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- tenanted. One and the same Proceeding''
se jM- manifested God's boundless Love to Sin. ners,.; and his high Displeasure against Sir* Even in granting an Indemnity to Sinners, all was done that could be done to imprint on their Minds a lasting Sense of j. th© .great Evil and Danger of Sin, to create in them the utmost Detestation of it, to convince them of the Necessity of renouncing it, and to deter them from ever returning to it. -.;
Ait these great and useful Ends (not a few of which seem to interfere, and to be hardly reconcileable with each other) and possibly many others unknown to us, were equally serv'd by this wonderful Dispensation of the Incarnation, Sufferings and Death of the Mediator. Eveir this, which hath been from the beginning accounted the most exceptionable Part of the Christian Scheme, hath impress'd upon it very plain Marks of Divine Contrivance; which (however it may be ridicul'd by the Professors of human Wisdom as Foolishness) will ever be found to exceed all the Invention of
Men. Nor can any thing be imagined
better fitted, or more wisely calculated serm for the conducting Men to Happiness, _. than is the System of Christian Doctrines. The Particulars, of which it is compos'd, consider'd seperately, do all of them apparently aim at this End. And they do all correspond exactly with one another; and when put together do harmoniously and uniformly conspire to accomplish this grand and glorious Design.
The Fitness and Tendency of the Christian Doctrine to reform the Lives of Men, and to bring them to Happiness, is it self a strong Presumption, at least the best internal Evidence it can have, that it is True and came from God. But that Men might have no Pretence to reject the Gospel as a cunningly devis'd Fable, it pleased God to afford unexceptionable external Evidence of the Truth and Divinity of it j which was the
Second Thing I mention'd as requisite to its being an effectual Means of Salvation.
*«=-!s . ^KB-3y^»dc? wrought by our blessed IJM' $ww-W&-hit: Followers In Confir*
,-^._ matioiv of their Doctrine, r.JMrqrc- an infallible Demonstration- of$, because they were the Attestation.- of^od .himself -fy , it* They were-generally Beneficial, ;.anjfi therefore worthy of God. They were such as were confessedly beyond human Power to effect. They were numerous, and of various Kinds. TJhgyfflfSTf wrought, not by a few, but several -.Peirsons, and those of unblemUh'd-Chajacr ters, very frequently, for many;/Years, nay for several Ages together, very publickly, in very many Places, in Cities and Countries the most distant from each other, in the Presence not only of Friends but of Enemies j sometimes upon Enemies themselves, and to their Confusion ©r Conviction. All which Circumstances considered, there is no room for Suspicion of Imposture. Nor was the Reality of them denied or questioned by the antient Enemies of. Christianity,;who had the best Means of informing themselyes concerning them.. The Principal of them -all
was'the&elufre^Btf Bf «Simbar hlmfelf from the Dead j of which there is foth undeniable TEfiience^ as there is fciftlly of any other Fact long Since past whatsoever J *n& which being prOv'd, itiust' be, arid is'allow'd to be, a most incontestable Proof of our Blessed Lord** Divine Mission. />
,rF«E* who siVd in the Times of Christ and his Apostles were themselves JEye-witnesses of these Miracles, or knew them by-the Report of credible Eyewknesles. To us who live since, the Knowledge of them has been convey'd bythe Writings of our Lord's Apostles and Disciples, who must necessarily know "Whether- "whaiGthey related were true or no, -and gave all possible Demonstrations of their Integrity and Veracity.
^jftftiS-fhat these Writings are genuine a^d^BCorr&pt there is much better Evidence, than tftere is of the Genuineness attB'Unetfrniptness of any other antient Books or Records whatsoever. We come at the Knowledge of all antient Facts by Testimony j and no Testimonies concer
D 2 ning *- ni'ng any antient Facts whatever have
Eji ' been delivered down to us in so authen
p tic a Way, and with so many and sure
Marks of Credibility, as have the Testimonies concerning the Miracles of Christ and his Disciples, and the other Facts which are connected with them.
Moreover, The Conversion of the World to Christianity is to us a visible and standing Proof of the Truth of these Miracles, since it is altogether incredible that the Apostles and their Companions, not only without Learning or Eloquence, or Wealth or Authority or Force, but in Opposition to all these, and to the Errors and Lusts and Vices and Prejudices and Superstitions of all Mankind, under the greatest Discouragements and Pressures, should be able suddenly to spread the Christian Doctrine thro* all Nations and Languages of the Earth; had not •+- the Lord vouchsafed to work with them,
and to confirm the Word by Signs following, Since then even at this Distance of Time we have unexceptionable Evidence of those Miracles, by which the