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To this Reply of the Rich Man, "Abrdbam peremptorily rejoins in the Words of the 1979 Text; If they hear not Mofes and the Prophets, gion neither will they be persuaded though one rose bilty from the Dead... s i l'on - To omit lesser Matters that may be observ- 11be ed from these Words, the point which pri sta marily, and most naturally seems to be offered fordi to our Consideration from them, is this; That those who give no Credit to a settled Standing ** Revelation of God once well attested, or are not it thereby prevailed upon to reform their evil Manport ners; neither in all probability would they be puz prevailed upon, though a particular Miracle was la wrought by God in order to their Conversion; as, pel for Instance, though one should rise from the With Dead and appear to them. : Now, to satisfy every one of the Truth of wil this Proposition, it will be abundantly fuffici- ksid ent to make out these Two Things. .
Firsi, That there is really more Force, and 4 Weight in a Publick Standing Revelation of hate God, such as that was by Moses and the Pro- Ned phets here mentioned, to convince Men, or ind to reclaim them; than there can be in apa Private Miracle, though I see it with my 16 Eyes. . ..And Secondly, Though God should be pleased to work a Miracle, or to send an Apparition for the Conviction of an obstinate il Unbeliever, or vicious Person; yet such a one would as easily find out Shifts and Ways to evade the Force of such an Argument, and to hinder the Effect it ought to have upou os
him, as he formerly did, to put off the ordinary Standing Motives and Arguments of Religion : and consequently, there is little probability, that he who is not gained by the former, will be wrought upon by the latter.
I begin with the First of these Things; That there is really more Force and Weight in a Publick Standing Revelation of God, to convince Men, or to reclaim them; than there can be supposed to be in a Private single Miracle, though a Man sees it with his Eyes : or than there can be in an Apparition from the Dead, if God should think fit to vouchsafe such a Thing:
In speaking to this, I mean not to concern myself or you, with the Revelation of Moses and the Prophets, though that be the Revelation which the Text here speaks of. I think it will be more suitable and useful to us, to consider the Proposition with relation to Chriftianity, or the Revelation of our Saviour and his Apostles: That being the Dispensation we are now under, and in which we are more immediately concerned.
Understanding, therefore, our Proposition. of that especial Revelation, which we call the Gospel, Two Things there are to be offered, which will undeniably make it out.
First, Those Persons that lived in the Times of our Saviour, when this Publick Revelation of the Gospel was made and attested, had greater Évidences and Motives to bring them over to the Belief and Practice of his Religion, than if any particular Miracle had been wrought in order to their Conversion.
Secondly, Secondly, We at this Day, all Things context fidered, have as strong Arguments to con- Re vince us, as powerful Motives to persuade us, as those that lived in the Times of our fem Saviour, and were Witnesses of what he did je and taught. · The unavoidable Consequences of which Two Points are these: That those who lived in the Time of our Saviour, and were not persuaded by his Gofpel, would not have been persuaded; though one had been sentto them from the Dead. And those that are hi now alive, and are not persuaded by the nic Evidences and Motives of Christianity, which we now have among us, would not have been persuaded if they had lived in the Times of our Saviour.' So that in all Ages 1 of Christianity, the Proposition will hold true,
That those who give no Credit to the Standing Revelation of the Gofpel, or are not thereby induced to lead their Lives according to it, would not be prevailed upon, tho' a particular Miracle was wrought for their Conversion.' - First then, Our Saviour's Gospel, at the Firf Publishing of it, was a more effettual Means for the Conversion of any Man then living, than the fending to him one from the Dead. . Let us suppose the Parable we are now upon, to be a true History, and that this Rich Man had Five-Brethren living at Yeru. falem, at the Time when our Saviour spoke it; and they were all Wicked, Lewd, Atheistical Persons; and God Almighty, in
pity to their Souls, is pleased to grant that Request, which the Rich Man here makes to Abraham on their Behalf; and accordingly sends Lazarus from the Dead to preach Repentance to them : We cannot doubt, but such a Sermon, from such a Man, and in such Circumstances, would mightily awaken them, and put them upon a more serious Consideration of the Folly of their Ways, and the Danger they exposed them to, than ever they entred into before; and this Consideration it is likely might work them to serious Resolutions of quitting their present Courses, and entring upon a stricter Life. Certainly such an Apparition as this, in Reason, should work such Effects; and, without doubt, upon many it would. But this we say, Whether did not our Saviour perform a great deal more than all this comes to, in order to the Conviction and Conversion of all about him ? And whether had not these Five Brethren, supposing them to live when he preached his Gospel, and to be Witnesses of his Actions, much more Reason to be persuaded by what he did, and taught, than by the aforesaid Vision ?
Our Saviour did, by all the Signs and Tokens in the World, evidence himself to be an express Messenger sent from God, which they could not be certain that the Vision was.
The Prophetick Records of their own Country did all testify of him; and they themfelves, by comparing his Life and them together, might see they were fulfilled in him. VOL. I.
To omit the Circumstances of his Birth, which were such as never any besides himself was born with: After he came to enter upon his Publick Employment, God did more than once, by a Voice from Heaven, testify, that he had sent him, and that all People were to . hearken to him. . And the Truth of this he himself confirmed, not only by his Life, which was the most Innocent, and Virtuous, and Godlike that cver was: Not only by his Sermons and Doctrines, which were the most perfe& and unexceptionable, and every way the most worthy of God, that ever were taught among Men : but also, and most chiefly, by his extraordinary Works, which were such, as none but God, or one acted by a Divine Power, could pollibly perform. · He did the greatest Things that ever were fcen by Men. He shew'd by his Actions, and those most publickly done, and frequently repeated, that he had an absolute Sovereign Power over the Course of Nature, over the invisible Agents of this World, as well Angels as Devils : and likewise over both the Bodies and the Souls of Men. · And particularly to make it appear, that his Testimony was more authentick, his Authority more to be relied on, than that of any Ghost, any Lazarus whatsoever, that should rise from the Dead ; it was very usual with him to send again to the Living those that were once dead. And one Lazarus he really brought again from the Bofom of Abraham,