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SERM. II. Certainty of the Truth of Christianity; it
every unprejudiced Mind is determined by moralCertainty, we may argue thus. It is demonftrably certain, that there is a Being of infinite Goodness, Truth, and Veracity. It is demonstrably certain, that a Being of infinite Goodness, Truth, and Veracity will not miflead his Creatures into unavoidable Errors, nor fuffer an Imposture to pass upon the World, in bis Name, in a Matter of the laft Importance, with such manifeft Tokens of Credibility, and moral Certainty, as muft, and do in every other Case, determine an unprejudiced Mindtherefore it is demonstrably certain, that Christianity is no Impofture. Thus the Christian Faith, in the last Resort, resolves itself into, and terminates in, the divine Veracity : It is as fure as that God cannot lie, that he who has laid his Creatures under an Obligation to act upon moral Evidence, would not have done fo, if such strong Evidence could ever inevitably deceive them in an Affair of infinite Concernment. :
: Preached at the
On the Genuineness and Inspiration ";s of the Sacred Writers.
ye beard of us, ye received it not as the
HITHEN St. Paul preached the Serm.Ift. TV Gospel of Cbrift to the Tberano
UV falonians, they embraced it gladly, and believed it to be, what it really isgi of divine Authority and Inspiration. . That we may do so too, it will be necessary to prové, . U 2
Serm.III. IX, The Genuineness of those Books,
which contain the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And,
IIdly, Their divine Inspiration.
Ift, I am to prove the Genuineness of those Books, which contain the Gospel of Jesus Christ. .. mine
; Those Authors are confessedly genuine, who have received the Sanction of their Contemporaries, or immediate Succeffors, followed by an uninterrupted Series of Vouchers. · Thus St. Paul quotes the Gospel of St.
Luke, whose Praise is in the Gospel throughout all the Churches, as of equal Authority with the Writings of Moses. For the Scripture faith, thou shalt not muzzle' the Ox that treadeth out the Corn, and, the Labourer is worthy of his Reward, 1 Tim. v. 18. 'which last Passage occurs no where but ia St. Luke x. ver. 7. as the formet is to be met with Deut. XXV. ver. 4..
Thus. St. John, as Eufèbius * informs us, stamped his Authority, at the Instance
* Eufebii Hift. Eccl. Lib. 3. cap. 24. - ?
of his Friends, upon the Gospels of Mat- Serm.III. thew, Mark, and Luke, and then added his own as a Supplement to them. :,''
Much the same Account we have from the ancient Author of the Martyrdom of Timothy, with this additional Circumstance, that before St. John reviewed them, they had already been translated into several Languages *. Nor is it at all unlikely, that the same Zeal, which prompted St.John to expose one Fraud, as we shall prove by and by; would likewise determine him to authorize the genuine Records of Christianity. This is what the World might expect from a Person fo venerable, for his Wisdom and Authority, as well as for his great Age: And this is, what common Sense would suggest to one ; who lived after Forgeries had begun to creep abroad.
Though Clemens Romanus, Barnabas, Hermas, Ignatius, Polycarp, Writers who had been conversant with the Apostles, seldom ascribe any of the Books of the New Testament to their respective Authors; yet they virtually own them all to be genuine, by Thewing the most distinguished Regard ' * Photii Bibliotheca Cod. 254. U 3
Serm.III. to them, by often quoting them, and oft
ner alluding to them: An Honour they do no other Writings, except those of the Old Testament. They transcribe numerous Precepts from the Scriptures, of which their own Lives were indeed the most beautiful Transcript. That they have not expressly named the Authors, from whom they bor. row, is easily accounted for: They wrote chiefly, if not entirely, for the Benefit of their Contemporaries, and it was needless to point out to those, who lived so near the Fountain Head, from what Source they drew that living Water, which they had so thoroughly imbibed, and so plentifully transfused into their own Compositions..
What a religious Veneration these early Writers paid to the Scriptures, the following Passage of Ignatius * will clearly thew. " Your Prayer to God, says he, shall make :me perfect, that I may attain to that “ Portion, which his Mercy has assigned “ me; having Recourse to the Gospel, as " to the Flesh of Jesus Chrift; and to the “ Apostles, as to the Presbytery of the
* Ignatii Epist. ad Philadelph. Sect. 5. Cotelerii Patres Apoftol. Tom. 2. Vide Notas Johannis Clerici in locum.