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thing that it should be so: and therefore that we should be exceedingly willing to find any sound proof that it is so indeed, though not with a willingness which shall corrupt and pervert our judgments by self-flattery, but such as will only excite them to the wise and sober examination of the case.e
The evidences of the verity we shall next inquire after.
Of the Witness of Jesus Christ on the demonstrative Evidence of his Verity and Authority.
THOUGH all that is said may be a reasonable preparative to. faith, it is more cogent evidence which is necessary to convince us that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world. That a man appearing like one of us is the eternal Word of God incarnate, is a thing which no man is bound to believe, without very sound evidence to prove it. God hath made reason essential to our nature. It is not our weakness but our natural excellency, and his image on our nature. Therefore, he never called us to renounce it, and to lay it by; for we have no way to know principles but by an intellectual discerning them in their proper evidence; and no way to know conclusions but by a rational discerning their necessary connexion to those principles. If God would have us know without reason, he would not have made us reasonable creatures. Man hath no way of inental discern
eQ. Si divinæ Scripturæ probationibus sufficiunt, quid necessaria est religioni fides? R. Fides nostra super ratione quidem est, non tamen temerariè etirrationabiliter assumitur. Ea enim quæ ratio edocet, fides intelligit; et ubi ratio defecerit, fides præcurrit. Non enim utcunque audita credimus, sed ea quæ ratio non improbat. Verum quod consequi ad plenum non potest, fideli prudentia confitemur.-Junilius African. de Part. Div. Leg. 1. 2. c. 30.
fQ. Unde probamus libros religionis nostræ divinâ esse inspiratione conscriptos ? R. Ex multis, quorum primum est ipsius Scripturæ veritas; deinde ordo rerum, consonantia præceptorum, modus locutionis sine ambitu, puritasque verborum. Additur conscribentium et prædicantium qualitas, quod divina homines, excelsa vates, infacundi subtilia, non nisi divino repleti Spiritu tradidissent. Tum prædicationis virtus, quam dum prædicaretur (licet à paucis despectis) obtinuit. Accedunt his rectificatio contrariorum, ut sybillarum vel philosophorum; expulsio adversariorum, utilitas consequentium, exitus eorum quæ per acceptationes, et figuras, et prædictiones, quæ prædicta sunt ad postremum; miracula jugiter facta, donec Scriptura ipsa susciperetur à gentibus. De quâ hoc nunc ad proximum miraculum sufficit, quod ab omnibus suscepta cognoscitur.-Junilius African, de Part. Div. Leg. 1. 2. c. 29.
ing or knowledge, but by understanding things in their proper evidence. To know without this, were to know without knowledge. Faith is an act, or species, of knowledge: it is so far from being contrary to reason, that is but an act of cleared, elevated reason. It is not an act of immediate intuition of God or Jesus Christ himself, but a knowledge of the truth by the divine evidence of its certainty. They that wrangle against us for giving reason for our religion, seem to tell us that they have none for their own, or else reprehend us for being men. If they had to do with them who make God to be but the prime reason, would they say that faith is something above reason, and therefore something above God? I believe that our reason or intellection is far from being univocally the same thing with God's; but I believe that God is intellection, reason or wisdom eminenter, though not formaliter: and that though the name be first used to signify the lower derivative reason of man, yet we have no higher to express the wisdom of God by, or better notion to apprehend it by, than this which is its image. I conclude, therefore, that,
Sect. 1. The christian religion must be the most rational in the world, or that which hath the soundest reason for it, if it be the truest and the proof of it must be by producing the evidences of its truth.
Sect. 2. The evidence which faith requireth is properly called evidence of credibility.
Sect. 3. When we speak of human faith, as such, credibility is somewhat short of proper certainty; but when we speak of divine faith, or a belief of God, evidence of credibility is evidence of certainty.
Sect. 4. The great witness of Jesus Christ, or the demonstrative evidence of his verity and authority, was the Holy Spirit.
Sect. 5. The word or doctrine of Jesus Christ hath four several infallible testimonies of God's Spirit, which, though each of them alone is convincing, yet, altogether, make up this one great evidence, that is, 1. Antecedently; 2. Constitutively, or inherently; 3. Concomitantly; and, 4. Subsequently. Of which I shall speak in course.
Sect. 6. I. Antecedently, the spirit of prophecy was a witness to Jesus Christ.g
Under which I comprehend the prediction also of types. He that was many hundred years before, yea, from age to age, fore
* Heb. x. 15; 1 Pet. i. 10; 2 Pet. i. 19, 20,
told to come as the Messiah or Saviour, by divine prediction of promises, prophecies, and types, is certainly the true Messiah, our Saviour. But Jesus Christ was so foretold: ergo
1. For promises and prophecies, presently after the fall of Adam, God said, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thyseed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Gen. iii. 15.) As it is certain that it was Satan principally, and the serpent but instrumentally, that is spoken of as the deceiver of Eve; so it is as plain that it was Satan and his wicked followers principally, and the serpent and his seed only, as the instruments that are here meant in the condemnation : and that it is the seed of the woman, by an excellency so called, that is primarily here meant, and under him her natural seed, secondarily, is proved, not only by the Hebrew masculine gender, but by the fulfilling of this promise in the expository events, and in other promises to the like effect. The rest of the promises and prophecies to this purpose are so many, that to recite them all would swell the book too large; and therefore I must suppose that the reader, perusing the sacred Scripture. itself, will acquaint himself with them there. Only a few I shall repeat.
"In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." (Gen. xxii. 18.)
"The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come." (Gen. xlix. 10.)
The whole of the second Psalm is a prophecy of the kingdom of Christ. "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against his anointed, &c. Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Sion. I will declare the decree; the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee: ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Be wise, therefore, O ye kings! Be learned, ye judges of the earth! Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son lest he be angry, and ye perish," &c.
"For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine holy one to see corruption." (Psalm xvi. 10.)
"Dogs have compassed me; the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell Lege Disputationem Gregentii cum Herbano Judeo.
all my bones: they looked and stare upon me: they part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture." (Psalm xxii. 16-18.)
"They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." (Psalm lxix. 21.)
"Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? for he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground. He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid, as it were, our faces from him he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet, we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes, we are healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before the shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. He was taken from prison, and from judgment, and who shall declare his generation: for he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of my people was he stricken; and he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, because he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth; yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him he hath put him to grief. When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death, and he was numbered with the transgressors, and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." (Isa. liii.)
days, and the
"For unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace: of the increase of his go
vernment and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this." (Isa. ix. 6) "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." (Isa. vii, 14.)
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know, therefore, and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, unto the Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks; the street shall be built, and the wall even, in troublous times; and after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself; and the people of the prince, that shall come, shall destroy the city and the sanctuary, and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined; and he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week, and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abomination he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined be poured upon the desolate." (Dan. ix. 24, &c.).
"Behold I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me; and the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple, even the Messenger of the covenant whom ye delight in; behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts: but who may abide the day of his coming, and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap, and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver,' &c. (Mal. iii. 1-3.)
I omit the rest to avoid prolixity. There is scarcely any passage of the birth, life, sufferings, death, resurrection, ascension, or glory of our Saviour, which are not particularly prophesied of in the Old Testament; but nothing so copiously as his righteousness and his kingdom. The prophecy of Isaiah is full of such, and is but a prophetical Gospel.
To these must be adjoined the prophetical types, even the typical persons, and the typical ordinances and actions. It would be too long to open, how his sufferings from the malignant world was typified in the death of Abel, and the attempted