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without his Directions. than with them. Upon this State of the Case then, a Revelation must be entirely rejected as a Forgery, or entirely submitted to ; and the only Debate between Natural Religion and Revelation must be, whether we really have a Revelation, or no; and not whether Revelation or Naturebe, in the nature of Things, the best and surest Foundation of Religion: Which Dispute but ill becomes our Condition, and i-s a vain Attempt to exalt ourselves and our
own Reason ahove every Thing that is called'
given, to take Men out of that State in which God originally designed to place them.
This is the Sum of the Argument against Revelation a priori : To consider it particularly will take more Time thanx can be allowed : But in brief we may observe,
I. That to argue, from the Perfection of human Reason, that we are discharged from receiving any new Laws from God, is inconsistent with as clear a Principle of Reason as any whatever, and which necessarily arises from the Relation between God and Man; which is, That the Creature is bound to obey the Creator, in which Way soever his Will is made known to him: And this surely is true with respect to the highest Order of Bein'gs, as well as to the lowest; for this Plea, now made for human Reason, would be presumptuous in the Mouth of an Angel, and inconfistent with the Subjection he owcs to God.
2. As to the Perfection of human Reason, it cannot be, nor, I suppose, will it be maintained, that human Reason is absolutely perfect; and therefore the Meaning must be, that Reason is relatively perfect, considered as the Rule of our Obedience. But this is true only upon Suppofition that Reason is the only Rule of our Obedience ; for, if
- ' there there be any other Rule besides, mere Reason can not be the perfect Rule of our Obedience : And therefore this Argument is really begging the Thing in question; for it supposes there is no other Rule but Reason, which is the Thing not to be supposed, but to be proved. As much may be said for every Law, as is said in this Case for human Reason : Every Law, being the only Law in the Case, _ is a perfect Rule for the Subject's Obedience, because the Subject is bound to no more than the Law requires: But, if the Law be amended and enlarged by the same Authority that made it, it is no longer a perfect Rule of Obedience ; but, to make it such, it must be taken jointly with the Corrections and Enlargements made by the proper Authority.
3. Hence it follows, That to alter or add to a Law once considered as a perfect Rule of Obedience, when an Alteration of CirCumstances requires it, is neither useless nor impertinent, but oftentimes the Effect of Wisdom and Necefiity.
4. To say that Revelation is unnecessary, because Reason is a perfect Rule, and at the same time to affirm that those who have but an imperfect Use of Reason have no Need of Revelation, is a manifest Contradiction; To say farther, that those who are
m in such a State that actually they do not obey the Laws of Reason, and, ' morally speaking, cannot obey, are nevertheless in such a State as God intended they should * be in, is not only making God the Author of Evil, but it is ascribing to him two inconfistent Intentions : For to argue that God gave Men Reason to be the Rule of their Obedience, is supposing that his original Iniention is, that Men should obey Reason; to argue at the same time that those who live in Disobedience 'to this Law are in the State which God intended them to be in, is to suppose that God intended the Law should be obeyed, and not obeyed, at the same time. But to return: