Bates - HP BX5200 B3 1700

Chriftian Religionproved by Reafon. 77 111;UI accept .,,Qjfel'i,gatJOTir Hwds. He adds, to fignifie the Calling of a new Church, ~ forftQPt therijing oftheSHn to the goiug dmw ofthefame, my J:...Tame fha!J be gr~at amoJtg the Chap.+ Gentiles, andineverypface ]JzcenfefhaU be cfferedto mJ Name, and a pure Offering, for my ~ N4/Jit fbaU be great among the Heathen, faith the Lord ofHojls. Thm that great wonder was clearly foretold by the Prophets, and as a work to boperformed by the glorious Power of God. And accordingly Jt is accompli!h'd. For who but God could have infpir'd the Apollies to under take an Enterprize fo contrary to Hnma?e Prudence, bemg equally . da~- gerous and impoflible? And who e\[e could have made rt fuccefs fu l beyond all rmagmanon? When the Pride of Phartwh was humbl ed, and his Strength broken by the moll: defpicable Creatures, even the Magicians were compel led to acknowled~e it to be the Finger of God: But his Arm w,u revealed when the Spiritual Pharaoh wrth all IllS Powers of Darknefs were overcome by fuch weak Inll:ruments. What furious Winds from all parts of the World confpir'd to extinguiil1 the firll: fpringing Light ofthe Gofpel? The Heathen Emperots dell:royed innumerable Perfons, prefnmmg to drown theMemory ofChrfim the Blood of the Chrifli•ll!. But fuch were the Faith and LoveofBehcvers ofall condttlons to therr Crucified Redeemer, that with the fame Joy they ran to fuffer the moll: temblc P nm!hments, as if they had been to receive Crowns. In vain the frrongeft Cof!lb~nations were: made againflthe Truth. For the knowledge of the only true God, and Ius mcarnate Son Jefm Chrifl overcame Impicly wuh allns Idols, and Ignorance with a11 1tS numerous Mallers. What is b,come of all the Heathen Deiries, fo honour'd, fo fear'd, fo obll:inately defended? Where are their Altars, their Statues, their Sacrilegious PrieO:s and Sacrifices? They are buried in the Ruinsofrheirown Temples, in rhe Darknefs of Eterna l Oblivion. Where are all rheSellsof Philofophers, the Plato11ijls, the Peripatetick..,s, the Stoic4.I , the Epicureltlll, and the refi:that fiL'd Greece wjrh thc1r Fame,. and fo rn~ny Volumes with their Fancies and Error? Like a .Torrent that ronls down wrth great noife from the rop of a Mountain ; fo for a time the Speculations of their lofty Minds poured along in a Floud offwelling frothy Eloquence; but now C andfor how many Ages fince?) the very Channel is dried up wherein they ran, fo that fcarce any vtGble Ruins remain in Athem it felfof the Schoolswherethey taught. The greateJ't among them, 11 Plato, adorn'd with the Title 11 . • , of D ivine, could never fee his Commonwealth, fram'd by him with fo much 11udy, to be ~~~i:f"!:~; ell:abli!h'd in one City. Whereas if we confider the Gofpe!of Chrill:, 'ris hard to deter- ttu"''?'~"'• mine whether the DoCtrine be more fimple, or the Apofiles the fir[[ Mafters of it to out- Chr;f d:J::'' ward appearan(:e; yet without Learning or humane Strength, in a !hort fpace they tri- p.,,, 4· umphed over rhe Eloquence ofthe Greei{r, the ~ower of rhe Romans, the Rage of Bnba- 'o~, ,, ~ ~ rous Nations. They abrogated Laws, chang d Cufl:oms, and renewed the Face of the ~ttfJT7'-~~ ;.n...... World. In thisrheProphetick Parab!ewasli:tlfill'd, TheKingdomofHuvw, that is, the "."." 'iiit"J Difpenfation of the Gofpel, is' lif,g to aGrain of M~tjlard:feed; one of the fmal lell: Grams, ;'! •:;,;~71;",. but of tha! fpiri t and quality that it fuddenly fprings up and fpreads abroad. "' "•~r; Thishappyandflupendous fuccefsof the DifciplesofJefwChrijl, conGder·din it felf, is "t7J,:;:;~I'!> an unanfwerable proof that the Chriflian Religiou came from Heaven. For it was only ~~ '!1 ~~ir.~­ poffi~le ~o _the Divine P?wer. 'Tis no _wonde_r the Re li~ion of Mahomet extended and ~-::~~~:~~~~:! eitabllfhdns Conquefis m.many Countr?es: For that Seducer perfwaded the Barbarous J\£v,,r~.I'J~J'uPeople by for c,e ofArm.r, they muil: beh1s Difciple.r or SlttVe.r. And can the Mind form a 1 ~1 t=A~nAD! clear Judgment, or the Will make a free Cboice, when urider a tyrannous neceility of ;,,:vv~'i~;;d.~ CompJjance, or lofing a_ll the Comforts of Li fe ? Can Viol ence and Cruelty produce a Ra- ),,,,~.;n"l7d.: tional Fai th ? That may force them to a counterfeit compliance, but cannot make Meri ;;~;~,. ... ~/o(t~ fincerely believe; 'tisapt to breed Form wirhour, and Atheifm within. Now th~ta Per- ;;,, ~s-~ur·r.~:~­ fe~med Religion lbould live ~md flouriili in the midit ofFJa":le~, tru ly admirable as. if :,~:7J:~:; ~ lmlc St:eam lliould pafs through an Arm of the Ocean, rerammg ns Frefhnefs and Punty ~.1'--~ufll»c~ e'! m. th7 nudfl: of Sal~ ~nd Turbid Wa~ers. That when rhe. Minds ufMen were prepotlefi ~;;11~@:l!JJl~: WJth mveterate Opm10ns contrary to1ts fupernatural Myfl:enes, and their Wills over-ruled rttfJ. Ift,n-• by Carnal Affections mr_erl~ averfe from its Holy Precepts, t he World was captiv'd to the Thtd"''"· beliefand obedrence of rt, rs the moll: noble effefr of Ommr.otence. For other Miracles, though above theLawsofNature, yet were on the lower oraer of Creatures without Li fe andSenfe; bur this internal Miracle was wrought on the Minds and Hea rts of Men. To ~a~[e the Dead, to calm a Storm, tofnfpend the force ofFire, to change Waters into Blood, IS ."?t fo glonous a .Work as the conver~ing Rebellious Souls to God, and making rhem a wrlhng People to hrsholy Laws. And rfwe further confider the Prophecies fo many Ages before concernmg tt, and obferve the Harmony betwixt the Works and Word of God, there refults a Demonll:ration as clear and ll:rong as is pof!ible. The Predicrion and Accomphfhmcnr are equally Divine. The Succefs juf\ifies tbe Truth of the Prophecy, and the Truth ~fthe Prophecy jufrifies the Divinity of the Ch,·ijlian Religio11. For by rhe Apol1:les and thmSuccelfors the Heathetu were turned from Idols, to the Service of One G~r~a~~~