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CH A P IV.
Farther proofs of the truth of the miracles
wrought by Christ. ift Proof: A power bestowed by Chrifi on his apostles, and on. feventy-two disciples, to work miracles in his
2d Proof: The calumnies of the Feres in cavilling at certain circumstances of the miracles of Christ, demonstrate their truthi , 3d Proof: the jealousy of the inhabia
of Nuzareth. 4th Proof: The reproaches which Chrift made to the towns where be had performed many miracles, invincibly establish their certainty and evidence. 5th Proof: Ancient tradition of the Jews, which allows the miracles of Jesus Christ, but attributes them to the pronouncing of the name of God, or to magic, Confutation of the Jewish calumny with respect to magic,
on his apoftles, and on seventy-two
Should be very prolix, if I attempted
to shew that many other miracles of Jesus Christ bore unquestionable characteristics of truth, and that the more we dwell on the circumstances, the more obvious will their cer
Part tainty appear ; but I cannot forbear taking noIV. tice of one that is very singular; and till then
'unheard of, which contains an infinity of others; I mean the power that Christ invested his apostles with, to perform miracles in his name, when he sent them, two by two, to preach the gospel in all Judea. « He gave “ them, says Saint Matthew of one of the “ twelve that was sent, power against unclean
spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all
manner of sickness, and all manner of dif“ ease. Preach, says he, that the kingdom " of heaven is at hand.
at hand. Heal the sick, raise “ the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out de-« vils: freely ye have received, freely give.”
Was there ever an example of such a commiflion ? and in what terms was it bestowed ? every word is a source of prodigies. All nature fubmits to men hitherto unknown: death is comprehended within the extent of their power, and devils themselves acknowledge their sovereignty. What then must he be, who not only enjoys an absolute power over all nature, but even subjects it to his fervanţs ? must we demand miracles of him, who, by a single word, bestows on his ministers the power of doing in his name every thing, which they shall judge necessary ? and can we doubt his being the source of the whole power, which he confers on his ambassadors, since to communicate it to them, no more was neceffary than the mere act of his will.
But Mat. . 1, , 8.
But is it true (they will say) that he actually CHAP. did communicate this power? the proof is easy. IV. We need only enquire of the apostles whether their commiffion was ineffectual, or whether it was serious and real ? “When they went out,
says Saint Mark*, they preached that men “ Thould repent. They call out many devils ;
they anoint with oil many that were fick, << and healed them. They went, says Saint
Luke f, through the towns preaching the
gospel, and healing every where." This is evident, the effect corresponds with the words: the name of Christ alone every where performed miracles.
And indeed it would have been, on his part, a very certain method of destroying the confidence which the apostles had placed in him, to enjoin them every where to cure diseases, lepers, those that were poffeffed, and even to raise the dead, by invoking his name, and afterwards to exhibit the imbecillity of that impotent name by many essays, which could never succeed.' The apostles would have been a thousand times .convinced, by their own experience, that the power he conferred on them, was only imaginary. They would have reasonably concluded from thence, that the gospel, which they preached, was false. And at their return they must have complained of being so many times exposed to ridicule and public shame, when they rafhly attempted to cure diseases by a fruitless method.
PART These reflections, substantial in themselves, IV, receive an additional strength from the fecond ramiffion, which Christ made of feventy-two
difciplest, whom he sent two by two as the apostles, to go before him into those places, where he designed to preach in person. For he gave them the fame instructions, and the fame power of working miracles, as to the apostles; and it is absolutely contrary to all probability, that these new ambassadors should receive a similar commission, if the first failed of success, and if it had been attended with confusion to the twelve apostles, and to Christ himself: who would have overturned his affairs and discredited his doctrine, if he had sent impostors and fanatics before him ; and would have prejudiced the minds of people against him, instead of preparing them with docility to receive him ; if two miffions, one after another, had performed nothing extraordinary and marvellous in his name, though they had greatly exalted his efficacy and power.
Wherefore it is written, that the seventytwo disciples experienced the promises of Christ to be exact and true; and “*they re“ turned with joy, saying, Lord, even the « devils are subject unto us through thy name. “ And Jesus said unto them, I beheld Satan
as lightning fall from heaven.-Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the
spirits are subject unto you: but rather re$ joice, because your names are written in
« heaven," * Ibid. x. 17, &C.
* Luke X. 1.--9.
* heaven.” By these last words Christ adds CHAP. the utmost degree of certainty to the miracles, IV. and to the power conferred on his deputies : for by exhorting them not to place their confidence therein, and not to make them the chief object of their joy, he supposes the miracles equally known by all, and liable to inspire his disciples with a secret elation of heart, if they were not checked by the greater expectances, and more fubftantial benefits promised to the humble and meek,
Jews, in cavilling at certain circum-
ERE it necessary, after so many
proofs of the miracles of Christ, to summon his enemies to evidence the truth thereof, we should see, that they have been constrained to acknowledge it, and that their very calumnies declare it. *"He casts out de“ vils, they say, but it is by the prince of devils. “ He does on the fabbath-day, what is unlaw“ful f. He commands a paralytic of thirty eight years to arise and carry his bed on a day
* s« The scribes faid, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince 66 of the devils he casteth out devils." Mark iii. 22. Luke xi. 15.
† “Wherefore the Jews persecuted Jefus, because he did is there things on the fabbath-day."