« AnteriorContinuar »
3. That Miracles wrought for the confirmation of any Divine Teftimony or Revelation made to another, are a fufficient means, whereby those who have not the Divine Revelation immediately made to them, may be affured that it is Divine; I fay thefe are fufficient means of Affurance in this cafe. I do not say they are the only means: (for it does not become men to limit the Power and Wifdom of God) but I do not know of any other means of Affurance, upon which men can fecurely rely; and it is a great Prefumption that this is the beft and fitteft, if not the only means, because the Wisdom of God hath always pitched upon it, and con ftantly made ufe of it, and no other. Under Miracles I comprehend the Prediction of Future Events, which God claims as a pe culiar Prerogative to himself, becaufe fuch things are out of the reach of any created understanding; and therefore in the Prophet Ifa. he challengeth the Idols of the Hea thens to give this Teftimony, or ArG 2 gument
gument of their divinity; Shen us Volume things that are to come, that we may XII. know that ye are Gods.
But here we must distinguish between doubtful and unquestionable Miracles. I call thofe doubtful Miracles, which, tho' a man cannot tell how they can be done by any. natural Power, yet do not carry that full Conviction with them, as to be univerfally own'd and acknowledged for Arguments of a Divine Power. Such were those which the Magicians did by their Inchantments. I call thofe unquestionable, which, confidering 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 may call it, can give no confirmation to any thing in oppofition to a Revelation, or a Doctrine confirmed by many, and publick, and unquestionable Miracles. Upon this account Mofes forbids the Children of Ifrael to hearken to any Prophet that fhould
come to feduce them to Idolatry; yea, tho' he should give a fign or Sermon wonder, and the fign or wonder should III. come to pass, Deut 13. 1, 2, 3, 4. Now here lies the ftrength of the Reason, Because he hath Spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, which brought you 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 fuch a fucceffion of fo many, and fo great Miracles; the credit of which Revelation ought not in reason to be call'd in queftion, upon the working of a fingle and a private wonder, which we could not distinguish from a Miracle. Upon the fame account St. Paul, Gal. 1. 8. fays, Tho' an Angel from heaven bould preach any other DoEtrine than that which had been preached unto them, he should be accursed; that is, after so clear and great confirmation, as was given to the Gospel, a contrary Doctrine, though it fhould come from an Angel,fhould be rejected as execrable.
But you will fay, Suppofe fuch a
Prophet as Mofes fpeaks of here, fuch Volume an Angel as St. Paul mentions, fhould XII. work as many and as great Miracles as Mofes and Chrift wrought, fhould we then believe them?
I Anfiver; This is not to be fuppos'd: for fuppofing the Providence of God in the World, it cannot be ima gined that an equal atteftation should be given to a falfe Doctrine and a true. But that the greatest and most unquestionable Miracles are to carry it, is evident; becaufe this is all the reafon why Mofes was to be credited above the Magicians, because he wrought more and greater Wonders than they did. But if it could be fuppofed that any one could work as great Miracles for the confirmation of Idolatry, as were wrought by way of atteftation to the true Worfhip of God, then there would be no difference, but what the reafon of the thing makes the Belief of one God being more reasonable than many; and not to make an Image or fenfible representation of a Spirit, being more reafonable than to make one. But if this could be fuppos'd,
the natural iffue and confequence of it would be Atheism; a man would Sermon 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 referve to fome particular Difcour- * See Serfes on that Subject. At prefent, for mons on the fuller opening of this matter, it in this Vol. will be proper to fhew,
1. That the Divine Authority both of the Doctrine of Mofes and Chrift is refolv'd into Miracles.
2. What affurance of Miracles is fufficient to perfwade men to believe that Teftimony, for the confirmation of which they are wrought.
3. What affurance they give us, That the Scriptures are a Divine Revelation.
But the Confideration of these I refer to the next opportunity.