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some 'Reason expect to receive, - from our
great Creator, whose Mercy is over all his _ p [Works.
The Case being so, Who would expect td hear any Objection against the Gospel derived from the Topics of divine Mercy and Goodness? Yet some there are, who think the' Mercy of the Gospel to be imperfect, and that Nature gives far better Hopes to all her Children. They conceive the Infirmities of human Nature to be unavoidable, and the Mercy of God to be infinite; and from these Considerations they raise Hopes as unbounded as they conceive the Mercy to be. As they derive these strong Assurances from natural Reason, they conceive all Promises of Mercy to be unnecessary; and therefore to be suspected; and the Argument is worked up 'not only to be an Objection against the Gospel Revelation, but against all Revelations, _ veitherpast or to come. ' -ct
There is nothing of vmore Consequence to 'the Credit and Authority of Revelation, than 'to reconcile it to the natural Notions and 'the 'natural Hopes and Expectations of Mankind ; and indeed the Promises of the Gospeland the Hopes of Nature are founded on the sameeommon Principles. Ask a Christian,
a Men: That their Iniquities, though against the Light of Nature, yet flow from a Defect in the Powers of Nature; since 'tis no Mactn's Fault that-he is not stronger, or wiser, or better, than he was made to be: And 'therefore, though the Light of Reason renders him accountable for his Actions," yet his" Want of Power to do what his Reason ap
proves, will make his Defects excusable in
their Hopes. and Expectations. 'Tis pity
such near Friends, who have one common Interest, should have any Disputes. But Disputes there are.
Far be from us to weaken the Hopes of Nature. The Gospel 'is no Enemy to these Hopes; so far otherwise, that all 'the Hopes and Expectations of Nature are so many Preparations to the Gospel of Christ, and lead us to embrace that Mercy offered by Christ, which Nature so long and so earnestly has sought after. .
But the Westion is, whether these natural Hopes can give us such Security of Pardon, and of Life and Immortality, as will justify us in rejecting the 'Light of Revelation ?
-Now, whoever depends. on the Forgiveness. of God, admits himself to be in a Case that wants Pardon; . that is, admits himself to. be a Sinner. This being the Case of Mankind in general, let it be considered,
'. 'First, That Natural Religion could not be originally fOunded in the Consideration of Man's being a Sinner, and in the Expectation of Pardon. ,
Secondly, That the Hopes. which we are able to. form in our Present Circumstances, are too weak and imperfect to give us entire Satisfaction. '
' i ' si Thirdly,