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Volume First, The Persons to whom a DiXII. vine Revelation is immediately made,
what assurance theycan have of it.And,
Secondly, What assurance other
perfons can have of it. I say, these are distinctly to be consider'd, because there is a very different account to be given of them.
First, As to those persons, to whom the Revelation is immediately made, the question is, By what Arguments or Means they may come to be assured, that any Revelation, which they have, is really and truly such, and noť a Delusion or Imposture. The Jewish Doctors tell us, that some kind of Divine Revelati. ons do not carry full assurance along with them, that they are Divine; such are Dreams and Visions, as they are distinguish'd from Prophecy : and as to that kind of Revelation, which they strictly call Prophecy, they give several characteristical notes to distinguish true Divine Revelation from delusion; such as these; that the spirit of delusion only works up
on the imagination, and the lower
Sermon Faculties; the Divine Spirit of Pro
III. phecy upon the understanding and reasonable part of the Soul: that delusive Inspirations were accompanied with alienation of mind, which did discover it self either in Rage and Fury, or Melancholy; but the true Prophetical Spirit is always consistent with the use of reason and understanding. They distinguish them likewise by the manner of their feising upon them; that in the beginning of Inspirations the Prophets used to have some apparition, or to hear some voice, either articulate in Words, or inarticulate by Thunder, or the sound of a Trumpet, which in the Revelations doth frequently precede St. John's Visions; and by these they were assured that they were Divine. And lastly; that a Divine Inspiration did always carry along with it a strong Evidence of its original, and that by the vigour and strength of its impression, they were fully assured and satisfied beyond all doubt and hesitation. Thus they. But all that I shall say by way of Answer to this Question, shall be in these two Propositions. F3
1. If we believe any such thing, XII.
as Divine Revelation, we cannot doubt but those who have it, are some way or other fully satisfied of it. Te Reason is evident; because otherw.se it would be in vain, and to no purpose, and could not poslibly heroin its pr. A Divine Revelation
poffibly signifie any thing,
reaion have any effect upon a wil,
unless he be satisfied it is such : for to long as he does not know but that it is a delusion, he will not attend to it, op regard it. So that the distinction of the Jewish Doctors between Dreams, and Visions, "and Prophecy, that this carries always full assurance with it, the other not, is vain and unreasonable.
2. The means whereby this afsurance of a Divine Revelation is wrought, is most probably the evidence it carries along with it, whereby it did fully satisfie the person that had it of its Divine Original. That God can accompany his own Revelations with such a clear and overpowering Light as shall disco
ver to us the Divinity of them, and satisfieus beyond all doubt and Sermon scruple, I think no man can doubt, III, that considers the vast Power and Influence which he must needs have over our Understandings, who made them, and knows the frame of them: And if this be granted, it is not necessary to explain the particular way, how it is done, it being a thing not to be exprest in words, but to be felt and experienced. So that the Argument, whereby this perswasion of a Divine Revelation is wrought in those that have it, is inward Experience of the full' Satisfaction and Assurance, which they find to be supernaturally wrought in them, that is, of which they can give no account from them. felves. And this is not a stubborn belief, and an obitinate conceit of a thing: but a good man, who is inspired, when he reflects upon himself, and this assurance which he finds in himself, he can give a rational account of it to himself. Thus he finds that it is a foreign impression, and doth not spring from himself, nor hath its rise from thence; therefore
he ascribes it to some Spirit without Volume himself; and he believes that there XII. is a God that can communicate him
self to the minds and spirits of men; and that his Goodness is such, that he will not suffer them to be under a necessity of delusion, which they must be, if when they have the highest assurance and satisfaction, that such a thing is a Divine Revelation, they may be deceived. And then likewise he considers the matter of the Revelation, which if it do not contradict any essential and necessary fundamental notion of his understanding, he thinks himself bound to entertain it upon this assurance.
I say, good men may give themselves this rational satisfaction: for
grant a wicked man, that rejects and disobeys the Truth of God, may so provoke him, as to give him up to Jtrong delusions, to believe lies; and he may be as confident of a Lie, as a good man is of Truth. But as this is not unjust from God in reference to the Persons, so it is no prejudice to the assurance which good men may have of Divine Revelatione