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JOHN xx. 29. Jesus faith unto him, Thomas, because
thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed are they, that have not seen, and yet have believed.
GO SUR Blessed Lord took fre
Sevinc quent Opportunities of foreC o warning his Disciples of the a o Certainty of his Death, and
o the Violence of his Sufferings, but always took Care to close such heavy Forebodings with the comfortable Assurance of his Rising again the third Day from the Dead. Yet strange it is that the Disciples should discover such Depths of
Dejection, such Wildness of Surprize, upon those Sufferings which our Lord had given them such full Reason to expect ; ftrange it is that their Surprize Thould even encrease upon them, and the News of our Lord's Resurrection, of which they had so distinct a Promise, should be receiv'd with so stupid an Incredibility. So foolish were they, so Now of Heart to believe all, that not only the Prophets, but also that our Saviour himself had spoken, that the first Reports of his Resurrection appeard to them as idle Tales ; and after it had been confirm’d by other Witnesses also, the Sight of Him did nevertheless terrify and affright them, supposing they had seen a · Spirit. Thomas, one of the Twelve, not being with them, when Jesus came, obftinately stood out against the Testimony of them all, and required the most senfible Demonstration before he would give his Allent to so strange an Article ; to this his Slowness of Belief our Blessed Lord graciously condescended, and at the second Appearance He made among his Difçiples, calls upon Thomas to be con
vinced of his Resurrection, by those very Means which He himself required as a Proof of it ; Reach bither thy Finger, says He, and behold my Hands; and reach bither thy Hand, and thrust it into my Side ; and be not faithless, but believing. Too glaring was this Evidence to admit of any farther Doubt, and the Sincerity of the Apostle broke forth into this short, but full of affectionate, Confession ; My Lord and my God! My Lord, for that thou art the very Jesus, whose Disciple I am, my Senses do most demonstratively prove ; and my God, for my Faith does most strongly infer, that no Power less than Almighty, could be able to raise you up from the Dead ; this you foretold you yourself would do by your own Power, and this I now find most miraculously compleated. Thus was St. Thomas even overpowered by the Fulness of the Conviction, as tho' the over-curious Eye should presume to gaze direaly at the Brightness of the Meridian Sun, and refufe to admit any Light, but that which comes in such Proportions as will dazle and confound the Faculties ; convinced
indeed he was, and convinced in his own
of Evidence, in which the Matters
Blessedness of those who have not seen, and yet have believed, above those, who require the Evidence of Sense to engage their Assent to these Articles of our Faith.
1/t, Then, let us consider the different Degrees of Evidence, in which the Matters of Fact recorded in the Holy Gospel have been proposed to human Assent; by which means we shall particularly discover the Grounds upon which our Belief of them is built, some fee and believe ; Some believe, tho' they see not.
All Evidence relating to Matters of Fact, is either receiv'd from our Senfes, or from the Testimony of others ; the Evidence of Sense is certainly of an higher Na. ture than that other Sort, and consequently demands an higher Degree of Assent; but Matters of Fact, which can in their own Nature be but once acted over, must be communicated to far the greater Part of the World under the latter fort of Evidence ; and here Circumstances must be taken into Consideration, and the Degrees of our Assent must be proportioned to the Degrees of the Evidence given us concerning them : Things which we ourselves fee carry a greater Conviction than if we had them barely related to us ; those Things again, of which Multitudes of People bear concurrent Testimony, are