A motive, however stronger in itself than another, may yet make a weaker impression, when employed, after that the motive of less, tho’ sufficient, strength hath already been resisted. For the mind doth, by every degree of affected unbelief, contract more and more of a general indisposition towards believing: So that such a proof, as would have been closed with certainty at the first, shall be set aside easily afterwards, when a man hath been used to dispute himself out of plain truths, and to go against the light of his own understanding. ’Tis in infidelity, as in a vicious course of life; a sturdy, hardened sinner shall advance to the utmost pitch of impiety with less difficulty, less reluctance of mind, than perhaps he took the first steps in wickedness, whilst his conscience was yet vigilant and tender. Should therefore the evidence of one arising from the dead, be in itself more powerful than that of the standing gospel-proofs, yet, we see, it would operate as little, or less than they, upon a person who had before-hand, rejected those proofs.

Francis Atterbury, Sermons and Discourses on Several Subjects and Occasions, 9th ed., vol. 2 (London: C. and R. Ware, T. Longman, and J. Johnson, 1774), Sermon II, pp. 35-36.

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