A Short and Plain ANSWER TO TWO QUESTIONS:

I. Where was your Religion before Luther?

II. How know you the Scriptures to be the Word of God?

By a Protestant.

LONDON, Printed by T. N. for Jonathan Hutchinson Bookseller in the City of Durham. 1682.

SIR,

I Have received your Letter, wherein you seem to be at a loss for a ready and per­tinent Answer to Two capping Questions, by which the Papists are wont to puzle and confound those silly Souls, whom they compass Sea and Land to make Proselites. I know you are well satisfied, that Popery is a grand Cheat, upheld by fraud and violence, and hath nothing truly Ratio­nal to Recommend it: But yet sometimes a Man of honesty and good Principles may be at a stand to ren­der a satisfying Reason of his Belief, and to obviate the cunning Craftiness of those, who lie in wait to deceive. I suppose moreover you cannot expect any thing from me, but what hath been said before, and what is infinitely better perform'd in some hundreds of Printed Books already extant, than any Scribling of mine will ever amount unto. But yet since Men oftimes make most use of those Reasons, which arise in their own Minds, by thinking and Meditation; I shall, for my own satisfaction, rather than for yours, note down, as briefly and plainly as I can, such An­swers to those two Questions you mention, as shall at present occur to my Thoughts; which neverthe­less I shall communicate to you, if perhaps they may be worth your Acceptance. The first is,

Where was your Religion before Luther?

To this the Answer will be very short and easie, but [Page 2] then it will cast the whole stress of the Business upon the later Question. I say then, That our Religion, as to the Rules and Principles of it, was before Lu­ther, where it hath been ever since, in the Scriptures: And as to the Profession of it, it hath been own'd and maintain'd by the Faithful in all Ages, namely, such as have been kept by the Power of God through Faith unto Salvation, against whom the Gates of Hell and Rome have not been able to prevail. The Protestant Religion, we contend for, is nothing else, but Chri­stianity uncorrupted, which was in its greatest pu­rity before ever the Pope was heard of in the World. And Popery, that we oppose, is Christianity adulte­rated, or rather Paganism Christianized, which was in the Cradle when the Mistery of Iniquity began to work, and grew up to be the Man of Sin, when Popes had gull'd the World into so much Slavery, as to en­dure their trampling upon Princes. And this truth, as it appears in great measure from the Fathers and Historians of the Church, and from all Antiquity, that hath had the good fortune to escape the Expur­gatory Index; so it is more especially, and most evi­dently manifest from the Scriptures, which makes way for the second Question, which is the main Sub­ject of this Epistle, namely,

How know you the Scriptures to be the Word of God?

With this Question chiefly, they think to undo the simpler sort of Hereticks, as they are pleased to speak; and 'tis not impossible but some weak and unsteady Minds may be shaken by it. For since we never heard God vocally pronounce it, nor ever saw him deliver it unto the World, as his Act and Deed; they would [Page 3] have us so easie and credulous as to believe, that there is no way to be assured of its being his Word, but upon the Authority of the Church, and that no Church but theirs, can have that Authority. But this Plea, is as far from satisfying an inquisitive Mind, as my Arguments are like to be from convincing our Adversaries. Now, if any unlearned, well meaning Person, shall happen to be attackt by this, or any such like Question, and shall doubt of his own ability, to repel the Sophistry, whereby they are wont to ma­nage their needy Cause: I should advise him to deal with them, as our Saviour sometime did with the captions and impertment Jews; namely, to answer their Question by asking another. As, Who gave you Authority to call in question the Scriptures? How dare you insinuate doubts into any Christians mind concerning the Truth and Authority of that Book, which is the Rule of our Duty both to God and Man? Away with these too curious Questions, of which a Fool may ask more than a Wise Man can tell how to answer. It argues a desperate Cause, and a Religion highly suspicious, that cannot be maintain'd otherwise, than by such Pleas, as tend to make Men Atheists.

But though it be safe and prudent for some People to put them off in this manner, yet without any ter­giversation, I shall address my self to answer directly, so soon as I have propounded a Query or two, which, I think, will tend to introduce an Answer to this grand Question of theirs. I demand therefore of our Ad­versaries, How they know that the Sun shines, or, that there are any Bodies in the World? Why may not all the Objects we discern about us, be certain Phantasms only, or Apparitions of the Brain, which [Page 4] have no real Existence in Nature? Or, how come we to be assured, that our whole Life is any more than a Dream? For since in our Dreams, we verily believe the truth and reality of such things, as we laugh at when we are awake: Why may we not hereafter a­wake into another State of Life, in which we shall conclude our Life past, to have been a meer shadow?

If they will answer these Enquiries, according to the Nature of their own Principles, then, all the proof we are to expect, is only this: We have heard many People say this and tother; Or, Thus we have been taught by our Parents, or by our Tutors and Go­vernours; and we believe them, and trouble our selves no further. In this manner they would have us to speak in the Case of the Scriptures. They will not allow us to expect, or to endeavour, any Rational satisfaction in the point; it is enough if we can but gape so wide, as to swallow that Trojan Horse of Pa­pal Authority. But verily we are not yet perswaded to make our selves Brutes, for the Catholick Cause; that is, we are unwilling to lay aside our own Senses and Humane Faculties, to commit the whole Reason and Conduct of our Lives to he said and she said.

And surely he that should pretend to dispute, and yet so palpably beg the Question, would gain to be laught at instead of a Conclusion. Upon supposition therefore, that they would be a little more Philoso­phical and Gentile, in answering my Questions, in case they were propounded to them; I will endeavour the like, according to my small skill, in answer to theirs. And that I may deal as civilly as I can, I shall insist particularly, upon none but the first, between which and this Question of theirs, I will run a Pa­rallel, and attempt to shew, that by the same Argu­ments [Page 5] they will prove that the Sun gives Light, I will prove the Scriptures to be the Word of God.

In the first place then I shall consider what would be said by our Adversaries, in Answer to those extra­vagant Questions, I mention'd even now; and if I mistake their Sense in this matter, I pray do you in­form me better by the next opportunity; For I sel­dom come in their Company, and when I do, if they forbear, I am not forward to raise Disputes. I sup­pose therefore they would tell me, That these Questi­ons are about such things, as all the World takes for granted upon the Evidence of Sense, and the uniform Experience of all Ages; that thus to deny Principles, were to turn Sceptick, and so take the ready way never to come to any Conclusion; just as if one that pretended to the Mathematicks, should deny the De­finitions and Postulata of Geometry, which have en­dured the Test of most Ages, and, as the common Notions and Sentiments of Mankind, have bid de­fiance to all Exceptions. Who would trouble his head to Argue with such a Person, as should deny that two and three make five, or that the whole is bigger than the half? We find by daily experience, and no body can perswade us to the contrary, that when the Sun is above the Horizon we can see our way before us, the Objects that are about us, and how to do our business, which in the dark we cannot do. If any Man walk in the day, (saith our Saviour) he stumbleth not; Why? Because he seeth the light of this World; he needs not that any Man should tell him it is light, he sees it himself, and his own sight is beyond all other Mens Arguments. But if a Man walk in the dark, he stumbleth; and when Night cometh, Men cannot work. So that these Questions [Page 6] you propound, are altogether unquestionable; (1.) From the undeniable Evidence of our Senses; (2.) From the clearest inferences of Reason; And (3.) From the universal acknowledgment of Mankind.

In this manner I presume, they would answer my Queries, nor do I know any better way: And just thus it is in the Case before us; for, from these very grounds it will appear, that the Scriptures have pro­ceeded from God. The Sun doth not more plainly direct our Steps, than the Scriptures do our Lives and Actions. The first enlightens our Natural, and the latter, our Moral walking. The one makes us discern the Creatures that are about us, the other teaches how to use them to our greatest Comfort, and highest Advantage. By the one we may conclude there is a God, as he is knowable by the things that are made; by the other we are instructed what to think of Him, and how to behave our selves in reference to Him, and to our Neighbour. The Scriptures are a Lamp unto our Feet, and a Light unto our Ways; and whilst we take heed thereunto we walk securely, and never fail to find the benefit thereof; but when we forsake their Conduct, we fall into a thousand Er­rours and mischiefs, oftimes discovered to our out­ward Senses, in the discomposure of our Bodies, and detriment of our Estates; often too in the trouble, and disorder of our Minds, and not seldom in both these respects at once.

As for Example, the Scripture Commands us to live soberly, to love our Neighbour, to feed the hun­gry, to forgive injuries, and to deal justly with all Men. And what are the consequences of our Obe­dience in these things? Why these, some sleep, a healthful Body, a peaceful Soul, a chearful Life, [Page 7] Bread to eat, the love of Neighbours, the Prayers of the Poor, and a kind of universal Respect and deference, which vertue doth command wherever it comes. But then our Disobedience to these Precepts is usu­ally follow'd with restless Nights, racking Pains, anxious Thoughts, scaring Dreams, trembling fears, perplexing doubts, the hatred of some, the Curses of others, and the just condemnation of all. It's true, there are some reserv'd Cases; God doth some­times trie a vertuous Soul with Afflictions, and often makes a Soul vertuous by Afflictions: He doth again sometimes feed the Epicure unto the day of Slaugh­ter, and court the Vicious by Temporal Enjoyments to reclaim them. Yet, in the mean time, the Good are born up with peace of Mind, and expectation of a Crown; and the Wicked are busied in stupefying their Senses to abate the Sting of Conscience and fear of Hell.

But not withstanding these reserv'd Cases, I dare ad­venture to affirm, that there is not any thing in the World, whereof I am more certain, than that the Scrip­ture is a most excellent Rule for the Government of my Life and Actions; and the ground of this Assurance, in a great measure is taken from Sense. I am no more assured that the Sun shines, or the Fire warms, than I am, that my Conformity to the Scriptures is highly advantageous to me. The Sun is not more necessary to the being of Mankind, than the Scriptures are to his well-being. The one gives natural Life and light to the Creation, the other enlightens the Mind, and teaches how to manage our Lives, and the Blessings thereof, to the best purpose. Without the first the World would be a Chaos, without the later it would be a kind of Hell. Now the very first step [Page 8] of Reason, infers the Conclusion: For, from whence should such a Treasure of Wisdom and Truth proceed, but from the inexhaustible Fountain of all Goodness, God Almighty?

And let any Man in the World (unto whose hands Divine Providence shall bring it) carefully peruse that Book, and consider well the vast Stock of Wis­dom, the immense Treasures of Love and Bounty therein contained; Let him observe the excellent Rules it propounds, so fitted for all purposes and oc­casions of Humane Life, that an universal Confor­mity to it, would make Heaven upon Earth; Let him mark how all the Disorders and Miseries, Conten­tions and Blood-shed in the World, proceed from Mens disobedience thereunto, and do Constitute the formal Reason of Hell it self; And in a word, let him observe, that whatever he doth well, and which af­terwards leaves him a grateful Relish and easiness of Mind, is done according to the Precepts of that Book; and whatever he doth amiss, which leaves a Sting and Poyson behind it, is nothing else but a deviation from that Rule: I say, Let him but diligently read, and impartially consider these things, and he can be no better assured, that there is a God, who is Good and Wise, Merciful and Just, than that the Holy Scriptures are the Result of his Goodness and Mercy, towards the Sons of Men; and that they do contain a declaration of his Mind with respect unto us, and the Rule of our Duty in relation to him.

Why might not our Adversaries demand of us, how we come to be certain, that God is Righteous and the Devil Wicked? Is it lest the Question should recur upon themselves? For since so many of their holy Fathers, have been so Flagicious, as History [Page 9] makes mention, and since Villany is so far Patro­nized by their Church, that the blackest Criminals in that Communion, are oftimes Canonized for the greatest Saints: One would be apt to suspect, they Worship no other Deity but the Pope, and that whilst they pronounce his Holiness, the secret Reservation may be, his Wickedness.

I have heard indeed of a Pope that made this Que­stion, unless perhaps it were spoken by way of Ex­clamation; Quantum lucri ista fabula de Christo nobis peperit! And this seems to be the proper language of that Church: For if they did believe the New Te­stament to be ought but a Fable, they could not allow those Doctrines and Practices, that are every where visible amongst them. For I reckon, that imposing upon the Conscience things unrevealed, and beyond all possibility of belief, upon no less penalty than the Inquisition here, and Damnation hereafter, is the very next door to Infidelity and Atheism. How can he be said to believe the Truth, that would force another to believe a Lie? So that whilst our Adver­saries would seem to question the grounds upon which we assent unto the Scriptures; it's more than probable, they themselves do not believe them at all.

I nothing doubt, for all that, but there are within the Romish Church, thousands of pious and devout Souls, whose Education and other unhappy Circum­stances, God will in great Mercy consider; and, though under gross Error and much Ignorance, will bring them through the power of his Grace unto Sal­vation. If their Foundation be upon the Rock, though they have built thereon Hay and Stubble, they may indeed suffer loss, but shall escape utter Ruine. I think too there are amongst them, some Learned Men, [Page 10] as the Jansenists, and perhaps some others, whose Lives and Principles are far better than the rest, and who by an odd kind of fatality preserve their Station in that Church. These, if they pursue their own Rules and Practice according to what they Write, shall not (I hope) smart with the rest, when God comes to visit their iniquity. But as for those designing Men, whose business it is to prie into the Cabinets of Princes, and to influence the Affairs of Kingdoms for the advantage of the Catholick Cause; who though Priests, affect to be Ministers of State, not of Jesus Christ, whose Kingdom is not of this World; they whose Gospel is Fire and Sword, and their glad ti­dings of Salvation some Bloody Massacre; whose Faith is in the Pope, and whose Heaven it is, to be Courted and Canoniz'd by a Scarlet Whore: I look upon these to be a Generation of the vilest Wretches that ever the Earth bore, and in a far worse condi­tion than Turks or Pagans. And yet these are the Men that would have me receive the Scriptures up­on their Credit, who are the great Shame and Dis­credit of that Holy Christian Religion contained therein, and whose Lives are one entire contradiction thereunto.

I suppose it will not be denied, that, had we no inspired Writings at all to direct us, there were ne­vertheless many reasons to believe the Being of God. Scarce any People under Heaven so brutish, as not to have some impressions of a Deity. Scarce any Per­son in the World so profligate, as not to have some checks of Conscience: Besides what Arguments may be drawn from the Beauty of Providence and Harmony of the Creation. Now the very Notion of a God includeth Goodness, and the Notion of [Page 11] Goodness supposeth a God: One is the Stream, the other is a Fountain. Let any Man trie how he can phansie the Stream that should proceed from no Original Fountain at all. It is not imaginable sure, that any Creature should be in the World, or that good things should be bestow'd upon any Creature, but they must proceed from some Original, and that can be nothing else but God blessed for ever. From whence I argue thus; If the invisible things of him, from the Creation, be clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, much more may the visible Characters of Divine Goodness, every where evident in the Scriptures, be clearly concluded to be from God.

Will any man object and say, Where are those visible Characters of Divine Goodness contained in the Scriptures? Many People cannot see them. True indeed, and there are some too that cannot see the Sun, but then they are blind, and cannot see any thing at all. The Sun illuminates the material visible World, and the Scripture gives us a prospect of a Spi­ritual World, and lets us see things Divine; but then we must have Eyes, and if we complain of darkness in the Meridian light, where's the fault? Now if any Man will say, he can see no marks nor footsteps of Divine Goodness in the Scriptures; I would ask him, whether health and vigour of body, whether easiness and pleasure of Mind, are good things or not? And whether he would choose to lie upon a Rack, or a Bed of Roses? Or suppose a Man by his own de­fault, and wilfulness in going astray, be fallen into a Pit, where he is certain either to be stung with Ver­mine, or to die by wild Beasts, or famish to Death; Would he not account it a kindness, not only to be [Page 12] delivered from the present danger, but conducted throughout the remainder of his journey, in such a way, as is both safe and easie? If he answer in the Affirmative, he yields the Cause; if he deny, he must be a Mad Man, past all sense of understanding of good or evil. Now if I pursue our Adversaries to the Gates of Bedlam, they must excuse me, if I there bid farewell, and follow them no further. The summ is this; That which teacheth us the best way imaginable, to preserve health in our Bodies and peace in our Souls, to live comfortably at Home and profitably to our Neighbours, to Honour our Crea­tor and know our selves, to avoid Misery and attain Happiness, must needs be an excellent Rule, very much for our good, and must proceed from the true Fountain of all Goodness. But such is the Scripture, therefore it is the Word of God.

Thus far I have considered the Scripture, in re­ference chiefly to its Utility; Let us now observe it a little with respect to its Verity: For sometimes it happens, that a thing may be useful, which yet is not exactly true; As for Example, Decimal Arith­metick resolves a Question speedily, but not altoge­ther exactly; yet it will come so near the truth, as not to miss the 10000th. part of a Farthing. And a Clock will follow the Motion of the Sun for a weeks time, with the Errour only of some few Mi­nutes; but neither the one nor the other in strict­ness of speech can be said to be true, though both are very useful. But now, if the Scriptures appear to be both useful in the highest degree, and infal­libly true, it must needs speak the very great Per­fection of those Sacred Writings. They may be [Page 13] distinguished into four parts according as they con­tain,

  • 1. Things related, or matter of History;
  • 2. Things fore-told, or matter of Prophesie;
  • 3. Things to be done, as matter of Action, or Duty;
  • 4. Things to be believed, or matter of Faith.

As for the Historical part of that Book, how hath it bidden defiance to Time to discover any just Ex­ception! Nay, even the Enemies of Truth, have own'd and confirm'd the matters of Fact therein con­tained. And many profane Writers, who either knew not of, or have not rightly acknowledged the Scriptures, have nevertheless inserted into their own Stories, the same things therein contained, as is well known, and hath been oft observed by those that look into Books. And though the Divine History bears such Authority and Majesty in its Style, that it needs not the Confirmation of Prophane ones; yet the Testimony of Adversaries against themselves, is always considerable.

And hath not much of the Prophetick part been verified to the amazement of all those that duly con­sider it? How many, and how punctually were the Prophesies, concerning our Redemption by Christ? How plain was that, concerning the Type thereof, namely, Israels deliverance from Egyptian Slavery, Gen. 15. verse 13, 14. and yet how wonderfully fulfill'd, many hundreds of Years after they were fore-told? But I am not at leisure to enlarge upon these things, many Learned Men have done it, more especially the incomparable Sir Charles Wolseley.

[Page 14] And then for the Preceptive part, containing Rules of Life and Manners, it is so Rooted in the Nature of things, so obvious to Sense, so agreeable to Rea­son, so beneficial to the World, and so confirmed by the Experience of all Men, whose Faculties are not depraved, That Heaven and Earth shall pass away, before one jot or tittle thereof shall fail, or be found deficient.

Lastly, The Divine Mysteries therein revealed, as the Doctrine of the Trinity, the Incarnation of the Blessed Jesus, &c. though they are above our Capa­city, to explain the Nature of them, yet are they so suitable to Gods Goodness, and do make such a Harmony of Divine Attributes, that Reason it self, will rather from thence infer the truth of their being, than that they cannot be, because we understand not the manner how they are. How could God be Just, if Justice were not satisfied? And could be Merciful, if all Men were to be damned; How could lost Man Redeem himself? Or, how could he be saved, if he should suffer for himself? But now in the Person of our Blessed Redeemer, the Law is satisfied, Justice is done, and even thereby, Mercy doth the more emi­nently appear; God is glorified, and Man is not left to perish in his iniquity. If a Man will be so morose as to urge, that Three in one, Eternal Generations, a Virgins Conception, and the like, sound so harsh to Humane understanding, that they cannot be true: He may after the same rate conclude, that there is no such thing as Humane Generation, since the Nature and process thereof, is very obscurely, if at all un­derstood. That there are no Souls, because it is not yet agreed, whether they are immediately Created of God, or they are Ex traduce, or Pre-existent. [Page 15] No such thing as Milk in a Womans Breast, since Anatomists are confounded with difficulties to find what Matter it is made of, or by what secret Cha­nels conveyed thither: In so much that one very Learned Writer in that Faculty, flies to the force of Imagination to produce it. No such thing as Quan­tity, because no Man ever yet could demonstrate unexceptionably, whether it be infinitely divisible, or ultimately resolvable into indivisibles. No Bodies in the World, since no Man knows what kind of Original Particles they are made of. These and many things more, as to the manner how they are, have difficulties attending them, which are insupe­rable and incomprehensible. And methinks it is somewhat hard, that we should do things our selves, and see many things before our Eyes, of which we can give no tolerable account, and should yet think, that God cannot do somewhat more than we can ap­prehend; and should be so inclinable to reject even God himself, his Word, and all his Works of Won­der, if they will not accommodate themselves to our little understandings.

From these considerations, and many more, that will occur to any impartial thinking Man, it doth appear beyond all possibility of doubting, that the Scripture is most certainly true; and if so, it must be the Word of God; for it testifieth of it self, that it is given by Divine Inspiration. Never did any Book contain so much Wisdom, Kindness, and Usefulness to the Sons of Men as it doth. Summ up the whole World together, except the Bible and what is taken out of it, and the Total will neither afford you half so many Excellent Rules, and Observations, for the government of Mens Lives, nor one thousand part [Page 16] of that clear discovery of Divine Truth, which that Book contains. Shall we now say, that this Book is a Forgery, a Cheat and Imposture of the Devil? For so it must be, if it be not the Word of God. And what follows? Why, that a Corrupt Tree brings forth good Fruit, and that most pure and wholsome Streams proceed from a putrid Fountain. That truth is falshood, that good is evil, and that light is darkness. He that denies the Scriptures to be the Word of God, must quit his Sense, his Reason, and his Conscience, that he may admit of these Con­clusions.

To which it may be added, That all the malicious and cunning Adversaries of God and true Religion; all the Pagans, Popes, and Hellish Apostates; all the Devils themselves, and their incarnate Brethren the Jesuits, with all their Subtilty and Contrivance, have not been able to destroy nor discredit that Book: No, nor to Corrupt it neither, in any such degree, but that still there remains good Copies thereof in several Languages. And though there may be defi­ciency and Humane frailty, in some Readings and Versions, as to some particular words, yet is not that any blemish unto, or diminution of the Beauty and Excellency of the whole, but may rather teach us to value it the more: For since neither the failings of some, nor the fraud of others hath availed in Six­teen hundred years, to do any substantial dammage to that Book, it is a convincing Argument, that Divine Providence hath been engaged for it's preservation.

If it should be here objected, That since there are so many various Readings of the Scriptures, it may be doubtful which of them is the best: I readily grant it, but then there can be no doubt, but that [Page 17] every one of them, for the main Substance of it, is the Word of God. Let us suppose Religio Medici to be turned into several Laguages; there may be di­vers faults in every one of them, as is observed to be in the Latine Copy, and some of them very gross ones: But, will any body from thence infer, that Sir Tho. Brown is not the Author? For though indeed he is not the Author of those Errors, wherein the true Sense of some particular Words is mistaken: Yet since they are not such, nor so many, as to evacuate the design and scope of the Book, much less to deno­minate the whole Work from the Translator; I may say, with good Propriety of speech, that that Book was written by the Learned Sir T. Brown, though I should find the same in Latine or French, and had never seen the Original English. Thus I scruple not to say, the Rhemists Translation is the Word of God. That is, for the Substance, and main Purpose of it, it is not so spoil'd as to lose the Nature of Divine Truth, but is profitable for Doctrine, for Reproof, for Correction, for Instruction in Righteousness: And, to such as cannot procure a better, it may doubt­less be sufficient to make them Wise unto Salvation. But I intend not in the mean time, to Entitle God Al­mighty to the failings or frauds of that Version, or of any other.

The Errors that have been occasioned from various Copies taken, and Translations made, are either of Infirmity or Knavery. As for this latter, I suppose it cannot be proved, that ever any Person was so auda­cious, as to attempt the palpable Corruption of the Scriptures, until the Aspiring Popes had set up an in­fallible Chair at Rome, a Court only fit to protect such Undertakings, because indeed it could not be [Page 18] supported without them. So that in the Primitive Times, the Errors which have crept into the Bible, have been first, only such failings as have escaped una­wares in the Transcribing thereof: And secondly, af­terwards, when it came to be Translated into other Languages, some difficulty and contest could not choose but arise, about the rendring such words as were of various, & doubtful signification, from which I believe there are very few Languages entirely free. Now I say, it was impossible that both these together, whilst Men were sincere and honest, should ever stifle or quench the Divine Spirit which breaths every where in those Sacred Writings, And we may rea­sonably suppose, that the Christian Church was stockt with a competent number of good Copies, before the Mystery of Iniquity came to such a height, as to attempt the wilful depravation of the Scrip­tures.

Two things are considerable in this matter; First, That in the Infant State of Christianity, Believers were cordial, and in good earnest, about the business of Religion. The power of Godliness prevail'd, and those who call'd themselves Christians, were really such; nor had they yet learn'd those Crafts of Cous­nage and Deceit, which afterwards, the Mystery of Iniquity furnisht the World withall. And therefore they would be careful, in the highest degree, to Transmit faithful Copies of those precious Papers unto Posterity: A Duty more especially incumbent on them, who had the keeping of the true Origi­nals. Secondly, That God Almighty, having by the Holy Ghost inspired his Pen-Men, to deliver his Mind unto the World, it is not likely, that he should relinquish the same, to perish in the hands of igno­rant [Page 19] or wicked Men: For since the Blessed Spirit did so manifestly appear in it, Divine Providence was sure to guard it, and will doubtless secure it to the end of the World.

These inducements, with others of like nature, are sufficient I count, to convince any Man, unto whose hands the Bible shall come, that it doth contain the words of Eternal Life: For it carries that Self-evidencing Light, that Majestick plainness, that unaffected Gravity, and substantial Utility through­out the whole; that no Man, who will but consider, can possibly doubt of its Original. And though Mens Corruptions may prevail so far with them, as to make them pretend at least, to call in question the Being of God, as well as the Truth of his Word: Yet it shall certainly operate upon them so far, as to leave them without excuse. I do not believe, that Nature ever yet produc'd so profligate a Wretch, but would be sensible of some reluctancy and grief, to see his Child murder'd, his House fir'd, and have his Limbs torn asunder, without any just cause or pro­vocation given. But if these things have no evil in them, why should any body be grieved at them? If they have, why should any one do the like to his Neighbour? Now, if Men ought not to do wrong in one respect, no more ought they to do it in any other: From whence ought to follow the universal rectitude of all our actions. And where are there such Rules of Equity and Righteousness as the Scrip­tures afford, teaching us to do unto others, as we would that they should do unto us? The faithful ob­servation of which short Precept, would confine Astrea to this lower World, and yet banish all her Courts, as being useless: It would set such a face on [Page 20] things, as would far exceed all the imaginary beau­ties of the Golden Age. From whence now should this proceed, but from the Fountain of all Righte­ousness, God Almighty?

There is yet a further means of assurance, that the Scriptures are the Word of God, namely, from the evidence of the Spirit bearing witness in our Con­sciences, to the truth of those things contained in our Bibles; of which there is a Counter-part written in our Hearts, and attested by the Holy Ghost. There are indeed many false Spirits, and many vain pre­tences to the true one; yet a measure thereof is gi­ven to every Child of God, and promised to all those, that seek it with sincerity and perseverance. Now I say this Evidence of the Spirit, wherever it is, doth fill the Mind with assurance and satisfaction, about Divine Truth, beyond all Arguments: It is so con­vincing, that St. Paul calls it a Demonstration. And though perhaps it may not have that force to those who deride it in others, and stifle its motions in their own Breasts, (for neither is Geometrical Demon­stration of force to them that understand it not) yet to a mind enlightened by it, and brought under the power of it, the Evidence and Demonstration of the Spirit, is beyond all other Arguments and Demon­strations whatsoever.

To summ up all, we need not to go to a Corrupt and Adulterous Church, to have its Authority and Imprimatur stampt upon our Bibles, from whence on the contrary it ought to derive its own Authority: And it will one day sink under the weight and force of those Laws and Precepts, which it now vainly pretends to Authorize. I say then, the Scriptures are known to be the Word of God beyond all possi­bility [Page 21] of mistake or dubitation, by Evidence of Sense, by Arguments of Reason, and by Demonstration of the Spirit.

This (Sir) is all, I shall trouble you with in this Matter, till either I have your Objections, or some further opportunity of discovering my Zeal to serve you, according to the utmost of my power.

I am Sir, &c.
FINIS.

These Books following to be Sold by Jo­nathan Hutchinson in Durham.

Folio.

DR. Hammond's Annotation on the New Testa­ment.

H. Grotii Opera omnia Theologica 4 vol. 1679.

Eusebii, Socratis, Sozomeni, Theodoriti & Evagrii Historia Ecclesiast Gr. Lat. notis Hen. Valesii 3 vol. Mogunt. 1672—77—79.

Bishop Taylor's Course of Sermons for all the Sundays in the Year.

—His Ductor Dubitantium, or Rule of Con­science.

Quarto.

Bishop Nicholson on the Church Catechism.

Dr. Donns Pseudo Martyr.

Rogers on the Thirty nine Articles of the Church of England.

Octavo.

Dr. Combars Exposition of the Book of Common Prayer, 4 Parts.

Dr. Hammond's Practical Catechism.

Bishop Morton of Episcopacy.

Dr. Basire of Sacriledge Arraign'd and Condemn'd by St. Paul.

Twelves.

Dr. Breviul on the Sacrament.

Bishop Cousins Devotions.

THE END.

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