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Soul Shall he have recourse to his own Conscience? Ah ! that Frowns upon him, and etitertains him with 'terrible Reflections upon his late Folly and Sin. f Shall he go to God by Prayer and Repentance? There indeed he finds Arguments of Mercyni. but of Justice foo: That though he be a fincere Lover of Mankind, he is also a fincere Lover of Holiness. Under these Apprehensions, what Grounds of Hope can natural Reason afförd him, that a Wise, and Just, and Holy God will relax the Authority of his Laws, in proportion to the repeated Errots and Back-slidings of his Creaturés? And the Confideration of this will eafily lead us to the Second Observation, viz.

IL The absolute necessity of a Mediator between God an Men, in order to their Peace and Reconciliation with him, together with the good Assurances we have of it.

This being the deplorable State of Mankind fince the Fall of our first Paients, they are left under this u Dilemmaino Either fome more plentiful Grace' must be afforded; fome Method of Reconciliation contrived, fome valuable and equivalent Satisfaction 'made to the Justice of God. Or the Spirits of Men must fail before bim; and all the Souls which be baih made overlaflingly perish. Can our Minds bear such a Thought of the ever Merciful God? Will not the saine Compassions, which at firft moved him to create, more strongly incline him to Pity, and retrieve a perishing Worla ?...

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Let Revelation stand upon what Bottom it will, yet if we cant Reason any Thing concerning the Perfections of the Divine Nature ver feel a more Rational and Substantial Joy, a more grateful Repose and Complacency of Spirit, than when we are under the Délires and carrying on the Designs of Mercy'towards distressed Mortals; we may reasonably presume, we may certainly concludé, that these are superlatively, and beyond all Degrees of Comparison, more in God. If it would move the Heart of a tender Father, to see the Offfpring of his own Body undone by their own Ralhness and Disobedience'; if it would put him upon

all possible Endeavours to contrive and effect their Recovery; how much more, think we, did it move the Heart of God to look upon a loft World ; and kindle his Compaffions together how to rescue the Work manship of his own Hands from the dreadful Conséquences of their Folly and Sin?'

Thus according to the Ways of our Reason; ing, do the Miseries of Mankind plead for å Mediator; and thus far Natural Reason will fairly lead us towards Revelation.

Here, I confess, it leaves us '; for what Merhod shall ignorant Mortals contrive; what Atonement shall guilty Creatures offer to an infinitely. Great and offended God? If one Man sin against another, the Judge Mall judge. him : But if a Man fin against the Lord, who flrall intreat for him? What Created' Being;

what

what Saint upon Earth; what Angel in Heayen shall undertake to pay down a just Ransom for the forfeited Lives, for the lost Souls of all the Sons of Adam ? This must be the Contrivance of infinite Wifdom, the free Refult of unbounded Goodness. If ever Mankind be restored to the Capacities of the Divine Favour and Mercy, Heaven alone must find out the Expedient.

Thanks to kind Heaven, the Expedient is found out. God hath laid Help upon one that is Mighty : He hath exaltetb one chosen out of the People, to bear tbe Sins of many, and to make Interceffion for the Transgressors. When human Reason was at a Stand and Conscious Nature (trembling under its Guilts) hung in a very doubtful Suspence; behold a brighter Scene opens! the uncreated Wisdom of God; the eternal Son of the Eternal Father descends from Heaven; becomes Incarnate ; fulfills all Righteousness in our Nature ; cancels our Debts; extinguishes our Guilts offers up his own most precious Blood in Sacrifice ; and Seals the Pardon of all our Sins in the New Covenant. A Covenant, which speaks better Things than the Law of Nature, or of Mofes. A Covenant, establish'd upon better Promises, and more gracious Terms, viz. upon Repentance towards God, and Faith towards our Lord Jefus Chrift.

The Sum of this Head is this ; if natural Reason discovers the absolute Necefsity of foine Way of Reconcilation between God and

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Men ;

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Men , if meer natural Reason could never find out that way but by Revelation from Heaven if such a Revelation from Heaven be actually made, fufficiently published and attested to the World: Finally, if upon the strictest Examination it bears all the Characters of a Divine Revelation and contains nothing in it below the Majesty, or unworthy the Wisdom, or the Holiness of God what

pretence is there left for Infidelity ; Why should not all the World readily believe, and thankfully acquiesce in

it.

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But Infidelity is always unreafonably and vexatiously importunate. Here it is demanded; Way was not this Revelation made fooner? W by fo great « Mercy so long deferr'd and concealed from Mankind. Wbat became of all those Ages of the World before Christ was born and reveald? To this it might be sufficient to answer, that it is not for us to know the Times and the Seasons ; to prescribe to God 5 to limit him in his free and undeserved Fayours : Yet left this should seem rather to evade than answer the Demand, I reply,

1. That there was a plain and evident Rea: son why the Meffiah should be born, and this Revelation made at that very precise Period of Time in which it was. For not to in fift upon those many Antient Prophecies which pointed directly towards it s por that general Expectation the World was then in of the

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Mesial,

Messiah, as is undeniably plain from sun lry Passages of Holy Scriptures, and from the

pro phane Historians of that Age, particularly Jofeplous, Suetonius and Tacitus. I say, at to insist upon these, the State of the World was then such, 'as aid very much dispose it to receive the Messiah, and the Message he brought, upon Two Accounts.

First, The greateft Part of the known World was then united under one Empire, viz, the Roman. And this did

And this did very much facilitate and make Way for the Propagation and Reception of Christianity. By Means of this, not only a Paffage was open d-ro Chrift and his Apostles to Preach the Gospel to every Creature, and to carry their Sound into all Lands ; but also, the Manners of that civiliz'd People; their Martial Discipline and Moral Conduct , their Heroical Valour and Exemplary Virtue, had much refined the Tempers and Conversations of the Barbarous Nations ; put

New Ways, both of Thinking and Living, and thereby prepard their Minds for the Reception of its Precepts and Doctrines.

them upon

Secondly, Learning and Philosophy ; the Study of the Languages, Arts, and Sciences began then to flourish ; and this gave_Mea boch Leisure and Ability to examine the Truth of Christianity, God would not have the

Re.

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