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which enthusiasm could not have counterfeited, and never would have required; and at every step of its progress, as their faith was called to signalize itself by new exertions, or to sustain new trials, it was fortified by new proofs.
During a confiderable period, (probably a whole year) had his disciples been hearers of his doctrines, and witnesses of his power, before he selected from them twelve, to become his ministers and apostles. Immediately, on this felection, he defcends with them into the plain, and heals multitudes in their prefence. A confiderable interval, filled with the most * awful miracles, intervened between this call,
• Vid. Newcome's Preface to his Harmony, p. 5. "The "jealoufy of the Jewish rulers was not early awakened by the "call of the twelve apoftles to a stated attendance. This " event took place after our Lord had celebrated his fecond "paffover at Jerufalem, when he was about to absent himself "from that city for fo long an interval as eighteen months; "in like manner the feventy were not fent forth, to shew, throughout a wide tract of country, with what wisdom and 66 power their Master endued them till within about fix months "of our Lord's crucifixion.”—Vid. alfo the notes on fection 33, of Newcome's Harmony, p. 16. Matt. x.2-4. Mark iii. 13-19. Luke vi. 12-19.
* Between the selection of the twelve and their first miffion,
and his delegation of them to vifit the cities of Judah, that they might teach and work miracles themselves. -And in that miffion they received fuch new and fignal proofs of divine affiftance, that any attempt to account for them by the delufions of enthusiasm is the extreme of abfurdity. "They departed and "went through the towns and healed every where." After another long interval feventy difciples, with fimilar power, were fent forth, and with equal fuccefs; they returned with joy", recounting the wonders they had wrought.
Some circumstances which have afforded pretexts for imputing our Lord's miracles to the force of enthufiafm, confidered and explained.
IT may be neceffary here to remark, that the feries
of miracles which our bleffed Lord performed, was decidedly above every poffibility of being accounted for by any enthufiaftic delufions, or any force of imagination in the perfons on whom these miracles were wrought. A fufpicion, which has been fometimes raised, from our Lord's appearing to require faith in those who were healed, and from its
a Vid. Christianity not founded on argument, p. 49.
being recorded, that he could not, or would not, work many mighty works at Nazareth, because of their unbelief. But even in thofe cafes which have given occafion to this fufpicion, from our Lord's requiring faith before he conferred his miraculous fa'vours, one obfervation which has not been, I think, fufficiently attended to, feems to me to prove to a certainty, that it was not because the fuccefs of the miracle, in any degree, depended on this faith; we uniformly find that our Lord required faith, only in the person at whofe request the miracle was vouchfafed, not at all in the patient on whom it was wrought, except he applied in perfon for the cure. -Thus, when the nobleman, whofe fon was fick at Capernaum, applied to our Saviour at Cana of Galilee," to come down and heal him, for he "was at the point of death." Our Lord answers him, 66 except ye fee figns and wonders ye will not "believe; but go thy way, thy for liveth; and the man believed and went his way."-Now, could the force of imagination in the father heal the abfent fon?
Thus alfo, when the Centurion at Capernaum fent the elders of the Jews to beseech him " to heal "his fervant, who was very dear to him, who was "fick and ready to die,"—and proved the greatness
b John iv. 43-54.
Newcome's Harmony, § 24.
Matt. viii. 5.-13. Luke vii. 1.—10. Newcome's Harmony, 37.
of his faith by declaring, Lord, I am not worthy "that thou shouldft come under my roof, but say the "word only, and my fervant fhall be healed." Our Lord declares," he had not found fo great faith, no not in Ifrael;" and adds, "go thy way, and as "thou haft believed, fo be it done unto thee."Here, could the faith of the mafter contribute to the cure of the fervant, except only as being the motive of our Lord's prompt interference? Thus the faith of the person on whofe application the miracle is wrought (whether the patient himself or another) is the cause of the cure, no otherwise than as it was the cause, first of the application, and next of our Lord's complying with it; but though this faith must have preceded that particular miracle, does it therefore follow that it was not founded on any obfervation of our Lord's divine power, but that it must have been derived from irrational credulity and blind enthufiafm? Surely not. In every inftance, when we find fuch faith required, it is plain from the hiftory, that the perfon of whom it was required, muft have had opportunities of being fully affured of our Lord's fupernatural power, and gracious mercy in exerting it.-When men improved thefe opportunities with ferious attention, when they judged from what they faw and heard with fairness and candour, they could not fail of receiving a full conviction of our Lord's divine. character; and if in confequence of this conviction they applied to him with seriousness and humi
lity, he never refused to lend a pitying ear, and extend a faving arm: thus he rewarded the fincere believer, while he difplayed a proof of his power to the unconverted.
But men frequently acted in a manner totally the reverse of this; they neglected or perverted the fulleft opportunities of conviction-like the d Pharifees, they attributed the plainest manifestations of divine benevolence to the influence of malignant demons-or applied to fee a fign; not because they had not already feen abundant wonders, but because they refolved not to be fatisfied with any evidence, except fuch as they pre-conceived would mark out that temporal deliverer, whom alone their worldly minds expected or defired; an expectation in which when they found themselves difappointed by the meek Jefus; they received his virtues with hatred, and were irritated almost to madness by his miracles. Some, like Herod, only hoped to see a miracle performed, from idle curiofity, without any defire for information or conviction, but rather with a fixed averfion to the purity and benevolence of that fyftem which the Son of God laboured to inculcate and exemplify.-Others, like en the Nazares, beheld his mighty works, and heard
d Matt. xii. 22.-37. Newcome's Harmony, f 42..
e Matt. 12.-38.
f Luke xxiii. 6-12
& Luke iv. 15.-31. Newcome's Harmony, $ 25. Again, Matt. xiii. 54-58. Newcome's Harmony, $55.