Bates - HP BX5200 B3 1700

68 ~ Chap·:; . ~ Chriftian Religion proved by Reafon. CHAP. III. .The External proofs of the truth of Chri(fian Religion conjidered. Miracles are onfy perform'd by God. Why Chriflianity was confirm'd by them. Th~ number of Chrijl's Miracles, the manner ofhu performing them, and thm certainty, conjider'd. The Miracles done by Chrift to wnfirm hit; DoBrine, are an authentick Teflimony that God approved it. The pretence of Libertines, that the Heathen Religion Wtl6 confirm'd by Miracles. clearfy dijprov'd. The rational ajfurance that we have that the Apo{fles were jincere and certain of the Mirawlous thin os related by them of Jefw.; _ Chrift. His ReforreBion attefted by fofjicient e:Jidence. WE are nex t to confider thofe external proofs of the trmh ofChrifl:ianity, the Works ofGod himfelf, that feal our fullaffurance of it. I fhall inf\ance in two· Miracle.~, and the acromplifbme'!t of Prophecies. , 1. A Miracle is a fupernatural Work that requires an extraordinary Divine Power to e!fctl it. For none can derogate from the Univerfal Laws of Nature, prefcribed from the begi nning of things and time, but the Author of it. Indeed we do not cxail:ly know the compafs of that Cjrcle wherein the Spirits of Darknefs exercife thelr pmver. They may by the app:ication of Natural means unknown to us, prodLJce things that may af'conifi1, or by lying Wonders deceive Men: Bm a true Miracle is a Work referv'd to God, and pollibly to no lefsthan Infinite Power. Whether it be a firfl or fecond Creation, the forming a new Eye, or the giving a vil'ive power to that rhat was naturally blind, it can only be done by his Hand. If we refpell: Omnipotency, there is the fame facility; if the thing done, there is the fame difficulty in the performance. If the Devils had fuch a power, they might create a feparate Kingdum, and reign there. Now Miraculous Teftimonies were given to confirm Chriftianity, that there might be a ju!l: correfpondence between its Doctrines and their Proofs. The Myfleries ofthe Gojpel in their Exif'cence are above all Natural Power, and in their beliefabove the Natural Underf'canding. All that Nature can do or know, does not make them credible. TherefOre 'twas requifite thofe things fhould be confirm'd by the Divine Power, that tranfcend the comprehenfion of Humane Reafon. Befldes, as the Myf'ceries of the GojpelareJitblime,fo the Rewards are futore; and rhat the Gentiles might not pretend that the Preachers of the Gojpel feign' d another World, and a Heaven, and a Hell, wherein the Souls and Bodies of Men fhall be glorified or tormented according to their Actions in this Lire, fupernatural Evidence of the truth of thofe Promifes and Threatnings was neceffary. In fhort, herein the Divine Goodnefs appeared, That as the true Religion is necelfary to the Salvation of all Men, fo 'twas difcernable by fuch figns as may convince all. For upon the fight of thofe Divine Works, the fimpl ef'c Peoplewere led by the outward Senfe, to an inward firm Faith in Jefus Chrif'c. Thefe things being premifed, I will take a brief view of the Miracles wrought by our Saviour to give Faith to his DoCtrine. 'Tis recorded of Mofes who was a Type of Chri{f, that after his familiar converfe with God, as a Man with his Friend, defcending from the Mount, Ius Face fi10ne with fuch an exceffive Brightnefs, as it were by refletlion From the Face of God, that coming to the Jfraelitu to deliver to them the Divine Laws, he was fain to cover it with a Vail: Yet fame rays of that Miraculous fplendor were vifible through that myflerious Vail, to atfure them it was Mojis himfe!frhat direCted and govern' cl them according to God's Will. Thus when the Son of God came down from the Heaven of Heavens to inf'cru:9: the World, he fhadowed the light of the Deity with a Vail of Flefh; yet he was notfo abfolutely concealed under his Humanity, but that from Time to Time fame Beams of the Divine Nature appear'din Works fo proper to God, that the Apof\le fays, We Jaw h;,- Glory M the Glury of the only begotten Son of God. In the reprefentation of our Saviour's Miracles by the Evangelif'cs, we may confider their Number and Variety, his manner of performing them, and the certainty of them. r. Their NumberandVariety. Hewent about all Galilee healing all manner of Sickneffes and Difeafes,even the mof'c incurable ; rho Blind, the Deaf, the Lame, the Paralitic, rhe