Page images

there can be no Medium, if we rightly consider the Nature of God, and of the Christian Religion; but as sure as there is a God (and nothing can be more certain) the Gospel was revealed by him.



The Resolution of Faith.


Aving proved the Truth and Cer.

tainty of our Religion, I shall in the last place, upon these Principles, give a Resolution of our Faith, which is a süb. ject that has caused such unneceflary and unhappy Disputes amongst Christians in these latter Ages; for in the Primitive Times, this was no matter of Controverfie, as indeed it could not ther, and ought not now to be.

1. Considering the Scriptures only as an History, containing the A&tions and Do&trines of Moses and the Prophets, and of our Saviour and his Apostles, we have the greatest humane Testimony, that can be, of men, who had all the opportunities of knowing the truth of those Miracles goed which gave Evidence and Authority to the Doctrines, as Revealed from God, and who could have to Interest to deceive



[ocr errors]

others, but exposed themselves to all man. ner of dangers, and infamy and torments, by bearing Testimony to the Truth of what is contained in the Scriptures ; whereas Impostures are wont to be invented, not to incur such sufferings, but to avoid them, or to obtain the advantages and pleasures of this world. And so this Testimony amounts to a moral certainty, or as it is pré perly enough called by fome, to a moral infallibility because it implies a moral impoffibility of our being deceived by it : such a certainty it is, as that nothing with any reason can be objected against it. We can have as little reason to doubt, that Christ and his Apostles did, and suffered, and taught, what the Scriptures relate of them, in Jerufalem, Antioch, de as that there ever were such places in the world ; nay, we have that much better attefted than this, for many men have died in Testimony of the Truth of it.

II. This Testimony being considered with respect to the nature of the thing te. stified, as it concerns eternal Salvation, which is of the greatest concernment to all mankind, it appears that Gods Veracity ard Goodness are engaged, that we should not be deceived inevitably in a matter of this consequence : So that this Moral Infallibility becomes hereby Abso


[ocr errors]

lute Infallibility : and that which was be. fore but Humane Faith becomes Divine, being grounded not upon Fumane Testimony, but upon the Divine Attributes, which do attest and confirm that Humane Testimony; and so Divine Testimony is the ultimate ground, why I believe the will of God to be delivered in the Scriptures; it is no particular, revealed Testimony indeed, but that which is equivalent to it, viz. the constan: Attestation of God by his Providence. For it is repugnant to the very notion of a God, to let men be deceived, without any possible help or remedy, in a matter of such importance. And so we have the ground of our Faith absolutely Infallible, because it is evident from the Divine Attributes, that God doth confirm this Humane Testi: mony by his own.

III. The Argument then proceeds thus : If the Scriptures were false, it would be impossible to discover them to be fo, and it is inconGstent with the Truth and Goodness of Almighty God to suffer a deceit of this nature to pass upon mankind, without any possibility of a discovery; therefore it follows, that they are not falle. Here is 1. The object, or thing to be believed, viz, that the Revelation delivered to us in the Scriptures is from God. 2, The


Motive or Evidence to induce our Belief, viz:. Humáne Testimony: 3. A confirmation of that Testimony, or the Formal Principle and Reason of our Belief, viz. the Divine Goodness and Truthi. The object therefore, or thing believed is the Came to us, that it was to those who saw the miracles by which the Scriptures stand confirmed, vizi the revealed Will of God: and the Ground or Foundation of our Be. lief is the same that theirs was, viz. the divine Goodness and Truth, whereby we are affured, that God would not fi ffer Miracles to be wrought in his own Name, according to Prophecies formerly deliver ed, and with all other circumstances of credibility, only to confirm a Lye. The only difference then between the resolution of Faith in us, and inthe Christians who were converted by the Apostles themselves is this, that tho we believe the fame things, and upon the same grounds and reasons with thein, yet webave not the same immediate motives 'or evidence to induce our Belief; or to fatissie us in these reasons, and convince us, that the Revealed Will of God, contained in the Scriptures, is to be believed upon these grounds; that is, to satisfie and convince us that the belief of the Scriptures being the word of God is finally refolved into the authority of


God himself, and is as well certified to us, as his Divine Attributes can render it. For they were assured of this, from what their own fenfes perceived, but we have our assurance of it from the Testimony of others.

The Question therefore will be, whether the motives and arguments for this Belief in us, or the means whereby we become assured, that the Revealed Will of God is contained in the Scriptures, be not as fufficient to produce a divine Faith in us, and to establish our Faith upon the divine authority, as the mo ives and arguments which thofe had, who lived with the Apostles, and saw their Miracles, could be to produce that Faith in them, which resolved itself into the divine authority. And this enquiry will depend upon these two things : 1. Whether we may not be assured of some things as certainly from the Testimony of others, as from our own Senses. 2. Whether this be not the prefent case, relating to the resolution of Faith. I shall therefore consider in the first place the certainty which we have for the matters of fact, by which the authority of the Scriptures is proved and confirmed to us, compared with the evidence of fence, and will then apply it, to the resolution of Faith.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »