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other modern philosophers from asserting, that God may
have a body; or rather that the universe, or the matter of the
universe, is God. Many nations believed the incarnation
of Jupiter himself. Reason, instead of being utterly averse
to the notion of a divine incarnation, hath easily enough ad-
mitted that notion, and suffered it to pass almost without con-
tradiction, among the most philosophical nations of the world.

9. “In thinking of God's raising so many myriads of
spirits, and such prodigious masses of matter out of nothing,
we are lost and astonished, as much as in the contemplation
of the Trinity. We can follow God but one or two steps in
his lowest and plainest works, till all becomes mystery and
matter of amazement to us. How, then, shall we compre-
hend Himself? How shall we understand His nature, or ac-
count for His actions? In that he contains what is infinitely
more inconceiveable than all the wonders of his creation put
together." Deism revealed, edit, 2. vol. ii. p. 93, 94.

Those that deny the Trinity, because of the mysterious-
ness of it, and its seeming inconsistence, yet, generally own
God's certain prescience of men's free actions, which they
suppose to be free in such a sense, as not to be necessary
So that we may do, or may not do, that which God certainly
foresees. • They also hold, that such a freedom without pe-
cessity, is necessary to morality ; and that virtue and good-
ness consist in any one's doing good when he might do evil.
And yet they suppose that God acts according to the eternal law
of nature and reason, and that it is impossible that he should
transgress that law, and do evil ; because that would be a con-
tradiction to his own nature, which is infinitely and unchange-
ably virtuous. Now this seemsa flat contradiction. To say, that
the infinite goodness of God's nature makes it utterly impossi.
ble for God to do evil, is exactly the same as to say, he is under
a natural necessity not to do evil. And to say he is morally
free, is to say, he may do evil. Therefore the necessity and
freedom in this case being both moral, the contradiction is
flat and plain ; and amounts to this, that God, in respect to
good and evil actions, is both a necessary and free agent. Dr.
Clarks in his treatise on the Attributes, labors to get clear of

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this contradiction upon these principles of liberty, but with: out success; and leaves it just where all men, who hold the same principles, must be forced to leave it.

“ Therefore, they hold such mysteries, in respect to Deity that are even harder to be conceived of, or properly expressed and explained, than the doctrine of the Trinity.

“ When we talk of God, who is infinite and incomprehensible, it is natural to run into notions and terms which it is impossible for us to reconcilė. Ảnd in lower matters, that are more withỉn our knowledge and comprehension, we shall not be able to keep ourselves clear of them. To say that a curre line, setting out from a point within a hair's breadth of a right line, shall run towards that rightline as swift as thought, and yet never be able to touch it, seems contrary to common sense ; and were it not clearly demonstrated in the conchoid of Nechomedes, could never be believed. Matter is infinitely divisible; and therefore a cubical inch of gold may be divided into an infinity of parts ; and there can be no number greater than that which contains an infinity. Yet another cubical inch of gold may be infinitely divided also ; and therefore, the parts of both cubes must be more numerous than the parts of one only. Here is a palpable contrariety of ideas, and a flat contradiction of terms. We are confounded and lost in the consideration of infinites ; and surely most of all, in the consideration of that Infinite of infinites. We justly admire that saying of the philosopher, that God is a Being whose centre is every where, and circumference no where, as one of the noblest and most exalted flights of human understanding ; and yet, not only the terms are absurd and contradictory, but the very

ideas that constitute it, when considered attentively, are repugnant to one another. Space and duration are mys: terious abysses in which our thoughts are confounded with demonstrable propositions, to all sense and reason flatly contradictory to one another. Any two points of time, though never so distant, are exactly in the middle of eternity. The remotest points of space that can be imagined or supposed, are each of them precisely in the centre of infinite space." Deism revealed, vol. ii. p: 109, 110, 111.

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Here might have been added the mysteries of God's eterhal duration, it being without succession, present, before and after, all at once : Vitæ interminabilis tota simul et perfecta posa sessio. See the nature of the human soul on this, head.

10. To reject every thing but what we can first see to be agreeable to our reason, tends, by degrees, to bring every thing relating not only to revealed religion, but even natural religion, into doubt ; to make all its doctrines appear with dim evidence, like a shadow, or the ideas of a dream, till they åre all neglected as worthy of no regard. It tends to make men doubt of the several attributes of God, and so, in every respect, to doubt what kind of being God is ; and to make men doubt about the forgiveness of sin, and about the duties of religion, prayer, and giving thanks; social worship, &c. It will tend at last, to make men esteem the science of religion as of no value, and so totally neglect it ; and from step to step it will lead to scepticism, atheism, ignorance and at length to barbarity, &c.

11. Concerning common sense, it is to be observed, that common inclination, or the common dictates of inclination are often called common sense. When any thing is shocking to the common dispositions or inclinations of men, that is called a contradicting of common sense. So, the doctrine of the extreme and everlasting torments of hell, being contrary to men's common folly and stupidity, is often called contrary to common sense. Men, through stupidity are insensible of the great evil of sin ; and so the punishment of sin threatened in the word of God disagrees with this ir.sensibility, and is said to be contradictory to common sense. In this case, that turn of mind which arises from a wicked disposition, goes for

common sense.

« We ought never to deny, because we cannot conceive. If this were not so, then a man born blind would reason right when he forms this sylogism, “ We know the figure of bodies only by handling them ; but it is impossible to handle them at a great distance ; therefore it is impossible to know the fig. ure of far distant bodies.“ To undeceive the blind man, we may prove to him that this is so, from the concurrent testima, VOL. II.

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of all who surround him. But we can never make him · perceive how this is so. It is therefore a fundamental maxim in all true philosophy, that many things may be incomprehensible, and yet demonstrable ; that tiiough seeing clearly be a sufficient reason for (affirming, yet, not seeing at all, can never be a reason for denying." Ramsay's Philosophical Principles of Religion, vol. i. p. 22, 23.

12. One method used to explode every thing that is in the least difficult to the understanding, out of religion, is to ridicule all distinctions in religion. The unreasonableness of this may appear from what Mr. Locke observes concerning discerning and judgment. Hum. Underst. book ii. chap 2. « Accurately discriminating ideas one from another, is of that consequence to the other knowledge of the mind, that, so far as this faculty is in itself dull, or not rightiy made use of, for distinguishing one thing from another, so far our notions are confused, and our reason and judgment disturbed or misled. If in having ideas in the memory ready at hand, consists quickness of parts ; in this of having them unconfused, and being able nicely to distinguish one thing from another, where there is but the least difference, consists in a great measure the exactness of judgment, and c!carness of reason, which is to be observed in one man above another. Judgment lies in separating carefully one from another ideas, wherein can be found the least difference, thereby to avoid being misled by similitude, and by affinity to take one thing for another."

So Dr. Turnbull in his Principles of Moral Philosophy, part i. chap, 3. p. 94. “ Judgment is rightly said to lie in nicely distinguishing the disagreements and variances or differences of ideas ; those especially which lie more remote from common observation, and are not generally adverted to. The man of judgment or discretion (for so discretion properly signifies) may be defined to be one who has a particular aptitude to descry differences of all kinds between objects, even the most hidden and remote from vulgar eyes."

13. If any respect to the Divine Being is of importance, then speculative points are of importance ; for the only way whereby we know what he is, is by speculation. He is a

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speculative being in that sense. If our doctrines concerning
him are not right, it will not be that Being, but some other,
that we have respect for. So it may be said concerning our
respect for Christ. If our doctrines concerning him, con-
cerning his divinity, for instance, are false, we have not re-
spect for the Christ of whom the Scriptures speak, but for an
imaginary person, infinitely diverse. When it is said by some
that the only fundamental article of faith is, that Jesus is the
Messiah ; if thereby be meant, that a person called by that
name, or that lived at such a time or place, was the Messiah ;
that name not implying any properties or qualities of his per-
son, the doctrine is exceedingly unreasonable ; for surely the
name and the place are not of so great importance as some
other things essential in his person, and have not so great con-
cern in the identity of the object of our ideas and respect,
as the person the gospel rereals. If that Jesus the gospel
tells us of be a divine person, then to suppose a Jesus that is
a mere man, makes the object of our ideas and regard infin-
itely more diverse from the gospel Jesus, than to have a differ,
ent name, and to suppose him to be of a different time and
place. It is one great reason why speculative points are
thought to be of so little importance, that the modern relig
ion consists so little in respect to the divine Being, and almost
wholly in benevolence to men.

14.' Concerning this which is often said by some, that all
things that are necescary to salvation are plain and clear, let
us consider hov!, and in what sense this is true, and in what
sense it is not true. 1st, It is true that all things that are nec,
essary to salvation are clearly and pližnly revealed. But it
does not follow, that they shall appear to be plainly revealed
to all men. Nothing, no divine thing, can have evidence
sufficient to appear evident to all men, however great their
prejudices are, and however perverse their dispositions. 2dly,
If thereby is meant that all things necessary to be believed
are easily comprehended, there is no reason in such an asser-
tion, nor is it true,

Some late writers insist, that, for a thing to be revealed, and yet remain mysterious, is a contradiction ; that it is as


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