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Sexm. II. Certainty of the Truth of Christianity ; if
every unprejudiced Mind is determined by moral Certainty, we may argue thus. — It is demonstrably certain, that there is a Being of infinite Goodness, Truth and Vera
It is demonstrably certain, that a Being of infinite Goodness, Truth, and Veracity will not mislead his Creatures into unavoidable Errors, nor suffer an Imposture to pass upon the World, in his Name, in a Matter of the last Importance, with such manifest Tokens of Credibility, and moral Certainty, as muft, and do in every other Case, determine an unprejudiced Mind : therefore it is demonstrably certain, that Christianity is no Imposture. Thus the Christian Faith, in the last Resort, resolves itself 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 so, if such strong Evidence could ever inevitably deceive them in an Affair of infinite Concernment.
Preached at the
Lady MOYER's LECTURE.
On the Genuineness and Inspiration
of the Sacred Writers.
1 Thess. II. 13. When ye received the Word of God, which
heard 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.IlI.
salonians, they embraced it gladly, and believed it to be, what it really is, of divine Authority and Inspiration.
That we may do so too, it will be ne
cessary to prove,
Serm.Ill. I/, The Genuineness of those Books,
~ which contain the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And,
IIdly, Their divine Inspiration.
I, I am to prove the Genuineness of those Books, which contain the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Those Authors are confessedly genuine, who have received the Sanction of their Contemporaries, or immediate Successors, followed by an uninterrupted Series of Vouchers.
Thus St. Paul quotes the Gofpel of St. Luke, whose Praise is in the Gospel throughout all the Churches, as of equal Authority with the Writings of Mofes. For the Scripture saith, 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 Passage 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 Eusebius * informs us, stamped his Authority, at the Instance
* Eufebii Hift. Eccl. Lib. 3. cap. 24.
of his Friends, upon the Gospels of Mat- Serm. III. thew, Mark, and Luke, and then added his in own as a Supplement to them.
Much the same 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 transated into several Languages t Nor is it at all unlikely, that the same Zeal, which prompted St. John to expose one Fraud, as we shall prove by and by; would likewise determine him to authorize the genuine Records of Christianity. This is what the World might expect from a Person fo 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 conversant with the Apostles, seldom ascribe any of the Books of the New Testament to their respective Authors; yet they virtually own them all to be genuine, ·by shewing 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 Transcript. That they have not expressly 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 needless to point out to those, who lived so near the Fountain Head, from what Source they drew that living Water, which they had so thoroughly imbibed, and so plentifully transfused into their own Compositions.
What a religious Veneration these early Writers paid to the Scriptures, the following Passage of Ignatius of will clearly shew. “ Your Prayer to God, says be, shall make
me perfect, that I may attain to that “ Portion, which his Mercy has assigned
me; having Recourse to the Gospel, as ☆ to the Flesh of Jesus Chrift; and to the " Apostles, as to the Presbytery of the
+ Ignatii Epift. ad Philadelph. Sect. 5. Cotelerii Patres Apostol. Tom, 2. Vide Notas Johannis Clerici in locum.