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enlarged by the lapse of time. To the miracles of our Lord are now added those of the Apostles. And to the prophecies accomplished in himself, all the series of predictions which have been since fulfilled, and are now fulfilling, in the world. We also adjoin the proofs arising from the propagation of the gospel, and the obvious benefits it has conferred on mankind. These topics will form the subject of the present and the four succeeding Lectures.'
Our Lord's doctrine and character, as well as the divine effects of his religion, will form branches of the internal evidences to be considered in a further division of our Course. .
Thus we are coming to the grounds of a divine faith, fixed on a divine testimony. The authenticity and credibility of our books place them on the footing of other undoubted histories; the supernatural credentials will give to the subject matter of them a divine authority.
We begin with the miracles of our Lord and his Apostles.
And here three questions may be proposed : Did the wonderful actions ascribed to Christ and the Apostles really take place? Were these actions undoubtedly miraculous ? Was there
• Lect, viii.. xi. 2 Lect. xiv.-xviii.
such a connexion between them and the religion they attest, as to prove that that religion was from God?
If these questions are satisfactorily answered, we shall have demonstrated all that the case requires; for we shall have shown that THE FACTS WERE DONE—that THE FACTS WERE MIRACULOUS—that THE FACTS PROVE - THE TRUTH OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION. :
Let me beg the attention of every candid and sincere hearer, (for I address no other,) whilst I detail the proofs of these points, though they will necessarily throw us back on the last lecture. Some repetition on so great a topic, if unavoidable, is a small evil.
1. To ask whether the wonderful actions ascribed to our Saviour and his apostles REALLY TOOK PLACE, is to move again the question which we have already settled. For it is in a good measure the same thing as to ask, Whether the credibility of the gospel history includes the credibility of the works which are the most prominent part of it, and on which the whole rests. If the history be not true as to these, it is not true at all. The wonderful deeds are not subordinate and insulated parts of the account, mere appendages ; but the main features. The trust-worthiness of the historians is pledged to the particular events which we call miracles, as the foundation of the entire narrative. The question then with regard to them is of the last moment. To proceed in the clearest manner, let us first separate the wonderful actions from their causes, and view them simply as matters of history.
Take any miracles you please. For instance, at the marriage feast in Cana, our Lord is represented as having turned water into wine. At the same place he healed the son of a nobleman who was sick at Capernaum. On another occasion, when watched by the Pharisees, he ordered the man who had a withered hand, to stretch it forth and it became whole as the other. Again, he restored sight to blind Bartimeus; and he raised Lazarus, and the only son of a widowed mother at Nain, to life.
Now in each of these and the like examples of our Lord's wonderful works, there are two distinct and palpable facts, which were submitted to the observation of all the people, and of which they were competent judges. The water-pots of stone were filled with waterwhen the servants presented the same to the governor of the feast, it was wine. The nobleman left his son at Capernaum dying-he received on his return from our Lord, the certain tidings of his recovery. The man had indis
putably a withered hand-it was afterwards whole as the other. Bartimeus was blind-his sight was restored. Lazarus and the youth at Nain were dead; the one had been interred, the other was carried out on the bier as our Lord met him--both lived again.
So of all the other works which were performed by our Lord and his apostles, and which we consider to be miracles. At the least, certain plain, intelligible facts took place, which no one can dispute. All who were present witnessed and knew the previous state of the sufferers—the same persons witnessed and knew their subsequent altered condition. Whether a miracle was performed in each case, is another question. We are now concerned with the previous enquiry. . Did certain facts occur? Does the testimony to the facts of the state previous to the interference of our Lord and bis apostles, and to the facts of the state subsequent to it does this testimony deserve belief? Were the events themselves such as are recorded ?
These remarks may be applied to the greatest of all miracles--the resurrection of our Lord. It resolves itself likewise into two facts. Did the apostles see and know the death and burial of their Master? This is one fact. Did they see and know the same Jesus
their Master alive again-did they converse with him for forty days—and behold him ascending into heaven? Thus the whole question of the truth of the gospel miracles falls back on the credibility. A few remarks will show that that credibility embraces them, and that they are indissolubly connected with the general credit due to the evangelical history.
1. For all that we stated, in our last lecture, as to the number and character of the witnesses to our Lord's history, as to their simplicity, uprightness, disinterestedness and purity of life, not only applies, but applies chiefly, and in the first place, to these very actions. It was not to doctrines, but to these specific facts occurring under their own eyes, and submitted to their own examination, that they bear their testimony. It was for asserting especially the resurrection of their Master, the most astonishing of all the events in the evangelical history, that they endured suffering, reproach, persecution, death. By only not bearing testimony to this and the preceding miracles of their Lord, they might have avoided all suffering and reproach, and have lived in quiet, as we observed in the last lecture; nay, by detecting an imposture, if there had been any, they might have risen to reputation, honour, reward. And yet these twelve plain, honest