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Contingency, in either Cafe we readily discern that it cannot be the Refult of human Wisdom. For the Event, in the former Cafe, is too remote to be perceived by human Sight, and in the latter, lies concealed behind fuch Obftacles as no mortal Eye can pierce through. We cannot ftretch over the immense Distance by which it is divided from Us in one Cafe, nor trace out those intricate Windings that lead to it in the other. When therefore we fee fuch an Event, which is plainly out of the Reach of human Discernment, as clearly defcribed in the Prophecy of it, as if it had gone before the Defcription, we perceive that it must come from that all-wife Being before whom alone all Things and Events are laid open and naked, whofe Knowledge paffes beyond all conceivable Bounds of Time or Space, and who fees the whole Series of future Beings unfolded before they have Exiftence. Here now grows the Teftimony of a divine Miffion in Behalf of him, for whofe Sake the Prophecy is given. The Wisdom of God undeniably witneffeth his Truth, and proclaims the Juftice of his Pretenfions. He brings a Ray of Light, which could be borrowed from no one elfe but from the Father of Lights. And therefore the Virtue of Prophecy lies here, that its Teftimony is manifeftly the Teftimony of divine Knowledge.

LET US now in like Manner endeavour to difcover where'the Virtue of Miracles lies. We behold an Effect produced, which is manifeftly beyond the Power of thofe fenfible Means used


in its Production, We must readily fee that it cannot be the Work of any natural Caufe, or of any human Agent. For no Efficacy of Nature can produce any other Effect than barely that which is adequate to the Power of those Means or Causes it fets to Work. Neither can any Art of Man add to natural Caufes that Force which they are naturally deftitute of, fo as to enable them to effect what they are naturally incapable of effecting. If, for Inftance, a Piece of Clay be naturally unable to restore Sight to the blind, no human Power can enrich it with that Virtue which Nature has denied it. We may indeed, by changing their Texture, make many Things Inftruments of that for which they were unfit under a different Form. But even this Power is limited under certain Laws of Nature; And the utmost that our Abilities can pretend to, is fometimes to affift Nature in its Operations, and to footh it as it were, into Action, by tempting it to bring forth that Energy it strove to conceal, and by putting it in a proper Pofture for exerting the greatest Force with which it is endowed. When therefore fuch Operations appear as far exceed the Powers of Nature and the Skill of Man united, difcerning the Impotency of all created Beings, We can folve them no otherwise than by recurring to that fupreme Being who hath created all thefe Things, and bringeth out their Noft by Number: Who encreaseth Strength to them that have no Might. Hence arifeth the Teftimony of Miracles for the divine Miffion of him in whose Р


Behalf they are wrought. The Power of God undeniably witneffeth his Truth, and proclaims the Justice of his Pretenfions. And therefore the Virtue of Miracles lies here, that their Teftimony is manifeftly the Teftimony of divine


THIS then is common to both Kinds of Evidence that they are Manifestations of the divine Interpofition in Favour of his Pretenfions to whom, or for whofe Sake, they are vouchfafed. But they differ in the Methods of making this Interpofition known. They both lead to the Difcovery of the fame great Firft-Mover, but by different Ways. Prophecy fhews him as the great Lawgiver of the Universe, as He to whom alone the Volumes of Futurity are expanded, and to whom alone belongs the Privilege of feeing and directing every Movement of Nature, and beholding every Event with which the Womb of Time is pregnant. Miracles lay bare the Hand of the great Ruler of the Universe, and fhew the awful Majesty of him whofe Fiat is a Law to the obedient World, who commands all the Springs of Nature, and bends them to his Will. He, for whom Prophecy fpeaks, brings for his Credentials a Secret which could come only from the Cabinet-Council of Heaven: He, whofe Claim is upheld by Miracles, demands Credit from Us by Virtue of a Power which none but the Almighty could delegate. In a Word, Prophecy demonftrates God's Patronage of a Caufe by Virtue of his Omniscience, and Miracles by Virtue of his Omnipotence.


WE fee now wherein the Force of these Two different Kinds of Evidence confifts, what they have in common, and in what they are diftinguished. Whence the Method of comparing them together in Order to discover where the Superiority lies, is easy. For, fubftituting that wherein their Powers confift, the Comparison will be betwixt thefe Attributes of God, and the Question will become, which of the Two is the more convincing Argument of the Countenance and Concurrence of that God to whom they both belong. Let Us afk Ourselves then, does a Difplay of the infinite Wisdom make Us acknowledge God's Prefence fooner than the stupendous Operations of his outstretched Arm? Or are the Wonders of his Power clearer Demonstrations of his attending Favour and Protection, than the illuftrious Records of his Wifdom? In whatever Hand We now entrust the Balance, I am perfwaded that He, who holds it, will declare for an Equipollency. For the Attributes of the Deity are all alike his own, inseparable, and incommunicable.

BUT though in their own Natures the Power of Prophecy and Miracles is equal, yet they may not always feem fo to our Apprehenfions. Our Minds are not all alike affected with the fame Things. Whether it be from fome original and native Caft in their Frame, or the Influence of that bodily Machine to which they are united; or whether Commerce with others, Habit, and Education impreffes the Biafs upon them, it is P 2


certain that how foever they have contracted it, there is a peculiar Turn in the Minds of Men by which fome are inclined to receive Pleasure and Conviction from one Kind of Argument more readily than from another, and to be most easily wrought upon by that, with which others are lefs moved. The fame Truths become more attractive and amiable to their Understandings when placed in one Light than in another, as the fame Objects do to their Sight. And to all both are most agreeable by being shewn in new and various Lights.

BUT to Us especially, who live at a Distance from the Times when the Prophecies were compleated, and the Miracles wrought, who feel not their Efficacy by fenfible, but by rational Impreffions, there may be another Reason affigned for fome Difference in them. For though the Manifestations of the divine Wisdom, and the divine Power, when both are clearly felt, might make us equally fenfible of God's Interpofition, yet the Steps which lead to the clear Apprehenfion of them may not be equally eafy to all. When we are once convinced that there were Prophecies given out and compleated in the Perfon of our Saviour, and that there were Miracles wrought in Vindication of his Doctrine, they may seem to our Understandings equipollent Proofs of his Divine Miffion; but then the Way to this Conviction may not be in both Cafes equally obvious. In Order to be convinced that there were Miracles wrought in Proof of our Saviour's


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