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fhall for ever admire and adore the Divine Wif dom, in the Conduct and Disposal of those very Things about which we now are moft perplex'd.
But I find my felf concerned to fubjoin to this Preface, already too long, fomething in Defenfe of that which will firft occur to the Reader in the following Treatife. For in the Opinion of a Learned Writer, whatever, has been or can be faid concerning the neceffity of a Divine Re velation, may be eafily confuted in very few words. He confeffes, that there is great ground of Hope and Probability, that God may vouch fafe fome Revelation of his will to Men; but he fays, that yet it does not from hence at all follow, that God is obliged to make fuch a Revelation: For then it must needs have been given in all Ages, and to all Nations, and might have been claimed and demanded as of fuftice, rather than wifht for and defired as of Mercy and condescending Goodness.
To which I answer, that my Reasoning does . not proceed upon the Juftice of God only, but principally upon his Mercy, and jointly upon the confideration of his Honour, his Holiness, and all the Divine Attributes. But I know nothing in the World, which any Creature can claim or demand as of ftrict Justice from God. St. Paul in his Epistle to the Hebrews tells them, God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of Love, which ye have fhewed towards his Name, in that ye have miniftred to the Saints, and do minifter. Heb. vi. 10. But did he thereby
warrant them to claim and demand as of Justice a Reward due to their Charity? To claim and demand any thing of God is Language unknown in Scripture, and allowable neither according to Revealed nor Natural Religion. The Juftice of God is indeed understood with reference to his Creatures, and is implied and concerned in all his Proceedings with them. But, if we may prefume to fay, that God is obliged to do, or not to do any thing; the Obligation is not to his Creatures, but his own Infinite Perfections oblige him to act, or not to act, in fuch cafes. He must act confiftently with his Juftice and Mercy, and every other Attribute, that is, confiftently with himself, and fuitably to his own Divine Nature. If we believe not, get he abideth faithful, he cannot deny himself, 2 Tim. ii. 13. But will any Man therefore claim and demand of him, as of Justice to keep his Word, and perform his Promile? God is declared in Scripture to act for his own fake, for his Name fake, and for his Word and Promifè fake, Ifai. xliii. 25. xlviii. 9. Pfal. cv. 42. Acts kiii. 23. And his Creatures are fecure in his Infinite Juftice and Veracity, and Honour and Goodness; but none can plead any Right or demand Juftice of him, upon any account, which would be Blafphemy to imagine. We could therefore argue with no certainty concerning Divine Revelation, or any other Bleffing to be Vouchfafed to us, if we could be affured of nothing from hini, but what we can in ftrict Juftice demand. But from the confideration of
the Divine Attributes, and of the condition of Mankind, we have the greatest Reason not only to hope, but affuredly to conclude, that God would not leave Men wholy deftitute of Revelation.
Nor muft this needs have been given in all Ages and to all Nations. For as to its univerfal Reception, it was fufficient, that Revelations fhould be made to fuch Perfons, and in fuch Ages and Nations, as might best communicate them to other Nations and Ages of the World. And I have, I prefume, fufficiently proved, that by a peculiar Providence in the conduct of the Patriarchs, and the difpenfation of the Law, and the various state and condition of the chofen Peo ple; all Nations have been the better for the in formations and inftructions delivered down to them from the firft Progenitors of Mankind, to whom Revelations were vouchsafed; and divers Rites and Doctrines of Revealed Religion have been preferved among the moft remote and barbarous Gentiles.
But as to particular Ages and Nations, the Knowledge and Profeffion both of Revealed and of Natural Religion must be different, according to the different Capacities and Abilities of understanding, and the Tempers and Difpofitions of Mind, in thofe, who had the oppor tunities of receiving and of communicating to others, the Truths of Religion. God has been pleafed frequently to declare, what Natural Reafon may fuggeft, and every days Experience teftifie; that he deals not with Mankind, ac, cording
cording to the severity of ftrict and abstracted 1 Juftice. And fince every other Attribute fuades and promises, and Justice it felf does not forbid a Revelation, but rather directs and appoints it; the Argument from the divine Attributes is as ftrong and cogent in this, as in any other Cafe, where we have no divine Promife or Declaration. Since God as neceffarily acts in conformity to his other Attributes, as to his Juftice; I am convinced, that a divine Revelation is neceffary, not because it might have been claimed and demanded as of Justice; but expected and affured from his Mercy, his Righteoufnefs, and every other Attribute.
PReface. Page 23. 1. 20. dele ? and place it after Moses.
1. 25. f. Hope, r. Honour.
Book. Page 19, 1. 17. r. one might. p. 24. 1. 3. dele all. p. 90. 1. 25. r. wanting. p. 106. Marg. leg. MerEVÝVOXES μLOVOR. p. 114. I. 11. r. Sarmatians, p, 159. l. 13. r. the Flocks and the Herds. p. 166. 1. 17. r. other. p. 174. 1. 15. r. thus the Books of Mofes. p. 190. 1. 26. r. brim. p. 215. 1. 1. r. Megalopolis. P. 237. Marg. 1. 9. r. internecina. p. 274. L. 5. r. any fuch. p. 275. 1. 17. r. principal. p. 285. 1. 2. r. at last. p. 292. I, 10. r. these things. p. 320. 1. 2. r. principles. p. 334. 1. 17. r. fays. P. 337. Marg. 1. 2. r. Tab. p. 341. 1. 19. r. Adar. p. 389. 1. 21. r. gain it. P. 396. 1. 36. r. falfe Allegations. p. 411. 1. 25. r.
r. 1. 1. after
add, including the Children of the Fifth Generation, whose Parents were the Fourth. In like manner the Olympiad was ftyled wellness, not because it confifted of Five Years, but * because it returned every Fifth Year. And when the Intercalation was made every third Year, the intermediate space of Time was called restiness.
Idque tempus retineida appellabant, quòd tertio quoque anno interkalabatur, quamvis biennii circuitus, reverà dielners effet: unde Myfteria, qua Libero Patri alternis fiunt annis, Trieterica à Poetis dicuntur. Poftea relegeleida fecerunt, fed eam, quòd quinto quoque anno redibat, evleneida nominabant. Cenforin. de Die Natal, c. 18.