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R E L I G I ON
DE LINEA T E D
ACIS xxviii. 22.
as for this sect, we know that every where it is
Printed for J. CLARK and R. HETT, at the Bible and Crown in the
Poultry, near Cheapside ; and W. HINCHLIFFE, at Dryden's-
HERE has lately appeared in our world, to confront the Atheist, and confirm the moral Theist in his natural theology, a inoft excellent treatise, intituled, The Religion of Nature deli
neated. It is pity, but the fagacious author had Delineated the Revealed Religion too ; and thereby displayed its wondrous harmony and correspondence with the dictates of natural reason and religion ; and its necessity (in case GOD will please to have inercy on the world) to supply the defects of it; or, at least, that he had led his rational Moralist a step or two nearer towards the Religion of Jesus.
I. In treating of the immortality or natural vitality of the soul, he soon finds himself at a loss. Here I begin (says he, p. 211.) to be very sensible how much I want a guide. Sense, brings us to the grave ; and reason, to some sort of territories beyond the grave : But they are dark and gloomy to the mere rational fpectator. 'Tis the superadded revelation, that opens to us the region of departed fpirits; and assures the purified fouls, that when their earthly house of this tabernacle (of this present habitation) ball be dissolved, they have a building of and from God (and built on purpose for defecated fpirits) eternal in the hea
It is added, But as the Religion of Nature is my Theme, I must, at present, content my self with That light which Nature affords; my business being, as it seems, only to pew what a heathen Philosopher, without any other help, and almost ’Autodidaxtos, may be supposed to think. Noble is the light, that is here afforded; and such as would reflect great honour upon the heathen Philosopher, were he supposed of himself, to convey it. Which of all those fages argued the existence, the perfection and unity of GOD, at the rate that is here argued ? Had any one of them composed such a ratiocinative tract as this, in support of the Religion of Nature, he would not have been thought ’Autodifaxtos, taught only by native reason, but, in some measure, Otorid æxtos, assisted by some of those secret instillations, or sudden influences, the author himself in p. Io5. n. 4.) thinks not impoffible. And the more possible or probable such fuper
nal influences are there rendered, the more credible it may be, that (for the good of a nation, or the welfare of the world) such divine irradiation as is usually called inspiration, might, some time or other, be afforded. But, I hope; (proceeds he) that neither the doing this, nor any thing else contained in this delineation, can be the least prejudice to any other true religion. To be sure, other true religion must be founded on this ; or inust suppose the prin: cipal heads of religion, here argued (whether the mode of argument be always necessary or no) as the basis of it. And the more any other (any farther or fuperadded) religion. comports with the religious truth, here delineated, the more intrinsic evidence it brings along with it. And so this delineation wili, as, it is there faid, pave the way for its reception.
II. In one thing, the learned author might havs: been a little more clear, that he may not be misapprehended. He would seem to establish religion even antecedently to the consideration of the divine, exist
In sect. 1. p. 7. he founds the distinction between moral good and evil. Upon the distinction betwixt inoral good and evil, he immediately founds religion. And then in sect. 5. p. 65. he advances to the proof of the divine existence. The first section begins, T he foundation of religion lies in that difference between the acts of men which distinguishes: them into good, evil, and indifferent. If antecedently to the consideration of the divine existence, fome: fitting rule may be laid down, in conformity or difconformity to which, human acts (called spontaneous