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never become acquainted with the will of the Supreme Governor, if the knowledge of it were only to be obtained from habitual observation and reasoning. Should it be said, "that the intellectual and instructed part of mankind ought to teach the rest," it may be replied, that even that would be difficult, because their own knowledge must be communicated to others by the same process of difficult induction through which they attain it themselves; or rational conviction could not be produced in the minds of the learners. The task would therefore be hopeless as to the majority, both from their want of time and intellectual capacity. But if practicable, the Theistical system makes no provision for such instruction. It neither makes it the duty of some to teach, nor of others to learn. It has no authorized teachers; no day of rest from labour, on which to collect the auditors; no authorized religious ordinances by which moral truth may be brought home to the ears and the hearts of men; and if it had,-its best knowledge being rather contained in diffuse and hesitating speculation, than concentrated in maxims and first principles, embodied in a few plain words, which at once indicate some master mind fully adequate to the whole subject, and which suddenly irradiate the understandings of the most listless and illiterate, it would be taught in vain.

Let us however suppose the truth discovered, the teachers of it appointed, and days for the communication of instruction set apart. With what authority would these teachers be invested? They plead no commission from him whose will they affect to teach-they work no miracles in confirmation of the truth of their doctrine that doctrine cannot, from the nature of things, be mathematically demonstrated, so as to enforce conviction,-it would therefore be considered, and justly considered, as the opinion of the teacher, and nothing but an opinion, to which every one might listen or not without any consciousness of violating an obligation, and which every one might and would receive as his own judgment agreed with or dissented from his unauthorized teacher, or as his interests and passions might commend or disparage the doctrine so taught. (7)

(7) "Let it be granted, (though not true,) that all the moral precepts of the Gospel were known by somebody or other, amongst mankind before. But where or how, or of what use, is not considered. Suppose they may be picked up, here and there; some from SOLON, and BIAS, in Greece; others from TULLY in Italy, and, to complete the work, let CONFUCIUS as far as China be consulted, and ANACHARSIS the Scythian contribute his share. What will all this do to give the world a complete morality, that may be to mankind the unquestionable rule of life and manners? What would this amount to towards being a steady rule, a certain transcript of a law that we are under? Did the saying of ARISTIPPUS or CONFUCIUS give it an authority? Was ZENO a lawgiver to mankind? If not,

Fact is sufficiently in proof of this. The sages of antiquity. were moral teachers; they founded schools; they collected disciples; they placed their fame in their wisdom: Yet there was little agreement, even upon the first principles of religion and morals, among them; and they neither generally reformed their own lives, nor those of others. This is acknowledged by Cicero: "Do you think that these things had any influence upon the men (a very few excepted,) who thought and wrote and disputed about them? Who is there of all the philosophers, whose mind, life and manners were conformable to right reason? Who ever made his philosophy the law and rule of his life, and not a mere show of his wit and parts? Who observed his own instructions, and lived in obedience to his own precepts? On the contrary, many of them were slaves to filthy lusts, many to pride, many to covetousness," &c. (8)

Such a system of moral direction and control, then, could it be formed, would bear no comparison to that which is provided by direct and external revelation, of which the doctrine, though delivered by different men, in different ages, is consentaneous throughout; which is rendered authoritative by divine attestation; which consists in clear and legislative enunciation, and not in human speculation and laborious inference; of which the teachers were as holy as their doctrine was sublime; and which in all ages has exerted a powerful moral influence upon the conduct of "I know of but one Phædo and one Polemon throughout all Greece," saith ORIGEN, "who were ever made better by their philosophy; whereas Christianity hath brought back its myriads from vice to virtue."

men.

All these considerations then still further support the presumption, that the will of God has been the subject of express revelation to man, because such a declaration of it is the only one which can be conceived ADEQUATE, COMPLETE, OF COMMON APPREHENSION, SUFFICIENTLY AUTHORITATIVE, AND ADAPTED TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF MANKIND.

what he or any other philosopher delivered was but a saying of his. Mankind might hearken to it, or reject it, as they pleased, or as it suited their interest, passions, principles, or humours :-they were under no obligation: the opinion of this or that philosopher was of no AUTHORITY."-LOCKE'S Reasonableness &c.

"The truths which the philosophers proved by speculative Reason, were destitute of some more sensible authority to back them; and the precepts which they laid down, how reasonable soever in themselves, seemed still to want weight, and to be no more than PRECEPTS OF MEN."-Dr. SAM. CLARKE.

(8) Sed hæc eadem num censes apud eos ipsos valere, nisi admodum paucos, a quibus inventa, disputata, conscripta sunt? Quotus enim quisque philosophorum invenitur, qui sit ita moratus, ita animo ac vita constitutus, ut ratio postulat ? &c Tusc. Quest. 2.

CHAPTER IV.

Further Proofs of the Weakness and Uncertainty of Human Reason.

THE opinion, that "sufficient notices of the will and purposes of God with respect to man, may be collected by rational induction from his works and government," attributes too much to the power of human reason and the circumstances under which, in that case, it must necessarily commence its exercise.

Human reason must be taken as it is in fact, a weak and erring faculty, and as subject to have its operations suspended or disturbed by the influence of vicious principles and attachment to earthly things; neither of which can be denied, however differently they may be accounted for.

It is another consideration of importance that the exercise of reason is limited by our knowledge; in other words, that it must be furnished with subjects which it may arrange, compare, and judge for beyond what it clearly conceives its power does not extend.

It does not follow, because many doctrines in religion and many rules in morals carry clear and decided conviction to the judgment instantly upon their being proposed, that they were discoverable in the first instance by rational induction,—any more than that the great and simple truths of philosophy, which have been brought to light by the efforts of men of superior minds, were within the compass of ordinary understandings, because, after they were revealed by those who made the discovery, they instantly commanded the assent of almost all to whom they were proposed. The very first principles of what is called natural religion (9) are probably of this kind:-the reason of man,

(9) The term Natural Religion is often used equivocally. "Some understand by it every thing in Religion, with regard to truth and duty, which, when once discovered, may be clearly shewn to have a real foundation in the nature and relations of things, and which unprejudiced reason will approve, when fairly proposed and set in a proper light; and accordingly very fair and goodly schemes of Natural Religion have been drawn up by Christian philosophers and Divines, in which they have comprehended a considerable part of what is contained in the Scripture Revelation.-In this view Natural Religion is not so called because it was originally discovered by natural reason, but because when once known it is what the reason of mankind duly exercised approves, as founded in truth and nature. Others take Natural Religion to signify that Religion which men discover in the sole exercise of their natural faculties, without higher assistance."-LELAND.

though it should assent to them, though the demonstration of them should be now easy, may be indebted even for them to the revelation of a superior mind, and that mind the mind of God. (1)

This is rendered the more probable, inasmuch as the great principles of all religion, the existence of God, the immortality of the human soul, the accountableness of man, the quality of the most important moral actions as good or evil, are, by none who have written upon them, by no legislator, poet or sage of antiquity, however ancient, represented as discoveries made by him in the course of rational investigation; but they are spoken of by all as things commonly known among men, which they propose to defend, explain, demonstrate or deny according to their respective opinions. If we overlook the inspiration of the writings of Moses, they command respect as the most ancient records in the world, and as embodying the religious opinions of the earliest ages; but Moses no where pretends to be the author of any of these fundamental truths. The book of Genesis opens with the words, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth;" but here the term "God"

(1) "When truths are once known to us, though by tradition, we are apt to be favourable to our own parts, and ascribe to our own understanding the discovery of what, in reality, we borrowed from others; or, at least, finding we can prove what at first we learnt from others, we are forward to conclude it an obvious truth, which, if we had sought, we could not have missed. Nothing seems hard to our understandings that is once known; and because what we see, we see with our own eyes, we are apt to overlook or forget the help we had from others who shewed it us, and first made us see it, as if we were not at all beholden to them for those truths they opened the way to, and led us into; for, knowledge being only of truths that are perceived to be so, we are favourable enough to our own faculties to conclude that they, of their own strength, would have attained those discoveries without any foreign assistance, and that we know those truths by the strength and native light of our own minds, as they did from whom we received them by theirs, only they had the luck to be before us. Thus the whole stock of human knowledge is claimed by every one as his private possession, as soon as he (profiting by others' discoveries) has got it into his own mind: and so it is; but not properly by his own single industry, nor of his own acquisition. He studies, it is true, and takes pains to make a progress in what others have delivered; but their pains were of another sort who first brought those truths to light which he afterwards derives from them. He that travels the roads now, applauds his own strength and legs, that have carried him so far in such a scantling of time, and ascribes all to his own vigour; little considering how much he owes to their pains who cleared the woods, drained the bogs, built the bridges, and made the ways passable, without which he might have toiled much with little progress. A great many things which we have been bred up in the belief of from our cradles and are now grown familiar, (and, as it were, natural to us under the Gospel,) we take for unquestionable obvious truths, and easily demonstrable, without considering how long we might have been in doubt or ignorance of them had Revelation been silent. And many others are beholden to revelation who do not acknowledge it. It is no diminishing to revelation, that reason gives its suffrage too to the truths revelation has discovered; but it is our mistake to think, that because reason confirms them to us, we had the first certain knowledge of them from thence, and in that clear evidence we now possess them."-LOCKE.

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is used familiarly, and it is taken for granted, that both the name and the idea conveyed by it were commonly received by the people for whom Moses wrote.

The same writer gives the history of ages much higher than his own, and introduces the Patriarchs of the human race holding conversations with one another, in which the leading subjects of religion and morals are often incidentally introduced; but they are never presented to us in the form of discussion; no Patriarch, however high his antiquity, represents himself as the discoverer of these first principles, though he might, as Noah, be "a preacher” of that "righteousness" which was established upon them. Moses mentions the antediluvians who were inventors of the arts of working metals, and of forming and playing upon musical instruments; but he introduces no one as the inventor of any branch of moral or religious science, though so much superior in importance to mankind.

In further illustration it may be observed, that, in point of fact, those views on the subjects just mentioned which, to the reason of all sober Theists, since the christian revelation was given, appear the most clear and satisfactory, have been found no where since the patriarchal ages, except in the Scriptures, which profess to embody the true religious traditions and revelations of all ages, or among those whose reason derived principles from them on which to establish its inferences.

We generally think it a truth most easily and convincingly demonstrated that there is a God, and yet many of the philosophers of antiquity speak doubtingly on this point; and some of them denied it. At the present day, not a few speculative philosophers merely in the heathen world, but the many millions of the human race who profess the religion of Budhu, not only deny a Supreme First Cause, but dispute with subtlety and vehemence against the doctrine.

We feel that our reason rests with full satisfaction in the doctrine that all things are created by one eternal and uncreated God; but the Greek philosophers held that matter was eternally co-existent with God. This was the opinion of Plato, who has been called the Moses of philosophers. Through the whole "Timaus," Plato supposes two eternal and independent causes of all things; one, that by which all things are made, which is God; the other, that from which all things are made, which is matter. Dr. Cudworth has in vain attempted to clear plato of this charge. The learned Dr. Thomas Burnet, who was well acquainted with the opinions of the ancients, says that "the Ionic, Pythagoric, Platonic and Stoic schools all agreed in asserting

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