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gratitude, as the robbing the Temple by the Light which the Altar affords us.

I unaffifted Nature cou'd have ftruck out any fignificant Discoveries in Religion, the Heathen World wou'd certainly have produced them: But it is pitiable to obferve, that after their laboured Searches and Researches, they were never able to come to any thing certain and conclufive about it; and that the Whole of their Divine Knowledge was full of Error, Darkness and Perplexity: This was the Cafe even of those who were endued with the most enlighten'd Minds, and the moft exalted Apprehenfions of Things: But if we consider the Divinity which commonly prevail'd among them; the many impious Fooleries, with which they debased the Nature; the many carnal Abfurdities, wherewith they profaned the Worship of the Deity, give us a mean and fhocking Prospect of mere Natural Reason, and neceffarily bring us to this Conclufion, That Man does abfolutely want fome exprefs Revelation of God's Will, in order to worship him in an acceptable Manner.

Ir may be observ'd here that God did never indeed leave himself entirely without Witness: The Works of the Creation, and the Goodness of Providence are fo far fufficient to declare his Glories, that they will render obftinate Offenders without excufe; but they are not able to make us wife unto Salvation; because many Truths which are neceffary to Salvation, could never be difcover'd this way; and whatever Truths are thus difcover'd, are, at the beft, discover'd but very imperfectly.

FARTHER yet; The fame Reason which fhews the Neceffity of an express Revelation in general, holds equally ftrong for a written one; because the fame Corruptions of our Nature, which prevent the Light of Reason fhining forth in its full Strength and Clearnefs, wou'd likewife foon extinguish the Light of Revelation, unless it was made, by fome means or other, permanent and perpetual; and that can be done only, as we know of, three Ways; by continual fresh Communications with the Almighty; by Tradition; or by Writing. Now fuch immediate Communications with the Almighty, if


they were held by every particular Perfon, wou'd require a continual unneceffary working of Miracles; becaufe all thofe Communications are miraculous: If they were intended to over-rule our Wills, they wou'd deftroy the Freedom of them; if i they were intended only to enlighten our Understandings, that might fufficiently be done in another and more fimple manner; if fuch Communications were held only with fome particular Perfons, they wou'd lay Mankind open to wonderful Delufions; many false Prophets wou'd be continually arifing, who wou'd deceive many; Enthusiasm wou'd fwallow up every thing of folid Virtue; every fanguine Innovator would fet up for an inspired Preacher of Righteousness, and confound the World with their Inftructions fo much, as to leave the Way to Happiness even more uncer. tain than if there was no Revelation at all. Again, Tradition is of all other the moft impure and uncertain Conveyance of Truth; in the Affairs of common Life, Matters of Fact, by being carried only through a few hands, will be fo diverfified, that they would not be known again to


their original Relater; but in Religious Matters, our Corruptions interpofe much more powerfully to cloud thofe Circumftances which appear any ways obfcure; to fupprefs or vary those Doctrines, which are at all distastful; and to add or enlarge upon those which are more agreeable. As Revelation must in this Cafe pass thro' numberless different Channels; and as thofe Channels are all of them impure, it will receive a different Tincture of Corruption from them all; so that instead of bringing Truth to us, this Conveyance will itself be found an inexhaustible Source of Error.

A WRITTEN Revelation therefore can alone answer the Ends of any Revelation at all; because this alone is an univerfal, permanent, and certain Means of receiving Divine Instruction. It is universal, because hereby the Notices of God's Will may be most readily and fully promulged; it is permanent, because it cannot be obliterated or varied by the Artifice of wicked Men; it is certain, because any Collufion might more cafily be difcovered in this Way Writings we may view or re

view at pleasure; we may take them in all Lights; compare them together in every Particular; confider their Natures, their Proofs, their Tendency more frequently and minutely, and in every Circumstance we may examine them with the utmost accuracy; and whatever will bear this Scrutiny muft needs be infallibly certain.

Now from the extream Neceffity there is of fuch a Revelation as this, and from God's known Goodness, to furnish out to all his Creatures whatever is needful to their Happiness, we might abfolutely infer, that there actually is fuch a Revelation; but the only Use we need make of thefe Premiffes is to declare, that it is at leaft highly reasonable to believe there may be fuch an one; and to engage those, if any such there be, who are not yet perfwaded of this Truth, to defire that it may be fo; and to look out after it with Diligence and Impartiality, if haply they may find it. For fhall the Almighty be lefs gracious and indulgent in the most important Points relating to our Happiness, than those which are inferior and fubordi


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