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are the Words of our blessed Saviour, Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or the Prophets : I am not come to destroy,' but to fulfil
. For verily I say unto you, Till Heaven and Earth pass, one fot or one Tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law, till all be fulfilled. Matt. v. 17, 18. And during the whole Course of his Ministry he constantly appealed to the Testimony of the Law and the Prophets : Had you believed in Moses, says he to the Jews, you would have believed me ; for he wrote of me. And his Apostle St. Paul, in his Defence before King Agrippa, gives this Account of the Gospel he preached : 'Having obtained Help of God, I continue unto this Day witnesing both to Small and Great, saying none other Things than those which the Prophets and Moses did say should come. And indeed one Revelation admitted to be of divine Authority must be a Touchstone to try all succeeding Revelations by : For God cannot contradict himself; and the great Works done by Moses and by Christ are not only an Evidence of their divine Authority, but are a Bar to all succeeding Pretenders. The Miracles reported to have been done in the Heathen World are unworthy of God, confidered either in themselves, or the End pro
posed by them: For let it be observed, that God never works Miracles merely to astonish and surprize People, but always to serve some great Ends of Providence: And though he has in Favour of his People, and sometimes even of particular Persons, wrought a Mirade; yet, when he published the Law and the Gospel, he did not rest the Authority upon one or more single Miracles, but upon a long Series of Miracles exhibited from Day to Day for Years together. And, if Miracles are properly applied as a Proof of the Purposes and the Will of God, Miracles wrought without being attended with
any Declaration of God's Will in which we have
Concern, are very improper Instances to be set up in opposition to those of Moses and Christ, upon which the Happiness of Mankind depends in this Life; and that which is to come. This Consideration gives Weight and Authority to the Miracles of the Gospel : For it was a Design worthy of God to restore Mankind to that Happiness which they had forfeited: And it was a Work in
View of equal Dignity and Benevolence with the Creation : For, if God is adorable in the Work of the Creation, he is equally so in the Work of Redemption; and there is at
least as much Goodness in making Men happy, as in making them at all.
With what Colour of Reason can the pretended Miracles of the Heathen World be brought into this Question, which were done upon trifling Occasions, unworthy of the Interposition of God ? Look into all the antient Oracles ; fee to what mean Purposes they are applied, and how often they prove destructive to those who relied on them ; and then tell me what Marks
fee of divine Wisdom or Goodness in them, that should set them upon an equal Foot with the Miracles of Christ Jesus.
We read in the Old Testament of some Miracles wrought in Behalf of particular People, and for particular Purposes: But neither are these, though of diviŋe Authority, to be set in competition with the Miracles of the Gospel : For they were not introductory to any Scheme of Religion, or new Declaration of God's Will, but are rather to be considered as Acts of Government, and suitable to the Character of God as King of Ifrael; for, where the Government itself was divine, no wonder to see the Measures of the Government to be of the same Kind. And this Character of God being peculiar to the
Fews, is the Reason why such Miracles were frequent under the Jewish Law, and are very rarely to be met with under the Gospel.
Secondly, I am to consider what sort of Works are to be admitted for Miracles in proving the Truth of any Religion.
The first Suspicion that men naturally have of any one who pretends to Prophecy or Inspiration, is, that he has contrived the whole Matter himself: For we have seen many
Vifions and Inspirations imposed on the Vulgar by Men of very bad Heads or very bad Hearts. And therefore the first Inquiry is, whether the Miracles might not proceed from human Art or Cunning.
And shall I undertake to prove, that it exceeds the Power of Man to raise the Dead to Life, to give Sight to the Blind, and to cure all Diseases by the Word of his Mouth? No: Never was any such Attempt set up. But perhaps no such Miracles were ever really done, and the People were deceived by false Appearances. As for Instance; When the Man born blind was restored to Sight, he did not indeed recover his Eyes, but all the rest of the People lost theirs; which I think would be the greater Miracle of the two: For it is as easy to believe that the Word
of Christ should make one man fee, as that it should make a thousand blind.
But must they, you will say, of neceffity proceed from God, because they could not be wrought by Men ? Were they Effects of nothing else but infinite Power?
The Miracles of the Gospel, being such Works as neither Human Wisdom or Power can perform, force us to have recourse to a superior invisible Cause. But still you will fay, Can the Wit of Man discover all the different Orders of Beings between himself and his Creator, their Powers and Properties, fo as with Security to affirm that no Being, but the All-wife and All-mighty God could perform these wonderful Things'; especially considering that no Effects, neither the Miracles of the Gospel, nor the Works of Nature can prove directly an infinite Power or Wisdom? For who will be bold to say, that the Wisdom and Power of God were exhausted in the visible Works of the Creation, so that there is nothing either wiser or greater that infinite Wisdom and Power can contrive or execute ?, * Let this Matter be rightly stated, and thus it will ftand: The Works of Nature are çertain Proofs of an All-powerful Cause; not