« AnteriorContinuar »
Authority at all. To such a Proposition we fhou'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 ot* Proof, that we acknowledge the infallible Veracity of God. This can only appear by our assenting to a Proposition, whole 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 fhou'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 Propositions j 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 ofany Revelation, if we fhou'd not find some Propositions of this kind G g 4- in
e havSi Csic of Reason*
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 Ihou'd be one, and one three * \ 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 Flefi, and dwelt among/} 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.
in many respects, is a mystery too, and what we cou'd not have known, had it not been reveal'd to us; but now, that it is reveal'd, 'tis far from deserving the Imputation of being absurd. d That all Mankind are Sinners, and fallen from their primitive Integrity, not only the Scriptures, but the constant Experience of our own irregular Appetites is but too convincing a Demonstration. Now since this was our Condition, and God was minded to rescue us from it, but entirely at Liberty in what method to effect it j since the Soul of our Saviour Christ was a free immaculate Being, that might voluntary suffer for us, if he pleas'd, and, by the dignity of his Nature, inhance the value of his sufferings to the full pardon of our Sins, upon his Father's acceptance of a vicarious Sacrifice; there appears nothing in this Doctrine of Christ's Satisfaction, (now that we have it fully reveal'd to us) but what corresponds with common Reason, and all judicial proceedings among Mankind. great* These are some of the principal Doc
deal of trines, that we (as Christians) profess; MT& and being they are free, when rightly nky inS" considered, from all Appearance of Contll«n. tradiction,
tradiction, e we may appeal to the Judgment of any considerate Person, whether it be not for the Dignity and Advantage of Religion, that some Articles of it should exceed the largest humane Comprehension: whether we should entertain the fame aweful Impressions of the Divine Majesty, if the Perfections of his Nature and Operations were only such, as we could fee to the end of: whether it does not raise the value of Man's Redemption, to have it brought about by Miracles of Mercy, not only without Example, but even beyond our present Understanding. Had all these Things been less, we should indeed have known them better; but then so much as we abate of their Myjieriousness, to bopg them down to our Capacity, so much we impair their Dignity, and weaken the Power of them upon our Affections. It is therefore the very Commendation (as we said before) and Excellency of these Doctrines, that they are so far abeve us ; and we ought to esteem it an Instance of the Divine Goodness, no less than Wisdom, so to have temper'd his Revelations, that we want no Knowledge, enough to engage our Piety and Holy Wonder, and yet have not so much, as should destroy our Humility
• Stanhope's Scrm.