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Acts ji.

they had been Eye and Ear-Witnesses of our Saviour and his Apostles. !.!

Q. Pray shew how the four Rules mentioned in the former Chapter, concerning Matters of Fact, meet in the Matters of Fact recorded in the Gospel of our blessed Saviour, since, where they meet, the Matters of Fact cannot be false ? . . . * A. According to the two first Rules, the Matters of Fact of the Gospel were such as Men's outward Senses, their Eyes, and Ears, could judge of, and were done publicly in the face of the World; and thus our Saviour argues with his Accusers, I spake John xviii. openly to the IVorld, and in Secret have I said no-20, thing ; And it is related in the Acts, that three thou. sand at one Time, and five thousand at another, were converted upon the Conviction of what themselves had seen, what had been done publicly before their Acts iv. 4. Eyes, wherein it was impossible to have imposed upon them. Then for the two last Rules, we find Baptism and the Lord's Supper were instituted as perpetual Memorials of these Things, and this at the very Time when these Things were said to be done; and have been observed without Interruption in all Ages through the whole Christian World, down all the way from that Time to this : And Christ himself did ordain Apostles and other Ministers of his Gospel to preach and administer these Sacraments, and to govern his Church, and that always unto the End of the World'; and they have accordingly continued to this Day, and consequently are as notorious a Matter of fact, as the Tribe of Levi was among the Jews. So that, if the Gospel were a Fiction, and invented, as it must be, in some Ages after Christ, then at that Time when it was first invented, there could be no such Sacraments, nor Order of Clergy, as derived themselves from the Institution of Christ : Which must give the Lie to the Gospel, and demonstrate the Whole to be false; and, therefore, by the last two Rules, it was as impossible to have imposed upon Mankind in this

Matter, by inventing it in After-ages, as at the Time when those Things were said to be done.

Q. How doth the intrinsic Evidence of the Christian Revelation confirm the external Evidence that was given to it?

A. In that it excels all other Institutions of Religion that ever appeared in the World. It is every Way worthy of God, and entirely beneficial to his Creatures, and agreeable to the best Reason and Sense of Mankind. And where any Doctrine is superadded, which natural Reason could not discover, it is so far from contradicting the plain and evident Sense of Mankind, that, upon Consideration, it appears highly useful to us in the State in which we now are. The great Fears and Doubts of Mankind, concerning the Way of appeasing the of fended Justice of God, are removed and satisfied ; and the Wisdom of God did so dispose the Method of our Salvation, that by the Sacrifice of the Cross, both the Dishonour that was done to his Justice and Holiness was satisfied, and the guilty Fears of Men relieved. The Reward the Christian Religion proposes, is excellent in itself, and lasting in its Duration; and clearly and plainly revealed. The Precepts laid down for the Direction of our Lives, comprehend all Sorts of Virtue that relate either to God, our Neighbour, or ourselves ; they have cleared what was doubtful by the Light of Nature, and have made the Improvements of it necessary Parts of our Duty. It supplies us with powerful Assistance for the Performance of our Obedience; Light for our dark Minds, Strength for our weak Resolutions, and Courage for all our Difficulties; and above all, sets before us an exact and perfect Pattern for our Instruction and Encouragement. So that the Christian Revelation itself, as iwell as the external Evidence, proves its Original to be from above..

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.* Q. Wherein appears the great Guilt of those that reject the Christian Revelation ?* :

of Unbrest Methods tos of true Hapnitir Duty, and

A. In that they resist the utmost Evidence that any Religion is capable of receiving both from its intrinsic Value, and from that external Attestation that God has been pleased to give it by Miracles and Prophecies; and consequently, by this Act of theirs, they condemned themselves, because they reject the only Means of their Salvations: '7 ,

Q. What may we learn from the Christian Revelation in general?

A. The infinite Goodness of God, who was pleased to take the Case of miserable fallen Man into Consideration, and to provide such a wonderful Remedy as his only-begotten Son, that all that believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting Life : The Inexcusableness of Mankind in persisting in their Folly, after such a loud Call to Repentance, after such Encouragements to return to their Duty, and such plain Discoveries of true Happiness, and of the surest Methods to obtain it: The Perverseness of Unbelievers, who resist the Force of such clear Evidence as the Gospel received in those miraculous Gifts and Graces, which at this Time were bestowed upon the Apostles, of which we have all the Assurance that a Matter of that Nature is capable of; The Sufficiency of the standing Revelation of the Gospel: So that since the Canon of Scripture is sealed, the Necessity of supernatural Dreams, Visions, and Miracles, seems to be vacated; and we ought rather to suspect Delusion in them, than Direction from them; The Reasonableness of believing, that in Cases of Necessity, God may still communicate himself to his Creatures by supernatural Manifestations; for though he has tied us up to his written Word, as the perpetual Rule of our Faith and Practice, yet he has no where abridged himself of that Power and Liberty, if at any Time either the Propagation of the Gospel, among Infidels, the Want of ordinary Means of Grace, the Word, Sacraments, and Priesthood, the Necessities of his Church, or some Part thereof, should make it expedient

in his Sight. Though he hath prescribed to us, he hath not limited himself. .

THE PRAYERS.

1.

For the Gift of the

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O GOD, who, as at this Time, didst teach the Holy Hearts of thy faithful People, by sending to them Spirit. the Light of thy Holy Spirit; grant me, by the

same Spirit, to have a right Judgment in all Things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy Comfort, through the Merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the Unity of the same Spirit, one God, World without End. Amen.

II.

the H Ghost.

Thanks.

It is very meet, right, and my bounden Duty, giving for that I should, at all Times, and in all Places, give scent of Thanks unto thee, O Lord, holy Father, Almighty e Holy Everlasting God, through Jesus Christ our Lord;

according to whose most true Promise, the Holy Ghost came down, as at this Time, from Heaven, with a sudden great Sound, as it had been a mighty Wind, in the Likeness of fiery Tongues, lighting upon the Apostles, to teach thein and to lead them into all Truth; giving them both the Gift of divers Languages, and also Boldness, with fervent Zeal, constantly to preach the Gospel unto all Nations, whereby we have been brought out of Darkness and Error, into the clear Light and true Knowledge of thee, and thy Son Jesus Christ: Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the Company of Heaven, I laud and magnify thy glorious Name, evermore praising thee, and saying, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts, Heaven and Earth are full of thy Glory. Glory be to thee, O Lord most High. Amen. ..i.

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M ost gracious God, with all Joy and Thank-For an fulness I adore thy infinite Goodness, manifesteder to the Children of Men in the Revelation of the the Chrisholy Gospel. Blessed be thy great Love and Compassion, which took Pity upon us, when, by wilful Transgressions, we had lost ourselves, and didst send thy only-begotten Son into the World, that we might live through him.

I believe, O God, that the blessed Jesus condescended to take upon him human Nature, with all the Infirmities and Frailties of it, Sin only excepted. I believe, O God, that he was the great Prophet sent from thee to instruct us in all the Particulars of our Duty, to give us right Apprehensions of thy Divine Majesty, and to improve our Natures to the greatest Perfection they were capable of. I believe, O God, that he confirmed his divine Mission by greater Miracles-than any other Man ever did, and by Prophecies which lay beyond the Reach of any created Understanding, the fulfilling of which convince me beyond Doubt that he was sent by thee. I believe, O God, that thou didst, by a Voice from Heaven, declare him to be thy beloved Son, in whom thou wert well pleased, and that all the Prophecies concerning the Messias were fulfilled in him. I believe, O God, that he suffered Death upon the Cross for our Redemption, and made there a full, perfect, and sufficient Sacrifice, Obiation, and Satisfaction for the Sins of the whole World; that he has satisfied thy Justice, and made Reconciliation for us. I believe, O God, that he rose from the Dead the third Day, according to his own infallible Prediction; that he conversed forty Days with his Disciples; that in their Sight he ascended up into Heaven, where he sits at thy Right Hand, interceding for Sioners. : I believe, () God, that he has fulfilled his Promise to his Disciples of sending to

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