Imatges de pÓgina

always be the Burthen of their Song, and a good Pretence too, if the inward Sense of their Mind might be allow'd

to be different from their Actions. No Folly to

6. As to what you lay down, that 'tis a Folly to suffer fuffer for for a true Religion, rather than to comply with a false one; Religioni I take that to be a most false and pestilent Do&trine, but

however it is that which your Sect is founded upon. For you Theifts owe your Origin here in Europe to this pusillanimous Opinion, and to thie Want of Christian Perseverander and a patient Bearing of Africtions. For as Calamitięs make good Men berter, so they make often very il Men worse. Not a few Sufferers in our late civil Wars took up with these damnable Opinions, because their Religion had exposed them to some Lofles; and the same, I hear, has been the Mishap of many poor Gentlemen in the late Persecution in France. But are Religion and a good Confcience Things of fo light a Valuc, as to be parted with for such temporal Profits ? Must Truth be thus facrificed to Intereft? If a Man believes the Holy Scripture, it will make him tremble when he but thinks of such a perfidious Defection. He that denies-me before Men, him will I deny before my Father which is in Heaven, Matt. X. 33. 'Tis hardly possible that they that were once. enlightned, &c. if they Mall fall avay, to renew them again unto Repentance. Nay, if he considers but the Words of .a Heathen Poct, it is enough to make him much more honelt than this comes to.

------Phalaris licet imperet, ut fis
Falfus, & admoto dictet perjuria Tanro :
Summum crede nefas, animum præferre pudori,
Et propter vitam vivendi perdere caufas. Juv. Sat. &

I bough Phalaris commands thee to deny
The Truth, or in his brazen Bull to fry;
Tell the fierce Tyrant, that his Threais are vain,
And Vice must not be chose, to bribe off Pain :
That he's the greatest Villain, who will strive
To lose the Ends of living, for to live.

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7. But for the King of Siam's Argument, I wonder King of how so many Men should be dazled with such a tinsel Siam's Are Reason as this . Whether this be the King of Sian's Are summer

Answered. gument, as is reported, or no, I shall not now dispute ; although by the Sophistry of it, one would guess it had more of the Jesuit in it, than the Prince. But I pray, how does he know, that God takes so much Pleasure in these various forms of Worship? This is a Thing taken for granted, which no Body that owns a revealed Institution will allow. For if God have revealed his Will by the Command of any particular Worship, as he has done to Jews and Christians, then all other Religions do of Course fall to the Ground. Well, but God permits these different Religions, by his not ordering all Men to be of the same Sentiments in Religion ; whereas he might as easily have done this, as to have made their Bodies and Souls alike. But is God's Permission a Sign of his good liking? Why then by the same Rule' all the Villanies which are committed in the World are well pleasing to him, because they capnot be done but by his Permillion. Befides, 'tis very true on the other side, that God might have infused into all Men the fame Sentiments of Virtue and Vice, and have made all Men good alike; but 'tis plain, that he permits the greatest Number of Men to be vitious, which is therefore as evident a Sign that he does not concern himself about Virtue and Vice, and therefore 'tis a Wonder that Men should thew such a Concern about Morality, which God himself by this Permillion does seem to have little Regard to. Now you see this fame Argument, if there be any Thing in it, will make as much against natural Religion, as it does against revealed ; and therefore you Theists ought to have a Care, how you make Use of it, for you thereby put a Weapon into the Atheist's Hands, and plainly give up your Cause to him. But on the other Side, you ought to consider, that as God's Permisfion of Vice is no Sign of his liking it, he having otherways declared his Will, by giving to all Men a Law of Virtue ; fo his tolerating so many false Religi, ons, does not evince his Approbation of them, when he 0,4


has manifestly declared his Will, how he will be worship ed, viz. in the Christian Religion. This is that Way which he himself has set out for us to walk in, and to go in any other Road is but wandring.

Simplicis ipse Via dux est Deus, ille per unam
Ire jubet mortale genus, quam dirigit ipse
Sublimem dextro celfa ad fastigia clivo. Prud.cont. Sym,
God is our Guide in one plain fimple Way,
He would not have Mankind in others stray.
That one step Road which to the Right does tend,

Is the sole Way that does to Heaven afcend,
Of Revealed Religion, and the Doctrine of the Mediator.

Phil. I think, Sir, we have talked enough about natural Religion; and therefore, Sir, if you will oblige me with

your Thoughts concerning that revealed one which is owned by Christians, and will give me Satisfaction as to fome Scruples I have conceived concerning it, it will be a very agrecable Favour." I confess, I am not very averse to think, that there is a great Defect generally in Men's Reasonings concerning religious Matters, and Men's Thoughts do very much vary therein; so that it is not a difficult Supposition to suppose, that the gracious Deity, who has Compassion upon all our Infirmities, has contriyed a way more certainly to guide fluctuating Nature in such momentous Concerns, and may have been pleased sometimes to have enlightned Men with a Ray or two of his Wisdom, from above, by Revelation of some divine Truths.' But then how shall we come to know, to. whom he has particularly vouchsafed this Favour? What Marks of Grace shall we go by ; to distinguish who are Heaven's darling Favourites, that are blessed with such obliging Manifestations ? The Jews and Christians indeed pretend to it; but why not the Turks and Tartars as well as they? But if a bold Pretence to Revelation be an Argument for it, every little Hedge-Sect of Idolaters in In

dia shall bid as fair for Inspiration, as e'er a Jew or Chrifian of you all. And in Truth, if there be any such Thing as Inspiration, for ought I know, all the different Religions in the World may be (to use the Apoftle's Phrase) but Diversity of Gifts of the fame Spirit. The Chinese may have the same divine Revelation to worship their Tanquam and Teiquam, as we have to worship Jesus Christ. 'The Banians and Bramins, the Priests in India, may have the same Plea for all the Devotions they claim for their Deities there, and so may the. Japonese for their famous Gods Fotoques and Games, as the Mexicans for the Rites paid to their Virachoca. Nor does my Conje&ure stand singly alone, but I have your own facred Writings to back me in it : For there are many Texts of Scripture, which seem plainly to affirm, that God Almighty has revealed his Will bý a positive Institution to the Gentile World, whom you look down with so much Contempt upon, under Pretence of your superabundant Privileges. For Gen. xiv. 18, &c. it is said," That Mela chifedeck was King of Fernsalem, and Priest of the most high God; and that he blessed Abraham, which was a principal Office of the Mofaical Priesthood (Num, vi. 23.) and that Abraham paid Tithes to him of his Spoils. From whence it is plain, that God had a revealed Institution before the Jews, or their forefather Abraham's Time, and that when Abraham is commended for keeping God's Commandments, and Statutes, and Laws, Gen. xxvi. s. it is only these positive Injun&ions in the Land of Canaan, which Melchisedeck was the Priest, or Prophet, or Difpenser of." "So Mal. i. 10. Who is there among you thar would shut the Doors of my Temple, that Fire fponld not be kindled upon mine Altar! For from the rising of the Sun, unta the going down thereof, my Name shall be great among

the Gentiles, and in every placę Incensé shall be offered unto my Name, and a pure Offering, for my Name shall be great among the Heathen, faith the Lord of Hofts. By which Words it is plain, that at that Time the Prophet did not think the Jews dearer to God than other People

, and that she Heathens worship was as acceptable to him as theirsą



So Pfal. clxv. 18. The Lord is nigh to all them that call spon him, to all that call upon him in Truth. And in the Same Pfalm, v. 9. it is faid, God is good to all and his tender Mercies are over all his Works. So God himself gives a Testimony of Job a Gentile, that there was none like him in the Earth, a perfect and an upright Man, Job i. 8. So Jonas said he determined to flee to Tarsus, because he knew God to be a gracious and merciful God, Jon. iv. 2. and who would therefore pardon even the Gentile Ninevites. Besides, we read in Scripture, that several uncircumcised Gentiles had the Gift even of Prophecy, as Enoch, Noah, Abimelech, and Balaam. Nay, several of the Jewish Prophets prophesy for the Use of the Gentiles. Ezechiel prophesies to all the Nations then known; Obadiah prophesies only for the Children of Edom; and for nas principally for the Ninevites ; Isaias foretels the Calamities and Deliverance of the Ægyprians, If. xix. 19. and the Prophet Jeremy is called expresly a Prophet of the Nations or Gentiles: Before thon camest out of the Womb, 1 fanctified thee, and I ordained thee a Prophet unto the Nations, Jer. i. s. and Chap. xlviii. 31. He says he will hosul for Moab, he will cry out for Moab, and v. 36. My Heart Mall found for Moab like Pipes, &c. which pathetick Expressions Mew, that he was sent by God a Prophet, as well for the Gentile Moabites as the Jews. But as for the Prophecy of Balaam, that is so express, that all the major and minor Prophets cannot pretend more to the Spirit of Prophecy, than this one Gentile Seer. So that, Credentius, you may make what brags you please of the Jewish and Christian Revelations, but if you

do not own old Balaam, as much a Heathen as he was to be a very good Prophet, you will want one of the most considerable Proofs of Christianity. Nay, the Scripture gives this Man all the Characters of a prophetick Spirit : He hath said, whà heard the Words of God, who sim the Vifion of the Almighty, falling into a Trance, but having his Eyes open, Numb. xxiv. 4. Now methinks it is a little unfair, for you to make such an Outcry about God's particular Favour to you by Revelation; when those very revealed Scriptures them


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