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shortly leave them, it was only to remove from Earth to Heaven, to his Father's house, where he should more than ever be mindful of their concerns, and whither I go, says he, to prepare a place for you t. · And, to impress this belief (so necessary for their future support under his own, and their approaching sufferings) the more strongly upon them, He declares, in the most authoritative manner, that he, only, was the Way, the Truth, and the Life; and that no man could come to the Father, but by himu. Nay, to shew them how great his interest was, and how close his union, with the Father, he even adds, If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also ; and from henceforth, continues

know him, and have seen him,

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This last declaration seemed so strange to liis disciples, who had no notion of seeing the Father in our Lord's suffering state, or indeed through any other medium, than that of those triumphant honours, which their carnal expectations had destined to him, that one of them, the Apostle Philip, saith to him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. As if he had said, “ We know thee to be a person “ of great holiness, and have seen many won“ derful things done by thee; so that we can6 not doubt but that thou art à prophet sent “ from God, for some great end and purpose " of his providence. But if thy pretensions

u Ch. xiv. 6.

t St. John, xiv. 2. * Ch. xiv. 7.

go so far as to require us to believe in Thee, " as in the Father; if we are to conceive “ of Thee, as the only Life of the world; of « so great authority with God, as to procure 6 mansions in heaven for thy disciples'; nay, “ of so great dignity in thine own person, as “ to challenge the closest union and coinmuni“cation with the eternal Father; if, ndeed,

we are to believe such great things of thee, “it is but reasonable, as thou sayest, that, in

knowing and seeing thee, we also know and see the Father that we have the clearest « and most unquestioned proofs of thy divinity. Shew us, then, the Father; make us see the

glorious symbols of his presence; 'present us « with such irresistible demonstrations of his

power and greatness, as were vouchsafed to

our Fathers, at the giving of the Law; such, “ as strike conviction on the senses, and over“ rule all doubt and distrust in so high a “matter; shew us, I say, the Father, in this

sense, and it sufficeth to our persuasion and firm belief in thee."

We see, in this conduct of the Apostle Philip, a natural picture of those inquirers into the truth of our religion; who, because they have not the highest possible evidence given them of it, (at least, not that evidence, which they account the highest) are tempted, if not absolutely to reject the faith, yet to entertain it with a great mixture of doubt and suspicion. “If Christianity, say they, were what “ it pretends to be, the arguments for it would “ be so decisive, that nothing could be op

posed to them; if it were, indeed, of God, “the proofs of its claim had been such and so

many, that no scepticism could have taken

place, no infidelity, at least, could have kept “its ground, against the force of them.”

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When this wild fancy comes to take possession of men's minds, the whole tenour of God's dispensations is quarrelled with, and disputed : every circumstance in our Lord's history looks suspicious : and every fact, applied to the confirmation of our holy faith, rises into a presumption against it.

The word of Prophecy has not been so clear and manifest, as it might have been: therefore, the proofs taken from it are of no validity: The miracles of Christ were not so public or so

illustrious as might be conceived: therefore, they are no evidence of his divine mission. The scene of his birth and actions might have been more conspicuous: therefore, the light of the world could not proceed from that quarter. The Gospel itself was not delivered in that manner, nor by those instruments, which they esteem most fit; its success in the world has not been so great, nor its effects on the lives of men, so salutary, as might have been expected: therefore, it could not be of divine original.

But there is no end of enumerating the instances of this folly. Let me observe, in one word, that the greater part of the objections, which weak or libertine men have opposed to the authority of revealed Religion, are of the same sort with the demand in the text. The authors of them first imagine to themselves, what evidence would be the most convincing ; and then refuse their assent to any other. Their constant language is that of the Apostle Philip -shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.

Now, to see how little force there is in this sort of argumentation, let it be considered, that such 'high demands of evidence for the truth of the Christian revelation, are IMPERTI+ NENT, at the best ; that they are, most pro bably, on the part of the revealer, IMPROPER to be complied with; that they must be, on the part of man, PRESUMPTUOUS, and unwarrantable,

Į. All demands of this sort are clearly im pertinent, and beside the purpose of a fair inquirer into the authority of a divine Religion, For the question is, whether such religion be not accompanied with that evidence, which is sufficient to determine the assent of a reason able man; not, whether it be the highest in its kind, or in its degree, which might be imagined. There is an infinite variety, and, as we may say, gradation in the scale of moral evidence, from the highest forms of demonstration down to the lowest inducements of priobability. The impatient mind of man, which, loves to rest in assurance, may demand the former of these in every case : but the just and sober inquirer, whatever he may wish for, will submit to the latter. He takes the argument, as presented to him; he weighs the moment of it; and if, on the whole, it preponderates, though but by some scruples of probability, against the inductions on the other side, he is determined by this evidence, with as good. reason, though not with as much assurance, as

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