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That he was Lustful, Proud, and Cruel, appears from the Alcoran it self, p. 374, 375.
THat there is as great Certainty of the Truth of the Christian Religion, as there is of the Being of Qod, p. 377.
The Resolution of Faith.
The Scriptures considered, (1.) As Historically true: (2.) As to their DoElrine, which concerns Eternal Salvation-, p. 381, 382. From both these Considerations , it follows , that they are infallibly True, p. 383. In many cafes , there is as much cause to believe what we know from others , as what we fee and experience our selves , p. 3.84. And thus it is in the present cafe, concerning the Resolution of Faith, p. 387. The Evidence of Sense, and of Humane Testimony in this cafey compared, p. 389. The Certainty of both ultimately resolved into the Divine Veracity, &c. ibid. An Objection from John xx. 29. anfwerd, p. 392. The Truth of the Christian Religion, evident even to a Demonstration, p.394.
ERRATA. >AG. 11 j. Marg. read Tavern, ibid. P. 205. 1.6. X. Hepmphe. fid. P. 321. Marg. 1.2. r. Tab.
Reasonableness and Certainty
IN Discoursing of the Reasonableness and Certainty of the Christian Religion^ I shall use this Method i I. I shall shew, That from the Notion of a God) it necessarily follows, that there must be some Divine Revelation. II. I shall enquire into the Way and Manner by which this Revelation may be suppos'd to be delivered and preserved in the World, III. I shall shew, That from the Notion of a God, and the Nature and Design of a Divine Revelation, it follows, That the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are that Divine Revelation. IV. That no ether Books or Doctrines whatsoever can be of Divine Revelation. V. I shall from hence give a Resolution of our Faith, by shewing, That we have the same Evidence for the Truth and Divine Authority of the Scriptures, that we have for the Being of God him-' self; because it follows, from the Notion of a God y both that there must of necessity be some Divine Re-»
velation, and that the Scriptures are that Divine Revelation. VI. Having done this, I shall, in the last place, eAdeavour to clear such Points as are commonly thought most liable to exception in the Christian Religion; and shall propose some Considerations, which may serve to remove such Objections, and obviate such Cavils as are usually rais'd against the Holy • Scriptures.
• C H A P. I.
That from the Motion of a God, it necessarily follows that there mufl be some Divine Revelation.
IN the First place, I shall shew how Reasonable and Necessary it is to suppose, that God should Reveal himself to Mankind: And I shall insist the rather upon this, because it is not usually so much consider'd in this Controversy, as it ought to be; for if it were, it certainly would go very far towards the proving the Divine Authority of the Scriptures \ since if it be once made appear that there must be some Divine Revelation, it will be no hard matter to prove that the Scriptures are that Revelation: For if it be proved that there must be some Revealed Religion, there is no other which can bear any competition with that contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. My first Business therefore shall be to shew, from the Consideration of the Attributes of God, and of the Nature and State of Mankind, that in all reason we cannot but believe that there is some Revealed Religion in the World.
There is nothing more evident to Natural Reason, than that there must be some Beginning, some First Principle of Being, from whence all other Beings proceed. And nothing can be more absurd, than to ima
of the Chrijiian Religion. 3
gine that That wonderful variety of Beings in the Heavens and Earth and Seas, which all the Wisdom of Man is not able in any measure to understand, or thoroughly to search into, should yet be produced and continued for Ib many thousand Years together, without any Wisdom or Contrivance \ that an unaccountable Concourse of Atoms, which could never build the least House or Cottage, should yet build and sustain the wonderful Fabrick of the whole World; that when the very Lines in a Globe or Sphere cannot J>e made without Art, the World it self, which that is but an imperfect Imitation of, should be made without it?, and that less Skill should be required to the forming' of a Man, than is necessary to the making of his Picture; that Chance should be the cause of all the Order, and Fortune of all the Constancy and Regularity in the Nature of Things ; and that the very Faculties of Reason and Understanding in all Mankind,- should have their Original from that, which had ho Sense or Knowledge, but was mere Ignorance and Stupidity. This is so fas from being Reason and Philosophy,that it is down-right Folly and Contradiction.
From a Being therefore of Infinite Perfection must proceed all things that are besides , with all their Perfections and Excellencies, and afriortg others, the Virtues and Excellencies of Wisdom, Justice, Mercy anct Truth must be derived from him, as the Author.of all the Perfections of which the Creatures are capable. And it is absurd to imagine that the Creator and Governor of the World, who is infinitely more Just,' more Wife and Good and Holy than any Creature cart be, will not at last reward the Good, and punish the Wicked. For, Shall not the Judge of all the Earth dd right? Is it to be supposed that the Wise and Good God would create Men only to abuse themselves and one another? to live a while in Sin and Folly here^ and some of them in the most extravagant and brutal Wickedness;, and then go down to the Grave, and so? M.B i there there should be an end of them for ever? What is there worthy of the infinite Wisdom of God, in so poor a Design as this f Doth not the Voice of Nature it self teach us, and has it not been the general Belief and Expectation of all Ages and Nations, that the prosperous Sinner, who is subtle and powerful to do mischief, must suffer in another World for what he has done amiss here? and , that all is not to pass away with us in Sport and Extravagance, in Laughter and Nojse, in Riot, or in Violence and Cruelty, as some Men are willing to believe \ as if the World were made for the Wicked, and they to abuse it?
It appears likewise from the common Belief and Experience of Mankind, that as there is a God of infinite Goodness and Holiness , so there are wicked and malicious Spirits, which are ever contriving the Mischief and Ruin of Men. For besides the Evidence of this from Scripture, which we must be 'allowed here to alledge in the nature at least of an History, it is folly to imagine that all the Oracles and Prodigies of the Heathens could be mere Forgeries, and that there was no ground nor foundation for such a Belief, as universally obtained in all Nations and Ages of the World, and for the Customs and Practices which followed upon this Belief, that there are Demons, or Spirits, of an evil and malicious Disposition and Power. I shall instance only in the unnatural Cruelties, which the Heathen World, even the Greeks and Romans themselves , were continually put upon, by the instigation of these malicious and wicked Spirits*. For the Heathen Nations offered up multitudes of innocent Men and Women, and even their own Children, in Sacrifice to their False Gods; which is as sure an Evidence that there are such Beings, which required these Cruelties from them , as it is, that there are Tyrants and Persecutors, when they cause innocent Men to be murthered, and Children to be torn from the Arms of their Parents, and stain in their sight. And tho' the