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F6r,k as it is easiness ofaccess, that, many Times, lays a Man open to contempt, and a thorough Inspection into the secrets of any Object, that is apt to make us neglect it; so, to protect our Religion from rude Encroachments, by impressing an awe and reverential Fear upon our Minds, God has thought proper to hedge it in (as it were) with a fie red and majestick Obscurity, and, in some parts of it, to exhibit such sublime Truths as transcend the reach of human Wisdom j thereby to humble the pride and haughtiness of our Reason, and thereby to engage us in a closer and more diligent search into such Subjects, as willy every moment, furnish us with new matter to entertain the busiest Contemplation^ even to the utmost period of human Life.
While therefore we continue in this *"<*[>*• State, we must be contentl to know in tempi*/1" fart: a full and adequate perception oftiou. the Mysteries of our Religion is referv'd, as a principal Ingredient of our Felicity arid Happiness above, when all the heights and depths, which we now stand amazed at, lhall be made clear and familiar to us; when God shall display the hidden Glories of his Nature, the Wonders of his Providence, and the Gg 3 Wilde mf
* South'* Seim. Vol. I. 'i Cor. xiii. i».
Wisdom of his Counsels \ and, with all,
fortify the Eye of the Soul to such a
degree, as to make it able (as far as the
Capacities of an human Intellect can be
able) to behold and take them in.
ADist'mc- To have a right notion of the Doctrines Authority at all. To such a Proposition we sliou'd assent, tho' it were affirm'd by the most fallible Man, nay, tho* it were affirm'd by the most notorious Liar; and consequently, our assenting to such a Proposition is no manner of Proof, that we acknowledge the infallible Veracity of God. This can only appear by our assenting to a Proposition, whose Truth we do not perceive by any Evidence from the Nature of the Thing: For here we assent upon the simple Authority of God's Affirmation, and our assent is an explicit Acknowledgment of his absolute Veracity. If then it be reasonable to expect, in a Divine Revelation, that God stiou'd require our Acknowledgment of this Attribute especially (and without such Acknowledgement no Revelation wou'd be of any use) and if this Acknowledgement can appear only by our assenting, upon the Authority of God, to such PropositionSj as we cannot perceive the Truth of by any internal Evidence; it certainly cannot be incongruous to expect such Propositions in a Divine Revelation: nay, much more incongruous wou'd it be, and c a probable Objection against the Divinity of any Revelation, if we lhou'd not find some Propositions, of this kind . G g 4f in
tion be- of our Religion however, we are to distin
tilings a guim between those Things,that are above
bov; aui kecison, and incomprehensible, and thole,
must"beWe r^at are a£,amft Reasw, and utterly incareful,;- conceivable. a Some things are above r?!»lt Reason, because of their transcendent Excellency and Distance from us;whereas those that are against Reason involve a Contradiction, and have a natural Repugnancy to our Understandings, which cannot conceive any thing that is formally impossible. And from hence it will follow, that tho' we neither ean, nor shou'd believe those things, that are contrary to our Realbn, yet we both may, and ought to believe those, that are above it: and the Reason is, b because the only evidence, we can give of ^»hVto our acknowledging the infallible truth assent to of God, is by assenting to what he af
theformer, grms Up0n his OWn*AuthoritV. and why *L J,
it is rea- In assenting to a Proposition, whose sonable Truth we perceive from the Reason of sttYnz the Thing, we do not assent upon any divine Authority
* Rogers'* Necessity of a Divine Revelation.
in it, because it is hardly conceivable, why God fhou'd make an external Revelation of those Things only, which, by a due Exercise of an Reaibn, he has enabled us to find out.
Seeing it is so far from being unreasonable then, that it is highly expedient, and in some lbrt necejsary, that there fhou'd be some Propositions above the reach of human Understanding, in every Revelation, that comes from God; if we can but shew, that in the Christian System there are no Doctrines, but such as stand clear of all Absurdity and Contradiction, the more abjiruje and mysterious they are, the more they deserve our belief, for this very Reason, because, d if what is reveal'd concerning God, were every way, easy, and adapted to our Comprehension, it cou'd never reach, nor, with any fitnels, represent that Nature, which we all allow to be incomprehensible. No Con- The Holy Scriptures, for instance, traiim- teach us, that, in the Divine Nature °"°l A^" (which can be but one) there are three any Doc- distinct Ver/ons, to whom we alcnbe '""es of the same Attributes and Perfections, the !-Iactl RC! fame Worship and Adoration. This invention, deed is a Doctrine above our Comprehension, as to the manner, how three
Ihou'd stiou'd be one, and one three e ; but still we affirm, that there is no Contradiction in it, if we will but distinguish between numbers, and the nature of Things. For three to be one indeed is a Contradiction in numbers, but whether an infinite Nature can communicate itself to three different Subsistences, without such a Division, as is among created Beings, must not be determin'd by bare numbers, but by the absolute Perfections of the Divine Nature, which must be own'd to be above our Comprehension. The Holy Scriptures teach us, that the Son of God was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us, and that therefore our Redeemer was both God and Man in one Person. This, we own, is, in its Nature, one of the great Mysteries of Godliness, as St. 'Paul calls it; but then we must remember, that, in reality, it is not much more' difficult than the Union of the Soul and Body in all Mankind, which, however' unaccountable it may be to our Reason and Imagination, is too certain in fact, to be called in Question. Once more, the Holy Scriptures teach us, that our Saviour Christ, who was both God and Man in one Person, became the Redeemer of the World, by offering himself a Propitiation to God for Sinners. This,
* Tomnx's Serin. Vol. If.