Page images
PDF
EPUB

CHA P. II.
CH

That there is no necessity of immediate Re.

velation in order to a saving Christian Faith, arising from the Nature of a fa

ving Christian Faith. Na Tow if there be

any

such necessity, as our Adversaries pretend, of immediate Revelation in order to a saving Christian Faith ; 'tis plain, that that necessity mult arise, either from the Nature of the thing, or from the Will of God. That is, if immediate Revelation be necessary in order to a saving Christian Faith, there must be some reason why’tis necessary; and that reason must be one of these two, viz. either, 1. Because the Nature of a faving Christian Faith is such, that it cannot be built upon mediate Revelation, and therefore re, quires immediate Revelation, as the Foundation of it: or, 2. Because, tho' a saving Christian Faith might be built (if God pleas'd) upon mediate Revelation, yet God is not pleas'd, that it should be so built'; but has resolv'd, and so dispos'd matters, that it shall be always built upon immediate Revelation. I say, if immediate Revelation be necessary in order to a saving Christian Faith, it must be necessary upon one of these two Accounts. Whereas I shall shew, that it is not necessary upon either of these two Accounts; and consequently, that it is not necessary at all.

1. Then, I say, There is no necessity of immediate Revelation in order to a saving Christian Faith, arising from the Nature of a saving Christian Faith; that is, the Nature of a saving Christian Faith (or B 4

such

[ocr errors]

such a belief of those things which Jesus Chrift has reveald, as is necessary in order to Salvation) is such, as that a Man may be endued with it, altho' those things, which Jesus Christ has reveald, be not immediately reveal’d to him.

For this is very plain, that if the Nature of a Saving Christian Faith requires immediate Revelation; the reason must bę, either, 1. Because a Man cannot have any Christian Faith at all (whether saving or not saving) without an immediate Revelation of those things, the belief of which is a Chriftian Faith : or, 2. Because, tho'a Man might believe those things, which Jesus Christ has reveald, or have a Christian Faith, without immediate Revelation ; yet he cannot savingly believe chose things which Fesus Christ has reveal'd, or have a saving Christian Faith, without immediate Revelation. Whereas I shall shew, that the Nature of a saving Christian Faith does not require immediate Revelation upon either of these Accounts; either as it is à Christian Faith in general, or as it is a saving Christian Faith in particular.

1. I say, a Man may be endued with a Christian Faith, that is, a Man may believe those things, which Jesus Christ has revealid, without immediate Revelation.

For, that a Man may believe those things which Jesus Christ has reveald, nothing more is requir’d, than that those truths which Jesus Christ has reyeald, be propos'd to the Man's understanding; and that he perceive, not only the things themselves, but also the Evidence of them. Now 'tis very plain, that those truths which Jesus Christ has revealid, may be propos'd to a Man's Understanding, and that a Man may perceive the Evi, dence of them, without immediate Revelation.

Fog

For if those Truths which Jesus Christ has reveal’d, may be propos’d to the Understanding, and a Man may perceive the Evidence of them, by bare mediate Revelation ; then 'tis plain that they may be propos’d, and the Evidence of them may be perceiv'd, without immediate Revelation. Now that they may be propos'd to the Understanding, and the Evidence of them may be perceiv'd, by bare mediate Revelation ; will appear from the following Supposition.

Suppose, that St. Paul, or any other inspir'd Person, had learn'd any particular Truth from the Mouth of God himself, and had declar'd that Truth to me. 'Tis evident, that St. Paul's Declaration of this Truth is only a mediate Revelation of this Truth to me. Now I think, every Man in his Wits must grant, that this Truth, thus declar'd to me, is propos'd to my Understanding. And I think it extremely plain also, that by this Declaration of St. Paul's, I may perceive the Evidence of this Truth. For since St. Paul is without all doubt divinely inspir'd, and has deliver'd this Truth to me as taught him by Almighty God himself; 'tis manifest, that such his Declaration of this Truth to me, is abundant evidence of it. Wherefore it appears, that a Truth, thus declar'd to me by St.Paul, may

be believ'd upon the authority of bare mediate Revelation. Because, 1. Such his declaration of the Truth, is only a mediate Revelation of it. 2. It may be believ'd upon fuch his Declaration, because thereby it is propos'd, and I may thereby perceive the Evidence of it; than which nothing more is requir'd in order to the belief of it.

Now if a Man may believe any particular Truth, thus declar'd to him by St. Paul, and such a belief be built upon nothing else but mediate Revelation

BS

onlya

only; then it follows, that a Man may believe those things which Jesus Christ has reveal’d, upon the authority of mere mediate Revelation. For those things which Jesus Christ has reveal'd, are declar'd to us in the Holy Scriptures; and we have abundant evidence of the Truth and Certainty of the declaration of them; and 'tis incontestably clear, that a declaration of any Truth in writing, is as really a mediate Revelation of it, as a declaration of the fame Truth by word of mouth.

If it be said, that the Nature of those Truths which Jesus Christ has revealid, is such, that a Man cannot believe them, unless besides the Evidence of mediate Revelation by the Writings or Sermons of inspir'd Persons, he receive the Evidence of im. mediate Revelation also ; I answer, that this is a precarious and groundless Assertion. For tho it were granted, that the Will of God may make is. mediate Revelation necessary, where mediate Revelation wou'd otherwise have been sufficient; yet it cannot be pretended, that the Nature of those Truths which Jesus Christ has reveald, makes me. diate Revelation insufficient, unless immediate Revelation be added to it. For Evidence is Evidence, whether it be convey'd by mediate, or immediate Revelation, or by any other way. And therefore,

since a Man may perceive, not only the Truths reveald by Jesus Christ, but also the Evidence of those Truths, by bare mediate Revelation ; 'tis plain, that he may believe them upon the authority of bare mediate Revelation. And if he

may believe them upon the authority of bare mediato Revelation, 'tis plain that the Nature of them is not such, as makes the belief of them impossible without immediate Revelation,

'Tis true, those things which our Savior has made known, are very sublime, and perfective of our Nature, &c. but they are never the less credible upon these accounts, when propos’d with sufficient Evidence. And therefore, tho' we cou'd not have believ'd them without any Revelation ao all; because by Revelation alone we can receive the Evidence of them : yet either fort of Revelation will convey the Evidence of them, and consequently we may believe them upon the authority of mediate Revelation, without the concurrence of immediate Revelation also.

If it be objected, that a Christian Faith, or a belief of those things which Jesus Christ has reveald, cannot be wrought in Man without the Grace and immediate Power of God; and that this im. mediate operation of God upon Man, without which a Christian Faith cannot be wrought in him, is an immediate Revelation of Christian Truths to his Understanding; and consequently, that the Nature of a Christian Faith does necessarily suppose (because it cannot be wrought without) immediate Revelation ; I say, if this be objected, I answer, that altho' it be granted (for I think it at present needless, and for that reason by no means advisable, for me to state and determine so very nice a Controversy. Wherefore altho' it be granted) that'a Christian Faith, or a belief of those things which Jesus Christ has revealid, cannot be wrought in us without the Grace and immediate Power of God; yetI deny, that this immediate operation of God upon Man, without which 'tis now supposed, that a Christian Faith cannot be wrought in him, is an immediate Revelation of Christian Truths to his Underftanding. For tho' the Understanding of Man, considered

« PreviousContinue »