« AnteriorContinuar »
Secondly, What assurance other perfons can have of it. I fay, thefe are diftinctly to be confider'd, because there is a very different account to be given of them.
First, As to thofe perfons, to whom the Revelation is immediately made, the queftion is, By what Arguments or Means they may come to be affured, that any Revelation, which they have, is really and truly fuch, and not a Delufion or Impofture. The Jewish Doctors tell us, that fome kind of Divine Revelations do not carry full affurance along with them, that they are Divine; fuch are Dreams and Visions, as they are distinguish'd from Prophecy and as to that kind of Revelation, which they ftrictly call Prophecy, they give feveral characteristical notes to diftinguifh true Divine Revelation from delufion; fuch as thefe; that the spirit of delufion only works up
on the imagination, and the lower Faculties; the Divine Spirit of Prophecy upon the understanding and reasonable part of the Soul: that delufive Infpirations were accompanied with alienation of mind, which did discover it felf either in Rage and Fury, or Melancholy; but the true Prophetical Spirit is always confiftent with the ufe of reafon and understanding. They distinguish them likewise by the manner of their feifing upon them; that in the beginning of Infpirations the Prophets ufed to have fome apparition, or to hear fome voice, either articulate in Words, or inarticulate by Thunder, or the found of a Trumpet, which in the Revelations doth frequently precede St. John's Visions; and by thefe they were affured that they were Divine. And lastly; that a Divine Inspiration did always carry along with it a strong Evidence of its original, and that by the vigour and ftrength of its impreffion, they were fully affured and fatisfied beyond all doubt and hesitation. Thus they. But all that I fhall fay by way of Answer to this Question, fhall be in thefe two Propofitions. 1. If
Volume 1. If we believe any fuch thing, XII. as Divine Revelation, we cannot doubt but thofe who have it, are fome way or other fully fatisfied of it. The Reason is evident; because otherwife it would be in vain, and to no purpose, and could not poffibly attain its end. A Divine Revelation connot poffibly fignifie any thing, or in reafon have any effect upon a man, unless he be fatisfied it is fuch: for fo long as he does not know but that it is a delufion, he will not attend to it, or regard it. So that the diftinction of the Jewish Doctors between Dreams, and Vifions, and Prophecy, that this carries always full affurance with it, the other not, is vain and unreasonable.
2. The means whereby this af furance of a Divine Revelation is wrought, is moft probably the evidence it carries along with it, whereby it did fully fatisfie the perfon that had it of its Divine Original, That God can accompany his own Revelations with fuch a clear and overpowering Light as fhall difco
ver to us the Divinity of them, and fatisfie us beyond all doubt and Sermon fcruple, I think no man can doubt, III. that confiders the vaft 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 neceffary to explain the particular way, how it is done, it being a thing not to be expreft in words, but to be felt and experienced. So that the Argument, whereby this perfwafion of a Divine Revelation is wrought in those that have it, is inward Experience of the full Satisfaction and Affurance, which they find to be fupernaturally wrought in them, that is, of which they can give no account from themfelves. And this is not a ftubborn belief, and an obftinate conceit of a thing but a good man, who is infpired, when he reflects upon himfelf, and this affurance which he finds in himself, he can give a rational account of it to himfelf. Thus he finds that it is a foreign impreffion, and doth not fpring from himself, nor hath its rife from thence; therefore F 4
he afcribes it to fome Spirit without Volume himself; and he believes that there XII, is a God that can communicate himfelf to the minds and fpirits of men and that his Goodness is fuch, that he will not fuffer them to be under a neceffity of delufion, which they muft be, if when they have the highest affurance and fatisfaction, that fuch a thing is a Divine Revelation, they may be deceived. And then likewise he confiders the matter of the Revelation, which if it do not contradict any effential and neceffary fundamental notion of his understanding, he thinks himself bound to entertain it upon this affurance.
I fay, good men may give themfelves this rational fatisfaction: for