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of Wrangling and Mistakes) upon the Head of Miracles, which has any real Opposition to you. And I shall conclude it with the Judgments of three very learned and ingenious Men, the two first whereof are you
col are your particular Adversaries, and have a direct View to what you have said in your Discourse about Miracles.
(0) Dr. SHERLOCK says one of the Charažers, which our Saviour constantly assumes and claims in the Gospel, is This, that he is the Person spoken of by Moses and the Prophets. Whether he is this Person, or no, must be try'd by the Words of Prophesy; and This makes the Argument from Prophesy so far necessary to establish the Claim of the Gospel; and it has been very justly, as well as acutely obferved, (viz. by the Author of the Discourse of the Grounds) that the Proof of this point, must rely intirely on the Evidence of Prophefy. Miracles in this case afford no Help. If the Prophets have not spoken of Christ, all the Miracles in the World will not prove they have spoken of him. And he says, That as (p) Truth is consistent with itself, so this Claim must be made out, or it destroys all others.
Mr. Sykes (q) fays, “ There are a great “ many Persons, who conceive, that Christi“ anity is sufficiently proved to be true, if the “ Miracles and Resurrection of Jesus are “ true; even without any Regard to the Pro
(0) Sherlock's Use and Intent of Prophesies, p. 49. W lb. p. 50. (7) Sy kes's Esay on the Truth of the Christian Religion, p. 2.
~ phefes, “ phesies so often appeal'd to by him. But “ supposing the Miracles to be true ; yet no “ Miracles can prove That, which is false in “ itself, to be true. If therefore the Messiah “ be not foretold in the Old Testament, no “ Miracles can prove Jesus to be the Messiah “ foretold; nay, 'tis a stronger Argument to “ prove Jesus to be an Impostor, that he " appeald to Prophesies, which were not « Prophesies, and, by that Means, imposed “ upon the ignorant People, than ’tis, that he “ came from God, merely because he work'd “ Miracles. False Chrifts and false Prophets “ may arise, and may Shew such great Signs and " Wonders, as to deceive, if it were possible, the “ very Eleft, Mat. xxiv. 24. Yet no one from “ thence would argue, that those false Christs are “ true ones; nor would any one conclude, that “ a Man came from God, notwithstanding any “ Miracles he might do, if he appeal’d to Scrip
ture for That, which is no where in it.
“ Besides, what Notions of common Mo“ rality must he have, who pretends to come “ from God, and declares that the Scriptures “ testify of him, John v. 39. if the Scriptures “ do not testify of him? What Honesty, “ what Truth, or Sincerity, must he have, “ who could begin at Moses and all the Pro,“ phets, and expound unto his Disciples in all “ the Scriptures, the Things concerning himself. “ Luke xxiv. 27. if neither Moses nor the « Prophets ever spoke a Word about him? “ The Prophets therefore must be consider'd, “ and the Foundation of Christianity mult
« be laid on them, or else, to avoid one .“ Difficulty, we shall be forced into such “ Absurdities, as no Man can palliate, much « less can extricate himself out of.” • Taftly. Dr. (r) ALLIX tells us, that the Design of the four Evangelists is to prove that Jesus the Son of Mary is the promised Mefliah; and that in his Birth, his Life, bis Doctrine, his Death, and Resurrection, we meet with all the Characters, which the Prophets attributed to the Messiah. And he says, that (3) Miracles were to move and dispose Men to the receiving the Truth ; but Proofs and Arguments, from the Old Testament, were the proper Means to convince their Hearers of the Truth of it. And, I humbly conceive, should any one, in Virtue of the Passages cited from these learned Men, attack them as maintaining, that the Facts of the New Testament were to be proved by Prophesy, and not by Testimony, as Mr. GREEN does you, for maintaining the same commonly received Notions in Divinity with them, he would justly pass for a Persón incapable of ever understanding Matters of Divinity, unless they would suppose him to have such a just Insight and Knowledge of Mankind, as to know, that he may represent an Adversary as he pleases, speak to one Point when he should speak to another, and indeed fay whatever he pleases, either against common Sense or Morality, with the Applause of those, whose Applause only it, perhaps, concerns him to obtain.
(-) Allix's Reflect on the Books of the New Testament, p. 176, 177. (5) Judgment against the Unit. p. 53.
II. Mr. Mr. Green, in his second Letter, proposes to prove against you, that (t) it is reasonable to receive that Doctrine as divine, which is confirm'd by Miracles ; That is, if he will oppose you, that it is reasonable to receive Jesus for the Messiah, on Account of the Miracles wrought by him, without Regard to any Tryal or Proof of his Meshahsip from the Old Testament. For I do not know that you have asserted any Thing in your Discourse upon the Head of Miracles, as Proofs of a diyine Authority, but what is said by all Divines of Learning and Understanding, in the Case. You assert, that they are not absolute Proofs of a divine Authority, as they all do ; but advance nothing against their Force, when consider'd as Proofs or Motives in a lower Sense; nay, you suppose, according to the common Notion, that they are, in their Nature, a (u) Confirmation of a Million.
However, tho' Mr. GREEN does not really oppose you, and talks to a Question of his own framing, (which I allow he may through Mistake take to be the Question, as well as invidiously make the Question ; ) yet he having laid down the general Proposition beforemention'd, and attempted to prove it, we have a Right to expect that Proof from him, as, indeed, we have of every Thing he pre
(*) Letters, p. 26..
(11). Discourse, &c. p. 34:
tends to advance against you ; for indeed, nothing can be more improper, than to advance fu many Things without Proofs, as he does, in Letters to you, whom he supposes an Infidel, and must fuppofe pay no Regard, but That of Contempt to hiin, for his mere Alsertions, as if you were one of his old Women ; for whose Edification he seems only to write.
Accordingly I shall consider what he says. He proposes to prove his Point by easy Steps in fifteen Propositions.
But his whole Proof lies in his eighth, which affirms,“ (w) that God may assure us, that “ such a Doctrine is a Revelation from him “ by some extraordinary Works, That is, “Works contrary to, or besides the known and “ common Laws, or Course of Nature and Pro“vidence ; as for Instance, the causing the “ Sun and the Moon to stand still in the Midst “ of Heaven, or making one Day about as “ long as two, as yosh. x. 13. There is no “ Absurdity in supposing that such Works may “ be wrought, and for this End, the assuring “ Men that such a Doctrine is a Revelation “ from God. And if his doing some extra“ ordinary Works is not proper to answer this “End, he does not see any Thing that can be “ thought to be so.”
To which I answer, that it is very true, God may assure us that such a Doctrine is a Revelation from him, by extraordinary Works. &c. But then it must appear, by some Rea
(w) Letters, p. 28.