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3. That Miracles wrought for Sermon
III. the confirmation of any Divine Teftimony or Revelation made to ariother, are a sufficient means, whereby those who have not the Divine Revelation immediately made to them, may be assured that it is Divine ; I say these are fufficient means of Assurance in this case. I do not say they are the only means : (for it does not become men to limit the Power and Wisdom of God) but I do not know of any other means of Assurance, upon which men can securely rely; and it is a great Presumption that this is the best and fittest, if not the only means, because the Wisdom of God hatlı always pitched upon it, and conta ftantly made use of it, and no on ther. Under Miracles I comprehend the Prediction of Future Events, which God claims as a peculiar Prerogative to himself, because such things are out of the reach of any created understanding; and therefore in the Prophet Isa. he challengesh the Idols of the Heathens to give this Testimony, or Ar
gument of their divinity; Shew us Volume things that are to come, that we may XII.
je are Godsi
But here we must distinguish between doubtful and, unquestionable Miracles. I call those doubtful Miracles, which, tho' a man cannot tell how they can be done by any natural Power, yet do not carry that full Convi&tion with them, as to be universally own'd and acknowledged for Arguments of a Divine Power. Such were those which the Magicians did by their Inchantments.
I call those unquestionable, which, considering their Quality and Number, and the publick manner of doing of them, are out of all Question. Such were the Miracles of Mofes, and our Saviour. Now a doubtful, and a fingle, and a private Wonder, or Miracle, as I it, can give no confirmation to any thing in opposition to a Revelation, or a Doctrine confirmed by many , and publick, and unquestionable Miracles. Upon this account Mofes forbids the Children of Israel to hearken to any Prophet that should come to seduce them to Idolatry; yea, tho’ he should give a sign or
Sermon wonder, and the sign or wonder should III. come to pass, Deut 13. 1, 2, 3, 4. Now here lies the strength of the Reason, Because he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, which brought jou out of the Land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the House of Bondage; that is, because he contradicts the great revelation which God made of himself, and confirmed by such a fucceffion of so many, and so great Miracles; the credit of which Revelation ought not in reason to be call'd in question, upon the working of a fingle and a private wonder, which we could not distinguish from a Mi. racle. Upon the same account St. Paul, Gal, 1. 8. says, Tho' an Angel from beaven Bould, preach any other Do&trine than that which had been preached unto them, he sbould be accursed; that is, after so clear and great confirmation, as was given to the Gospel, a contrary Doctrine, though it should come from an Angel, should be rejected as execrable.
But you will say, Suppose such a
Prophet as Mofes speaks of here, such Volume an Angel as St. Paul mentions, should XII. work as many and as great Miracles
as Mofes and Christ wrought, should we then believe them?
I Answer ; This is not to be suppos’d: for supposing the Providence of God in the World, it cannot be imaġined that an equal attestation should be given to a false Doctrine and a true. But that the greatest and most unquestionable Miracles are to carry it, is evident; because this is all the reason why Mofes was to be credited above the Magicians, because he wrought more and greater Wonders " than they did. But if it could be supposed that any one could work as great Miracles for the confirmation of Idolatry, as were wrought by way of attestation to the true Worship of God, then there would be no difference, but what the reason of the thing makes the Belief of one God being more reasonable than many; and not to make an Image or sensible representation of a Spirit, being more reasonable than to make one. "But if this could be suppos'd,
the natural issue and consequence of it would be Atheism; a man would Sermon
III. believe neither that nor the other, nor that there is any God at all.
But a farther account of the Nature and Difference of Miracles, I reserve to some * particular Discour. See Sera ses on that Subject. At present, for mons on the fuller opening of this matter, it in this Vol. will be proper to shew,
1. That the Divine Authority both of the Doctrine of Moses and Chrift is resolv'd into Miracles.
2. What assurance of Miracles is fufficient to perswade men to believe that Testimony, for the confirmation of which they are wrought.
3. What assurance they give us, That the Scriptures are a Divine Revelation.
But the Consideration of these I refer to the next opportunity.