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it. But that is not the worst of the case : for revelation once set aside, the result will be (as it ever used to be) the taking up with a part of religion, and a part of morality, instead of the whole, and then corrupting even that part with adulterous mixtures. Natural light cannot demonstrate all that revealed light has discovered, either of religion itself, or the sanctions of it: besides, natural reason, left to itself, will undoubtedly bring in many corruptions, as past experience sufficiently testifies : and it is certain, that the wisdom of man will never come up to the purity or perfection of the wisdom of God. Men will not, if they could, neither can they, if they would, carve out so pure a reli. gion for themselves, as God, in the holy Scriptures, has carved out for them.

III. But I must further observe, that our modern unbelievers are in one point very singular, and come far short in that article, of the sagacity and good sense of their Pagan predecessors. None of the ancient unbelievers ever pretended to set up the mere wisdom of man, as such, to the wisdom of God ; never thought that revelations were either not desirable, or that they were altogether needless, or useless. They generally pretended to revelation, of one kind or other, and were not so weak as to imagine that their natural parts or endowments were sufficient to supersede all use of supernatural notices, if such might be had. The common reason of mankind would have strongly remonstrated against such a plea; and it would have been thought betraying any cause, to make use of it. For to pretend to believe that there is a God, and a providence, and a future state, and at the same time to desire no external revelation from God, no instructions from heaven, (as needing none, and being wise enough without any,) is so wild and so extravagant a thought, that nothing can match it, or compare with it. But such will commonly be the fate of attempting any new ways of opposing Divine revelation, as well as of defending it; because indeed the best in each kind have been long since anticipated : and both believers and unbelievers must now be content with traversing over again the same beaten tracks, or they will take into worse, and will but expose their cause, instead of serving it.

IV. I shall conclude therefore with recommending to you, my Reverend Brethren, the old and well tried principles of the ancient Apologists. They never had a thought that all revealed religion had been confined, for so many ages past, to the Jews only : but they looked upon the Jews as the proclaimers and publishers of true religion to the rest of the world. The Israelites were a kingdom of priests, an holy nation. They were made the preachers of righteousness to other nations, in order to convey the main substantials of religion all over the world; as is more than once intimated in Scripture itself P. It is in this view that the ancient Apologists, both Jews and Christians, considered this matter. Josephus therefore observes, that “ like as the “ Divine Being pervades the whole universe, so the Divine law “ (given by Moses) passes through all mankind 9."

Of the same mind was Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch, of the second century; who says, “ Moses, the servant of God, was the “ proclaimer (minister) of the Divine law to all the world, but principally to the Hebrews, otherwise called Jews r."

To the same purpose speaks Origen, of the next century: “ Moses's writings have brought many to the faith, even among " those that were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel : “ because indeed the original lawgiver, who delivered his laws to

Moses, was no other than God himself, the Creator of the

universe, as the same writings testify. And it was meet, that “ the Maker of all the world, giving laws to all the world, should “ send such efficacy along with them, as should work its way among all nations."

Athanasius, of the following century, expresses the same thought, in terms still clearer, and, if possible, stronger.

“ The law was not intended for the Jews only, neither were “ the prophets sent only for their sakes: but the prophets were “ sent to the Jews, and were persecuted also by the Jews, while

they were in reality a kind of sacred school to all the world,

66

• Exod. xix. 6.

Ιουδαίοις καλουμένοις. Τheophr. lib. p See the texts to this purpose, iii. cap. 8. p. 308. conf. cap. x. p. 312. cited in Jenkin's Reasonableness, &c. 8 Του δε Μωσέως τα γράμματα πολvol. 1. and in the Postscript to Scrip- λούς και των αλλοτρίων της παρά τοις ture Vindicated, vol. iv. part ii. p. 'Iovdalous åvagtpoons kekivnke ITLOTEU289. 292.

σαι, ότι, κατά την επαγγελίαν των 9 Και ώσπερ ο θεός δια παντός του γραμμάτων, ο πρώτος αυτά νομοθετήσας, κόσμου πεφοίτηκεν, ούτως ο νόμος διά και Μωσει παραδούς, θεός ο κτίσας τον πάντων ανθρώπων βεβάδικεν. Joseph. κόσμον ήν. Και γάρ έπρεπε τον όλου contr. Apion. lib. ii. cap. 39. p. 494. του κόσμου δημιουργών, νόμους τεθειConf. Phil. de Vit. Mos. lib. 1. p. 603. μένον όλω τω κόσμω, δύναμιν παρα

η Τούτου μεν ουν του θείου νόμου σχεϊν τοις λόγοις, κρατήσαι των πανταδιάκονος γεγένηται Μωσής, ο και θερά- χου δυναμένην. Orig. contr. Cels. lib. πων του θεού, παντί μεν τω κόσμω, 1. p. 15. παντελώς δε τους Εβραίους, τους και

as to what relates to the knowledge of God, and the concerns “ of the soul t."

I shall add but one writer more, the judicious Theodoret, of the fifth century, who, speaking of the Jews, says, “God or“ dained this nation, to be a guide to all nations in Divine “ knowledge. For like as he appointed sometimes Moses, and " at other times Joshua, and then Samuel, and afterwards one

or other of the prophets, to take the charge of this people, “ and by a single man, of approved wisdom, benefited the whole “ brotherhood : so by the single nation of Israel did God vouch“ safe to call all nations, partakers of one common nature, to “ become partners also in the same common religion u.”

From hence may be clearly seen what the current notion was among the ancient most judicious advocates for Divine revelation; namely, that though the Law of Moses was in a peculiar manner designed for one people, (because the select preachers of righteousness, the ministers or publishers of religion, were to be kept a distinct order of men from the rest,) yet the most necessary points of revealed religion, which concerned mankind in general, were to be communicated, more or less, to all the world, and that by means of the Jews, after they grew up to be considerable. Other nations or persons, ordinarily, were not obliged to become Jews : and therefore Moses did not insist upon it with his father-in-law Jethro; neither did Elisha expect it of Naaman the Syrian, nor Jonas of the Ninevites, nor Daniel of Nebuchadnezzar ; neither did the prophets insist upon it with the Chaldeans, Egyptians, Sidonians, Tyrians, Edomites, or Moabites; as Grotius has well observed * : but though they were not obliged to become Jews, they were obliged to admit the true God, and the most substantial parts of true religion ; the knowledge of which had been handed down by tradition, and was often renewed and revived by means of the Jews, who were the standing witnesses and memorials of it.

t Ουδε γάρ δια Ιουδαίους μόνους και φύλους ούτω δι' ενός έθνους του Ισραήλ, νόμος ήν, ουδε δι' αυτούς μόνους οι προ- πάντα τα έθνη τα την αυτήν έχοντα φήται επέμποντο, αλλά προς Ιουδαίους φύσιν, εις την ευσεβείας κοινωνίαν εκάμεν επέμποντο, και παρά Ιουδαίων εδιώ- λει. Τheodor. de Provid. Serm. χ. p. κοντο" πάσης δε της οικουμένης ήσαν 454. Conf. p. 456. διδασκάλιον ιερόν της περί θεου γνώ- x Grotius de Jur. N. et G. lib. i. σεως, και της κατά ψυχήν πολιτείας. cap. Ι. sect. 16. Grot. de Verit. R. Athen. contr. Gent. cap. xii. p. 57.

Chr. lib. V. cap. 7: ed. Bened.

The words of Clemens of Rome (an 1 Τών γάρ εθνων απάντων τούτο το apostolical man) are so just, and so έθνος θεογνωσίας έχειροτόνει διδάσκα- moderate, and so proper to compose λον. Και καθάπερ είς τούδε του έθνους all contests on this head, that they επιμέλειαν, νύν μεν εξελέξατο τον Μωϋ- are well worth the quoting in this σην, νύν δε τον Ιησούν, και πάλιν τον place. Σαμουήλ, άλλοτε δε άλλον των προφη- 'Ατενίσωμεν εις το αίμα του Χριστού, των, και δι' ενός ανθρώπου φιλοσοφίας και ίδωμεν ως έστι τίμιον τω θεώ αίμα ασκούντος, άπαντας ευεργέτει τους ομο- αυτού, ό, τι διά την ημετέραν σωτηρίαν However that be, they have certainly taken the wrong way to εκχυθεν παντί τω κόσμω μετανοίας * age the Lord gave place for repentχάριν υπήνεγκεν. ' 'Ανέλθωμεν εις τας ance to as many as would turn to γενεάς πάσας, και καταμάθωμεν, ότι εν “ hiin. Noah preached up repentance, γενεά και γενεά, μετανοίας τόπον έδωκεν “ and they that hearkened unto him ο δεσπότης τοϊς βουλομένους επιστρα- were saved. Jonah denounced deφήναι επ' αυτόν. Νώε εκήρυξεν μετά- “struction against the Ninevites, and νοιαν, και οι υπακούσαντες εσώθησαν. they, repenting of their sins, and Ιωνάς Νινευίταις καταστροφήν εκήρυξεν, praying, appeased God, and were οι δε μετανοήσαντες επί τοις αμαρτήμα- “ saved, though aliens from God.” σιν αυτών, εξιλάσαντο τον θεόν ικετεύ- I may hereupon remark as follows: σαντες, και έλαβον σωτηρίαν, καίπερ I. That as many as are saved upon ålórpioL toù Ocoû ÖVTES. Clem. Rom. their repentance, are yet saved by and Epist. i. cap. vii. p. 32.

The consideration of these things may, I conceive, be of good use for the preserving just and worthy ideas of the Divine wisdom and goodness in his dispensations towards mankind, and for the more effectual silencing the ignorant or malicious cavils of unbelievers.

To be short : our adversaries can never prove that revelation was needless, unless they could first prove that there had been no revelation ; because they cannot know what natural light could have done without it, unless they could first shew that it ever was without it. Revelation might, for any thing they can tell, have been absolutely necessary to discover, even that natural religion which they plead for, and which appears so easy and obvious to the understanding, now it has been discovered. But if revelation was ever needful for that purpose, then, by the tacit confession even of our adversaries, it must be true ; and if it be true, then we are obliged to embrace the whole of it as God has given it us, and not a part only, according to every man's judgment or fancy; which is what these gentlemen seem to be aiming at under all their disguises.

through the blood of Christ. ReWhich may be Englished thus : pentance is the conditional cause of it, “ Let us look up steadfastly to the Christ's death the efficacious and meri“ blood of Christ, and let us consider torious. “ how precious in God's sight his II. That such privilege of being “ blood is, which, being shed for our saved, upon true repentance, through salvation, hath obtained the privi- Christ, was not confined to the Jews “ lege of repentance for all the world. only, but was extended to all man“ Run we back to all past ages, and kind, in all ages, according to Cle“ there we may learn, that in every mens.

come at their point, have committed an votepov porepov in their main argument ; pretending to disprove a fact, by arguing that the thing was needless, when there is no possible way of proving the thing needless, but by first disproving the fact.

An additional Illustration to Note h p. 20, froin Archbishop

Sharpe, vol. iv. Serm. 12. p. 272, 273. relating to the traditional Computation of Time by Weeks.

“ WHAT account can be given of all the world's computing “their time by weeks ; that is, counting seven days, and then

beginning again : I say, what possible account can be given of “ this, but that original distribution of time that God had ob“served in the works of the creation, and had delivered to the first parents of mankind, and they to their children. For men “ to reckon time by days and nights, is obvious to sense ; nay, “ and to compute time by months and years, hath a sufficient “ foundation in it from nature; for mankind cannot avoid the

observing the course of the moon and of the sun, which makes “ months and years : but why they should count seven days, and “ then begin again, that hath no foundation in nature, but must “ be taught them from the tradition of their fathers, which could “ have no other original than that which I am now insisting on. “ And yet this way of computing time by a weekly revolution, "obtained throughout all the world, as far as we can judge, from " the very beginning of time. That the Patriarchs did so some "hundreds of years before the law of the Sabbath was given to " the children of Israel, we have sufficient evidence from sundry "texts of Scripture. That all the ancient nations of which we “ have any history, Egyptians, Chaldeans, Greeks, Romans, nay, " and the barbarous nations too; I say, that they did so like

wise, is proved to us from the ancientest records that are “ extant about them. This practice now, that had no foundation “ in nature, obtaining thus universally throughout the whole

world, and that from time immemorial, is to me a demonstra" tion that they had it from the first parents of mankind, and " that it was founded in God's institution of the seventh day “ being set apart for his service.

“ 1 do grant indeed, they did not know the true reason why

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