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John III. 2.
come from God. For no Man can do these
Miracles, that thou doeft, except God be : with him. !
nii ' ..
T Have already proved in a former Dif-Serm. II.
course, that Miracles may be so cir1 cumstanced, as to be direct and decisive Evidences of a divine Power and Commisfion T hat it was absolutely impossible the Apostles should be deceived themselves, as Witnesses of our Saviour's Miracles and their own. That it was morally impos
SERM. II. lible they fhould attempt to deceive others,
The Subject of my present Discourse is to prove, that the Apostles could not have deceived Mankind, if they would ; nor have imposed a false Religion upon the World, by Virtue of a pretended Commisfion from Heaven.
If the Christian Religion, containing Doctrines unpolatable to Flesh and Blood, void of every Advantage, besides it's own internal Excellency, to recommend it, and clogged with a great many Incumbrances, could carry Conviction with it from East to West, by such incompetent Instruments, in fo port a Time, in spite of the most refolved Oppofitionis: If this Plant, from a flender Appearance at first, grew, and waxed a great Tree, when no kindly Sunshine of worldly Power yet smiled upon it; nay, when the Inclemency of the Season beat hard against it; the Growth of it was un doubtedly, marvellous.
It is granted, that in Matters of pure Speculation, the Bulk of Mankind may be, and often are, deceived; because they have not Leisure or Capacity, to unravel studied Sophistry, and nicely to distinguish between what is plausible, and what is solid and
substantial: - fubftantial: But the Case is different as to Serm. II.
Miracles, which are Matters of Fact, that
Either then the Apostles (Wrought fuch
did, then they were invested with a Power
pagate through many Nations, not to say į the whole known World, such an unlikely
Story as this,' viz. That ane, who was crucified as a common Malefactor in un dæa, was to be adored as a God ; and that tao at such a Juncture of Time, when their
numerous Converts in several Parts of the i World, some of whom were Men of
known Distinction and Opulency, (such as Dionyfius of the Areopagus, Jofeph of the Ferwijl Şanhedrin, Sergius Paulus a Pras conful, Flavius. Clemens a Roman Cansul,
Sezw. 11. &c.) who had, very probably, enjoyed one
continued Sunshine of Prosperity ; must bid
and Dexterity to over-reach Men into a Serm. I. Compliance with their Notions, they shouldn e pave the way to fo general and great a .. Turn in religious Affairs; when these boasted Masters of Reason, the Deists, these Men of large Views, who by an uns common Superiority of Soul have disen
gaged themselves, from the Prejudices of · Education, would not be able to bring over
a Majority of Men, nay, perhaps, not one Man of common Sense in any one Nation ; if they should set on Foot such another unpromising Project.
Let us suppose, that a person in our Days should embark in a Design of cancelling all the old Religions, and building a new one upon their Ruins; that, to com-, pass this Design, he pretended to raise the Dead, make the Blind see, the Lame walk, the Deaf hear, &c. that not long after his Death, his Followers publish a punctual circumstantial Relation of all these Things, mentioning the Places where, the Persons upon whom, the Witnesses before whom, these Miracles were said to be wrought : Let us put the Case, that they too pretended to have the same miraculous Powers vested in them, and that their Doctrine gained