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" Or as before the throne of God I stand,
S E R
Μ Ο Ν
The authenticity of the sacred Scriptures demonstrated from their apparent Excellency.
HOLY MEN OF GOD SPAKE AS THEY WERE MOVED BY THE
HOEVER seriously reflects on the general depravity of human nature, will easily perceive how highly re
quisite it was that mankind should be frequently reminded to follow those things which tend to their real interest and welfare, which, had our first parents remained stedfast, as they were at first created, they would ardently have coveted, and as earnestly have pursued. But since their unhappy fall, our understandings aré darkened, and our wills most Ihamefully estranged from God; and as this was the fatal though natural result of their transgression.; the whole human species must from that time have continued in the most deplorable state of darkness and ignorance, had not the ever-indulgent ruler of the universe been graciously pleafed to aid and assist the weakness of our capacities, and to transmit to us his sacred fcriptures for our instruction in the only sure way to recover those inestimable blessings, which we had so unhappily forfeited : VOL. III. R
but notwithstanding this inexpressible condescenfion, this transcendent goodness of the Almighty, there are some so incureably licentious, as still strenuously to assert, that the scriptures are nothing more than compositions of learned and ingenious men, and by no means the operations of the divine Spirit. We shall therefore make it the business of the subsequent discourse to develop the weakness and folly of such an assertion, and demonstrate to you, that the HOLY MEN OF GOD SPAKE, AS THEY WERE MOYED BY THE Holy Ghost.–To begin then with the style and manner in which the sacred scriptures are delivered.
He that is conversant in the literary labours of mankind may observe, that there are two very different modes of writing in use among them. The first is easy and familiar, like that between friend and friend, where they endeavour to convince each other by strong and substantial reasons only, as being sensible, that such are the most probable, if not the only means of answering the end proposed. The other assumes the air of majesty, and is principally made use of by kings and potentates, who, on account of their elevated situation expect to be believed on their bare authority'; imagine that their dignity must command a due observance of their words; and look upon it as an act of too much condescension to offer reasons for the performance of fuch orders as they judge requifite to be obeyed.-In human sciences, the same method is in a great measure preserved. The physician expects to be believed by his patient, without assigning reasons for what he prescribes; and the tutor by his pupil, even in such points, as the latter might with decency dispute with his companions. Shall not this rule then, with much more justice, take place in matters of divinity, which furpass not only the understanding of learners, but the skill of the most profound theologists themselves. In philosophy likewise the professors thereof gradually ascend from such things as are evidently known, to others more obscure and uncertain ; and from first prin