Bates - HP BX5200 B3 1700

Chriftian Religionproved by Reafon. Tl1e Stoic4• affcrted Felicity to conr.fl: only in Vertue. But this is contrary to Reafon ~ and Humanity. For the union of the Pby!ical good with the Moral is requifite to give Chap. 2l fatisfaCI:iontothefacultiesofMan. , ~ P&.to and his followers, in whom Natural Reafon afcended as high as in any of the s,mp,f. Gentiles, had a glrmpfe ot the true Bldfednefs of Man, as confilling m hts lrkenefs to God and the enjoyment of him. But their knowledge was fh1dowe,:l with much ignorance, their hopes mixt with doubtful fears. They had rather fufptctOlls and wandnng defires, than folid apprehcnfions and firm expetl:ations of it. . Briefly,_ no [parks fl:ruck out of humane intellell:uals were fuflitie\" to ~ive light or beat, toduea: in the clear way, and to ammate agamfr the mtervenmg dJfficult1eS that hinder Men inthe purfuitofB!etfednefs. Thiswas the fl:ate ofthePaganWorld, till Light Md Inmortality were bro11ght to light thro' the Gojj>el. The quality of this life is therein revealed; · 'ri> a pure and holy felicityconfif\ingin theperpetual exercifeofthe moO: excellent all:ions the in telligent Nature is capable of: That 1s, 111 the. perfect Knowledge, and Love, and Praifes of God himfelf. The fubjell: of it is the mtire Man, for this end the Body fiJaJI be rais'd from its Dead Sleep to an Eternal Lrfe, The place is the highefl: Heavens, fram'd by the DlV!ne Power for the Seat of his Majefl:y, the Kmgdom ~~o~~erLa~;~cti~~~r~,~~r~~lob;~l i~d~~~~~n~~~1~~fk~~sh~of;;o~~~~~~r R~~~~rds~ !~~c~ee: and Honours, and the like, are extrintical to the Nature of Gcodnefs; and to do ou: Duty with fuch iow aims and expeCta tions, is to ~ defe~i.:'e in the bef\: part of it, the love of Venue for its inherent excellence. But the D1vme reward is tbe perfeCbon of Holinefs, the Glory of the Soul; and rh~ belief and regard of it has a powerflll influence to make us truly good. The Faith in th1s makes us viCtorious over all the Charms and all theCruelties of the World. For what can poffibly come into competition with a Happinefs infinite ln its greatnefs and duration? I will only add, that though Heaven be fo Rich a Jewel, that it needs no foil to fet off its Juflre, to thofe who are d ea r-righ ted to behold it; yet in a merciful compaffion to Man the Gofpel reveals what will be the recompence ofwilful con tinued Difobedience, an Eternal Hell, wherein the Jullice and Power of God are terribly glori fies. And what is more powerful to excite the fenfual and fecure, who defpife the bletfed hope, than the fear of an Immortal Death? Now after this fhort delineation of the Chtifl:ian Religion, Jet Reafon judge whether 'tis the invention of Men. The DoCtrine of it iliines with fo clear an evidence, the Precepts are fo pure, able to infpire us with true Holinefs, the Promifes are fo Divine, that every one who does not wilfully fimt his Eyes, or turn them to other things, may difcern its Original to be from above; that it comes from the Fountain of Wifdom, Holinefs and Goodnefs. What are all the produll:ions of the Earth to this facred Prefent of f-leaven ? If there be any iliadow of Vertue in other Religions, here the reality is in the highefl: pe rftCI:ion, and feparate from all vicious mixtures. Chrifl:ianity enjoyns umverfal Sincerity and Purity of Heart and Life. It infl:rull:s Man to appear what he is, by an humble acknowledgment of his Sinful unworrhinefs, and to be what he appears, by an inward Love and real Prall:iceofthat Religion ofwhich he makes a Pubiick Profeffion. It impretfes a more noble Charall:er upon Moral Vertues, by enjoyning them from a Principle of Love to God, and directing their performance to his Glory, than Phdofophy dtd, that commanded them only as agreeable to humane R.eafon. What are all the mofl beautiful Excitations of Philofophy to the high Motives of the Gofpel? To apply our felves to the Writings of the wifefl: Heathens in order tp our Happinefs, andtoneglell: the Scriptures, is to be guiltyofwor[e Folly than the Barbarous Indian1 at Mexico, who though their Woods abounded wirh Wax, the labour of the Ptt. MIITt. Bees, yet on! y nJade ufe of Brands,_ that afforded a little light with a great deal of Hi/ 1•1 ' '· fmoak. Upon the n;ofl: 1mparttal mqmry, and exaCt fearch, Reafon will conclude, either there ts no Ble!led End for which Man was defign'd by his Maker, or the Gofiel only has reveal'd it, and the effectual means to obtain it. So that we mufl: fay with the Zeal and Affection of the Apo1\les to Jefus Chrifl:, Lord, to whom fbaU we go? Thon haft th~ Words of Eternal Life. K 2 CHAP.