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been gainsaid ; the Time therein asign'd for our Lord's Resurrection was then well and publickly known, and fresh in leople's Memory, nor were the Things there mentioned done in a Corner; many Copies and Translations were taken from these Originals, and have been handed down to us in so pure a manner, that the general Agreement of them with one another is esteem'd highly providential : This is the Reason of our Faith, and our Affent to those sacred Truths is in some measure better grounded than that of abundance of the first Christians, whose Cities believed and repented upon the Preaching of one Apostle, but we enjoy the concurrent Testimony of many of them ; St. Peter and St. Paul, St. Matthew and St. John, all conspire to establish us in the Faith ; besides the Completion of several Prophecies have since evinced the Truth of those Doctrines which the Dependance of those Prophecies might in some measure have kept in Sufpence : The Destruction of Jerusalem, and the vast Success in the Propagation of the Gospel,

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are pregnant Proofs to us of the Divine Origin of our most Holy Religion ; and Christianity has now stood the Test of almost two thousand Years Opposition The Truth of its History has always rose superior to the Force and Stratagems of the Gates of Hell, which with Confidence we may now affirm, will never prevail against it : And the Purity of its Profession has always brighten'd under the most severe Trials of fiery Persecution so far is the Credibility of the Gospel-Testimony from decreasing in Proportion to the Distances of Time and Place, that the Extensiveness of its Propagation and the Length of its Continuance ought rather to enlarge and exalt our Belief of it.

I HAVE been somewhat large upon this Head, because the Free - thinking Principles, which our present Times do so perniciously indulge, make it necessary to establish the Credibility of the Holy Scriptures upon the same Foot with com. mon Writings ; and the general and plausible Manner, in which our modern Deists spread the Poison of their Irre

ligious ligious Sentiments, oblige us to bring those Questions into the Pulpits, which used to be chiefly confined to the Schools, and make them the necessary Mediations of the more illiterate, which used only to employ the Thoughts of the Learned. When therefore any Deist asks upon what Grounds we believe the History of the New Testament ; our Answer is, it is a well-attested History ; how do we prove such its Attestation ? It is written with all possible Marks of Truth and Certainty ; it was publish'd soon after the Facts there recorded were performed by Persons who could not but be well informed of the Things themselves, and who would not impose upon Mankind in the Relation of them : But how do we know they were thus written ? Even as as we know who were the Writers of all other Books ; they have come down to our Hands with the concurrent Testimony of all intermediate Ages, without any Suspicion of Deceit ; if these Men think them not written by the Apostles, it is their Business to offer some Argument at least for fuch their wild Conception; for,

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to disbelieve so obvious a Truth, purely because we have not sensible Demonstration of it, is an Argument, in Point of Reasoning, too weak to deserve an Answer ; but considering the Subject, which is thus triflingly handled, it is too impious to pass uncensured : This, as I just mentioned, was putting the Holy Scriptures upon the same Foot with common Writings; and this Argument mayserve to confute the Weakness of those Men who make Reason the top, the sole Rule of judging even in Spiritual Matters : But let a Person who is well disposed to Religious Knowledge attentively consider those Sacred Writings, and he will perceive that unaffected Simplicity of Narration, that majestick Plainness of Stile, that powerful Force of Instruction, that heavenly Purity of Doctrine, those blessed Tendencies of promoting God's Glory and Man's Happiness, that admirable Connection of every Part, and such-like Circumstances, to be such bright Indications of Truth, such glorious Strokes of Divinity itself, as set them above the Possibility not only of Impofture and

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Falfood, but even of human Invention and Composure. These Sentiments will inspire a Faith modest and humble, but strong and lively, far superior to the stubborn Stupidity of Sense, the disputative Weakness of Reason ; Faith founded upon Infallibility itself, not to be shaken by any Difficulties, or undermin'd by Science, falsely so called. These are the Blessed here spoken of in the Text ; but upon what Grounds they are pronounced thus blessed, comes now in the

2 d Place to be considered; wherein I proposed to show the fuperior Blessedness of those who have not seen, and get bave believed, above those who require sensible Evidence to engage their Affent to the Articles of Faith. Articles of such Importance as those contained in the Gospel, ought regularly to engage our Closet-Application to discover the Truth of them ; but Truths of such Comfort ought to engage our heartiest and most joyful Allent, when once discovered. The Nature of the Christian Dispensation absolutely required such Facts to be transacted as are there recorded : The

Incarnation

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