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tian faith, but also the first and most evident truth PROP. that the light of nature itself teaches us, being clearly demonstrable, upon certain and undeniable principles of right reason.
2. That this supreme self-existent cause and father of the of all things did, before all ages, in an incomprehen-only be sible manner, by his almighty power and will, beget of God. or produce a divine person, styled the Logos, the word, or wisdom, or son, of God; God, of God ;* in whom dwells the fulness of Divine perfections, (excepting absolute supremacy, independency, or self-origination ;) being the image of the invisible God, the Col. i. 15. brightness of his father's glory, and the express im-Heb. i. 3.
'Απαύγασage of his person, having been in the beginning with God, partaker with him of his glory before the world śns euroũ. was; the upholder of all things by the word of his John i. 2. power, and himself over all, (by communication of Heb. i. 3. his father's glory and dominion) God blessed for ever : Rom. ix. This doctrine (1 say) though not indeed discoverable and John by bare reason, yet, when made known by revelation, i. 1. appears plainly very consistent with right reason, and (it is manifest) contains nothing that implies any manner of absurdity or contradiction in it.
Indeed, if any men, pretending to be wise above and beyond what is written, have at any time given such explications of the manner how the son of God derived his being from the father, or have offered such accounts of his nature and attributes, as can by any just and necessary consequence be reduced to imply or involve any contradiction, (which perhaps many of the schoolmen have but too justly been accused of doing,)t such explications are, without all
* Θεός εκ Θεού, in contradistinction to 'Αυτόθεος.
+ It is not to be denied but that the schoolmen, who abounded in wit and leisure, though very few among them had either exact skill in the Holy Scriptures, or in ecclesiastical antiquity, and the writings of the ancient fathers of the Christian Church; I say, it cannot be denied but that these speculative and very acute men, who wrought a great part of their divinity out of their own brains, as spiders do cobwebs ont of their own bowels, have started a thousand subtilties
Of the Ho
PROP. controversy, false, and very injurious to religion. But XIII.
as this doctrine is delivered in Scripture I think there is nothing in it in any degree contrary to right reason, as I have elsewhere endeavoured to show in a particular discourse, to which I refer the reader.
Now the same that is said of the son, may in ly Spirit. like manner, with little variation, be, very agreea
bly to right reason, understood concerning the original procession or manner of derivation of the Holy Spirit likewise from the father.
3. That the universe, the heavens, and the earth, and all things that are therein, were created and made by God, and this through the operation of his son,
that divine word, or wisdom of the father, by whom Heb. i. 2. the Scripture says that God made the worlds, that Eph. iii. 9 El. i. 18. by him God created all things, that by him were all
things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers; all things
were created by him and for him, and he is before all John i: 3. things, and by him all things consist ; that all things
were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made: All this likewise is very agreeable to sound and unprejudiced reason. For that neither the whole, nor any part of the world; neither the form, nor motion, nor matter of the world, could exist of itself by any necessity in its own nature, is abundantly demonstrable from undeniable principles of reason, as has been shown in my former discourse : Consequently, both the whole world, and all the variety of things that now exist therein, must about this mystery, such as no Christian is bound to trouble his head withal, much less is it necessary for him to understand those niceties which we may reasonably presume that they who talk of them did themselves never thoroughly understand ; and, least of all, is it necessary to believe them.--Archbishop Tillotson. Sermon concerning the Unity of the Divine Nature.
It were to be wished, that some religionists did not here symbolize too much with the atheists, in affecting to represent the mystery of the Christian trinity as a thing directly contradictory to all human reaSon and understanding.-Cudworth's System, page 560.
of necessity have received both their being itself, PROP. and also their form and manner of being, from God,
XIII. the alone supreme and self-existent cause, and must needs depend upon his good pleasure every moment, for the continuance and preservation of that being. Accordingly, if we set aside the Epicureans, (whose absurd hypothesis has long since been given up even by all atheists themselves,) and some very few others, who with no less absurdity (as I have also at large shown) contended that the world was in its present form self-existent and necessary, all the philosophers of all ages, (even not excepting those who held the eternity of the world,) have unanimously agreed in this great truth, that the world evidently owes both its being and preservation to God, the supreme cause and author of all things. And then, that God made the world by the operation of his son, though this could not indeed be known certainly without express revelation ; yet is it by no means incredible, or contrary to right reason. For, to the judgment of reason, it is one and the same thing, whether God made the world immediately by bimself, or mediately by the ministration of a second principle. And what Plato and his followers have said concerning a second Noūs or mind, whom they frequently stile Anuncugyós the minister or workman by whom God framed all things, proves undeniably thus much at least, that the doctrines delivered in Scripture concerning this matter cannot be rejected as inconsistent and irreconcilable with right reason.
4. That, about the space of 6000 years since, the of the earth was without form and void, that is, a confused forination chaos, out of which God framed this beautiful and earth. useful fabric we now inhabit, and stocked it with the Gen. i. 2. seeds of all kinds of plants, and formed upon it man, and all the other species of animals it is now furnished with, is also very agreeable to right reason.
For though the precise time, indeed, when all this was done, could not now have been known exactly without revelation, yet even at this day there are remain
PROP. ing many considerable and very strong rational proofs,
which make it exceedingly probable, (separate from the authority of revelation) that this present frame and constitution of the earth cannot have been of a very much longer date. The universal tradition de. livered down from all the most ancient nations of the world, both learned and barbarous ; the constant and agreeing doctrine of all ancient philosophers and poets, concerning the earth's being formed within such a period of time, out of water or a chaos; the mani. fold absurdities and contradictions of those few accounts which pretend to a much greater antiquity; the number of men with which the earth is at present inhabited ; the late original of learning and all useful arts and sciences; the impossibility that universal deluges, or other accidents, should at certain long periods have oft-times destroyed far the greatest part of mankind, with the memory of all former actions and inventions, and yet never have happened to destroy them all; the changes that must necessarily fall out naturally in the earth in vast length of time, by the sinking and washing down of mountains, the consumption of water by plants, and innumerable other such like accidents; these (I say) and many more arguments, drawn from nature, reason, and observation, make that account of the time of the earth's formation exceedingly probable in itself, which from the revelation delivered in Scripture-history we believe to be certain.
5. That the same God who created all things by the continual word of his power, and upholds and preserves them ment of by his continual concourse, does also by his all-wise
providence perpetually govern and direct the issues and events of things ; takes care of this lower world, and of all, even the smallest things that are therein; disposes things in a regular order and succession in every age, from the beginning of the world to its final period; and inspects, with a more particular and special regard, the moral actions of men : This, as it is far more expressly, clearly, and constantly taught in
Scripture than in any of the writings of the philoso- PROP. phers; so it is also highly agreeable to right and true reason : For, that an omnipresent and infinitely wise being cannot but know every thing that is done in every part of the universe, and with equal ease take notice of the minutest things as of the greatest; that an infinitely powerful being must needs govern and direct every thing in such manner, and to such ends, as he knows to be best and fittest in the whole; so far as is consistent with that liberty of will which he has made essential to all rational creatures; and that an infinitely just and good governor cannot but take more particular and exact notice of the moral actions of all his rational creatures, and how far they are conformable or not conformable to the rules he has set them ; all this (I say) is most evidently agree
l able to right reason, and as has been before shown, deducible from it.
6. That God, after the formation of the earth, crea- Of parated man at first upright and innocent, and placed him dise, and in a happy and paradisiacal state, where he enjoyed it by sin. plenty and abundance of all things without labour or sorrow; and that sin was the original cause, that now on the contrary the very ground is cursed and Gen. iii. barren for our sake, and in sorrow we eat of it all the 17, 18, 19. days of our life, that thorns also and thistles are brought forth to us, and in the sweat of our face we eat bread, till we return unto the ground : This likewise is very reasonable and credible in itself, as appears, not only from the abstract consideration of the nature of the thing, but also from the general opinion that the ancient learnedest heathens entertained, upon very obscure and uncertain tradition, that the original state of man was innocent and simple, and the earth, whereon they dwelt, fruitful of itself, and abundant with all plenty :* but that God, for the sin
* Το παλαιόν πάντ' ήν αλφίτων και αλεύρων πλήρη, καθάπες και νύν κόνεως και κρήναι δ' έρρεον, αι μεν ύδαφος γάλακτος και άλλαι» και ομοίως αι μεν
8 μέλιτος, αι δ όινου, τινές δ' ελαίου υπό πλησμονής, δ' οι άνθρωποι και τρυφής,