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« received, even upon the authority of miracles, attested - with a singular degree of evidence, as a revelation from * God, which cannot, in all its branches and articles, be * , at leaft not inconfiftent with the conceptions
teman. 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 inconsistent 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 Reason, 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? I 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 Works: where, under the word Miracles, this plain, but ftrange proposition, immediately ftruck my eyes--Miracles not a sufficient argument to prove a doctrine.--Hence we are directed to page 1020, fect. 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 attest 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
brick : for, instead of proving a doctrine to be true, it • makes that the miracles are fulpected to be illusions, if they
be pretended in behalf of a doctrine which, we think, we have • Reason to account false.'-p-And again, a few lines below * But then, when not only true miracles are an insufficient " argument to prove a truth fince the establishment of Christi
anity, but What a fat contradiction are these passages 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 moft 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 observacion more,-- That if Pri
deadx, Clarke, and Rogers, (names, by the way, oddly fumaris bled together) in proving the truth of our religion, haven thought it neceffáry, in the course of the argumenty to pavelw the way for the external evidence, by infilting first aponcthem internal, and examining the reasonableness of the contents they have done no more than tread in the steps of a predecef-no for whofe authority Dr. Patten does füis the favour ovallowds of Thus much for the learned Doctor's authoritiesy by whichrs he avails himself very little. 99H browot 2993 10 list of Jud
There is another light in which this matter odeserves to be confidered. Dr. Patten would certainly take it very ill to bent told, that he is a Papiftbil I will not fay he is fo, but thisiko will say, because I can make it good, that the doctrine che would establish naturally tends to lead us all fairly back into Popërý, This I will fay, that he entirely coincides with the Paqu pifts 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 be sufficient for our present purpose to produce an extract frumya? sermon, printed at Paris in the year 1709, which runs this. 26
have two extremes to avoid that are equally dangerOus namely, the examining of religion too far, and not examining it enough: for to be a Christian, merely because one is born of Chriftian parentsyras 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 Tuch is the difpofition we ought to be of) to be ready i I fay, to lay down one's life in defence of a religion, for no other
reason, that because one has been bred up in it this would rather deserve the name of gross füpidity, than of lutmillive 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, and to make use of Reafon, fo far as to discover whether our religion cornes from God: and when we are onde arrived at certainty in this point, it is then neceffary to lay Reafon afide, inforder to believe all the others. Si le you embrace a religion, ' With out knowing whence it is derived, you are a blockhead if
doubt of this religion, after having aiscovered that God is its author, you are an infidel. For this realon there
are two points to be considered by the man who believes the motive which induced him to embrace the Faith, and which produceth 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 comes from God; dand so far we allow Reasoning to be ab
From this quotation then we see that it is a foul afperfiona upon the Papists, proceeding from ignorance, when it is afs slu ads wolis yaris ssd bens e se s to Bojdet er flogu athin
stal Sermons de Monf. l'Abbé du Jarry Paris, 1709. 12 Sermon.itiNous 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
est né de parens Chrétiens, comme l'on feroit
Turc si l'on étoit né de parens Turcs ; être prêt de mourir
pour la défense d'une Religion (car voila la disposition où nous devons être) être prêt, dis-je, de mourir pour la defense d'une Relis gion, Teulement parce que nous y avons été élévez; ce seroit plutôt une upidité grefiere, qu'une Foi soumises comme raifonner, se flechir, i difputer fans cesse fur les articles de la Religion, c'elt moins une Foi éclairée qu’ une cariosité dangereuse, pour ne pas dire une infidelité fegrette. Il faut donc raisonner & fe servir de la Raison pour fçavoir fi nôtre Religion vient de Dieu ; et quand nous sommes une fais éclairez fùr ce point, il faut renoncer à la Raison, pour croire tous les
saytres. Si vous embraffez Religion fans fçavoir d' où elle vient, yous etes un inlenfé : , si vous doutez de cette Religion
Vous êtes un infidelle. C'est pour cela qu'il y a deux choses à confiderer dans celui qui črbit;' le motif qui lui fait embrafler la Foi, et qui lui en fait pros duire les actes ; 1" habitude, & les actes de cette foi memeji Le motif qui nous attache à la Foi, c'est de fçavoir qu'elle vient de cielis & voilà où le raisonnement est néceffaire. L'acte de la Foi. c'est de croire des veritez qu'elle nous enseigne, toutes incompre, hensibles qu'elles sont id & voilà où il ne faut point de raisonnement, Les motifs de notre crédulité rendent d'un côté notre Foi evidente : et d'ailleurs les mysteres qu'elle nous propose, sont fi fort au-dessus de notre raison, qu' il faut renoncer à l' une pour croire les autres. Il faut donc lever les yeux l' etoile de la Foi, & l'origine de la ; mais après
Repur and l'avoir découverte, nous sommes obligez de Ta fuivre, comme les Mages
, jufq' à ce qu'elle nous condaise à Jésus-Christ i den ugglwonal sitt ei Plis tans op disco Buis doichtsfirmed
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 Proteftant Doctor thinks fit to trust us. But the Papists are consistent 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 decisions 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 pursue, after we are satisfied 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; bow 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 Reason, or by the Reason of fomebody 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 senfe,' 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 decisions 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 Protestantisin 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 same 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 confefs, that it was always resident there? And if always there, then it exifted there before the Reformation i 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 fcripture; 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 Reformation? let us push this enquiry a little farther, and be something more particular. The doctrine of Tranfubftantiation has been, and is generally looked upon as one of the greatest corruptions in the Romih 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 Rep formation, the real and corporeal presence of Christ in the sacrament, 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 alide 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 dispute; 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 ;.com we are taught, that when this nourishing food is consecrated, it becomes the flesh and blood of Christ. (Justin Martyr).
(a) Gilpin's Life of Bishop Latimer.