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But, besides the want of evidence that any of the facts recorded were miraculous, they were neither numerous nor various. Could this be said of the works of Christ, it would deprive them of one of the most palpable evidences of the fearless integrity in which they were wrought. But his history is full of miraculous works. Besides about forty that are related at large, we frequently meet with such accounts as this: "His fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them."* Similar declarations are made as to the miracles of the apostles. As, for example, in Acts 5:16: "There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits; and they were healed every one."
But the miracles of the Saviour and his apostles were also of great variety. It was not disease of one or two classes only that Jesus removed, but disease of all kinds. Not diseases only, but all kinds. of human calamity, departed at his will. Even death surrendered his captives at his command. The blind from their birth, the hopeless leper, those that were lame from the womb, those that had long been bowed down with infirmity, the withered, the palsied, the insane, all were alike delivered from their affliction. On two occasions thousands were fed with a mere * Matt. 4:24.
pittance of food. Thrice, besides the instance of his own resurrection, did Jesus raise the dead. A corresponding variety characterizes the works of his apostles.
5. It is a matter of great importance to remark, that amidst all this variety, the success in every instance was instantaneous and complete. The sick were perfectly healed. The deaf and blind and lame were perfectly delivered from their infirmities; the leper was entirely cleansed; the dead arose, not merely to life, but to health and strength. These effects were as immediate as they were perfect. No sooner was the voice spoken, or the thing done, that was required of the applicant, than all was finished. Did Jesus say, "Let there be light?" there was light; "Let there be health?" there was health. He left no time for second causes to operate-no room for human means to intervene. "He spake, and it was done. He commanded, and it stood fast."
6. There is no evidence of an attempt on the part of Christ or his apostles to perform a miracle, in which they were accused of having failed. It is notoriously true of the wonderful works ascribed to the tomb of the Abbé Paris, for example, that the cases in which any beneficial effects resulted to the applicants were very inconsiderable in number, compared with those in which there was a manifest and total failure. But although the ministry of Christ lasted between three and four years, during which he was continually resorted to by multitudes, with a great variety of cases, seeking his miraculous aid;
and although the ministry of his apostles continued many years longer, during which time they are said to have been attested by "divers miracles," no case is mentioned in which an attempt was unsuccessful, or in which an applicant was denied. The language of the history in relation to the multitudes that applied to Christ is continually, "He healed them All.” The enemies of the gospel, who were eye-witnesses of these applicants, did never maintain that the power of Christ or of his disciples was exerted unsuccessfully in a single instance. Had such an event taken place, would they not have discovered it? Had they discovered it, would they not have proclaimed it far and wide? Would any of the books written against Christianity in the first centuries have omitted so important a fact? The total absence of all insinuation of such a thing in the whole controversy between the primitive Christians and their adversaries, is certain evidence that an unsuccessful attempt was never made, and that an unsuccessful applicant was not known.*
Now, on the supposition that the miraculous doings recorded in the gospel were all a cheat, what a miracle is here! That all was contrivance and imposture and accident, and yet not an enemy ever detected an instance of failure; that the machinery was never out of place, out of time, or out of order;
* The case mentioned in Matthew 17: 14-21, would have been an example of failure, had the narrative ended with the inability of the disciples. But the Master performed what they, being as yet in their noviciate, had attempted in vain.
that it was equally successful in all cases, equally ready at all seasons, always invisible, yet always at hand, and always instantaneously effectual-what a miracle! Who is the man of weak credulity? the believer, or the infidel?
7. The length of time during which the Saviour and his apostles professed to perform miracles, should be specially considered. Seventy years elapsed between the commencement of the ministry of Christ and the death of the last of the apostles. During all this interval the miraculous gifts in question were exercised. Now, as every repetition in case of imposture multiplies the dangers of detection, and every extension of time makes it the more difficult to keep up the confederated plan, it is no inconsiderable evidence of the genuineness of the miracles of the gospel, that they continued to be wrought and inspected during a period of so many years, and yet so securely.
This consideration is the more important when you reflect that the miracles were not confined to one or two places-were not wrought in little villages, or among the poor and ignorant only, but that the scenes of most of them were in the chief cities of the Roman empire. Instead of remaining together in one place, or moving together wherever they desired to produce an impression, and then confining themselves to such places as might be most easily deceived, the apostles, with singular folly, on the supposition that they were confederated for an imposture, separated to all parts of the world. They
went alone to the most populous, polished, and enlightened cities. They put themselves in the most public places of those cities; thus making combination impossible, and rendering their success, as mere counterfeiters, perfectly miraculous.
8. We have the most perfect certainty that the miracles of the gospel at the time they were wrought, and for a long time after, were subject to the most rigid examination from those who had every opportunity of scrutinizing their character. Forged miracles may pass current where power and authority or the favorable dispositions of the people protect them from too close an inspection. But let the power of the magistrate, the authority of public opinion, and the partialities of those concerned, be once leagued in opposition, and the imposture cannot escape. Such was the league against the miracles. in question. Never was the power of the state in more perfect alliance with public opinion, or more zealously supported by all the envy, hatred, and malice of which popular feeling is capable, than when it set its face against the gospel. Not only were these miracles exposed by their great publicity to universal examination, but they were of such a nature that any mind was capable of examining them. Not only did they present themselves to the wise and the great, in the chief places of concourse, and in the great cities of the world, but they were such as necessarily provoked every description of scrutiny. Being performed in avowed support of a religion which could not be successful without destroying the whole