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V

Bochartus adds two more very considerable ones; CHAP. which are, that Nonnus reports of Bacchus, that he — touched the two rivers, Orontes and Hydaspes, with Caraan. his thyrsus, or rod, and that the rivers dried, and he l. i. c. 18 passed through them; and that his ivy-staff being thrown upon the ground, crept up and down like a serpent; and that the Indians were in darkness while the Bacchæ enjoyed light: which circumstances considered, will make every one that hath judgment say as Bochartus doth, Ex mirabili illo consensu vel coecis apparebit priscos fabularum architectos a scriptoribus sacris multa esse mutuatos. From this wonderful agreement of heathen mythology with the Scriptures, it cannot but appear that one is a corruption of the other. That the memory of Joshua and Samson was Vossius de

Idol. I. i. preserved under Hercules Tyrius, is made likewise c.26.p.118, very probable from several circumstances of the stories. 169. Others have deduced the many rites of heathen worship from those used in the tabernacle among the Jews. Several others might be insisted on; as the parallel between Og and Typho, and between the old Silenus and Balaam; both noted for their skill in divination; both taken by water, Num. xxii. 5; both noted for riding on an ass : επί όνου τα πολλά όχούμενος, saith Lucian of the old Silenus; and that which makes it Lucian. de

Deor. Con. more probable, is that of Pausanias, 'Ev yap tân Eßpaíwr Pausan. xápa Elanuoũ prñua, which some learned men have been 1. vi.p: 391,

- ed. Xyland. much puzzled to find out the truth of; and this conjecture, which I here propound, may pass at least for a probable account of it. But I shall no longer insist on these things, having, I suppose, done what is sufficient to our purpose, which is, to make it appear what footsteps there are of the truth of Scripturehistory amidst all the corruptions of heathen mytho

logy

CHAP. VI. OF THE EXCELLENCY OF THE SCRIPTURES. 1. Concerning matters of pure Divine revelation in Scripture: the

terms of salvation only contained therein. II. The ground of the disesteem of the Scripture is tacit unbelief. III. The excellency of the Scriptures manifested as to the matters which God hath revealed therein. IV. The excellency of the discoveries of God's nature which are in Scripture. V. Of the goodness and love of God in Christ. The suitableness of those discoveries of God to our natural notions of a Deity. The necessity of God's making known himself to us, in order to the regulating our conceptions of him. VI. The Scriptures give the fullest account of the state of men's souls, and the corruptions which are in them. The only way of pleasing God discovered in the Scriptures. VII. The Scriptures contain matters of greatest mysteriousness, and most universal satisfaction to men's minds. VIII. The excellency of the manner wherein things are revealed in Scriptures, in regard of clearness, authority, purity, IX. uniformity, and persuasiveness. X. The excellency of the Scriptures as a rule of life. The nature of the duties of religion, and the reasonableness of them. The greatness of the encouragements to religion contained in the Scriptures. XI. The great excellency of the Scriptures, as containing in them the covenant of grace in order to man's salvation.

III.

BOOK HAVING thus largely proved the truth of all those

passages of sacred Scripture, which concern the history of the first ages of the world, by all those arguments which a subject of that nature is capable of, the only thing left in order to our full proving the divinity of the Scriptures, is the consideration of those matters contained in it, which are in an especial manner said to be of Divine revelation. For those historical passages, though we believe them, as contained in the Scripture, to have been divinely inspired, as well as others, yet they are such things as, supposing no Divine revelation, might have been known sufficiently to the world, had not men been wanting to themselves as to the care and means of preserving them. But those CHÁP. matters which I now come to discourse of, are of a_ more sublime and transcendent nature; such as it had been impossible for the minds of men to reach, had they not been immediately discovered by God himself. And those are the terms and conditions on which the soul of man may upon good grounds expect an eternal happiness; which we assert the book of Scriptures to be the only authentic and infallible records of. Men might, by the improvements of reason, and the sagacity of their minds, discover much, not only of the lapsed condition of their souls, and the necessity of a purgation of them, in order to their felicity, but might in the general know what things are pleasing and acceptable to the Divine nature, from those differences of good and evil, which are unalterably fixed in the things themselves : but which way to obtain any certainty of the remission of sins, to recover the grace and favour of God, to enjoy perfect tranquillity and peace of conscience, to be able to please God in things agreeable to his will, and by these to be assured of eternal bliss, had been impossible for men to have ever found, had not God himself been graciously pleased to reveal them to us. Men might still have bewildered themselves in following the ignes fatui of their own imaginations, and hunting up and down the world for a path which leads to heaven; but could have found none, unless God himself, taking pity of the wanderings of men, had been pleased to hang out a light from heaven, to direct them in their way thither, and by this Pharos of Divine revelation to direct them so to steer their course, as to escape splitting themselves on the rocks of open impieties, or being swallowed up in the quicksands of terrene delights. Neither doth he shew them only what shelves and rocks they must

III.

BOOK escape, but what particular course they must steer;

what star they must have in their eye, what compass they must observe, what winds and gales they must expect and pray for, if they would arrive at last at eternal bliss. Eternal bliss! What more could a God of infinite goodness promise, or the soul of man wish for? A reward to such who are so far from deserving, that they are still provoking; glory to such who are more apt to be ashamed of their duties than of their offences. But that it should not only be a glorious reward, but eternal too, is that which, though it infinitely transcend the deserts of the receivers, yet it highly discovers the infinite goodness of the Giver. But when we not only know that there is so rich a mine of inestimable treasures, but if the owner of it undertakes to shew us the way to it, and gives us certain and infallible directions how to come to the full possession of it, how much are we in love with misery, and do we court our own ruin, if we neglect to hearken to his directions, and observe his com

mands! II, This is that we are now undertaking to make good

concerning the Scriptures; that these alone contain those sacred discoveries, by which the souls of men may come at last to enjoy a complete and eternal happiness. One would think there could be nothing more needless in the world than to bid men regard their own welfare, and to seek to be happy. Yet whoever casts his eye into the world, will find no counsel so little hearkened to as this, nor any thing which is more generally looked on as a matter trivial and impertinent. Which cannot arise but from one of these two grounds; that either they think it no great wisdom to let go their present hold as to the good things of this world, for that which they secretly question

VI.

whether they shall ever live to see or no; or else that CHAP. their minds are in suspense, whether they be not sent on a Guiana voyage to heaven, whether the certainty of it be yet fully discovered, or the instructions which are given be such as may infallibly conduct them thither. The first, though it hath the advantage of sense, fruition, delight, and further expectation, yet to a rational person, who seriously reflects on himself, and sums up what (after all his troubles and disquietments in the procuring, his cares in keeping, his disappointments in his expectations, his fears of losing what he doth enjoy, and that vexation of spirit which attends all these) he hath gained of true contentment to his mind, can never certainly believe that ever these things were intended for his happiness. For is it possible that the soul of man should ever enjoy its full and complete happiness in this world, when nothing is able to make it happy but what is most suitable to its nature, able to fill up its large capacity, and commensurate with its duration ? But in this life the matter of men's greatest delight is strangely unsuitable to the nature of our rational beings; the measure of them too short for our vast desires to stretch themselves upon; the proportion too scant and narrow to run parallel with immortality. It must be then only a supreme, infinite, and eternal Being, which, by the free communications of his bounty and goodness, can fix and satiate the soul's desires, and by the constant flowings forth of his own uninterrupted streams of favour will always keep up desire, and yet always satisfy it: one whose goodness can only be felt by some transient touches here; whose love can be seen but as through a lattice ; whose constant presence may be rather wished for than enjoyed; who hath reserved the full sight and fruition of himself to that future state, when

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