Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

phy more certain and demonftrable: Or, what
new Discoveries foever fome Men may think
thefe late Ages have made, they have not made
many Converts: but Atheists and Infidels are fo
ftill. This, as you have heard, was one Reafon
which made the Gofpel Revelation neceffary:
and we know the Preaching of the Gofpel con-
verted great Multitudes to the Faith and Wor-
fhip of one Supreme God, as well as to the Faith
of Chrift, whom Philofophy never could con-
vert. And if this were the Way to establish the
Knowledge of one Supreme God, and the Faith
of Chrift in the World, is it not the ready Way
to banish them out of the World again, to fet
afide Revelation, and to return to the Old Eter-
nal Wranglings of Philofophy?

Indeed the Being and Nature of one Supreme
God, does not immediately fall under my No-
tice at this time; but the Nature of the Argu-
ment requires fome Notice to be taken of it.

Some Men, contrary to the most evident Experience, think, that the Being of a God cannot be proved from Divine Revelation; becaufe we muft firft believe the Being of a God before we can believe that he has made any Revelation of his Will to the World: Which is in part true, that we cannot prove the Being of God from any Text in the Bible, because we muft firft believe that it is the Word of God, and confequently we muft believe that there is a God, whofe Word that is, before we can believe any Thing upon the Authority of a particular Text; and therefore we must believe a God before we can believe that Text; and then it comes too late to prove that there is a God. And yet it is very evident, that the Preaching of the Gofpel converted Men to the Belief and

Worship

[ocr errors]

Worship of one fupreme God, as well as to the Faith of Christ: And the Reafon of it is very plain; for the Apostles of Chrift did as well teach the Worship of the one Supreme God, as the Faith of Chrift; and therefore thofe mighty Works which gave Teftimony to the Apostles Preaching, did equally confirm both.

Revelation is a new kind of Proof, which has nothing to do with Reafon and Philofophy. Men oppofe Reason, or the Shews and Appearances of Reafon, to Reafon; and every Man thinks his Reafon as good as his Neighbour's; and Perfonal Honour, or the Honour of a Sect and Party, makes the Difpute Eternal. But no Man ever ventured to deny, that what is revealed by God is true; and therefore this is the only way to fecure our own Faith, to refolve it wholly into a Divine Revelation, which all the Difficulties and Subtilties of Philofophy can never touch; and this is the only effectual way of dealing with Atheists and Infidels. If you can prove by visible and fenfible Effects, that God has revealed Himfelf and his Will to the World, you unanswerably confute the Atheists, who believe that there is no God: And if you can prove that God has revealed another World to us, that he has promised Eternal Life to Good Men, and threatned wicked Men with Eternal Death, you confute the Infidel: And therefore if ever we would have an End of this Controversy, which Natural Reafon and Philofophy can never make, we must bring it to this fhort Iffue, Whether God has made a Revelation of his Will to the World, and what it is?

But is there no Ufe then of the Light of Reason, and the Philofophy of Nature, in this Controverfy? Muft we give all this up to A

theifts

theifts and Infidels? This is what they defire, and what they glory in; and after all that can be faid, will conclude themselves to be in the right, if they have the beft Reafon on their fide. And I confefs, were this the Cafe, they might well conclude fo, for the beft Reafon is always in the right.

The Sum of what I have faid is this, That though there are a great many Arguments of the Immortality of the Soul, and a Future State, which you and I may think very good Arguments, yet we must refolve our Belief of another World wholly into Revelation. Other Arguments may, and are, and always will be difputed, and will be thought good or bad, according to Men's Understandings and Inclinations: but the Gospel bath brought Life and Immortality to Light; has made it in a manner visible to us; has left no more place for doubting and difputing, than there is for doubting of what we fee. If we believe the Gofpel, we can want no other Proof of Immortal Life; and to pretend to believe the Gofpel, and not to be fatisfied without fome Natural and philofophical Demonftrations, is a Symptom of Infidelity, and refolves our Faith into doubtful Difputations; it teaches Atheists and Infidels to defpife Revelation, when they fee that we our felves are not fatisfied with it; and when we have laid that afide we may difpute eternally without convincing one another. This difappoints one great Design of preaching the Gofpel, which was to put an end to thefe uncertain Difputes. and to give us a more fure Word of Prophecy for the Foundation of our Faith. The powerful Effects of this were vifible in the Converfion of the World to the Faith of Chrift;

and

[ocr errors]

and the Mischiefs of declining a Revelation, and reviving the old Philofophick Difputes, is alfo too vifible in the increafe of Atheifm and Infidelity among us. And therefore let us bring the Controverfy back again to Revelation. What have we to do with what the Philofophers have said, and what their Opinions were about it? Why fhould we trouble our felves with uncertain Reafonings, when we have the exprefs Promifes of Immortality?

SECT. II.

Of what Ufe Natural and Moral Arguments are, for the Proof of the Immortality of the Soul, and a and a Future

State.

Th

Oftate this Matter plainly, I fhall, First, fhew you upon what Accounts, and in what Sense I say, that we ought to refolve our Belief of another World, not into Natural and Moral Arguments, but into the Gospel Revelation.

2. Of what Ufe thefe Natural and Moral Arguments are to our felves.

3. What Use we are to make of them in our Difputes with Infidels.

1. As for the firft, my meaning is not, that there are not very good Arguments of a Future State, befides the exprefs Declarations and Promises of the Gospel; fuch Arguments as have the highest probability, and would be a fufficient Reafon to perfuade unbiaffed and unprejudiced Men, though there were no other; for we must allow this, unless we will fay, that Mankind, before

the Publication of the Gospel, believed another
Life without any Reafon fufficient to perfuade a
Wife Man: But my meaning is, that the Reve-
lation of the Gofpel is the only certain Proof of
another Life; fo plain, that every Man must un-
derstand it; fo express that no Man can deny it.
If we believe the Gofpel, it will admit of no Dif-
pute: Infidels themselves do and muft confefs
this, that if the Gofpel be true, nothing can be
more certain than that there is another Life.
Now if the Gofpel gives us the only abfolute and
indifputable Certainty, here we ought to ac-
quiefce; we need no other Arguments to prove
that which we certainly know already; and
therefore we need not, unless we pleafe, difpute
whether they be true or false; and it is the safest
way for the generality of Chriftians not to do it.
The generality of Chriftians are not well skilled
in Difputation, and therefore may be baffled.
by a witty Infidel; but all the Wit and Sophistry
in the World can never answer a plain Revelati-
on. This makes the meaneft Chriftian an over-
match for the fubtileft. Philofopher: And there-
fore here is our Security and our fafe Retreat ;
and this is what I mean by refolving our Faith
wholly into Revelation; not to reject and despise
all other Arguments, as worth nothing, and of
no use to us; but yet to build our Faith upon
Revelation, and not to fuffer any other Disputes
to stagger us, while we have God's Word and
Promife for another Life: And upon thefe Terms
we may venture to difpute other Matters, when
whatever the Succefs be, our Faith is fecure.
Suppose you
fhould meet with an Infidel, as fuch
Men are too often to be met with, who fhould
difpute very fubtily againft all the common Ar-
guments for the Immortality of the Soul, and a

Future

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »