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sed, that by a false one, an imposture, the world should come to the knowledge of the true God. If the Christian revelation be not the proper means to bring the world to the knowledge of the true God, it is strange that the world, which was before ignorant of bim, should be brought to the knowledge of him by it ; and no part of it ever be brought to the knowledge of bim by any other means.
§ 32. It is an argument for the truth of the Christian revela. tion, that there is nothing else that informs us, what God de signs by that series of revolutions and events that are brought to pass in the world ; what end he seeks, and what scheme be has laid out; agreeably to the challenge which God makes to the gods, and prophets, and teachers of the heathen world, Isa. xli. 22, 23. It is most fit, that the intelligent beings of the world should be made acquainted with it. The thing that is God's great design, is something concerning them; and the revolutions by which it is to be brought to pass, are revolutions among them, and in their state. The state of the inanimate, unperceiving part of the world, is nothing regarded any otherwise, than in a subserviency to the perceiving and intelligent part. And it is most rational to suppose, that God should reveal the design he has been carrying on, to his rational creatures ; that as God has made them capable of it, they may actively fall in with and promote it, acting herein as the subjects and friends of God. The Christian revelation is a design most worthy of an infinitely wise, holy and perfect being.
33. The doctrine of the general resurrection at the end of the world, upon many accounts, seems to me a most credible doctrine. There are a multitude of resemblances of it in nature and providence, which I doubt not, were designed to be types of it. It seems credible on this account, that the work of the Redeemer is wholly a restoring work from beginning to end ; and that he would repair all the ruins brought on the world
$ 34. If the New Testament be not a divine revelation, then God never yet has given the world any clear revelation of a future state. But if a revelation be needful upon any account, it is that we may have some certain and distinct knowledge of the future invisible world. If God designed a true revelation, it is not probable that he would suffer that any false revelation should anticipate it, and do the work beforehand. And, upon many other accounts that might be mentioned, it is incredible that the true revelation should still be deferred.
§ 35. It is very unreasonable to make it an objection against the Christian revelation, that it contains some things that are very mysterious and difficult to our understanding Fshat seem to us impossible. If God will give us a reve heaven of the very truth, concerning his own natur
sels, and ways, and of the spiritual and invisible world; it is unreasonable to expect any other, than that many things in such a revelation should be utterly beyond our understanding. For was there ever a time, when, if there had been a revelation of the very truth in philosophical matters-concerning created things, which are of a vastly lower nature, and must be supposed more proportioned to our understandings--there would not have appeared many things, not only to the vulgar, but to the learned of that age, absurd and impossible ? If many of those positions in philosophy, which are now received by the learned world as indubitable truths, had been revealed from heaven to be truths in past ages, they would have seemed as impossible as the most mysterious Christian doctrines do now. I believe, that if, even now, there should come a revelation from heaven of what is the very truth in these matters without deviating at all to accommodate it to our received notions and principles, there would be many things in it that would seem absurd and contradictory. I now receive principles as certain, which once, if they had been told me, I should have regarded as difficult as any mystery in the bible. Without doubt, much of the difficulty that we have about the doctrines of Christianity, arises from wrong principles that we receive. We find that those things which are received as principles in one age, and are never once questioned, are yet exploded in another age, as light increases. If God makes a revelation to us, he must reveal to us the truth as it is, without accommodating himself to our notions and principles; which would indeed be impossible : for those things which are our received notions in one age, are contrary to what are so in another; and the word of God was not given for any particular age, but for all ages. It surely becomes us to receive what God reveals to be truth, and to look upon his word as proof sufficient; whether what he reveals squares with our notions or not.
I rather wonder that the word of God contains no more mysteries in it; and I believe it is because God is so tender of us, and reveals only such things as he sees that man, though so weak a creature, if of an humble and an honest mind, can well enough bear. Such tenderness we see in Christ towards his disciples ; he had many things to say, but forbore, because they could not bear them yet. Though God does not depart from truth to accomodate himself to our manner of thinking, yet I believe he accomodates himself to our way of understanding, in his manner of expressing and representing things, as we are wont to do, when teaching little children.
§ 36. What can be more reasonable, than to believe a man, when he tells us, that he is sent from God to heal the diseases of our souls, and, in order that we may believe him, heals all sorts of men, of all manner of diseases, by a touch.
or a word ; and plainly shows that he can do it when he will, and let the disease be what it will? He tells us, that he will deliver us from spiritual and eternal death; that he will raise us from the dead, and give us eternal life; so that we shall
: live for ever, and not die; and to prove this, he gives evidence that he has power over men's lives, by restoring them after they are dead ; and rises from the dead himself. He tells us, that he will bestow heavenly glory upon us; and will translate us to heaven ; and, to confirm us in this belief, tells us, that we shall see himself, after his death, ascend into heaven. What more could we desire ? He tells us that he will undertake for us, and appear for us before God; and that we need not doubt, if he pleads for us, he shall procure acceptance, and, that we may see that it is true, he asks of God concerning a man who had been dead four days, that he may come to life again; and tells God, that he asks it for this end, that we may see that he always hears him, and grants what he requests ; and accordingly, at his request, the dead man comes to life.
37. “ What argument more proper (says Dr. Tillotson) to convince them of another life after this, than to see a man raised from the dead and restored to a new life? What fitter to satisfy a man concerning heaven and the happy state of those there, than to see one visible taken up into heaven? And what more fit to assure us that the promises of the gospel are real, and shall be made good to us, than to see him who made those promises to us, raise himself from the dead, and go up into heaven, and from thence dispense miraculous gifts abroad in the world, as evidences of the power and authority with which he is invested? All the philosophical arguments which a man can bring for the soul's immortality and another life, will have no force upon vulgar apprehensions, in comparison of these sensible demonstrations, which give an experiment of the thing, and furnish us with an instance of something of the same kind, and of equal difficulty with that which is propounded to our belief."
§ 38. Why was not Christ, after he rose from the dead, during his stay upon earth, with his disciples, as he was before? The very different states that Christ and his disciples were now in, would not allow of it. Christ, before his death, while in his humiliation, was in a like state with them. He was subject to hunger and thirst, as they were ; he needed sleep as they did ; he needed the like defence from the weather that they did, and the like : but when he was risen from the dead, the case was exceedingly altered; he then began his exaltation. He put off mortality, and all the infirmities of his body. The nature of his body was different from theirs, as things celestial differ from things terrestrial. Mortal beings are not apt for a cohabitation with immortal ; nor terrestrial VOL. VU.
with celestial; nor corruption with incorruption. God will not thus mix and confound heaven and earth.
$ 39. Much of the scriptures is apt to seem insipid to us now, as though there were no greater matter of instruction in it; because the points of instruction most plainly contained in it, are old to us, and what we have been taught from our infancy. The doctrines are so plain to us now, that there seems to have been no need of a particular revelation of such things ; especially of insisting upon them so much. But how exceedingly different would it have seemed if we had lived in those times when the revelation was given, when the things were in a great measure new, at least as to that distinctness and expressiveness of their revelation ? If we had an idea of the state of the world, when God gave the revelation, they would appear glorious instructions, bringing great light into the world, and most worthy of God.
§ 40. It was not allowed under the Old Testament, to hate personal enemies, to wish for revenge, or to pray for their hurt; except as speaking in the name of the Lord. So that there is no inconsistence between the religion of the Old Testament and New, in this respect. The apostle Paul himself doth thus imprecate vengeance on his enemies ; 2 Tim. iv. 14. “ Alexan. der the coppersmith did me much evil ; the Lord reward him according to his works.” Revenge, or a desire of it, was forbidden by the law of Moses, Levit. xix, 18; yea, there, the love of our enemy is implicitly commanded. Doing good to enemies, is required, Exod. xxiii. 4, 5. “ If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. If thou seest the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldst forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him." And this was agreeable to the sense of the saints of those times, as appears from Job xxxi. 29. “If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him." Prov. xxiv. 17.
Prov. xxiv. 17. “Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, nor let thine heart be glad when he stumbleth.” And xvii. 5.“ He that is glad at calamities, shall not go unpunished.” We cannot think that those imprecations we find in the Psalms and Prophets, were out of their own hearts; for cursing is spoken of as a very dreadful sin in the Old Testament; and David, whom we hear oftener than any other praying for vengeance on his enemies, by the history of his life, was of a spirit very remote from spiteful and revengeful. He himself in the Psalms gives us an account of his wishing well to his enemies, and doing good to them, Psalm vii. 4; praying for them, and grieving at their calamities, Psalm xxxv. 13, 14. And some of the most terrible imprecations that we find in all the Old Testament, are in the New spoken of as prophetical, even those in the 109th Psalm ; as in Acts i. 20. Jer. iii. 3. We have instances of this kind even in the apostles and the disciples of the Lamb of God, as 2 Tim. iv. 14. Peter says to Simon Magus, " Thy money perish with thee." They wish them ill, not as personal, but as public enemies to the church of God. Sometimes what they say is in the name of the church, see Jer. v. 34, 35; Matt. i. 19. " Then Joseph, her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a pub. lic example, was minded to put her away privily.”. This is a remarkable and eminent instance of a Christian spirit ; and this verse is an evidence, that that meekness, gentleness, forgiveness, and kindness to enemies which the Gospel prescribes, were duties under the law, and before Christ came.
§ 41. I once told a boy of about thirteen years of age, that a piece of any matter two inches square, was eight times as large as one of but one inch square; or that it might be cut into eight pieces, all of them as big as that of but one inch square. He seemed at first not to think me in earnest, and to suspect that I only meant to make game of him. But when I had taken considerable pains to convince him that I was in earnest, and that I knew what I said to be true; he seemed to be astonished at my positiveness, and exclaimed about the impossibility and absurdity of it; and would argue, how was it possible for two inches to be eight inches ! and all that I could say, did not prevail upon him to make him believe it. I suppose it seemed to him as great a contradiction, that what was but just twice so long, and twice so broad, and twice so thick, should yet be eight times so big; as that twice one should make eight, or any other absurdity whatsoever. And when I afterward showed him the truth of it, by cutting out two cubes, one an inch, and another two inches square ; and let him examine the measures, and see that the measures were exact, and that there was no deceit; and cut the two inch cube into eight equal parts, and he counted the parts over and over, and took the parts one by one, and compared them with the one inch cube, and spent some time in counting and comparing; he seemed to be astonished, as though there were some witchcraft in the case; and hardly to believe it after all. For he did not yet at all see the reason of it. I believe it was a much more difficult mystery to him, than the Trinity ordinarily is to men; and seemed to him more evidently a contradiction, than any mystery of religion to a Socinian or Deist.
§ 42. Some may be ready to object against the Christian re. ligion, that there seem to be innumerable difficulties, and inconsistencies attending it, but that a multitude of heads have been employed by many ages, till at length such solutions have been found out for many of them, as are in some measure ni sible.