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but that he would declare to them the Purpose of God, which they were ignorant of. The same Use of the Word you may meet with in our blessed Saviour himself: When he had described the future State of the Church in Parables to the Jews, and came afterwards to explain them to the Disciples, he tells them the Reason of his Proceeding; Because, says he, unto you it is gi-ven to know the Msterz'es (s the .Kingdom of Heaven, hut unto them it is not given. All Futurities, because known only to God, are Mysteries ; but, when revealed, they are no longer so, being made known and manifest. Thus, 'tis plain, St. Paul uses the Word in I Cor. xiii, Where he joins the Gift of Prophecy and the Knowledge of Mysteries together: Though I have, says he, the Gift of Prophecy, and understand all Msieries and all IOzowledge :Where 'tis plain what he means by Mysteries, finCe they are to be understood by the Gift of Prophecy. In the fourth Chapter of the same Epistle he shews what Account we are to make of our Pastors and Teachers: Let a Man, says he, so account of us, as of the Mmsiers of Christ, and Steward: of the Msterzsies of God. His Meaning is not, that they were Preachers of Mysteries in thevulgar Notion of it, that is, of Things which
Things 'as Reason cannot receive, but such Things as proceed from the hidden Wisdom of God, and are made manisest in the Gospel of Christ.
Let us then, in the second Place, proceed to shew, That the Notion of Mysteries, against which the Objection lies, does not belong to the Gospel. 'The Objection represents a Mystery as a Thing inconceivable, and altogether irreconcileable to human Reason. But such Mysteries there are none in the Gospel of Christ. If Men, learned or unlearned, have run themselves into Contradictions by endeavouring to explain the Mysteries of God farther than he has explained them, be that to themselves: Let not the Gospel be charged with their Errors and Mistakes. Nothing indeed has proved more fatal to ReligiOn, than the vain Attempts of Men to'ssdive into the unrevealed Mysteries of God, and to account for, upon Principles of human Reason, the Things which proceed from the hidden Wisdom of God. All the secret Purposes of Providence are, in the Sense of the Scripture, Mysteries 3 as likewise all Knowledge which God has not revealed. Of such Mysteries are there many: But then they concern not us to inquire after z if they did, God would reveal
' them them to us. LGod has declared to us, That he has an only-begotten Son, and that he was the Person who came dovvn from Heaven for our Deliverance: That hehas an holy Spirit, who shall sanctify our Hearts, and be asiisting tous in working out our Salvation. This, and agreeable to this, is the Scripture Doctrine: And a Man would ' be put to it to fix any Absurdity, or so much as seeming Contradiction, upon this Doctrine, or any thing said concerning it in Scripture. Concerning these Persons there are' indeed exceeding great Mysteries, which are not revealed: God has not told us, or enabled us to conceive, how his Son and his Spirit' dwell in him, si or how they came from him. These therefore are properly Mysteries, which are hidden in the secret Wisdom of God, and which we are no-where called upon to inquire after. It is easy, I think, to take God's, Word, that he has a Son and a Spirit, who dwell with him and in him from all Eternity ; a Son who came to our . Affistance, a_ Spirit who is ever with us to guide us into Truth: These Things, I say, are easy to be believed, Without entering into the Difficulties arislng from natural and philosophical Inquiries, which the Scripture nowhere encourages us to seek after: And, as si long
long as Men keep close to the Rule and Doctrine of Scripture, they will find no Cause to enter into the great Complaints' raised against Mysteries. The Scripture has revealed indeed wonderful Things to us, and for the Truth of them has given us' as ss wonderful Evidence; so that they are well qualified to be the Objects of our Faith :' For such God designed them, and not for the Exercise of our Vanity' and Curiosity, or, as you call it, of our Reason. If it is not reasonable to believe God upon the Gospel Evidence, there is an End of all Mysteries ; but, if it is reasonable, there must be an End of all farther Inquiries: And I think common Sense will teach us not to call God to Account, or pretend to 'enter into the Reason of his Doings.