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not (without making God accessary to the Fraud) have banter'd our Credulity, and impos'd upon us false and romantick Fables: and, consequently, that the many Faults and Absurdities, complain'd of by some, cannot be in the Writings themselves, but are too probably in the Hearts of the Complainers: For, * if our Go/fel, i. e. the Beauty and Excellency of our Gospel be hid, lays the Apostle, it is hid to them that are loft, in whom the God of this World hath blinded the Minds of them which believe not, left the Light of the glorious GospelofChrifl {who is the Image ofGod J, should shine unto them.

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S E C T. II.

Of the Inspiration of the Evangelical
Writers.

An ot- « T|3 U T why mould we conceive so jeaion. ti j^ grcat a 2srotion 0f fhe glorious

"Gospel of Christ, as you call it, when, "upon Examination, we find it not a near so good, as some humane Com"positions? At the best, 'tis but a sim"pie Narrative of a plain Man's Life,

il with

* i Cor. ir. J, 4.

"with some Occasional Epistles from a "few of his Followers, written in a "negligent Stile, and confused Method; "and is there any thing in all this, "that a Person of a tolerable Capacity "may not perform? To suppose that "the Writers of these Things needed a u supernatural Assistance, or that the *' Spirit of God either suggested the *' Matter; or super-intended the Di0ifl on, when they were recording them "to Posterity, is vain and idle, if not "profane and blaiphemous; especially "considering that the very Writers a themselves, by the Errors and Offen"ces of their personal Conduct, their "Inconjijiences, if not Contradictions in "several Instances, their Misquotations of some "Passages in Scripture, and their doubtful and indiffinate manner of ex"pressing others j by their giving Dire"tfions in Matters of a trivial Nature, "their exhorting their Followers to the "means of acquiring Knowledge, their u consulting with one another in difficult "Questions, and their frequent Declara"tions, that themselves both spake and "wrote according to their own Senti** ments, (all inconsistent with a Divine "Inspiration,) give us sufficient Reason "to think, that, in their Compositions, •' they were actuated no otherwise, C 3 "than

"than common Authors are,who arc left "to the Exercise of their own Facul"tics and Inventions. For, to fay no"thing of the need which St. Peter had "(even after the Descent of the Holy "Ghost) a of a Vision, to rectify his "Notions about Preaching the Goipel <c to the Gentiles; who can imagine, "that hisb grois Dissimulation at An"' tioch, (even after this Vision had instructed him better,) should be any Indication of a Divine Principle residing in him? The Spirit of God is certainly the Spirit of Truth and Harmony; but when the Evangelists "relate several Actions of our Savi"our's Life, nay, even his Genealogy at their first setting out, in a different, if not contradictory manner ; when Matthew tells us, that hisc being called a Nazarene was predicted, though no Word like it is to be found in any of the Prophets, d and under Jeremiah's Name miscites a Passage in the Prophet Zechary; and when John speaks in such dubious and uncertain Language, ase about thejirjl Hour of the Day, andf as it were two hundred Cubitsps.. (which he certainly would not have done, had he known bet

«Acts xv. 7. "Gal. ii. ti. 'Ch. ii. 25. *Ch, xxvii. 9. * Ch. xix. 14. f Ch. xxi. 8.

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** ter") how can we ftippose, that Men, "endowed with the infallible Spirit of *' God, should commit such Blunders, "or labour under such Uncertainties? w Tis below the Dignity of the third "Person in the Trinity, one would "think, to concern himself about a "8 Cloak and Parchments, or the little "Salutations, which St. Paul sends to "his Fellow-Converts and Familiars; "nor can we conceive why he should "so strictly enjoin timothy to h give Atil tendance to Reading, and Meditation, "(which a miraculous Infusion certain'* ly vacates) or why the other Apo"Rles should dispute and confer toge"trier, before they came to a Reiblu"tion "l at the Synod of Jerusalem; if "each of them singly had been fuffici♦' ently inspired to determine the Que11 stion. But the plain Truth is, the "Apostle to the Gentiles is so far from li arrogating to himself any such mira"culous Gift, that, in some Cases, he "pretends to be no more than a com"mon Adviser, k But to the reft speak "i, not the Lard; and about such and ** such a Matter,11 have no Command"mentfrom the Lord, but give my JudgCi ment only: Words, that but badly C 4 "com

« 2 Tiro. iv. 15. * l Tim. iv. 15,15. 'Acts xv J iCor. vii. 12. !Ver. 25.

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Answered, by shewing from Scripture that the Apostles ■were actually inspiral.

"comport with a Person, who pretend to "have the Spirit of God abiding in him. "And therefore we may safely conclude, "that whatever Encomiums may be given to the Writers of the Gospel in other Respects, no implicit Faith can' "be due to their Authority, upon the "Account of their Inspiration.

'that God, who is a Spirit, can speak as intelligibly to the Spirits and Minds of Men, as Men can Ipeafc to the Ear, is obvious to our first Reflections on the Divine Attributes; and that there was some Necessity for God's communica'ting himself to the Apostles in this manner, the pifficulty of their 'Province, which was to freach the Gospel to all Nations, and all Languages, seems to imply. When Moss Was sent to Pharaoh, and, for fear of the Face of so great a King, was ready to retract, God, to encourage him, gives him the Promise, that m he would be with his Mouth, and with Aaron'j Mouth, and would teach them what they should fay: And, in like manner, when our Saviour tells his Disciples, that " they should be brought before Governours and Kings for his fake, for a Tesimony again/I them and the Genpies ', he bids them take no thought how,

of

* Exod. iv. 11, 15. xiii. 9, &c.

Matt. x. 18, &c. Marlj;

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