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CCXXXV.

come

xi. 3, 4

of the highest evidences we can have of the divine S ER M. authority of any person or doctrine. Therefore Nicodemus does upon this ground very reasonably conclude, that our Saviour was sent from God, John iii. 2. “ We know that thou art a teacher

from God: for no man can do those mira « cles which thou dost, except God be with him.” And our Saviour himself inlists upon this frequently as the great proof of his divine authority, Matt.

When John Baptist fent gwo of his disciples to him to be satisfied whether he was the Mefsias, he bids them report to John what the doctrine was which they heard him preach, and what miracles they saw him work for the confirmation of it; “ Go and shew John those things which ye do see “ and hear ; the blind receive their sight, and the « lame walk, and the lepers are cleansed, and “ the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and " the poor have the gospel preached unto them.' John v. 33, 36. our Saviour there tells the Jews, that “ John bare witness of him ;” and that might fatisfy them, because they looked upon John as a prophet: “ But, faith he, I have a greater witness

* than that of John ; for the works which the Fa1.6 ther hath given me to finish, the same works that

I do bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent os me.” John xv. 24.

" If I had not done among o them the works which none other man did, they " had not had sin.” This was the great aggravation of their unbelief, that they resisted the evidence of fo great miracles, such as no man in the world ever wrought *.

* See more of this, ferm. CCXXII. in this vol.

I should

I should now briefly run over the chief of thofe miracles of our Saviour, which we find recorded in the history of the gospel ; and Thew that they have all the advantages that miracles can have, to give satisfaction to men concerning their reality. But this I reserve for my next discourse.

SERMON CCXXXVI.

CCXXXVI.

The evidences of the truth of the

christian religion.

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2 COR. iv. 3, 4.
But if our gospel be hid, it is bid to them that are

loft : in whom the god of this world hath blinded
the minds of them which believe not, left the light of
the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of
God, should shine unto them.

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CCXXXVI.

SERMIN my last discourse, I was considering the third

evidence which those who lived in our SaviThe third Our's time had of his divine authority, viz. the sermon on

power of working miracles, with which he was enthis text.

dued. And in treating on this, I proposed briefly
to run over the chief of those miracles of our SAVI-
our, which we find recorded in the gospel, and to
shew that they have all the advantages that miracles
can have, to give satisfaction to men concerning
their reality. And that I may proceed in some kind

of

CCXXXVL.

of order and method, I shall reduce the miracles SE R M.
that concern our SAVIOUR to these three heads.

First, the miracles of his life.
Secondly, those that were wrought at his death.
Thirdly, the

great

miracles of his resurrection from the dead, and those two that were consequent upon it, his ascension into heaven, and his sending the holy Ghost upon the apostles and Christians in miraculous gifts and powers.

I begin with the first, the miracles of his life. And in speaking of these, I shall shew that they had all the advantageous circumstances to convince merr of the reality of them, and to free them from all suspicion of imposture. They were many, they were great, and unquestionable miracles ; they were frequently wrought, and for a long time together, publicly, and in the presence of multitudes; and they were beneficial, and for the good of men.

1. They were many. There might be something of impofture suspected in a few instances, that might be chosen out for the purpose. But our SAVIOUR gave instances of his divine power in several kinds, so that there is scarce any thing that is miraculous can be instanced in, wherein he did not shew his power. He healed all manner of diseases, and that in multitudes of people, as they came accidentally without any discrimination, Matt. iv. 23, 24. And though most of his miracles were healing, yet he gave instances in other kinds; as in turning of water into wine, commanding down the storm, and walking upon the waters, &c. And though the history of the gospel mention very many miracles that he wrought, yet St. John tells us, that those that are recorded are but very few in com

parison

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SER M.parison of what he did, John xx. 30. “ And many CCXXXVI, other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his

disciples, which are not written in this book.” And chap. xxi. 35. “And there are also many other

things which Jesus did, the which if they should “ be writen every one, I suppose that even the “ world itself could not contain the books that « should be written.” An hyperbolical expresfion, to signify the great number of his miracles and actions, besides what are recorded by the evangelists.

2. As they were many, so they were great and unquestionable, both as to the manner of doing them, and as to the things that he did.

(1.) Many things which were not miraculous in themselves, yet were so as to the manner of doing them, which was not by any magical words, and figures, and charms, and superstitious rites, according to the manner of those who pretended to work miracles among the heathens. It is true he healed many diseases which were curable by physic and art : yet then the manner was such, as was above the ordinary course of nature ; many he cured by a word only, or by a touch, and the cure was wrought immediately, and in the same instant when he spake the word, though they were at a great distance. Many were cured without his taking any notice of them, by touching the very hem of his garment ; of all which I might give several instances, but that they are so well known to those who are acquainted with the history of the gospel. Sometimes indeed he performed the cure by degrees; as in the man that was restored to sight, and saw men at first confusedly, and without any distinction, as if they had

been

CCXXXVI.

been trees, Mark viii. 24. Sometimes he used fome SER M. kind of imeans, but such as were very disproportionable in their nature to the effect that was produced ; as in the case of the deaf man, which he cured by putting his finger into his ear; and by his spittle, Mark vii. 33. and the blind man whose eyes he anointed with clay mixed with spittle, and sent him to wash in the pool of Siloam, John ix. 6, 7. but most of his miracles he wrought in an instant, and merely by his own word.

(2.) As to the things he did, many of them were miraculous in themselves. He cured many inveterate diseases, as, Matt. ix. 20. a woman that had an issue of blood twelve years. He made the woman ftraight by touching her, that had been crooked and bowed together eighteen years, Luke xiii. 13. and the man that had an infirmity thirty-eight years, only by bidding him take up his bed and walk, John v. 8. He cured the man that was born blind, John ix. and, which all men will grant to be miraculous, and to have exceeded all the power of nature that we know of, he raised several from the dead; and because it might be said that several of those were not really dead, but in a delirium or fwoon, there is one instance beyond all exception, John xi. he raised up Lazarus to life; after he biad been four days in the grave.

3. He wrought his miracles frequently, upon all occasions that were offered, and for a long time together, during the whole time of his public miniItry, which is generally computed to have been three years and a half; a time sufficient to have detected any imposture in ; especially one that shewed himself so openly, and conversed indifferently VOL. XI.

Ff

with

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