CAN, therefore, a Religion absolutely perfect, admit of any Alteration; or be capable of Addition, or Diminution