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with his own Eyes; That the Testimony of Sight is by its Nature an Evidence not to be communicated. And that the Light of Conviction -which

is thus received can extend no farther than to the Eye-witness himself, loji and extinguished the first Moment it is offered to be imparted; p. 52, 53. A way of talking completely ridiculous, and these Gentlemen themselves would esteem it so, if applied to any other Subject. And the Reason he gives for it is no less ridiculous j that all the Afjurance in the World of another's feeing can never have an equal Effect upon my Senses, or make me fee a Thing where I was not actually present. But tho' no Assurance of another Man's seeing a thing can make me see it, and who ever was so absurd as to pretend it could have that Effect? yet it may lay a just Foundation for my believing it, and in some Cases the Assurance may be so strong, that I can no more reasonably doubt of it than if I had seen it my self.

In opposition to all this loose Harangue, it is sufficient to observe, that if the Miracles originally wrought in Attestation of Christianity were Proofs to those that actually saw them, then they are Proofs to us too, provided we have Evidence reasonably sufficient to convince us, that these extraordinary Facts were really done. So that still the Question returns to this, whether we have sufficient reason to think, that the Accounts given us of those Facts are to be depended upon, and that those Facts were really per1 Lett. II. H formed. formed. For if so, they are as truly Evidences to us of the Truth and Divinity of that Revelation, in Attestation of which they were wrought, as they were to those that saw them, or lived in the Age in which they were performed. If it be said, none that live in succeeding Ages can have the fame Evidence that those of the first had; I answer,, they cannot have ocular Evidence, and so it must be said of all past Facts, or all Facts done at a distance from us; but yet they may have Evidence sufficient to convince any considering Person that they were done; and an Evidence so strongly cricumstanced, that no Man can reasonably deny it, without going upon the above-mentioned Principle, that he cannot safely believe any past Facts at all, or any thing but what he sees with his own Eyes. And the Man that is obliged to take refuge here, is driven to as great an Absurdity as can well be supposed j and plainly shews, that he has nothing reasonable to say against the Credit of those Facts. And yet this is the Shift this Writer is plainly reduced to. And this seems to be the Principle on which his Infidelity rests j a manifest Proof that it is not founded on Reason or Argument.

It is on this Principle that he tells us, p. 52. That "that Divine Demonstration to By"slanders, the Voice of God himself, His is "my beloved Son, has been by one intervening f* Age dwindled long since to human Tradi"tion. God no longer bears witness to his

*1 n> u Son, but Men only bear witness to God." This may pass for a pretty Jingle. • The Antithesis sounds well enough, between Men's bearing witness, and Gods bearing witness; but the Reasoning is poor, and the Sentiment false. For if the wonderful Glory of Christ at his Transfiguration, and the Voice that then came to him was to be regarded as the Testimony of God to his Son in that Age, it is to be regarded as such still, provided we have sufficient Evidence of the Reality of the Fact; and tho' we ourselves did not fee the Glory, nor hear the Voice, yet if we have good reason to believe that the Account of those, who themselves saw and heard it, is to be depended on, it ought in all reason to have an Influence upon us as really as if we had been present ourselves. For the manner in which we come to know a thing does not alter the cafe; it is sufficient, if we know it in such a way as to have a reasonable Conviction that it is true. And it is certain that in many cases we can no more reasonably doubt of things which we have by Information from others who saw1 and heard them, than if we saw and heard them ourselves. And particularly it may be shewn, and often has been {hewn with great Strength and Clearness, that there never was a Testimony more to be depended on than that of the Apostles, and first Witnesses of Christianity. . I need not take much notice of what he urges, p. 52. and which he backs with the Authority of the Romifi Church, that if Miracles i - H 2 were

were necejsary at first in the Infancy of the Go* spel, they are so JIM, and ought to be continued in the Church. For supposing the Authority of a divine Revelation sufficiently confirmed by a Series of the most extraordinary divine Attestations at its first Establishment, it would be an idle thing to expect that there should be new Attestations and Miracles in every Age. It is sufficient, that the Accounts of those first original Attestations are transmitted to us in a manner that may be safely depended upon. To demand new Signs and Wonders to be continually done before our Eyes, would be perfectly unreasonable. As justly might it be demanded, that all the extraordinary Facts that were done in the first Age, in Attestation of the Gospel, should be done over again in every Age. And as one Man, in one Age, and in one Country, hath as much right to expect and demand it as another, all these things must be repeated in the View, and for the Satisfaction of every single Person in every Age, and in every Country. And what a strange Scene of things this would introduce, how unfit and unbecoming the divine Wisdom, is very evident! At that rate, nothing were to be seen but Signs and Wonders; and, by being so common, they would cease to be extraordinary, and this very thing would hinder the Effect.

Our Author having endeavoured to shew, that our Saviour never appealed to the Understandings of Men, or laid before them any Evidence dence to convince them of his Divine Mission j that his Miracles were no Proofs of this at all, nor were ever intended by him as such; and that the Accounts of them that are transmitted to us are not to be depended upon; that is, having endeavoured to remove every thing that could be supposed to lay a rational Foundation for believing, proceeds, p. 56, &c. to shew what it is that is designed in the Gospel as the true Principle of our Faith; and this he resolves entirely into the immediate Revelation of the Holy Ghost imparted separately andsuper~ naturally to every Individual, as he expresses it, p. 112. which irradiates the Souls of Believers at once, with an irresistible Light from Heaven, that slashes Conviction in a Moment; and thus our Faith is compleated in an instant, and the most perfect and finished Creed produced at once, without any tedious Progress in Deductions of our own; p. 59. This he represents as of such a nature, as to render all outward Instructions entirely needless; so that we must not be left to take any the least Part of our Instructions from one another. Nor need we have recourse to the holy Scriptures, which he calls Manuscript Authorities and Paper Revelations, or concern our selves at all about the Credit of ancient Miracles, or other Facts there recorded *. The Spirit alone is to do all without our own Reason, or

the

* Sec the several Passages relating to this laid together in my former Letter, p. iit &c; which therefore I need not particularly repeat here.

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