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and judgment, because otherwise he would not be an agent; and consequently, he would not be accountable. The major and minor propositions being proved, che conclufion naturally, nécessarily and unavoidably follows; viz. that reason is, and must and will be to every man, if he be not wanting to himself, to every individual of our species who is answerable to God for his actions, under any or all the most difadvantageous circumstances he can possibly fall into, whether he resides in China or the Cape of Good-Hope; a fufficient guide in matters of religion. That is, reason when carefully used and followed, is to every in dividual of our species under all circumftances, if he be not wanting to himself, sufficient to guide him to God's favour; which is the point contended for.
Thus, I have shewn what those principles are, which I reason from; viz, that there is a natural and effential difference in things ; that this difference exhibits a reafon or rule of action, which is equally obliging to every moral agent; and that God will make this rule, the measure of his accions, in his dealings with his creatures. I have likewise shewn, what are the consequences, which do naturally and necessarily follow from those principles, viz. that God will deal with every accountable creature, according to the abilities he has, the circumstances
he is in, and the advantages or disadvantages he is under ; and that every such creature, who exercises his reasoning capacity as well, or to answer the best purposes that he can, or that may reasonably be expected from him in his circumstances, and who directs and governs his affections and actions accordingly, will most certainly be approved and accepted of God. I say, that this will be the case; becayise, for God to do thus, will be to act a fair and an equal part by his creatures; and were he to do otherwise, would be to act unfairly and uno equally by them. And, from the whole, I draw this final conclusion, viz. that reason is, and must, and will be to every individual of our species, who is answerable to God for his actions, to every one, if he be not wanting to himself, under any or all the moft disadvantageous circumstances he can possibly fall into, a sufficient guide in matters of religion. I say, that this is, and must, and will be the case; because it is in the power, and it is left to the choice of every man, under all circumstances, to exercise his reasoning faculty, and to direct and govern his affections and actions as aforesaid.
The sum of this matter is this; if the principles I reason from are well-grounded, and if I have drawn just and true conclusions from those principles; then, I think, it must be allowed, that I have proved my point. And, on the other side, if it can be shewn, that the principles I reafon from are false, or thac I have drawn false conclusions from those principles; then, when that is done, I am answered; and all my reasoning upon the point, is of no weight. And here, my reader will see, that the case is brought to a very short issue, with refpect to me; it is but to shew that the principles I reason from are false; or that I have drawn wrong conclusions from those principles; and then, I acknowledge myself answered: but then, any thing, and every thing short of this, will be short of an answer to me. Upon this issue then, I will leave the case, and likewise leave it to the world to judge, upon which fide of the question the truth lies. However, that I may leave the case as free from incumbrances as I can, I shall make the follow
ing observations, viz. · First, When I say, that reason is, or may be, to every man who is not wanting to himself, a sufficient guide in matters of religion; I mean, that it is, or may be so to every individual of our species, who is anfwerable to God for his actions. For, if any of our species, thro' a defect in their conftitutions, or thro' any disadvantageous circumstances they may be in, are uncapable
of discerning the preferableness of one thing or action to another; or if their constitutions or circumstances are such, as render it unrealonable to expect that they Thould ; to such persons, I do not say, that reason is a sufficient guide in matters of religion, or indeed any guide at all. But then, as these mens understandings cannot, or at least it is not reasonable to expect that they should, be of any advantage to them, as to the favour of God, and their fouls happiness in another world: fo on the other fide, it is unreasonable to suppose that they will be any disadvantage to them in these respects; and if so, then such persons are not accountable, and will not be the subjects of a future judgment. The case is the same, with respect to any particular branch of duty. If thro' any defect in the constitution, or any bad circumstances a person may be in, he is rendered uncapable of discerning the fitness or unfitness of this, or that action; or if it be unreasonable to expect that he should ; then, under those circumstances, he is most ccrtainly excusable; because the reason of the thing requires that he should be excused; and confequently, in these instances he is not accountable. As to those motives to action, arising from our future existence, and a future judgment, supposing these were not discoverable by cur reasoning faculties, (which I have shewn they are, and that the certainty of these points is founded in . reason ;) yet, reason would be a sufficient guide in matters of religion; because the reasonableness of an action, is a proper ground of action to a reasonable being, and ought to determine his will to the choice of that action, supposing no other motive intervened ço invite him to it, and it ought to deter mine his will, in opposition to all temprations to the contrary ; because the reasonableness of an action is more than a balance to all temptations. I say, this ought in reafon to be the case; but whether it wiil be so in fact or not, depends upon the pleafure of each individual. And if the reasonableness of an action, be the fole ground and reason of a man's performing that action; then, in that instance, he will be highly pleasing and most acceptable to his maker; because in such a case, he acts from the best and most noble principle, even from that which is the sole ground and reason of action to God.
Secondly, When I say, that reason is a sufficient guide in matters of religion, I do not intend by this to exclude the use of diyine revelation. The use and design of a divine revelation, is to rouse up men from their sloth and security ; to bring them to consideration and reflection ; to afsift their