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es several Thousand hungry Person:; and that the Fragments should be much more than the Bread was at sirst.
So neither in a Word spoken, to raise the Dead, cure Diseases, Sec.
Therefore, tho' we know not the utmost Ex-tent os the Power of Nature, yet we can certainh know what is contrary to the Nature of several such Things as we do know.
And therefore, tho' we may be cheated and imposed upon in many seeming Miracles and Wonders, yet there are some Things wherein we may be certain.
But further: The Deists acknowlege a God, of an Almighty Power, who made all Things; yet they would put it out of his Power to make any Revelation of his Wiil to Mankind. For if we cannot be certain of any Miracle, how should we know when God Cent any thing extraordinary to us} Nay how should we know the ordinary Power of Nature, if we knew not what exceeded it? If we know not what is natural, how do we know there is such a Thing as Nature? That all is nai Supernatural f All Miracles? And so disputable, till we come to downright Scepticism, and doubt the Certainty ofour outward Senses; desiring only this, that they would allow the Senses of other Men to be as certain as their own: Which they cannot refuse, since, without this, they can have no Certainty of their own.
XI. Therefore, from what has been said, the Cause is summed up shortly in this; That tho' we cannot y« what was done before our Time, yet, by the Marks which I have laid down concerning the Certainty of Matters of Fad done before our Time, we may be as much assured of the Truth of them, as if we saw them with our Eyes: Because whatever Matter of Fail has all the soar Marks before-mentioned, could never have been invented or received, but upon the Conviction of the outward Senses of all those who did receive it, as be'ore is demonstrated. And therefore this Ttpick which I have chosen, does stand upon the Conviction even of Mens outward Senses. And since you have consined me to one Topic/:, C3 * I have not insisted upon the others, which I have only named.
XII. And now it lies upon the Deisis, if they would appear as Men of Reason, to shew some Matter of Fact ot sormer Ages, which they allow to be trite, that has greater Evidences of its Truth than the Matters of Fact of Moses and of Christ: Otherwise they cannot, with any Shew of Reason, reject the one, and yet admit of the other.
But I have given them greater Latitude than this; for I have shewn such Marks of the Truth of the Matters of Fact of Moses and of Christ, as no other Matter* of Fact of those Times, however true, have, but these only: And I put it upon them to shew any Forgery that has all these Marks.
This is a short IJJ'ue. Keep them close to this. This determines the Cause all at once.
Let them take Aid from all the Legends in the Church cf Rome, those pious Cheats, the sorest Disgraces of Christianity, ar.d which have bid the. fairest of any one Contrivance to overturn the Certainty of the Miracles of Christ and his Apostles, and whole Truth of the Gospel, by putting them ail upon the same Foot; at kill they are so understood by the Generality of their Devotees, tho' disowned and laughed at by the Learned and Men of Sense among them.
Let them pick and chuse the most probable of all the Fables of the Heathen L cities, and see if they can sind in any of these the four Marks before-mentioned.
Otherwise let them submit to the irrefragable Certainty of the Christian Religion.
XIII. But if, notwithstanding of all that is said, the Deists will still contend, that all this is but Frifst-crast, the Invention of Fricsts for their own Prosit, csV. then they will give us an Idea of Priests sar disferent from what they intend: For then we must look upon these Priests not only as the cunningest and wisest of Mankind, but we dial I be tempted to adore them as Deities, who have such Power as to impose, at their Pleasure, upon the Senses of Mankind; to make them believe
that that they had practised such publick Institutions, ehact'ed them by Laws, taught them to their Children, &c. when they had never done any of these Things, or ever so much as heard of them before: And then, upon 'the Credit of their believing that they had done such Things as they never did, to make them further believe, 'upon the fame Foundation, whatever they pleased to impose upon them as to former Ages: I fay, such a Power as this must exceed all that is human; and consequently make us rank these Priests far above the Condition of Mortals.
2. Nay, this were to make them outdo all that has ever been related of the infernal Powirs; for tho' their Legerdemain has extended to deceive some unwary BeTiolders, and their Power of working some seeming Miracles has been great, yet it never reached, nor ever was supposed to reach, so sar as to deceive the Semes of all Mankind, in Matters of such pubiiek and notorious Nature as those of which we now speak ; to make them believe, that they had enacted Laws for such publick Observances, continually practised them, taught them to their Children, and had been instructed in them 'themselves from their Childhood, if they had. never enabled, praftised, taught, or been taught, such Things.
3. And as this, exceeds all the Power of Hell and Devils, so it is more than ever God Alnighty has done 'since the Foundation of the World. None of the Miracles that he has shewn, or Belief which he has required to any-thing that he has revealed, has ever contradicted the outward Senses of any one Man in the World, much less of all Mankind together. For Miracles, being Appeals to our outward Senses, must destroy with it all their own Certainty, as to us; since we have no other Way to judge of a Miracle exhibitedto our Senses, than upon the Supposition os'the Certainty of our Senses, upon which we give Credit to a Miracle that is shewn to Out Senses.
4. This, by the way, is a yet unanswered Argument against the Miracle of Tranfubstantiation; and shews the Weakness of the Desence which the Church
C 4 of •fRome offers for it (from whom the Socinians have licked it up, and, of late, have gloried much in it amongst us), that the Doctrines of the Trinity, or Incartion, do contradict all of these. Therefore the Com • parison is exceedingly short, and out of Purpose. But to return.
If the Christian Re'igion be a Cheat, and nothing else but the Invention of Priests, and carried on by their Craft, it makes their Power and Wisdom greater than, that of Men, Jnge/s, or Devils, (and more than God himself ever yet shewed or expressed) to deceive and impose upon the Senses os Mankind, in such publick and notorious Matters of Fact.
XIV. And this Miracle, which the Deists must run into, to avoid these recorded of Moses and Christ, is much greater, and more astonishing, than all the Scriptures tell of them.
So that these Men, who laugh at all Miracles, are now obliged to account for the greatest of all, how the Senses of Mankind can be imposed upon in such public Matters of Fact.
And how then can they make the Priests the most contemptible of all Mankind; since they make them the fo'e Authors of this the greatest of Miracles?
XV. And since the Deists (these Men qf Sense and Reason !) have so vile and mean an Idea of the Priests of all Religions, why do they not recover the World out os the Possession and Government of such Blockheads f Why do they suffer Kings and States to be led by them? To establish their Deceits by Laws, and inflict Penalties upon the Opposers of them? Let the Deists try their Hands: They have been trying, and are now very busy about it, and free Liberty they have; yet have they not prevailed, nor e\rer yet did prevail, in any civil.zed or generous Nation. And tho' they have some Inroads among the Hottentots, and some other the most brutal Part of Mankind, yet are they still exploded; and Priests have and do prevail against them, among not only the greatest, but best Part of the World, and the most glorious for Arts, Learning and War.
XVI. For as the Devil does ape God, in his Institutions of Religion, his Feasts, Sacrisices, cifV. so l.kewise in his Priests; without whom no Religion, whether true or salse, can stand. False Religion is but a Corruption of the true: The true was before it, though it be followed close upon the Heels.
The Revelation made to Moses is elder than any History extant in the Heathen World. The Heathens, in Imitation of him, pretended likewise to their Revelations; but I have given those Marks which distinguish them from the true: None of them have these four Marks before-mentioned.
Now the Deists think all Revelations to be equally
fret ended, and a Cheat; and the Priests of all Religions
„ to be the same Contrivers and Jugglers; and therefore
they proclaim War equally against all, and are equally
engaged to bear the Brunt of all.
And if the Contest be only betwixt the Deists, and the Priests, which of them are the Men of the greatest Parts and Sense, let the Ejects determine it; and let the Deists yield the Victory to their Conquerors, who, by their o*n Confession, carry all the World before them.
XVII. If the Deists say, that this is, because all the Vt orld are Blockheads, as well as these Priests who govern them; that all are Blockheads except the Deists, who vote themselves only to be Men of Sense; this (besides the Modesty of it!) will spoil their great and beloved Tofick, in Behalf of what they call Natural Religion against the Revealed, via. Appealing to the common Reason of Mankind: This they set up against Revelation; think this to be sufficient for all the Uses of Men, here cr hereafter (if there be any After-State); and therefore that there is no Use of Revelation. This common Reason they advance as infallible, at least as the surest Guide; yet now cry out upon it, when it turns against them: When this common Sense runs after Revelation (as it always has done), then common Reason is a Beast; and we must look for Reason, not from the common