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spirits are or are not able to perform, or discover, or foretel by sagacity or conjecture, as far as God may see good to permit; or how far all divination, fortune-telling, and sorcery have been from Satanical agency, or from human imposture. But the
power and foresight of evil spirits must have limits; they cannot be infinite : and, when the apostle in the name of Jesus, cast out the spirit from the Pythoness; 1 and when he terminated the enchantment, so that the effect was manifest both to the enraged masters, and to the multitude; and when he silenced the prophetess by a single word : it was sufficient proof of superior power and authority
P. 42. 1. 1. · These two men,' &c. Mr. C. informs us that he learned the additional particulars, which he relates concerning Jamnes and Jambres, from tradition: and it may amuse the reader to learn, that Mohammed, perhaps on as good authority, records, that they were converted, and cruelly martyred by Pharaoh.—I do not clearly understand Mr. C.'s language, ‘Symbols,” they also
prophesied, but all by the works of the devil.' (1. 3.) The number, however, of well authenticated undeniable miracles, wrought publicly, before powerful enemies, in proof of a religion not yet established in authority, will, on investigation, be found very few indeed. Impostures in abundance are recorded; and some ambiguous events, which, whether they arose from human, or Satanical delusion, may admit of a doubt: but nothing
Acts xvi. 16–19.
Read Sybils. See Note, p. 42.-J. S.
can be adduced which will bear a comparison with the miracles of Christ, any more than those of the Egyptian magicians could with the miracles of Moses. “None of them can say, I command that
a fire shall come down from heaven: none of ' them can say, I command the sun to stand still.' (1. 7.) May we not add, None could say, to one who had been four days dead, “ Lazarus, come “ forth.” None could say to the winds and waves, in a tremendous storm: “ Peace, be still, and there was a great calm.”
There was no occasion for our Lord to command “ the sun to stand still ;” unless for the purpose of ostentation, or to gratify the wicked presumption of the scribes and Pharisees : nor would there have been any propriety in calling for fire from heaven, by him “who came to save and not to destroy." But the sun was darkened, and the promised land became as Egypt in the plague of darkness, while the lands of the gentiles were as Goshen, when Jesus was suspended on the cross.
P. 42. I. 15. " There shall be no sign,' &c. Let the reader compare the words of Matthew, with those here quoted from Mark: “An evil and adul“ terous generation seeketh after a sign ; and there "shall no sign be given it, but the sign of the
prophet Jonas.”The sign, which our Lord gave the Jews, was that of his own resurrection on the third day; which, as predicted and accomplished, to the confusion and silencing of his powerful enemies, and as connected with its ex
Matt. xii. 38-40. xvi. I---4.
tensive and permanent effects, was immensely more conclusive, than any transient “sign from “ heaven" could have been.
P. 42. 1. 19. “It was his duty,' &c. Our Lord, in his character of the Ambassador, or Apostle, of the Father, was required, and if such language must be used, concerning “ the Lord of all,” • it ' was his duty,' to “fulfil the will of him who “sent him ;” but not to gratify the unreasonable demands of those to whom he was sent; who “ hated both him and his Father.” God gives that kind and degree of evidence which he knows to be suitable and sufficient; and not such as his rebellious subjects may insolently require.--" Nay, “ father Abraham, but if one went unto them from “ the dead, they will repent: and he said unto “them, If they believe not Moses and the pro
phets, neither would they be persuaded, though “one rose from the dead."1 They, who said, “Let “Christ the King of Israel descend from the cross, “ that we may see and believe; ” “ Let him come “down from the cross, and we will believe him ;" (a demand subversive of the whole design, for which he came into the world, as predicted throughout the Old Testament;) were by no means disposed to believe in him, when he just after “arose from “ the dead.”
Moses did not work such miracles as either Pharaoh or Israel prescribed to him: but such, and such only, as God directed him to work. He who teaches the prophet his duty, in the execution of his prophetical office, prescribes the conduct,
which he presumptuously thinks ought to have been adopted by God himself. The false prophets were the compliant persons ; not Elijah, Micaiah, and the other true prophets.
P. 43. 1. 10. Moses the Lord of,' &c.—The reader must determine, how properly Moses, or any mere man can be called the Lord of all the ' prophets.'
P. 43. 1. 16. From the statement given in this passage, it might be supposed, that God first commissioned Moses to work miracles before the people ; but that because Moses knew that this would not be sufficient to convince them' of his being ' sent by God,' “ the token ” was afterwards added. Whereas the token was first given; and, it seems, Moses supposed that it would be insufficient, and therefore, the commission to work miracles was added. Indeed the whole passage in Mr. C. is a reversal of the order, in which the narrative by Moses is arranged. But let that narrative speak for itself.
“ Moses “ said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto “ Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the chil“ dren of Israel out of Egypt? And he said, cer“ tainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a “ token unto thee, that I have sent thee, when “ thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt
ye shall serve God upon this mountain.” 2 “ This shall be a token unto thee;" namely, for his own satisfaction, as one who believed the promise
"Ahab's messenger wanted to teach Micaiah his duty, or more modestly, to counsel him; but he received his answer. 1 Kings xxii. 13, 14. · Ex. iii. 11, 12.
of God. It does not appear that the people were made acquainted with it; and his asserting that God had spoken this to him, would not be any proof to them of his divine mission.—Afterwards, “Mo
ses answered and said, But behold they will not “ believe me, nor hearken to my voice ; for they “ will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee. “ And the Lord said unto him, What is that in
thy hand ? and he said, a rod. And he said, “ Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the
ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses “ fled from before it. And the Lord said unto
Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the “ tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, " and it became a rod in his hand : That they may “ believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the “ God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God “ of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.—And the “ Lord said furthermore unto him, Put now thy “hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand “ into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, “ it was as leprous as snow. And he said, Put “ thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put “ his hand into his bosom again ; and plucked it “ out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned “ again as his other flesh. And it shall come to
pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken
to the voice of the first sign, that they will be“ lieve the voice of the latter sign.' And it shall “come to pass, if they will not believe also these
two signs, neither hearken to thy voice, that thou “ shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it
' Ex. iv. 1.-9, 29–31.