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  • Location: London, Middlesex
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View Sample Pages : Daily Courant, August 03, 1730

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Daily Courant (Newspaper) - August 3, 1730, London, Middlesex is1?. 899a; The Daily Courant. Monday, Auguft 3, 1730. WE fhall now continue the Philofo* phical Dijjertation on Prodigies, Spirits, (Sc. which we inferred in Part, in our Courant oMaft Tuef-day and Tburfday; in which the ingenious Author draws Conclufions fuitable to and worthy of the Premifes he had laid down; and gives the moft intelligible Rules^in tbeCourfe thereof to diftinguifh betwen TRUE and FALSE MIRACLES, a Subjedt which has been of late treated of with fo much fhame-ful Ridicule and Buffoonery, by Infidels and Apbftates. And on this Account we (hall befpeak the particular Attention of our Readers to this Piece ; only repeating the Ob-fervation we made before, That the Author, in handling this nice Subject, has happily hit on the laudable Medium between grofs Superstition on one Handy and Infidelity on the other. Continuation of the Philosophical Dijjertation on Prodigies, Spirits, Sect cc A S I have already fhown at large, that in " very many Inftances, our Senfes are " liable to be deceived in Objects evidently ** Material; fo I fhall now endeavour as ful-" ly to fhew, that we can have no polChle *' Ideas of any other. When we call God a " Spirit, we do not pretend to define his Nature, or the Modus of his Exiftence, but to exprefs the high Conceptions we have of his Omnipotence, by fuppofirig him moft unlike to ourMves, and infinitely fuperior to every thing we fee arid ' know ; and then we are Joft and buried in the Abyfs of our own Ignorance ; but we can have no other poffible Conception of what we mean by the Word Spirit, when applied to him. We cannot have even the moft abftra&ed Images of Things, without the Ideas of Extenfion and Solidity, which are the Mediums of conceiving all Things that we can conceive at all. As the Organs of our Senfes are all Material, fo they are formed only to receive material Objects, and But a fmall part of thofe that are fo. The Ear cannot hear, the Hands fed, the" Palate tafte, the Nofe fmell, or the Eye fee Bodies, but of certain Magnitudes, Dimensions and Solidity ; and thefe vary too in different Men, and in the fame Men at different Times, and at different Ages. There are Millions of Infecls that cannot be feen without Glaffes, and probably infinite others, which cannot be feen with them. The fubtle Effluvia, or other minute Caufes of Peftilential Diftempers are not within the Reach and Observation of any of our Senfes. We cannot fee Wind and common Air, much Iefs pure iEther, which are too thin and fubtle Bodies for the Fabrick of the Eye ; and how then {hould we fee Spirits, which, we are told, have no Bodies at all, and in the Dark too, when the Contexture of the Eye will not afford us the Ufe of that Organ ? " I cannot conceive why the Dreams of " the old Heathen Philofojphers (hould be tt � - - - --- tt tt 41 41 tt tt tt tt tt tt it adopted into the Chrijiian Syfiem ; or from what Principles of Reafon or Religion we (hould be told, that the Soul is Totum in toto, and Totum in qualibet parte, that is, All of it is dijfujed through the whole Body, and yet, AS of it is in every Part of the Body: "That Spirits . take up no Place\ and that ten Thoujand 'of them may ftand upon the Point of a Needle, and yet leave room for a Million of Times as marts more: That " they may move from Place t>o Place, and not u pajs through the intermediate Space: That *' they are impenetrable them}elves, and yet can [' penetrate every thing elfe. Is not this fine tc Gibberifh and pretty Divinity ? And yet it is efteemed by fome a fort of Atheifm to disbelieve it ; but neither Philofophy nor Scripture telli us any fuch Matter. It is true, indeed, we are told, that Spirits have neither Flefh nor Bones ; no more have Wind, Air or iEther, and thoufands of other Things, which yet are Bodies : But we are no where elfe told, as I remember, that Spirits have no Extenfion or Solidity, and if we were told fo, we could, understand no more by it than that they were Beings of which we neither had, nor could have any other than Negative Ideas, " I think therefore, that I may venture to afferr, That either God hath created no Beings independent of Matter, or that � � tt it tt tt think any Man may fafely affirm, that fuch Agents ate not permitted to moleft Human Affairs, and feduce or miflead Men by doing fupernatural Adions, or what muft appear to us to be fo. A /contrary Supposition muft deftroy the very Ufe of Miracles. " For if other Beings, either by the E-? nergy of their own Nature, or the Will and Permiffion of God; can do Miracles, or thofe A&ions w^hich we cannot diftinguifh from Miracles, then nothing can " be proved by them, and we (hall iofe the *' befi Evidence of the Truth of our Holy j{e-'* ligion; for if Signs and lenders may be '* promifcuoufly (hewn and performed by the 4' belt of all Beings, and by the worft, they " may be done and ufed to promote Error, Impofture and Wickednefs, as well as Ver-. tue and crue Religion : Nor can I find our, any Criterion or fufficient Mark whereby we can diftinguifh which are done by the Preferver, or the pro/efled Enemy of Man-" kind. To fay, that the Truth of the Mi-" racle fhall be tried by the Doctrine it is " brought to propagate, or the Frecepts ir. " commands, is to invert the very Ufe and �' End of MiracleSjWhich is to give Credit and *' Authority to the Doer, who is always faf-] �� pofed to a<5fc by God's Power, in order to " declare his Will; and confequently, if tt tt tt tt tt tt tt tt tt tt tt tt tt tt " the Wqnders he does are to be tried by the �* Do&rine he teaches, there will be no ulje � they cannot be Obje&s of our Senfes; but � of any Wonders ar all, to prove oat only � if there are any facta, they are of a Nature � what proves itfelf, but what is to prove -  ' - the Truth of the Miracle, which is to prove the Truth of the Doctrine. " We are very fare, that the great Creator of Heaven and Barth, and the fole Au-*" thor of ail our Happinefs, does not leave " us at thefe Uncertainties, and to be toffed " and^tumbled in thethick Mift and dark Chaps of Ignorance,and Deceit. /How can we know theTrurbr.of any Revelation without knowing the Revealer himfetf ip be true? We muft be firft certain, that a good and beneficent; ;Being fpeaks to, us, " before we can believe any thing he iel!s " us*  Whenever therefore Almighty God, " by Means becoming his Infinite mfdon*,' " and from Caufesrimpcnetrable to us, com-municates his Intentions by Appeafapces *' and Reprefenrations to our Senfes, .or'by any other Ways out of the ordinary Courfe " of his Providence, he always give's us-fare *' Marks whereby we can tftftibgtiifli. his " Works from DeTufioh and Impofture, *' which often-ape Truth iifelfpand miflead '* ignorant and unwary Aien. We a^e told *' in holy Writ, That Toutig Men Jhail'fee 0 Vifions, and Old Men dream Dreamst{yrhich 4< frequently happens) and That falfe Pro-�' jfbitsjkill flrife and do Wonders, which fhall �' deceive almoji the EleSf'; but we are bid to ** disbelieve them; which we could not do, " if they work'd true Miracles, without re-<( jeering all Miracles. For how can we be- fo different from us, and fo Incomprehen fible by the Faculties he has given us, that we can form no Propofi:ions about them ; and confequently are not obliged to believe or disbelieve any thing concerning them, till he pleafes farther to inform us. " But there are an humble fort of Philo-fophers, who want the Sagacity to conceive how any Subftance can exift with-, out Extenfion and Solidity; and confequently are modeft enough to confefs, that they do not underftand the Diftincii-" on between Material and Immaterial Sub-" fiances; and that they cannor, with their " moft refined Imaginations, have any No-" tion of a Middle State of Things, between '* extended Beings and no Beings at all; " between real Effences, and Shadows, Phantoms, or Images of difbrdered Brains; or that any thing can exift in the Uhi-verfe, and at the fame time in no Part of it. And yet thefe Gentlemen will not give up the general Syftem of Spirits, but fuppofe them to be Beings of fubtle Aerial Contexture, that in their, own Nature are not Objects of our Senfes, but have Powers, by affuming more denfe Bodies, to make themfelves fo, and havecities to do many things unaccountable to us, and beyond the Limits and Reach of our Apprehenfions. Ail which I think no Man will affirm to be impo/fible ; but I ;