Baxter - BR161 B28 1680

What Hiftory is Credible, and what not A s the Holy Ghofi faith, Believe not everyfpirit; I may fay, Believe not all Reports, or Hiflory. It was not only Ahab: Prophets, in whole mouths Satan wasa lying fyirit : As lying and deceiving is his work in the world, for the defiroyingofHolinefs, and ofSouls, even when he turneth himfeif into an Angel of Light; fo is it the work of his Minifters, when they'feemtobe Minihers of Righteoufnefs; when it is oft Paid (Be nöt de- eeived) and [Letno mandeceive you with vainwords ;] it is more neceliary . ad- vile,and hardlier followed, than moll men underftand. As Truth is Gods means to work the will to holy love, and lead us in aholy life, fo Lying is the Devilsmeans to oppofe them : andof all Lyars, none are more pernicious than lying Aifiorians, and lying Preachers. It is a fad perplexity to the world, that when men read and hear, even the more confident and plaufible Hi- álories and Reports, they know not whether they are trueor falfe; and if they believe that tobe true which isnot, the effeei is worfe than this per- plexity. Iwill tell you what! take to be credible, and what not. I. It is prefuppoled that a man muff believe his fenfes, if found, about their proper objec9rs: Papifis that tell us that all mens fenfes are deceived, when they Item toperceive Bread and one in the Sacrament, do but tell us that no man then is to be believed, and therefore not they then felves. II. The Hiflory of the Gofpel iscertainly credible, becaufe it was con- firmed by multitudes ofuncontrouled Miracles wrought byChrifi, and by his Apofiles, and multitudes of Chriílíans ; as the Doeirine it felf beareth the Image and Superfcriptionof God. III. The Prophets that had Divine Infpiratiòn and Vifìon, had that Evi- dence which gave themfelves a certainty, though not toothers. 1V. When Hiflory delivereth a matter of fact and fenfe, by the com- mon content of all men that knew it, thoùgh of contraryminds, difpoG- tions, and interdis. it giveth us a certainty which may be called Natural; becaufe Nature hath nothing in it thatcould ca.ufe fuch aConfpiracy in Ly- ing : That it is fo credible as tobe a Natural certainty, that there is inch a place as Rome, Parris, Jerufalem; that the Statutes of the Land are not For- geries, while all Contenders plead them agaìnli each other, and hold by them their Eftates and Lives: And fo that there was filch a Perlon as Jefits Chrifi, and that the Scriptures were written by the Prophetsand Apo- des, &c. V. when the Hifloryof any perfon and aflion isproved by continued or vifible effeeis as that 1Villim.ot of N.rnandy conquered England, while fo manyof the effeés of that Conquer in our Laws and Culloms are frill viti- ble : And that the Welfn were the Ancient Britain!, driven by the Saxonsin. to Wales, while their Language Habitation, &c. fhew it.: And fo thut Chrift inflituted Baptifin, and Church-Communion, and theApoliles Ie- a pirated