Page images

ver to us the Divinity of them, and satisfie us beyond all doubt and Sermon scruple, I think no man can doubt, III. that considers the vast Power and Influence which he must needs have over our Understandings, who made them, and knows the frame of them: And if this be granted, it is not necessary to explain the particular way, how it is done, it being a thing not to be exprest in words, but to be felt and experienced. So that the Argument, whereby this perswasion of a Divine Revelation is wrought in those that have it, is inward Experience of the full' Satisfaction and Assurance, which they find to be supernaturally wrought in them, that is, of which they can give no account from themfelves. And this is not a stubborn belief, and an obftinate conceit of a thing: but a good man, who is inspired, when he reflects upon himself, and this assurance which he finds in himself, he can give a rational account of it to himself. Thus he finds that it is a foreign impression, and doth not spring from himself, nor hath its rise from thence; therefore

he ascribes it to fome Spirit without Volume himself; and he believes that there XII, is a God that can communicate him;

self to the minds and spirits of men ; and that his Goodness is such, that he will not fuffer them to be under a necessity of delusion, which they must be, if when they have the highest assurance and satisfaction, that such a thing is a Divine Revelațion, they may be deceived. And then likewise he considers the matter of the Revelation, which if it do not contradict any essential and necessary fundamental notion of his understanding, he thinks himself bound to entertain it upon this assurance.

I say, good men may give themfelves this rational fatisfaction: for I grant a wicked man, that rejects and disobeys the Truth of God, may so provoke him, as to give him up to strong delusions, to believe lies; and he may be as confident of a Lie, as a good man is of Truth. But as this is not unjust from God in reference to the Persons, so it is no prejudice to the assurance which good men may have of Divine Revelation


And this Assurance is such, as it Sermon is not in the power of any evil spi- III. rit to convey to us, concerning a delusion; or if it be in his power, he is not permitted to do it to any who have not highly provoked God, by rejecting the Truth, to give them up to strong delusions, to believe lies : and that such persons should be obnoxious to such delusions, as it is not unjust in reference to them, so neither is it any prejudice to the Afsurance which good men may have of such Revelations, which are truly and really Divine.

But for the other ways of difcerning true Revelation from false, which the Jews mention; as that the Spirit of God always works upon the Understanding, as well as the Imagination, and in consequence with the use of Reason and Underftanding, and gives some sensible notice of its seising upon men, I think all these to be uncertain, if they be examined. And if the last which they mention, viz. this that I have insisted upon, be true, all the other


Volume are superfluous.

For what need
XII. any other Sign to assure a Man

that that is a Divine Revelation,
which carries along with it clear fa-
tisfaction and full assurance that it is

[ocr errors]

So that it remains now, that we fix upon fome particular ways whereby the Person, that hath 'a Divine Revelation, may be assured of it; and this I shall do by these Propositions.

First, That God can work in the Mind of Man a firm perswasion of a thing,b y giving him a clear and vigorous perception of it; and if so, then God can accompany his own Revelations with such a clear and overpowering Light as shall discover to us the Divinity of them, and satisfie us thereof beyond all doubt and fcruple. And this no Man can doubt of, that considers the vaft Power and Influence which God, who made the Soul of Man, and perfectly knows the frame of it, must needs have upon the Mind and Understanding of Man.


Secondly, God never perswades a Man Sermon of any thing that contradicts the Na. III. tural and Essential Notions of his Mind and Understanding. For this would be to destroy his own Workmanship, and to impose that upon

the Understanding of a Man, which whilst it retains its own Nature, and remains what it is, it cannot possibly admit. For instance, we cannot imagine that God can perswade any Man that there is no God: for he that believes any thing as from God, must necessarily believe there is a God; therefore it is impossible that he can be perswaded of this as from God, that there is no God; and that he is not Wife and Just, and Good and Powerful; and that he is not to be honour'd and lov'd by all reasonable Creatures: because these do clearly and immediately contradict the moit essential and fundamental Notions of our Minds concerning God, and the respect which is due to him: not only because it is unworthy of God to go about to perswade à Man of a Falfhood; but because it is impossible in the nature of the thing, that the

« PreviousContinue »