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Suitable to GOD's Goodness, that all Men should have an Idea of Him, therefore naturally imprinted by Him; answerd       §12. Indeed it is urged, That it is suitable to the goodness of God, to
imprint, upon the Minds of Men, Characters and Notions of himself, and
not to leave them in the dark, and doubt, in so grand a Concern-
ment; and also by that means, to secure to himself the Homage and
Veneration, due from so intelligent a Creature as Man; and there-
fore he has done it.
This Argument, if it be of any Force, will prove much more than
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those, who use it in this case, expect from it. For if we may conclude,
that God hath done for Men, all that Men shall judge is best for
them, because it is suitable to his goodness so to do, it will prove,
not only, that God has imprinted on the Minds of Men an Idea of
himself; but that he hath plainly stamp’d there, in fair Characters,
all that Men ought to know, or believe of him, all that they ought
to do in obedience to his Will; and that he hath given them a Will
and Affections conformable to it. This, no doubt, every one will
think it better for Men, than that they should, in the dark, grope
after Knowledge, as St. Paul tells us all Nations did after God, Acts
XVII. 27. than that their Wills should clash with their Under-
standings, and their Appetites cross their Duty. The Romanists say,
’Tis best for Men, and so, suitable to the goodness of God, that
there should be an infallible Judge of Controversies on Earth; and
therefore there is one: and I, by the same Reason, say, ’Tis better for
Men that every Man himself should be infallible. I leave them to
consider, whether by the force of this Argument they shall think,
that every Man is so. I think it a very good Argument, to say, the
infinitely wise God hath made it so: And therefore it is best. But it
seems to me a little too much Confidence of our own Wisdom, to say, I think it
best, and therefore God hath made it so; and in the matter in Hand, it
will be in vain to argue from such a Topick, that God hath done so,
when certain Experience shews that he hath not. But the Good-
ness of God hath not been wanting to Men without such Original
Impressions of Knowledge, or Ideas stamped on the Mind: since he
hath furnished Man with those Faculties, which will serve for the
sufficient discovery of all things requisite to the end of such a Being;
and I doubt not but to shew, that a Man by the right use of his
natural Abilities, may, without any innate Principles, attain the
Knowledge of a God, and other things that concern him. God hav-
ing endued Man with those Faculties of knowing which he hath,
was no more obliged by his Goodness, to implant those innate
Notions in his Mind, than that having given him Reason, Hands,
and Materials, he should build him Bridges, or Houses; which some
People in the World, however of good parts, do either totally want,
or are but ill provided of, as well as others are wholly without Ideas of
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God, and Principles of Morality; or at least have but very ill ones.
The reason in both cases being, That they never employ’d their
Parts, Faculties, and Powers, industriously that way, but contented
themselves with the Opinions, Fashions, and Things of their
Country, as they found them, without looking any farther. Had
you or I been born at the Bay of Soldania, possibly our Thoughts,
and Notions, had not exceeded those brutish ones of the Hotentots
that inhabit there: And had the Virginia King Apochancana, been
educated in England, he had, perhaps, been as knowing a Divine,
and as good a Mathematician, as any in it. The difference between
him, and a more improved English-man, lying barely in this, That
the exercise of his Faculties was bounded within the Ways, Modes,
and Notions of his own Country, and never directed to any other,
or farther Enquiries: And if he had not any Idea of a God, it was only
because he pursued not those Thoughts, that would have led him
to it.
Locke Hum I, 4, §12, pp. 90-91-92