« AnteriorContinuar »
cle is made, or intended and dcclar'd Ch. 5. by him that works it. If the Apostle's'—v~~ had barely cured the blind, the deaf, the lame, thediscas'd, this would cer tainly procure *em an extraordinary Esteem; and in some Places too Divine VVorfhip, as it happened to Paul and Barnabas at Ly/lra, when they had Acts 14. cur'd a born Cripple without any far-I •, &cther Circumstance; but this was only a Means to gain the Attention of these Idolaters to the Doctrine they were about to preach id their City. No'r is there any Miracle mentioned in the Xerv Testament, but what served to confirm the Authority of those that wrought it, to procure Attention to the Doctrines of the Gospel, or for the like wife and reasonable purposes,
74. By this Rule the celebrated Feats of Goblins and Fairies,of Witches, of Conjurers, and all the Heathen Prodigies, must be accounted fictitious, idle, and superstitious Fables; for in all these there appears no End deserving a Change iriMature. Besides,they evidently contradict our idea of God, and quite subvert his Providence. Diabolical Delusions Wtfuld hereby ret i ceive
Sect. 3. ceive equal Confirmation with Divine *^v^* Revelation, Miracles being performed in savour of both. Nay, the Wonders of the Devil and his Agents would infinitely exceed in Number and Quality those of God, and his Servants: which Assertion must hold true, were no Stories believ'd but the best attested in every county of England, to speak nothing of more credulous Nations; for it is very observable, that the more ignorant and barbarous any People remain, you shall find 'em most abound with T ales of this nature, and stand in far greater Aw of Sat an than Jehovah. In a word,the Heatbenspher this rate, would be rivetted in their Jdola*7,and theugliestHagor mostbeggarly Astrologer equalize the Prophets and Apostles.But why should goodReasons be spent in Confutation of mere Fictions? for I challenge any Person whatsoever to produce one Instance of these lying Wonders'that contains all the true Characters of Historical Evidence; and withal I dare engage as soon to prove the Goodness oftheAlcoran as of thzGofpel, if the Belief of any Miracles, except Divine onesy be granted me. But they must draw some
AdvanAdvantage from the superstitious Fear Ch. 5. of the People^who so industriously die- ^-\r^ rilh ir\
75. After what has been already observed, I need not add, that all Miracles secretly perform'd, or among that Party only to whose Profit and Advantage the Belief of them turns,' must "be rejected as counterfeit and salse; for as such cannot bear the Test of moral certitude, so they contrad ict the very Design of Miracles, which are always wrought in savour of the Unbelieving. But the Papists alone must be the Witnesses of their own Miracles, and never the Hereticks they would convert by them: nor is their Practice less ridiculous in confirming' one Miracle by another, as that of Tranfubstantiation by several more.
76. From all this laid together, it. follows, that nothing contrary to Rea-; son, whether you consider the Action^ or Design, is miraculous. But there's a good old Distinction that serves all! turns: Tho Miracles are not con trarytbv" Reason, saysone, yet they are surely a>* bovek: In what Sense pray? Which is above Reason, the'Thing, or the" Manfftr of it? If it beanswer'd, the
L 3 last,
Sect. 5. last, I suppose the objector thinks I VV"^ mean by Miracle some Philosophical Experiment, or some Phenomenon that surprizes only by its Rarity. Could I t ell how a Miracle was wrought, I believe I might do as much my self; but what may be said to have been this or that way perform'd, is no Miracle at all. It suffices therefore, that the Truth of the Action be demonstrated, and the Possibility of it. to any Bewrgable to govern Nature by instantaneously extracting, mollifying, mixing, infur sing, consolidating, &c. and this, it may be, by the Ministry of thousands at once; for Miracles are pro due'd according to the Laws of Nature,tho above its ordinary Operations, which are therefore fupernaturally assisted.
77. But finally, it will be said, that in the State of the Question, at the beginning of my Book, I maintained the Manner as well as the Thing was explicable. But of what? of Miracles? No surely; but of those DoBrines, in Confirmation whereof the Miracles are brought. This I stand by still, and may add, I hope, that I fcave cjearly prov'd it too: But to say as much of Ch. 6. Miracles would be to make 'em no Mi- ^-y^> racles, which she ws the Weakness, and Impertinence of this Objection.
:.; Chap. yi.v
Who, why, and by whom were Mt STE^JES brought mU'Cbrifiidnity. . • :;'..,:*
78. rTpi/£ End of the LAW be. Rom. 10.4.
I ing. Righteousness, JESUS . CHRIST came not to destroy,but to fulfilvax.. 5.17it: for he fully and clearly preach'd the purest Morals, he taught that reasonable Worship, and those just Conceptions of Heaven and Heavenly Things, which were more obscurely signifi'd or designed by the Legal Observations. So having stripped the Truth of all those external Types and Ceremonies which made it difficult before, he render'd it easy and obvious to the meanest Capacities. His Disciples and Followers kept to this Simplicity for some considerable time, tho very early dill 4 vers