« 이전계속 »
ther, Adultery, and Theft, be Crimes ; because
the same Subject, it is an argument of the Excellency and Usefulness of it ; not that they are disfatisfied in what has been already faid by others, but that they think more may be raid, or that some things may be proved more clearly, in another Method, with more advantage to fome Capacities, and with greater probability of removing the Scruples of fome Men. It is, undoubtedly, very fit, that all neceffary Doctrines, -upon which the eternal Happiness or Misery of Mankind depends, should be treated of in all kinds of Ways and Methods; and they cannot be too often discours d of, nor by too many Men, that no Objection may remain unanswer’d, nor Scruple, unobserv’d. Though a little may be sufficient, upon a plain Matter, to wise Men; yet too much cannot be said upon a Subject, wherein all Men are concern'd. And it is the great Assurance of the Truth of Religion, and
Charity to the Souls of Men, that has engag'd so many Authors in this Cause.
Besides, the Primitive Fathers and Apologifts, Men of the greatest Learning and Abilities, in latter Ages, have undertaken this Subject, having made it their Study and Business to consider the Grounds of our Holy Religion. And I think few will pretend to more Judgment to discover Truth, or to more Integrity to declare it, than divers Authors; who have had no particular Interest or Profession in reference to Religion, but were under only the common Obligations of all Christians ; which if they had valued as little as some others, they could with as much Wit and Learning have appear'd in the Cause of Irreligion, as any that ever undertook it. Many of the most eminent in all Professions and Callings have been the most zealous Assertors of Religion; as I might shew by particular Examples which are in every Man's Memory. Indeed, I believe, few Men have so vain an Opinion of themselves, as to think they understand their several Studies and Professions better than many Persons who have given undoubted Evidence of their unfeigned Belief of the Christian Religion. Men of the greatest Sagacity and Judgment have not been moved with such Objections as others so much stumble at; but have liv'd and died the Glory of their Age, and an Honour to their Religion; such were the Learned Prince of Miran. dula, and that Learned French Nobleman Morneus; such were Grotius, Sir Matthew Hale,
Dr. Willis; and many besides, both of our own and other Nations. I shall mention but one more, who indeed was so eminent, that I scarce need mention him, for he must be already in every Reader's Thoughts; I mean, the Honourable Mr. Boyle, who was as inquisitive, and as unwilling to be imposed upon, and knew as much of Nature, perhaps, as every any Man, not inspired, did; and had withal as stedfaft a Belief, and as aweful Apprehensions of Reveald Religion ; which he endeavour'd to establish and propagate, not only by his own Writings, but by the Labours of others, which
he engaged and rewarded by his Last Will and Teftament.
2. But Men do not always live answerably to what they profess to believe. It were heartily to be withd, that there had never been any occasion given for this Obje&ion: For though it be very inconsiderable in it felf, yet it does, I believe, the most Mischief of any; because Men naturally govern themselves more by the Example than by the Judgment of others, or even than by their own Reason. But if we will judge aright, the Example of one Man, who lives according to the Doctrines of Religion, ought to be of more Weight with us, than the Example of never so many, who live contrary to their Profeffion. Because, when Men profess one thing, and act another, their Actions are furely as little to be regarded as their Professions. And if we will not believe their Profession against their actions, why should we regard their Example against their ao
vow'd Principles and Profession? It is in all
This was an old Prejudice against Philoso-
But they do not consider, in the mean time; That Men generally act as much against Reason as against Religion ; and that therefore this Objection, if it can signifie any thing, must banish all Reason and good Sense out of the World. If there be no True Religion, because fo few practise it as they ought; there can be no True Reason neither, because the Lives of
Men contradict it. And some, perhaps, would be contented, that there should be no True Religion, rather than that there should be no True Reason; because then they mult be no longer allow'd to be able to reason against Religion.
But if the Truth and Reality of things de pend upon the Practice of Men, then the fame Religion may be true and false at the fame time; it may be true in one Age, and false ią another; or true in one Country, and falle in the next; and must be more or less true og false, in the same proportion, as the Lives and Manners of its Professors are more or less vertuous or vicious. Indeed this is so unreason. able and unjust a Prejudice against Religion, though it be grown a very common one, that methinks every Man should be asham’d of it; especially Men of Reason, who scorn so much,
a and Authority of others. And it is hard to believe, that Men who think at all, can think as they speak, when they make use of this Ob jection. Will any Man suppose, that Temperance doth not preserve Health, tho' he should