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by our Senfes, or by the Teftimony of others Both thefe Kinds of Evidence are good and fatisfactory, and when either of them confirm the Truth of any Facts in the best manner, they ought entirely to be fubmitted to. Now to apply this to Religion: And here we need only confider the Matters of Fact which ftand recorded in the History of our Blessed Saviour. If fenfible Demonftration was univerfally neceffary for Man's Belief of a crucified Saviour, the Advantages of fuch a Belief would, as Circumftances ftand now, be almoft univerfally deftroy'd, and the Benefit of his Paffion, and the Glories of his Refurrection, would require a more than daily Repetition of thofe mighty Tranfactions to procure their intended Effects: This Evidence was vouchfàfed only to fome few Eyewitneffes, who miniftred to our Blessed I.ord during his Life, and who faw and converfed with Him after his Refurrection; and upon their Teftimony we muft depend for the Truth and Certainty of thofe things wherein we have been nftructed. If we try their Evidence by

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Circumftances, which will make any Teftimony full and convincing, we shall find that as they had a perfect Underftanding of all things from the very first, they could not be impos'd upon themfelves; fo likewife the Condition of thofe Witneffes, which doth evidently free them from any Sufpicion of Infincerity, muft oblige us to think that they did not impose upon the World; they were the Holy Jefus's conftant Attendants, and had not only Opportunities, but were even under a Neceffity of feeing all the ancient Prophecies actually fulfilled in Him; they heard his Inftructions and Prophecies; they faw his many and great Miracles: His Death and Suffering were too publick to be thought Forgeries; and the Truth of his Refurrection was confirmed by many infallible Signs and Proofs: He fhew'd himself alive again by being feen and felt, by eating and drinking, and converfing with them for forty Days together. Our Bleffed Saviour did not indeed fhew himself openly to all the People, but to chofen Witneffes only; and this is fo far from an Objection to VOL. I. H 2


the Matter of Fact, that it is no more than what common Prudence would direct: The Jews had fo obftinately withftood all the former Evidences our Bleffed Saviour had given of his Divine Miffion, that we have great Reason to think they would have refifted this Miracle alfo; and the fhewing himself alive would have added to their Condemnation rather than proved their Conviction: The Chief Priefts and Elders at least, were enough perfwaded of the Truth of Chrift's Refurrection from the Account the Soldiers had given them, and thought it worth their While to bribe them to vent a Forgery, in order to prejudice the Report of it afterwards; (but if our Bleffed Lord had appear'd publickly, the Jews would probably with the Rage of Disappointed Wickedness have endeavoured to lay violent Hands upon Him ; our Saviour would then certainly have vanished out of Sight: The Confequence of which must have been Matter of wondrous Triumph to his Enemies ; they would have term'd it Magick and Collufion, and drawn oyer abundance of


People to the plaufible Belief of their having feen his Spectre or Apparition :) Our Bleffed Lord was feen after his Refurrection by five hundred at once, too many to be deceived in fo plain a Fact, tho' Men of the very weakeft Capacities. Besides, we cannot fuppofe that illiterate, poor, undefigning Men fhould conceive fo wild an Attempt, as that of impofing upon the whole World, much lefs that they should fucceed in fuch an Attempt, and be able to enforce their Preaching by fuch extraordinary Methods of miraculous Cures, and speaking to all Languages; certainly the God of Truth did support the Truth of their Ministry by the Mightiness of his Power, and through the Influence of his Grace brought over Crouds of Profelites. That fo many Men fhould travel over the World to fpread a Lye, and even court the most cruel Deaths in Confirmation of it, is an Inftance of Hardinefs too grofs to gain Credit: Impoffible it is that any Perfons, after they had been fo widely feparated into all Parts of the Earth, fhould fo circumftantially agree in their Relations

of any Facts, if those Facts were not true; inconceivable it is, that none of thofe Tortures, which would have forced unaffifted Sincerity to have abjured the Truth, fhould be able to extort from any of them the renouncing of a Lye. Thus able were the Apoftles to give us the most certain Information of the things relating to Chrift; thus unquestionable were they in their Veracity, that their Senfes were the Foundation of their Teftimony, and their Lives were the Pledges of their Sincerity.

THE Apoftles therefore are the Foundation upon which our Faith is built; and that this their Evidence comes down to our Hands pure and uncorrupt, the Holy Scriptures are a fufficient Security; that they were the Authors of those Writings, we have as great an Affurance as the Nature of things will allow; for, to prevent the Corruption of Tradition, they themselves fet in order a Declaration of thofe things which were moft surely believed among them. Thefe Writings were published in a Time when, if they had been falfe, they might easily have


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