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rit is of more Advantage to a true Believer, than the utmost Reach, and deepest Penetration of Judgment; and that Simplicity of Faith is vastly more worth than all the Splendor of Science : Because, indeed, the works of God, which bear the noblest Character of his Power and Greatness, are those which least fall under our Discovery ; and therefore nothing can be more just, than to humble our Reason, and to subject it to the Rule of eternal Reason ; especially, since there's no Science whatsoever, that do's not require a previous Submission, in order to the Establishment of its first Principles. But is it rea. sonable, that we should allow a Sort of Tyranny to be exercis'd over our Mind and Opinion, in Matters indifferent, and that we should, at the fame Time, challenge an absolute Freedom as to the Subjects of Religion ! Descartes tells us very incomprehensible Things and such as court us with no manner of Interest or Advantage,and we believe him upon his Word : God Almighty propounds to us Mysteries that areevery Way consistent and credible, and are accompanied with the Promise of eternal Life, and shall we refuse to believe him?
V. After that Reason has been taught to keep its proper Place, and to submit to Revelation, Philosophy, which is its Rulę and Guide, may assist it in uttering its Conceptions. This is the first Use of Philosophy in Religion. And by this means it comes to pass, that Religion, in explaining it self by the Decisions of Councils and Fathers, and the Mouth of Doctors and Divines, has been accustom’d to make Use of the Aristotelian Method ; because these Councils and Fathers, these Doctors and Divines, have follow'd the same Method; Anatolius, Bishop of Laodicea, S. Jerom, $. Austin, Theodoret, Didimus
of Alexandria, Boethius, S. Fohn Damascen, first introduc'd the Philosophy of Aristotle into the Service of the Christian World, which was continu'd by the chief Fathers and Divines in the succeeding Ages of the Church. Among whom Aquinas signaliz'd himself beyond all Comparison. For this great Doctor, the most accurate of the Schoolmen, found so much true Solidity in Aristotle's Way of Reasoning, that he thought the most holy Mysteries of our Religion would not be better expressid or defended, than in the Terms, and upon the Maxims of this Philosophy. Not that Aquinas, or his Successors in the Schools, had any the least Design to build and suspend the Truth of Chriftianity upon that of the Peripatetick Philosophy, as fome would suggeft; but they thought this Do&rine, if rightly applied, might serve indirectly to the establishing the Principles of Faith, after the Use of it had been confirm'd and regulated by the Experience of so many Ages. And tho our Religion is not founded upon human Reasonings, but purely upon the Simplicity of christian Belief, which is ever opposite to the Weakness and Corruption of Man's Underftanding; yet 'tis lawful to inforce our Faith with all the auxiliary Strength of rational Ari guments, when it has once asserted its Superiority over Reason. Thus God himself whose Prerogative it is to bring Light out of Darkness, speaks to us by the Voice of Men, an Instrument best proportion'd to the Weakness of our Capacity, yet such as do's not impair the Dignity of Him who is pleas'd to use it. The lowest and meanest of Creatures, are, as it were, fo many Mouths, publishing the Holiness and Glory of the Creator; the most stupid and dumb Things in Nature do some way or other instruct
us in the Knowledge of Nature; and shall the Reasons, the Terms and Expressions of Aristotle, be voted useless in religious Subjects, because they are borrow'd from a Pagan Writer ? Have we good Cause to be afraid of asserting our facred Mysteries in these Forms, and with these Distinctions, when Aquinas, fo exact a Follow. er of the Fathers and Councils, has scarce made Use of any others ? Let us continue the Method which this great and good Man has authoriz'd by his Example, and in which he has been imitated by all the eminent Divines since his Days. And whatsoever Overtures may be made, let us never give the Enemies of the Church that Satisfaction, as to see her change her Language at the Pleasure of certain upstart and modish Philosophers.
VI. Nor may Philosophy be only serviceable to Religion, in supplying it with Terms and Expressions, but may likewise aslift it with a Method of Reasoning. For tho’ the Reason of a Christian ought to submit to his Faith, yet it should be able to give an Account of its Submission by Instruđing those that are ignorant of his Faith, and refuting those that oppose it. And Aristotle's Method being the most solid of all that have ever been invented, (as was before obferv'd in the Reflections upon Logick) Aquinas chose to make Use of this, in preference to all others, as the most proper for the Subversion of Error, and the Establishnient of the Truth. It is this excellent Method that has rendred our Religion so impregnable to all the Innovators of these latter Times, who not being able to resists its Force, have attempted to invalidate its Authority, by declaiming against the Schoolmen, and much more against Aristotle, whose Method had
Nichol. been thus adopted by the Schools. The Ana-
baptifts, who swarm'd in the northern Parts, beDavid." gan to decry the Use of all Philosophy in geneGeorg. ral, and alledg’d the Words of S. Paul to the Co
Lossians, for the Prohibition of it in all their Se-
Knowledge of their great Origin and Principle, by displaying the Cause of so many admirable Effects. It was Philosophy that rendred Man capable of hearing that Voice of the Heavens and the Stars, which publishes the Greatness of God, and declares his Glory. It was by the wonderful Succellion of Day and Night, by the uniform and constant Return of
Cæli enarai Seasons, by the Order and Harmony of the
rant glori. Elements, and of all the Parts which compofe am Dei. the general System, that this Science of Na. Pl. XIX. ture, proclaim'd, as by Sound of Trumpet, the Divinity of the Almighty Author, while it pointed out the Traces and Footsteps of his perfect Work. It was this that engaged Pythagoras, Hippocrates, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, the most solid Genius's of all Antiquity, to acknowledge the Unity of the Divine Nature, of which they were convinc'd by one visible Argument, the Contemplation of the great Theater of the World. But the same Reflection which ascertain'd these great Men of fo important a Truth, serv'd only to baffle and confound the Pride of certain minute Philosophers, who, as St. Paul speaks, became vain in their Ima- Rom. Ii gination, and their foolish Heart was darkned, professing themselves to be Wise, they became Fools; in as much as they ascribid to the Creature the Honour and Worship which was only due to the Creator, by the perverted Use of their Rea- Appetitor son and Philosophy, and by studying Nature artis, des without a just Regard to its Author. This was
Sertor arthe Case of Epicurus, who pretended, that the cifacio only Service of natural Knowledge was to al- rur specilay those Fears that arose in the Mind from re-em, cujus ligious Impressions. On the contrary, Plato non mirar.1
, turn'd all his Science of Nature into a Demonstration of the Existence of God, and main- Euch.Ep.
tain'd ad Val.