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ance and reformation. The future resurrection of the body, and the everlasting and increasing happiness of the wbole man ascertained beyond a doubt.

In his laws, the whole duty of man is more fully and perfectly declared, and with an authority to which no other lawgiver could pretend; which authority he confirms by unquestionable miracles, and predictions fully accomplished; by conferring on his followers the power of working miracles; and especially by rising from the dead, according to his own prediction. The substance of the preceptive part of Christianity is contained in the following paragraph.

On account of the death and intercession of the Messiak, that perfect and blameless obedience, which is naturally the indispensable duty of man, and all rational creatures, the defect of which made an expiation and intercession necessary, is graciously dispensed with ; and instead of it, through repentance for all our offences, which implies the reformation of them, as far as human frailty will admit, and a candid reception and steady belief of the Christian religion, and sincere endeavours to obey its laws, and to attain the perfection of its graces and virtues, accepted, and made the condition of pardon and everlasting happiness : Which are, love, reverence, gratitude, and obedience to God. Love, gratitude, and obedience to Christ; through whom, as the appointed intercessor, we are by revelation taught to address the Almighty Father of all, and whose death we are to commemorate according to his appointment. Thankfulness to the Holy Spirit, the Comforter and Inspirer. Benevolence to men. Temperance with respect to their own passions and appetites. Humility, meekness, chastity", purity of heart, integrity in thought and word ; merey, charity, and the performance of all the social and relative duties of life ; forgiving of injuries, loving enemies, prudence without cunning; zeal without rancour; steadiness without obstinacy; contempt of riches, honours, pleasures, and all worldly things; courage to stand up for the truth in spite of the applause or threatenings of men; attention, above all things, to the concerns of futurity ; vigilance against temptations from within, and from the allurements of the world, and perseverance to the end, in aspiring after the inestimable prize of a glorious and happy immortality.

Christianity proposes the noblest motives to obedience that can be conceived, and the fittest for influencing such an order of beings as mankind. The most sordid and stupid is likely to be alarmed by the threatenings of a punishment inconceivably terrible, and of immense duration, The natural consequence of which fear is, its being deterred from vice, and forced to think of reforming"; from whence the next step is into sobriety, or negatire goodness : which leads naturally to the practice of direct virtue; and, as practice produces habit, the issue to be expected is, a habit of virtue ; an attachment to goodness; : farther and farther degrees of improvement; and in the end, such a perfection in the government of passion and appetite, in benevolence to mankind, and piety to God, as will, upon the Christian plan, qualify for future happiness.

Thus the denunciation of future punishment for vice, which Christianity sets forth, is evidently a wise and proper means for promoting virtue : especially, if we add the encouragement of certainty of pardon upon repentance and reformation, which important point we owe wholly to revelation. And if we also take in the views of the supernatural assistance which Christianity encourages well disposed persons to expect in their conflict with temptation and vice; and those high honours, and that sublime happiness, which revealed religion sets before mankind as the consequence of a victorious perseverance in virtue. The fitness of such motives for powerfully influencing such an order of beings as the human species, is a proof that the religion which proposes them is of Him who formed the human species; who endowed mankind with reason, with hope, and fear, and made the mind susceptible of babit, and stamped upon it the idea of immortality. For pone but He, who formed the mind, and perfectly knew its springs, could address it in a way so proper for influencing it, and for bringing it, in a consistency with its nature and present state, to the steady love and practice of virtue.

We have likewise in Scripture an account of the establishment of the Christian religion, and the firm adherence of its first professors, in spite of persecution. Addresses

from the first propagators of Christianity to their proselytes, explaining more fully the doctrines of religion, solv ing their difficulties, encouraging them to constancy, and giving them useful directions for the conduct of life. And predictions of the future state of the church, its degeneracy into Popery, and the consummation of all things.

Here the amazing scheme, being completed, comes to a period. The Divine dispensations, with regard to mankind in their present state, having been finished in the establishment of the Christian religion in the world, nothing more is to be expected, but the completion of the predictions yet unfulfilled, of which the chief are, the restoration of the Israelites and Jews to their own country, with the conversion of the world in general to the Christian religion, which makes way for the last glorious ages; for the renovation and consummation of all things; for the general judgment of the whole human race, according to the characters they have sustained in life, the condemnation and utter destruction of such of the species as shall be found to have rendered themselves unworthy and incapable of the Divine mercy, and the establishment of the pious and virtuous in an everlasting state of glory and happiness, in order to their improving and rising higher and higher, to all eternity.

Can any man, who only runs through this brief and imperfect sketch of the whole body of revelation, bring himself to believe that such a scheme could have been begun with the beginning of the world, carried on, through a succession of four thousand years, by the instrumentality of a number of different persons, who had no opportunity of concerting measures together; exhibiting to the view of mankind all that is great, important, and useful to be known and practiced, all the Divine dispensations with respect to a species of rational moral agents, the scope and purpose of the whole, being wise, good, worthy of God, and suitableto the wants of men; uniform in its purpose throughout, teaching one grand and useful lesson from the beginning to the end, agreeing with itself, with the constitution and course of nature, the strain of history, and the natural reason of man, in which there appears a perfect agreement betwixt types and antitypes, doctrines and precepts, predic

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tions and completions, laws and sanctions, pretensions and truth; and the whole leading directly to the highest improvement and perfection of Human Nature; can any man bring himself to believe such an universal, all-comprehensive scheme to be really no more than human contrivance? But of this more hereafter.


Considerations on some particulars in Rerealed Religion. The reader may remember, that I put off the subject of Providence, though commonly reckoned a doctrine of Natural Religion, till I should be upon Revelation, because it is from thence that it receives its principal confirmation and establishment.

The opinion, that the world, and all things animate and inanimate, are, by the infinite Author of all, supported in their existence, and conducted in all the changes of state, which they undergo, is as ancient as the belief of the Divine existence.

As to the natural or material world, it is certain, from reason and experience, that the inactivity of matter is inseparable from its nature. All the laws of nature, as deduced from experience, and observation, are founded upon this axiom, That matter does necessarily continue in that state in which it is at present, whether of rest or of direct motion, till it be put out of that state by some live ing agent. To imagine matter capable of itself

, of changing its state of rest into that of motion, or of motion into rest, would be supposing it something else than matter; for it is essential to the idea of matter, that it resists all impressions made upon it. Unresisting matter is a self-contradictory idea, as much as noisy silence, vicious virtue, or the like. There is not one appearance, or effect, in the natural world, that could have been brought about by unresisting matter. Upon the inertia of matter, the whole course of nature depends. To say, that matter however modified, is capable of being made to have any tendency to change its place or state, would be ascribing to it a power of choosing and refusing. For before it can of itself change its state of rest for motion, or of motion for rest,

it must choose for itself. If a particle of matter is to move itself, which way shall it move? If you determine eastward, westward, southward, or northward; the question immediately arises, why should it move eastward rather than westward, or southward rather than northward? To ascribe thought or choice, or activity of any kind, to matter, however modified, is ascribing to it what contradicts its very nature and essence. For its nature and essence is to continue for ever inactive: so that wherever we see a portion of matter in motion, it is certain that it is moved by the action of some living agent. Farther, if we found in the natural world no motions carried on but what proceeded in direct lines, it might be conceivable, that the matter of the universe had received such an impulse at the beginning as had continued its motions till now. For matter, put once in motion, must, if left to itself, move on in a direct course to eternity. But whoever has considered the natural world, will reflect that there are a great many different motions continually going on in the universe, some of which are directly contrary to others. That the forces with which bodies tend to one another, and with which some solid substances cohere, are immensely great, while the ease with which the lightest bodies pass through the space in which those forces prevail, makes it inconceivable that any thing material is the cause of those strong tendencies. This therefore obliges us to have recourse to something immaterial, as the cause of the endlessly various, complicated, and contrary tendencies, which we see prevail in nature. In the solar system, supposing, as some have fancied, a set of subtle particles continually flowing inward, toward the sun, to produce the effect of gravitation, there must be another influx of the same sort of particles from all parts toward each of the planets, for they too are endowed (to use the common expression) with the power of attracting toward themselves whatever is within the sphere of their attraction. It is evident, that the course of the particles, which cause gravitation toward the sun, must be in part directly contrary to that which causes the gravitation of the satellites of a planet toward it. And the streams of particles flowing inward toward each of the satellites of a planet, must be in part directly contrary tę

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