Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

there is a God, is the first and most fundamental Principle of Religion, Sermon and it is unreasonable to expect grea

IV. ter assurance of any thing in Religion, than we have of that which is the first Principle of it. And indeed it is impoffible; for no man can be infallibly assured, that a Revelation is from God, unless he be first infallibly assured that there is a God, but no man + hath more than undoubted assurance that there is a God. No man pretends to a Divine Revelation that there is a God; but only to have rational fatisfaction of it, such as leaves no just or reasonable cause to doubt of it. And why then should

any alsurance of a Divine Revelation, than he hath of a God?

desire greater

4. An undoubted Assurance is sufficient to constitute a Divine Faith. Mark 16. 14. it is said, Christ upbraided his disciples with their unbelief; because they believed not them, who had seen him after he was risen. Suppose now the Disciples had believed, which they ought to have done; this Faith of theirs would have been a truly Divine Faith; but by no

means

now the

means infallible. For that cannot be Volume an infallible Faith which is built but XII. upon

fallible Grounds : Ground upon which they ought to have believed was the Report of credible Witnesses; but the Report of credible Witnesses is by no means infallible: 'tis indeed undoubted, for I have no reason to doubt of a credible Report; for that is credible which I have just cause to believe; but I can have no just cause to doubt of that which I have just cause to believe.

As an undoubted Assurance is fufficient to constitute a Divine Faith, fe is it sufficient to all the ends and

pur. poses of adivine Faith. To instancein the Faith of the Promises of Eternal Life. What is the End and Design of this Faith, but to encourage our Obedience, and make us continue in it, notwithstanding the hazard of any thing in this World? Now I say, an undoubted assurance is abundantly sufficient to this end. Do not men venture their Estates in traffick to places they never saw, because they have it from credible persons, that there are fuch places; and they have no reason

to

to doubt their testimony: and why should not the same assurance serve in Sermon greater matters ; if an undoubted IV. assurance of a lesser benefit and ad. vantage will make men venture as much. Why should any man desire greater assurance of any thing, than to have no just reason to doubt of it; why more than so much as the thing is capable of? I cannot possibly understand, why every man should not be contented with fufficient assurance, or for what reason a man should dea sire more than enough; and why a man Ihould not be satisfied that a thing is so, when he hath as great afsurance of it, and as good evidence for it, as he could have, supposing it

And for men to say,Nothing less than infallible assurance can satisfie a man's mind, that men will always doubt so long as there is a possibility of the contrary, and there will be a possibility of the contrary, until we have infallible assurance, is as unreasonable as can be imagined. I ask any man,

whether he be infallibly assured that there was such a man as William the Conquerour? or that there is such a Countrey as

I

Spain?

were,

[ocr errors][merged small]

Spain? If he say he is, I ask, Where
Volume is his infallible evidence for this? He
XII. will cite several Historians: but all

this is humane testimony, and that
is fallible. It seems then he is not
infallibly certain there was such a
man, or there is such a Countrey;
and consequently there is a possibi-
lity of the contrary. 'Tis granted
there is: But is any sober man un-
fatisfied in his mind about these
things? I would fain meet with
the man, that will tell me in good
earnest, that he hath reason to doubt,
whether there was such a Man, or
not; and whether there be such a
place as Spain, or not ? So that it
is fond for any man to alledge a
bare possibility of the contrary, as a
reasonable cause of doubting, con-
cerning any thing, for which we
lave as good evidence as the thing
is capable of.

[ocr errors]

Upon these grounds we can easily resolve our Faith. We believe the Do&trine of Christian Religion, because it is revealed by God; we believe it to be revealed by God, because it was confirmed by unquestionable Mira

cles;

cles; we believe such Miracles were wrought, because we have as great Sermon

IV. assurance of this, as any Matter of Fadt, at such a distance from the time it was done, is capable of. Now if the Papists say, This doth at last amount to no more than moral assurance; I grant it doth not: but then I have proved this assurance to be as much as in reason can be expected, and as much as is sufficient to the Nature and Ends of a Divine Faith, and that an infallible assurance is not agreeable to a human understanding ; but an incommunicable attribute and prerogative of the Divine Nature, which whoever pretends to, he hath not the modesty of a Creature, but does by a facrilegious

ambition attempt the Throne of 5 God, and equal himself to the most

High. And therefore it is no wonder that the Popes of Rome, after they had once assumed to themselves to be infallible, did presently arrogate to themselves the titles of God, there being such strict connexion between the attribute of infallibility, and the Divine Nature, that

I a? when

« PreviousContinue »