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BOOK that he should suffer all mankind to perish inevitably,
— without his propounding any means for escaping of
eternal misery? Is God so good to men as to this present life; and can we think, if man's soul be immortal, as we have proved it is, that he should wholly neglect any offer of good to men as to their eternal welfare? Or is it possible to imagine that man should be happy in another world without God's promising it, and prescribing conditions in order to it? If so, then this happiness is no free gift of God, unless he hath the bestowing and promising of it; and man is no rational agent, unless a reward suppose conditions to be performed in order to the obtaining it; or man may be bound to conditions which were never required of him; or if they must be required, then there must be a revelation of God's will, whereby he doth require them: and if so, then there are some records extant of the transactions between God and man, in order to his eternal happiness. For what reason can we have to imagine that such records, if once extant, should not continue still; especially since the same goodness of God is engaged to preserve such records, which at first did cause them to be indited ? Supposing then such records extant somewhere in the world of these grand transactions between God and men's souls, our business is brought to a period; for what other records are there in the world that can in the least vie with the Scriptures, as to the giving so just an account of all the transactions between God and men from the foundation of the world ? Which gives us all the steps, methods, and ways, whereby God hath made known his mind and will to the world, in order to man's eternal salvation. It remains only then that we adore and magnify the good
ness of God in making known his will to us, and that CHAP. we set a value and esteem on the Scriptures, as on the only authentic instruments of that grand charter of peace which God hath revealed in order to man's eternal happiness.
OF THE GROUNDS OF
NATURAL AND REVEALED RELIGION:
THE FOUNDATIONS OF RELIGION, AND THE AUTHORITY OF
THE SCRIPTURES, ARE ASSERTED AND CLEARED.
AN ANSWER TO THE MODERN OBJECTIONS
ATHEISTS AND DEISTS.
IN FIVE BOOKS.