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Body, that I think no Man is concern'd to enquire, whether they were ever done, or no, or to trouble himself about them, any more than about all the infinite Relations of the like Kind, vented to support the various and contradictory Notions spread throughout the World. The Sense of the Words is plain, as consider'd with their Context, and carry fuch Evidence along with them against the Doctrine of Transubstantiation, as cannot be fubverted by any foreign Consideration, much less by any Facts, attested and related by fallible Men; whofe Credibility and Narrations are to be judged of by the Histories we have of their Proceedings in all Ages of the World, and in all Religions, and every Day in the Roman Church, which pretends to a constant Power to do Miracles, in this Matter of attested, or fuppofed attested Miracles. It is faid, that the Pope lately cast a Devil out of a Man poffefs’d, publickly before his whole Company at Mass; but should he be said to have cast out ten thousand Devils, or to have done any other Miracles, no one ought in the least to be moved by them, so as to think, from them, that the Mass or Popery was taught in the Bible.
4. That all Parts of the Christian Scheme ought to be made out and defended, and efpecially the fundamental Article thereof, that jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, or Perfon promised in the Old Testament, by those, who propose that it should be rationally received, by insisting on and making good the
several Foundations, on which Jesus and his Apostles founded his Messiahship, Miffion, and Doctrines; and that one Defect in the said Scheme, and one Argument against that Scheme, which cannot be answer'd, affects the whole Scheme.
For Example, if it does not appear from the Old Testament, that JESUS, as characterized in the New Testament, is the Mesah, promised in the Old, there is no Pretence to proceed a Step farther towards the Maintenance or Support of Christianity; for the Term Messiah fignifies a Person there described and foretold. And to talk of, and to pretend to believe in JESUS, as the Person promised in a Book, when that Book is not to be our sole Guide and Rule, to know whether he be promised in that Book, or no, is, as appears to me, the greatest Contradiction to common Sense, and the greatest Satire upon the Gospel, and upon JESUS and his Apostles, for appealing to the Old Testament, that is possible, It implies, that there is one Book, which is to be interpreted differently from all other Books. It implies, that the Matter, for which an Appeal is made, is not to be found in the Book. It is flying in the Face of JESUS CHRIST and his Apostles, and declining an Appeal, which they make; and, in a word, it discovers a mere pretended Regard to JESUS CHRIST and his Apostles, and a real Regard to nothing but our own Schemes.
Again, if the Resurrection of Jesus from the Dead, which is also an essential Part of
T 3 Christia nity, Evi
fideration of hiltianity, as fun failure in
Christianity, first, as it ought to come to pass as a Fact supposed to be foretold in the Old Testament, and, fecondly, as it is a Fact testify'd of in the New Testament, cannot be (i) proved true, and defended, Christianity fails. For if such a Matter could be made out to be a Fallhood, or to be destitute of Proof, here is such a Weakness, such a Failure in Evidence for Christianity, as supersedes the Confideration of any other Topicks in its Behalf, and, indeed, sufficiently implies, that every other Part thereof must be invalid. ;
In a Word, as the Bereans search'd the Scriptures, or Old Testament, to fee, whether what the Apostles taught was founded thereon, or no, and would have acted right in rejecting the Teaching of the Apostles, had they not found it in the Old Testament; so others would no less have acted rightly, in rejecting their Teaching, if the Resurrection of Jesus had not been made out to them ; for as the Apostle very well argues, (k) If Christ be not risen, then is our Preaching vain, and your Faith is also vain.
You have consider'd Matters like the Bereans, and have search'd the Old Testament, to find out the prophetical Foundation of Christianity; and if you have not exprefly stated the Affair of gospel Miracles, and particularly the Miracle of the Resurrection of Jesus, the great Miracle of the Gospel ; it was because it was needless, and sufficiently
(i) Letters, p. 8.
(k) 1 Cor. xv. 14.
obviated by you, and for other manifest Reasons ; but not for the (1) Reason assign’d by Mr. GREEN, who pretends, by his Prerogative, to know the Secret of ycur Heart, as well as the (m) Secret of God.
Wherefore, all true Defenders of Christianity must either manitain the whole, or give up the whole.
To pretend therefore, that Miracles are a Proof of the Messiahship of Jesus, upon á Supposition, that the Menahšip is not, .or cannot be made out, from the Old Testament, or that the Test or Proof thereof from the Old Testament may be declined, really implies, either that Miracles are no Proofs of Christianity, (no less than declining, or not being able to prove the Truth of the Refurrection, implies Prophesy, and all other Arguments for Christianity, invalid) or else implies the Miracles not done, That is, without just Proof that they were done. And let me add, with Respect to Mr. GREEN, that if the Messiahship cannot be made out from the Old Testament, (which is a Supposition only used in the Way of Argument ; for you contend, like all Christians, except one or two of your Adversaries, that the Messiahship, is made out from the Old Testament by the Apostles, who endeavour to prove the Jewish Law and History, to be prophetick, or to be a Type of the Gospel) I say, that if the Messiahip cannot be made out from the Old Testament,
(7) Letters, p. 21.
(m) 1b. p. 4.
there there is probably some Defect in Mr. Green's Assertions about those Miracles, who says from the Gospels, that (n) they were done in the most publick Manner, (he cannot mean the Resurrection of Jesus from the Dead ; ) that they were related by Eye and Ear-witnesses, who had no Ends to serve by impofing on the World, and several of whom laid down their Lives, for the Sake of a Religion, which was founded on the Facts related in them; and who also affirms the Relations of those Facts to have been publisk'd at the Time when they were fresh in every Bodies Memories. I say, a Defect may be supposed in these meré Assertions ; which he does not pretend to make out by distinct and clear Proofs, in Relation to the Authors of the Gospels, their Authority, and divine Inspiration to the Time when the said Gospels were publish'd ; to the particular Condition, Callings, Lives, Preaching, Sufferings, and Death of any of the Apostles; tho' I think it became him to do so, against such .. as he pretends to write against, who, he must know, pay no Manner of Regard to his mere Affertions, and who, I suppose, he must say, would be guilty of a great Fault, if they took any Thing upon Trust from him.