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principle they had acted upon from their earliest years P. Yet the fact is, that he did prevail on multitudes to do so; and therefore he must have had means of conviction superior to all human eloquence or reasoning; that is, he must have convinced his hearers by the miracles he wrought, that all power in heaven and in earth was given to him, and that every precept he delivered and every doctrine he taught, was the voice of God himself. Without this it is utterly impossible to give any rational account of his success. In order to set this argument in a still stronger point of view, let us consider what the effect actually was in a case where a new religion was proposed without any support from miracles. That same impostor Mahomet, to whom I before alluded, began his mission with every advantage that could arise from personal figure, from insinuating manners, from a commanding eloquence, from an ardent enterprising spirit, from considerable wealth, and from powerful connexions. Yet with all these advantages, advantages, and with every artifice and every dexterous contrivance to recommend his new religion to his countrymen, in a space of three years he made only about six converts, and those principally of his own family, relations, and most intimate friends. And his progress was but very slow for nine years after this, till he began to make use of force; and then his victorious arms, not his arguments, carried his religion triumphantly over almost all the eastern world. It appears therefore, that without the assistance either of miracles or of the sword, no religion can be propagated with such rapidity, and to such an extent, as the Christian was, both during our Saviour's lifetime, and after his death. For there is, I believe, no instance in the history of mankind of such an effect being produced, without either the one or the other. Now of force we know that Jesus never did make use; the unavoidable consequence is, that the miracles ascribed to him were actually wrought by him. 4. These 4. These miracles being wrought not in the midst of friends, who were disposed to favour them, but of most bitter and determined enemies, whose passions and whose prejudices were all up in arms, all vigorous and active against them and their author; we may rest assured that no false pretence to a supernatural power, no frauds, no collusions, no impositions, would be suffered to pass undetected and unexposed ; that every single miracle would be most critically and most rigorously sifted and enquired into, and no art left unemployed to destroy their credit and counteract their effect. And this in fact we find to be the case. Look into the ninth chapter of St. John, and you will see with what extreme care and diligence, with what anxiety and solicitude, the Pharisees examined and reexamined the blind man that was restored to sight by our Saviour, and what pains they took to persuade him, and to make him say, that he was not restored to sight

by Jesus. “They

“They brought,” says St. John, “ to the pharisees, him that aforetime was blind; and the pharisees asked him how he had received his sight. And he said unto them, Jesus put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed and did see. A plain and simple and honest relation of the fact. But the Jews, not content with this, called for his parents, and asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind P How then doth he now see? His parents, afraid of bringing themselves into danger, very discreetly answered, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but by what means he now seeth, we know not, or who hath opened his eyes we know not; he is of age, ask him, he shall speak for himself. They then called the man again, and said to him, Give God the praise; we know that this man (meaning Jesus) is a sinner. The man's answer is admirable: Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not; but this I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see. Since the world began, was it not known that any Vo L. I. L IIlall man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. And they answered him and said, Thou wast altogether born in sin, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.” A very effectual way it must be confessed of confuting a miracle! The whole of this narrative (from which I have only selected a few of the most striking passages) is highly curious and instructive, and would furnish ample matter for a variety of very important remarks. But the only use I mean to make of it at present is to observe, that it proves, in the clearest manner, how very much awake and alive the Jews were to every part of our Saviour's conduct. It shows that his miracles were presented not to persons prepossessed and prejudiced in his favour, not to inattentive or negligent or credulous spectators, but to acute and inquisitive and hostile observers, to men disposed and able to detect imposture wherever it could be found. And it is utterly impossible that the miracles of ~ Christ

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