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fort of evidence, fhewn from the general nature of it.


A doctrine, though pure and holy, cannot - be itself an evidence of its own divine



Tho' miracles are not neceffary to induce a belief of moral truths, yet they are to attest such as are of positive inititution.


III. The propriety of this fort of evidence fhewn from the peculiar characters and properties of it.


1. Miracles extremely fit to awaken men's attention. 130 The Fathers of the eatern million endeavoured to make up this difadvantage, by fome curious and furprifing works of




2. They aae the shortest and most expeditious way of proof.


3. And of univerfal force and efficacy. 133 Since the proof of the proof of the Chriftian faith is found and fatisfactory, it is our duty to adhere to it ftedfaftly. 133 Credulity and weakness has much the advantage of infidelity, with regard to the cafe and peace of mind it affords in this world,

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world, and is more likely, if it errs, to be pardoned by God in another.




The difficult Paffages of Scripture vindicated from fuch Objections as are ufually made to them, and proper Directions given how we are to use them.

2 PET. iii. 6.

In which are fome things hard to be under
flood, which they that are unlearned and un-
Stable wrest, as they do alfo the other

The defign of St. Peter in this Epiftle, and the connection of the text cleared. 136 I. Several particulars in St. Paul's writings, and in the other fcriptures alfo, hard to be understood.


II. To account for thefe obfcurities even in the apoftles time, it is to be observed, that the writers of them, tho' under the immediate infpiration of the Holy Ghoft, ation


were left to exprefs themselves after their own particular manner 2. The nature of fome things they delivered was fo obfcure, that the language of men muft needs fall fhort of them. 142

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If fome paffages were of uncertain meaning at that time, there must be more fo to us who live at this distance from the age of the apostles. 143 The eastern manner of thinking and fpeakin, at the time efpecially when the fprip tures were writ, widely different from ours, who live in this age, and this quarter of the world. 143 And the particular occafions, upon which fome parts of them were writ, entirely unkown to us. 144 The multiplicity of commentators that have started all poffible fentes of fcripture, have caft a mift over many places of it, which of themfelves were plain and clear. 144

III Thefe obfcurities are no reflexion on the goodness of God, which is not o bliged to do every thing for us that is poffible to be done, but only that which



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is fitting and fufficient for the end it defigns. 146 Scripture fufficient for the end to which it was defigned, becaufe tho' not equally perfpicuous throughout,, yet it is in the main and for the moft pats fo. 147 And wherever it is hard to be underflood, is on that account not neceflary to be underflood. 147 Nor are these obscurities a reflexion on the wisdom of God, because they are none of them fo difficult as to be utterly unintelligible. 148 They answer feveral wife ends of provi dence, particularly they ferve to humble


the prefumption and pride of man. 149 To fecure the majefty of religion. ibid. To exercife our induftry, and engage our attention.


To be the teft of ingenuous and well difpofed minds. TSO

To make us long for that bleffed ftate and time, when all doubts fhall be cleared, and the veil taken off from all myfteries.

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On the fame Text.

Reflexions that arife from the preceding difcourfe,

1 The folly of thofe men, who endeavour from the obfcurity of fome parts of fcripture, entirely to deftroy the authority of it. 153 A book defigned to open to us fome difcoveries concerning the divine nature, its effence, and, ineffable perfections, were much to be fufpected not to be of divine authority, if it had nothing abftrufe and difficult.



It cannot be faid to be an infufficient rule of faith and practice, fince it is fo far clear as to reach the end it is intended for. 156 The doctrines of the divinity of Christ and the Holy Ghoft, and the like, tho' not plainly contained in every text of fcripture which speaks of them, yet are clearly enough delivered in fome text or other to demand our belief of them.


Tho' they may be no where expreffed with


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