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That those Miracles were no other than II. lusions, that their Senses deceived them, or were imposed on by Tricks and Impoftures.

Particularly, that sort of Method, which the rich Man in the Text desired might be employed for the Conversion of his Brethren, would be of all others the most

exceptionable; I mean the Apparition of the Spirits of deceased Men, assuring the living of the reality of another Life. It would be impossible to form Rules whereby to distinguish True from Imaginary Apparitions, the Appearance of human Souls from the Illusion of evil Spirits. Or if such Rules could be formed, Men could never be assured of the Truth of what they should reveal; since the Souls of Men put not off their Vices with the Body, and may still retain such Sins, as may be exercised without the assistance of corporeal Organs, such as Envy, Malice, Lying and Fraud. Or if all these Difficulties were removed, the Terror and Affrightment attending such Apparitions would infallibly hinder all clear Perception either of the Reality of the Apparition, or of the Matters reyealed in it.

If then, there be any here, as it is a Prejudice common to many Christians, who imagines, that if he had lived in the time of Christ and his Apostles, and had seen with his own Eyes the miraculous Works per

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formed by them; or if God should please to admonish him by the Admonition of some departed Soul, he should then carefully observe the Precepts of Religion, and live up to the Rules of it; let him be assured, That he deceiveth his own Soul; that if the

prefent Arguments of Christianity, afforded to him in the ordinary Rule, cannot induce him to the Belief or Practice of his Duty; neither would that extraordinary Method which he so much desireth. He hath already fufficient Motives of Conviction and Instruction in the Scripture, in the Exhortations of those who are appointed by God for this Ņery Office; and if he rejecterh these, neither would he be any more moved, altho' God should speak to him from Heaven. The same Lusts and Vices, which hinder the Efficacy of the one, would defeat the Success of the other; and even if he should be fatisfied in his fond Desires, he would still fly off, and seek some other Cloak for his Impiety.

Let us rather be thankful to God for these ordinary Means of Instruction and Admonition which he hath afforded us. Let us by a right use of them approve our selves worthy of them; and then that Satisfaction and Conviction, which others may pretend they can receive alone from Miracles, Inspirations and Apparitions, we shall infallibly find in Mofes and the Prophets; in the common Methods of Salvation, in the Writings Vol. IL

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of the Holy Penmen, and in the constant Instructions of the Church. This Knowledge will be raised and actuated by a careful discharge of the Duties enjoyned by it; by a frequent conversing with those Means, whereby it is communicated; by a diligent use of all those Religious Offices, and Participation of Holy Rites, whereby it may be improved. So fall what we know now certainly indeed, but not demonstratively, be at last advanced into an absolute and perfect Demonstration, when we shall see our Lord Face to Face, and fenfibly enjoy, what we now assuredly hope. To the Fruition of this Joy, and Completion of this Hope, God of his infinite Mercy bring us all for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.

SER.

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Preach'd on the 22d of December, 1689.

at Lambeth Chapel.

St. JOHN VIII, 12. I am the Light of the World. He that followeth me, Mall not walk in darka ness, but shall have the Light of Life.

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MONG all the Metaphorical Expref

Gions, wherewith Christ is either prefigured in the Old Testament, or denoted in the New, none is more expressive of the Ex* cellency of his Person, and the Nature and Design of his Office, than this of Light, which he applieth to himself in the Text. Nothing is more necessary and desirable to Men; nothing of more universal Influence and Bea nefit to the whole World, than Light. Upon which account the most glorious descriptions of God, and his Effects and Benefits, are in Holy Scripture generally reprefented by the Denomination or Comparilon Light. Himself is called by that Nari,

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God is Light, faith St. John, 1 Epist. i. 5. and in him is no darkness at all. He is termed the Father of Lights, by St. James i. 17. His Habitation, because nothing more glorious than Light can be conceived, is described to be in the Light. And the Light dwelleth with him, Dan. ii. 22. who only hath immortality, dwelling in the Light which no man can approach unto, 1 Tim. vi. 16. The Magnificence and the Joys of Heaven are amplified by the exceeding Light of it, in Apoc. xxi. And in iunumerable Places of the Old Testament, the Joy and Comfort of Men is expressed by the conferring of Light upon them, or the springing up of Light to them.

Among the Heathens, who knew little of Divine Matters, and followed the Dictates of their natural Inclinations, the Benefits of Light were always esteemed so far to exceed all other Advantages of Nature, that in chusing to themselves a Deity, they all betook themselves in the first place to the Sun, that great Fountain of Light; and paid their Adoration to it, as to the most beneficial of all visible Beings.

Now what the Sun is to thé visible World, to the Eyes of Men, and to all corporeal Objects, which receive his Influences; the fame is Christ to the Soul of Man; dispen. sing the sameBenefits to it; producing the same Effects in it; dispelling the Darkness of it, animating, quickning and enliyening it, en.

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