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imprudent in communicating to his children a knowledge of the loss they had sustained by his folly; and we should rather have expected that Cain's resentment would have been leyelled at Adam than at Abel. What other disadvantages we derive from the fall of Adam, I know not; that we are less perfect than he was, I believe not: Had he been perfect, he could not have fallen; and had not his will been free, the trial of his obedience would have been a farce. I am per. fuaded, beyond a doubt, that Adam and every one of his descendants might safely, justly, and truly thus address their maker- Thy justice o • God, could not give me, in this state of pro• bation, a foul exalted by virtues : thy mercy o • Father, could not give me a soul deforined by • vices : these must be my own, and I must an! swer for them. Thou hast left my will free; ? not that I might do evil, but good by choice.' These sentiments are dictated by reason ; a faculty given by God himself for our government; and is the best we potress. How then are we blameable in difbelieving every dogma which she rejects? Wlierever they are found, however graced, however taught, however followed ; if they counter-act that excellent precept-Do as you would be done unto : if they strike at, or even leffen one attribute of the Almighty, particularly that of infinite benevolence; I reject them with contempt. In this predicament stands pre

destination

destination and election. They are recorded as doctrines taught by the Son of Man ; the Son of God: God himself in a history we call Sacred : written indeed by men ; but men, it is said, inspired by the Holy Ghost, which is the Spirit of Truth and Knowledge, proceeding from God. Read again my friend what I have extracted from thence upon this interesting subject; with my reniarks thereon, page 68 to 75 ; I will wait for you,.-.-.-.-.- What is your conclusion ? ---- That God is unjust: or the Scriptures have been corrupted. The former, you cannot believe : the latter you may. In examining those scriptures, I have pointed out a variety of absurdities, improbabilities, inconsistencies, and contradictions; which in any other book we should call falfehoods. The source of these could not be in the Fountain of all Wisdom and Truth, St. Paul, in his second Epistle to Timothy, ch. iii, v. 16, says— All Scripture is given by inspiration of

God.' And St. John, ch. xiv, v. 24, informs us-that Jesus himself (a little before his death) said to his disciples- Bụt the Comforter, which ç is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send • in my name; he shall teach you all things; and

bring all things to your remembrance, whatso? ever I have said unto you. Two of these difciples,, Matthew and John, wrote the Scriptures under this influence : Mark is supposed to have wrote his under the direction of St. Peter : and

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Luke

OD

Luke (under that of St. Paul) sets off with telling us, that he had ' perfect understanding of all ' things from the very first.'. The Scriptures that were written by these men, so influenced, were intended, we will suppose, for the instruction, conversion and better government of mankind : promoting at the same time, their happiness in this life, or insuring it to them in another. To this end they ought to have been clear, and unanimous in their first premises ; and from thence have deduced consequences, in an easy artless manner, that would have carried conviction to every common understanding. If our: God condescended to give us instructions, surely it would be in a language we understood. If he delivered to us his precepts, certainly he would give us understanding to receive and apply them; otherwise, to what end were they given? But with this persuasion, this hope ; in vain do we search the Scriptures. Morality and mystery are so strangely blended, that the brightness of the former, is obscured by the darkness of the latter. The practice of moral virtue, being the eternal and unchangeable law of God, is the essence of true religion, and without it, no religion can be acceptable to him. But the mysteries here complained of, have occasioned, not only neglects, but the most inhuman violations of morality in the professors of Chriftianity. If they were neceffary to establih and support that religion ; no

wonder

wonder they were sanctioned by it. And is it possible that Chrift was the author of this religion ? And, that he not only foresaw, but foretold these excetles, as the certain consequences of its introduction ? Could the God of Peace declare that he came not to give peace on earth, but divifon, fire, and the sword? And yet these prophetic declarations, are found in those Scriptures *. Read these likewise again ; and again you will fay-God is unjust, or the Scriptures corrupt. Thus circumstanced; the determination is made: No additional weight is necessary to make the scale of uncorrupt Scripture kick the beam. These corruptions must have taken place foon after the death of Jesus, and from that time faith has required more than reason can grant. This being the case, Why are they not corrected ? Why are we to profess a belief, we do not understand, or rather do not believe ? If we conform to the church ceremonies, we use a duplicity to the Almighty, which would cover us with shame, if detected in using to a fellow creature up; if, in answer, it should be faid-You find fault, because you are ignorant of those things : and therefore should apply for instruction to your paftor, who has been educated, and, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, appointed for that very purpose -Alas! what information can a liberal mind de

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rive from the polemical preachings and writings of our clergy? They are under a necessity of doing both professionally ; and I apprehend they are not at liberty to correct either in private conversation. The Liturgy is the rule of public worship: the Articles and Catechism of the eftablished church is the rule of public instruction: and to depart in the least from those, would be a violation of their most folemn engagements. Engagements formed, for the greater part, in an age of extreme ignorance; and forced upon our clergy at an age, in which they are incapable of distinguishing their great defects. Which ever of the articles they touch upon; however unintelligible; however absurd ; whatsoever fpirit they breath, however contrary to the divine precepts of niorality; they must defend. Bound by their oath, and awed by authority, can they do otherwise? And yet, what are they doing when they do this? I will not urge the question ; but rather draw a veil over. that which perhaps ought not to be shewn publicly, till another reformation has removed the evil. It has been remarked that men designed for the priesthood, study divinity as a fcience; and that to comprehend and preach the mysterious parts of it with success, is oftener the lot of dullnefs, than of genius. Most of the corruptions upon which are founded, or at least, which have tinctured our creeds, articles, and ceremonies; must have taken place in the first

ages

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