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sufficiently exposes it. Upon this principle, the faith that is founded upon the single testimony of one man is more valuable, than the faith that is founded upon the united testimonies of twelve men, supposing them to be all persons of equal credit; and it is more valuable for this reason, viz. because, in the former case, the evidence upon which faith is founded is eleven times weaker than in the latter, as one is eleven times less than twelve. The value of faith may likewise be greatly heightened, by the circumstances that attend the case. If the testimony of twelve men is dire&tly contrary to the ttstimony of one man, and if it appears that the twelve were better qualified to know the truth of the case referred to, than that single evidence, and likewise were known to be persons of greater veracity, and so were more likely to testify the truth of what they knew concerning it; these circumstances greatly weaken the credit of that fingle evidence, and consequently, they greatly heighten the value of that faith that is grounded on his testimony. But, surely, nothing can be more preposterous than to suppose, that the faith founded on the testimony of one man is in nature more meritorious, than the faith that is founded
on the testimonies of twelve men, in opposition to that single evidence, which twelve witnesses are better qualified to know the truth of the case, and are more likely to relate the truth of what they know; or to suppose the faith that is founded upon the testimony of another
man, who is capable of deceiving, as well as being deceived, is more valuable, than to assent upon the evidence that arises from what we ourselves have seen and heard. And yet, this must be the case, if the valuableness of faith arises from the weakness of the evidence upon which it is grounded. St. Thomas believed the resurrection of Christ, upon the evidence that arose from his own senses; another man believed the fame fact, ypon St. Thomas's testimony; now, as the ground of affent to St. Thomas was most certainly stronger, than the ground of afsent to the other, as a man comes nearer to certainty by what he sees and bears himself, than by what is told him by another man ; so affent in St. Thomas, surely, was rather more proper, and therefore, rather more valuable, than assent in the other person, if there be any lisparity in the case, whatever may have been faid to the contrary; at least, it appears
fo to me. If St. Thomas withheld his affent to
the fact beforementioned, when proper evidence had been presented to him, and if his diffent sprang from any unreasonable prejudice, any great impropriety in his conduct and resolutions, in this he may have been greatly blameable ; but then, I think, his faith did not become less valuable when he did believe, by the evidence being stronger than that evidence was which had been offered to him before, and which had been, perhaps, through his inattention, or otherwise, insufficient for his conviction. Surely, according to the principle before laid down, the excellency of christianity must consist in the reverhing of nature ; tho', I think, Christ did not intend to set forth, that faith founded upon weak evidence is more worthy, more valuable, than faith that is founded upon evidence that is stronger ; but only that other believers would fhare in the advantages, that are supposed to follow believing, as well as St. Thomas, notwithstanding their faith was not founded on sensible evidence, as his was. Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; but then, tho'the favour of seeing my person, since I arose from the dead, as thou hast done, has been vouchsafed but to a few; yet, nevertheless, others who answer
the purpose of believing will not fail of sharing in the blessedness, that attends it, as well as thee, notwithstanding they have not been convinced, upon such fenfble evidence, as thou hast been. Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed (also) are they who have not seen, and yet have believed. As the above paraphrase is consonant to truth; fo, I think it justly expresses the sense of the text.
Since my putting together the foregoing reflections, the reverend and ingenious Mr. Foster has published * his sentiments, touching the morality of faith; and has attempted to shew, that faith, founded on sensible evidence, is less valuable or moral, than faith founded on other evidence; but then, he does not ground this disparity upon the strength and weakness of the evidence, but upon other circumstances, which he supposes peculiar to each case; viz. that faith in the former, or when grounded on sensible evidence, is in a manner forced, and involuntary, and thereby is more easy and cheap to the believer ; whereas, faith in the latter cafe requires more pains to be taken, more ingenuity, more care and application to procure it. Upon which, I obferve, that in some instances the case may
* See Mr. Foster's Sermons, Vol. III. Sermon ix.
be as it is represented, and in other instances it may be the reverse. Suppose a friend of mine, upon whose testimony I have just ground to rely, was lately come from London, and he voluntarily informed me, (without any application of mine to procure the information) that the pillar, lately standing near London-Bridge, commonly called the Monument, was fallen down ; in this instance, faith, founded on the testimony of my friend, would be in a manner forced and involuntary, and would be much more easy and cheap to me, than faith founded on sensible evidence, because that would require my taking the care and pains of a journey to London, to inspect the place, in order to procure it. But, , admitting the case were always, as is represented above, then, in this view of it, the worth and morality that attends it, is not so much relative to faith, as to that rectitude of action, by which a man discharges his mind of all partiality and prejudice, and examines carefully, and candidly, all the evidence that falls within his notice, both for, and against, the question in debate; this rectitude of action being plainly distinct from, and previous to faith, and is equally valuable, whether it be productive of faith, or of it's contrary, viz.