Imágenes de páginas

&c. [Apoc. xiii. 14.] The Second Beast doth great Wonders; fo that be maketh Fire to come down from Heaven upon the Earth, in the Sight of Men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the Earth by thofe Miracles which he had Power to do, in the Sight of the [other] Beast.

[xvi. 14.] The three unclean Spirits are the Spirits of Demons, working Miracles; which go forth unto the Kings of the Earth, and of the whole World, to gather them to the Battle of the great Day of God Almighty.

[Mat. xxiv. 24.] There fhall arife falfe Chrifts, and falfe Prophets, and shall fhew great Signs and Wonders; infomuch that, if it were poffible, they fball deceive the very Elect. Behold I have told you


[Conftitut. vi. 18.] There fhall come falfe Chrifts, and falfe Prophets, and shall fhew Signs in the Heaven, fo as if it were poffible, to deceive the Elect.

Now the Reason for inferting these Testimonies here, is to caution Chriftians against the later Antichriftian, Popish and Athanafian Pretences to fupernatural Powers and miraculous Operations, as Teftimonials to the Truth of their Doctrines. Not that they are all meer vain Pretences, and false Facts: For that cannot be supposed, unless the foregoing Predictions of our Saviour and his Apostles, which fo ftrongly foretell them, be fuppofed vain, and never to have been fulfilled; but that all true Chriftians, fhould take particular Notice of our Saviour's Words here, Behold I have told you before, and therefore ought not to suffer


themselves to be impofed upon by fuch deceitful and dæmoniacal Signs and Wonders, to colour over the groffeft Herefies, or Corruptions in Religion. The Cafe was the very fame of Old in the Contest between the Magicians and Mofes in Egypt; wherein the Magicians, by the Aid of their Dæmons, imitated three of Mofes's Miracles, and turned their Rods into Serpents, [Ex. vii. 11, 12.] and turned Water into Blood, [v. 22.] and brought Frogs; [vii. 7.] while upon the next Miracle of Moses, the Plague of Lice, the Divine Power interpofed, and reftrain'd thofe Dæmons from any more Pretences to vie with Mofes any longer. Nay thofe Magicians found, that as Mofes's Rod turned into a Serpent, swallowed up their Rods, [vii. 12.] so they confefs'd, that this laft Miracle was the Finger of God himself, [viii. 18, 19.] and was not to be contradicted by their Dæmoniacal Powers any longer; nay, they could not themselves, with all the Affiftance of their Dæmons, avoid the terrible Peftilence of Boils and Blains as we read, [xi. 11.] which Superiority of the Divine Power over all that the Dæmoniacal Powers can do, isjuftly and wifely infifted on by the great Mr. Lock, in his judicious Discourse of Miracles, as a certain Kgırýgiov of fuch Divine Powers in all fuch Contests, and an univerfal Diftinction between Miracles derived from God himself, and thofe derived from Dæmons. We have also a direct and ftrong Caution which God gave the Ifraelites, in this very Cafe, which fuppofed the Power of the Heathen Gods, or Dæmons, in producing Signs and Wonders, which might

0 4

of might come to pafs for their Deception into Idolatry, and fully expects that this folemn Prediction or Caution, like that of our Saviours already mentioned, fhould prevent fuch their Deception.

Deut. xiii. 1-5.] If there arife among you a Prophet or a Dreamer of Dreams, and giveth thee a Sign or a Wonder

[ocr errors]

2. And the Sign or the Wonder come to pass, whereof be spake to thee, faying, Let us go after other Gods, (which thou haft not known) and let us Serve them;

3. Thou shalt not hearken to the Words of that Prophet, or that Dreamer of Dreams: For the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your Heart, and with all your Soul.

4. Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his Commandments, and obey his Voice, and you shall ferve him, and cleave unto him.

5. And that Prophet, or that Dreamer of Dreams fhall be put to Death: (because he bath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, which brought you out of the Land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the Houfe of Bondage: [by fuch miraculous Works, many more in Number, and entirely fuperior to the pretended Signs and Wonders of the Magicians, derived from your Idols or Dæmons, the Idols themselves being drowned alfo, with their Worshippers by the God of Ifrael in the Red Sea ;] [Ex. xii. 12. to thrust thee out of the Way which the Lord thy God commanded thee to walk in ;] so shalt thou put the Evil away from the Midft of thee.


Now I have here particularly inferted this Difcourfe, because of the Delufions that have of late been occafioned from the Want of this moft material Distinction, between magical or Damoniacal Operations, and truly Divine Miracles, by the Athanafians and Papifts; and this very lately in two famous Inftances. A learned, and otherwise a very worthy Clergyman, Dr. Berriman by Name, has feveral Years infifted on a pretended Divine Atteftation to the Athanafian Doctrine, by certain Athanafians of the fifth Century, fpeaking after their Tongues had been cut out by the Arians. The Evidences for the Facts are, I think, fully fatisfactory: But being done fo long after the Divine Power of Miracles had been taken away from the Church, and the Dæmoniacal come in their Place, they were rather Confutations than Confirmations of that Athanafian Herefy. The French Janfenifts alfo, fome Years ago, made a mighty Ado with the miraculous Cures done by the dead Body of the Abbee Paris, near the City of Paris: And the Proofs feem alfo to me very numerous, and very fatisfactory, or rather entirely undeniable. Yet, because they seem to have ceased upon the Silence impofed upon the Partizans of the Janfenifts, by the Royal Authority; and because they were done fo very long after the ceafing of the really true, miraculous, or Divine Mira-. cles, and near the End of the Antichriftian Times themfelves, thefe Janfenifts cannot hence infer the Truth of any of their Tenets. As to the Diftinction of the Signs themselves, Divine or Dæmoniacal,

moniacal, the Author of the Recognitions affures us, [Recognit. iii. 59, 60] and this in the Name of St. Peter himself, that generally the Divine Signs tend to the Benefit of Mankind; while the other are useless and unprofitable. Only he adds, what comes up fully to the Cures of Abbee Paris, that • At the Conclufion of the World only, 'tis allow'd the evil One to intermix fome of the profitable Signs, i. e. to drive away Dæmons, and to cure Diseases; and that he will on that Account ⚫ be destroyed, as one that has gone beyond his • Bounds, and is divided against himself. And

therefore is it, that the Lord foretold, that in the laft Days there would be fo great a Trial, that • therein, if it were poffible the Elect themselves • would be deceived: [Matt. xxiv. 24.] that upon this confounding together the Characteristicks of the Signs; even those that seem'd well skilled in difcerning of Spirits, and distinguishing Miracles, must be in Confufion alfo."

But now, after all, to leave this Digreffion, and to return to my main Design, it may properly be here afked, if Things are in this perillous State, and we have the jufteft Cause to believe that the Divine Vengeance is already begun, and that we are in the uttermoft Jeopardy of being foon and fuddenly destroyed by it, What shall we do to be faved? How shall we be able to escape these terrible Calamities? I anfwer, that tho' it has appeared all along that the few really good Chriftians, will be preferved from those Judgments, by a particnlar Providence, when [Matt. xxiv. 40, 41.] two fhall be

« AnteriorContinuar »