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Rabbi, we know, that thou art a Teacher come from God: For no Man can do thefe Miracles, that thou doeft, except God be with him. bal


Have already proved in a former Dif-SERM. II. course, that Miracles may be fo cir

cumftanced, as to be direct and decifive Evidences of a divine Power and Commiffion- That it was abfolutely impoffible the Apostles fhould be deceived themselves, as Witneffes of our Saviour's Miracles and their own, That it was morally impof

SERM. II. fible they fhould attempt to deceive others.

-The Subject of my prefent Difcourse is to prove, that the Apoftles could not have deceived Mankind, if they would; nor have impofed a falfe Religion upon the World, by Virtue of a pretended Commif fion from Heaven.

If the Chriftian Religion, containing Doctrines unpalatable to Flesh and Blood, void of every Advantage, befides it's own internal Excellency, to recommend it, and clogged with a great many Incumbrances, could carry Conviction with it from Eaft to Weft, by fuch incompetent Inftruments, in fo bort a Time, in Spite of the most refolved Oppofition If this Plant, from a fender Appearance at first, grew, and waxed a great Tree, when no kindly Sunshine of worldly Power yet fmiled upon it; nay, when the Inclemency of the Season beat hard against it; the Growth of it was undoubtedly marvellous.

It is granted, that in Matters of pure Speculation, the Bulk of Mankind may be, and often are, deceived; because they have not Leifure or Capacity, to unravel studied Sophiftry, and nicely to diftinguish between what is plaufible, and what is folid and fubftantial:

fubftantial: But the Cafe is different as to SRM, II.

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Miracles, which are Matters of Fact, that
fall under the Cognizance of our Senfes,
Here the Vulgar and the Learned are equal-
ly competent Judges, and you can perfuade
neither of them to believe he fees a glaring
Fact, which he does not actually behold.
Either then the Apoftles wrought fuch
Matters of Fact or they did not. If they
did, then they were invefted with a Power
from God: For evil Spirits would not, if
they could, empower them to heat down
Idolatry: If they did not, then it is unac-
countable, how a Set of Fishermen, de-
fpiled for their Poverty, and odious upon
the Account of their Nation, fhould pro-
pagate through many Nations, not to fay
the whole known World, fuch an unlikely
Story as this, viz. That one, who was
crucified as a common Malefactor in Ju-
dea, was to be adored as a God; and that
too at fuch a Juncture of Time, when their
numerous Converts in feveral Parts of the
World, fome of whom were Men of
known Distinction and Opulency, (fuch as
Dionyfius of the Areopagus, Jofeph of the
Jewish Sanhedrim, Sergius Paulus a Pro-
conful, Flavius Clemens a Roman Conful,


SERM. II. &c.) who had, very probably, enjoyed one continued Sunshine of Profperity; must biḍ adieu to all the Blandifhments of Life, undergo whatever is diftafteful to human Nature, and either fuffer, or be in Danger of fuffering Martyrdom.

131 0.

I would gladly have the Deifts try the Experiment: Let them send the ableft they can fingle out of their numerous Fraternity to broach fuch a like Story: For Inftance, that one, who fuffered in England for a Malefactor, 'is rifen from the Dead, and is to be worshipped as the Saviour of Mankind: Let them fend them to Portugal or Spain, where the Inquifition reigns, and where as exquifite Tortures will be applied to them, as were to the primitive Martyrs. It is easy to fee the Confequence: They themselves would meet with a very warm Reception; but their Doctrine with a very cold one: Both would be involved in the fame Doom, both perish and come to nought. If then the Apoftles had not a Power of working genuine Miracles, and displaying the ampleft Credentials of divine Power ; it will be the greatest Miracle of all, that without either Riches to bribe, Authority to awe, or acquired Knowledge


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and Dexterity to over-reach Men into a SERM, I. Compliance with their Notions, they should

pave t
the Way to fo general and great a
Turn in religious Affairs;

when thefe
boafted Mafters of Reafon, the Deifts,
thefe Men of large Views, who by an un-
common Superiority of Soul have difen-
gaged themselves from the Prejudices of
Education, would not be able to bring over
a Majority of Men, nay, perhaps, not one
Man of common Senfe in
any one Nation
if they should set on Foot fuch another un-
promifing Project.

Let us suppose, that a Perfon in our Days should embark in a Design of cancelling all the old Religions, and building a new one upon their Ruins; that, to com-, pafs this Defign, he pretended to raise the Dead, make the Blind fee, the Lame walk, the Deaf hear, &c. that not long after his Death, his Followers publish a punctual circumftantial Relation of all these Things, mentioning the Places where, the Perfons upon whom, the Witnees before whom, thefe Miracles were faid to be wrought: Let us put the Cafe, that they too pretended to have the fame miraculous Powers vefted in them, and that their Doctrine gained Footing

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