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vinced of his Resurrection, by those very Means which He himself required as a Proof of it ; Reach hither thy Finger, says He, and behold my Hands; and reach bither thy Hand, and thrust it into my Side ; and be not faithless, but believing: Too glaring was this Evidence to admit of any farther Doubt, and the Sincerity of the Apostle broke forth into this short, but full of affectionate, Confession ; My Lord and my God! My Lord, for that thou art the very Jesus, whose Disciple I am, my Senfes do most demonstratively prove ; and my God, for

my God, for my Faith does most strongly infer, that no Power less than Almighty, could be able to raise

you up from the Dead ; this you foretold

you yourself would do by your own Power, and this I now find most miraculously compleated. Thus was St. Thomas even overpowered by the Fulness of the Convi&tion, as tho' the over-curious Eye should presume to gaze directly at the Brightness of the Meridian Sun, and refuse to admit any Light, but that which comes in such Proportions as will dazle and confound the Faculties ; convinced

indeed he was, and convinced in his own Way, yet he was rebuked for not believing upon sufficient, tho' inferior, Evidence, than that which he had required. Jefus faith unto him, Thomas, because tbou baft seen me, thou haft believed; blesfed are they which have not seen, and yet bave believed. This is the Connection of the Words before us with the Context : The Use I intend to make of them at this Time is, 1. To discover the different Degrees

of Evidence, in which the Matters of Fac recorded in the Holy Gofpel have been proposed to human Assent, and then we shall discover particularly the Grounds our Belief is built ; Some fee and believe, and some believe, though they see not. II. I SHALL consider the superior

Blessedness of those who have not seen, and yet bave believed, above those, who require the Evidence of Sense to engage their Alfent to these Articles of our Faith.

ut, THEN,

upon which

3

1st, Then, let us consider the different Degrees of Evidence, in which the Matters of Fact recorded in the Holy Gospel have been proposed to human Assent by which means we shall particularly discover the Grounds upon which our Belief of them is built, fome see and believe ; some believe, tho' they see not.

ALL Evidence relating to Matters of Fat, is either receiv'd from our Senses, or from the Testimony of others; the Evidence of Sense is certainly of an higher Na. ture than that other Sort, and consequent. ly demands an higher Degree of Assent but Matters of Fad, which can in their own Nature be but once acted over, must be communicated to far the greater Part of the World under the latter fort of Evidence ; and here Circumstances must be taken into consideration, and the Degrees of our Aflent must be proportioned to the Degrees of the Evidence given us concerning them : Things which we ourselves see carry a greater Conviction than if we had them barely related to us ; those Things again, of which Multitudes of People bear concurrent Testimony, are

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more credible than if a single Person only was to declare them. Truths indeed are all equally true, but the Circumstances under which they are proposed to our Aflent, are various both in Kind and Degree : Every Truth will not admit of Demonstration, nor the same Truth be demonstrable to different Persons. When therefore we have arriv'd at the best, provided it be a sufficient, Evidence, that the Nature of things will allow, we ought to rest satisfied with the Discovery, and give our Assent to the Truths thus proposed to us. These Notions of Evidence and Affent are so obvious, so universally receiv'd in common Life, that Deviations from them would be construed the grossest Absurdities : To disbelieve that such Men as Authentick History informs us of, ever existed, because we did not see them, would be as ridiculous as to disbelieve the Existence of those Men ourselves have seen and been acquainted with ; because the Testimony concerning them is full and evincing, and indeed the only Froof we are able to procure ; and tho this sort of Eyidence does not

amount

amount to an absolute Certainty ; yet a moral indisputable Certainty it is, such as leaves no Room for Doubts and Scruples to any unprejudic'd Perfon, it being a Certainty which results from the Testimony of those, whose Abilities and Sincerity we are satisfied about, who could not themselves be imposed upon, and who would not impose upon others. If we allow there may be a natural Poslibility of being deceiv'd, yet if such a bare Possibility was always a sufficient Reason of Disbelieving, there would very few Circumstances of Life remain, which the Uncertainty of Diffidence would not cut off from the Pleasures and Advantages which a more implicit Faith supplies us with : All History of distant Times and Regions would be superfluous and impertinent, if Belief were confined to the narrow Sphere of Sense; and human Intercourse would soon be stopp'd, if the Principle of trusting to nothing less than Demonstration was to take place. The Sum of what has been said amounts to thus much ; Matters of Fact must be proposed to our Assent two Ways, either VOL. I. H

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