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the wisdom of God? For, I repeat it, neither the one nor the other can, confiftently with his own principles and acknowledgments, controvert the received fenfe, or deny the authority of those writings which the Church holds to be the Word of God, barely on account of myfterious truths contained in them. If the Divine Effence be neceffarily incomprehenfible, no Revelation can poffibly make it lefs fo; fo far from it, that the very idea of a Divine Revelation, with respect to that effence, implies a Revelation of mysteries; i. e. of truths undifcoverable, and inconceivable by our natural powers; and accordingly, the credit of Revelation is rather confirmed than weakened by the number and importance of fuch truths. For it is but natural to expect a more ample difplay of wonders, and larger difcoveries of sublime and facred points of faith in this Revelation; and furely God is not the lefs to be believed, the more he communicates to us of his nature, properties, and difpenfations. As far as these remarks affect Revelation in general, heretics in general will admit the just

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nefs of them; though at the very instant that they allow the writings in question to be the fole rule of faith, they endeavour, as much as may be, to reduce that rule to the measure of their own judgments and apprehenfions. I am however already juftified in afferting, that as much as fome people are averse to believing what they do not understand, they cannot avoid believing what they do not understand; and that therefore, on proper authority, it is full as reasonable to believe an hundred myfteries as one. (e) And here taking my leave of the deift, I would defire the heretic by what appellation foever distinguished, to recollect, that Revelation left human nature as it found it; I mean with respect to our intellectual faculties; that, from the beginning of the creation to this very hour, man is to be confidered as a reasonable creature, as a free-agent, as fometimes believing upon competent evidence, fometimes governed by paffions, and fometimes influenced by prepoffeffion. A truth which accounts in a moment for the multitude of perfuafions which have engaged the fpeculative world. To expect,

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pect, or require that God should manifeft himself and his proceedings, &c. to every man fully and perfonally, is to destroy every notion not only of faith, but of obedience likewife; and to wish to invert the effential frame and conftitution of things. Difficulties, unfurmountable difficulties of many kinds occur to our contemplations on that frame and constitution; difficulties, on which the light of Revelation darts not a fingle beam. If we indulge the excurfive faculty of imagination beyond the bounds which reason and scripture have fet us, we shall find ourselves inextricably entangled in perplexity, and sometimes in impiety too. Who shall discover the confiftency between Divine prescience and human free-will? Yet that man acts freely, and that God foreknows all events, and decrees accordingly, are equally truths not to be fhaken by any seeming irreconcileableness or contrariety whatsoever. So again that the most perfect freedom of agency must be afcribed to God, cannot poffibly be controverted; and yet does he not necessarily foreknow his own actions? Does

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not necessarily act agreeably to the eternal rules of justice, wisdom, and holiness? That God is in no sense the author of evil, either natural or moral, every reasonable man, and much more every Chriftian will maintain; yet is it not certain, that had this world never been made, neither fin nor death could have entered into it? Human wisdom has fatigued itself to no purpose in the ventilation of thefe fubjects. (f) Many real truths, but at present seeming paradoxes, will doubtlefs be capable of future explication; and spiritual things in general fhould rather be received with the humility of reverence, than encountered with the arrogance of difcuffion. There will be no end to doubtful difputations while men's fentiments are modified by a partial attachment to a favourite principle; and while truths, apparently oppofite and contradictory, are feparately contended for, which ought both to be admittted; as ultimately they will be reconciled.

What has been here advanced concerning faith, or mysteries in general, will, I trust, fecure

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fecure at least a fair and earnest attention to what I shall have to offer in defence of the myfteries of the Gofpel. If these mysteries fhould be found to be real objects of faith, it will be neither right, nor fafe, to think, or to speak of them indifferently, unhandsomely, or contemptuously.

That the doctrines of the Church of England, the doctrine of one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, and that of the Refurrection of the Body, are as reconcileable to our ideas as the confiftency of free-will with neceffity, or of the Divine perfections with the existence of evil, I fhould fuppofe, no man can deny; and therefore the great queftion is, whether those doctrines be undeniably in those Scriptures which all with whom I am concerned acknowledge to be the rule of faith,

That, with respect to the Trinity, the doctrine of the Church has been fo long, fo frequently, so copiously agitated with much less success, on our part, than might have been expected from some of the best Soldiers of Jefus Chrift,

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