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did his; because this may be faid on one fide, as well as on the other for to the ftanders-by there was no difference, but the one feemed to the fenfes of the beholders to be as real as the other; and the text makes no difference, but fays, The Magicians did in like manner; for they caft down every man his rod, and they became ferpents, only Aaron's had this advantage, that his rod fwallowed up their rods: but the main difference was here, Mofes and Aaron wrought fuch miracles, as the Magicians could not work, neither really, nor in appearance: for when Aaron, by fmiting the duft with his rod, had turned it into lice, it is faid that the Magicians attempted to do fo with their enchantments, but could not, and then they yielded and acknowledged that it was the finger of God. And if they had not been thus plainly overcome, but could, to all appearance of sense, have done all thofe things which Mofes and Aaron did, it might juftly have been difputed which had been the true Prophets.

So that the devil and his inftruments may work miracles. Mofes plainly fuppofeth that a falfe Prophet, who comes to feduce the people to idolatry, may work a true fign or wonder. Deut. xiii. 1. 2. If there arife among you aProphet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee: a fign or a wonder; and the fign or the wonder come to pass, whereef he spake unto thee, faying, Let us go after other Gods. And our bleffed Saviour exprefly foretels, Mat. xxiv. 24. that falfe Chrifts and falje Prophets fhall arife after his death, and fhew great figns and wonders.

From all which it is evident, that it is not of the effence of a miracle, as many have thought, that it be an immediate effect of the divine power. It is fufficient, that it exceed any natural power that we know of to produce it.. And if fuch effects be not to be efteem-ed miracles, a miracle would fignify nothing; because no man could know when it is wrought, nor diftinguish it from thofe effects which appear to be miraculous, but are not. This is the first property or condition of a miracle, that it be fupernatural, that is, fuch an effect as exceeds any natural power that we. know of to produce it. But then,

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2. There is another condition alfo required to a miracle, that it be an effect evident and wonderful to fenfe : for, if we do not fee it, it is to us as if it were not, and can be no teftimony or proof of any thing, because it-felf stands in need of another miracle to give teftimony to it, and to prove, that it was wrought; and neither in fcriptúre, nor in profane authors, nor in common ufe of fpeech, is any thing called a miracle, but what falls under the notice of our fenfes; a miracle being nothing elfe but a thing wonderful to fenfe, and the very end and defign of it is to be a fenfible proof and conviction to us of fome thing which we do not fee.

And for want of this condition, transubstantiation, if it were true, would be no miracle: it would indeed be very fupernatural, but for all that, it would not be a fign or wonder; for a fign or wonder is always a fenfible thing, fomething that is wonderful and aftonishing to fenfe, otherwise it is no fign or wonder. That such a change as is pretended in tranfubftantiation should really be wrought, and yet there fhould be no fign and appearance of it, is a thing very wonderful, but not to. fenfe; for our fenfes perceive no change, the bread and wine to all our fenfes remaining juft as they were before. Now, that a thing should remain to all appearance juft as it was, hath nothing at all of wonder in it. We wonder indeed when we fee a strange thing done : but no man wonders when he fees nothing done.

So that to speak the truth, tranfubftantiation, if they will have it a miracle, is fuch a miracle, as any man may work, that hath but confidence to face men. down that he works it, and the fortune to be believed. And however they of the church of Rome are wont to magnify their Priefts, chiefly upon the account of this miracle, which they fay they can work every day, and every hour if they pleafe; yet I cannot understand, how it magnifies them fo much: for when this great work, as they call it, is done, there is nothing more appears to be done, than if there were no miracle. Now, fuch a miracle, as to all appearance is no miracle, I fee no reason why a Proteftant minifter may not work as often as he pleafeth, as well as they: or if he can but have the patience to let it alone, it will work itself:.


for certainly nothing in the world is eafier than to let a thing be as it is, and by fpeaking a few words over it, to make it just what it was before. In fhort, a miracle is a wonder to fenfe, and where a man fees nothing that is ftrange done, there is no miracle for if he will call it a miracle, when things remain juft as they were, and no fenfible change is made in them, every man may every day work a thousand fuch miracles. I come now, in the


II. Place, to confider in what circumftances, and with what cautions and limitations, miracles do give teftimony to the truth and divinity of any doctrine; for inftance, of the Chriftian doctrine and for the clearing of this matter, I fhall lay down thefe propofitions.


1. That the entire proof of the Chriftian doctrine or religion, confifts of many confiderations, which, taken together, make up a full demonftration of the truth of it, when perhaps no one of them, taken fingly and by itself, is a convincing and undeniable proof..

The Chriftian religion hath all the characters of divinity upon it, which any religion can be expected to have; whether we confider the doctrine of it, in which. there is nothing unworthy of God; for it makes fuch a reprefentation of God, and gives fuch directions concerning his worship, as is moft agreeable to thofe apprehenfions which the wifeft men have always had of God, and of that fervice which is moft proper to be given to him. Indeed it declares fomething concerning God, which is very myfterious and paft our comprehenfions; but this ought not to offend us, fince natural light always did acknowledge the divine nature to be incomprehenfible.

The precepts likewife of this religion are highly reafonable, and fuch as plainly tend to the perfection and happiness of human nature; and the arguments to en. force thefe precepts are not only very powerful in themselves, but very fuitable to the natural hopes and fears of men.

Or if we confider the author of this doctrine, our bleffed Saviour, he will appear to be a divine perfon, and a teacher fent from God, by the clear predictions concerning him long before he came; which when he came were


exactly fulfilled in him; by the miracles he wrought to give teftimony of him; by the eminent holiness and virtue of his life; and by innumerable things which he foretold concerning himself, the deftruction of Jerufalem, and the difperfion of the Jewish nation, and the fuccefs of his doctrine in the world, which were all afterwards punctually accomplished. All these proved him to be an extraordinary perfon. But he was likewife declared to be the Son of God, by a voice from heaven, and by his refurrection from the dead.

Or if we confider the first publishers of this doctrine, to whom God bare witness, with figns, and wonders, and divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghoft, and the wonderful fuccefs they met withal, notwithstanding the outward meanness of their perfons, infomach that their doctrine very fuddenly prevailed, and paffed like lightening through the world; and in the space of a few years, fpread itfelf beyond the utmost bounds of the valt Roman empire, and this in defpite of the most powerful oppofitions and fierceft perfecutions that ever were raifed against any religion; fo that, like the children of Ifrael in Egypt, it did thrive under affliction, and the more it was oppreffed, the more it grew and multiplied; because there was a divine power that did vifibly accompany the first publishers of it, and men were not able to refift the fpirit whereby they Spake,

All these together make up a full and convincing de monftration of the truth and divinity of the Chriftian doctrine: and yet perhaps no one of these alone is a fufficient proof of it. For though a doctrine be never fo reafonable in itfelf, this is no certain argument that it is from God, if no teftimony from heaven be given to it; because it may be the refult and iffue of human reafon and difcourfe and though a doctrine be attested by miracles, yet the matter of it may be fo unreafonable and abfurd, fo unworthy of God, and fo contrary to the natural notions which men have of him, that no miracles can be fufficient to give confirmation to it; and therefore in fome cafes the fcripture forbids men to hearken to a Prophet, though he work a miracle. Deut. xiii. 1. 2. 3. If there arife among you a Prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a fign or a wonder,


and the fign or the wonder come to pafs, whereof he fpake unto thee, faying, let us go after other Gods, which thou haft not known, and let us ferve them: thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that Prophet. And the reafon is given, ver. 5. Becaufe he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God. From whence it is plain, that a miracle is not fufficient to eftablifh the worship of a falfe God.

The fum of what I have said is this, that we do not found our belief of Chriftianity upon any one argument taken by itself; but upon the whole evidence which we are able to produce for it, in which there is nothing wanting that is proper and reasonable to prove any religion to be from God.

2. But yet miracles are the principal external proof and confirmation of the divinity of a doctrine. I told you before, that fome doctrines are fo abfurd, that a miracle is not a fufficient proof of them: but if a doctrine be fuch as is no ways unworthy of God, nor contrary to thofe notions which we have of him, miracles are the highest teftimony that can be given to it, and have always been owned by mankind for an evidence of infpiration. And therefore Nicodemus takes it for an acknowledged principle, that miracles are a fign of a teacher fent from God. John iii. z. We know that thou art a teacher come from God: for none can do thefe miracles which thou doft, except God be with him And the feripture conftantly refolves divinity of any perfon or doctrine into miracles, as the chief external evidence that they are from God. This was the teftimony which God gave to Mofes, to fatisfy the people of Ifrael that he had fent him. Exod. iv. 1. And Mofes anfwered, and faid, but behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will fay, the Lord hath not appeared unto thee. Upon this God tells Mofes, that he would give him a power of miracles, to be an evidence to them that they may believe, that the God of their Fathers, of Abraham, Ifaac, and Jacob, hath appeared unto thee. And all along in the Old Teftament, when God fent his Prophets to make any new revelation, or upon any extraordinary meffage, he always gave credit to them, by fome fign or wonder. And when


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