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be rejected by Christians. And, as to the circumstance of miracles, no external evidence whatsoever can possibly so alter the nature of things as to make a false propolition true Besides, miracles are evidences, or natural marks, not of the veracity, but only of the power of the agent that performs them; and therefore, all doctrines and rules of action that are delivered under the pretext of miracles ought to be tried, before they be admitted. And, agreeably to this principle, Moses gave it in charge to the people of Israel, Deut. xiii. 1. and so on. If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the hgn or the wonder come to pass, saying let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known) and let us serve them; thou Malt not bearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams; &c. · I have already observed, that the sum total of Dr Stebbing's charge, is, that what I have represented to be the True Gospel of Jesus Chrift is Heathenism, mere Heathenism; or, in other words, it is Deism and Infidelity; these, I think, being used by him as synonymous terms, and which, by his own construction, in a parallel * case, is the same as to say, that I
· * See the Reverend Dr Stebbing's Controversy with the Reverend Mr Foster ; in which, when Mr Foster had charged the Doctor with having maintained a Mahometan maxim, viz. the laying pecuniary mulets on Disfenters,
am an Infidel, a Deist, a Heathen, yea a mere Heathen. These are hard names or terms of reproach as they are commonly used and understood, and which, I think, in the present case, can answer no other purpose than to render me odious and contemptible; and this is a short and easy way of dealing with an adversary. However, the point with me, is, (as 'I have already observed) whether what, I have advanced be the truth, with respect to which Dr Stebbing hath not yet shewn the contrary; and not what name it is to be called by, or that I am to be called on account of it, and therefore, the Doctor may go on with his invectives, which are well fuited to answer low, mean, and base purposes. Besides, those characters of Infidel, Deist, Heathen, 86. may with as much justness and propriety be fixed upon other persons as upon me, whom yet, surely, Dr Stebbing would not chuse to treat in this way; and therefore, if the Doctor's Visitation Charge is to be considered as an answer to my book, then, there is a reply, which has been prepared long since, viz. a Sermon preached by the Right Reverend Dr Sherlocke now Lord Bishop of Salisbury, at Bow-Church, London, on the 17th of
February the Doctor, in the bitterness of his soul, poured out his complaint to the publick, that Mr Foster would make him a mere Turk; and yet he makes no scruple to use the author in the same way. Though perhaps, to do as one would be done by, is a principle too low and mean, tog Heathenish for Dr Stebbing to make it a rule of action to himself.
February 1715, before the Society for propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts; which Sermon, I conceive, to be a full and complete reply to the aforesaid Charge; and therefore, to it I refer my readers for their farther fatiffaction, or, at least, to what I have quoted from it in the foregoing Enquiry; and to which Sermon or Reply Dr Stebbing may make a rejoynder if he please.
To conclude this poftfcript, I observe, that as the book Dr Stebbing refers to has made a great noise in the world; fo several books and pamphlets (whereof the Doctor's Visitation Charge is one) have been published called anfwers to it, the Thewing the weakness and impertinence of which, would not be of much use or benefit to my readers; and therefore, I have rather chosen to represent to them what are the
pon which true religion is founded, as in the precedent Enquiry, the attending to which Enquiry will be much more subservient to their improvement in useful knowledge and virtue, than to a wrangling controversy. And if Dr Stebbing, or any other person has wherewith to oppose; they may shew off as soon as they please. There is nothing so plain and evident but what artful men may find out ways to darken and perplex; and, tho' this may take with the weak and inattentive, yet men of understanding can see through such disguises, and therefore, to their judgments Í readily submit what I have written.
I will only add, that as Dr Stebbing's charge is a much clearer proof of strong pason, than Sound reason; so, I fear, it was the produce of his resentment; namely, for my having publickly called upon him to reconfider his false and evil do&trince of pecuniary mulets, and either publickly to defend it, or give it up; one or other of which, furely, he ought to have done, though I have not heard he has yet done either. I call the * forementioned doctrine false and evil, because, I think, I have proved it to be both, in my letter to the Reverend Dr Stebbing, on that subject; which letter I ordered to be sent to him, and, I doubt not, but it was sent accordingly.
* See the author's second letter to the Reverend Dr Stebo