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on their Lives; like that Luminary which SER. VII. towards it's decline looks the largest, when it's Luftre and Influence are the weakest. And it is vifible, that Charity, and even common Honesty have decayed together with Christianity, their firmeft Support.
A long uninterrupted Flow of Eafe and Tranquillity has lulled us into a fatal Indolence and Infenfibility to all religious Notions: Some fignal Judgment; fome extraordinary Indication of the divine Displeafure, seems almoft neceffary to purge the Nation of it's Drofs, to roufe it into a ferious Senfe of Religion, and make us dif cern and value thofe Things, that belong to our Peace, before they be hidden from our Eyes: Juft as when the Sky is full of noxious and peftilential Vapours; fome violent Hurricane, fome dreadful Bursts of Thunder are neceffary to disperse them, to clear the infected Air, and restore it to it's former Serenity.
On the Evidences of Chriftianity, the
Preached at the Lady Moyer's Lecture, in the Cathedral of St. Paul, London, in the Years 1732 and 1733.
On the Truth of Christianity.
JOHN III. 2.
Rabbi, we know, that thou art a Teacher come from God: For no Man can do these Miracles, that thou doeft, except God be with him.
HE Propofition contained in the SERM. I.
Evidences of a divine Power. By a Mira
SERM. I. cle, is meant an Effect evident to the Senfes, contrary to the fixed and established Course of Nature. Strange! that Man fhould difbelieve an Operation different from the prefent Course of Nature;, when Man himself, the firft Man, from whom all the reft defcended, could not have been brought into Being, but by an Act of Power different from the Courfe of Nature, as it is now established. For fome first Man there must be: And, whoever he was, he must be brought upon the Theatre of Nature without Parents, without any fecond Causes, by the immediate Power and Will of the first, or, in other Words, by an Operation, which, if it were not, ftríðly speaking, a Miracle; was, at least, equi
valent to one.
Nor is it at all improbable, that He, who called Man into Being, by a particular Display of Power, distinct from thofe general Laws, which obtain at prefent; would exert fome unusual and uncommon Acts of Power for (what was of greater Importance than his mere Being) his Well-Being, his eternal Well-Being.
In the Profecution of this Subject,
It, I fhall attempt to fhew, that feveral SERM. I. Miracles are decifive Proofs of a divine
IIdly, That we have fufficient Evidence, that. fuch Miracles were wrought for the Confirmation of Religion.
Ift, I fhall attempt to fhew, that feveral Miracles are decifive Proofs of a divine Power.
What Powers evil Spirits may have, and what is the utmost Extent of their Abilities; it is beyond the Extent of ours, in all Cafes, to determine But that God would fuffer them to exert thofe Powers in working fuperior and uncontroled Miracles; this I cannot admit. Becaufe God is too good to permit fuch a Snare to be laid for the Bulk of Mankind, who will be always governed more by what affects their Senfes, than by thofe Arguments, which address themselves coldly to their Understandings. Striking and pompous Miracles, though they enforced a Doctrine seemingly abfurd, would dazzle and overpower the Soul, and force an Admittance for it into the Mind: Whereas dry and abstracted