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"be satisfied of its being an Institution "of divine Appointment? The only "Proofs, that you have to offer us, are *' the Completion of Prophejies, and the "Gift of working Miracles; but Mira," cles alone are far from being a valid "Proof: They may be done by Cheats "and Impostors, by a diabolical as "well as divine Power. a For as, in "&&yP\ fwnes and Jambres were "raised up by Satan to contend with "Moses in working Miracles, ib, in the "primitive Times of Christianity, le"veral Conjurers and Magicians were "railed up by him, and withal em's power'd to work Signs and Wonders i( in the Air; to speak diverse Lan"guages; to forctel Plagues and "#Storms; to make Fire come down "from Heaven; to vomit Flames; to "walk and fly in the Air, and cast out "Devils. And all these Things they "did, to confront the Miracles, and in"validate the Authority of the ApOr "Ules^. and to confirm this Doctrine, "which is a plain Contradiction of the "Gospel, viz. That Je/us was mt the *' Chriji. But even, supposing the Mi"racks true, yet, if they stand alone, "and without the support of Prophe

« sy,

"Vid. The? Scheme of Literal P/ophefy considered.

€t fy, b they can never render a Foun** dation valid} which is in it self inva*l lid; can never make a false Inference ** true; can never mark out a Meflias, *{ or Jesus for the Meflias, if both be ** not mark'd out in the Old Testament. if With good Reason therefore might "c St. Peter give the Preference to Pro"phesy, even before the miraculous "Attestation, which he, and two other "Apostles had, of the Mission of Jesus • "when we find Jesus himself supposing "Prophesies of more weight than Mira"cJes wrought in our Sight, d even than "raising the Dead; and all the other "Apostles, in their Writings and Dis"courses perpetually arguing from the "Completion of the Prophesies, both "against Jews and Proselytes: As well • "they might; because Prophesies, de"liver'd in an inipir'd Book, are, when "fulfill'd, such, as may justly be "deem'd sure and demonstrative Proofs. "But now much Care and Caution is to "be us'd in our examining into these "Matters: For if the Proofs for Christi"anity from the Old Testament be not "valid; if the Arguments, founded on "these Books, be not conclusive; if *' the Prophesies, cited from thence, be

"not

[graphic]

« not actually fulfill'd, than has Christi

"anity no just Foundation. And yet,

"to look into the Writings of the Pro

w phets, and observe in what manner

"they are applied by the Apostles and

"Evangelists, one must needs conclude,

"that they can no othewise be under

'* stood than in typical, myjlical, and

"allegorical Sense, which, according

"to icholastick Rules, is no Proof at

"all \ that the Passages, taken out of

"the Old, and urg'd in the New Testa

11 ment, being either not found in the

'.' Old Testament, or not urg'd in the

"New, according to their literal and

obvious Sense, carry no Conviction

"along with them; and consequently,

"that the Argument from Prophecy for

. "the Truths of Christianity (tho' cer

"tainly the best, that Believers have

u to produce) is absurd and ridiculous,

"and the Religion built thereon a mere

"Jest and Delusion.

Answer- Now in order to state the Difference shewinR between Miracks and Prophefies as they that true affect the Proof of Christianity, we must Miracles observe, that a true Miracle is properdone by ly such an Operation, as exceeds the Gad only, ordinary course of Things, and is repugnant to the known Laws of Nature, either as to its fubjefl Matter, or the

Manner

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3Sdanner of its Performance. For though we readily acknowledge that there are Beings in the spiritual World, which are able to perform Things far exceeding the power of Men, and therefore apt to beget Wonder and Amazement in us, (of which Nature were all the Pranks, recorded of Conjurers and Magicians, in the early Ages of Christianity,) yet, that any created Beings, and consequently Agents of a limited Power, are capable of working such Miracles, as our Saviour did; are capable of controlling the course of Nature, of supplying Mens natural Defects, of giving Sight to the Blind, Speech to the Dumb, and Life to the Dead (which are Miracles relating to the subject Matter) or of doing any of those Things in an Instant, by a Touch, by a Word, at a Distance, and without any kind of outward Means (which are Miracles regarding the Manner of their Performance J is a Thing impossible; unless we can suppose that limited, inferior, and created Beings, have an equal Power of creating, controlling, and reJioring, with Almighty God: Which is Contradiction enough in all Conscience.

It was upon this Persuasion therefore, o Perviz. That true Miracles are the file Ope- {°TMf'n* ratiofis of God, that the World has all J m'

along

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along agreed to acknowledge and ao cept of Miracles, as an authentick and indisputable Testimony, that the Persons, entrusted with liich Power, were certainly sent and commissioned by God. To* this purpose we find Pharaoh's Magicians confessing, that the Miracles which Moses and Aaron exhibited, were e the Finger of God; and, in the Controversy between Elijah and the Priests of Baal, it Was readily accepted, as a fair Proposal, that he, f who answered by Fire from Heaven, should be unanimously served, and worshipped as God. The left Reason, have we then to wonder, that we hear a learned Ruler of the Jews accosting our Lord in these Words, s Rabbi, we know that thou art a Teacher sent from God, for no Man can do those Miracles, that thou dojl, except God be with him; or that a mean Man, who had been born Blind, should confront the whole Assembly of the (Pharisees with this one Argument, h Since the World began, was it not heard that any Man opened the Eyes of one, that was bom Blind; if this Man were not of God, he could do nothing; or that our blessed Saviour himself should so .frequently appeal to the Miracles he

wrought,

* Exod. viii. !<?. f I Kings xviii. 14, &>*• • * John iii. 2. h John ix. 3*, 33.

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