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N Discoursing of the Reasonableness and
Certainty of the Christian Religion, I shall use this Method : I. I shall shew,
That from the Notion of a God, it necessarily follows, that there must be some Divine Revelation.
II. I shall enquire into the Way and Manner by which this Revelation may be suppos’d to be delivered and preserved in the World. III. I shall fhew,
That from the Notion of a God, and the Nature and Design of a Divine Revelation, it follows, -That the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are that Divine Revelation. IV. That no other Books or Doctrines whatsoever can be of, Divine Revelation. V. I shall from hence give a Resolution of our Faith, by shewing, That we have the fame Evidence for the Truth and Divine Authority of the Scriptures, that we have for the Being of God himself ; because it follows, from the Notion of a God, both that there must of necessity be some Divine Revelation, and that the Scriptures are that Divine Revelation. VI. Having done this, I shålt, in the last place, endeavour to clear such Points as are commonly thought most liable to exception in the Christian Religion ; and shall propofe fome Confiderations, which may ferve to remove such Objections, and obviate such Cavils as are usually rais'd against the Holy Scriptures.
С НА Р. І.
That from the Notion of a God, it ne
cessarily follows that there must be some Divine Revelation.
N the First place, I shall fhew how Reasonable and Necessary it is to suppose;
that God should Reveal himself to Mankind: And I shall insist the rather upon this, because it is not usually so much consider'd in this Controversie as it ought to be ; for if it were, it certainly would go very far towards the proving the Divine Authority of the Scriptures ; since if it be once made appear that there must be some Divine Revelation, it will be no hard matter to prove that the
Scriptures are that Revelation : For if it be i proved that there must be fome Revealed
Religion, there is no other which can bear any competition with that contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. My first Business therefore shall be to shew, from the Consideration of the Attributes of God, and of the Nature and State of Mankind, that in all Reason we cannot but believe that there is some Revealed Religion
in There is nothing more evident to Natural Reason, than that there must be some Begin
ning, some First Principle of Being, from whence all other Beings proceed. And nothing can be more absurd, than to imagine that that wonderful variety of Beings in the Heavens and Earth and Seas, which all the Wisdom of Man is not able in any measure to understand, or throughly to search into, fhould yet be produced and continued for so many thousand Years together, without any Wisdom or Contrivance that an unaccountable concourse of Atoms, which could never build the least House or Cottage, should yet build and sustain the wonderful Fabrick of the whole World; that when the very Lines in a Globe or Sphere cannot be made without Art, the World it felf, which that is but an imperfect Imitation of, should be made without it, and that less Skill should be re quired to the forming of a Man, than is necessary to the making of his Picture ; that Chance should be the cause of all the Order, and Fortune of all the Constancy and Regularity in the Nature of Things ; and that the very Faculties of Reason and Understanding in all Mankind, should have their Original froin that, which had no Sense or Knowa ledge, but was meer Ignorance and Stupidity. This is so far from being Reason and Philosophy, tlat it is down-right: Folly and Contradiction.
From a Being therefore of Infinite Perfection must proceed all things that are be
sides, with all their Perfections and Excellencies, and among others, the Vertues and Excellencies of Wildom, Justice, Mercy and Truth must be derived from him, as thie Author of all the Perfections, of which the Creatures are capable. And it is absurd to imagine that the Creator and Governor of the World, who is infinitely more Just, more Wise and Good and Holy than any Creature can be, will not at last reward the Good, and pụnish the Wicked.. For, Shall not the Judge of all the Earth do right ? Is it to be supposed that the Wise and Good God would create Men only: to abuse themselves and one another to live a while in fin and folly here, and some of them in the most extravagant and brutal wickedness, and then go down to the Grave, and so there should be an end of them for ever? Wliat is there worthy of the infinite Wisdom of God, in so poor a Design as this ! Doth nor the Voice of Nature it self teach us, and has it not been the general Belief and Expectation of all ages and Nations, that the prosperous Sinner, who is subtle and powerful to do mischief, must suffer in another World, for what he has done amiss here ? and, that all is not to pass away with us in Sport and Extravagance, in Laughter and Noise, in Riot,
or in Violence and Cruelty, as some Men are : willing to believe ; as if the World were made for the Wicked, and they to abuse it.