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others, that it was the Caufe of God in which they were engaged, and his Truth which they delivered.
They could not be deceived them felves, undoubtedly, in a thing of this nature; they could not be ignorant, whether they were real Miracles which they -wrought, or not; they muft needs know whether their own Pretences were true or falfe; and whether they could speak the Languages, and do the Won ders, which the World believed them to do and speak; and they could not but know by what Power and Means they were enabled to perform all their miraculous Works.
And these Works were of that nature, and done in that manner, that they could impofe upon no Man by them, they could not make Men believe that they fpoke all kinds of Languages, if they did not speak them, nor that they cured all forts of Diseases, if they had not cured them: Nothing is more cafie, than for a Man to know a Language that he under ftands, when he hears it, or than for Men that were fick, to know that they are recovered, when they feel themselves well. And the manner of their performing thefe Miracles, was the moft publick and notorious, in refpect of the Time, and Place, and the Perfons on whom they were wrought. The general Expectation, that the kingdom of Heaven was immediately to appear, Luke xix. 11. made the refort to the great Feftivals of the Paffover and Pentecoft to be exceeding great.
Our Saviour had been crucified at the Feaft of the Paffover, in the fight of the Jews and Profelytes, who were met together from all Parts of the World at that Solemnity: And but fifty Days after, at the next folemn Feftival of the Jews, in the very fame City where he had been crucified, in the prefence of multitudes of People of all Nations and Languages, which came to keep the Feast of Pentecoft, the Apoftles declared to them in all their feveral Tongues, that this U 2
fame Jefus was by the Almighty Power of God rais'd from the Dead, and that they were impower'd by Him to speak all thofe Languages. The Apostles were at the fame time taken notice of to be Galileans, Men of low Birth, and of no Education. St. John, in particular, was known to the High-Priest himself, and the reft were all known to many that heard them; their Parentage, and Place of Abode, and manner of Life, might eafily be enquired into; for they were no Strangers, nor in a far Country: From all thefe it appear'd, that it was impoffible that they fhould be capable of speaking any of thofe Languages, but by Infpiration; and to fpeak all Languages, is a thing which no Man ever could hope to arrive at by Study or Conversation, though he fhould make it the whole Business of his Life. And therefore this could leaft of all be fufpected of Men of mean Employments, and who got their Livelihod by their daily Labour and Industry.
The Miracles which the Apoftles wrought, were likewife in the most publick Places of the City, and in the most publick manner, upon Perfons who had been moft remarkable, and generally taken notice of for their Infirmities. St. Peter, by pronouncing only thefe Words, In the name of Jefus Chrift of Nazareth, rife up and walk, cured a Man of above forty Years of Age, who was known to have been lame from his Birth, and was carried and laid daily at one of the Gates of the Temple, where there was wont to be the greateft refort of People, to ask an Alms of them that entred into the Temple: And this Man being immediately cured, went with St. Peter and St. John into the Temple, and all the people faw him walking and praifing God, and they knew that it was he which fat for alms at the beautiful gate of the temple, Acts. iii. 9, 10. And the Rulers of the Jews enquired into the Matter and upon Examination, when they faw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned
and ignorant men, they marvelled, and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jefus; and beholding the man which was healed ftanding with them, they could fay nothing against it, but confefs'd among themselves, that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them, is manifeft to all them that dwell in Jerufalem, and we cannot deny it, Acts iv. 13, 14, 16.
By this and other evident and publick Miracles, the miraculous Power of the Apostles became fo much admired and magnify'd by the People, that they broughtforth the fick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the leaft the fhadow of Peter passing by, might over-fhadow fome of them: There came alfo a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerufalem, bringing fick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean Spirits, and they were healed every one, Acts v. 15, 16. And in this manner the Apoffles continued feveral Years in Jerufalem, doing Miracles upon all Occafions, and before all People. And the fame miraculous Power manifefted it felf at Ephefus, where God wrought Special miracles by the hands of Paul, fo that from his body were brought unto the fick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the difeafes departed from them, and the evil Spirits went out of them, Acts xix. 11, 12. So impoffible was it for the Apoftles to deceive those, before whom their Miracles were fo frequently and publickly wrought. And yet it must be much more impoffible, if any thing more impoffible can be fuppofed, to deceive thofe, upon whom their Miracles had the Effect of reftoring to them the Ufe of their Feet, their Sight, and their Health, and even of raifing them again from the Dead
And indeed, none of the Adverfaries of old of the Christian Religion ever denied, but that Miracles were wrought by the Apostles; f they only difputed the Power by which they were wrought; they never
queftion'd the Reality of the Miracles themselves. The Books of the New Teftament, which give an Account of thefe wondrous Works, were written foon after the Things related had been done, and thefe Books were in the hands of Heathens and Jews, as well as of Chriftians; and neither the Jews nor the Heathens could deny but that fuch Works had been done; they only cavill'd at the Power and Authority by which they were wrought; which, how groundless and unreasonable foever it were, yet was the only Evasion they could have, when there were fo many Chriftians, if they had denied the Matter of Fact, who did the like Miracles every day to confute them. For,
2. The Apoftles not only wrought Miracles themfelves, but convey'd to others a Power of working them. Thus when St. Peter was fent for to Cornelius, the Holy Ghoft fell on all them which heard the word, and they fpake with Tongues, and magnified God, A&sx. 44, 46. And fo at Ephefus, the Holy Ghoft came on those whom St. Paul had laid his hands upon, and they fpake with Tongues, and prophefied, Acts xix. 6. And this miraculous Power was in that evident manner receiv'd by the laying on of the hands of the Apoftles, that Simon Magus offer'd them Money to purchase it, Acts viii. 18. Now as the Apostles could neither be deceiv'd themfelves, in the Miracles which they did, nor deceive thofe, before whom they were perform'd, and upon whom they were wrought; fo certainly they could never deceive fuch as they conferr'd this Gift upon. When they not only did all forts of Miracles, and fpoke all Languages themfelves, but convey'd a Power likewife upon others, of fpeaking and doing, as themselves did; this was ftill a farther Evidence that all their Pretences were real beyond all poffibility of Deceit.
Deceivers would never have done their Miracles fo operly, and fo frequently, at fuch a time and place; they would never have pretended to a Gift of Tongues
at a Festival, where Men from all parts of the World were met together; fo that they could attempt to fpeak in no ftrange language, but fome prefent would have discover'd them, if they had not been able to fpeak it. But they would leaft of all have pretended to enable others in an inftant to work the fame Wonders, and fpeak the fame Tongues, only by laying their hands upon them. Men that would attempt all this, though they were unable to perform it, must be fo far from being capable of difcourfing and writing as the Apostles did, that they must be void even of common Sense: and if they could fucceed in their de signs, and make the World believe that they did act and fpeak in this manner, when they did not, they must have a Power over the Understandings and Senfes of all with whom they convers'd; which is as strange even as this miraculous Power it felf. They must work Miracles either upon the Objects of Sense, or upon the Senfes themselves: for in this cafe, they could never have been able fo much as to deceive without a Miracle; and fince God would never have empower'd them to work Miracles to deceive, we are certain that their Miracles were all wrought for that intent and purpose, which they made profeffion of, and to confirm that Doctrine which they taught,
And this Power of Miracles, which now defcended from Heaven upon the Apoftles, and was convey'd by them to others, continued for fome Ages in the Church, and approv'd it felf to the worst Enemies of our Religion in fuch Inftances, as muft make them most concern'd to examine it. For as h the Chriftians had the Gift of Tongues, caft out Devils, and thereby converted thofe, out of whom they had been driven; as they foretold things to come, and cured Difeafes, and rais'd the Dead, who liv'd many years afterwards: fo feveral of the Primitive Writers witness,
h Iren. 1. 2. c. 57. 1. 5. c. 6. i Minut. Fælix. Lactant. 1. 2. c. 15. U 4 that