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<< received, even upon the authority of miracles, attefted "with a fingular degree of evidence, as a revelation from "God, which cannot, in all its branches and articles, be made appear, at leaft not inconfiftent with the conceptions 6 of
The propofitions here laid down, I take to be thefe: That a doctrine may be proved to be revealed from heaven, by miracles properly attefted, tho', at the fame time, it be inconfiftent 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 fome of these writers introduced on the fide of those who are for laying reftraints upon Reafon, 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 Chriftian world. Is it poffible, thought 1, that Dr. Jeremy Taylor fhould advance any thing in fupport of Enthufiafin? I must look over his Liberty of Propherying once again. In pufuance of this reflexion, I referred myfelf firft to the Index to the folio volume of his Polemical Works where, under the word Miracles, this plain, but ftrange propofition, immediately ftruck my eyes-Miracles not a fufficient argument to prove a doctrine.-Hence we are directed to page 1020, fect. 11. of Liberty of prophecying, where we find the foregoing propofition thus extended, and explained.
And although the argument drawn from Miracles is good to atteft a holy doctrine, which, by its own worth, will fupport itself after way is a little made by miracles; yet, of itfelf, and by its own reputation, it will not fupport any fabrick for, inftead of proving a doctrine to be true, it makes that the miracles are fufpected to be illufions, if they be pretended in behalf of a doctrine which, we think, we have Reafon to account falfe.And again, a few lines below But then, when not only true miracles are an infufficient argument to prove a truth fince the establishment of Chriftianity, but'-What a flat contradiction are thefe paffages to Dr. Patten's whole fyftem! It must De owned, he was wonderfully overfeen in bringing the name of this Divine into view, whofe judgment and fpirit were fo directly contrary to I do moft heartily agree with him, however, that Dr. Taylor did really underftand the principles and foundation of Chriftianity; but then, if Dr. Taylor did, it will too evidently follow, that our modern Divine does not underftand them. To this let us add one obfervation more,―That if Pri
There is another light in which this matter deferves to be I confidered. Dr. Patten would certainly take it very ill to bet told, that he is a Papifts will not fay he is fog but this Ho will fay, because I can make it good, that the doctrine hel would establish naturally tends to lead us all fairly back into Popery. This I will faythat he entirely coincides with the Paqu pifts upon the fubject of Reafon, and that they allow the ufe of it in religion as far as he does. This might be fhewn from the writings of many fenfible men among them. It will ben fufficient for our prefent purpofe to produce an extract from fermon, printed at Paris in the year 1709, which runs this zove have two extremes to avoid that are We e equally dangerous namely, the examining of religion too far, and not examining it enough; for to be a Chriftian, merely because one is born of Chriftian parents, as a man would have been a Turk, had he happened to have been born of Mahometan parents to be ready to lay down one's life in defence of a religiony (for Tuch is the difpofition we ought to be of) to be readygn fay, to lay down one's life in defence of a religion, for no other reafon, than because one has been bred up in it this would rather deferve the name of grofs ftupidity, than of fubmiffive Faith: whereas, to reafon, to reflect, to difpute without ceafing, upon the articles of religion, hath lefs in it of an enlightned Faith, than of dangerous curiofity, not to fay of fecret sinfidelity. It becomes us, therefore, to reafon,sand to make ufe of Reafonysfo far as to difcover whether our religion comes from God: and when we are once arrived at certainty in this point, it is then neceffary to lay Reafon afide, inforder to believe all the others. If you embrace a religion, with out knowing whence it is derived, you are a blockhead, if you doubt of this religion, after having difcovered that God is its author, you are an infidel, For this reafon there are twe points to be confidered 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; and fo far we allow Reafoning to be b necellary. The act of Faith, is a belief of all the truths which it propofeth to us, how incomprehenfible foever, they i may be and here all Reafoning is precluded. On one fide the motives of affent lay a firm foundation for our Faith and on the bother, the myfteries that it propofes to us are fo far. above our Reason, that in order to believe the one, it is neceffary to renounce the other. We have then nothing elfe to de but to raise our eyes towards Heaven, to difcover the Star, of Faith, and the origin of the Chriftian religion, which comes from God: but when we have difcovered this Star, we are obliged to follow it, as the Magi did, still it conducts us to Jefus Chrift (a) tad boog is a shed yet lliw From this quotation then we fee, that it is a foul afperfion upofi the Papifts, proceeding from ignorance, when it is af tu od wolls ved de boleto Badu s nogu aftig fah Sermons de Monf, l'Abbé du Jarry Paris, 1709 12 Sermon. Nous avons à éviter deux écueils également à craindre fcavoir, d'examiner trop la car être Chrétien parce que l' on eft ne de parens Chrétiens, l'on feroit Turc fi l' on étoit né de parens Turcs; être prêt de mourir pour la defenfe d une Religion (car Voilà la difpofition où nous devons être) être prêt, dis je, de mourir pour la defenfe d'une Reli gion, feulement parce que nous y avons été élévez ce feroit plutôts une ftupidité graffiére, qu'une Foi foumife comme raifonner, red flechir difputer fans celle fur les articles de la Religion, c'est moins une Foi éclairée qu'une curiofité dangereufe, pour ne pas dire une infidelite fecrette. Il faut donc raifonner & fe fervir de la Raifon pour feavoir fi nôtre Religion vient de Dieu et quand nous fommes une fois éclairez fur ce point, il faut renoncer à fa Raison, pour croire fçavoir d' ou elle vient, vous etes un infenfé: fi vous doutez de cette Religion és avoir connu que Dieu en eft 1* apres Auteur, yous êtes un infidelle. C'eft pour cela qu'il y a deux chofes à confiderer dans celui qur eroit le motif qui Tui fait embrafler la Foi, et qui lui en fait pros duire les actes; habitude, & les actes de cette Foi meme motif qui nous attache à la Foi, c'eft de fçavoir qu' elle vient da ciel; & voilà où le raifonnement et néceffaire. L'acte de la Foi c'eft de croire des veritez qu'elle nous, enfeigne, toutes incomprehenfibles qu'elles font ; & voilà où il ne faut point de raisonnement. Les motifs de notre crédulité rendent d'un côté notre Foi évidente et d'ailleurs les myfteres qu' elle nous propofe, font fi fort au-deffus de notre raifon, qu'il faut renoncer à l' une pour croire les autres. Il faut donc lever les yeux vers le ciel, pour decouvrir l'étoile de la Foi, & l'origine de la Religion qui vient de Dieu; mais après 1avoir découverte, nous fommes obligez de la fuivre, comme les Mages, jufq à ce qu'elle nous conduite à Jefus-Chriftid i dissap opstword sit a disTeds of a disdbetts doide 3 Chordfirmed tadt
ola Religion, & de ne l'examineromme
tous les autres. Si vous embraffez une Religion fans fçav
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 truft us. But the Papifts are confiftent with themselves; they eafe us, indeed, of all further trouble in the exercife of our own reafon, yet they provide a refource for us in the Reafon of the church, to whofe decifions they make us over, and in which we are fubmiffively to acquiefce. But here Dr. Patten fails us; as to the method we are to pursue, after we are fatisfied 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 feems to be a matter of real importance. A Revelation must be delivered in words; how is a man to proceed, in order to attain the fenfe and meaning of the words in which it is delivered? In this cafe, he must be determined, either by his own Reafon, or by the Reafon of fomebody elfe: if his own Reafon is to be his guide, he must 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. Reafon must be fuppofed to be a judge of what is reasonable, or elfe it may be left quite out of the question; and it will be full as abfurd 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 propofition that, in any fenfe, contradicts the conceptions I have of Truth and Falfhood, I have the fame right to reject it, in that fenfe, as I have to employ my thoughts at all in the confideration of it: and if Dr. Patten 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 afk 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 Proteftantifm the fecret of conferring any power and authority upon the Church, which Popery cannot confer? If the Church of England affumes to itfelf, the liberty of explaining, and interpreting fcripture, can the fame liberty be confiftently denied to the Church of Rome? And if there be any fuch legitimate power refiding at prefent in the Popish Church, will not Truth oblige us to confefs, that it was al
ways refident there? And if always there, then it exifted there before the Reformation; and if fo, in what manner, or by what argument will Doctor Patten juftify a feparation from that Church? Upon what motive would the Doctor himself have become a Proteftant, had he lived in those days? All that the Church of Rome ever pretended to, was, the right of fixing their own fenfe upon the words of fcripture; and by the help of this they held all the Christian world in fubjection, But if herein they only exercifed a right that juftly belonged to them, then it was certainly wrong to oppofe, and break from them, on no other account, than because they exercifed it, which was really the fact. The fair confequence of this, is, that we have all been living in a ftate of fchifm ever fince that time, and ought to make amends for what is paft, by re. turning into the bofom of our injured Mother, with all the hafte we can.
It was juft now afked, upon what motive Dr. Patten would have become a Proteftant, had he lived at the time of the Reformation? let us pufh this enquiry a little farther, and be fomething more particular. The doctrine of Tranfubftantia tion has been, and is generally looked upon as one of the greateft corruptions in the Romish Church; but had our learned Doctor been bred up in the belief of this doctrine, it does es 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 obferving, that at the time of the Reformation, the real and corporeal prefence of Chrift in the facrament, had been the received and established doctrine of the univerfal Chriftian 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 fet afide the plea. I beg to know from whence thefe arguments could be drawn? A fenfible author(a) bath lately obferved, that in the conferences held between the Papifts and Reformers, upon the subject of this doctrine, if they came to argue upon the opinions of the Fathers, the Papifts had evidently the advantage in the dif pute; and to justify this obfervation, produces paffages from feveral of them; than which nothing can be more clear on the popifh fide of the question. The paffages are these ;→→→ we are taught, that when this nourishing food is confecrated, it becomes the flesh and blood of Chrift: (Juftin Martyr).
(a) Gilpin's Life of Bishop Latimer.