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fectually detected and confuted from thofe Writings. And, as to the various Readings which fome have made a mighty Objection, and which, without a perpetual Miracle, are unavoidable in a great Number of Copies tranfcribed by different Perfons in different Ages, they are fo far from inferring a general Corruption of thofe Writings, that they furnish a full Proof of the Contrary, and a most effectual Remedy against it, as is known to all thofe that are acquainted with thefe Matters. We have therefore the greatest Reason to conclude, that these boly Books, which we have now in our Hands, are the fame that they were, when they came out of the Hands of the Apoftles and Evangelifts, without any Alterations of Confequence either in the Facts or Doctrines And therefore, by Virtue of these, we have an Account that may juftly be depended upon of the Difcourfes and Actions of our bleffed Lord, and the admirable Scheme of Religion which he taught. Nor can we desire a more fatisfying Evidence, except we fhould infift upon our feeing and bearing thofe Things in our own Perfons, in order to our believing them, which would be to infift upon a manifeft Impoffibility, viz. that we fhould be Eye-Witnesses of Facts that were done feveral Ages before we
were born; or at least it is to demand that all the extraordinary Things that are related in the Gospels concerning Jefus fhould be done over again for our Conviction. And at this Rate all thofe wonderful Facts must be repeated in every Age, in every Country, and in the View of every fingle Perfon; for one hath as much Right to demand this as another. And how extremely absurd would this be, and unworthy of the Divine Wisdom, I need not take any Pains to fhew: And it were to be wifhed, that Perfons would ferioufly confider, how they will be able to justify themselves to the great Governor of the World, for refusing and rejecting the Revelation God hath given us by his Son, under Pretence of not having sufficient Evidence, when it comes to us with all the Evidence that can reasonably be desired in fuch a Cafe, or that the Nature of the Thing will admit of, and which they themfelves would account fufficient in any other Cafe. I fhall conclude this Subject with two Reflections:
First, How thankful fhould we be to God that he hath, in his wife and good Providence, ordered it fo that Things of fuch mighty Importance are tranfmitted to us in authentic Records, fo that by them we still have a fure Account of the Religion of
Jefus in it's genuine uncorrupted Purity and Simplicity! Let us prize thefe facred Wris tings as our most valuable Treasure, and make them the Subject of our frequent Me ditations. Let us often confider the glorious Characters of Divinity that fhine forth in them, the excellent Ideas there given us of God and Religion, the Purity and Holiness of the Precepts, the exceeding great and precious Promifes which are fet before us, and the Power of the Motives which are there urged to engage us to the Practice of univerfal Righteousness; that they have not the least Traces of a worldly Spirit and Defign, nor is there any Thing in them to humour and gratify the corrupt Lufts and Appetites of Men; that the manifest Tendency of the Whole is to promote the Glory of God, and the Cause of Piety and Virtue in the World; to infpire Men with an Abhorrence of Vice and Sin, and with the Love of God and Goodness; to raise them to the moft glorious Hopes, and to a Divine and heavenly Temper of Mind. The more we confider these Things, the more shall we be convinced that they had not their Original from Fraud and Impofture; that they came from God, and lead to God. Especially if we ourselves feel their happy Influence upon our own Souls, in purifying our Hearts, ani
mating us to the Practice of every Virtue, comforting us in all our Tribulation, and forming us to a godlike Difpofition: Then fhall we have the Teftimony within us of the Truth and Divinity of the Gospel; our Faith fhall be established as upon a Rock; we fhall not be toffed to and fro with every Wind of Doctrine, nor be allured by the fpecious Pretences of thofe who promise Men Liberty, whilst they themselves are the Servants of Corruption.
This leads me to a fecond Reflection upon this Subject, viz. That the proper Use we should make of these facred Writings should be to engage us to believe that Jefus is the Chrift, the Son of God, that, believing, we may. bave Life in his Name: For the Evangelift John here affureth us, that this is the End for which they were written: And indeed the Things there related concerning the admirable Character and Difcourfes of our bleffed Lord, the Inftructions he gave, and the illuftrious Atteftations which confirmed bis Divine Miffion, taken together, form an Evidence fufficient to fatisfy an attentive and well-difpofed Mind. But let us not content ourselves with a mere fpeculative Affent, which will be of fmall Avail to our Salvation and Happiness: Our Faith must be a practical vital Perfuafion, a Faith working by VOL. III. Gg
Love, and iffuing in a dutiful and fincere Obedience: For it is when we thus believe that we have fhall Life in his Name, that is, fhall obtain that eternal Life, which is the Gift of God through Jefus Chrift to all those that really believe and obey him. And how mightily fhould it recommend the Gospel to our Affection and Esteem, that Life and Immortality is there brought into a clear and open Light, and that we are fo plainly directed in the Way that leadeth to it! To that eternal Life let us continually afpire by Faith, and Love, and holy Obedience; and then we may upon good Grounds hope that, when we depart hence, we shall be with Chrift, and fhall be made Partakers of his heavenly Glory.
THE END OF THE THIRD VOLUME,