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the Divine Trinity, there comes not fuch' a Thought in my Head as three Persons of Men; but because Personal Actions are attributed to each of the Divine Three, therefore we call them Persons, which word the Scripture applies to God, Heb. i. 3, But it is only ad Captum, as the Schools speak, that is, Condescending our Capacity, as when God is said to Repent, to Grieve, &c. it is not that we should think it really so, for that would be contradictory to the Nature of God; but it conveys' a Notion to us, that we should act as if it were fo, that God were Angry or Grieved at our Sins, and would Repent of the Blessings He had given or promised to us, if we took not heed to walk in His Ways which He has set before us..
(15.) L. I am afraid the Deists will think this a training the Point in favour of Revelation, and say that chey are much easier with
G. They will not find it fo, when they confider that they are in no less Difficulties upon following their own Reason only; for Example, they allow a firft Cause and Creator of all things, because nothing can make it self. And that first Caufe must have a necessary Being, and consequently from all Eternity, and that Etera nity is a Duration without Succefion or Time, er having any Beginning, wherein all is Prefent, without either Paftor to Come. This the Deist $ forced to confess upon the Conviction of
his Reafon : But he will not pretend to have so much as any Idea or Concepţion what this Eternity is or can be, nor can he imagine a. Duration without Beginning, in which there is nothing past, nor any thing to come, Nor can he express this any otherwise than in Words of Time, which he must own are not at all proper or applicable to it ; the very word Beginning is inconsistent with Eternity, and to say before the Beginning, is a Contradiction. Here then he is lost, and must have recourse to the same Excuse which he ridicules in Revelation, viz. That we cannot speak properly of God, nor in other words than what belong to Men, and therefore that these words are not to be taken ftri&tly, nor Argued upon, or Consequences drawn from them, for that this would involve us in numberless Contradi&tions. And there is not one Objection which the Deist or Socinian nakes against the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity, the Incarnation, &c. but are of this fort, by Ara guing from the Nature of Man to the Na. ture of God, from the Persons of the one, to the Persons of the other, buc. Which these Men of Reason think highly unreasonable in their own Cafe, as to argue from Time to Eternity, &c.
(16.) L. But, Sir, the Deit would ask you, upon what Authority you believe that Reves kation, viz. of the Scriptures ? And since you will not have it built upon the Authority of
the Churib, I fee not what other Authority you can alledge for it. ,
G. Nor I neither, for I put it upon no 4x thority. It is Evidence, and not Authority, upon which my Belief of the Scriptures is founded. . .,
L. Then you believe upon the Authority of Evidence.
G. That expression is not proper, though sometimes carelesly ufed : For Authority and Evidence are two things, if I believe a thing for your telling me so, without any other Reason, then I believe it purely upon your Authority ; but if a Man I never saw before makes a thing very evident to me, and convinces my Reason, I belieye not then upon his Authority, for he has none with me, but upon the Evidence he has given me. And what that Evidence is upon which we believe the Holy Scriptures, is set forth in a little Book I had the Honour to Present to your Lordship, Intituled, The Truth of Christianity Demonstrated, &c. Which was wrote to Convince Deifts, who believe no Church, or any Church Authority. And if you have no other Evidence but the Authority of your Church to prove the Truth of the Scriptures, I see not how you will ever convince a Deist, who dei nies both, . But if I tell him that I believe the Scriptures, and the Facts therein related, upon the same, and much stronger Evidence than I have for believing there was such a Man
as Alexander or Cæfar, that there is such a Town as Rome or Conftantinople, though I was never there. Yer believe it, not upon the Authority, far less the Infallibility of any Man or Number of Men, that tell me fu; but from the Nature of the Evidence which makes it impossible for Mankind to concert such a Lye, or to carry it on, without being Detected. And if the Truth of Christianity, that is, of the Scriptures, can be Demonstrated as plainly. as these other Fa&ts, (which I think is done in the Book I inentioned) then a Deist must either be convinced or confounded. · Now if you will let your Church come in as Part of the Evidence of Christianity, she will not be Refufed, fo far as her Share goes : But upon her Authority, and upon hers alone, the
Truth of the Scriptures, and of Christianity, will be a Jest to the Deists; since her Authoa rity can be proved no otherwife than by the scriptures, and then back again, the Scriptures by her Authority! .: L. But several Parts of the Scriptures have þeen disputed, as you reject those Books you call Apocryphal out of the Canon of the Old Testament ; And the Antient Hereticks forged false Gospels and false Epistles in the Names of the Apostles : And as the Canon of the New Teftament now stands, some of the EpiAtle's have been disputed by some Learned Men. And this could not be determined, nor the Canon established, but by the Authority of the Church.
· G. As to the Apocryphal Books, we Recei ved the Canon of the Old Testament from the Church of the fews, which never admitted them into the Canon of their Scriptures. And how should we know their Canon better than theinselves ?
Again, we are sure they were not in the Christian Canon in the Days of St. Jerome, if he knew what was Received by the Church as the Canon of Scripture, for in his Prologus Galeatus, Printed before your own Vulgar Latin, he rejects them
as chrypha Apocryphal, and says they were not ponenda ... in the Canon of the Holy Scri- in Canoné. *** ptures.
Bur as to these Books themselves, let any one but read the Conclusion of them, in Excuse for the Weakness of the Performance, and then think it possible, if he can, that the Holy Ghost should make such a Speech as this-If I have done ,e? Machab. XV. well—it is what I desired, but if Klenderly and mearly, it is that which I could attain unto. Or as your Vulgar has it, Si quidem bene, Gut Historia competit, boc & ipfe velim : Si autem minus digne, concedendum eft mihi. That is, I alle your Pardan, if I have not done my Work as it ought to be. :
But as to a full Examination of the ApoGryphal Books, and their Authority, I refer your Lordship to Dr. Colin his Scholastical HiBory of the Canon of the Holy Seripture. Prin