Imágenes de páginas

the Ruler and Governour of the World; nor tnconjljlent with his Character, as he is a good and gracious Being; that they be done openly, before a sufficient Number of competent Witnesses; readily, without any previous Forms or Ceremonies, which may make them look like, Incantation; and upon all proper and im-> portant Occasions, to denote the permanency of that divine Power, by which they are done.

Secondly, In relation to the'-7Vr/S»,pre- From the tending to a Divine Mifjion, it is requi- Ffr^"s site, that he be a Manof good Report for thcm.° his unblameable Conversation; in the perfect Exercise of his Reason and Senses *, and constant and uniform in the Melsage he delivers ; and that the Doctrine, •which he endeavours to establish by his Miracles, be consistent with the Principles of true Reason and natural Religion; consistent with right Notions and Worship of God; consistent with the former Revelations he hath made of his Will; of a Tendency to destroy the Devil's Power in the World,.to recover Men from their Ignorance, to reform them . from their Vices, to lead them into the Practice of Virtue and true Godliness by proper Motives and Arguments; and, in ihort, to advance the general Welfare pf Societies, as well as every Man's particular

[ocr errors]

ticular Happinesi in this Life, and in his preparation for a Better. And now to observe a little, how all these Characters meet in the Blessed Jesus. The cba- That Jejiu of Nazareth was a Person raaer of . pf great Virtue and Goodness, in full Jesus. possession of his Reason and Senses, and, constant and uniform in the Message he delivered to Mankind, not only the whole Tenor of his Conduct, as it is recorded by the Evangelists, but the Nature of his Doctrine, and Excellency of his Trecepts, the manner of his Discourses to the People, and the Wisdom of his Replies to the insidious Questions of his Adversaries, are a plain Demonstration. That this Jesus n was a Man approved of God by Miracles, Wonders, and Signs, which God did by him in the midjl of all the People, is manifest, not only from the Testimony of his Friends and .Disciples, but ° from the Concession of Heathen Historians, as well as the Traditions of the Jewish Talmud, wherein the Memory of them is preserved. The Na- These Miracles indeed were above the *«reofhis Skill of Men 6r Angels to effect, but Miracles, ^ey were' not therefore impossible, because subject to the Power ofAlmighty

God. »

■ Acts ii. i. • VW. Bp. Chandler's Defence,where he proves this, as well as the Traditions of the "Talmud,, by several Instances, p. 429.

God. P For the lame Agent, who formed the Eye, could restore the Blind to sight; he, who wrought the whole Frame of our Bodies, could as easily cure the Maimed, or heal the Diseased; and he, who causes .the Rain to descend, and 1 to water the j Earths that it may minister Bread to the Eater, and Seed to the Sower, could be at no lols to change Water into Wine, or to multiply the Loaves and Fishes, for the Relief of the Hungry.

These Miracles again, being. Acts of Mercy, as well as Power, were not consistent with the Character of an hnpofier, or the Agency of any wicked Spirit; but, that God mould have Compassion on his Creatures, and exercise his tender Mercies over the Works of his own Hands • that he should give Bread to the Hungry, and Limbs to the Maimed, and Release to such, as were under the C/aptivity of Satan, is no improbable Thing at all. These were Actions suitable to his Majesty, and highly comporting with his Wisdom and Goodness, since they naturally tended both to beget Reverence in the Minds of Men towards his Messenger, and to reconcile them to the Belief and Obedience of his Heavenly Will.

These I Isa. lv. 10. ?Chandler on Miracles.


The man- These Miracles our Saviour did open-*. TJd of his hi m £he Temple, in the Synagogues, doing and on the Festivals, when the Conthem. course of People was greatest, and when the Doctors of the Law, who came on purpose to ensnare him, were sitting by, and beholding what was done. I'hese he did readily', and with a Word's speaking: for * Peace be JIM quelled the raging of the Winds and Waves j * Young Man, arise, revived the Widow's Son; * Ephatha, be opened, gave the deaf Man Hearing; and h Lazarus, come forth raised him from the Grave, who had been four Days dead. These he did frequently, and upon all proper Occasions: For, after the time that he enter'd upon his Ministry, icarce a Day passed without some fresh Instances of his Power and Goodness, insomuch that, if all his Actions of this kind had been particularly recorded, w the World itself, as the Apostle fays, (but by way of'Hyperbole) would not contain the Book, which foould be written; and (what crowns all) these he did with a Design to establish a Religion, * whose Business it is to give Men the most exalted Thoughts of God and his Providence, and the greatest Certainty of future Rewards and Puniihments; to oblige them, by the strongest Motives, to observe and practice whatsoever Things are true, and honeft', and juft, and pure, and lovely y and of good Report; to persuade them, to mortify every inordinate Affection, and to attain those excellent Dispositions of Mind, which will make them resemble God, and best prepare them for future Happiness. In a word, to establish the Practice of these two great Virtues, the Love of God, and thfc Love of our Neighbour, upon these two excellent Principles, of Faith in God, as the Rewarder of those that seek him, and Faith in Jesus Christ, as the Saviour and Judge of Mankind.

and •

'Mai;k iv. 39. s Ltjke vii. 14. 'Mark vii. 34, 35- "Joh. xi.43, 44. ^Joh. xx.55. 'Chandler Oh Miracles*

Such is the Nature and End of ChrifJ's CompiMiracles, and in this.Manner were they red wit!l performed: But where now (if we may tended0 be allowed to ask) is the great Simili- Miracles tude between what Apollonius is said to ofAPoll°' have done, and them? r The History of Apollonius (as it is recorded by Philojtratus) has no other Voucher, than his Servant Damis, a weak and ignorant Person, (as the Historian himself confesses,) and consequently very capable of being imposed upon by the artful Juggles of his Master. But, besides the

Z Bishop SmÆreh's Vind. p. 15.

« AnteriorContinuar »