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ture, had been split into different factions, and had adopted different teachers in opposition to Paul. From this account we may be certain, that Paul's letter, and every circumstance in it, would be examined. The city of Corinth was full of Jews: these men, in general, were Paul's bitter enemies: yet, in the face of them all, he asserts, that Jesus Christ was buried; that he rose again the third day; that he was seen of Cephas; then of the twelve; that he was afterwards seen of above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part were then alive. An appeal to above two hundred and fifty living witnesses is a pretty strong proof of a fact; but it becomes irresistible, when that appeal is submitted to the judgment of enemies. St. Paul, you must allow, was a man of ability; but he would have been an idiot, had he put it in the power of his enemies to prove, from his own letter, that he was a lying rascal. They neither proved, nor attempted to prove any such thing; and therefore we may safely conclude, that this testimony of Paul to the resurrection of Jesus was true; and it is a testimony, in my opinion, of the greatest weight. Bp. Watson.
OF FAITH IN TESTIMONY.
THERE are, in the world, many men whose declaration concerning any fact which they have seen, and of which they are competent judges, would engage my belief as effectually as the evidence of my own senses. A metaphysician may tell me that this implicit confidence in testimony is unworthy of a phi
losopher and a logician, and that my faith ought to be more rational. It may be so; but I believe as before notwithstanding. And I find that all men have the same confidence in the testimony of certain persons; and that, if a man should refuse to think as other men do in this matter, he would be ́called obstinate, whimsical, narrow-minded, and a fool. If, after the experience of so many ages, men are still disposed to believe the word of an honest man, and find no inconvenience in doing so, I must conclude that it is not only natural, but rational, expedient, and manly, to credit such testimony: and though I were to peruse volumes of metaphysics written in proof of the fallibility of testimony, I should still, like the rest of the world, believe credible testimony without fear of inconvenience. I know very well, that testimony is not admitted in proof of any doctrine in mathematics, because the evidence of that science is quite of a different kind. But is truth to be found in mathematics only? is the geometrician the only person who exerts a rational belief? do we never find conviction arise in our minds, except when we contemplate an intuitive axiom, or run over a mathematical demonstration? In natural philosophy, a science not inferior to pure mathematics in the certainty of its conclusions, testimony is admitted as a sufficient proof of many facts. To believe testimony, therefore, is agreeable to nature, to reason, and to sound philosophy. Beattie.
THE POWER OF WORKING MIRACLES THE PROPER ACCOMPANIMENT OF A DIVINE REVELATION.
MIRACLES are not intended to prove the being of a God, nor the doctrines of morality; for natural religion is supported by natural reason, and has for its evidence the works of nature. In the most degenerate times, God did not leave himself without witness, continuing to do good, to give rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling the hearts. of men with joy and gladness. These are the standing proofs of the being and goodness of God; and men need but open their eyes, and look around them, to see the wonderful and stupendous works of nature, which lead directly to the knowledge of God. And what greater evidence can man have than this? For if the making one world will not prove the being of a God, the making of ten thou-. sand will not; and therefore this is a principle of religion not learnt from revelation, but which is always supposed the foundation of revelation. For. no revelation can bring greater works to prove its authority, than the works by which the clear and unexceptionable dictates of natural religion are proved for the distinction between miracles and works of nature is no more than this, that works of nature are works of great power produced constantly and in a regular course, which course we. call nature; that miracles are works of great power also, wrought in an unusual way: but they are both considered in the same light, and with equal advantage, as effects leading to the know. ledge of a great, though invisible, power. Thus we must acknowledge great power to be shown in
the sun's constant rising and setting, and as great in his standing still, should we see him stopped in his course for the space of a whole day. That we have all eyes to see, and ears to hear, is an effect of as great power, as giving sight to one born blind, or hearing to one born deaf. Upon this account it is impossible that any true revelation should contradict or evacuate any clear dictate of natural religion, which stands at least upon as good a bottom as any revelation can do. And therefore the principles of natural religion must be supposed for the foundation of revealed. For a revelation is not to prove the being of a God, or that he loves virtue and hates vice. God never wrought miracles for this purpose, having sufficiently evidenced himself from the beginning of the world by the visible things of the creation: and had any one asked our Saviour to show a proof that there was a God, I am apt to imagine he I would have turned him over to the works of nature, as he did the rich man's brethren to Moses and the prophets, for a proof of a future state.
To ascertain the use of miracles, it will be proper to consider when and for what purpose they were introduced. In early times we met with none; nor was there any occasion for them so long as men preserved a right notion of God, as ⚫maker and absolute lord of the universe, and were acquainted with him, (I had almost said personally acquainted with him) and knew his voice when he spoke to them; for so long they received his commands without doubt or hesitation: and being per⚫feetly satisfied that the command came from God,
what weight or authority could the multiplying
signs and wonders add to their persuasion? for signs and wonders could only show that the command came from God, to whom all nature obeyed and was subject: and as they wanted no such proof, there was no room or occasion for the introducing of miracles.
But when idolatry prevailed in the world, and every nation had its peculiar deity, to whom they gave the name of God, it became necessary, in order to preserve true religion in the world, to distinguish between the true God, and the pretended deities adored by the heathen. The great works of the creation were standing proofs of the being of a God, and common to all nations; and therefore the belief of a deity was the common persuasion of the world: for though men in general were become idolaters, yet they were not atheists but then the true God was forgotten, or almost lost, in the multiplicity of false gods, to whom the blindness of the world ascribed the honour and power due to the one supreme only.
In this state of things God thought proper to exert himself in such acts of power as should demonstrate his superiority above all gods of the heathen, and to assume a character of distinction, that the hand might certainly be known from which the mighty works proceeded: and it is very observable, that God did publicly assume such a character, and work miracles at one and the same time. The first miracles of which we have any account, were those wrought by Moses in Egypt; and they are an immediate and direct proof of what they are brought to assert, the supremacy of God. The great doctrines of na