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Religion, and Scenes of worldly Affairs; that, numerous and various as they are, they unite nevertheless into one confiftent and connected Scheme, and the more evidently so, the stricter Inquiry is made into it; this will greatly strengthen the Proof of divine Suggestions, as well as Restraints. For such Harmony must proceed from one original Plan, formed in the Mind of God, Portions of which only were communicated to the several Publishers of it; yet each of them was influenced from above to fo punctual an Execution of his respective Trust, that what he said, perfectly tallied with what he was ignorant of, till at length the whole was completed by our blessed Redeemer; in whom all the Building, fitly framed together, grew up into a boly Temple in the Lord'.
But after this general View, let us enter into fome Particulars. The Mofaic Law, if at all from God, was dictated by God: for it affirms itself to be so. The Contents of the prophetic Books are, Predictions of future Events, and Commifsions to deliver such and such Instructions to the People, These also, if true, (as the Completions of the former demonstrate that they were,) must have been suggested. One of the Prophets declares, i Eph. ii. 21.
that he heard, but understood not*. Others of them St. Peter describes, as diligently searching into the Times and Circumstances, to which their Messages related'. And probably they all apprehended the Meaning of a great Part of them but imperfectly. Now we may be cere tain, that God would effectually incline them to deliver these, by using the very Words, which they received. And in the rest they would of Course endeavour it, and have their Memories undoubtedly strengthened, as far as needed, to perform it.
Some Revelations indeed were made to them, not by Words, but by visible Appearances, or Impressions on their Imagination. Here again we cannot question, but they were enabled to relate them in proper Terms.
. Farther yet: many of the Psalms are plainly prophetical, and even the Historical Books contain Prophecies: these also must have been suggested from above. The very Histories are, some of them, such as Man could not know, some fuch, as in all Likelihood the Writers did not know, of themselves, or from other Men: therefore God must have communicated them
And from the Beginning to the End of Scripture are such Numbers of Things of such
k Dan. xii. 8.
1.1 Pet, i. 11.
exalted Excellency, that we may well say of the Writer, concerning each of them, as our Saviour doth to St. Peter : Flesh and Blood bath not revealed it unto tbee, but
Fatber which is in Heaven".
However, as we Christians are most immediately concerned with the New Testament, and proving its divine Authority fingly will prove that of the Old, which is
where asserted in it, I shall dwell upon this point more largely.
The Evangelists give us not only a circumftantial Account of our Saviour's Journies, Miracles, Sufferings, Resurrection, but frequent Narrations of his Discourses likewise : some of them very long, all of them together making up near half the Gospels; and St. John, who wrote the last, hath the moft of them. We, who have heard and read them frequently, were 'we now to read one of the larger again, should scarce be able to repeat it, without confiderable Omissions, nay without Variations altering the Sense. The Disciples at the Time were far from comprehending them all : it is no where affirmed, that they wrote any of them down, till several Years after : probably fome m Matt. xvi. 17.
of the Gospels were not published within twenty or thirty Years or more.
Yet a small Failure in representing the Doctrine of their Master, his Vindications of himself, his Predictions of future Events, nay, any Thing of Moment, that he did or that befell him, (especially confidering how many Things were foretold concerning him) might have been extremely detrimental to Christianity. And therefore assuredly, they would never have dared to specify such a Variety of Particulars, both faid and done ; or if they had, could never have agreed so well in them, without supernatural Affistance. But they well knew, they should have it.
Our Saviour, before his Death, promised them, that the Holy Gboft fhould teach them all Things, and bring all Things to their Remembrance, whatsoever be had said to them", and guide them into all Truth'. He assured them; it was expedient for them, that he should go away, because, till then, he could not, confiftently with the Purposes of infinite Wisdom, send the Spirit to them ?: whence it must follow, that by the Aid of the Spirit, they were as secure from Error, as if they had (what after they were dispersed to preach the Gospel John xiv, 26.
John xvi. 13. P John xvi. 7.
was impossible) Christ bodily present with them, to ask concerning the Things which they had heard or seen. He told them farther, that when they should be brought before Governors and Kings to bear Testimony for him, it pould be given them, in that same Hour, what tbey should speak : for, faith he, it is not ye that Speak, but the Spirit of your Father, which Speaketb in you. To pretend, that this Promise means only Courage and Presence of Mind, is contrary to all Reason, and all Use of Scripture Language. And if it means, as it evidently doth, divine Superintendence; they certainly wanted, and therefore would have, at least as much of it, when they wrote Books, which God foresaw (whether They did or not) must be the only standing Rule of Christian Faith for ever, as when they spoke occasionally before this or that Heathen Magistrate.
The Assurances, which he vouchsafed to them, we read, were fully made good. After his Resurrection he said to them, As the Father bath sent me, even fo fend I you: tben be breatbed on them, and said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost'. After his Ascension, they were filled with his
9 Matt. X. 18, 19, 20. Comp. Luke xii. 11, 12. John XX. 21, 22. Vol. VI.