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fore incomparably glorious in his faithfulness, goodness and most tender mercy, we may persuade ourselves. that he is both able to give what we ask and that he is willing and will give what he hath promised unto us, Dan. ix. 18, 19. We do not present our supplications for our righteousness, but for thy great mercies. O Lord hear, O Lord forgive, O Lord hearken; and defer not for thy own sake, O my God. Psalm v. 2. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my king, and my God; for unto thee will I pray. Eph. iii. 20. 21. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us; Unto him be glory in the church, by Jesus Christ, throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
Q. 3. What is the second thing which this conclusion of the Lord's prayer doth teach us?
A. The second thing which this conclusion of the Lord's prayer doth teach us, is in our prayers to God, to praise him, ascribing kingdom, power and glory unto him, 1 Chron. xxix. 10, 11, 13. Blessed be thou Lord God of Israel our Father, for ever and ever. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power; and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: For all that is in heaven, and in the earth, is thine: Thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. Now therefore, our God we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name, 1 Tim. 1. 17. Now unto the king eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Q. 4. Why are we to say, Amen?
A. We are to say, Amen, which signifieth, so be it, or, so it shall be, in testimony of our desires, and assurance to be heard, Rev. xxii. 20. Amen, even so, come LORD JESUS.
A Short Method, &c.
YOU request of me some short topic of REASON, which shall demonstrate the TRUTH of the CHRISTIAN RELIGION, that our deists may be obliged to renounce their reason, or submit to a clear proof, from reason, of the divine original of christianity, and this proof you wish may be such as no imposture can pretend to.
In complying with your desire, I will take it for granted, that the truth of the doctrines of Christ will be sufficiently established, if the matters of fact recorded of him in the gospels are true; for his miracles, if real, are undeniable testimonies of the TRUTH of his RELIGION. And no one, it is presumed, will deny, if Moses conducted the children of Israel through the red sea, in the miraculous manner recorded in the book of Exodus, and performed those supernatural works ascribed to him in the scriptures, that his misson was divine ;* for these facts afford us as ample testimony of it as can be required, and which every disbeliever will confess he would acquiesce in, had he personally beheld them; it must, therefore, be of the utmost importance to prove those matters of fact.
To effect which, I beg leave to premise such rules, with respect to the truth of matters of fact in general, that when they all concur, such matters of fact cannot be false. And also, to shew, that all these rules unite in the matters of fact of Moses and of Christ; and that they do not agree, in matters of fact of the heathen deities, of Mahomet, nor of any other impostor.
* See Warburton and Lord Forbes, on the divine legation of Moses.
The rules are these. First, that the matters of fact shall be such, as the reality of them may be ascer tained, by external evidence. Secondly, that they shall be performed puplickly. Thirdly, that not only public monuments shall be maintained in memory of them, but that some external deeds shall be performed. Fourthly, that such monuments, deeds, or observances, shall be instituted and commence from the period in which the matters of fact shall be transacted.
The two first rules render it impossible to impose fictions on men for matters of fact; because every man's senses would detect the imposition. Should a person, for example, declare, that yesterday he divided. the Thames, in the presence of all the citizens of London, and conducted them to Southwark, on dry land; and that, in their passage, the waters stood as walls, on each side of them; would it be possible he could persuade the inhabitants of this city, that this declaration was a fact? Would it not be contradicted by each of them? No fallacy, therefore, of this kind, could have been imposed on men at the time when public matters of fact were said to have been transacted.
It remains to be considered, whether such matters of fact might not be invented in some succeeding period, when the men of a former generation were extinct; and whether, through the credulity of after ages, men might not have been induced to have believed, that actions were done in former ages which were not performed? But against such deception, the two last rules effectually secure us; for whenever such matters of fact should have been invented, if not only monuments were said to remain of them; but also, that public actions and observances had been constantly used, since the matters of fact were said to have taken place, the deceit must have been detected through the non-appearance of these monuments, and from the experience also of all those in whose presence the matters of fact were said to have been transacted; as they must have been sensible that by them no such actions, nor observances had been noticed.