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Of the supposed Presumption against

a Revelation, considered as miraculous.


PART AVING shewn the Importance of the

II. Christian Revelation, and the ObligaVtions which we are under seriously to attend

to it, upon Supposition of its Truth, or its Credibility: The next thing in Order, is to consider, the supposed Presumptions against Revelation in general; which shall be the Subject of this Chapter : and the Objections against the Christian in particular ; which shall be the Subject of some following onesa. For it seems the most natural Method, to remove these Prejudices against Christianity ; before we proceed to the Consideration of the positive Evidence for it, and the Objections against that Evidence b.

It is, I think, commonly supposed, that there is some peculiar Presumption, from the Analogy of Nature, against the Christian Scheme of things ; at least against Miracles :


Ch. iii, iv, v, vi.

b Ch. vii.


so as that stronger Evidence is necessary to CHAP. prove the Truth and Reality of them, than II. would be sufficient to convince us of other Events, or Matters of Fact. Indeed the Confideration of this supposed Presumption, cannot but be thought very insignificant, by

Yet, as it belongs to the Subject of this Treatise ; so it may tend to open the Mind, and remove some Prejudices; however needless the Confideration of it be, upon its own Account. .

many Persons.

I. I find no Appearance of a Presumption, from the Analogy of Nature, against the general Scheme of Christianity, that God created and invisibly governs the World by Jesus Christ; and by him also will hereafter judge it in Righteousness, i. e. render to every one according to his Works: and that good Men are under the secret Influence of his Spirit. Whether these things are, or are not, to be called miraculous, is, perhaps, only a Question about Words; or however, is of no Moment in the Case. If the Analogy of Nature raises any Presumption against this general Scheme of Christianity, it must be, either because it is not discoverable by Reason or Experience; or şlse, because it is unlike That Course of Nature, which is. But Analogy raises no Presumption against the Truth of chis Scheme, upon either of these Accounts.


PART First, There is no Presumption, from Ana

II. logy, against the Truth of it, upon Account mof its not being discoverable by Reason or Ex

perience. For suppose one who never heard of Revelation, of the most improved Understanding, and acquainted with Our whole System of natural Philosophy and natural Religion : such an one could not but be sensible, that it was but a very small Part of the natural and moral System of the Universe, which he was acquainted with. He could not but be sensible, that there must be innumerable things, in the Dispensations of Providence past, in the invisible Government over the World at present carrying on, and in what is to come; of which he was wholly ignorant, and which could not be discovered without Revelation. Whether the Scheme of Nature be, in the strictest Sense, infinite or nor ; it is evidently vast, even beyond all possible Imagination. And doubtless That Part of it, which is opened to our View, is but as a Point, in Comparison of the whole Plan of Providence, reaching throughout Eternity, past and future ; in Comparison of what is even now going on, in the remote Parts of the boundless Universe; nay in Comparison of the whole Scheme of this World. And therefore, that Things lie beyond the * p. 182.


natural Reach of our Faculties, is no Sort ofCHAP. Presumption against the Truth and Reality of II. them : because it is certain, there are innumerable things, in the Constitution and Government of the Universe, which are thus beyond the natural Reach of our Faculties. Secondly, Analogy raises no Presumption, against any of the things contained in this general Doctrine of Scripture now mentioned, upon account of their being unlike the known Course of Nature. For there is no Presumption at all from Analogy, that the whole Course of things, or divine Government, naturally unknown to us, and every thing in it, is like to any thing in That which is known; and therefore no peculiar Presumption against any thing in the former, upon account of its being unlike to any thing in the latter. And in the Constitution and natural Government of the World, as well as in the moral Government of it, we see things, in a great Degree, unlike one another; and therefore ought not to wonder at such Unlikeness between things visible and invisible. However, the Scheme of Christianity is by no means entirely unlike the Scheme of Nature; as will appear in the following Part of this Treatise.

The Notion of a Miracle, considered as a Proof of a divine Mission, has been stated

PAR T with great Exactness by Divines; and is, I

II. think, fufficiently understood by every one.
nThere are also invisible Miracles, the Incarna-

tion of Christ, for Instance, which, being
secret, cannot be alledged as a Proof of such
a Mission; but require themselves to be proved
by visible Miracles. Revelation itself too is
miraculous; and Miracles are the Proof of
it: and the supposed Presumption against these,
shall presently be considered. All which I
have been observing here is, that, whether we
chuse to call every thing in the Dispensations
of Providence, not discoverable without Re-
velation, nor like the known course of things,
miraculous; and whether the general christi-
an Dispensation now mentioned, is to be
called so, or not; the foregoing Observations
seem certainly to Thew, that there is no Pre-
sumption against it, from the Analogy of

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II. There is no Presumption, from Analogy, against some Operations, which, we should now call miraculous; particularly none against a Revelation, at the Beginning of the World: nothing of such Presumption against it, as is supposed to be implied or expressed in the Word, miraculous. For a Miracle, in its very Notion, is relative to a Course of Nature; and implies somewhat different from it, considered as being so. Now, either there

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