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take every man's word in matters of such huge consequence and impor. Sermon tance, as Revelation from God ought III. to be presumed to be, would not be Faith, but Credulity, that is, an ungrounded Perswasion; which how severely God punifh'd, you may see in that famous instance, 1 Kings 13. where the Prophet that was sent to Bethel, is upon his return torn in pieces by a Lion, because of his credulity and casie belief of a pretended Revelation. I confess this case is somewhat different from theirs who simply believe a pretended Revelation, as being complicated with fome other aggravating Circumstances. For he had had an immediate Revelation froin God, not to eat, nor drink at Bethel; nor to return the
that he came: upon his return an old Prophet meets him, and tells him that an Angel had appeared to him, and had bid him to bring him back, and to cause him to eat and drink; he believes him, and turns in with him. Now this was the Aggravation of his Incredulity, that when he himself had had an express Revelation from God, concern:
ing which he was satisfied, he hearkVolume
ned to the pretended Revelation of XII.
another, concerning which he had no assurance, in contradiction to a Divine Revelation, which he knew to be such. Not but that the Command which God had given him was in its own Nature revocable, and God might have countermanded it by another immediate Revelation to him, or by an equivalent, that is, a Miracle wrought by the Prophet who pretended to countermand it from God. Unumquodque dissolvitur eo modo quo ligatur, the Obligation which was brought upon him by an immediate Revelation, could not be dissolved but by another immediate Revelation, or Evidence equivalent to it. However, this Instance serves in the general to my purpose, that a man may be faulty by Credulity as well as by Unbelief: and as a man ought not to disbelieve where there is sufficient Evidence; so neither ought he to believe any thing without sufficient Grounds of Allurance.
Sermon 3. That Miracles wrought for
III. the confirmation of any Divine Testimony or Revelation made to another, are a fufficient means, whereby those who have not the Divine Revelation immediately made to them, may be assured that it is Divine; I say these are sufficient means of Assurance in this case. I do not say they are the only means: (for it does not become men to limit the Power and Wisdom of God) but I do not know of any other means of Assurance, upon which men can securely rely; and it is a great Presumption that this is the best and fittest, if not the only means, because the Wisdom of God hatlı always pitched upon it, and con: ftantly made use of it, and no 0ther. Under Miracles I comprehend the Prediction of Future Events, which God claims as a per culiar Prerogative to himself, because such things are out of the reach of any created understanding; and therefore in the Prophet Isa. lie challengeth the Idols of the Hea. thens to give this Testimony, or Ar
gument of their divinity; Sher us Volume things that are to come, that we may XII.
ye arė Gods.
But here we must distinguish between doubtful and unquestionable Miracles. I call those doubtful Miracles, which, tho' a man cannot tell how they can be done by any. natural Power, yet do not carry that full Conviction with them, as to be universally own'd and acknowledged for Arguments of a Divine Power, Such were those whichi the Magicians did by their Inchantments. I call chofe unquestionable, which, considering their Quality and Number, and the publick manner of doing of them, are out of all Question. Such were the Miracles of Moses, and our Saviour. Now a doubtful, and a single, and a private Wonder, or Miracle, as I may call it, can give no confirmation to any thing in opposition to a Revelation, or a Doctrine confirmed by many, and publick, and unquestionable Mis racles. Upon this account Moses forbids the Children of Israel to hearken to any Prophet that should come to feduce them to Idolatry; yea, tho’ he should give a sign or
Sermon wonder, and the sign or wonder should III. come to pass, Deut 13. 1, 2, 3, 4. Now here lies the strength of the Reason, Because he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, which brought you out of the Land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the House of Bon. dage; that is, because he contradicts the great revelation which God made of himself, and confirmed by such a successior-of so many, and so great Miracles; the credit of which Revelation ought not in reason to be callid in question, upon the working of a single and a private wonder, which we could not distinguish from a Miracle. Upon the fame account St. Paul, Gal. 1. 8. says, Tho' an Angel from heaven bould preach any other DoEtrine than that which had been preached unto them, he should be accursed; that is, after so clear and great confirmation, as was given to the Gospel, a contrary Doctrine, though it should come from an Angel, should be rejected as execrable. But you will fay, Şuppose such a