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the World. In the Time of JoJhuahy and sometime after, the Wars of Canaan carried in them such visible marks of a Divine Power on the side of Israel, as serv'd to spread the Fame of the true God in all the Nations round about. In the time of David, the yews grew a powerful People, alid the Exploits of their King were crown'd with an uncommon Success, with an intent (as himself tells us) k, to declare the Glory of God a— mong the Heathen, his tVonders among all People, In the Time of Solomon, the Fame of the true God was ib diffus'd all around, that we find not only 1 the Queen of Sheba, who came from the Eajl to hear the Wisdom of Solomon, but Hiram King of Tyre likewise m blejjing the Lord God of Israel, who made Heaven and Earth. Upon the Division of the ten' Tribes, and the Erection of the Kingdom of Israel, distinct from that of Judah, the ( many Leagues and Wars, which these two Kingdoms had with the Kings of Egypt, Syria, Babylon, and other Nations, cou'd not but exceedingly conduce to the Propagation of the true Religion, and gave the Prophets an Opportunity of working their Miracles among the Heathen, n The Captivity of the Jews,
* Psal. xciv. ?. 'i Kings ii. 9. ■ 2 Chron. ii. 12. f Jenk'm's Reasonableness.
for seventy Years, in Babylon made their Religion almost as well known there as in Jerusalem itself; and for this Reason we find it recommended by several publick Ediffs, and all the People, under that large Empire, commanded ° to tremble and fear before the God of Daniels for he is the only living God, and sleds aft for ever. The Restoration of the sews by Cyrus, who had been so long before appointed, and named by God himself for that Work, and his peculiar Favour to them, which raised their repute among other Nations, was ordained for this very end, P that they might know, from the rising of the Sun, and from the V^efi, that there is no God besides him, who created all Things. Lower' than this I might descend, and observe, how the sews were dispersed all the World over; how the Scriptures were translated into a Language generally understood; how Proielytes flow'd into them in prodigious Numbers every where \ and how they, and their God, and their Religion, came to be known to the Grecian, and Roman, tho' not in so conspicuous a manner, as before to the Egyptian, Babylonian, and Persian Empires. What I have laid is sufficient to satisfy every sober Enquirer, that, in every Age, from the be.
•Dan. vi. 25. CJsa. xlv.6.
ginning of time to the Commencement of Christianity, Men were not left to mere natural Light,.but had frequent Opportunities,by one providential Means or other, of coming to the knowledge of God's true Religion and Virtue. That But suppose this not to be the Case,
aiTTlemg ^ut tnat> in&ead of such amjse Discoa.Covenant veries, a thick Cloud of t)arknefs in a between manner totally over-spread the Heathen
Ood and „T . . J . _. J.' ,
Man, World; yet the Scriptures have given us a Realbn, why God should a wink at these times of Jgnoraitce, andsuffer all Nations to walk in their own Ways, without the Interposition of a standing Revelation, in caUing Christ, b the Mediator of the new Covenant, and the Lamb^ that was Jlain from the Fiundation of the World: for this intimates to us, that there was all along a Covenantbetween him and his Father concerning the Redemption of Mankind; that,'upon the Fore-knowledge of their Transgression, Christ undertook to be their Mediator, and engaged, as their Proxy, to come down upon the Earth, to assume human Nature, to fulfil the Law, which they should violate, and- to satisfy God's Justice, by offering his Blood a Sacrifice for their Sins; that, until the Time should come for Christ to execute this
* Acts xiv. i5. * Heb. ix. i J. Rcr. xiii. 8.
Engagement, all these Things should be look'd upon as actually done; his Humiliation effected, his Bloodshed, God's , Justice satisfied, and Man -in a state of Reconciliation with him: consequently, that there was a Saviour of the World, even before the World began, a constant Mediator between God and Man, a standing Propitiation for Sin, and a daily Intercessor at God's Right-hand, whose Merits were available, and Righteousness imputable to all the Race of Adam, tho' they, in their several Generations, might not have the Happiness to know it. And if this (as it seems to be) is the import of the Words, then will it follow, that Christianity, in this Sense, was as old as the Creation \ that Mankind, in the earliest Ages of the World, were under the fame Dispensation, in effect, that we are now; had the same Admission to the Throne of Grace; the • same Assistance (tho' not in Degree) to live virtuously; and,c if any Man finned, the same Advocate with the father, even Jesus Chriji the Righteous, who is the eternal Propitiation for Sin: and the only difference is, dthat what was originally engag'd for, is since attually fulfill'dj and the Blessings, which they had,
'1 John ii. 1. * Edward's Survey of the Methods of Religion.
but were not acquainted with, God in his good appointed Time has declar'd unto us by an express Revelation. But, all this while, they were under the lame Covenant, and, (upon a proper use of the Means afforded them) in the fame state of Salvation, with us: for e in every Age, and every Nation, he that feared God, and worked Righteousness, was accepted with him; and 'tis injurious to his Goodness, and Justice,and other sacred Attributes, to fay, that he either is, or even was, a refpeBer of Persons. and a fit- And as he is no respecter of Persons,
SJfS so has he always discovers himself to Dispense- be a God of Order, and not of Confiifion .* ^onS; o and therefore it seems requisite, that he before,2 fhou'd proceed by Degrees, and riot introduce the most perfect Dispensation, till others, of an inferior and less perfect Nature, had gone before. In the Creation of the World, we read, that Trees, and Plants, and all kinds of Ve-" getables were made, before Beasts, that have ^sensitive Life; and that all kinds of Beasts were made, before Man, who . has a rational Soul, and is the most ex
cellent of all God's Works in this lower World; and, in like manner, 'tis reasonable to suppose, that God fhou'd make a gradual Increase in his Revelations, •Acts ix. 3,4,3j.