صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

And yet it cannot be denied to be a very noble Argument, and well worthy our confideration, to enquire into the Reasons of this difpenfation, and to affign them particularly, if For I look upon Myfteries

we can.

and Miracles in Religion to be much of the fame nature, and that a great Reverence is due to both where they are certain, and neceflary in the Nature and Reason of the thing: but neither of them are easily to be ade mitted without neceffity, and very good evidence.

Secondly, I confider in the next place, that in the feveral Revelations which God hath made of himself to Mankind, he hath with great condefcenfion accommodated himself, both as to manner and degree of them, to the condition and capacity, and other circumstances of the Perfons and People to whom they were made.

Particularly we find that the Dif pensation of God towards the Jew

ish Nation was full of condefcenfion to the temper, and prejudices, and other circumstances of that People. For the Religion and Laws which God gave them were far from being the best and most perfect in themselves; in which sense fome understand that Passage in the Prophet Ezekiel, where it is faid, that God gave them ftatutes which were not good; that is, very imperfect in comparison of what he could and would have given them, had they been capable of them and yet fuch as were as were very well fuited and fitted to their prefent capacity and circumstances.

Thirdly, I obferve yet further; That though the Chriftian Religion, as to the main and fubftance of it, be a most perfect Institution, being the Law of Nature reviv'd and per fected ; yet upon a due confideration of things it cannot be denied that the manner and circumftances of this Difpenfation are full of condefcenfion to the weakness of Mankind, and

very much accommodated to the most common and deeply radicated Prejudices of Men concerning God and Religion and peculiarly fitted to remove and root them out of the minds of Men, by fubftituting fomething in the place of them of as near a compliance with them as was confiftent with the Honour of Almighty God, and the great Design of the Christian Religion.

It is not eafy to give a certain ac count of the true Original of fome Notions and Prejudices concerning God and Religion which have generally obtained in the World in that variety of Religions, and the different ways of Worship and Superftition which have been in feveral Nations of the Earth: But in Hiftory and Fact this is certain, that fome Notions, and thofe very grofs and erroneous, did almoft univerfally prevail even among those who did extremely differ in the particular Forms and Modes of their Su-. perftition.

And

And though fome of these were much more tolerable than others, yet God feems to have had great confideration of some very weak and grofs apprehenfions of Mankind concerning Religion. And as in fome of the Laws given by Mofes, God was pleased particularly to confider the hardness of the hearts of that People; fo he seems likewife to have very much fuited the Difpenfation of the Gospel and the Method of our Salvation, by the Incarnation and Sufferings of his Son, to the common Prejudices of Mankind; efpecially of the Heathen World, whofe Minds were lefs prepared for this Difpenfation than the Jews, if we confider the Light and advantages which the Jewish Nation had above the Gentile World: That fo by this Means and Method he might wean them by degrees from their grofs conceptions of things, and rectify more eafily their wrong apprehenfions by gratifying them in fome measure, and in a gracious

com

compliance with our weakness by bending and accommodating the Way and Method of our Salvation to our weak Capacity and imperfect Conceptions of things.

Fourthly, And that God hath done this in the Difpenfation of the Gospel will I think very plainly appear in the following Inftances; in moft of which I fhall be very brief, and only infist somewhat more largely upon the laft of them.

ift. The World was much given to admire Mysteries in Religion. The Jews had theirs; feveral of which by God's own appointment were referv'd and kept fecret in a great measure from the People; others were added by the Superftition of after-Ages, and held in equal or rather greater Veneration than the former: And the Heathen likewife had theirs; the Devil always affecting to imitate God fo far as ferved his wicked and malicious defign of seducing Mankind into Idolatry and the Worship of him

Self:

« السابقةمتابعة »