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within their reach; but when we fee' the visible creation, which is the work of God, we do, by reflecting, discover its maker; and so this truth, that there is a God, is convey'd to our under. standings by our internal senses, namely, our reHecting powers, or, in other words, by our reason. Thirdly, Truth is convey'd to our understandings by such report or testimony of others; for example, that there was suché a man as Julius Cæfar, is a truth which is convey'd to our understandings by such report ; for Julius Cæfar died long before any person now living was born, and consequently no person now living can be informed of this truth by an external perception of his person ; and our reflecting powers alone cannot discover to us that there was such a man; consequently, it is impossible that our understandings should be 'informed of this truth, if it were not some way or other convey'd to us by the report or teftimony of others. Now as truth is convey'd to our understandings different ways, fo the act of the understanding, in the apprehend. ing of truth, is called by different names, from those different ways of conveyance. . When truth is convey'd to our understandings by our exter nal, or by our internal fenses, then, in propriety of speech, this is called knowledge. And when truth is convey'd by the report or testimony of others, then, in propriety of speech, it is called faith. Not but that these terms are commonly: yfed promiscuously, being put one for the other; for we often call that knowledge, which, properly fpeaking, is an act of believing; and we like. wife call that believing, which, to speak properly, is an act of knowledge. And in all these, the act of the mind is the same, viz. the apprehending of, and assenting to any thing as truth, from the information that it hath received, either from

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our external or internal senses, or from the report and testimony of others. And it is so far, and only so far an act, either of knowledge or belief, as our understandings do apprehend and affent to it ; for, what our understandings do not apprehend and assent to is neither an act of knowledge nor belief, because that cannot properly be called an act of the understanding, as knowledge and faith are, which our understandings do not perma ceive. So then faith, in propriety of speech, and when distinguished from knowledge, is that act of the understanding, which afsents to any thing as truth, barely upon the credit of him that reports it : I say, barely upon che credit of the reporter, because if any truth is reported to us by another, which upon reflection appears to be self-evident, or which is made so our external senfes, then the act of the understanding, in affenting in such a cafe, cannot properly be called faith, because that act does not wholly arise from such report. And here it may not be amiss to observe the common distinction between human and divine faith. Hu. man faith is an assent to a credible proposition, merely upon the testimony of man, the just ground of that affent being the ability of the teftifier to know the truth of what he testifies, and his honefty in testifying what he knows; which, because we can have no absolute assurance of, we can have no absolute reliance on the truth of any purely human testimony. I say, it is an affenting to a thing credible, upon the forementioned ground; because if we affent to a thing incredi, ble, or to a credible thing, when we have not juft ground for thạr assent, this, I think, is not properly called faith or believing, but credulity or presuming. Divine faith is an assent to a propos sition revealed by God, who, being omniscient, cannot be ignorant of the thing feycaled, and bet

îng the God of truth; cannot deceive us with a lie,

Secondly, What the object of faith is? In an-s fwer to this enquiry, I observe, that the object of faith' may be considered in a three-fold respect ; first, what a man ought to believe ; secondly, what he does believe ; and, thirdly, what he can, or is capable of believing. Note, I here' refer. only to divine faith. ? Firft, A man ought to believe all those divine propositions, whose sense and meaning hath been revealed or made known to his understanding, or that might have been, were it not fome way or other his own fault ; which propo. fitions have such evidence accompanying them, as, in reason and justice, proves them to be divine or from God; and therefore all such propositions, in this respect, are the object of faith. Secondly, A man does believe all those divine propositions, whose sense and meaning he actually afsents to the truth of ; and therefore, in this refpect, all such propositions are the object of faith. T birdly, What a man can, or is capable of be. lieving. This likewise may be considered in two respects ; first, what he can believe; if all impediments were removed ; fecondly, what he can or is. capable of believing in the present circumstances of things, that is, while those impediments are still remaining. First, A man can, or is capable of believing, supposing all impediments remov’d, all divine propositions ; and so, in this respect, all such propositions are the objects of faith. Secondly, What a man can, or is capable of believing in the present circumstances of things, which füpposes the impediments to faith; such as Noth, carelessness, prejudice, the proposition being delivered in an unknown tongue, and the like, still remaining; the object of faith, in this respect, being what we are at presenç enquiring

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after. To this I answer, that a man can, or is capable of believing all those divine propositions, and only thofe, the sense and meaning of which are revealed to his understanding, so far, and to that degree, as they are thus revealed. Thus, for example, God hath declared that he will judge the world. Now all those men, whose understandings are informed of the sense and meaning of this propofition, can believe, that is, they are capable of giving their assent to this truth that God will judge the world] but all those men, whose understandings are not informed of the sense and meaning of the aforesaid proposition, such men cannot affent to, or believe it, whilft they continue in that uninformed state ; because faith follows, but never goes before the underfanding; we first understand the sense and meaning of the proposition, and then believe it, or allent to the truth of it, and we cannot believe the least tittle, 'till it be first apprehended by the understanding. This is evident from the nature of faith; for as faith is an affent of the mind, to the truth of a proposition, convey'd to the understanding by the report or testimony of others; so this assent necessarily pre-supposes, that the understanding is informed of, or apprehends the thing which it afsents to, there being no such thing in nature as the believing an unintelligible proposition. Toassent to we understand not what is, in reality, no affent ; and therefore if the forementioned truth, viz. that God will judge the world, had been declared in such a language, or in such a manner, that mankind could not, or did not discern what God Almighty' did signify and intend by it; as this, properly speaking, would not have been a revelation, because there is nothing discovered or made known by it'; fo no man could possibly have given his affent to

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the truth of it, whilft he remained chus ignorant, because there was no truth discovered or revealed for him to give his assent to. And fuppofing that the perfon, employ'd to make the forementioned declaration, had given fight the blind, feet to the lame, health to the sick, and life to the dead, and had done all that was neceffary, or that could be done, to prove his message to be from God; yet so long as men remained ignorant of that message, or so long as their underftandings remained uninformed of the sense and meaning of it, so long they were utterly incapable of giving their assent to the truth of it, İndeed, they may believe this message to be divine, from the evidence which attended it, and they may be assured, from natural reason, that all divine propositions are true, and consequently that the forementioned proposition is true in the sense of the proposer ; but then this is no more than a general faith in divine propofitions at large, and not a particular act of faith in the sense and meaning of the forementioned proposition. The sense and meaning of this proposition is, that God will judge the world; but they being wholly ignorant of this meaning, it makes them wholly incapable of giving their assent to this truth, viz. that God will judge the world. They believe at large, that all God reveals is true, and, as a consequence of this general faith, they believe every particular divine proposition to be true in the Jense of the revealer, tho' they do not understand what the sense and meaning of that proposition is ; but this is not a particular, act of faith in the truth contained in that proposition, but only a general faith in God, that all he faith is true. Thus the Disciples of our Lord believed what the Prophets had spoken was from God, and they doubtlels were persuaded that all divine propoli

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