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terious manner. Can there be a greater evidence of the authenticity of our Saviour's miracles, than that his bitterest enemies and murderers, the Jews, who lived in the very time and
time and country of their performance, could not, dared not, to call them in question?
To this testimony of the Jews we may add that of Julian the Apostate, and of the heathen philosophers. The former had been initiated into all the mysteries of the Christian religion from which he revolted, and therefore well knew, if it was founded on false facts and imposture; and the latter, out of hatred to Christianity, which struck at the root of their favourite idolatry, used every art which wit could invent or malice execute, to abolish it: and yet neither of them dared to. deny the miraculous facts upon which it was grounded. They well knew that such an attempt would only expose them to the ridicule of men, who could not be persuaded out of the truth of things so recent and públic; and, therefore, whilst they were labouring to extirpate Christianity by the united powers of violence and fraud, they were forced to leave the works of Christ to bear witness of him;--they were forced to own that those things were true, which all men saw and heard, that the blind received 6
their sight, and the lame walked, the lepers were cleansed, the deaf heard, and the dead were raised
It is equally plain, then, from the testimony of friends and the confession of enemies to the cause of Christianity, that there was no fallacy or imposture in the miracles of Christ. One would think, therefore, that the matter was here decided, and that no man would dare to deny the divine mission of our Saviour, and the truth of his religion. But infidelity springs from the corruption of the heart, which blinds the understanding, and, therefore, is not to be convinced by the clearest arguments. It has its subterfuges and lurking-places, as well as its strong-holds, and, when driven from one, never fails to take shelter in the other.
When, therefore, the evidence, upon which our Saviour's miracles rests, could not be shaken or invalidated; it has been pretended, 5thly, that there are in nature certain necessary and fixed laws, which they never saw altered, which, therefore, they think cannot be altered, and, consequently, that there can be no such thing as miracles.
But say, thou daring and profane infidel, what are these fixed laws of nature but the absolute wiil and appointment of God, acting upon matter, which is itself incapable of any laws or fixed order? Where then is the difficulty of supposing that He, who first made, and preserves ,still, these great laws by which nature is governed, can also alter them, if He thinks fit?
Canst thou, contrary to the established law of gravitation, lift thy impious arm against heaven; and wouldst thou shorten the arm of the Almighty, that he should not be able to suspend those very laws, which he himself established ? Shall He, who made yon celestial bodies to move in their orbits, be unable to say, " Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou
moon, in the valley of Ajalon ?” Shall He, who raised man from the dust, and breathed into him the breath of life, be unable to recall that life, and to say to a dead Lazarus, $6 forth ?". Shall the Creator of the world, in whose book were all thy members written, when as yet there was none of them, be thought unable to restore them to their natural functions ;-to make the deaf to hear, the lame to walk, the blind to see, and the dumb to speak ?
-Where then is thy pretended impossibility of
Upon the whole, then, I think I
may fairly be allowed to conclude, in defiance of all the attacks of infidelity, that the evidence of our Saviour's miracles is clear and incontestible, and that by his almighty word the blind received their sight, the lame walked, the lepers were cleansed, the dead were raised, and that, therefore, he was He that should come, the promised Messias,
And though, indeed, we do not like the Jews and John's disciples, see and hear these things as present before us; yet the accounts of them have been conveyed down to us in a manner so remote from all suspicion, that even infidelity itself wants the brow to call in question its authenticity. Though our faith, therefore, be in ' - this point, as it necessarily must be, traditional;' yet it is as strongly grounded as any reasonable man can possibly expect or wish it to be; since we must either admit our Saviour's miracles on z 3
traditional evidence, or reject the whole of our knowledge, which is built exactly on the same foundation,
But here a difficulty occurs, which, though it has not been started, as far as I know, by any infidel writer, may perhaps be thought pot ynde serving of a short explanation.
Our Saviour, we see, expressly here grounds the proof of his being the Messias, on his per. forming those miracles, which Isaiah had fores told the promised Saviour should perform ; Whence then is it, that we find him, in many other places, endeavouring to conceal his mis racles, and střictly charging, that no map should know them?
To understand the reason of this, it will be necessary for us to attend to the following re: marks :
1st, That this charge of concealment was never made with respect to the miracles performed by qur Saviour amongst the heathens, to whom he openly declared his miraculous power, and proclaimed himself the Messias ; as having nothing to fear from their intemperate hatred, or ille judged zeal.