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Proposition IX.

IX. Proposition IX. The Christian religion, considered in its primitive simplicity, and as taught in the Holy Scriptures, has all the marks and proofs of being actually and truly a divine revelation, that any divine revelation, supposing it was true, could reasonably be imagined or desired to have.

The marks of a religion coming from God. The necessary marks and proofs of a religion coming from God, are these. First, that the duties it enjoins be all such as are agreeable to our natural notions of God, and perfective of the nature and conducive to the happiness and well-being of men. And that the doctrines it teaches be all such, as, though not indeed discoverable by the bare light of nature, yet, when discovered by revelation, may be consistent with and agreeable to sound and unprejudiced reason; for otherwise no evidence whatsoever can be of so great force to prove that any doctrine is true; as its being either contradictory in itself, or wicked in its tendency, is to prove that it must necessarily be false. Secondly, for the same reason, the motives likewise, by which it is recommended to men’s belief and practice, and all the peculiar circumstances with which it is attended, must be such as are suitable to the excellent wisdom of God, and fitted to amend the manners and perfect the minds of men. Lastly, it must moreover be positively and directly proved to come from God, by such certain signs and matters of fact as may be undeniable evidences of its author’s having actually a divine commission: For otherwise, as no evidence can prove a doctrine to come from God, if it be either impossible or wicked in itself, so, on the other hand, neither can any degree of goodness or excellency in the doctrine itself make it demonstrably certain, but only highly probable, to have come from God; unless it has moreover some positive and direct evidence of its being actually revealed.

The entire proof therefore of this proposition must be made by an induction of particulars, as follows.

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