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so attentive to our Saviour's Preaching, as not to perceive what was doing, before he law the Door forced open; or rather unwilling to disturb such heavenly Doctrine, upon so flight an Occasion, as the breaking open a Door by those, whose only Motive was, to bring a sick Man to be cured by a Miracle: And it clears our Saviour's Conduct from any injurious Imputation; since, as he was surrounded with a Circle of attentive Hearers, to whom he was dispensing the Bread of Life, and healing their Diseases, his leaving them, to go to the Qaralytick, would perhaps have been more troublesome, and occasioned more Disturbance, than the letting him down in his Couch. Nor can it be thought consistent with Reason, to have dispersed the People upon this Occasion, since, as the Pains, which the. sick Man and his Bearers took to get at Jesus, fhew'd the Strength of their Faith and Confidence in him; so the Reward, which he intended for it, was to be dilpenscd in as publick a manner, as possible, both for the Encouragement of the like Disposition in others, and for the Manifestation of his own Power and Glory: And so we go on to (what occurs next) his raising three Persons from the dead.

SECT.

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SECT. XXI.

Of his Raijtng Three Dead Persons,

The ob- « ' | i H E very unnatural and ^rejection. « J^ pprous Order of Time, inx which these Miracles are recorded by the Evangelists, is enough to bring them under the Suspicion of Fable and Forgery. For these three Miracles, you must know, are not equally great, but differ in Degree. "The greatest is that of Lazarus; next "to it, is that of the Widow of Nain's "Son; and the least of all is that of "Jarus's Daughter. What then can "be the Reason, that Matthew, Marky "and Luke (who all wrote their Gos"pels before John) should forget to "record this remarkable and most il"lustrious Miracle of Lazarus? To "aggrandize the Fame of their Master "for a Worker of Miracles, was the De".sign of all the Evangelijls; and, if it "was not necessary that all of them "should set down every Miracle of this "kind, still it is absurd and unnatural "to suppose, that any of them (espe

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"daily the first Writers) should omit
"the greatest of all, and only take no-
«* tice of the least. If Matthew indeed
"had recorded only the Story of La-
"zarus, Luke had added that of the
"Widow's Son, and John, lastly, had
"remembred us of the Ruler's Daugh-
"ter, which the other Evangelists (for
"Brevity's fake) had omitted; all then
"had been well, and no Objection lain
"against their Authority. But, as the'
"Case now stands, it will always be
"Exception enough against this Miracle,
"that it was never once mentioned by
"the first Historians, nor indeed invent.
"ed by the ta/t, until he was above an
"hundred Years old, and every Body
"dead, that should have confuted
"him.

"But (besides this suspicious Circum-
stance) since Jesus thought proper to
raise no more than three Persons, why
he should prefer an insignificant Boy,
and Girl, and the obscure Lazarus,
to those of a more publick and de-
serving Character, to the useful Ma-
gistrate, or industrious, Merchant,
whose Life is a common Blessing, and
Death a publick Loss; why no Hi-
story should give us any Account
what became of these three Persons
after their Resurrection, how long

"they

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"they liv'd, and of what Use and Ad"vantage their restor'd Lives were to "Mankind; and why there is not the "least hint of any Discourse they had tc with their Friends concerning their "separate Existence, where their Souls "had been, in what Company, and in "what Condition (tho' a Narrative of "this kind would have been of excel"lent Service to Religion) is a Thing "unaccountable.

"We have therefore abundant Rea"lbn to presume, that there was either ".some Mistake, or some Collusion in "these pretended Miracles: That the "Ruler's Daughter was only in a Fit, "or rather ajleep, as Jesiis tells the Com"pany, and as his Charge to her Pa"rents, to conceal the Miracle, seems "to imply \ that the Widow's Son "was in a Lethargick State, or rather, "that his pretended Death was a con"certed thing between him, his Mo* "ther, and Jejus, as his meeting the "Corpse upon the Road, just at the <l nick of time, seems to denote; and "that Lazarus was in the like Contri"vance, both from Jesus's weeping and *' groaning, and calling so loud at the "Sepulchre, which looks like affing a "Tart j and from the other's coming "out thence with a Napkin bound about

"his

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"his Face, which gives no imall Suipi"cion of Fraud.

"And indeed, had there not been "some apparent Signs of Fraud and "Fallacy in this Case, it is not concci"vable, why the Chief Triejs and

^Pharisees should be so far incensed "against Jesus, for working so signal «* a Miracle, and against Lazarus too, «' for being the Subject of it, as to con"spire together to take away their "Lives. Upon the Supposition that a the Miracle was true, no Instance in "History can parallel this Barbarity. "But it seems as if there were a Deil tection of Fraud on the one fide, and "a Conseiousnels of Guilt on the other, "when we read that the chief Actor in "it, ■ walked no more openly among the 11 Jews, (for fear of Apprehension) But "went ffoence into a Country, near the "Wilderness (a convenient hiding place) "and there continued with his Disci"pies."

All Miracles, in the very Notion of N0 one them, are sopernatural Effects or Pro- Miracle ductions; and, however we may use f"*^. the Terms greater or less with regard tonpther. common Operations, yet, when we come to apply them to Things, which Z transcend

John xi. 54.

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