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can be deceived himself, nor will deceive us in any SER M. thing that he reveals to us. I fay the testimony or authority of GOD fome way or other revealing things to us, is the argument whereby a faith of any supernatural revelations is wrought in us: but if we restrain all fupernatural revelations to the bible, as I told you we know of no other; then the particular kind of testimony whereby this faith is wrought in us, is the written word of God.

III. As to the degrees of this faith. Suppofing men fufficiently fatisfied that the fcriptures are the word of God, that is, a divine revelation; then all those who are fufficiently fatisfied of this, do equally believe the things contained in the fcriptures. For if men be once fully fatisfied that God hath spoken any thing, I think no man makes the leaft doubt but what GOD fays is true. Now there can be no degrees of faith, where there is no doubt of the contrary; all the degrees that are in faith, arifing from a greater or less mixture of doubting. So that those who do not at all doubt but that the fcriptures are the word of GOD, have the fame degree of perfuafion concerning the matters contained in them: and that no man doubts whether what God fays is true, arifeth from the fixed and conftant notion which men univerfally have of God, that he is infallible and true. Therefore we find, Matt. xxi. 25. when our SAVIOUR puts the dilema to the Pharifees, concerning the baptifm of John, "whether it were "from heaven, or of men? that they reafoned with "themfelves, faying, if we shall fay, from heaven; "he will fay unto us, why did ye not then believe "him?" Which kind of reafoning imports thus much, that it is univerfally acknowledged, that no man can in reafon make the leaft doubt of that which


SERM. he believes to be from GOD. Therefore a mán would wonder what Becanus the jefuit meant, unless it were to abuse the prophets and apostles, when he fays, tom. iii. of his fchool-divinity, that the prophets and apostles had evidentiam revelationis, non autem evidentiam primæ veritatis: tametfi enim evidenter cognofcerent Deum effe, qui ipfis revelabat my fteria fidei, non tamen evidenter cognofcebant Deum effe fummè veracem, qui nec falli potuit nec fallere; that is, " Though it was fufficiently evident to the "prophets and apoftles, that thofe revelations which


they had were from GOD; yet it was not evident "to them, that divine revelations are true for "though they did evidently know that there was "a GoD, who revealed to them the myfteries of "faith; yet they did not evidently know that GoD "was infallible and true, who could neither deceive,

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nor be deceived." By which he doth not only make the prophets and apoftles ideots, and deftitute of one of the most common notions of human nature, which is, "that GoD is infallible and true;' but he doth likewife make all divine revelation ufelefs, and to no purpose. For to what purpose is it for a man to be fatisfied that God reveals fuch a thing to him; if he be in the mean time unfatisfied, whether what GOD reveals is true? for no man that is unfatisfied, whether what GOD reveals be true, can upon any tolerable ground of reafon yield a firm affent to a divine revelation. But it is pity to fpend time in confuting any thing which confutes itself by it's own abfurdity, and it's direct contradiction to the common notions of human nature. I proceed


Suppofing any man be unfatisfied, and do make any doubt whether these books called the holy fcrip



tures, or any of them, be the word of God, that is, SER M. a divine revelation; proportionably to the degree of his doubting concerning the divine authority of the fcriptures, there will be an abatement of his faith, as to the things contained in them; for he that believes a thing merely upon the credit or teftimony of fuch a person; so much reason as he hath to doubt, whether fuch a perfon did speak, or teftify such a thing; fo much reafon he hath to doubt whether the thing be true.

And upon this account I think it is, that the fcripture speaks of degrees of faith, of growing and increasing in faith, of a strong faith, that is, fuch a faith, as was either wholly, or in a great measure free from doubting; and of a weak faith, that is, fuch a faith, as had a great mixture of doubting; by which we are not to understand, that they doubted of the truth of any thing of which they were fatisfied by a divine revelation; but that they doubted whether fuch things were divine revelations, or not. So that the great doubt of the difciples was, whether CHRIST were the true Meffias, and really the Son of GOD for fo far as they were fatisfied of that, they could not doubt of any thing he said.

IV. What are the proper and genuine effects of this faith? The proper and genuine effects of the belief of the fcriptures in general, is the conformity of our hearts and lives to what we believe; that is, to be fuch perfons, and to live fuch lives as it becomes thofe, who do heartily believe, and are really perfuaded of the truth of the scriptures. And if this be a constant and abiding perfuafion, it will produce this effect; but with more or lefs difficulty, according to the difpofition of the fubject, and the weaknefs or strength of contrary habits and inclinations.

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SERM. More particularly the effects of this faith are accordCCXX. ing to the nature of the matter believed. If it be a

hiftory or relation of things paft, or prophecy of things to come; it hath an effect upon men fo far as the history or prophecy doth concern them. If it be a doctrine; it hath the effect which the particular nature and tendency of fuch doctrine requires. For inftance, the doctrine of God's goodness is apt to inflame us with love to him; of his power and justice, with a fear and awe of him. This doctrine, that CHRIST is the SAVIOUR of the world, the proper effect of it, is to make men rely upon him for falvation; and fo of the reft. If it be a precept; the proper effect of it is obedience: and hence it is that unbelief and disobedience are frequently put for one another in fcripture : and difobedience is oppofe to faith, 1 Pet. ii. 7. "unto you therefore which be"lieve, he is precious but unto them which be "difobedient, &c." where "the difobedient" are opposed to them that believe." And fo likewise those who neglect any duty of religion, and do any thing notoriously unworthy of their profeffion, are faid to deny the faith," 1 Tim. v. 8. " but if any "provide not for his own, and especially for thofe of "his own houfe, he hath denied the faith." How does he "deny the faith?" In difobeying the precept of the chriftian religion, which chargeth us with fuch natural and moral duties. If it be a promise; the proper effect of it is, encouragement to obedience by hopes of the thing promifed. If a threatning; the proper effect of it is to reftrain men from fin and difobedience.

V. In what fenfe this faith of things fupernaturally revealed, may be said to be a divine faith? Anfwer, not only in refpect of the matter and object of it,


which are divine things, fuch as concern GoD andS ER M. religion; and in refpect of the divine effects it hath upon those who believe these things; (for in these two respects a perfuafion of the principles of natural religion, may be faid to be a divine faith) but likewife in respect of the argument whereby it is wrought, which is a divine teftimony. As for the efficient cause, the Spirit of GOD, that does not immediately belong to this for the Spirit of GOD doth not, fpeaking properly, perfuade us immediately of the truth of things fupernaturally revealed; but mediately by perfuading us of the truth of the revelation: for to believe a thing to be true, which we are perfuaded is revealed by GoD, is fo natural and confequent upon fuch a perfuafion, that it doth not feem to require any new work of the Spirit. And if this be all the work of the Spirit, to perfuade men that fuch a revelation is divine; it will be most proper to speak of this, when I come to the third fort of faith, which is a persuasion of a divine revelation, that it is fuch; which because it hath many difficulties in it, it deserves a more large and particular confideration.



Of the faith or perfuafion of a divinė revelation.


HE B. xi. 6.

But without faith it is impoffible to please GOD.

Have obferved that a religious and divine faith
comprehends under it three things.



The third fermon on

First, this text.

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