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duction of Christianity. Now, though this controversy was of great importance, and each side of the question was maintained with great heat and zeal; and though it is represented that miraculous power was then frequently exercised; yet miracles were not appealed to, for the determination of these points, which, if miracles had been deemed a test of truth, might easily have been done, to their general satisfaction. Whereas the contrary to this seems to have been the case, as miracles seem to have been wrought by both parties, and consequently, on both sides of the question controverted; and therefore, if they proved any thing, they proved a great deal too much, viz. that Christianity was a supplement to Judaism and was to be grafted upon it, and likewise that Judaism was to be abolished by the introduction of Christianity. And if miracles were not proper evidences of the truth and divinity of the doctrines above-mentioned; then, how come they to be fo in any other case? And if miracles were not a teft of truth when they were wrought; then how come they to be so in after times? besides, as the fore-mentioned controversy that took place in the first age was of the utmost
consequence, viz. whether that yoke of bondage, the ceremonial law of Mofes, was to be abolished, or whether it was to be perpetuated in the Christian church; so, if miracles were à test of truth, and were then wrought to answer that purpose, it may well be expected they would have been wrought, and would have been appealed to, as the test of truth in the case before-mentioned, because they could not otherwise be employed to answer a better purpose. The Holy Ghost would, surely, have pointed out miracles as a proper expedient to put an end to a controversy so warmly disputed, and upon which so much depended, viz. the continuation or extirpation of Moses's law; I say, had miracles been then considered as the test of truth, the Holy Ghost would certainly have directed the use of them to answer that purpose, seeing it did not otherwise interpose to put an end to the dispute ; nor was apostolical authority sufficient for that purpose. So that either miracles are not a proper test of truth, or else no miracles were wrought at that time, notwithstanding all that has been writ, and said about them.
But farther, admitting(for argument's fake) that miracles may be proper evidences ;
then the question is, what do they bear witness to, in the case under consideration? If it be said, that miracles prove the truth and divinity of the Christian religion ; then the question is, what is the Christian religion, and where is it to be found ? seeing there is nothing more indeterminate, even among Christians themselves, than what is the Christian religion ; except it be that the Christian religion is Popery to a Papift, Protestantism to a Protestant, Lutheranism to a Lutheran, Calvinism to a Calvinist » Arminianisin to an Arminian, and so of all other parties among Christians. If it should be said, that Christianity is contained in, and grounded upon the books of the New Testament, the divine authority of which books is proved by miracles; and as Christians are fallible like other men, so this has occasioned their understanding the subječt-matter contained in the books of the New Testament in very different senses, and from thence of grounding different and contrary religious schemes upon it, each of which, to the party that adheres to it, is deemed the Christian religion. If this be the case, it is a little strange, that the New Testament should be, as it were, the parent of different
and contrary schemes of christianity ; seeing it is an obvious defect in any buman composition to be expressed fo loosely, as that fair and honest enquirers may draw the most opposite conclusions from it ; and that this should be the case of a divine revelation is scarce fuppofable. However, the question at prefent is, whether this fountain of confusion and contradiction, viz. the New Testament, which is now considered to be the Christian revelation, be proved to be a divine revelation by the evidence of miracles ? Does each and every miracle that has been wrought, considered separately, or do all the miracles that have ever been wrought, considered collectively, prove that the books of the New Testament were wrought by the persons respectively whose names are now fixed tothem; that the Deity dictated to and impressed upon their minds the subjest matter contained in those books, effectually restraining each writer from mixing his own conceptions with what was thus dictated to him; that those books have been faithfully transmitted from their original copies down to this time, without any corruption, alteration, addition or diminution ; and (to us the unlearned) that they have been juftly rendered into our lan
guage? I say, do miracles
these points ? surely not. And if miracles do not prove the forementioned points, then the question returns, how do they prove the books of the New Testament to be a divine revelation ? which question is likely to remain, for any proper answer that can be made to it. And tho’ facts are stubborn things, and there is no reasoning against them, that is, when a thing plainly appears to be fact, then no reasoning nor argumentation can possibly prove it to be otherwise ; yet every fact ought to be brought to a fair trial, and every circumstance ought to be brought into the case, which may give light to it, in order for us to form a proper judgment, whether the facts in question have really taken place, or not. And though uncertainty must needs attend things of this kind; yet, I think, this does not afford a proper and fufficient reason for us to return back to the church of Rome, and rely upon the pretended infallible judgment of that church, as some of their fathers have infifted that we ought ; because the church of Rome has been so far from proving her judgment to be infallible, that she has plainly proved the contrary, as the opposite and