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SERM. II. Certainty of the Truth of Christianity; it
every unprejudiced Mind is determined by moral Certainty, we may argue thus.-It is demonftrably certain, that there is a Being of infinite Goodness, Truth, and Veracity. It is demonftrably certain, that a Being of infinite Goodness, Truth, and Veracity will not miflead his Creatures into unavoidable Errors, nor fuffer an Imposture to pass upon the World, in his Name, in a Matter of the last Importance, with fuch manifeft Tokens of Credibility, and moral Certainty, as muft, and do in every other Cafe, determine an unprejudiced Mindtherefore it is demonftrably certain, that Christianity is no Impofture. Thus the Chriftian Faith, in the laft Refort, refolves itfelf into, and terminates in, the divine Veracity: It is as fure as that God cannot lie, that he who has laid his Creatures under an Obligation to act upon moral Evidence, would not have done fo, if fuch strong Evidence could ever inevitably deceive them in an Affair of infinite Concernment.
Preached at the
Lady MOYER'S LECTURE.
On the Genuineness and Infpiration of the Sacred Writers.
1 THESS. II. 13.
When ye received the Word of God, which ye beard of us, ye received it not as the Word of Men, but (as it is in Truth) the Word of God.
HEN St. Paul preached the SERM.III.
gladly, and believed it to be, what it really
It, The Genuineness of thofe Books, which contain the Gofpel of Jefus Chrift. And,
IIdly, Their divine Inspiration.
It, I am to prove the Genuineness of thofe Books, which contain the Gospel of Jefus Chrift
Thofe Authors are confeffedly genuine, who have received the Sanction of their Contemporaries, or immediate Succeffors, followed by an uninterrupted Series of Vouchers.
Thus St. Paul quotes the Gofpel of St. Luke, whofe Praise is in the Gospel throughout all the Churches, as of equal Authority with the Writings of Mofes. For the Scripture faith, thou shalt not muzzle the Ox that treadeth out the Corn, and, the Labourer is worthy of his Reward, 1 Tim. v. 18. which laft Paffage occurs no where but in St. Luke x. ver. 7. as the former is to be met with Deut. xxv. ver. 4.
Thus St. John, as Eufebius informs us, ftamped his Authority, at the Inftance
*Eufebii Hift. Eccl. Lib. 3. cap. 24.
of his Friends, upon the Gofpels of Mat- SERM.III. thew, Mark, and Luke, and then added his own as a Supplement to them.
Much the fame Account we have from the ancient Author of the Martyrdom of Timothy, with this additional Circumstance, that before St. John reviewed them, they had already been tranflated into feveral Languages*. Nor is it at all unlikely, that the fame Zeal, which prompted St. John to expose one Fraud, as we fhall prove by and by; would likewife determine him to authorize the genuine Records of Chriftianity. This is what the World might expect from a Person so venerable, for his Wisdom and Authority, as well as for his great Age: And this is, what common Sense would suggest to one; who lived after Forgeries had begun to creep abroad.
Though Clemens Romanus, Barnabas, Hermas, Ignatius, Polycarp, Writers who had been converfant with the Apostles, feldom afcribe any of the Books of the New Teftament to their refpective Authors; yet they virtually own them all to be genuine, by fhewing the most distinguished Regard
* Photii Bibliotheca Cod. 254.
SERM.III to them, by often quoting them, and oft
ner alluding to them: An Honour they do no other Writings, except those of the Old Teftament. They transcribe numerous Precepts from the Scriptures, of which their own Lives were indeed the most beautiful Tranfcript. That they have not expreffly named the Authors, from whom they borrow, is easily accounted for: They wrote chiefly, if not entirely, for the Benefit of their Contemporaries, and it was needlefs to point out to thofe, who lived fo near the Fountain Head, from what Source they drew that living Water, which they had fo thoroughly imbibed, and fo plentifully transfufed into their own Compofitions.
What a religious Veneration thefe early Writers paid to the Scriptures, the following Paffage of Ignatius* will clearly hew. "Your Prayer to God, fays he, fhall make
me perfect, that I may attain to that "Portion, which his Mercy has affigned
me; having Recourfe to the Gospel, as "to the Flesh of Jefus Chrift; and to the Apostles, as to the Prefbytery of the
* Ignatii Epift. ad Philadelph. Sect. 5. Apoftol. Tom. 2. Vide Notas Johannis
Cotelerii Patres Clerici in locum.