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may be literally built there, in the metropolis of the whole earth; which Jerusalem must be, when the fulness of the Gentiles shall meet with the conversion of the Jews, For no nation will then contend with the Jews, nor church with Jerusalem, for supremacy. All nations will be ambitious to draw their original from the Jews, “ whose are the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, CHRIȘT came.
Then will be fulfilled that outward grandeur and restoration of the Jews and of Jerusalem, which they expect, pursuant to the prophecies.b
They pretend not that this is limited to any particular time of the reign of the Messiah. They are sure it will not be at the beginning: for they expect to go through great conflicts and trials with their Messiah (as the Christian Church has done) before his final conquest, and that they come to reign with him. So that this is no obstruction to their embracing of Christianity. They' see the same things fulfilled in us, which they expect themselves; and we expect the same things they do.
I tell this to the Deists, lest they may think that the Jews have some stronger arguments than they know of, that they are not persuaded by the miracles of our blessed Saviour, and by the fulfilling of all the prophecies in Him, that were made concerning the Messiah.
As I said before, I would not plead even miracles against these.
And if this is sufficient to persuade a Jew, it is much more so to a Deist, who labours not under these objections.
Besides, I would not seem to clash with that (in a sound sense) reasonable caution used by Christian writers, not to put the issue of the truth wholly upon miracles, without this addition “when not done in a contradiction to the revelations already given in the holy scriptures.”
And they do it upon this consideration, that though it
* Rom. ix. 5.
• These speculations of Leslie respecting the accomplishment of unfulfilled prophecy, are not to be confounded with his argument from the fulfilment of the Old Testament predictions. It is exceedingly questionable whether any such literal fulfilment of prophecies concerning the Jews as he represents, is to be expected: but the fulfilment of the old Testament, in Christ, and in the history of the Christian Church, and in that of the Jewish nation, cannot be doubted, without rejecting all historical evidence.
is impossible to suppose that God would work a real miracle, in contradiction to what he has already revealed; yet, men may be imposed upon by false and seeming miracles, and pretended revelations, (as there are many examples, especially in the church of Rome,) and so may be shaken in the faith, if they keep not to the holy scriptures as their rule.
We are told, (2 Thess. ii. 9.,) “of him whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs, and lying wonders.” And (Rev. xiii. 14. and xvi. 14. and xix. 20.) of the devil, and false prophets, working miracles. But the word, in all these places, is only Enucia that is, Signs, as it is rendered, (Matt. xxv. 24.,) which, though sometimes it may be used to signify real miracles, yet not always --not in these places. For though every miracle be a sign and a wonder, yet every sign or wonder is not a miracle.c
X. Here it may be proper to consider a common topic of the Deists, who when they are not able to stand out against the evidence of fact, that such and such miracles have been done; then turn about, and deny such things to be miracles, at least “ we can never be sure whether any wonderful thing that is shown to us be a true or false miracle."
And the great argument they go upon is this, that a miracle being that which exceeds the power of nature, we cannot know what exceeds it, unless we knew the utmost extent of the power of nature; and no man pretends to know that, therefore that no man can certainly know whether any event be miraculous; and, consequently, he may be cheated in his judgment betwixt true and false miracles.
To which I answer, that men may be so cheated, and there are many examples of it.
. The true value of miracles, as proofs of revelation, is satisfactorily discussed by Prof. CAMPBELL in his Essay on Miracles, in answer to the sceptic, HUME; also in an older work, entitled The Criterion by Bishop Douglas. A recent work on the Evidence of Miracles, by the Rev. John Penrose, has been much commended. The introductory chapter of Paley's Evidences briefly examines the objections to miracles in general: the Second Proposition is devoted to a comparison of the miracles on which Christianity is founded with those of spurious ebaracter,
But that though we may not always know when we are cheated, yet we can certainly tell, in many cases, when we are not cheated.
For though we do not know the utmost extent of the power of nature, perhaps in any one thing; yet it does not follow that we know not the nature of any thing in some measure : and that certainly too. For example, though I do not know the utmost extent of the power of fire, yet I certainly know it is the nature of fire to burn; and that when proper fuel is administered to it, it is contrary to the nature of fire not to consume it. Therefore, if I see three men taken off the street, in their common wearing apparel, and without any preparation cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace, and that the flame was so fierce that it burnt up those men that threw them in, and yet that those who were thrown in should walk up and down in the bottom of the furnace, and I should see a fourth person with them of glorious appearance, like the Son of God; and that these men should come up again out of the furnace, without any harm, or so much as the smell of fire upon themselves or their clothes, I could not be deceived in thinking that there was a stop put to the nature of fire, as to these men; and that it had its effect upon the men whom it burned, at the same time.
Again: though I cannot tell how wonderful and sudden an increase of corn might be produced by the concurrence of many causes, as a warm climate, the fertility of the soil, &c. yet this I can certainly know, that there is not that natural force in the breath of two or three words spoken, to multiply one small loaf of bread so fast, in the breaking of it, as truly and really, not only in appearance and show to the eye, to fill the bellies of several thousand hungry persons ;d and that the fragments should be much more than the bread was at first.
So neither can there be power in a word spoken, to raise the dead, cure diseases, &c.
Therefore, though we know not the utmost extent of the power of nature : yet we certainly know what is
d This is evident, since if the power were naturally in the words, the same results would be produced by every repetition of those words, The failure of this, proves the miracle.
contrary to the nature of several such things as we do know.
And, therefore, though we may be cheated, and imposed upon in many seeming miracles and wonders; yet there are some things wherein we may be certain.
But further, the Deists acknowledge a God, of an almighty power, who made all things.
Yet they would put it out of his power, to make any revelation of his will to mankind. For if we cannot be certain of any miracle, how should we know when God sent any thing extraordinary to us?
Nay, how should we know the ordinary power of nature, if we knew not what exceeded it? If we know not what is natural, how do we know there is such a thing as nature? That all is not supernatural, all miracles, and so disputable, till we come to downright scepticism, and doubt the certainty of our outward senses, whether we see, hear, or feel; or all be not a miraculous illusion !
Which, because I know the Deists are not inclined to do, therefore I will return to pursue my argument upon the conviction of our outward senses, desiring only this, that they would allow the senses of other men to be as certain as their own; which they cannot refuse, since without this they can have no certainty of their own.
XI. Therefore, from what has been said, the cause is summed up shortly in this; that though we cannot see what was done before our time, yet by the marks which I have laid down concerning the certainty of matters of fact done before our time, we may be as much assured of the truth of them, as if we saw them with our eyes ; because whatever matter of fact has all the four marks before-mentioned, could never have been invented; nor received but upon the conviction of the outward senses, of all those who did receive it; as before is demonstrated. And therefore this topic which I have chosen, does stand upon the conviction even of men's outward senses, And since you have confined me to one topic, I have not insisted upon the other, which I have only named.
XII. And now it lies upon the Deists, if they would appear as men of reason, to show some matter of fact of former ages, which they allow to be true, that has greater
evidence of its truth, than the matters of fact of Moses and of Christ; otherwise they cannot, with any show of reason, reject the one, and yet admit of the other.
But I have given them greater latitude than this, for I have shown such marks of the truth of the matters of fact of Moses and of Christ, as no other matters of fact of those times, however true, have, but these only; and I put it upon them to show any forgery that has all these marks.
This is a short issue. Keep them close to this. This determines the cause all at once. · Let them produce their Appollonius Tyanæus, whose life was put into English by the execrable Charles Blount,* and compared, with all the wit and malice he
* The hand of that scorner, which durst write such outrageous blasphemy against his Maker, the Divine Vengeance has made his own executioner. Which I would not have mentioned (because the like judgment has befallen others) but that the Theistical Club have set this up as a principle, and printed a vindication of this same Blount for murdering himself, by way of justification of self-murder; which some of them have since, as well as formerly, horridly practised upon themselves. Therefore this is no common judgment to which they are delivered, but a visible mark set upon them, to show how far God has forsaken them; and as a caution to all Christians, to beware of them, and not to come near the tents of these wicked men, lest they perish in their destruction, both of soul and body,
e APOLLONIUS, called Tyanæus, from the place of his birth, Tyana, in Cappadocia, is known only from the fabulous account of him fabricated by PHILOSTRATUS, and one or two scattered notices of other writers. His birth is placed about the beginning of the first century of the Chris
At sixteen years of age he is said to have embraced the tenets of Pythagoras, and to have become a strict observer of the course of life prescribed by that philosopher. The marvellous stories concerning him with which the book of PhilosTRATUS is filled, are not only wholly unsupported by evidence, but in the highest degree absurd and ridiculous, and often contradictory. He is said, for instance, to have gone
years without speaking, and yet is represented as having, in that very interval, quelled several seditions in Cilicia and Pamphylia.
Eusebius has left a treatise against a certain HIEROCLES, an opponent of Christianity in the fourth century, from which it appears that that writer had endeavoured to disparage the claims of Christ, by comparing him with Apollonius.
The life of Apollonius by Philostratus has been completely refuted, in a work devoted to that subject by the learned Louis Ellis Du Pin. He proves 1. That the history of Apollonius is wholly devoid of evidence; 2. That the work of Philostratus is not a history, but a romance; 3. That the miracles ascribed to Apollonius bear strong marks of falsehood, and may all, without exception, be imputed to accident or fraud; 4. That the doctrines attributed to Apollonius are frequently at variance