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f Nor any Whether the three, whom our SaviI'cntfrom our was plcaled to raise, aster their rethcm of turn to Life again, gave any Tidings asperate conccrning the Circumstances of their separate Existence, is what we cannot so much as conjecture, unless we had some Knowledge, whether their Souls might exist, and yet be under a Suspension of their Operations, at least without an Accession of any new Ideas, for as long a time, as they were out of the Body; or, if new Ideas were communicated in their separate State, whether they retain'd them after their Re-union, or were perv mitted to divulge them, or capable indeed of expressing them by the common Forms of Speech, which are only adapted to material and sensible things. vOur Saviour himself, who was from abovei who was in the Bosom of the Father, and came to teach us all things necessary to Religion, has not thought fit to give us any distinct and particular Account of the other World. s St. 'Paul, who had abundance of Revelations, who was caught up into the third Heaven, and - into Paradise, has not attempted any such thing j but declares only, that what he heard there, were things tin* Jpeakabk, and what it was not lawful for a Man to utter. The Gospel, in the
v Lardncr's Vipd. p. 4$. * 2 Cor. xii. J, 7.
main, has made known unto us the
Hitherto it appears that there is no No CoihIncongrmty in the several Stories, as they sion or are related by the Evangelists; and, that t bcfe" rvlithere can be no Suspicion of Fallacy in r.tcics. the Miracles themselves, is what we shall now endeavour to evince. 1 That the
several 1 Defence of Script. Hist. p. 13.
several Persons, whom our Saviour raised to Life, were actually dead, or at least were all of them treated as dead Persons by their Friends and Relations, is evident and incontestible. For, when, our Lord came to Jarus's House, he found the Minstrels there, and the People making great Lamentation; the Widow's Son was carrying to his Grave; and Lazarus had been actually buried several Days. But 'tis Nonsense to believe, that those about the Ruler's Daughter would have call'd in the musical Instruments, z as the manner of Funerals among the Jews was; or that the PVtd<rw would have suffer'd her onlySon to be carried forth as a Corpse \ or Martha znd^Mary their Brother to be so long buried; had there not been, in these several Cases, all the Evidence of Death that Reason and Sense could give. The Cafe "Tis confessed indeed, that common ofrj\e'. Fame affm-ds Instances of the mistaken Son. *° Deaths of Persons, who have sometimes been unfortunately buried alive, and at other times happily restored to Life j and therefore, for Argument's fake, let us suppose for once, that this Widow's Son ofWain, might possibly be in a Lethargick State; yet since all about him concluded
1 Vid. Ln-is's Antiq. of the Heb. Rep. Vol. 3. P- 371. . .
eluded him to be dead, arid accordingly were carrying him to his Funeral, hoW could Jesus (supposing him to be an Im-* foflor) know, or so much as suspect, that he \Vas only in a Lethargy; or if he suspected that, how could he tell far* ther at what precise time the Mart* would wake out of it? aWhat then are we to believe in this Case? Why, that Jesus needlessly offer'd himself to a publick Trial, without the least Prospect of Success. The Company met him acc'i* dentally upon the Road, but no-body asked or challenged him to raise this Man to Life. It was entirely his own offer; and thereupon he either did, or did not, suppose him to be dead. If he supposed him to be dead (as he had abundant Reason) he must needs know (upon the foot we are now arguing) that it was not in his Power to raise him. If he did not suppose him dead, but hop'd that there might be some Mistake in the Matter, the Hazard of being disappointed, in presuming upon a Case^ which scarce happens once in a Century i added to this farther Hazard, that (evert presuming this to be the Case) the Mart might not possibly awake upon his touching the Bier, and calling upon him A a to
* D«sejce of Sfift.Hifk p, 16.
to arise, makes the Chance against him to out-run all reckoning. of fa- The like is to be said in the Case of i?1'" h Jarus's Daughter. b Here a Person of ter"S Note requests of him to go and heal his Child, which was at the point of death: before he could get to the House, a Messenger comes and acquaints the Father, that she was actually dead. Upon this change in the Case, Jesus is so far from excusing himself, (as he had a fair Opportunity,) that he offers, of his own accord, to go forward, and tells the Father that he would raise her; c Be not afraid, lays he, only believe, andjhejhall be made whole. Whatever the Case of the Child was in reality, 'tis certain, both by the Message of the Servant, and the Appearance of Things, when he came to the House, that Jesus had all the reason in the World to believe her dead. Here then is an Impostor making a bold and deiperate Push, which must either ruin him at once, or establish his Reputation for ever. He undertakes to raise a Person to Life, who, he was assur'd, was dead. If £he was dead in good earnest, he was undone; his only Hopes rested upon a bare Possibility, that there might be some Mistake in the Case: Upon these Hopes he goes, and
when J Defence of Script. Hist. p. 17. 'Luke viii. Jo.