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Pority of his Doctrine, and tended to per7 petuate Superstition in the World: The Authority andv Example of the Apostles went hand in hand, and united their Force to root out' Idolatry. There was this farther Difference too: The Doctrines of Socrates could go only among the Learned: The Doctrines of the Gospel were artless and _ plain, and suited to every Man's Capacity. For near four hundred Years the Disciples of Socrates had the World to themselves, to reform it if they could; in all which Time there is no 'Evidence remaining that the Religion of the World was the better for their Wisdom. But in much less Time the Gospel prevailed in most Parts of the known World: Wherever it came, Superstition and Idolatry fled 'beshre it: And in little more than three Centuries the Empire became Christian ; which completed the Victory over the Heathen Deitie's. And, if we may judge by this Comparison between the wisest of the Heathens and an Apostle of Christ, the Doctrine of the Text will be fully verified; That the lfflorld hy I/s/isdom knewnot God, and that God hy the Foolishnesr of Preaching' has provided Salvation for them who helieoe. si I have gone through the principal Points which the Text led me to consider, and shall add
add but few Words by way of Reflection on the whole.
If then it appears from History, and the Experience of the World before us, that Men for Ages together lived in Ignorance of the true God, and of true Religion, and that Reason was not able to contend against inveterate Errors and Superstitions 3 let us not . be so vain as to imagine that we could have _ done more in the same Circumstances, than all or any who lived in the many Ages of Idolatry. If we consider to whatXHeight Arts and Sciences were carried in those Days, and the Politeness of Greece and Rome in all Parts of Learning, we shall have little Reason to imagine that Men have grown wiser as the World has grown older. If we have , more Reason in Matters of Religion, and undoubtedly we have more, it should lead us to consider to whomwe are indebted for the happy Change, and to give Praise to Him who set the Reason of Mankind free from the Chains under which it had been fast bound for Ages together by' Superstition and Idolatry. ' - r
When we consider the Means made use of by God for restoring true Religion in the World, and pretend to judge of the Fitness of them to attain the End proposed, we
should be aware of being mifled by the Conceits of some who think themselves wise enough to give Directions in a Matter of so ss . great Moment. Some may imagine it might be better, if the Gospel had reasoned more r philosophically on the Nature of the Deity, or more fully explained the Nature of the human Soul; and others may wish that other abstruse Points of ' Reason and Divinity had been cleared to their Satisfaction. But this was not the Errand Christ came on: He came to teach true Religion, and to teach it to all Men; and therefore what was not fit for all Was no Part of his Bufiness. The
required a Sign: But the Preachers of the Gospel had no Commiffion to satisz the Curiofity of one or of the other ; but to teach the Doctrines of God in such' a Manner, and to prove them by such Means, as might influence and affect as well the lowest' as the highest. If then the Means made 'use of to introduce the Gospel into the World were such as were proper and necessary to subdue antient Errors and Prejudices 5 is the T ruths taught by Christ are a proper Found dation for all the Duties of Religion in which Man can have any Concern 3 if. they are left to be supported in the World, and