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the Truth: The Croud of Philosophers talked much more, but knew as little as the People. But the People themselves, what _ must become of them? They have no Time
for Study, and they must have true Notions of' Religion at a cheaper Rate, or not at all. As Religion is a Thing in which all Men are concerned, it must be conveyed in a Manner that suits Men of all Conditions. Suppofing therefore that you have found a Way by which some few thoughtful Men obtained true Notions of Religion, you are far from having found a Way of propagatng true Religion in the World. Reasoning will not do the Business: And therefore the Gospel set 'out in another Manner, by proposing the great Truths of Religion in the plainest and fimplefi: Manner in an authoritative Way, but by an Authority supported by the plainest andthe strongest Proof, the Proof of Miracles z an Argument that was adapted to Men of all Conditions, and made its Way to every Understanding. ' It is become a Fashion to dress up the great Doctrines and Proofs of Religion in Axioms and Theorems and Demonstrations; ._ and' those who have taken Pains in this Way may have done great Service to Men of ' Thought and Contemplat'ion: But, had the i Gospel
Demonstration of the Spirit, manifested in
Signs and 'Wonders and mighty Works.
Notions of true Religion: But this Thing, which has been often said, has never been proved, and I am afraid never will.
I do not wonder that those Who have been conversant. in the Writings of the Antients, and have been entertained with the just and fine Reflections to be met with on the Attributes of God, considered as Maker and Governor of the World, and of Mankind in particular, should conclude that those ,who thought and talked so clearly of the great Attributes of the Deity, and of his Providence over the World, had also as clear . p Notions of the religious Service due to him, and tov him only. What has led to this ' Conclufion I conceive to be this: There is so plain a Connection between the Relation we bear to God, and the religious Duty owing to him, and the Argument is so familiar to us, that we almost naturally suppose that every Man, who maintains the Principle, cannot , fail of seeing the Conclufion. .
The Conclusion indeed is so natural, that, if it were overlooked, nothing can more senr fibly prOVe the Weakness of human Reason
in opposition to inveterate Errors and Super
' stition 5 _ and nothing can more effectually shew us how unable these wise Men were to resorm the World, since'with all 'their " 2 Wisdom
,Wisdom they were not able to reform themselves. Yet this Was the Truth of the Case; and it was not at random, and Without
Knowledge of the Fact, that St. Paul lays '
this to the Charge of the wise Men of the World, That, when they knew God, they glorifled him not as God, neither were thankful, hut became 'vain in their Imaginations, and their floli/h Heart was darkened. Prqfeffing themselves to he wist, they heeame Fools ; and changed the Glory of the uncorrnptihle God into an Image made like to corrzlptihle Man, and
To prove the Truth of the Apostle's Assertion, that even the wise QMen, who knew God, did not glorify him as God, _by an Induction of Particulars, would be under
taking a Work which could hardly be well i
discharged in this Place. But yet the Point