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« crucified, for the sake of enjoying the pleasure « of deceiving mankind, by prevailing upon them “ to believe a fanciful resurrection : you think we

are so stupid'as to act a part so extravagant. “ But bring out your sick; present your demo“ niacs; fetch hither your dead. Čonfront us « with Medes, Parthians, and Elamites ; let Cap“ padocia, Pontus, Asia, Egypt, Phrygia, Pam

phylia, let all nations and people send us some

of their inhabitants, we will restore hearing to '“ the deaf, and sight to the blind, we will make “ the lame walk, we will cast out devils, and raise 6 the dead. We, we publicans, we illiterate men, “ we tent makers, we fishermen, we will discourse “ with all the people of the world in their own lan

guages. We will explain prophecies, elucidate “ the most obscure predictions, develope the most “ sublime mysteries, teach you notions of God,

precepts for the conduct of life, plans of mora

lity and religion, more extensive, more sublime, “ and more advantageous, than those of your

priests and philosophers, yea than those of Moses u himself. We will do more still. We will com“ municate these gifts to you, the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge; faith, the gifts of healing, the working of miracles, prophecy,

discerning of spirits, divers kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues, 1 Cor. xii. 8, &c. « all these shall be communicated to you by your “ ministry.”

All these things the apostles professed'; all these proofs they gave of the resurrection of Jesus Christ ; this Jesus hath God raised up; and he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. Acts ii. 32, 33. This consideration furnisheth us with an answer to the greatest objection, that was ever made to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and,

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in general to his whole economy.

" How is it," say unbelievers sometimes, “ that your Jesus ex

posed all the circumstances of his abasement to “ the public eye, and concealed those of his ele“ vation? If he were transfigured on the mount it * was only before Peter, James, and John. If “ be ascended to heaven, none but his disciples

saw his ascent. If he rose again from the dead, - and appeared, he appeared only to those, who -“ were interested in his fame. Why did he not

. “shew himself to the synagogue ? Why did he “ not appear to Pilate? Why did be not shew .“ himself alive in the streets, and public assem“ blies, of Jerusalem? Had he done so, infidelity “ would have been eradicated, and every one -- would have believed his own eyes : but the secre

cy of all these events exposeth them to very just suspicions, and giveth plausible pretexts to errors, if errors they be.”

We omit many solid answers to this objection; perhaps we may urge them on future occasions, and at present we content ourselves with observing, that the apostles, who attested the resurrection of Jesus Christ, wrought miracles in the presence of all those, before whom, you say, Jesus Christ ought to have produced himself after his resurrection. The apostles wrought miracles; behold Jesus Christ ! see his spirit! behold his resurrection ! God hath raised up Jesus Christ, and he hath shed ..forth what ye now see and hear. This way of proving the resurrection of Christ was as convincing as the shewing of himself to each of his enemies would have been; as the exposure of his wounds before them, or the permitting of them to thrust their hands into his side, would have been. Yea this was a more convincing way, than that would have been, for which you plead. Had Je

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sus Christ shewn himself they might have thought him a phantom, or a counterfeit ; they might have supposed, that a resemblance of features had occasioned an illusion : but what could an unbeliever oppose against the healing of the sick, the raising of the dead, the expulsion of devils, the alteration and subversion of all nature ?

It may be said, perhaps, all these proofs, if indeed they ever existed, were conclusive to them, who, it is pretended, saw the miracles of the apostles; but they can have no weight with us, who live seventeen centuries after them. We reply, The miracles of the apostles cannot be doubted without giving into an universal scepticism ; without establishing this unwarrantable principle, that we ought to believe nothing but what we see ; and without taxing three sorts of people, equally unsuspected, with extravagance on this occasion.

1. They, who call themselves the operators of these miracles, would be chargeable with extravagance. If they wrought none, they were impostors, who endeavored to deceive mankind. If they were impostors of the least degree of common sense, they would have used some precautions to conceal their imposture. But see how they relate the facts, of the truth of which we pretend to doubt. They specify times, places, and circumstances. They say, such and such facts passed in such cities, such public places, such assemblies, in sight of such and such people. Thus St. Paul writes to the Corinthians. He directs to a society of christians in the city of Corinth. He tells them, that they had received miraculous gifts, and censures them for making a parade of them. He reproves them for striving to display, each his own, gifts in their public assemblies. He gives them some rules for the regulation of their conduct in this case. If any man speak in an unknawn tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course, and let one interpret. If there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church. Let the prophets speak, two, or three. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace, 1 Cor. xiv. 27, 28, &c. I ask, with what face could St. Paul have written in this manner to the Corinthians, if all these facts had been false? If the Corinthians had received neither the gifts of prophecy, nor the discerning of spirits, nor divers kinds of tongues. What a front had he, who wrote in this manner?

2. The enemies of Christianity must be taxed with extravagance. Since christians gloried in the shining miracles, that their preachers wrought; and since their preachers gloried in performing them before whole assemblies, it would have been very easy to discover their imposture, had they been impostors. Suppose a modern impostor, preaching a new religion, and pretending to the glory of confirming it by notable miracles, wrought in this place: What method should we take to refute him ? Should we affirm that miracles do not prove the truth of a doctrine ? Should we have recourse to miracles wrought by others ? Should we not exclaim against the fraud? Should we not appeal to our own eyes ? Should we want any thing more than the dissembler's own professions to convict him of imposture? Why did not the avowed enemies of christianity, who endeavored by their publications to refute it, take these methods? How was it, that Celsus, Porphyry, Zosimus, Julian the apostate, and Hierocles, the greatest antagonists, that christianity ever had, and whose writings are in our hands, never denied the facts: but, allowing the principle, turned all the points of their argu


ments against the consequences, that christians inferred from them? By supposing the falshood of the miracles of the apostles, do we not tax the enemies of christianity with absurdity ?

In fine, This supposition chargeth the whole multitude of christians who embraced the gospel, with extravagance. The examination of the truth of religion, now, depends on a chain of principles and consequences, which require a profound attention: and therefore, the number of those, who profess such or such a religion, cannot demonstrate the truth of their religion. But in the days of the apostles the whole depended on a few plain facts. Hath Jesus Christ communicated his Spirit to his apostles? Do the apostles work miracles? Have they the power of imparting miraculous gifts to those, who embrace their doctrine? And yet this religion, the discussion of which was so plain and easy, spread itself far and wide. If the apostles did not work miracies, one of these two suppositions must be made: either these proselytes did not deign to open

but sacrificed their prejudices, passions, educations, ease, fortunes, lives, and consciences, without condescending to spend one moment on the examination of this question : Do the apostles work miracles? or that, on supposition they did open their eyes, and did find the falshood of these pretended miracles, they yet sacrificed their prejudices, and their passions, their educations, their ease, and their honor, their properties, their consciences, and their lives, to a religion, which wholly turned on this false principle, that its miracles were true.

Collect all these proofs together, my brethren, consider them in one point of view, and see how many extravagant suppositions must be advanced, if the resurrection of our Saviour be denied. It must

their eyes,

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