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as long as Men keep close to the Rule and Doctrine of Scripture, they will find no Cause to enter into the great Complaints raised against Mysteries. The Scripture has revealed indeed wonderful Things to us, and for the Truth of them has given us as wonderful Evidence; so that they are well qualified to be the Objects of our Faith : For such God designed them, and not for the Exercise of our Vanity and Curiosity, or, as you call it, of our Reason. If it is not reasonable to believe God upon the Gospel Evidence, there is an End of all Mysteries; but, if it is reasonable, there must be an End of all farther Inquiries: And I think common Sense will teach us not to call God to Account, or pretend to enter inte the Reason of his Doings.
Cor. i. 21. For, after that, in the Wisdom of God; the World by Wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the Foolishness of Preaching to save
them that believe. P S N the Wisdom of God, the World on Items by Wisdom knew not God. There
you is some Difficulty in ascertaining SE SHES tủe precise Meaning of the first Words ; In the Wisdom of God. Some understand the Meaning to be, That, since the World, in the Wisdom of God, i. e. by contemplating the Wisdom of God in the great Works of the Creation, had not by Wisdom, i.e. by the Exercise of their Reason, arrived
to the true Knowledge of God, it pleased God to take another Mtehod, and by the Foolishness of Preaching to save them that believe. But, since this Difficulty does not affect the main Assertions of the Apostle in the Text, I will not spend Time in inquiring what has been, or may be, said upon this Point.
The main Affertions of the Apostle in the Text are two:
First, That the World by Wisdom knew not God.
Secondly, That it pleased God by the Foolishness of Preaching to save Believers.
The Language made use of here by St. Paul may want explaining; for it may seem strange, that the Preaching of the Gospel should by an Apostle of Christ be called the Foolishness of Preaching. But the Meaning and Language of St. Paul will be accounted for by considering what led him to this kind of Expression. - The Doctrine of the Cross, and of the Redemption of the World by the Death and Paffion of Christ, was received by the great Pretenders to Wifdom and Reason with Scorn and Contempt: The Greeks, says the Apostle, feek after Wisdom and Christ crucified is to the Greeks Foolifoness. The Pride of Learning and Philosophy had so poffessed the polite
Parts of the Heathen World, that they could not fubmit to a Method of Salvation which was above the Reach of their P and which refused to be tried by the Disputes and Subtilties of their Schools. The Apostle, Ver. 17, fays, Christ fent him to preach the Gospel, not with the Wisdom of Words. The Wisdom of the World, thus discarded, took its Revenge of the Gospel, and called it the Foolifoness of Preaching. Be it fo, says the Apoftle; yet by this Foolishness of Preaching God intends to save them who believe: For this Method is of God, and not of Man ; and the Foolifhness of God is wifer than Men. You fee what led St. Paul to use this Expreffion, and to call the Preaching of the Gospel the Foolishness of Preaching. The Great and the Learned so esteemed it, and so called it: The Apostle speaks to them in their own Language, and calls upon them in the Text to compare their much-boasted Wisdom with this Foolishness of Preaching, and to judge of them by their Effects : The World by Wisdom knew not God; but the Foolishness of Preaching is Salvation to every Believer.
Whether this Charge of Ignorance imputed to the Gentile World be true, or no, is a Matter depending on the Evidence of
History: If it be not true, there can be no Difficulty in disproving it: The Time and Place may be named, when and where the true Knowledge of God prevailed, and Religion in its Purity was professed by the People. But this has not been attempted, nor will it be, by any one who is acquainted with the History of the antient World.
It may be hard perhaps to account for the general Corruption of Religion which prevailed in the World; especially when we consider how absolutely absurd, and contrary to common Sense, many of the superstitious Rites were, which had spread themselves over the Heathen World. We can scarcely conceive what thould move Men to consecrate Birds and Beasts, Stocks and Stones, and to fall down and worship them. But, these Follies being once introduced, and propagated from Father to Son, it is easy to account for the great Difficulty of removing them. Custom and Education, and the Reverence which Men naturally have for what they esteem to be Religion, were Foundations too strong to be removed by the Reasoning and Speculations of a few who were something wiser than the rest, and faw perhaps many and great Absurdities in the common Practice: And, though there did appear in