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If, then, the vigour of our wit must yield to an atom of matter, is it not an abuse of reason, to refuse our assent to truths propounded by art All-wife and Omnipotent Being, only because they are above our conception?
• If nature be, then, a mysterious book, closed up with a seven-fold seal, is it not presumption and blindness in man, not to submit to unerring wisdom? Revealed religion once secluded, a faint light and lame kind of liberty would be our boasted privilege. Wounded man could never find, in his reason, sufficient light to discover the truths of eternal life; nor in his liberty, sufficient strength to follow their dictates. Like the bleeding traveller, on the road of Jericho, he stands in need of the assistance of some foreign and healing hand."
"It- is none of his fault," fays St. Austin who had himself been a proud and voluptuous philosopher, "if he cannot make use of his "broken limbs: but he is guilty, if he despises "the physician who proffers to cure him: and "he is humbly to acknowledge his weakness, "to obtain help. This assistance is ministered, "not by the law of nature, but by the tree of "life, who says of himself: I am the vine: you "are the branches: without me, you cannot do "anything."
The two fatal springs of our evils, are—-;the error of the mind, and the infirmity of the will. In Him we find the remedy,—the light of re.velation to dispel our darkness, and his enlivening grace to purify the heart. You are ready to acknowledge him as the divine and inexhaustible fountain of both, if once some passages, which, in your opinion, militate against his Divinity,
A N incarnate God, whose bleeding wounds have paid our ransom, is one of those mysteries that stuns and disconcerts human reason, liable to stray through the winding paths of roving error, if the clew of faith do not direct our steps and minister its assistance. He appeared on earth to cancel our crimes; to nail to the cross the schedule of our condemnation; to lacerate and tear the woful hand-writing that gave us over to rebel-angels; to snatch sinful man from the hands of divine justice; and to unlock the awful gates of the eternal sanctuary, whitherno mortal has access, but through the blood office spotless pontiff. He appeared, in fine, to raise, through his merits, all those who fell by Adam's guilt; to form a faithful and holy people,-—a faithful people, "by captivating their under"standing to the yoke of faith,"—and a holy people, whose conversation, according to St. Paul, ought to be in Heaven; and who are to follow no longer the dictates of the flesh. .
Our ignorance of his nature would expose us to the fatal alternative—either of becoming idolaters in worshipping a man, which is the case of all Christians, if your opinion be well grounded, —or of refusing God the homage that is due to him, which is your case, if you mistake and err. If Christ be not God, the Christians are in the fame cafe with the idolatrous Tartars, who worship a living man: and if he be God above all, and blessed for ever, you may as well believe the Alcoran, as believe the scriptures; and invoke Mahomet, as invoke the son of Mary. He declares, '* that life eternal consists in the "knowledge of Himself, and of the Father '* who sent him." In such an important article, it is too hazardous to plead ignorance, in hopes of impunity: for the scripture says, that" there ** is a way which man thinks to be the right *' one: and the end thereof are the ways of "death." The Divinity of Christ, evidenced by the accomplishment of so many oracles, and supported by the concurrent testimonies of all nations and ages, since his appearance on earth, has so many apologists, that the doctor can easily meet with some of them in every library, and, I doubt not, in his own; and that it were presumption in me to attempt going over the same ground; especially, aster what Abadie and Houteville have said on this important subject. Moreover, sir, you acknowledge the authenti
city of the scriptures; and found your doubts, either on the obscurity of some passages, or the misapplication of some prophecies, or the numberless texts, relating to Christ's humanity. In, this walk, 1 take the liberty of attending you, step by step; and shall avoid, as much as possible, any long digression i lest we may stray too far from the path.
You affirm, that the first chapter of St. John, in which the Divinity of Christ Is asserted, "In "the beginning was the Word; and the "'Word was with God; and the Word was "God;" is intricate and obscure. It is quite the reverse; and Christ's Divinity cannot be read in more legible characters. You understand by the Word, "the Man Jesus, whom "God raised up in time, and to whom God im"parted extraordinary gifts." In understanding by the Word, the Man Jesus, you are in similar circumstances with king Agrippa, who said: "Paul, Paul, you have made me almost a "Christian." You would be entirely a Christian, if you added to " the Man Jesus, whom iC God raised up in time," the God Jesus, whq -was begotten from eternity: according to the saying of the psalmist, " Before the morning"star I have begotten thee:"—words which D Christ