Imatges de pÓgina

not only as there were Nations, but as they had Wants to supply. This was a great Corrupeion of the

Light of Nature, and thofe Notions of One Supreme God imprinted on our Minds, and proclaimed by the whole visible Creation ; but yet was so universal, and so prevailing, that their Wiseft Philosophers, who had better Notions of the Deity, were not able to refift the Torrent, and durft not openly oppose the Worship of those Country-Gods, for fear of a Popular Rage and Fury. • Now, when neither the Light of Nature, nor the Works of Creation, and of a common Providence, could secure the Belief and Worship of the One Suprenie God; what remained, but for God to make some more sensible Manifestation of himself to the World ? And let any Man confider, what more effe&uat Way could have been taken to convince Men of the Divine Power and Providence, than by Miracles; especially fuch Miracles as are for the Deliverance and Protection of Good Men, and the Punishment and Overthrow of the Wicked.

When the Corruption of Mankind is such, that they will not learn from Nature ; there is no way of teaching them, but by something which is Supernatural : And when the Beautiful, and Regular, and Uniform Order of Nature, will not convince Men that there is a God, at least not that there is One Supreme God, who made, and who governs this World; Miracles will. Those who will not believe that the World was made, or had any Wise and Intelligent Cause, must confess, that Miractes have a Cause, because they see them produced ; and that the Cause is not Nature, because they fee them produced without any Na


tural Cause, or against the Laws of Nature ; nor Chance and Accident, because they are done at the Command of a Free Agent, at the Word of a Man: As all the Signs and Wonders in Egypt, were wrought at the Word of Moses; whose Word had no Natural Virtue and Efficacy in it, to work Wonders. And there. fore Miracles certainly prove, that there is an Invisible, Intelligent Cause; who, if he did not make the World, could have made it, if he had pleased : For whoever can, in any one Instance, act without, or against Nature', can create Nature too. For to do any thing which Nature cannot do, is, in that Particular, to make Nature : And he who can make Nature in one Instance, can do so in all. And this is a good Reason to believe, that the World was made, when we know, that there is a Cause that can make the World. And that Superior Power he exercises over Nature, proves, that he boch can, and does govern the World : For he has the Supreme and Absolute Government of Nature ; who can, when he pleafes, give new Powers to it, or suspend and reverse its Laws.

So that Miracles are a Supernatural Proof of 2 Divine Power and Providence, and no Man who believes that there ever was a true Miracle wrought, can be an Atheift : And therefore it is no wonder, that Atheists are such professed Enemies to the Belief of Miracles ; but it is a great wonder, that they can persuade them . selves to reje& all those Authentick Relacions we have of Miracles, both from the Law of Moses, and from the Gospel of Christ, which are the most credible Histories in the World, ( if we look upon them as no more than Hiftories,) and have obtained the most universal Bea


lief. Especially this is very unaccountable in those Men who pretend to Deism, to acknowledge a God who made the World. For cannot that God, who made the World, and made Nature, act without, or above, or against Nature, when he pleases ? And may it not become the Divine Wisdom and Goodness to do this, when it is necessary, for the more abundant Convidion of Mankind, who are funk into Atheism or Idolatry? When Signs and Wonders are neceffary, to awaken Men into the Sense and Belief of God and his Providence, which was the Case in the Days of Moses ; or to give Authority to Prophets, to declare and reveal the Will of God to Men ; (which was a Reason for Miracles, as long as God thought fit to make any New and Publick Revelations of his Will ;) when it is as reasonable and credible, that God, who can when he pleases, should sometimes work Miracles, as it is, that he should take care to preserve the knowledge of himself and his Will, and to restore it when it is loft ; or to make such New Discoveries of his Grace, as the fallen State of Mankind requires ; when, I say, the Thing it self is so credible, and so worthy of God, what reasonable Pretence can there be for Reje&ting Miracles, for which we have the Authority of the best attested History in the World?

But Atheism was not the Disease of that Age, which had run into the other Extreme of Polytheism and Idolatry : And therefore tho' Miracles do prove the Being and Providence of God, the Miracles of Moses were principally intended to prove the Glory and Power of the God of Israel; that the God of Israel is the One Supreme God; and that he had cho


seni Israel for his peculiar People : And this he did, by doing such Things as no other God could do ; such as made the Ægyptian Magicians confefs', that it was 8. Exod. r. the Finger of God. And what more effectual way could be taken, to convince the World of One Supreme God, than such vifible Demonstrations of an Absolute and Sovereign Power, Superior to all? Those who wore shipped a Plurality of Gods, either had no Notion of One Supreme God, whose Power rue leth over all ; or if they had, yet they believed, that this Supreme God had committed the Care and Government of Mankind to Inferior Deities, whom they therefore worshipped with Divine Honours, as the Disposers of their Lives and Fortunes ; and either paid no Worship to the Supreme God, which was the more general Practice ; or worshipped their Country-Gods together with him, and that with the most frequent, and solemn, and pompous Worship. Now such great and wonderful Works as these, which none of their Countrey-Gods could do, was an evident Proof, that there was a Power, and therefore a God above them all, whom all Mankind ought to fear and worship. This convinc'd Nebuchadnezzar of the Power of the God of Israel, when he had delivered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, from the fiery Furnace, he made a De- 3. Dan. 29. cree, That every People, Nation, and Language, which Spake amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, hall be cut in Pieces, and their Houses fhall be made a Dunghil, because there is no other God that can deliver after this Sort. Thus when God had delivered Daniel from the Lions Den, Darius made a Decree,



That in every Dominion of bis King6. Dan. 26, dom Mens fbould tremble and fear before

the God of Daniel : For be is the living God, and Stedfast for ever, and bis Kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and bis Dominion shall be even unto the End. He deliverab and rescuetb, and worketh Signs and Wonders in Heaven, and in Earb, wbo basb delivered Daniel from the Power of tbe Lions,

· Boch chefe Kings were convinced by these great and wonderful Works, that the God of Ifrael was the Supreme God; but Nebuchadnezzar's Decree only forbids Men to blafpheme God. Darius seems to command all People' to worship him ; for to tremble and fear before bim, signifies a religious Veneration ; but neither of them appointed any folemn Worship to be paid him, much less did they forbid the Worship of any other Gods.

But a little Confideration would have carried them farther ; for those mighty Works which proved a Power superior to all Gods, proved a Sovereign Providence too; that this Supreme God had not so committed the Government of the World to any Ministers, or inferior Deities, but chat he reserved the fupreme Disposal of all

Things in his own Hands ; as Ne4. Dan, 342 buchadnezzar was convinced, that 35.

His Dominion is an overlasting Domia nion, and bis Kingdom is from Generation to Generaa tion and all the Inbabitants of the Earth are reputed as nothing ; and be doth according to his Will in the Army of Heaven, and among the Inbabitants of sbe Earth, and none can ftay his Hand, or say unto him, What doft tbou? This cut off all reasonable Pretences of paying Divine Worship to their Countrey-God's ; for if there be à Superior



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