Page images


II. What is the Argument where- Sermon by this Faith is wrought?


III. Whether it admit of Degrees, and what are the Differences of them?

IV. What are the in Effects of this Faith?

proper and genu

V. In what Refpects it may be faid to be Divine?

I. Whether this may truly and properly be call'd Faith? And that it may, is evident, because the general definition of Faith agrees to it: for a Man may be perfwaded in his mind concerning things fupernaturally revealed; and the Scripture every where calls a perfwafion of thefe matters, by the name of Faith. But befides this, it feems this is the adequate and only Notion of Faith, as it hath been fixt by the Schools, and is become a Term of Art. For the definition that the Schools give of Faith is this; that it is

affent to a thing credible, as credible. Now, fay they, that is Credible which

E 3


relies upon the Teftimony of a credible Volume Perfon; and confequently a Human XII. Faith is that which relies upon human Testimony; and a Divine Faith, that which relies upon the Teftimony or Authority of God: which Definition, tho' it be fhort and imperfect, (being indeed not a Definition of Faith in general, but of a particular kind of Faith, viz. that which is wrought by the Argument which we call Teftimony or Authority, and confequently excludes a belief of the Principles of natural Religion, and a belief that the Scriptures are the word of God,from being Faith:) yet this fhews thus much, that all agree in this, that a Perfwafion of things fupernaturally revealed, is truly and properly Faith.

[ocr errors]

II. What is the Argument whereby this Faith, or Perfwafion of things Supernaturally revealed is wrought in us? And this, by the general confent of all, is the Teftimony or Authority of God, fome way or other revealing these things to us; whofe infallible and unerring Knowledge, together with his Goodness and Authority, gives us the highest affurance, that he neither



to us.

can be deceived himfelf, nor will deceive us in any thing that he reveals Sermon I fay the Teftimony or Authority of God fome way or other revealing things to us, is the Argument whereby a Faith of any fupernatural Revelation is wrought in us: but if we restrain all fupernatural Revelations to the Bible, as I told F you we know of no other, then the particular kind of Teftimony whereby this Faith is wrought in us, is the written Word of God.

III. As to the degrees of this Faith. Suppofing men fufficiently fatisfied that the Scriptures are the Word of God, that is, a Divine Revelation; then all those who are fufficiently fatisfied of this, do equally believe the things contained in the Scriptures. For if men be once fully fatisfied that God hath spoken any thing, I think no Man makes the leaft doubt but what God fays is true. Now there can be no Degrees of Faith, where there is no doubt of the contrary; all the Degrees that are in Faith, arifing from a greater or lefs mixture of doubting. So that those who do not at all doubt E 4 but

but that the Scriptures are the Word Volume of God, have the fame Degree of XII. Perfwafion concerning the matters contained in them: and that no Man doubts whether what God fays is true, arifeth from the fix'd and conftant Notion which men univerfally have of God, that he is infallible and true. Therefore we find, Matt. 21. 25. when our Saviour puts the Dilemma to the Pharifees, concerning the Baptifm of John, Whether it were from heaven, or of men? that they reafoned with themselves, faying, If we fball fay, from heaven; he will fay unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? Which kind of reafoning imports thus much, that it is univerfally acknowledged, that no Man can in reason make the leaft doubt of that which he believes to be from God. Therefore a Man would wonder what Becanus the Jefuit meant, unless it were to abufe the Prophets and Apostles, when he fays, Tom. 3. of his SchoolDivinity, that the Prophets and Apoftles had evedentiam revelationis, non autem evidentiam prime veritatis: tametfi enim evidenter cognofcerent Deum effe, qui ipfis revelabat myfteria,

fidei, non tamen evidenter cognofcebant Deum effe fummè veracem, qui nec falli potuit, nec fallere; that is, "Tho' "it was fufficiently evident to the "Prophets and Apoftles, that those "Revelations which they had were "from God; yet it was not evi"dent to them, that Divine Re"velations are true: for tho' they "did evidently know that there was "a God, who revealed to them "the myfteries of Faith; yet they did (6 not evidently know that God was "infallible and true, who could nei"ther deceive, nor be deceived. By which he doth not only make the Prophets and Apostles Ideots, and deftitute of one of the most common notions of human Nature, which is, that God is infallible and true; but he doth likewife make all Divine Revelation ufelefs, and to no purpose. For to what purpose is it for a Man to be fatisfied that God reveals fuch a thing to him; if he be in the mean time unfatisfied, whether what God reveals is true? for no man that is unfatisfied, whether what God reveals be true, can upon any tolerable ground of reafon yield a firm affent to a Divine Revelation.



« PreviousContinue »