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yield to Nature; and, if it be true, no Arguments can be sufficient.
And thus it appears, that the very Topic itself is excluded, from which the Deists of the present Age fetch their main Support, and all the plausible Arguments by which they labour to explode the Gospel, and to render it useless and insignificant, and consequently vile and contemptible in the Opinion of the World.
Upon the same Principle we may proceed to examine other general Objections made use of in opposition to the Revelation of Christ Jesus. The Gospel is a Dispensation of Providence in regard to Mankind, which the Reason of Man cannot fathom, nor his utmost Sagacity search into; which the Angels themselves desire to look into, and, after all their Inquiries, are content to reverence and adore at an awful Distance. There Methods of Salvation are Matter of great Complaint with Unbelievers : They think it highly unreasonable, that God should propose such Things as Objects of Faith ; and from the Unreasonableness of the Impofition they argue, (which presupposed, they conclude not much amifs) that these Terms of Salvation were not of God's Contrivance, but are owing to the Guile and Deceit of
cunning Impostors, who took Pleafure in abusing Mankind.
Tho' this Objection is levelled against the Christian Revelation particularly ; yet it must conclude equally against Revelation in general, considered as a Principle of Religion, if it makes any Addition to the Things to be done or believed beyond what Reason teaches
The Question then will be, Whether it can be reasonable for God to propose any Articles of Faith, or any Conditions of Salvation, the Reason and Propriety of which does not appear to Man?' And this is a Question of great Importance, it being confessedly the Case of the Gospel.
In the Sense of the Gospel, whatever is the Effect of God's secret Counsels, in order to the Redemption of the World, is a Mystery. That Men ought to obey God in Truth and Holiness, that they may
obtain his Blessing, - That Sinners ought to be punished, are not, nor ever were, Mysteries ; because these Things were sufficiently published to the World, when Men were endued with Reason. But all the Methods of Religion beyond these were, and still are, mysterious: The Intention of God to redeem the World from Sin by sending his own Son in the Likeness of Man, is a Mystery
unknown to former Ages ; 'tis a Mystery still, inasmuch as we cannot penetrate into the Depths of this divine OEconomy, or account by the Principles of human Reason for every Step or Article of it. But let it be remembered, That not human Reason, but the Will of God, is the Rule and Measure of religious Obedience; and, if so, the Terms of religious Obedience must be tried by their Agreeableness to the Will of God, and not measured by the narrow Compass of Man's Reason. If Reason can discover, either by internal or external Signs, the Conditions of Salvation proposed to us to be the Will of God, the Work of Reason is over, and we are obliged to use the Means, which are prescribed by God, as we hope to obtain the End, which is the Gift of God: And, how little foever Reafon can penetrate into the Mysteries of God; yet, if it can discover them to be indeed the Mysteries of God, and by him proposed to us as necessary to Salvation, it discovers plainly to us, that these Mysteries of God are the Words of eternal Life; which is all, I think, that a reasonable Man would defire to find in his Religion : For, fince all that he desires to phtain-by his Religion is eternal Life, what
more has he to look for in his Religion, than the Words, or Means, of eternal Life?
This is true, you'll say, upon Supposition of God's requiring the Belief of Mysteries or the Practice of any positive Duties from us; then it will be our Duty to hearken to his Voice, and entirely submit our Wills and Understandings to him: But how does this prove
it reasonable for him so to do, or remove the Prejudice that lies against the Gofpel, because of its mysterious Doctrines ?
To come then to the Point : It will, I suppose, be easily granted to be agreeable to the Wisdom and Goodness of God to reveal whatever is necessary to be revealed in order to perfect the Salvation of Mankind; as, on the other Side, it must be allowed, that it is not consistent with infinite Wisdom and Goodness to reveal Mysteries merely to puzzle the Minds of Men. These Allowances being made on each side, the Question is reduced to this; Whether it can be ever necessary to reveal Mysteries in order to perfect the Salvation of Mankind? Whenever it is necessary, it must be reasonable, unless it be unreasonable for God to save the World: And upon this Foot it will be found, That a Revelation cannot have the
Words of eternal Life, without opening to us all necessary Truths, how abstruse and mysterious soever fome of them may be.
With respect to infinite Wifdom, there is no such Thing as Mystery in Nature: All Things are equally clear in the Understanding of the Deity; all Things lie naked before his Eye, having no Darkness, Obscurity, or Difficulty in them.
A Mystery therefore is no real or positive Thing in Nature ; nor is it any thing that is inherent or belonging to the Subjects of which it is predicated. When we say this Thing or that Thing is a Mystery, according to the Form of our Speech, we seem to affirm something of this or that Thing; but, in truth, the Proposition is not affirmative with respect to the Thing, but negative with respect to ourselves : For, when we say this Thing is a Mystery, of the Thing we say nothing, but of ourselves we say, that we do not comprehend this Thing. With respect to our Understanding, there is no more Difference between Truth that is, and Truth that is not mysterious, than, with respect to our Strength, there is between a Weight which we can lift, and a Weight which we cannot lift: For, as Defect of Strength in us makes some Weights to be unmoveable, so