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in many respects, is a mystery too, and what we cou'd not have known, had it not been reveal'd to us; but now, that it is reveal'd, 'tis far from deserving the Imputation of being absurd. d That all Mankind are Sinners, and fallen from their primitive Integrity, not only the Scriptures, but the constant Experience of our own irregular Appetites is but too convincing a Demonstration. Now since this was our Condition, and God was minded to rescue us from it, but entirely at Liberty in what method to effect it j since the Soul of our Saviour Christ was a free immaculate Being, that might voluntary suffer for us, if he pleas'd, and, by the dignity of his Nature, inhance the value of his sufferings to the full pardon of our Sins, upon his Father's acceptance of a vicarious Sacrifice; there appears nothing in this Doctrine of Christ's Satisfaction, (now that we have it fully reveal'd to us) but what corresponds with common Reason, and all judicial proceedings among Mankind. great* These are some of the principal Doc
deal of trines, that we (as Christians) profess; MT& and being they are free, when rightly nky inS" considered, from all Appearance of Contll«n. tradiction,
tradiction, e we may appeal to the Judgment of any considerate Person, whether it be not for the Dignity and Advantage of Religion, that some Articles of it should exceed the largest humane Comprehension: whether we should entertain the fame aweful Impressions of the Divine Majesty, if the Perfections of his Nature and Operations were only such, as we could fee to the end of: whether it does not raise the value of Man's Redemption, to have it brought about by Miracles of Mercy, not only without Example, but even beyond our present Understanding. Had all these Things been less, we should indeed have known them better; but then so much as we abate of their Myjieriousness, to bopg them down to our Capacity, so much we impair their Dignity, and weaken the Power of them upon our Affections. It is therefore the very Commendation (as we said before) and Excellency of these Doctrines, that they are so far abeve us ; and we ought to esteem it an Instance of the Divine Goodness, no less than Wisdom, so to have temper'd his Revelations, that we want no Knowledge, enough to engage our Piety and Holy Wonder, and yet have not so much, as should destroy our Humility
• Stanhope's Scrm.
mility and Godly Reverence; and, upon the whole, have Reason to believe, that ic could not have been better, nay probably not near so well, if either leis had been discovered to us, or lels concealed from us.
I have insisted the longer upon iuch Doctrines, as are purely Christian, and not discoverable by the Light of Nature, in order to make it appear, that, for good and weighty Causes, they were inserted in the Christian System; that, upon due Consideration, they are far from being disagreeable to sound and unprejudiced Reason; and, consequently, that they little deserve the Contempt and Ridicule, that some, in their Writings, have neither been ashamed, nor afraid to put upon them. Thews- The other Doctrines, which, in some raifet.- meaiure, were discoverable by the Se more Strength of Reason, but have been set obvious in full Light, and cleared of all their DoHrines Ambiguity and Doubtfulness by the tauty. Revelation of the Gospel; such as that of the Being of a God, the Inspection of his Providence, the supreme End of Man, the Immortality of his Soul, the Resurrection of his Body, a future Judgment, and an eternal State of Happiness or Misery hereafter, are so rational in themselves, and have so natural a
Tendency to what is the great End of all Religion, the Reformation of Mens Lives and Tempers, that a very small Illustration will suffice to recommend them. For
f What can be a more necessary and excellent Foundation of true Religion, than that Doctrine, which the Christian Religion clearly and distinctly teaches us, concer/Kng the Nature and Attributes of the only true God, who inhabits Eternity, and yet humbleth himself to hehold the things that are in Heaven and Earth? What can afford more Comfort and Security in all Conditions of Life, than the Sense of a 'Providence (by which the very i Hairs of our Head are numbered) concerning it self for our Welfare, and, for that Reason, bidding us h to he careful for nothing, but, in every thing, by Prayer and Supplication, with Thanksgiving, to make our Requests known unto God? What can be a more effectual Means to wean us from the Love of the World, and the Allurements of Sin, than to consider, that the proper and ultimate End of Man is the Fruition of God, and that, though " it does not yet appear what we shall be, yet this we know, that when he shall appear,we shall
be be like him, for we shall fee him as he is s* What a greater Incitement to Purity and Holiness, to Love and Hope, and Heavenly-mindedness, than the AssuVance given us in the Gospel, that, when we are k dissolved, we shall immediately be with Christ; that] this Corruptible Jhall fut on Incorruption, and this Mortal put on Immortality; that our Souls, when they go hence, return to t%e God that gave them, and our Bodies, when laid in the Dust, after a ihort Repose, are to be raised in Power, and mJaJhioned like unto Christ's glorious Body? In fine, what stronger and more powerful Motive to deter us from Yice, and allure us to all kind of Virtue, than the Discovery we have of God's having appointed a Day, wherein he will judge the World in Righteousness, n and render unto every Man according to his Works; to them, who by patient Continuance in welldoing, Jeek for Glory, and Honour, and Immortality, eternal Life; but unto them, that are Contentious, and obey not the Truth, but obey Unrighteousness, Indignation, and Wrath; 'tribulation and Anguish upon every Soul of Man that doeth Evil. So that the Articles of our Christian Faith, you fee, are far from being y arbitrary
'Clark's Evidence. * Matt. x. 30. * Phil i?. 6. J 1 Joh. iii. 2.