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That the Doctrines of the Gospel are such as are adapted to the Service of Religion, and as might be expected from a Teacher divinely inspired;
And First; Let it be considered, That this Objection does not lie against the Gospel of Christ; but, if there be any Force in it, it strikes immediately at the Wisdom and Goodness of God in the Creation.
As long as Men,keep to the plain simple Points in which Religion is concerned, there is no Danger of their splitting upon these insuperable Difficulties. If they seek after God, the whole Creation will lead them to him', for the invisible 'Things of him from the Creation of the World are clearly seen, being underfiood by the Things 'which are made, even his eternal Power and Godhead. If they search after the Immortality of the Soul, and the Certainty of a future State of Rewards and Punishments, these Truths will be suggested to them from their own natural Sense of Good and Evil, and the Notions of God's Wisdom and Justice and Goodness, compared with the present unequal Distributions of Rewards and Punishments j which can be accounted for upon no other Foot, nor reconciled to the natural Sense God has implanted
Vol. I. I in in us of the Difference of Good and Ev3, and the Notions we have of his Excellency and Perfection. But, if they launch out into philosophical Inquiries, and, not content to know that God is, without knowing what he is, endeavour to pry into the Nature and Manner of the Existence of the Almighty j or if, not satisfied with the moral Certainty of a future State, they want to look into the Contexture of the Soul, and to fee there the natural Seeds of Immortality; 'tis no wonder if they make shipwreck both of their Reason and their Faith at once: For this Knowledge is too high for Men. Cod has not given us Faculties to enable us to coin? prehend these Mysteries of Nature; and therefore we must always of necessity wanr der out of the Way, and be bewildered, when we search after them. For let any Man consider whence it is that the Difficulty of these Inquiries ariseth: 'Tis not for want of Teaching, for all the Teaching in the World will not enable Men to comprehend the Things of which they can form np Notions or Ideas. And this is the Case: The Seeds of this Knowledge are not implanted in our Nature, and therefore no Cultivation can ever produce it. There is nothing which
ever ever fell under the Notice of our Senses, to which the Existence and Being of God can be likened,-nothing that bears any Proportion of Similitude to the natural Frame and Make of our Souls: And therefore 'tis impossible to represent these Things to the Mind of Man; for 'tis not in the Power of any Sound of Words to create new Notions or Ideas in our Mind, or to convey new Knowledge without them. God has set Bounds to our Knowledge by limiting our Faculties, beyond which our utmost Care and Diligence, however assisted, cannot advance. Whatever Wisdom or Excellency of Knowledge may be in our Teacher, 'tis impossible he should infuse more into us than we are capable of receiving; as a Vessel can never receive more than its Measure, though it be filled out of the Sea.
This being the State and Condition of Men, it had been to little Purpose, if our blessed Lord had attempted to let them into the Knowledge of those great Secrets of Nature, which the Curious and Learned are so desirous of prying into. Plis Business was to instruct them in the Ways of Virtue and Holiness, to awaken their sleepy Souls and rouze their stupid Consciences to a Sense of I 2 Goodness, Goodness, to shew them the Way to Peace and Happiness, by setting before them the Precepts of God and Nature in their true uncorrupted Purity: And this he has done, even by the Confession of his greatest Enemies, who in this Part have nothing to object, but that his Laws are too good and too holy for their Observance. 'Tis the great Excellency of a Teacher to speak to the Sense and Understanding of the People; and, whenever he rises above them, he is lost in the Clouds, and his Words are mere Air and Sound: And therefore, whatever Wisdom and Knowledge were in our blessed Saviour, 'tis Folly to expect from him any greater Degrees of either, than we are capable of comprehending. As he was our Prophet and Teacher, it was his Business to be understood; and he forbore teaching us the deep Mysteries of Nature, for the same Reason that we do not teach Children Algebra, not that we envy them the Knowledge, but that we know they are incapable of it. Instead of improving the Nature of Man, he must have destroyed it, and new-created him, to have made him capable of a clear Insight into all the Mysteries which the Curious seem desirous of knowing. And,
could could he have given us all the Knowledge we thirst after, yet still the Way to Happiness would be the same, and we could do nothing to set forward our Salvation, which he has not already both instructed and enabled us to do: And therefore, as the Casse stands, he has fully performed the Office of a divine Teacher, having fully instructed us in the 'Things which make for our Peace.
If you will press this Argument any farther, you must plead the Cause with God, and not with Christ: He has taught you all that you were capable of knowing; and you must inquire of God, why he made you no better and no wiser. And had it not, you'll say, been better, if God had given us such enlarged Faculties, as might have enabled us to surmount all Difficulties of this kind? If you aik me, I can readily answer, That I had rather I were an Angel than a Man; but I know of no Right I had to be either; and that I am either, is owing purely to the Goodness and Beneficence of my Creator. Had he left me still in the Lump of Clay out of which I was formed, he had done me no Injury, nor could any Complaint have been formed against him on my behalf. For what I have, I have Reason to be thankful; I 3 for