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Time, rather than any other, proceeded from the Operation of an Angel, and not from any natural Cause j and {to ascertain the Miracle) why their Virtue was imparted to no more, than one Person at once: Since the impotent Person, who lay there, was a very fit Object of our Saviour's Compassion, which, upon proper Considerations, confin'd itself, at this Time, to the Cure of one Person only, who, by the Symptoms that appear in the Story, was afflicted with an inveterate Palsy, incurable by all the Rules of Art; there is plainly, neither any Forgery in the Evangelist's Story of the Pool of Bethesda, nor any Fallacy in the wonderful Cure, which our Saviour wrought there: And therefore to conclude this Subject in the Words of T a Physician of no lmall Note, having this very Cure under his Consideration ; It was proiim gious, lays he, that this Waralytick Jhould live Jo many Tears: But, I believe, that God prejerv'd him (as it were) in a dying Condition, that, in Ja difficult, impossible, and unheard-of Cure, and upon the fame of such a mighty Miracle, it should be impossible for all the Infidels in the World, and even for thoje

among

r AJer. de Moth Evatig. apid Ctitie. Sacr. Tom. »• p. 3669,

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among them, that have the most obdurate Hearts, to doubt of the Divinity of Christ: And so we go on to his opening the Eyes of the Man that was horn Blind.

SECT. XVIII.

Of his Curing the Man that <was born Blind.

a

jD UT, as there are several Mala- TheOb■*-* dies incident to the Eyes, some jection. that are, and some that are not, curable by Art or Nature; it will be no easy matter for us to distinguish, ** of what kind or degree this poor ** Man's Distemper was, and consc"quently, whether there was any real "Miracle in the Cure. Had Jesus inw deed, merely by speaking the Word, "enabled the Man to fee perfectly, <( much then might have been urg'd "in Vindication of the Miracle; but <c his having recourse to such human "Means, as Washings, and Ointments, not only destroys the Merit of the Cure, but exposes the whole Story Jj to Contempt and Ridicule. For what

? a strange,

"a strange, whimsical, unaccountable "lip-salve was this, made up of Dirt "and Spittle, and fitter indeed to put "the Eyes out, than cure them? unless tl we can luppose, that Jeliis under-hand "made use of a proper Medicine, or had "privately in his Mouth some Sanative "andBal/amick Matter, which, dissolv'd "in Spittle, might effect: the Cure." Of all the miraculous Works, which No Fraud our Saviour did, none, I think, is relain the te(j fy fully, and set off with so many Cn'e' Circumstances, to prevent the least Suspicion of Fraud, as this, of his curing the Man that was born blind. * The Evangeliji has expended a whole Chapter upon it; and therein acquainted us with some previous Questions of the Disciples, which led to it, the uncommon manner of our Saviour's performing it j the Surprize and Astonishment of the blind Man's Neighbours, when they saw such an Alteration wrought in him; the Man's open and undisguised Relation of the Matter, and repeated Attestation of the Greatness and Reality of the Cure; the great Disturbance and Perplexity, which it gave the Jews; their examining and cross-examining the Man, who still continued firm and uniform in his Account; . their tampering with his Parents, who

ayow'd avow'd the Truth of his being born blindj and, at last, (when they saw that they could prevail nothing, but that the more they examined, the more Evidence they found,) their Rage and Malice, which carried them to such a degree, as to excommunicate the poor Man, and cast him out of the Synagogue. These, and some more Circumstances are told in such a plain convincing manner, as stiews the whole Story to be too well founded, for any Cavils, or mere fabulous Inventions to impair or weaken. For had there been any Deceit in the Case, 'tis very strange, that none of the Multitude should perceive any thing of it; but much more lb, that the Malice of the "Jews, with all their Inquisitivenesi, mould not be able to detect it.

* John ix.

Our Saviour might have had some sanative Bal/am in reserve, but what would all the Balsam in the World have availed towards the Cure of the Distemper, we are now considering? Physicians and Chirurgeons, that have studied the Texture of the Eye, and made the Cure of its Maladies their chief Employ, may give us indeed ibmething, that will strengthen the Optick Nerves, when weaken'd or relax'd j or, by some outward Operation may remove such Obstructions, as would otherwise

wise impede the Sight: But Jince th& World began (b as the poor Man here excellently argues) was it not heard, that any Man opened the Eyes of one that was born blind. And therefore it is Folly, as well as Malice, at this distance or Time, to oppose a Matter of Faff, attested with such Strength and Clearness, and, in the room thereof, to insinuate a Forgery, and suggest a suppositious Remedy, which, if even admitted, could not be competent to effect the Cure. Or Folly Various indeed were the Methods of Manner our Saviour's working Cures, by a of it. Touch, by a Word's speaking, by outward Applications, but always such an Application, as had no natural Efficacy in if. Had he made use of any Medicinal Remedies, there might then have been some room to doubt whether the Cure had been a miraculous Operation: But as he rejected all such Methods, as might have a Tendency to the Cure, this removes our Suspicion, and plainly demonstrates, that the Effect could be The Mi- aserib'd to no visible Means, but the in

nessosit. Visible and irresistible Power of the A~

gent. And indeed, the very uncommonness of the Application is so far from diminishing, that it rather inhances the Credit and Reputation of the Miracle j

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