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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 Atheifts and Infidels are fo ftill. This, as you have heard, was one Reason which made the Gofpel Revelation neceffary: and we know the Preaching of the Gospel converted great Multitudes to the Faith and Worfhip of one Supreme God, as well as to the Faith of Chrift, whom Philofophy never could convert. 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 Eternal Wranglings of Philofophy?

Indeed the Being and Nature of one Supreme God, does not immediately fall under my Notice at this time; but the Nature of the Argument requires fome Notice to be taken of it.

Some Men, contrary to the moft evident Experience, think, that the Being of a God cannot be proved from Divine Revelation; because we must first 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 must first 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

Worship of one fupreme God, as well as to the Faith of Chrift: And the Reafon of it is very plain; for the Apoftles 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 Philosophy. 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 Himself 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 Controverfy, which Natural Reafon and Philosophy can never make, we must bring it to this fhort lifue, 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 Reafon, 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 best Reason on their side. And I confefs, were this the Cafe, they might well conclude fo, for the best 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 muft 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 Demonstrations, 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 disappoints one great Design of preaching the Gospel, 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

J

and the Mischiefs of declining a Revelation, and reviving the old Philofophick Difputes, is alfo too vifible in the increafe of Atheism 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 faid, and what their Opinions were about it? Why fhould we trouble our felves with uncertain Reasonings, when we have the express Promifes of Immortality?

SECT. II.

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

State.

T

Future

O ftate this Matter plainly, I fhall, Firft, fhew you upon what Accounts, and in what Senfe I fay, that we ought to refolve our Belief of another World, not into Natural and Moral Arguments, but into the Gospel Re

velation.

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

3. What Ufe 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 Reason to perfuade unbiaffed and unprejudiced Men, though there were no other; for we muft allow this, unless we will fay, that Mankind, before

the Publication of the Gofpel, believed another Life without any Reafon fufficient to perfuade a Wife Man: But my meaning is, that the Revelation of the Gospel is the only certain Proof of another Life; fo plain, that every Man must understand it; fo exprefs that no Man can deny it. If we believe the Gofpel, it will admit of no Difpute: Infidels themfelves do and must confefs this, that if the Gospel be true, nothing can be more certain than that there is another Life. Now if the Gospel gives us the only abfolute and indifputable Certainty, here we ought to acquiefce; we need no other Arguments to prove that which we certainly know already; and therefore we need not, unless we please, difpute whether they be true or false; and it is the fafest 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 RevelatiThis makes the meaneft Chriftian an overmatch for the fubtileft. Philofopher: And therefore here is our Security and our safe Retreat ; and this is what I mean by refolving our Faith wholly into Revelation; not to reject and defpife 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 Difputes to ftagger us, while we have God's Word and Promife for another Life: And upon these Terms we may venture to difpute other Matters, when whatever the Succefs be, our Faith is fecure. Suppose you should meet with an Infidel, as fuch Men are too often to be met with, who fhould difpute very fubtily against all the common Arguments for the Immortality of the Soul, and a

on.

Future

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