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fhall for ever admire and adore the Divine Wirdom, in the Conduct and Disposal of those yerý Things about which we now are most perplex’d.
But I find my self concerned to subjoin to this Preface, already too long, something in Defense of that which will first occur to the Reader in the following Treatise. For in the Opinion of a Learned Writer, whatever, has been or can be faid concerning the necessity of a Divine Red velation, may be easily confuted in very few words. He confesses, that there is great ground of Hope and Probability, that God may vouch farc
j he says, that yet it does not from hence at all follow, that God is obliged to make fuch a Revelation: For then it muft needs have been given in all Ages, and to all Nations, and might have been claimed and demanded as of Justice, rather than wifbt for and desired as of Mercy and condescending Goodnefs.
To which I answer, that my Reasoning does not proceed upon the Justice 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 strict 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. Shewed towards his Nume, in that ye have ministred to the Saints, and do minister. Heb. vi. 10. But did he thereby
warrant them to claim and demand as of Justice a Reward due to their Charity? To clţiin 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 presume to say, 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 such cases. He must a&t consistently with his Justice and Mercy, and every other Attribute, that is, confiftently with himself
, and suitably to his own Divine Nature. If we believe not, get i he abideth faithful, he cannot deny bimself, 2 Tim. ii
. 13. But will any Man therefore claim and demand of him, as of Justice to keep his Word, and perform his Promite? God is declared in Scripture to act for his own fake, for his Name sake, and for his Word and Promise fake, Ifai. xliii. 25. xlviii. 9. Pfal. cv. 42. Afts xiii. 23. And his Creatures are secure in his Infinite Justice and Veracity, and Honour and Goodness; but none can plead any Right or demand Justice of him, upon any account, which would be Blasphemy to imagine. We could therefore argue with no certainty concerning Divine Revelation, or any other Blessing to be vouchfafed to us, if we could be assured of noching from hini, but what we can in strict Jultice demand. But from the consideration 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 destitute of Revelation.
Nor must this needs have been given in all Ages and to all Nations. For as to its universal Reception, it was sufficient, that Revelations should be made to such Persons, and in fuch Ages and Nations, as might best communicate them to other Nations and Ages of the World. And I have, I presume, sufficiently proved, that by a peculiar Providence in the conduct of the Patriarchs, and the dispensation of the Law, and the various state and condition of the chosen People; all Nations have been the better for the informations and instructions delivered down to them from the first Progenitors of Mankind, to whom Revelations were vouchsafed; and divers Rites and Doctrines of Revealed Religion have been preserved among the most remote and barbarous Gentiles.
But as to particular Ages and Nations, the Knowledge and Profession both of Revealed and of Natural Religion must be different, accord ing to the different Capacities and Abilities of understanding, and the Tempers and Dispositions of Mind, in those, who had the opportunities of receiving and of communicating to others, the Truths of Religion. God has been pleased frequently to declare, what Natural Reason may suggest, and every days Experience testifie; that he deals not with Mankind, ać
cording cording to the severity of strict and abstracted Justice. And since every other Attribute per fuades and promises, and Justice it self does not forbid a Revelation, but rather directs and appoints it; the Argument from the divine Attributes is as strong and cogent in this, as in any other Case, where we have no divine Promise or Declaration. Since God as necessarily acts in conformity to his other Attributes, as to his Justice ; I am convinced, that a divine Revelation is necessary, not because it might have been claimed and demanded as of Justice; but expected and assured from his Mercy, his Righteousness, and every other Attribute.
ERRA T A.
Reface, Page 23. 1. 20. dele and place it after Mofes.
p. 28. 1. 13,06 r. Idea. . p. 31. I. 19. r. a pretence. P: 39. 1. 25. f. Hope, r. Hongur.'
: Book. Page 19. 1. 17. r. one might. p. 24. 1. 3. dele all. p. go. 1. 25. 1. antimg. P. too. Marg. leg. Be Toyv 1---8 cove, p. 114. 1. 11. I. Sarmatians, P, 159. 1. 13. r. the Flocks and the Herds. p. 166. I. 17. r. other. p. 174. 1. 15: r. thus the Books of Moses. p. 190. I. 26. r. brim. p. 215.1. 1. 1. Megalopolis. p. 237. Marg. 1. 9. r. internecina. p. 274. 1. 5. r. any such. p. 275. 1. 17. r. principal. p. 285. 1. 2. t. 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. 2r. r. gain it. P. 396. 1. 36. r. falfe Allegations, p. 411, I. 25. . believe.
ADDEND A. Age 143, Marg, r. Vid. Vof. p. 143. I. 1. after Generation,
add, including the Children of the Fifth Generation, whose Parents were the Fourth. In like manner the Olympiad was ftyled w817Q€7neis, 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 τριετηρίς.
* Idque tempus revelneida appellabant, quod tertio quoque anno interkalabatur, quamvis biennii circuitus, o reverà dirineis effet : unde Mysteria, qua Libero Patri alternis fiunt annis, Trieterica à Poetis dicuntur.Poftea tilegulveida fecerunt, fed eam, quòd quinto quoque anno redibat, 87eneidae nominabant. Cenforin. de Die Natal, c. 18.