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to charge his Adversaries with (u) dishonest Methods, without assigning one Instance thereof to support his Charge.
II. So much of the Words of the Citation or Objection, as are yours, are self-evident Propositions, and are not urged by you as an Objection tó Miracles being a Proof of the Truth of the Christian Religion, but as an Obje&tion to their being a Proof, on the Supposition that the Messiahship of Jesus of Nazareth cannot be made out from the Old Testament. And your Objetion is rightly understood and confirm'd by Dean SHERLOCK, as a just and Christian Observation, who says, “ (x) whether Jesus is the Person, or no, pro“mised by Moses and the Prophets, must “ be tried' by the Words of Prophesy; and “ that it has been very justly, as well as acute“ ly observed, that the Proof of this point. “ must rely entirely on the Evidence of Pro“ phefy.” Miracles, says the Dean, “ in this “ Cafe afford no Help. If the Prophets have “not spoken of Christ, all the Miracles in “the World will not prove that they have « spoken of him.”
So that Dr. Lobb is utterly mistaken in asserting your Obje&tion to be an Obje&tion against Miracles being a Proof of the Truth of Christianity; and moreover, by owning the Truth of your objection, he owns it to
(1) p. vii.
(*) Sherlock's Use, p. 94.
be a just Objection to Miracles being a Proof of the Truth of Christianity.
III. It should therefore seem needless to consider his Answers to an Objection, which he mistakes the Design of, as well as fallly cites. However, let us consider the three Anfwers he pretends to give.
1. His first Answer is, (y) “ that indeed “ no Manner of Arguments can prove That to « be true, which is false; or that Founda
tion to be valid, which is in itself in“ valid ; or a false Inference to be true; “or those Prophesies to be fulfilld, which « have not been fulfill'd; or those Things “ to be spoken concerning Christ, which « were not spoken concerning him:” And THUS FAR HE AGREES, with the OBJECTOR. But, adds he, “How does it appear, « that the Foundation of the Christian Reli“gion is in itself invalid; or that any Infe“ rence drawn by CHRIST or his Apostles is “ false; or that any Prophesy, asserted by “ Christ or his Apostles to have been ful“ fill’d, has not been fulfill’d; or that any “ Thing they say was spoken concerning “ CHRIST, was not spoken concerning him? “ None of these Particulars have been proved, “ and therefore the Objection is groundless “ and impertinent; and besides, the Allegations “ to support it have been confuted.”
(9) p. xii.
• Herein he gives up the Point; for when he says, he thus far agrees with the Objector. he agrees with you in all you fay. And as to his asking how it appears that the Foundation of the Christian Religion is in itself invalid, &c. what has That to do with the Truth of your Obfervation? The Invalidity of the Foundation of Christianity is not denied in it, (or any where else by you) but is merely luppoled here in the Way of Argument; and your Observation is equally true, whethet the Foundation of Christianity be in itself valid or invalid. The Pertinency of your Observation, which Dr. Lobb calls groundless and impertinent, and Dean Sherlock calls just and acute, lies in This ; that Miracles prove nothing in the Case of the Application of Old Testament-Prophesies, which are only to be judged pertinently or impertinently applied, from the Consideration of their Sense, as they stand in the Old Testament; much less do Miracles prove any Thing in Case the Prophesies are misapplied.
His second Answer is, (x) “ that tho' « no Arguments can prove a Proposition to be vi true, which is in itself false ; yet Miracles " may confirm a true Testimony, the Truth " of which might not otherwise be so evident; " and may make those Declarations to appear “ true, the Truth whereof could not otherI wise be so clearly demonstrated.”
Herein also he yields to the Truth of your Observation, and asserts the same Thing you do. And as to his saying Miracles may confirm a true Testimony, the Truth of which might not otherwise be so evident; he himfelf very justly asserts That, as consistent with the said Observation ; and consequently cannot make that Affertion to invalidate the Obfervation, without being inconsistent with himself. I add, with Respect to the Truth of the Propofition, that Miracles may confirm a true Testimony, the Truth whereof might not otherwise be so evident; that if he would make out that Proposition by Reason, he should prove that Miracles (which, as all agree, may be done by Beings inferior to God, and even by evil Beings) are certain Marks of the Veracity, as well as Power of their Author..
His third Answer is, (a) “ that nothing “ can be more certain, than that the Christian “ Religion was confirm'd by Miracles; that “ consequently nothing can be more certain, " than the Truth of the Christian Religion: “(6) and consequently, whatever Doctrine “ is confirm'd by this Evidence must be con“cluded undoubtedly true, notwithstanding “Any Difficulties, that may attend it.”
To This I reply, that This indeed is contradicting you, and also himself. For if Miracles will confirm Doctrines, notwithstanding
raj p. 15.
(b) p. 17.
ANY Difficulties in those Doctrines; they may then confirm Interpretations of the Old Testament, which feem to us (or are) false ; and may confirm Doctrines, which seem to us contrary to Reason, and to the common Notions of Morality. Any Difficulty, as for Example, a Difficulty, which cannot be anfwerd (as (c) Dr. LOBB elsewhere expresses it) is a Demonstration of the Fallhood of the Proposition, to which it lies; and it manifeítly is so of a probable Proposition or Propofition grounded on probable Evidence, and particularly in the Case of Miracles; which admit only of probable Evidence, that they were ever done, and can in themselves be pretended only to be probable Proofs of the Truth of Propositions. And it can only be probable, that they are probable Proofs of the Truth of Propositions. And if a Difficulty, which cannot be answer'd, is a Demonstration of the Falshood of the Proposition, against which it lies, then to assert that “ whatever Doctrine is “ confirm'd by Miracles must be undoubtedly "true, notwithstanding ANY Difficulties that “ may attend it, is all one as to say, that “ Miracles will prove what is falfe to be true.”
Thus I have consider'd the only direct Attack, that Dr. Lobb has made upon you ; which, since he was capable of grounding on a false Quotation ; a Quotation not to be found in your Book; a Quotation, which, though to
() p. 97.