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Fourthly,A good and holy man reflecting upon this Affurance and Perfwafion that he hath, may be able to give himself a reasonable account of it, and fatisfie himself that it is not a Stubborn belief and an obftinate conceit of things without any ground or reason. A good man is fecretly and within himself perfwaded, that God hath revealed to him fuch a thing; reflecting upon this perfwafion, he finds that it is a Foreign Impreffion, and doth not fpring from his own Mind: Now he believing that there is a God, who can, and probably doth communicate and reveal himself to the Minds of good men; and being withal fatisfied that his Goodness is fuch, that he will not fuffer good men, who do heartily and fincerely defire to know his Will, to be under a neceffity of Delufion, (which they unavoidably are, if they may then be deceived, when they have the greatest affurance, and cleareft fatisfaction that fuch a thing is revealed to them of God;) from hence he reasonably concludes, That he ought not to queftion the matter any farther. I
might instance in the Revelation made to Abraham, concerning the facrificing Sermon of his Son, which hath the greatest III. difficulty in it of any cafe I know of: But of that I have elsewhere difcourfed at large. Thus much for the See vol. 1. Firft.
Secondly, What affurance can other Perfons, who have not the Revelation immediately made to them, have of a Divine Revelation? To this I fhall Answer by these Propofitions.
1. That there are fome means whereby a man may be affured of another's Revelation that it is Divine, For,
(1.) Otherwise it would fignifie nothing, but only to the Perfon that immediately had it; which would make void the chief end of most Revelations, which are feldom made to particular Perfons for their own fakes only, but for the most part, on purpose that they may be made known to others, which could not effectually be done, unless there be fome means whereby men may be affured of Revelations made to another.
(2.) None could be guilty of Unbelief but those who had immediate Revelation made to them. For no man is guilty of Unbelief that is not obliged to believe: but no man can be under an Obligation to believe any thing, who hath not fufficient means whereby he may be affured that fuch a thing is true.
2. The private affurance and fatisfaction of another concerning a Revelation made to him, can fignifie nothing at all to me, to affure me of it. For what fatisfaction is it to me, that another may fay, he hath a Revelation, unless I have fome means to be affured that what he fays is true? For if I must believe every Spirit, that is every man that fays he is infpired, I lie open to all poffible Impostures and Delufions, and must believe every one that either foolishly conceits, or falfely pretends that he hath a Revelation: for both the conceited and pretended Enthufiaft will fay they have Revelations, with as much confidence as those who are truly and divinely inspired: and to take
take every man's word in matters of fuch huge confequence and impor- Sermon tance, as Revelation from God ought III. to be prefumed to be, would not be Faith, but Credulity, that is, an ungrounded Perfwafion; which how feverely God punish'd, you may fee in that famous inftance, 1 Kings 13. where the Prophet that was fent to Bethel, is upon his return torn in pieces by a Lion, because of his credulity and cafie belief of a pretended Revelation. I confess this cafe is somewhat different from theirs who fimply believe a pretended Revelation, as being complicated with fome other aggravating Circumftances. For he had had an immediate Revelation from God, not to eat, nor drink at Bethel; nor to return the Same way that he came: upon his return an old Prophet meets him, and tells him that an Angel had appeared to him, and had bid him to bring him back, and to caufe him to eat and drink; he believes him, and turns in with him. Now this was the Aggravation of his Incredulity, that when he himself had had an express Revelation from God, concernᏀ
ing which he was fatisfied, he hearkVolume ned to the pretended Revelation of XII another, concerning which he had no affurance, in contradiction to a Divine Revelation, which he knew to be fuch. Not but that the Command which God had given him was in its own Nature revocable, and God might have countermanded it by another immediate Revelation to him, or by an equivalent, that is, a Miracle wrought by the Prophet who pretended to countermand it from God. Unumquodque diffolvitur eo modo quo ligatur, the Obligation which was brought upon him by an immediate Revelation, could not be diffolved but by another immediate. Revelation, or Evidence equivalent to it. However, this Inftance ferves in the general to my purpose, that a man may be faulty by Credulity as well as by Unbelief: and as a man ought not to disbelieve where there is fufficient Evidence; fo neither ought he to believe any thing without fufficient Grounds of Affurance.