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SERM. to his Works; They, says he, bear Witness
of me. And ’tis evident what a good Opi-
had of the Works he had done from this Saying, When Christ cometh will he do more Miracles than these which this Man hath done ? From all which it is plain that they took him to be some very extraordinary Person. And the Use I pro. pose to make of it is this, That
the Strength of this Opinion of his Works, when he foretold of his rising again the third Day, they thought it would come to pass; and accordingly were in Expectation of it, as appears from the Precaution they us'd to prevent it, viz. by sealing a Stone, and setting a Watch. Now, while the Jews expected he would rise, the Apostles, on the other hand, thought he would not, but that they had with him loft all the Hopes he had ever given them: For as yet they knew not the Scriptures that he must rise again from the Dead. So that from the Expectation of the Jews on the one hand, and the no Expectation of the Apostles on the other, there is no room to suspect a Collusion in this Matter ; and I think it is a corroborating Argument of the Fact, it being now brought as far as a Probability, and wants nothing but to be ripe for better Proof.
And I chuse to mention this here, because Serm. the Matter of Fact is a distinct Thing, and
V. ought to be tried by itself.
Another Thing I think proper to premise is, That no Objections about the Difficulties, that
may be thought to attend this Event,
SERM. never be Proof against the Thing itself; it V.
can never be Proof against a Matter of Fact. 'Tis but to apply the Argument to fomething of a like Nature, and we shall easily see the Absurdity of it. We can't, for Example, answer all the Difficulties that may be started about Gravitation, the Attraction of the Loadstone, &c. What then ? Is there therefore no such Thing at all ? No, we can't say so, because we know there is. And this may be carried through all the other Mysteries of Nature, which we hardly know any thing of, and yet believe to be true. We ought therefore to answer all the Difficulties in one Case before we start any in another ; or fhew why the same kind of Evidence should not have a Right to our Assent in both Cafes. We are here to judge of what we do know, and not of what we do not. The Truth or Falsity of this Matter depends upon the Fact: If it be not true, then there is no Need to talk of Difficulties; if it be true, which will appear by the Evidence, then the Fact which we do know ought to have greater Weight with us than the Difficulties which we do not know. I don't say this, as if Objections of this kind were not to be answer'd; for, as I have already obferv’d, 'tis easily done ; but because com
mou People are not so good Judges of these Serm. Things as they are of Matters of Fact: And V. therefore they should not leave a necessary convincing Argument for what is not so necessary nor so much to the Purpose. This will bring the Thing into a narrow Compass, and upon this Foot there will be no Need of any other Method to silence the Jew, than only to demand greater Proof than Testimony that Daniel was in the Lions Den and not devour'd; or that Elisha made Iron to swim, contrary to the Nature of it. Neither will there be Need of any other Method to confute the Gentile, than only to demand greater Proof than bare Testimony, that there were ever such Men as Alexander or Gafar, if they reject such kind of Proof themselves.
But I proceed now to fhew what Evidence we have for this Fact. And here, as it is a Matter of the greatest Importance, so we have a prodigious Number of Witnesses more than was ever required by any Law,
prove any Fact whatsoever. And, first, we have the Testimony of the Disciples to whom he appear'd as they were going to Emmaus; of Mary Magdalen, by whom he was seen as she - stood at the Sepulchre weeping, and also of Mary the Mother of James. We M
Serm. have likewise the Testimony of the eleven V.
Apostles, to whom he appear'd as they were assembled together for fear of the Jews, and others with them ; then we are assurd he was seen at another Time by above five hundred at once. We have also the Testimony of Angels, who said to the Women that came to the Sepulchre to seek the Lord, Why seek ye the Living among
the Dead ? He is not here, but is risen. And we have one very extraordinary Evidence, which is that of God himself, who confirm'd the Truth of this Fact by giving the Apostles, who were more immediately fet apart to give Testimony of it, a Power of working Miracles. But, besides all this, we have the Witness of Enemies also, fo far as to prove that he was actually dead and laid in the Sepulchre, and was, after the sealing the Stone and setting a Watch, a&ually gone out of it again. This was acknowledg’d by the Jews themselves. And we have the Evidence of St. Paul, who was at that Time å great Enemy and a Persecutor, and was converted himself by our Lord, as he was in his Way to Damascus, in order to carry on his Perfecution. Here then is the Evidence fairly laid beLet us now see whether these