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CHRISTIANITY as old as the CREATION :

O R, THE
GOSPE L, Sc.

СНАР. І. That God, at all Times, bas given Mankind sufficient

Means of knowing whatever be requires of them ; and what those Means are.

A. HIS early Visit, Sir, gives me Hopes it

will not be a short One.

B. I come to talk with You on a Subject, which may, perhaps, keep me longer

with You than You desire. A. Your uncommon Temper and Candor, in debating -even the most important Points, will always make your Conversation agreeable, tho' ever so long ; but pray, what is to be the Subject of our Morning's Discourse ?

B. I was Yesterday in Company with a great many Clergymen, ic being our Bishop's primary Visitation; where the

Com

Complaint was general, of the Coldness and Indifference, with which People receiv’d the speculative Points of Chri. ftianity, and all its holy Rites; for which formerly they had shewn fo great a: Zeal. This Coldness they chiefly imputed to those Low Church-men, who lay the main Stress on Natural Religions and withal so magnify the Doctrine of Sincerity, as in Effect to place all Religions on a Level, where the Professors are alike sincere. The Promoters of thefe Notions, as well as the Notions themselves, were expos’d with Warmth ; how justly I will not determine, till we have talk'd the Matter over with our usual Freedom : For which Reason, I have made You this early Visit, and wou'd be glad to know the Sentiments of io good a judge, on these Two important Points ; viz. Sincerity, and Natu ral Religion.

A. I thank You for this Favour; and shall freely tell you, I so little agree with those Gentlemen in relation to Sincerity, that I think a sincere Examination into religious Matters can't be too much press’d ; this being the Only Way to discover True Christianity : The Apostles thought themfelves oblig'd, in making Proselites, to recommend an impartial Search ; they both desir’d, and requir’d Men to judge : for themselves, to prove all Things, &c. this they thought neceffary, in Order to renounce a Religion, which the Force of Education had impress’d on their Minds;- and embrace another directly contrary to the Notions, and Prejudices, they had imbib’d. Nay, even those very Men, who most ridicule the Doctrine of Sincerity, never fail on other Occafions to assert, that Infidelity is owing to the Want of a sincere Examination ; and that whosoever impartially considers Christianity, must be convinc'd of its Truth. And I might add, That cou'd we suppose, a sincere Examination wou'd

not

not always produce this Effect, yet must it always make Men acceptable to God; since that is all God can require ; all that it is in their Power to do for the Discovery of his Will These, in short, are my Sentiments as to This Point; and as to the Other, I think, too great a Stress can't be laid on Natural Religion; which, as I take it, differs not from Reveaľd, but in the Manner of its being communicated : The One being the Internal, as the Other the External Revela. tion of the fame Unchangeable Will of a Being, who is alike at all Times infinitely Wise and Good.

B. SURELY, Sir, this must be extremely heterodox. Can you believe, that Natural and Reveald Religion differ in nothing, but the Manner of their being convey'd to us ?

A. As heterodox as I may seem at present, I doubt not, but by asking you a few Questions, to let you see, I advance nothing in either of these Points without Reason; and in Order to it, I desire to be inform’d, Whether God has not, from the Beginning, given Mankind some Rule, or Law, for their Conduct? And whether the observing That did not make 'em acceptable to him?

B. THERE can be, no Doubt, but the observing such a Law, must have answer'd the End for which it was giv'n ; and made Men acceptable to God.

A. What more can any external Revelation do, than render Men acceptable to God? Again,

If God, then, from the Beginning, gave Men a Religion : I ask, was That Religion imperfect, or perfect ?

B. Most perfect, without Doubt ; since no Religion can. come from a Being of infinite Wisdom and Perfection, but what is absolutely perfect.

A. Can, therefore, a Religion absolutely perfect, admit of any Alteration ; or be capable of Addition, or DiminuB 2

tion ;

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