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SERM.III. Points. As little can be gathered from these Words, I think, I have the Spirit of the Lord: For they are an Irony, in answer to those, who called in Question the Truth of his Miffion, as much as to fay, "Whatever you may imagine, who oppose my "Miffion; yet I, who should know beft, "with humble Deference to your Judgment, suppose, I have the Spirit of the



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Whatever Disputes may be raised about the Degree of Inspiration; it is an obvious Conclufion of Reafon; that when God defigned to notify his Will to Mankind, he would take Care that the Perfons commiffioned by him, for that Purpose, should publish what was his Will: and Nothing contradictory or disagreeable thereto. Take this Key in your Hand, and you unlock all the Difficulties, that have been raised formerly, and revived of late, against Infpiration. For the Bible must be allowed to contain an infallible Rule of Faith and Practice; unless it can be proved, which has not yet been done, that the Authors of it have omitted fome Truth effentially neceffary to Salvation, or advanced fomething flagrantly abfurd, and manifeftly repugnant to the Will of God. No other Objections are of

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any Force or Significancy: Because no SERM. III.
other Objections can fet afide the pofitive
Evidence for fuch an Affiftance of the Spirit,
as was fufficient to preserve them from Error
and guide them to all neceffary Truths.

Now, as to the Charge of Inconfiftences, Abfurdities, and Contradictions; whatever has been urged on this Head, has been fatisfactorily answered by feveral able Writers. But, fuppofing all Objections of this Kind could not be folved; it is much more reasonable to fuppofe, that they may admit of a rational Solution, though we at this Distance of Time, who want an adequate Knowledge of the Customs, Peculiarities, and Genius of the Eastern Nations, cannot hit upon it; than that a Religion attefted by Miracles, confirmed by Prophecies, and recommended by it's own internal Excellency, fhould be falfe. God would not have fuffered an Imposture to come recommended to us with such strong and commanding Evidences, as have deceived (if they were deceived) as rational, inquifitive and difinterested Men as ever lived in the World; Evidences fo ftrong, that no Inftance can be given of any Thing else, that was ever fufpected to be falfe, which had fo Y 3


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many and fo bright Indications and Marks of Truth, as Christianity has.

We ought to pafs the fame Judgment upón God's Word, which we do upon his Works. In the latter there appear plain Signatures of Goodness and Wisdom throughout the whole Frame of Nature. But if among the Works of the Creation, which are generally excellent, there are fome particular Exceptions, fome Creatures, for Inftance, which, far from anfwering any wife End which we can difcern, are really noxious and baneful to the Reft: What do we infer from thence? That the Creation is not the Work of a wife and good God! Or even, that these Creatures were not formed by him? No, no fuch Thing: We conclude nothing, but that these Subjects lye too deep for us, and that our Views are too narrow to account for every Thing. Juft fo, the Characters of Goodness and Wisdom are generally impreffed upon the Bible: And if in a Book generally fo good and excellent there are fome particular Things hard to be understood, nay, seemingly abfurd; we ought to refolve it into our Want of Penetration and Difcernment: And we might as well argue, " feveral



"Things in the Creation appear to us pro- SERM.III. "ductive of evil, and hurtful; and there"fore, because they are not of a Piece with "the reft of God's Works, they cannot be " his Productions;" as pretend to reason thus: "Such Texts feem unaccountable to 66 us, and therefore we will not allow them Ec to be written under the Direction of an "All-wife Being." Inftead of fuch a precipitate Judgment, it would be much wifer to exprefs ourselves as St. Auftin did: “What "I understand in Scripture, is excellent ; " and I do not question, but what I do not "understand is fo too." We fhould remember, that a Book, which fpeaks of Things remote from common Apprehenfion, which lays before us the deep Things of God, muft in the Nature of the Thing be more puzzling; than any Compofition, which contains the fhallow Devices of an Understanding like our own.

Men may retire into their Closets, and there imagine with themselves, how easy and plain a Book should be, which is of a divine Original, without any amazing Facts, without any dark and unintelligible Paffages; and when they find that the Revelation which we have, does not tally with Y 4


SERM.III. their vain Imaginations, may presume to

reject it. And, fhould they, instead of
looking abroad, and seeing what the Ad-
ministration of the Universe is in Fact, fit
down and form imaginary Schemes, how
God should govern the World; the Course
of Nature, as it is in Reality, would no
more correfpond with their preconceived
Hypothefis, than the Scriptures do. They
would never imagine a priori, that a con-
fiderable Part of the rational World should
be cut off, before they came to the Use of
their Reason, and fhould juft make their
Entrance upon
the Theatre of Nature, to
go out again, without feeming to answer
one valuable End or Purpose: They would
never conceive, without seeing how Things
really are, that there fhould be fo much
Evil, natural and moral, in the World; that
feveral Nations should fit in Darkness, and
the Shadow of Death.

One plain Argument, that God has made fuch a Revelation as we have, fhould outweigh a thousand plaufible Conjectures brought against it, to shew, that it can be no Revelation from God; and that if it had, it must have been made in Juch a Manner, and no other. The Reafon is as follows: We


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