« AnteriorContinuar »
« of man.
Works: where, index
doctrine to be true, it PROMO
<< received, even upon the authority of miracles, attested 56 with a singular degree of evidence, as a revelation from * God, which cannot, in all its branches and articles, be si made appear, at least not inconfiftent with the conceptions
The propositions here laid down, I take to be these: That a doctrine may be proved to be revealed from heaven, by miracles properly attested, tho', at the fame time, it be inconfiftent with the conceptions of man: And that the great writers named above, would have pitied any one that had affirmed the contrary, I own, it was quite beyond my expectation, that I found some of these writers introduced on the side of those who are for laying restraints upon Reafon, and particularly Dr. Taylor, who was certainly one of the most noble advocates for freedom of thinking, that had, at that time, ever appeared in the Christian world. Is it poffible, thought 1, that Dr. Jeremy Taylor should advance any thing in support of Enthufiafin? Í must look over his Liberty of Propherying once again. In pusuance of this reflexion, I referred myself first to the Index to the folio volume of his Polemical Arange proposition, immediately struck my eyes--Miracles not a fufficient argument to prove a doctrine.--Hence we are directed to page 1020, sect. 11. of Liberty of prophecying, where we find the foregoing proposition thus extended, and explained.
* And although the argument drawn from Miracles is good to atteft a holy doctrine, which, by its own worth, will fupport itself after way is a little made by miracles; yet, of
itself, and by its own reputation, it will not support any fa? 6 makes that the miracles are fufpected to be illusions, if they be pretended in behalf of a doctrine which, we think, we have
then, when not only true miracles are an insufficient argument to prove a truth since the establishment of Christi
anity, but'-What a flat contradiction are these partages to Dr. Patten's whole fyftem! It must be owned, he was wonderfully overseen in bringing the name of this Divine into view, whose judgment and spirit were so directly contrary to
I do most heartily agree with him, however, that Dr. Taylor did really understand the principles and foundation of Christianity; but then, if Dr. Taylor did, it will too evidently follow, that our modern Divine does not understand them. To this let us add one observation more-That if Pri
deadx, Clarke, and
Rogers, (namesy by the way, oddly Jumarts bled together in proving the truth of our religion, haven thought it neceffáry, in the course of the argument, no pávelw the way
y for the external evidence, bye mfiling firstraponcthem internal, and examining the reasonableness of the contenusad they have done no more than tread in the steps of a predecer-no for-whole authority Dr. Patten does füis the favour tovallowds of Thus much for the learned Doctor's authoritiesy by whichrst he avails himself very little
9459H zbywot 2949 10 Slisi os jud There is another light in which this matter odeserves to be I cofifidered. Dr. Patten would certainly take it very ill to bent told, that he is a Papiftsbild will not lay he is fo, i but this lo will say, because I can make it good, that the doctrine hel would establish naturally tends to lead us all fairly back into Popery. This I will fay that he entirely coincides with the Paqu pilts upon the subject of Reason, and that they allow the use of it in religion as far as he does. This might be shewn from the writings of many sensible men among them. It will ben fufficient for our present purpose to produce an extract from * fermon, printed at Paris in the year 1709,
which runs thuis. 28
1 We have
ve two extremes to avoid that are equally dangerOus namely, the examining of religion too far, and not examiring it enough for to be a Christian, merely because one is born of Chriftian parents, as a man would have been a Tark, hrad he happened to have been born of Mahometan parents to be ready
to lay down one's life in defence of a religion, (for such is the difpofition we ought to be of) to be ready i ! fay, to lay down one's life in defence of a religion, for no other
reason, than because one has been bred up in itthis would rather deserve the name of gross lupidity, than of rutemillive Faith : whereas, to reason, to reflect, to dispute
without cealing, upon the articles of religion, hath less in it of an enlightned Faith, than of dangerous, curiosity, not to say of fecretsinfidelity. It becomes us, therefore, to reason, sand to make use of Reafon, fo far as to discover whether our religion comes from God: and when we are once arrived at certainty in this point, it is then neceffary to lay Reason aside, inforder to believe all the others. If you embrace a religion, with out knowing wherice? it'is derived, you are 'a Blockheadz» if You doubt of this religions after having aiscovered that God is its author,
two points to be considered by the man who believes: the me
motive which induced him to embrace the Faith, and which pro duceth in him the acts the habit and acts of this Faith itself. The motive which attacheth us to the Faith, is the knowlege
that it camea from God; dand so far we allow Reasoning to be neceffary. The act of Faith, is a belief of all the truths which it proposeth to us, how incomprehensible foever, theyris may be qqand here all Reasoning is precluded. On one side, the motives of affent lay a firm foundation for our Faith ; and on the other, the myfteries that it proposes to us are so far abave our Reason, that in order to believe the one, it is necelor sary to renounce the other. We have then nothing else to de but to raise our eyes towards Heaven, sto discover the Star of Faith, and the origin of the Christian religion, which comes from God: but when we have discovered this Star, we are obliged to follow its aš the Magi did, still it conducts us to Jesus Chrift(a)ilt seds boor ti glam mo ! suosdrys lliy
- From this quotation then we fees, that it is a foul afperfion upon the Papifts, proceeding from ignorance, when it is af, slu 9ds wolte verlossdt bris, els si toBojdul adlı toquathia
stal Sermons de Monf. l'Abbé du Jarry, Paris, 1709. 12 Ser mon. Nous avons à éviter deux écueils également à craindre ; à sçavoir, d'examiner trop la Religion, & de ne l'examiner pas assez: car être Chrétien parce que l'on
eft ne de parens Chrétiens, comme l'on seroit
Turc si l'on étoit né de parens Turcs ; être prêt de mourir pour la defense d une Religion (car Voilà la disposition où nous devons être) fêtre prêt, dis-je, de mourir pouf la defenfe d'une Relid gion, seulement parce que nous y avons été élévez ; ce feroit plaitôt une fupidité grosiére, qu'une Foi soumises comme raifonner, sed flechir, i difputer fans celle sur les articles de la Religion, c'est moins une Foi éclairée qu'une cariosité dangereufe, pour ne pas dire une infidelité fecrette. Il faut donc raisonner & fe fervir de la Raison pour fçavoir fi nôtre Religion vient de Dieu ; et quand nous sommes une fois éclairez für ce point, il faut renoncer à la Raison, pour croire tous les autres. Si vous embrassez une Religion fans fçavoir d' où elle vient, vous etes un insensé : si vous doutez de cette Religion après connu que Dieu en eft i* Auteur, êtes un infidelle. C'est pour cela qu'il y a deux chofes à confiderer dans celut qui eroit; le motif qui lui fait embrasser la Foi, et qui lui en fait pros duire les actes ; l'habitude, & les actes de cette foi meme si Le motif qui nous attache à la Foi, c'est dè fçavoir qu'elle vient de ciels & voilà où le raisonnement ett néceffaire. L'acte de la Foi. c'est de croire des veritez qu'elle nous enseigne, toutes incomprehensibles qu'elles fonts d& voilà où il ne faut point de raisonnement. Les motifs de notre crédulité rendent d'un côté notre Foi évidente ; et d'ailleurs les myfteres qu'elle nous propose, font fi fort au-deffus de notre raison, qu'il faut renoncer à l' une pour croire les autres. Il faut donc lever les yeux vers le ciel, decouvrir l' etoile de la Foi, & l'origine de la Religion qui vient de Dieu; mais après l'avoir découverte, nous sommes obligez de la fuivre, comme les Mages, jusq' à ce qu'elle nous condaise à Jesus-Chrifti i dt99116 galwon siis ei 46 od op die dostos dois firmed
firmed of them, that they take from us all use of Reason in matters of Religion ; for it is plain that they admit of enquiry till we have found the external evidences of a revelation; and this is all the liberty with which our Protestant Doctor thinks fit to trust us. But the Papifts are confistent with themselves; they ease us, indeed, of all further trouble in the exercise of our own reason, yet they provide a' resource for us in the Reason of the church, to whose decifions they make us over, and in which we are fubmiffively to acquiesce. But here Dr. Patten fails us; as to the method we are to purfue, after we are fatisfied that a revelation comes from God, I do not find that he has given any directions, or fo much as once thought of it, tho' it seems to be a matter of real importance, A Revelation must be delivered in words; how is a man to proceed, in order to attain the sense and meaning of the words in which it is delivered ? In this case, he must be determined, either by his own Realon, or by the Reason of Somebody else: if his own Reason is to be his guide, he muft find the contents of the Revelation agreeable to the principles of his own Reason; otherwife it is improperly applied at all to the examination of them. Reason must be supposed to be a judge of what is reasonable, or else it may be left quite out of the question ; and it will be full as absurd to 'exhort a man to examine, as to exhort the horse he rides. If, therefore, in the course of my enquiry, I meet with a proposition that, in any fense, contradicts the conceptions I have of Truth and Falfhood, I have the same right to reject it, in that sense, as I have to employ my thoughts at all in the confideration of it: and if Dr. Parten allows the one, I defy him to withhold the other. They follow one another as naturally, and neceffarily, as the fhade follows its body when the fun thines.
If we are to take the meaning of a Revelation, not from the determination of our own Reason, but from the decilions of others, I then ask the good Doctor, where he apprehends this right of deciding is lodged? I make no doubt but he will readily reply, in our own Church. But can it be maintained, that the Church of England enjoys any rights and privileges. that do not equally belong to the Church of Rome? Has Protestantism the secret of conferring any power and authority upon the Church, which Popery cannot confer? If the Church of England affumes to itself, the liberty of explaining, and interpreting scripture, cán the fame liberty be confiftently denied to the Church of Rome? And if there be any such legitimate power residing at present in the Popith Church, will not Truth oblige us to confess, that it was al
ways resident there? And if always there, then it exifted there before the Reformation, and if so, in what manner, or by what argument will Doctor Patten justify a separation from that Church Upon what motive would the Doctor himself have become a Protestant, had he lived in those days ? All that the Church of Rome ever pretended to, was, the right of fixing their own sense upon the words of scripture; and by the help of this they held all the Christian world in subjection, But if herein they only exercised a right that justly belonged to them, then it was certainly wrong to oppose, and break from them, on no other account, than because they exercised it, which was really, the fact. The fair consequence of this, is, that we have all been living in a state of schism ever fince that time, and ought to make amends for what is paft, by re. turning into the bosom of our injured Mother, with all the hafte we can.
It was just now asked, upon what motive Dr. Patten would have become a Protestant, had he lived at the time of the Reo formation ? let us push this enquiry a little farther, and be something more particular. The doctrine of Tranfubftantia. tion has been, and; is generally looked upon as one of the greatest corruptions in the Romish Church ;, but had our learned Doctor been bred up in the belief of this doctrine, it does not appear to me, that he has any one principle in his mind by which he could ever have got rid of it. It is a known fact, and worth observing, that at the time of the Reformation, the real and corporeal presence of Christ in the facrament, had been the received and established doctrine of the universal Christian Church, from the latter end of the eleventh century, a space of very near five hundred years: this must be allowed to have been a long poffeffion, which, if it does not imply a right, at least there ought to be very good arguments, to set aside the plea. I beg to know from whence these arguments could be drawn? A fenfible author(a) bath lately observed, that in the conferences held between the Papists and Reformers, upon the subject of this doctrine, if they came to argue upon the opinions of the Fathers, the Papists had evidently the advantage in the difpute, and to justify this observation, produces passages from several of them; than which nothing can be more clear on the popith side of the question. The passages are these ;we are taught, that when this nourishing food is consecrated, it becomes the feth and blood of Christ : (Justin Martyr).
(a) Gilpin's Life of Bishop Latimer.