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to be the Messias.
" God, for no man can do these miracles that thou
And in reason miracles are the highest attestation
All truths do not need miracles; some are of ealy belief, and are so clear by their own light, that they need neither miracle nor deinonftration to prove them. Such are those self-evident principles which mankind do generally agree in; others which are not so evident by their own light, we are content to receive upon clear demonstration of them, or very probable arguments for them, without a miracle. And there are some truths, which however they may be sufficiently obscure and uncertain to most men, yet are they so inconsiderable, and of so small consequence, as not to deserve the attestation of
miracles; so that there is no reason to expect that S ERM. God should interpofe by a miracle, to convince men
CXVII. of them.
Nec Deus interfit, nisi dignus vindice nodus
Inciderit. But for such truths as are neceffary to be known by us, but are not sufficiently evident of themselves, nor capable of cogent evidence, especially to prejudiced and interested persons, God is pleased in this case many times to work miracles for our conviction; and they are a proper argument to convince us of a thing that is either in it felf obfcure and hard to be believed, or which we are prejudiced against, and hardly brought to believe; for they are an argument à majori ad minus, they prove a thing which is obfcure and hard to be believed, by something that is more incredible, which yet they cannot deny because they see it done. Thus our SAVIOUR proves himself to be an extraordinary person, by “ doing such things as never man did; he convinceth them, i that they ought to believe what he said, because they saw him do those things, which were harder to be believed (if one had not feen them) than what he said. :
Miracles are indeed the greatest external confirmation and evidence that can be given to the truth of any doctrine, and where they are wrought with all the advantages they are capable of, they are an unquestionable demonstration of the truth of it; and such were our Saviour's miracles here in the text, to prove that he was the true MESSIAS; here are miracles of all kinds, " the blind receive their fight, and the “ lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf “ hear, and the dead are raifed up." For the na
SERM. ture of them, they are such as are most likely to be CXVII.
divine and to come from God, for they were healing and beneficial to mankind. Our Saviour here instancech in those things which are of greatest benefit and advantage, and which free men from the greatest miseries and inconveniences; the restoring of sight to the blind, and hearing to the deaf; foundness and health to the lame and the leprous, and life to the dead. And then for the number of them, they were many; not one instance of a kind, but several of every kind, and great multitudes of most of them; and for the manner of their operation, they were publick, in the light and view of great multitudes of people; to free them from all suspicion of fraud and imposture, they were not wrought privately and in corners, and given out and noised abroad, but before all the people, so that every one might lee chem, and judge of them ; not only among his own disciples and followers, as the church of Rome pretends to work theirs, but among his enemies, “ to convince " those that did not believe ;” and this not done once, and in one place, but at several times, and in all places where he came, and for a long time, for three years and a half, and after his death, he en: dowed his disciples and followers with the fame power, which lasted for some ages. And then for the quality of them, they were miracles of the greatest magnitude; those of them, which in themselves might have been performed by natural means, as healing the lame and the leprous, and the deaf, he did in a miraculous manner, by a word or a touch, yea, and many times at a great distance. But others were not only in the manner of their operation, but in the nature of the thing, unquestionably miracu
ing the Messiaenowledge that cles; their
lous, as giving of light to those that had been born SERM.
CXVII. blind, and raising up the dead to life, as Lazarus, u after he had lain in the grave four days; and himself afterwards, the third day after he had been buried; which, if there ever was or can be any unquestionable miracles in the world, ought certainly to be reputed such.' So that our blessed Saviour had all the attestation that miracles can give, that he came from God. And this is the first evidence of his being the Messias. .!.
The Jews acknowledge that the Messias when he comes shall work great miracles; their own talmud confesseth, that “ Jesus the son of Joseph and “ Mary did work great miracles;" and the history of the gospel does particularly relate more and greater miracles wrought by him, than by Moses and all the prophets that had been since the world began; so that we may still put the same question to the Jews, which they did in our SAVIOUR's time to one another; " when Christ cometh,” when the Mes.' SIAS whom ye expect comes, “ will he do more “ miracles than these which this man hath done?”
But, secondly, this will yet more clearly appear by the correspondency of the things here mentioned, with what was foretold by the prophets concerning the MESSIAS.
Not to mention innumerable circumstances of his birth, and life, and death, and resurrection, and alcension into heaven, together with the success and prevalency of his doctrine in the world, all which are punctually foretold by some or other of the pro-, phets : I shall confine myself to the particulars here in the text.
S.ERM. First, it was foretold of the MESSIAS, that he CXVII. the should work miraculous cures. Isa. XXXV, 4, 5, 6.
speaking of the MESSIAS, “ he will come and save .“ you; then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, " and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped; then
shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue “ of the dumb fing;" this you see was fulfilled here in the text. 'Tis true indeed the text mentions another miracle which is not in the prophet, that " he raised the dead ;” but if God did more than he promised and foretold, this is no prejudice to the argument, if all that he foretold was accomplish'd in him. Besides, the Jews have a proverb, that God is not content to perform barely what he promiseth, bue “she usually doth something over and above his “ promise.” That the Messias should “ heal the 6 blind, and the deaf, and the lame,” Ifaiah prophesied ; and God makes good this promise and prediction to the full; the Messias did not only do thefe, but, which is more and greater than any of thefe," he raised the dead to life.”
Secondly, it was likewise foretold of the Messias, that he “ should preach the gospel to the poor," Ifa. lxi. 1. “ The SPIRIT of the Lord God is upon “ me, because he hath anointed me to preach good " tidings unto the meek, 'euayyeniçestas alexcois, to “. preach the gospel or good tidings to the poor;" fa the LXXII render the words; and they are the very words used by our Saviour here in the text. 'Tis true indeed, this was no miracle, but it was the pun&tual accomplishment of a prophesy concerning the MESSIAS, and consequently an evidence that he was the Messias. But besides it had something in it which was very strange to the Jews, and very difi; 3.