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stantly under the influence of the principles of Christianity ? And for those happy persons, who have sincerely embraced this religion, and made it their study through the whole of life to act in a manner worthy of it, having thereby effectually answered the purposes of the present state of existence, and having in themselves the fure pledge, and the very springs of happiness in the world to come, how much must they be pleased with that religion, by which nature hath been so improved! And while they look upon
it as a religion revealed from heaven, how gråteful must they be to the father of lights for such a valuable favour conferred upon mankind !
It hath been suggested, that to produce, such characters in life, there was no need of such an extraordinary interposition, as an external
velation ; that the law, which our maker hath written upon the heart of every man, is sufficient to direct him to the highest perfection of his nature, and to its most happy state; at least, that the person, who attendeth carefully to the dictates of his own heart, cannot miscarry. And to illustrate this, the "moral philosophy taught by the antients, and the amazing dignity of character, to which fome persons, who were strangers to revelation, attained, have been much inlisted upon, it
appearing in them, how far mere reason and the natural sentiments of the heart will carry men in virtue and religion. In answer to which, it is acknowledged by the advocates for revelation, that indeed God hath shewed every man, by the light of nature, and the law written upon his heart, what is good, and hath
admirably furnished him with the powers of conscience for directing his way: and that the person, who hath honesty and strength of mind enough to divest himself of those prejudices and prepoffeffions, which may have first obtained, and prevented found reason; and who maketh it his study to find out what he was made for, and what it is indeed to live according to nature, conforming himself in all things to the dictates of conscience, at least, sincerely endeavouring to do so, and by that sincerity prepared for receiving countenance and assistance from his maker : it is: readily allowed, such a person will go reputably and happily through life ; will be naturally led to the hopes of his maker's favour, and of an happy future existence. Nor is there any fort of occasion, for the
fupport of revealed religion, to depreciate the light of nature and the improvements in knowledge and morality, which have been made by the natural powers of mankind. The question is this, whether in that ftate, in which things are known to have been and still to be in the Pagan world, there might not be that need of, and these advantages obtained by, revelation, which abundantly justify the wisdom of such an extraordinary interposition in aid of reason greatly weakened: and perverted, and the light of nature fadly obscured, and which make it appear exceedingly expedient and desirable ? Whether the light of nature and reason was not, at least generally, so clouded and darkened by superstitious prejudices and very grofs errors". prevailing concerning the Deity and the rules
and measures of his moral administration, the worship and homage to be paid to him, the methods of obtaining his favour, and even about the true ends of life, the supreme good of human nature, and a future state of existence, which are the most important of all things, that a wise man and a lover of mankind would not have accounted a clear revelation, instructing the world in matters of such consequence, the most special favour, which could be conferred upon it.
it. And now that we have in our hands a book recommended to us, as containing a revelation of these things from heaven, and which is perfectly agreeable to found reason and the natural sentiments of the heart; surely a friend to mankind, even if he did not think it supported with sufficient evidence, would be naturally