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therefore according to the Genius of all Ch. i. Speech, figuratively interpreted, when t^W occasion requires it. Otherwise, under pretence of Faith in the Word of God, the highest Foliies and Blasphemies may be deduc'd from the Letter of Serif ture; as, that God is subject to passions, is the Author of Sin, that Christ is a Rock, was actually guilty of and defil'd with our Transgressions, that we are Worms or Sheep, and no Men. And if a Figure be admitted in these passages, why not, I pray, in all Expressions of the like Nature, when there appears an equal Necessity for it?
9. It may be demanded why I hatte so long insisted upon this Article, since that none exprefly makes Scripture and Reason contradictory, was acknowledge before? But in the same place, mention is made of some who hold, that they may seem directly to clash; and that tho we cannot reconcile them to* gether, yet that we are bound to acquiesce in the Decisions of the former, A seeming Contradiction is to us as much as a real one; and our Respect for the Strifttttt does not require us to Sect.II; grant any such in it, but rather to con^V^ dude, thatwe are ignorant of the right Meaning when a Difficulty occurs; and so to suspend our judgment concerning it, till with sutable Helps and Industry we discover the Truth. As for acquiescing in what a Man understands not, or cannot reconcile to his Reason, they know best the fruits ofit that practise it. For my part, I'm a Stranger to it, and cannot reconcile my self to such a Principle. On the contrary, I am pretty sure he pretends in vain to convince the Judgment, who explains not the Nature of the Thing. A Man may give his verbal Assent to he knows not what, out of Fear, Superstition, Indifference, Interest, and the like feeble and unsair Motives: but as long as he conceives not what he believes, he cannot sincerely acquiesce in it, and remains deprived of all solid Satissaction. He is constantly perplex'd with Scruples not to be remov'd by his implicite Faith; and so is ready to be Ephcs.4. shaken, and carry*d away with every wind M- of Dofirine. I will believe because I will believe, that is, because Vm in the Humour Jo to do, is the top of his Apology. logy. Such are unreasonable Men,Ch! 1. walking after the Vanity of their Minds; ^"\TvJ having their Understandings darkrfd^f^' being Strangers to the Life of God' through the Ignorance that is in themt because of the Hardness of their Hearts. But he that comprehends a thing, is as sure of it as if he were himself the Author. He can never be brought to suspect his Profession ; and, if he be honest, will always render a pertinent account of it to others. ... 1,0. The natural Result of what has been said is, That to believe the Divir nity of Scripture, or the sense of any passage thereof, without rational Proofs, and an evident Consistency, is a blameable Credulity, and a temerarious Opinion, ordinarily grounded upon an ignorant and wilful Disposition, but more generally maintained out of a gainful Prospect. For we frequently embrace certain Doctrines not from any convincing Evidence in them, but because they serve our Der signs better than the Truth; and because other Contradictions we are not willing to quit, are better defended by pheir means;. '.-..-1 —; ~-a\ I -• -Jt,\uv Dj CHAP,
Of the Authority of QsiVELATlON, 06 it regards this Controversy.
11. A Gainst all that we have been jr\_ establishing in this Section, the Authority of Revelation will be alledged with great (hew, as if without a Right of silencing or extinguishing REASON, it were altogether useless and impertinent. But if the Distinction I made in the precedent Section, N. 9. be well considered, the weakness of the present Objection will quickly appear, and this controversy be better understood hereafter. There I said REVELATION was not a necessitating Motive of Assent, but a Mean of Information. We should not confound the Way whereby we come to the fcnowledg of a thing,with the Grounds we have to believe it. A Man may inform me concerning a thousand Matters I never heard of before, and of which I should not as much as think if
I I were not told; yet I believe nothing Ch. 2. purely upon his word without Evi- t^YV dence in the things themselves. Not the bare Authority of him that speaks, but the clear Conception I form of what he lays, is the Ground of my Perfivafion.
12. If the sincerest Person on Earth should assure me he saw a Cane without two ends, I neither should nor could believe him; because this Relation plainly contradicts the Idea of a Cane. But if he told me he saw a Staff that, being by chance laid in the Earth, did after some time put forth Sprigs and Branches, I could easily rely upon his Veracity; because this no way contradicts the Idea of a Staff, nor transcends Possibility.
1$. I say Possibility, for Omnipoteacy it self can do no more. They impose upon themselves and others, who require Assent to things contradictory, because God, (say they, can do all things, and it were limiting of his Power to affirm the contrary. Very good! we heartily believe God can do all things: But that meer NOTHING should be the Object of his Power, the very Omnipotettcy alledg'd-wift not permit us to D 4 con