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heat, and power.

A person, then, who was divinely inspired, was to be attended to because he was so.

The Scriptures, then, being, as was said before, divinely inspired, is not the case the same, as with a man that was so? Is there any thing in the writing of it by God's command, that should impair its authority ? Nay, is it not freed from innumerable prejudices that attended it, in its first giving out by men; arising from the personal infirmities, and supposed interests of them that delivered it? Jer. xliii. 3. John ix. 29. Acts xxiv. 5.

This being pleaded, and insisted on, its testimony is received, or it is not. If it be received on this account, there is in it, we say, the proper foundation of faith, whereon it hath its subsistence. If it be rejected, it must be not only with a refusal of its witness, but also with a high detestation of its pretence to be from God. What ground for such a refusal and detestation any one can have, shall be afterward considered. If it be a sin to refuse it,

. it had been a duty to receive it: if a duty to receive it as the word of God, then was it sufficiently manifested so to be. Of the objection arising from those who pretend to this inspiration falsely, we have spoken before; and we are, as yet, dealing with those that own the book to be the word of God, and only call in question the grounds on which they, or others, ought so to do. As to these, it

As to these, it may suffice that, in the strength of all the authority and truth they profess to acknowledge in it, it declares the foundation of its acceptance to be no other, but its own divine inspiration; hence it is " a saying worthy of all acceptation."

Again, in that dispute between Abraham and the rich man, Luke xvi. 31. about the best and most effectual means of bringing men to repentance; the rich man in hell, speaking his own conception, fixes upon miracles--if one rise from the dead, and preach, the work will be done : Abraham is otherwise minded; that is, Christ, the Author of that parable, was so: he bids them attend to Moses and the prophets, the written word, as that on which all faith and repentance was immediately to be grounded. The inquiry being, how men might be best assured that any message is from God, if the word did not manifest itself to be from him, this direction had not been just.

The ground of the request for the rising of one from the dead, is laid in the common apprehension of men, not knowing the power of God in the Scriptures; who think, that if an evident miracle were wrought, all pretences of unbelief would be excluded ? Our Saviour discovers that mistake, and lets men know, that those who will not own, or submit to, the authority of God in the word, would not be moved by the most signal miracles. If a holy man, whom we had known assuredly to have been dead for some years, should rise out of his grave, and come unto us with a message from God, could any man doubt, whether he were sent unto us of God or no? I suppose not. Yet the evidence of the mission of such a ,one, and the authority of God speaking in him, our Saviour being judge, is not of greater efficacy to enforce belief, than the written word, nor a surer foundation for

itself

upon.

faith to repose

a

Could we hear a voice from heaven, accompanied with such a divine power, as to evidence itself to be from God, should we not rest in it as such ? I I suppose men think they would; can we think that any man should withdraw his assent, and say, yea, but I must have some testimony that this is from God; all such evasions are precluded in the supposition, wherein a self-evidencing power is granted. What greater miracles did the apostles of Christ ever behold, or hear, than that voice that came “ from the most excellent glory, This is my beloved Son:" yet Peter, who heard that voice, tells us, that, comparatively, we have greater security from the written word, than they had in and by that miraculous voice: “ We heard,” saith he, " that voice indeed; but we have a more sure word of prophecy” to attend to. More sure, not in itself, but in its giving out its evidence to us. And how doth it appear so to be? The reason he alleges for it, was before insisted on : 2 Pet. i. 18.-20.

Yea, suppose that God should speak to us from heaven, as he spake to Moses or Christ, -how should we be able to know it to be the voice of God? Cannot Satan cause a voice to be heard in the air, and so deceive us? Or, may not there be some way found out, by which men might impose upon us with their delusions. Pope Celestine thought he heard a voice froin heaven, when it was but the cheat of his suc

Must we not rest at last in that divine power, which accompanies the true voice of God, evidencing itself beyond all possibility of mistake. Now, did not this evidence accompany the written word, at its first giving forth ? If it did not, how could any man be obliged to discern it from all delusions ? if it did, how came it to loose it? Did God appoint his word to be written, that he might destroy its authority? If the question be, whether the doctrines, proposed to be believed, are truths of God, or cunningly-devised fables,” we are sent to the Scripture itself alone, to give the determination.

cessor.

CHAPTER IV.

The Self-Evidencing efficacy of the Scriptures.

Having given some few instances of those many testimonies, which the Scripture in express terms bears to itself, and the rise and fountain of all that authority which it claims over the sons of men, which all those who pretend to acknowledge its divinity are bound and obliged by; the second thing proposed, or the innate arguments that the word of God is furnished with for its own manifestation, and whereby the authority of God is revealed for faith to repose

itself

upon, comes next into consideration. Now, these arguments contain the full and formal grounds of our answer to that inquiry, why we receive and believe the Scripture to be the word of God. It being the formal reason of our faith that is inquired after, we answer—we believe, and submit to it, because of the authority of God who speaks it, or gave it forth as his mind and will, evidencing itself by the Spirit, in that word, to our minds and consciences.

The self-evidencing efficacy of the Scripture, and the grounds of it, is that, then, which I shall endeavour to clear and vindicate. This only 1 shall premise, that whereas some grounds of this efficacy seem to be placed in the things themselves contained in the Scripture, I shall not consider them abstractedly as such, but merely their being the Scripture or written word of God; without which consideration, the things mentioned, would be left naked and utterly divested of their authority and efficacy pleaded for; and be of no other nature and importance, than the same things found in other books. It is the writing itself that now supplies the place of the persons, by whom God originally spake to men. As were the persons speaking of old, so are the writings now: it was the word spoken that was to be believed, because spoken by them from God; and it is now the word written that is to be believed, because written by the appointment of God.

There are two things, that are accompanied with a self-evidencing excellency; and every other thing doth so, so far as it is a partaker of their nature, and no otherwise;' now these are, 1. Light. 2. Power in operation.

1. Light manifests itself. Whatever is light doth so; that is, it doth whatever is necessary, on its own part, for its manifestation and discovery. Whatever manifests itself is light. Light requires neither proof nor testimony for its evidence. Let the sun arise in the firmament, and there is no need of witnesses to prove to a seeing man that it is day. A small candle will do so. Let the least child bring

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