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prefented their heroes doing the like abfurd feats and miracles in chivalry, as their Saints in their legends are faid to do in religion; and they were both written by the lazy and unlearned Monks,and by them dreffed up and fitted to the guft of thofe ignorant and fuperftitious ages.

And yet the legends or lying wonders have not only been put into the hands of the people, but leffons out of them have been taken, as out of the fcriptures, and diftributed into the publick offices of their church, to be read there, as the fcriptures are, and instead of them ; only with this difference, that the people are permitted to have the scriptures only in an unknown tongue, but the legends, out of which these leffons are taken, they are permitted to have at home in their own tongue; as if there were no danger of error and herefy from false ftories, but only from the word of truth. And herein is remarkably fulfilled that prophefy concerning the followers of Antichrift, 2 Theff. ii. 11. That because they received not the truth in the love of it, God would fend them ftrong delufions, svépfecv wrdvus, the efficacy of impofture, that they should believe a lie. And how could they more folemnly declare the belief and love of lies, than by putting thefe ridiculous fables into the publick offices of the church, in place of the holy fcriptures; and at the fame time that they deny to the people the ufe of the fcriptures in a known tongue, to permit them the ufe, and to recommend to them the reading of thefe lying legends, out of which these ridiculous leffons are


Thirdly, The miracles of the church of Rome, fuppofing several of them to be true, have fuch marks and characters upon them, as render it very fufpicious that they are not operations of God, or good fpirits; but the working of Satan. If any man have but the patience to rake into thefe dunghills, and to read over thefe legends, even as they have by the later collectors and compilers been purged and reformed, he fhall find the miracles recited in them, to be generally of one ftamp, very foolish and abfurd, frivolous and trifling, wrought without any neceffity, upon no good occafion, to no wife end and purpofe; fo that one may know them by their very countenances, to be the tricks and pranks of


the devil; and not the great and glorious works of God, fuch as are the miracles recorded in the holy fcriptures.

Fourthly, The miracles of the church of Rome, taking them for true, are very impertinently and unfeafonably wrought. When and where there is no need and occafion for them, they are very rife and frequent : but where there is greatest occafion for them, and most reafon to expect them, they are either not at all, or very rarely fo much as pretended to. In times and places where their religion did most absolutely bear fway, and few or none durft oppofe it, and where the doctrines, which they pretend to confirm by thefe miracles, were moft generally believed, as in thofe long, dark, and ignorant times before the reformation, and now in Italy and Spain, where the Inquifition forceth them all to be of one belief, or to profefs to be fo; in thefe times and places, where there was leaft need and occafion for miracles, then and there did they most abound, even more, if we may believe their hiftories, for feveral ages before the reformation, than in the times of our Saviour and his Apoftles. But fince the reformation, and that many of their doctrines are called in queftion and disbelieved, miracles are grown rare, and almost ceafed, even in Popish countries, and they have had but very ill fuccefs with thofe few they have pretended to; witness the miracle at Angiers in France, of a child appearing over the altar in the time of mafs, to convince all people of the doctrine of tranfubftantiation, with which the Papifts made fuch a noife here in England about fourteen or fifteen years ago, and which at laft was difcovered to be an artificial juggle and contrivance of fome cunning Prieft, and publifhed to the world for a cheat, by the honeft and worthy Bishop of that place.

But where there feems to be most need of them, they are most wanting; as for the converfion of Heathens, and the conviction of heretick infidels. For the converfion of Heathens, in which cafe, if men did fincerely defign the propagation of the true and uncorrupted Chriftianity, I do not fee why miracles might not yet reasonably be expected; but yet for all this, we hear of very few miracles, not fo much as the gift of tongues


tongues, even upon this occafion. In the first planting of the Weft-Indies, we hear of no miracles, except the most prodigious cruelties that ever were in the world, to the infinite fcandal of the Chriftian namė. And in the East-Indies, and China, Xaverius and the firft miffionaries fpeak with no affurance of any miracles wrought by them; and fince that time they have fo depraved the Chriftian religion there, by concealing a moft effential part of it, the death and fufferings of our Saviour, as if they were ashamed of the cross of Chrift, that it is not credible, that God fhould vouchfafe the countenance of miracles to those who preach another gospel.

And then for the conviction of hereticks (as they are pleafed to call us Proteftants) one would think miracles, fince they have that power, would be very proper for that purpofe to be wrought among them; as now here in England, where they are continually endeavouring (but especially of late with more than ufual vigour and hopes) to reffore their religion: and yet for all this we cannot prevail with them to favour us with the fight of one miracle, in order to our conviction; but if they have any, they keep them private among themselves, though both reason and fcripture tells us, that miracles were not intended for them that believe; but to convince them that believe not.

Fifthly, He from whom, of all perfons in that church, we might expect the moft and greatest miracles, does not, fo far as I can learn, pretend at all to that gift; I mean, the Head of their church, the Pope, who, both as he is vicar of Chrift, and fucceffor of St. Peter in his full power and office, or if he be not his fucceffor, yet as he is his fhadow, and pretends to be his fucceffor, might fairly pretend to a power of miracles above any in that church; and I have often wondered why he does not but it feems he contents himself with infallibility, which is privilege and power enough for one man; and indeed if he had it, and could fatisfy others that he hath it, that would ferve his turn without miracles: but the mifchief of it is, there is no other external evidence, and which can reasonably fatisfy others of any man's infpiration or infallibility, but miracles; VOL. IX. Hh


and therefore the Pope hath done very unadvisedly, in pretending to one without the other, when he hath the fame right and title to both, that is, none at all.

Sixthly, Moft of the doctrines in difference between us and the church of Rome, which they chiefly pretend to confirm by these miracles, are not capable of being confirmed by them. There are three forts of doStrines, two of which are in their own nature incapable of being confirmed by a miracle, and a third, upon fuppofition of its contrariety to the Chriftian doctrine, which hath already had an unquestionable divine confirmation.

1. No doctrine, which is contrary to fenfe, is capable of being confirmed by a miracle; as tranfubftantiation; which because it neceffarily requires the renouncing of our fenfes, in order to the belief of it, for that very reafon miracles can give no credit to it. For that which depends on the certainty of fenfe, as miracles certainly do, can be no competent argument to prove that which is contrary to fenfe, as tranfubftantiation evidently is.

2. No doctrine, that does countenance or enjoin idolatry, is capable of being confirmed by a miracle. This is evident from Deut. xiii. where Mofes fuppofeth that a Prophet might work a fign or a wonder; but if it was to feduce them from the worship of the true God, who is naturally known, to the worthip of idols, in that cafe they were not to hearken to him, notwithstanding he wrought a miracle; but the church of Rome teacheth idolatry in their worship of images, and of the host, and in the invocation of faints and angels.

3. No doctrine, contrary to any part of the Chriftian doctrine, which hath already received an unqueftionable divine confirmation, is capable of being confirmed by the miracles pretended to in the church of Rome, if they were real. For I hope they have not the face to pretend their miracles to be equal to thofe of our Saviour and his Apoftles, either for the certainty, or greatnefs of them; and I have already fhewn, that they notoriously want both the credit and certainty of our Saviour's miracles, and the marks of their divinity,


Now feveral of the doctrines of that church are directly contrary to, or inconfiftent with the doctrines of Chriftianity. Their endeavour to conceal from people the doctrine of the gospel, contained in the holy fcriptures, is a notorious contradiction to the defign of the gofpel, and to that particular miracle whereby the knowledge of it was conveyed to the world, the gift of tongues; and then the fervice of God in an unknown tongue, which is inconfiftent with true devotion, contrary to edification, and to the plain fcope and defign of a whole chapter of St. Paul to the Corinthians. And fo likewife is the communion in one kind, to our Saviour's exprefs inftitution; and the repetition of Chrift's facrifice, to as express a declaration of the Apostle to the Hebrews to the contrary, as is poffible for words to make.

Seventhly and laftly, which falls heaviest upon them of all, the chief prophecies of the New Testament, which are concerning false Prophets, and concerning Antichrift, have marked him out by this character, that he should be a great worker ofmiracles, and magnify himself upon this pretence. Matth. xxiv. 24. For there fhall arise fulfe Chrifts, and falfe Prophets, and shall fhew great figns and wonders, infomuch that, if it were poffible, they Thall deceive the very elect. And 2 Theff. ii. 9. 10. St. Paul foretels there, that in the great degeneracy and falling away of the Chriftian church, the man of fin should come after the working of Satan, with all power, and figns, and wonders of lies, that is, either falfe miracles, or miracles wrought to confirm falfe doctrines, and with all deceiveableness of unrighteousness, all the legerdemain and juggling tricks of falfhood and impofture; and certainly nothing was ever more vifible than these are in the church of Rome; whether we confider their impudent forgeries of writings; which they have not the the face now to deny, or the nature and character of their miracles. So that though Bellarmine is pleased to make miracles one of the marks of the true church, yet the miracles of the church of Rome, if we consider all the circumftances of them, are one of the plaineft marks of Antichrift, and the very brand of the beaft, as we find him described, Rev. xiii. 13. 14. And he doth great

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