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And the Miracles by which the Scriptures are confirmed and authorized must be true ; because there is no precedent Divine Revelation which they contradict, nor any immoral or false Doctrine which they deliver, nor any thing else contained in them whereby they can be proved to be false : And in this case, that which all the Wit and Understanding of Man cannot prove to be false, must be true, or else God would suffer his own Name and Authority to be usurped and abused, and Mankind to be imposed upon in a thing of infinite consequence, without any poffibility of discovering the Imposture, which it is contrary to the Divine Attributes for him to permit; but either by the Works themselves, or by the End and Design of them, or by some means or other, the Honour, and Wisdom, and Mercy of God is concerned to detect all such Impostures. If Miracles be wrought to introduce the Worship of other Gods, besides him, whom Reason, as well as Scripture, assures us to be the only True God; if they be done to seduce Men to immoral Do&rines and Pra&tices; if they be performed to contradi& the Religion already confirmed by Miracles, in which nothing of this nature could pofsibly be discovered ; if never so astonishing Miracles be wrought for such ill Designs as these, they are not to be regarded, but rejected with that Constancy which becomes a Man who will act according to the Principles of Natural Reason and Religion. But when Miracles were perform’d, which, both for the End and Design of them, as well as for the manner and circumstances of their Performance, had all the credibility that any Miracle could have, if it were really wrought by God's immediate Power to confirm a Revelation; if these Miracles have been foretold by Prophecies, (as, on the other side, the Prophecies were fulfilled by the Miracles ) if they were done publickly before all sorts of Men, and that often, and by many Men successively, for divers Ages together, and

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all agreed in the same Do&rine and Design ; if neither the Miracles themselves, nor the Doctrines which are attested by them, can be discovered to have any deceit or defect in them, but be most excellent and divine, and most worthy of God ; in such a case we have all the Evidence for the Truth of the Miracles, and of the Religion which they were wrought to establish, that we can have for the Being of God himfelf. For if these Miracles and this Religion be not from God, we must suppose either that God cannot, or that he will not so reveal himself by Miracle to the World, as to distinguish his own Revelation from Impostures : both which Suppositions are contrary to the Divine Attributes ; contrary to God's Omnipotence, because he can do all things, and therefore can exceed the Power of all Finite Beings; and contrary to his Honour, and Wisdom, and Goodness, because these require both that he fhould reveal himself to the World, and that he should do it by Miracles, in fuch a manner as to make it evident which is his Revelation. But if he both can and will put such a Distinction between Faise Miracles and True, as that Men shall not, except it be by their own fault, be seduced by false Miracles ; then that Religion which is confirmed by Miracles, concerning which nothing can be discovered to be either impious or falke, must be the true Religion. For we have seen, that there must be some Revealed Religion, and that this Religion must be revealed by Miracles; and we have the Goodness, and Truth, and Justice of God engaged, that we should not be imposed upon by false Miracles, without being able to discern the Imposture : And therefore that Religion which both by its Miracles, and Doctrine, and Worship, appears to be Divine, and could not be proved to be false, if it were so, must certainly be true ; because the Goodness and Honour of God is concerned, that Mankind, in a Matter of this consequence, lhould not be deceived, with

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out their own fault or neglect, by Impostures vented under his own Name and Authority. Upon which account; the Sin against the Holy-Ghost, in ascribing the Miracles wrought by Christ, to Beelzebub, was so heinous above all other Crimes; this being to reject the utmost Means that can be used for Man's Salvation, and in effect to deny the Attributes and very Being of God. The sum of this Argument is, That though Miracles are a most fit and proper Means to prove the Truth of Religion, yet they are not only to be consider'd alone, but in conjunction with other Proofs ; and that they must necessarily be true Miracles, or Miracles wrought to establish the true Religion, when the Religion upon the account whereof they are wrought cannot be discovered to be false, either by any, Defeat in the Miracles, or by any other Means, but has all the Marks and Characters of Truth. Because God would not suffer the Evidence of Miracles, and all other Proofs, to concur to the Confirmation of a false Religion, beyond all possibility of difcovering it to be so.

III. How Divine Revelations may be supposed to be preserved in the World. It is reasonable to suppose that Divine Revelations should be committed to Writing, that they might be preserved for the benefit of Mankind, and deliver'd down to Posterity, and that a more than ordinary Providence should be concerned in their Preservation. For whatever has been said by some, of the Advantage of Oral Tradition, for the conveyance of Do&rines, beyond that of Writing, is so notoriously fanciful and strained, that it deserves no serious Answer. For 'till Men shall think it safest to make Wills, and bequeath and purchase Estates by Word of Mouth, rather than by Instruments in Writing, it is in vain to deny that this is the best and securest way of conveyance that can be taken : so the common Sense of Mankind declares, and so the Experience of the World finds it to be in things which

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Men

Men take all possible care about; and it is too-manifest, and much to be lamented, that Men are more sollicitous about things Temporal, than about Eternal; which affords too evident a Confutation of all the Pretences of the Infallibility of Oral Tradition, upon this ground, That the Subje& Matter of it are things upon which the Eternal Happiness or Misery of Mankind depends. Besides, the Obligations and the Motives are the fame to transmit with all care and faithfulness, the Terms of Salvation to Posterity by Writing, that they would be, if they were to be transmitted by Oral Tradition: the only Difference is, that Writing is the furest way of Conveyance ; not that it wants any Advantage, which can be pretended by Oral Tradition. And the Lord said unto Mofes, write this for a memorial in a book, Exod. xvii. 14. Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come, for ever and ever, Ifa. xxx. 8.

IV. It is requisite that a Divine Revelation fhould be of great Antiquity: Because, upon the fame grounds that we cannot think that God would not at all reveal himself to Mankind, we cannot suppose that he would fuffer the World to continue long under a state of Corruption and Ignorance, without taking some care to remedy it, by putting Men into a capacity of knowing and practising the Duties of Vertue and Religion

V. Another Requisite of a Divine Revelation, is, that it should be fully promulged and published to the World, for the general Good and Benefit of Mankind, that it may attain the Ends for which a Revelation must be designed

THE THE

REASONABLENESS and CERTAINTY

OF THE

Christian Religion.

PART II.

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FROM what has been already discoursed,

it appears, that these things are requisite in a Divine Revelation : I. Antiquity. II. Promulgation. III. A sufficient Evi

dence, by Prophecies and Miracles, in Proof of its Authority. IV. The Doctrines delivered py Divine Revelation must be Righteous and Holy, their Condition to whom it is made, and every way

įuitable to fuch as may answer the Design of a Revelation.

CH A P. I.
The Antiquity of the Scriptures.

A

S it is evident from the Divine Attributes, that

God would not so wholly neglect Mankind, as to take no care to discover and reveal his Will and Commandments to the World; so, when there was

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