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rank or superiority, in any respect, precluded or discouraged free examination; are widely different from those wrought during the feeble infancy of a new religion, in the midst of opposition, by men in other respects obscure, challenging investigation, and forcing opponents to say, “This is “ the finger of God ;” “ This man doeth many “ miracles ;” “ That a notable miracle hath been “ done by them is manifest to all, and we cannot
deny it :"! thus driving them to persecution, and to calumniate the most undeniable miracles as the effect of magic and enchantment.
It is further granted that there may be cases, in which those events that appear to us miracles are insufficient to prove a divine mission.—When the worship of the One living and true God alone had been established in Israel, by most stupendous miracles and invisible evidences, no sign or miracle was to beconsidered as any argument to authorize the worship of idols : for it could not possibly outweigh, nay it could not be worthy of comparison with, the demonstration already given to the contrary ; but must be considered as a temptation.
If therefore real miracles could be wrought in support of any doctrine, manifestly and expressly contrary to "the oracles of God;” they would not prove the truth of that doctrine. But the Lord has graciously so ordered it, that careful examination has hitherto sufficed to distinguish the miracles, by which new impostures have sprung up, almost like yearly almanacs, to have their short notice, and the admiration of the superficial; and then, like almanacs out of date, to be neglected and forgotten; from such miracles as introduced the Mosaic dispensation, and afterwards the religion of Jesus Christ. Yet each of these successive impostures has deluded some, or many; and often they disgrace the cause of truth, and seem to weaken the credibility of scripture, through the sanction given to them by some illjudging religious characters.
1 Ex. viii. 19. John xi. 47. Acts iv. 16.
Deut. xii. 1-4.
Were a few apparent, or even real miracles, the only proof, which Christians can adduce, in support of their holy religion: and could it be as easily proved, as it is confidently asserted, that this religion is subversive of that contained in the Old Testament; plausibility at least would be given to the arguments of a Jew against them. But it is observable, that, amidst all the stupendous miracles wrought by Jesus and his apostles, they every where appealed to the Old Testament; alleging that “ thus it was written, and thus it “ must be.” 2
In this respect Christianity has an important advantage above the Mosaic dispensation ; because prophecies, during many ages introduced it: and not only were all other particulars respecting the Messiah and his kingdom, his laborious suffering life, and his violent death as a sacrifice for our sins, and his glorious resurrection and ascension,3 predicted even with minuteness, but
Deut. xii. 1-4.
John v. 35–47. 3 Ps. xvi. 8-10, Ixviii, 18. Is. lii. 4-12. Dan. ix. 24–27. Zech. xiji. 7.
his very miracles also were foretold. 1 Thus Jesus, when John the Baptist sent to inquire of him, “ Art thou He that cometh, or do we look for “ another?” answered, “ Go, and shew John “ again, those things which ye do see and hear: “ the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, “ the lepers are cleansed, the dead are raised up, " and the poor have the gospel preached unto “ them.” 2 Whereas Moses could appeal to no preceding prophecies, as marking out any particulars of his mission. 3
The religion of Moses, therefore, stands more singly on the demonstration of undeniable miracles, than that of Jesus does : and he who allows that Jesus wrote the miracles recorded of him, and his apostles those recorded of them, and then says, 'miracles are a poor and miserable defence,'- -. &c, (p. 41. 1. 10, 11,) does what in him lieth to undermine the authority and divine mission of Moses, and to give advantage to infidel opposers of the whole scripture.
Let it be observed also, that the two miracles which Mr. C. mentions, intimating that Jesus should have wrought them, (p. 42. I. 7,) were not performed by Moses; but by Joshua and Elijah, after the religion of Moses had been fully established. 4
If Moses had gone to Israel and tọ Pharaoh exactly as he did in all other respects; if they had answered, “ The Lord hath not appeared unto
i Is. xxix. 18. xxxv. 4–6. ? Is. lxi. 1-3. Matt. xi. 4–6. Luke vii. 20—23.
3 Gen. xv. 13-16. Ex. xii. 40–42. * Josh. x. 12, 13. 1 Kings xviii. 22–38. 2 Kings i. 10–15. VOL. IX.
“ thee,” and demanded some proof of his mission; and if he could have produced none, except the private token given to encourage his own faith, " This shall be a token unto thee that I have sent “ thee, when thou hast brought forth this people “out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this “ mountain :”! it may, I suppose, be spoken confidently, that there would have been an end of the whole business; except that Pharaoh would have punished him as a deceiver, and have oppressed the people more severely for forming designs of recovering their liberty. The token would have come too late, either to induce Pharaoh to let the people go, or Israel to venture on leaving Egypt. -But when, in proof that Jehovah had sent him, Moses gave the appointed miraculous signs to the people ; and when, by the lifting up, or the waving, of his shepherd's rod, the waters of Egypt were turned into blood; and tremendous judgments, denounced beforehand, followed one another in rapid succession ; which were also removed at his word; the Lord God almighty bare witness to his mission; so that even Pharaoh and the Egyptians could not disprove it, or indeed doubt of it.
If, however, the magicians had been able, by their art, to remove each judgment at once, and to repair the damages of it, the case might have still remained doubtful : but when, after aping a few of his miracles, they were constrained to confess, “ This is the finger of God;" when “the “ boil was on them, as well as on the other “ Egyptians ;” and when they were driven away,
· Exod, iii. 12.
defeated, and covered with ignominy: the difference between Moses, who spake in the name of Jehovah, and these impotent contemptible jugglers, was fully demonstrated; and “ their
folly was made manifest to all men.”
It is manifest, that Moses himself, and all the subsequent writers of the Old Testament, appeal to the miracles wrought in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness, as the foundation of their religion. Something has already been adduced on this topic, and I will not enlarge.
66 Hath “ God assayed to go and take him a nation from “ the midst of another nation, by temptations, by
signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a
mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and “by great terrors; according to all that the Lord
your God did for you before your eyes? Unto “ thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know, " that the Lord he is God.” “How long will “ it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which “ I have shewed among them?”3 These miracles are also represented as exciting convictions in all the neighbouring nations, which were not forgotten for ages afterwards. 4
It is readily allowed, that this was far from the only proof that the Lord spake by Moses: and careful examiners find decisive internal evidence of his divine legation, pervading the whole of the books written by him. The sublime and truly rational views of the nature, perfections, and
1 2 Tim. üïi, 9.
· Deut. iv. 34, 35. Num. xiv. 11. Comp. Mark ix, 19. John xii. 37. See also Num. xvi. 28--30. xvii, 2-10. • Exod. xv. 14-16. Josh. ii. 9-1). 1 Sam. iv. 8.