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Thus also the cure of the man who had been born blind, underwent an immediate and severe scrutiny by the enemies of our Lord. The Pharifees examine first the man himself, then his parentsthen again the man, and when he persevered in proving, that the miracle was wrought by Jesus, and honestly avowed the conclufion which his reason dictated; “ that if this man were not of God' he could do nothing," they reply with the wounded pride of bigotry—“ thou wast altogether born in fins, and dost thou teach us ;” and like all bigots, who will filence by punishment those whom they cannot confute by reason, they excommunicate this honest and grateful witness of the power and mercy of Christ : yet our Lord meets him soon after in the presence of some of the Pharisees, recalls the miracle to their recollection, avows his character as the Son of God, and reproaches them with their obstinate blindness.

Still more remarkable is the account which the evangelists, with almost unequalled impartiality and humility, deliver of the apostles attempting to cure a child who was possessed with a dumb fpirit, lunatick and fore vexed, and their having failed in the

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John ix. 1-34. I earnestly recommend this passage to the attention of my young readers. The striking. fimplicity of the narrative, the natural conduct of all the parties, and the strict scrutiny the miracle sustained, cannot fail of making a deep impression on every candid mind. Vid further particulars in the Appendix.

attempt ;

attempt ;--the scribes, ever vigilant'to discredit their mission, instantly appear active and curious, quef. tioning them in the presence of the multitude. Our Lord approaches, asks the scribes “ what question ye

with them"-discovers the cause, and instantly, in the presence of the fame multitude, and the same watchful enemies, compieatly cures the child.

What circumstances could display more strongly the stric scrutiny to which our Lord's miracles were exposed from his enemies, and the fearlessness with which he submitted them to that scrutiny f?

Thus also many of the Jews, who were witnesses of that great and awful miracle the 8 resurrection of Lazarus, were plainly enemies, for immediately they inform the Pharisees, who call a council with the chief priests ; and said, “ what do we, for this man “ doeth many: miracles ? if we thus let him alone all

men will believe in him; and the Romans will

come and take away both our place and nation." Thus their alarm at the apprehended destruction of their church and state, counteracted the effect of an acknowledged fupernatural interposition; and conceiving themselves justified by the expediency of

f Matt. xvii, 14. Mark ix. 14. Luke ix. 37.

8 John xi. Why this miracle is mentioned only by St. John, see admirably well accounted for in Lardner's Vindication of it, vel. 2, p. 11 to 28, edit, of 1788.


committing committing a private crime, for a fupposed public good; the expediency that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not;" they from that moment took counsel to put to death Jesus, the teacher of righteousness and dispenser of mercy.

From all these instances I conclude with confidence, that our Lord's miracles were totally independent of any enthusiastic delusion.' Experience proves,

that such delusions seldom last longer than while they meet with minds all equally and fitly disposed to catch the impulse, as it passes, like an electric shock from foul to foul ; but when numbers are constantly found to refift and repel, instead of yielding to and forwarding this influence, its progress meets a speedy check, and the delusion fails. Hence it is, that enthusiasts can bear as little as impostors, the presence and the inspection even of cold and neutral spectators ; much lefs of jealous scrutinizing enemies. Not so our Lord, he perpetually appealed to the sober reason even of his most obstinate enemies, to judge from plain facts, and acknowledged truths, of his right to the divine authority' he assumed, and the validity of the proofs on which he rested his claims. His addresses on this subject are numerous and striking, and so important to our present purpose, that I cannot pass them by.

" As Jesus walked in the temple, came the Jews “ round about him, and said unto him, how long 6 dost thou make us to doubt ? If thou be the Christ « tell us plainly. And Jesus answered, I told you, 6 and you believed me not : the works that I do in

my Father's name they bear witness of me. And again, if I do not the works of my Father, believe me

not ; but if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works, that ye may know and believe that the “ Father is in me, and I in him."

When John #sent his disciples to ask Jesus, art thou he that should come; or do we look for another? How directly does our Lord appeal to the miracles which he was at that moment performing“ Go and shew John again those things which you do see os © and hear, the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel

preached to them; and blessed is he whosoever shall not 66 be offended in me.” Immediately after, he upbraids the cities in which his mighty works were wrought, because they repented not; and states their wilful and obstinate neglect of such proofs as the highest aggravation of their guilt. Finally, how fully and calmly does he appeal to the various proofs of his divine miffion, in order to expose and overturn the obftinate perverseness of the Jews, who fought to kill him, because he healed on the fabbath, and affumed the character of the Son of God. “k If I bear wit

8 John X. 23, 24, and 36, 37.
h Matt. xi. 2-29. Luke vii. 18-35.
i Matt. xi. 20-30.


ness of myself my witness is not truethere is another that beareth witness of me, and I know that the ... witness which be witnesseth, of me is true ; ye sent 6 unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. But I have greater witness than that of John ; for the 56 works which the Father hath given me to finish, the

fameworks that I do bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.| And this strong appeal to prophetic testimony “ Search the scriptures, for in

: 66 them

je have eternal life, and they are they 'which testify of me : bad ye believed Moses ye would have believed me, for be wrote of me.Such were the proofs by which our Lord's disciples were convinced of his divine authority. How different from the visions of enthusiasm, which appeal to no credentials but the impulse of secret inspiration, and rest on no support but blind credulity.

ye think

* John v. 18, to the end


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