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and therefore the most unlikely to be misled by the delusions of fanatacism.
On this part of my subject, the miracles of the apostles, and particularly of St. Paul, have been placed by a distinguished writer, treating on the same subject, in so clear a light, that I cannot avoid availing myfelf of his ideas. I allude to the celebrated Lord Lyttleton, in his short but excellent treatise on the conversion of St. Paul.-" I could enter,” says he, “ into a particular examination of all the mira“ cles recorded in the Ads to have been wrought by " St. Paul, and shew they were not of a nature in " which enthusiasm, either in him or the persons he “worked them upon, or the spectators, could have
any part. When he told Elymas, the forcerer, at Pä
phos, before the Roman deputy, that the hand of “ God was upon him, and he should be blind, not seeing “ the sun for a season'; 'and immediately there fell on “ him a mist and a darkness, and he went about seeking
Some to lead him by the hand-had enthusiasm in so the doer or the sufferer any share in this act? If
Paul, as an enthusiast, had thrown out this menace,
and the effect had not followed ; instead of con“ verting the deputy, as we are told he did, he would
the first planting of Christianity, Book 3. Chap. v. Ø 5. vol. 2. p. 100. ad edit. Lond. 1756. ,
+ Lord Lyttleton's Observation on the conversion of St. Paul, printed in Dublin by G. Faulkner, 1747, P. 59.
u Acts xiii. II.
66 have of the
26 have drawn on himself his rage and contempt ; " but the effect upon Elymas could not be caused by “ enthusiasm in Paul, much less can it be imputed to “ an enthusiastic belief in that person himself, of “ his being struck blind, when he was not, by the « words of a man, whose preaching he strenuously “ and bitterly opposed ; nor can we ascribe the con“ version of Sergius which followed, to any enthusi« afm--a Roman proconsul was not likely to be an “ enthusiast; but had he been one, he must have “ been bigotted to his own Gods, and therefore the " Jess inclined to believe any miraculous power in the “ apostle.
“* When at Troas, a young man, named Euty“ chus, fell down from a high window in the third “ loft, and was taken up dead, while St. Paul was “ preaching; could any enthusiasm, either in Paul “ or the congregation then present, make them be“ lieve, that by the apostle's falling on him and em“ bracing him, he was restored to life ? or, could “ he, who was so restored, contribute any thing to it “ himself by any power of his own imagination ?
“ Further, the power of working miracles was “ not confined to St. Paul, it was also communicated to the churches he planted in different parts
8 Asts Xx 9.
In many passages of his epistles to the y Corinthians, he tells them, “ that to some among “ them was given the gift of healing by the Spirit of God; “ to others, the working of other miracles ; to others, “ divers kinds of tongues : Yand gives directions for “ their more orderly use in their afsemblies.” Now let me appeal to the unbiassed reason of every man, and entreat him to reflect, whether such an address as this is not utterly irreconcileable with every suppositia on, either of enthusiasm or artifice. “ Suppose for
a moment St. Paul, and the persons he addressed,
were artful deceivers, how. utterly ridiculous would it have been in an epistle addressed to them and for their own use, to advise them not to value themselves too highly on these gifts, to pray for one rather than another, and to prefer charity to all,--to appeal to their past experience, and assert,
“ the signs of “ an apostle have been wrought amongst you " and wonders, and mighty deeds;"-and this when it appears that at that very period, there were some amongst those whom he addressed, who envied the respect which the apostle enjoyed amongst his corinthian converts, who laboured to disparage his character, and undermine his authority.--How absurd and impolitic would such an appeal in such circumstances have been-how utterly inconsistent with every idea of fraud or artifice, and surely not less inconsistent with the nature of enthusiasm. If in.
y 1 Cor. 12th, 14th and 15th chap. Lord Lyttleton's Observations, &c. p. 61.
66 deed the apofle had told the Corinthians, that " they were inspired by the Spirit of God, in some “ ineffable manner, which they alone could under5 stand, but which did not discover itself by any " outward distinct operations, they might mistake " the impulse of enthufiasm for the inspiration of " the holy Ghost; but they could not believe, " against the conviction of their own minds, that
they spoke languages they did not speak, or healed
distempers they did not heal, or worked other miec racles when they worked none: undoubtedly if the 46 Corinthians were not fully assured that such mira« culous powers had been, and were still exercised « amongst them, they must have regarded the author “ of that epistle as a wild and frantic visionary, in. s stead of revering him as an apostle of God.
I shall conclude this view of the miracles wrought by the apostles with some general observations of the fame eminent writer on this argument, which seem peculiarly important and decisive.
YY“ Suppose that enthusiasm could make a man think s that he was able by a word or a touch to give sight
to the blind, motion to the lame, or life to the " dead; would that conceit of his make the blind
fee, the lame walk, or the dead revive; and if it “ did not, how could he persist in such an opinion,
yy Vid. Lyttleton on Converf. of St. Paul. p. 62, 63.
or upon his persisting escape being shut up “ madman; but fuch a madness could not infect fo
many at once as St. Paul supposes at Corinth to have “ been endowed with the gift of healing, or any 6 other miraculous power.
C One of the miracles which they pretended to, " was the speaking of languages they had never “ learnt, and St. Paul says he poffefsed this gift
more than them all. If this had been a delusion of fancy--if they had spoken only gibberish, or un
meaning lounds, it would soon have appeared “ when they came to make use of it, where it was “ neceffary, viz. in converting those whoʻunderstood “not any language, they naturally spoke; St. Paul, “ particularly, who travelled so far upon that design, “ and had such occasion to use it, must soon have “ discovered that this imaginary gift of the Spirit
was no gift at all, but a ridiculous instance of fren
zy which had possessed both him and them.—But if “ those he spoke to in divers tongues understood “ what he said, and were converted to Christ by that
means, how could it be a delusion ?-Of all the “ miracles recorded in scripture, none are more clear “ from any possible imputation of being the effect of
an enthusiastic imagination than this; for how “ could any man think he had it, if he had it not? or " if he did think so, not be undeceived when he came “ to put his gift to the proof? accordingly I do not “ find such a power to have been pretended to by any 66 enthusiast, ancient or modern.