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I. In many cases men seem generally agreed that there is as much cause to believe what they know from others, as what they see and experience themselves. For there may be such circumstances of credibility, as equal the evidence even of fence itself; no evidence can satisfie fence so much indeed, nor perhaps so much af. fect the passions, as that of fence; but there may be other evidence, which may give as clear conviction, and altogether as good fatisfaction to our Reafon, as that which is immediately derived from our fences, concerning the Being of Objects, or the Truth of matters of fact. Thus those who never travelled to the Indies, do as little doubt that there is such a place, as those who have been never so often there
3 and all men believe, there was fuch a inan as Julius Cafar, with as little scruple as if they had lived in his time, and had seen and spoke with him, I suppose no man in his wits makes any more doubt, but there are such places as Judaa and Jerusalem, from the constant report of Historians and Travellers, than if he had been in those places himself, and had lived the greatest part of his Life there : and the greatest Infidel that I know of, never pretended yet to disbelieve, that there was such a perfon as our Saviour Christ. But all men think themselves as
well assured of things of this nature upon the credit of others as if they had seen them themselves. For how doubtful and intricate soever some things may be, for want of Knowledge or eredit in the Relaters; yet there are other things delivered with that agreement and certainty on all hands, that to doubt of them would be as unreasonable, as to doubt of what we our selves fee and hear.
And if our Saviour's Resurrection, for instance, be of this natu e, we can with as little reason doubt of it, as if we had lived at that time, and had conversed with him after his Resurrection from the dead. But we have as great assurance that he was alive again after his Crucifixion, as that he ever lived at all; and we have at least all as Christ, that we can have, that there once lived any other man at that distance of time from us. We can no more doubt that our Saviour was born in the Reign of Augustus Cæfar, and was crucified under Tiberius, than that there were once fuch Emperors in the world ; nay, we have it much better attested that Christ was born, and was crucified, and rose again, than that there ever were such Princes these two Emperors : for no man ever made it his business to go about the world to certifie this, and to testifie the truth of
man may as well doubt of any matter of
, of divers hundred years together; so that
it, at his death. But the Apostles them felves, and their Disciples and Converts, and innumerable others ever since, from the beginning of Christianity, have afferted the particulars of the Life, and Death and Resurrection of our Saviour, under all dangers, and torments, and deaths; and have made it their great aim and design, both living and dying, to bear Testimony to the Truth of the Gospel. So that a fact that ever was done before his own time, or at a great distance from him, jas doubt of these fundamentals of the Christian Religion; and
there is no man but thinks himself as ceptain of some things at leạít, which were done a long time ago, or a great way off, as if he had been at the doing of them himself.
Indeed, in some respects we seem to that lived in the beginning of Christianity, for they could see but some Miracles, we have the benefit of all; they relyed upon their own sences, and upon the fences of such as they knew and conversed with ; weupon the sences of innumerable people, who successively beheld them for the space
whoever will not believe the Scriptures, neither would he believe, though one rose from the dead , that is, though the greatest Mi
racle were wrought for his conviction. This was said of the Old Testament, and therefore
greater reason be said of That and the New both.
And we have besides, one sort of evi. dence, which those that lived at the first planting of Christianity could not have; for we fee many of those Prophecies fulfilled, which our Saviour foretold concerning his Church; we know how it sprung up and flourished, and from what small and unlikely beginnings it has spread it self into all corners of the Earth, and con tinues to this day, notwithstanding all the malice of Men and Devils to root it out and destroy it. The continuance and success of the Gospel under fo improbable circumstances was matter of Faith chiefly to the first Christians, but to us is matter of Fact, and the object of sense : they saw the work indeed prosper in their hands, but their Faith only could tell them, that it should flourish for so many Ages, as we know it has already done. This is a ftanding and invincible proof to us at this distance of time,and has the force of a twofold Argument, the one of a power of Mi. racles, the other of Prophecies: we know that a miraculous power has been inani. fested in conquering all opposition, and in a wonderful manner bringing those things to pass which to humane wisdom and
power are altogether impossible. And the fulfilling hereby of Prophecies is a visible confirmation to us of the truth of those Miracles, which by the Teftimony of others we believe to have been done by the Prophets, whose Prophecies we see fulfilled. And since it must be acknow. ledged that things may be so well attested, that we may with as much reason doubt of the truth of our own fences, as of the Authority, by which we are assured of the truth of them, and must turn Scepticks or worfe, if we will not believe them ; we may conclude as well upon the account of these Prophecies, which we our selves fee fulfilled, as upon all other accounts, that the Historical evidence in proof of the Christian Religion, amounts to all the certainty that a matter of Fast is capable of, not excepting even that of sense itself.
11. Let us now apply all this to the Resolution of Faith, and give an account how a divine and infallible taith may
be produced in us. Humane Testimony is the Motive, by which we believe the Scriptures to contain God's revealed Will : this certifies us that such Miracles were wrought, and such Prophecies delivered, as give to the Scriptures the full evidence and authority of a Divine Revelation. If therefore it be enquired, why wę be: