Bates - HP BX5200 B3 1700

Chrijlian Religion proved by Reafon. JI jecrures? This imagination is extreamly injurious to his Wifdom and Good-~ ne~; particular, if we confider the Number and the Quality of the Witnelfes ofChri fl:s ~ RefurrcB:ion and the Circumf\ances oftheir Teflimony, we fhall have la clear convtB:ton of its rr~rh as may induce us moft firmly to bel ieve jr, .1do not now Cpe~ kof a 01vine Faith, that Supernatural ':-ight that makes .us acquiefcc m th~ngs bcca!..t{e God has_revc.:a \'d rhem ; but of a RatiOnal Humane Fa1th, grounded on JUft and povV(rful monves, which is prepara tory for the Divine. 1. The Law admits two Wjrneffes as a competent number in Caures of greate£1: ~1o~ menr. Of this there were i:nany. The approved Integri ty o f a Witnef gi ves we~ght to h is Tef\imony: 1\s on the contrary a knownLyarforfeits his Credit focntlfe ly, that he is not believed when he (peaks true. When Demades the Orator add refr hm,fe:f to the Athenian;, I call all the Godt and Goddejfct to witnef the tmth of what I flu/! fay : The A1heniam often abuled by his impudent Lycs, prefently interrupted him, An1 "" call all the God; and Goddejfct to witnef we willuot believe you. The bare word ot an Honefl: Man in an imporrant matter , perfwacks more than the mofl: exquifite Oaths and far-fCtch'd Imprecati ons, by which a. Lyar would give crtdit ~o ri~ llllp?ftu_re. Now we have flrong proof o~ the lntegnty of the 1\pollles. If an mflextble F1d hry and conf1ant Truth vvere qualmes fo remarkable m the Community ot the Pnmmve Chriflians, thac the Pttgan * Jud.ges rhe1~1felveswere confirained to acknowl edge it, cer- 'Plin.ii:Ep!fl, tainly they were fcund more emme-ntly m thofe by whore DoCl:rine and Example they form'<! themfdves. And as it is impoflib:e to poffefs this Venue ( (o flriClly united ro Jufbce) in an excel!entdegrce, without havmg all the others:, fo 'tis evident they were adorn'd with all Mcral Vermes. For their lives were above rheleafr rtproach and charge of their implacable Enemies: So that they were f..'lin to make exprefs Lawsagainfl: their Profeflion, to render them guilty in Appearance. Befides, the circumfl:ances of their Tef\imony make it very valuable. r. 'Twas not built on the report of others. Mcer hear·f.1y is very deceitful, and often li ke a Contagion palfes from Ear to Ear, and blafrs the Reputation of the Innocenr wicl1 eafie and credulous Perfons. But a Tefrimony from fight makes impreffion on the belief of wife confidermg Men. Now we have undoubted Alfmance o f Chrift's RefurreB:ion from the the cl ear and concurrent depofition of their Stnfes: Wbat we have beard, and wbat we hllVe Jeen with our Eye.r, and rvhat we have hand/eel of the i Vord of Life, faith t he Apofrle St. John. o. The umformity of their Tefrimony renders it convincing. If any material con· trldiftion be between Wimaffes, 'tis an infal11ble mark of thei r f'orgtr)' . Bm the Apofrl es agreed not only in the fubflance, but in the particularity ot the faCl. In vain Porpbiry uud 1ulian rack'd their Wits to find fome contrariety in their Rtlations. An impartial Inquirer mu(\ acknowledge all their ObjeB:ions to be meer Cavils, and effeCl> of Malice. · 3· There were no Motives to corrupt them. For the humane will is naturally mo- . ved either by attraB:ion of fame Good, or averGon from fame Evil. A fiClio n is not maintain"d for pure love of it felf, but with refpell: to either ofthofe Obj, crs whether real or in appearance. The Roman Hifiodes report that 1ulill~ ProcuiJJ.r folenmly [wore that he (aw Ronmhu afcend to Heaven: But the motive of his Impo(\ure JS vif1ble; for it was to prevent a great diforJer among the People. But 'tis very '"idem that nothing deGrable in the World had the lea(\ mRuence upon the Apoflles. Noy on the contrary, whatever was terrible to Nature, difcourag'd them. They futfer'd all T emporal !evils, even Death it felf, for this Tefl imony. And this lafr proof confirms all the others; They are ca lled Martyrs by way ofexcellency, who have feal'J the Truth with rheir Blood. Now ~vi-at can be added to g:,•e us full and entire Faith in theirTefrimony? In great and d tfficnlt Cales, fufpec1ed Perfons are pm to Torture for the difcovery of Truth. The flpof\les were med by the fharpefl Sntferings, yet declar'd rhe RefurreCtion of theit Di vine Mafl:er wirh unf3.iming perfeverance. What fi1adow of doubt (an rerr:ain afrer fnch clear ev idence of their Sincerity? Let fober reafon Ju .lcre : Wheth er the matter is capable of proofmore flrong and convincing? If it be faid~hey were deceived with an lll ufi?'\ e1d1er bemg Dtflemper'd or in a Dream; both the pretences are mort. abfurd and mcredtble. For the Operat ions of the External Senfes may be infallibly dtf"cern:d by thm proper CharaB:ers from thole of the Imaginations. Indeed, if the Mind be 111 cl!ford:r, euher from fome more fixed and tenacious Caufe, or from Sleep, the mfluenn ces ~ f ~eafon are fulpended, or only fome faint rays appear, and are fudd.only _cxt!nglliOlJ, fo that tt _can make no true judgment of things. In this fiatc, the Imag~na~ t!On draws all the v1gour of the Soul to it felf, and the Phantafmsare made fo bng;;