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not in another ? when the fame end is to be answered thereby. If an honest upright Papist may deceive, may give a false teftimony to promote the interest of religion ; then why may not an honest upright Protestant act the same part, to answer the same end ? According to St. Paul's practice, I think, it is plain, that veracity and truth may give place to disimulation, when the cause of God and religion requires it; then proclamation of a miracle wrought may be made and attested, if it can be done with safety, when it may serve to work the conviction of unbelievers ; tho', in fact there had been no such thing ; I say, according to St. Paul's conduet, this may be done, at least, the question is, why should it not ? seeing the same end is served in both, veracity and truth are equally violated in both, and one is not more mischievous and hurtful than the other. However, some of the miracles said to be wrought by the Church of Rome are not only allowed to have been well attested, by having men of honesty and integrity for their vouchers ; but the facts or miracles themselves are allowed by some to have been wrought, confonant to such attestation ; and thus Popery seems to be
proved, by the evidence of miracles, to be truth and true religion, whilft it stands condemned as Antichriftian. But then, to avoid this unlucky consequence, and to prevent miracles from being proper evidences in the present case, they have been distinguished into miracles of truth and miracles of a lye, which seems to render them useless as evidences. For as no mark attends miracles, by which they may be distinguished, and certainly known whether they be connected with truth, or falshood; so no evidence can arise from any miracle for one or the other; and in consequence, the very argument drawn from miracles becomes abortive. From what has been observed, I think, the miracles said to be wrought fince the second
prove too much, by proving popery to be truth and true Christianity; or else they prove too little, viz. nothing at all in the case before us.
Upon the whole of this argument, I observe, that if miracles are admitted as proper evidences of the truth and divinity of doctrines or propositions ; then they must be such evidences to all doctrines and propolitions that have been promulged by the operator, at least, all that have been promulged
by him after the exercise of such power. For as miraculous power is not more connected with, relative to, or dependent upon one doctrine or proposition, than upon another ; therefore, it seems to follow, that if miracles are proper evidences of the truth and divinity of one doctrine or proposition which hath been promulged by the operator, they, of course, become such evidences to all other doctrines or propositions that may be promulged by him. And if this be really the case, then whoever works a miracle, does, from that instant, become both infallible and impeccable, he can neither err bimfelf, nor impofe upon others; I say, this, of necessity, must be the case. For were it to be admitted, that he who works a miracle, is, after the operation, both fallible and peccable, is liable to err himself, and to impose upon others, then the miracle wrought cannot be a test of truth, because it is not a pledge of the superior knowledge and veracity of the promulger, in the case to which it is applied, but these must be trusted to, and relied upon, the same as if no miraculous power had been exercised at all. The exercise of miraculous power does not shew, in the least, that the operator has more knowVOL. II.
ledge, or is more worthy to be trusted, after the exercise of it than before, or that he is more so than other men. If it should be faid, that though every miracle-worker is fallible, and therefore is liable to err , yet
may well be expected, that be who is invested with miraculous or divine
is invested with superior or divine knowledge also. Answer: this expectation, according to St. Paul, is groundless ; because to one is given the word of knowledge, and to another the working of miracles ; so that the knowledge of him who works a miracle may be as much limited and contracted as the knowledge of other men. The gift of knowledge and the gift of working miracles, as they are distinɛt and different in themselves; so they do not usually, much less always, take place in the fame person ; for to one is given the word of knowledge, to another the working of miracles, faith St. Paul, 1 Cor. xii. 8. 10. If it should be said, though after the working of a miracle the peccable and liable to impose; yet God will not suffer miraculous power to be misapplied, because were that the case, mankind would be in a most unguarded state, as being thereby greatly exposed to imposition. To
which it may be answered, that when a miracle is once wrought, it must and will be at the option of the operator to apply that power as he pleases, either well or ill; nor can the Deity otherwise prevent it than by destroying his being or his agency; and therefore, if this kind of reasoning proves any thing, it proves too much, vix, that miraculous power will not be trusted in human bands, because men shall not have it in their power to impose upon each other thereby. Besides, the miracles referred to were not considered to be a test of truth, at the time when they were wrought; seeing many parties and controversies took place among Christians, whilst (according to the history) the power of working miracles was mightily present with them; and yet miracles were not appealed to, nor were those controverfies determined thereby, which might easily have been done, had miracles then been judged to have the nature and force of evidence as aforesaid. One of the principal controversies that took place among Chriftians in the apostolic ago was, whether Christianity was a supplement to Judaism, and was to be grafted upon it; or whether Judaism was to be abolished by the intro