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Pretensions to the Divinity. Thus his Religion has been represented as defective in certain Points of moral Duty by some, while many of his Miracles have been ridiculed, and traduced as unworthy

of a divine Author, by others. The practical

or moral Doctrine of the Gospel will more properly fall under a future Head of this Enquiry, for which it matl accordingly be reserved; and in respect of the Miracles wrought by our Saviour, I am happily precluded intirely in any formal Defence I might undertake to make of them, by the more ingenious and solid Vindications of others.—I shall therefore refer the Reader to these, and content myself with briefly remarking upon this Article, that at least the far greater Number of the Miracles recorded in Scripture were as undeniable Demonstrations of the Goodness of their Author, as they were unanswerable Proofs of his Power. We may appeal to them for the Confutation of Infidelity in the Words our Lord himself made use of, in Answer to the Question put to him by the Disciples of John the Baptist; " the Blind re"ceived their Sight, the Lame walked, &c. &c." (see Matt. xi. 34, &c.) If then the Accounts of some few Miracles, as that of the Herd of Swine, (see Matt. viii. 32, &c.) or that of the barren Fig-Tree, (fee Mark xi. 12, &c.) which have occasioned so much Wit, and exercised so much Malice, seem to lie open to some Exceptions, and

to to be clogged with some Difficulties, ought we not, agreeably to the Rules of Equity and Candour, to ascribe this to the Silence of the sacred Historians in regard to such Particulars and Circumstances, previous to, attending, or consequent upon the Performance of these Miracles, which, if known, would thoroughly clear up and dissipate all Doubts

and Difficulties whatsoever? It may, I am

aware, be aslced here, why they were silent upon this Occasion? and why they did not take Care to

preclude all possible Objections? To which

Questions we may return, I apprehend, more than one satisfactory Answer. First, that if the Evangelists have taken Care to vindicate, and effectually secure the Honour of their Master in all essential Points, and abundantly to assert the unblameable Innocence, and absolute Perfection of his Life and Conversation, it was by no means necessary that they should endeavour to preclude all possible Objections and Cavils against every individual Account they have given us. Neither indeed could this, in the Nature of Things, have been done in general; and if it had been done in the present Cases, Persons disposed to cavil, and start Difficulties would never be at a Loss for them. And perhaps some few Difficulties may purposely and providentially have been left, to rise in Judgment against the Obstinacy and Perverseness of those who oppose them against the plainest Evidence,

and and the manifest Tenor of the sacred Writings.— Secondly, to such Questions we may reply, that these Accounts are like many other Narratives of Facts recorded in the Gospels, which are often concise and succinct, and leave many Particulars to be supplied by the Imagination of the Reader.— To give an Instance or two of this;—how much is comprised in the following short Accounts of

St. Matthew f -And when the Men of that Place

(viz. Genesaret) had Knowledge of him, they sent out into all that Country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased; and besought him that they might only touch the Hem of his Garment; and as tnany as touched were made perfectly whole* (see Matt. xiv. 35. and compare with Luke vi.19.) And great Multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumbi maimed, and many others, and cajl them down at Jesus Feet, and he healed them. (See Matt. xv. 30. and Luke vii. 21.) In the following Narrative two Miracles are as it were interwoven together.—'There came a certain Ruler, and worshipped him, saying, my Daughter is even now dead; but come and lay thy Hand upon her, and she shall live: And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his Disciples. (And behold a Woman which was diseased with an Issue of Blood twelve Tears, came behind him, and touched the Hem of his Garment; for she said within herself, if I may but touch his Garment7 I

. stall jhall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter be os good Comfort; thy Faith hath made thee whole. And the Woman was made whole from that Hour. And when Jesus came into the Rulers House, and saw the Minslrels, and the People making a Noise; he said unto them, give place ; for the Maid is not dead, but jleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when the People were put forth, he went in, and took her by the Hand; and the Maid arose. And the Fame hereof went abroad into all that Land.—(see Matt. ix. 20. and compare with Mark v. 25. Luke viii. 43.)

Now many Questions relative to these Accounts might be asked; as, who were all those that were diseased? what were their Names? or, from what Towns and Villages did they come? In what Manner or Terms did they beseech him? Did they all beseech him separately? or, was one the Spokesman for the rest? Did neither they, nor the others mention'd after, make any kind of Acknowledgment when they were healed? or return any Thanks for such extraordinary Favours ? How does it appear that those who " laughed our Saviour to scorn," upon his averting that the " Maid "was not dead," were convinced that she was restored to Life by Divine Power, and confessed it accordingly ?—We shall not be able perhaps to

Vol. I. E give give a precise Answer to every Question os this Nature that may be proposed; nor is it material that we should; for what can we infer from hence, but that these Historians made it their chief Point to record the Facts themselves, without a scrupulous Regard to all Circumstances attending them, as so many unquestionable Vouchers of the Divine Power, and Authority of their Master ?—Ought we not therefore to account for the Miracles in question by rational Conjectures, rather than presumptuously charge the great Author of them with a wanton Abuse of Power, or with Cruelty, Ill-nature, and Injustice ?—But I shall have Occasion to refer to these Miracles again ; and therefore shall quit this Subject at present, obviating by the way a Cavil which possibly fomeChnfians so called, as well as Deists, may make to the infinite Knowledge of Jesus Christ, from the declared Circumstance of his not knowing " that the Time of Figs "was not yet, &. &c. (fee Mark xi. 13.) It is indeed sufficiently obviated by this easy Observation, that the scriptural History of our Saviour sometimes exhibits him to us under the Divine, and sometimes under the Human Character: And if from Multitudes of Texts we cannot but infer that he was truly God, so must we conclude likewise from Numbers of others that he was truly Man. He was infinite in Power, or he could not have "done so many wonderful Works," he was infinite

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