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Of the CHRISTIAN RELIGION.
HAT Science which treats of the Theology, or
together with the true practical
ving of him, is call'd by the
Greeks, Theology; and by the Latins, Divinity.
THIS, with the Chriftians, is call'd Christianity; Christianity. with the Jews, it is call'd Judaism; with the Judaism. Followers of Mahomet, it is term'd Mahometa- Mahometanifm; and the fame among the Heathens, we call nifm. Paganifm. Thefe are the four great Systems of Paganism. Divinity now in the World, and include all others. Each of which is alfo call'd by the general Name of Religion.
RELIGION is that general Habit of Reve- Religion derence towards the Divine Being, whereby we are fin'd. fenfible of our Obligations to him, and are both enabled and inclin'd to worship and serve him, after that Manner we conceive to be moft agreeable to his Will; that fo we may procure his Favour and Bleffing, and avoid his Anger and Difpleasure. Religion is twofold, viz. Natural Is twofold,viz. and Reveal'd.
NATURAL RELIGION is that which Men Natural Relimay know, and be obliged to by the Light ofgion defined. Nature and common Principles of right Reafon, improv'd
improv'd by Confideration and Experience, without the Affiftance of Divine Revelation. The Subftance of Natural Religion is deliver❜d under the two foregoing Titles.
REVEAL'D RELIGION is what God has obligion defined. liged us to perform by the Manifeftation of his Will, upon the Confideration of temporal or future Rewards and Punishments. The two great Parts of which are Faith and Practice.
The Old Tefta
THE Manner in which God reveals his Mind, is generally by Vifion or Infpiration; whatever God thus fhews to Men, and they commit to Writing, thefe Writings are faid to be infpired, and to contain the reveal'd Mind and Will of God; and by the Christians thefe Writings are call'd, by way of Excellency, the Scriptures.
THE Scriptures contain two Volumes or Canons of facred Writings; the firft is proper to the Jews, and is call'd the Old Teftament; the other The New Tefta. is proper to the Chriftians, and is call'd the New Teftament; and both together we call the Holy Bible, or (fimply) the Bible. The Chriftians acknowledge the whole Bible, the Jews only the first Part, for the Word of God.
The Divifions THE Old Testament contains various particular of the Books of Books, which are divided under the following the Old ment into the general Heads, viz. (1.) The Pentateuch, which contains the five Books of Mofes, viz. Genefis, Pentateuch, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Prophets for- (2.) The first Prophets, containing Joshua, Judges, mer and latter the two Books of Samuel and Kings. (3.) The latter Prophets: The greater, as Ifaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel: The leffer, call'd the twelve minor Prophets, viz. Hofea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonch, Micah, Nabum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. (4.) The Hagiography, which contains the Books of Job, Pfalms,
The Hagio graphy.
Proverbs, Ecclefiaftes, Canticles; to which fome add the Hiftorical Books of Ruth, Ezra, Nebemiab, Efther, with the Lamentations of Jeremiab, and the two Books of Chronicles, which complete the Old Testament.
THE Books of the New Testament may be The Books of ranged under these following Claffes: (1.) Evan- the New Teftagelical; as the four Gofpels, by St. Matthew, Evangelical. Mark, Luke, and John, who are therefore call'd
Evangelifts. (2.) Historical; as the Acts of the Hiftorical. Apoftles. (3.) Epiftolical; as the Epiftles of Epiftolical. St. Paul to the Romans, Corinthians II. Galatians, Ephefians, Philippians, Coloffians, Thessalonians II. Timothy II. Titus, Philemon; that to the Hebrews, one of James, two of Peter, three of John, and one of Jude. (4.) Apocalyptical; as the Book Apocalyptical. of Revelations. These complete the Canon of the New Testament.
THE BOOKS of the Old and New Teftament Scriptures being adjudg'd authentic, that is, of Divine Au- Canonical and thority, and universally receiv'd by the Christian Apocryphal. Church, are therefore made the Canon or Rule of Faith and Practice in Matters of Religion; and fo they are call'd Canonical, in oppofition to those contain❜d in the Apocrypha, whofe Authenticnefs is doubted, and therefore they are faid to be Apocryphal. Thefe are the Books of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclefiafticus, Baruch, two Books of Efdras, two of the Machabees, the Additions to Efther and Daniel, the Prayer of Manaffeth, the Story of the three Children, of Sufannah, and of Bel and the Dragon. Though the Papists hold thefe Books to be authentic for the most part, and are therefore moft of them receiv'd into the Canon of inspired Writings by the Council of Trent, &c.
prove they are apocryphal.
BUT that they are apocryphal, and not of equal Authority with the other, the Proteftants prove by the following Reafons: (1.) Because they were wrote by none of the Prophets, but after Malachi, the laft of the Prophets. (2.) Because they were not wrote in the Hebrew Tongue, as were all the other Books of the Old Testament, but in the Greek. (3.) Because the Jews never receiv'd them into their Canon of authentic ScripRom. iii. 2. tures, yet to them were committed the Oracles of God, faith St. Paul. (4.) Because they are no where cited in the New Testament by Christ or his Apostles; and therefore not acknowledg'd by them. (5.) Becaufe in them we find many Things inconfiftent both with themselves and with the Canonical Books: Befides feveral Abfurdities, Fables, &c. not worth minding.
The Reasons proving the
THAT the Books of the Old and New Teftaments are authentic, or of divine Authority and InAuthority of Spiration, the following Arguments fufficiently the Books of the Old Testament. Prove, viz. (1.) The Law of Mofes was deliver'd to him by God himself on Mount Sinai, attended with various Wonders and terrible Prodigies, in the open Sight of the whole Congregation of the Ifraelites; and therefore they could not be impofed on in that refpect. (2.) The fame contains the Predictions of various future Events; all which it alfo proves to have come to pafs. (3.) The Books of the Prophets contain feveral Predictions, which were proved to happen accordingly, both by profane Hiftorians, and the Writers of the New Testament. (4.) They fay nothing but what is confiftent with Mofes's Law. (5.) They contain nothing repugnant to the Christian Revelation afterwards made. (6.) They speak with the greatest Reverence of God, always recommend Virtue, and inveigh against
Vice. (7.) Their Authority is attested by the Writers of the New Testament. If then the Authority of the latter be good, that of the former must be so too.
ment proved by divers Argu
BUT the Authority of the Books of the New The Authority Teftament is abundantly prov'd from these evi- of the Books of the New Teftadent Reafons: (1.) The Writers thereof were able to know and write the Truth; because what they writ was not of Things in antient Times, in ments. diftant or foreign Countries, or done in a Corner; but in their own Days, in their own Country, in the open View of Multitudes for a long Time; and of which they themselves were Eye and Ear-Witneffes. (2.) As they were not, nor could be imposed on themselves, fo neither can they be fuppofed capable of impofing on others, for the following Reafons. (1.) They were fimple, plain, illiterate Plebeians, Tradefmen, and Mechanics for the most part; and therefore could not pretend to Art and Craft enough to impofe upon the whole World. (2.) If they were as cunning as you pleafe, 'tis certain their Relation, if fictitious, is very ill contrived, and could never have fucceeded as an Imposture. For (3.) there were enough living in and about the fame Country and Regions to confute them to their Faces, had their Story been falfe, and not well-known Matter of Fact. (4.) But 'tis plain from many Paffages, (as where they speak of their own Failings; their Meannefs of Parentage, Person, and Profeffion; their Contention with each other, &c.) they could have no Intention of Fallacy, or Impofture; because it would then have been their Intereft to have conceal'd fuch Particulars. (5.) The Religion which they promulge, prohibits all Lying, under the Penalty of eternal Condemnation; wherefore if Impoftors, they were self-condemned. (6.) 'Tis evident, fince the whole Tenour