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Thus alfo the cure of the man who had been born blind, underwent an immediate and fevere fcrutiny 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 Jefus, and honestly avowed the conclufion which his reafon dictated; "that if this man were not of God he could do nothing," they reply with the wounded pride of bigotry" thou waft altogether born in fins, and doft thou teach us ;" and like all bigots, who will filence by punishment thofe whom they cannot confute by reason, they excommunicate this honeft and grateful witness of the power and mercy of Chrift: yet our Lord meets him soon after in the presence of some of the Pharifees, recalls the miracle to their recollection, avows his character as the Son of God, and reproaches them with their obftinate blindness.
Still more remarkable is the account which the evangelists, with almost unequalled impartiality and humility, deliver of the apoftles attempting to cure a child who was poffeffed with a dumb fpirit, lunatick and fore vexed, and their having failed in the
John ix. 134. I earneftly recommend this paffage to the attention of my young readers. The ftriking fimplicity of the narrative, the natural conduct of all the parties, and the ftrict fcrutiny the miracle fuftained, cannot fail of making a deep impreffion on every candid mind. Vid further particulars in the Appendix.
attempt; the scribes, ever vigilant to discredit their miffion, instantly appear active and curious, queftioning them in the presence of the multitude. Our Lord approaches, afks the fcribes "what question ye with them"-discovers the cause, and instantly, in the presence of the fame multitude, and the fame watchful enemies, compieatly cures the child.
What circumstances could difplay more ftrongly the strict scrutiny to which our Lord's miracles were exposed from his enemies, and the fearlessnefs with which he submitted them to that scrutiny?
Thus also many of the Jews, who were witnesses of that great and awful miracle the refurrection of Lazarus, were plainly enemies, for immediately they inform the Pharifees, who call a council with the chief priests; and faid, "what do we, for this man "doeth many miracles? if we thus let him alone all 66 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 ftate, counteracted the effect of an acknowledged fupernatural interpofition; and conceiving themselves juftified by the expediency of
f Matt. xvii. 14. Mark ix. 14. Luke ix. 37.
* John xi. Why this miracle is mentioned only by St. John, fee admirably well accounted for in Lardner's Vindication of it, vel. 2, p. 11 to 28, edit. of 1788.
committing a private crime, for a fuppofed public good; the expediency that one man fhould die for "the people, and that the whole nation perish not ;” they from that moment took counsel to put to death Jefus, the teacher of righteousness and difpenfer of mercy.
From all these inftances I conclude with confidence, that our Lord's miracles were totally independent of
any enthusiastic delufion. Experience proves, that
fuch delufions feldom laft longer than while they
meet with minds all equally and fitly difpofed to catch the impulfe, as it paffes, like an electric fhock from foul to foul; but when numbers are constantly found to refift and repel, instead of yielding to and forwarding this influence, its progrefs meets a speedy check, and the delufion fails. Hence it is, that enthusiasts can bear as little as impoftors, the prefence and the inspection even of cold and neutral spectators; much lefs of jealous fcrutinizing enemies. Not fo our Lord, he perpetually appealed to the sober reafon even of his moft obftinate enemies, to judge from plain facts, and acknowledged truths, of his right to the divine authority' he affumed, and the validity of the proofs on which he rested his claims. His addreffes on this fubject are numerous and ftriking, and fo important to our present purpose, that I cannot pass them by.
"As Jefus walked in the temple, came the Jews "round about him, and faid unto him, how long "dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ "tell us plainly. And Jefus anfwered, I told you, "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 661 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 fent his difciples to ask Jefus, 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 fhew John again those things which you do fee "and hear, the blind receive their fight, and the lame "walk; the lepers are cleanfed, 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 "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 obftinate neglect of fuch 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 expofe and overturn the ob
8 John x. 23, 24, and 36, 37.
h Matt. xi. 2-29. Luke vii. 18—35. i Matt. xi. 20—30.
ftinate perversenefs of the Jews, who fought to kill him, because he healed on the fabbath, and affumed the character of the Son of God. "If I bear witness of myself my witness is not true-there is ano"ther that beareth witness of me, and I know that the
witness which he witnesseth of me is true; ye fent "unto John, and he bare witnefs unto the truth. "But I have greater witness than that of John; for the "works which the Father hath given me to finish, the 'fame works that I do bear witness of me, that the "Father hath fent me." And this ftrong appeal toTM prophetic teftimony "Search the fcriptures, for in "them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they " which testify of me: had ye Iye believed Mofes ye would "have believed me, for he wrote of me." Such were the proofs by which our Lord's disciples were convinced of his divine authority. How different from the vifions of enthusiasm, which appeal to no credentials but the impulse of fecret inspiration, and reft on no fupport but blind credulity.
* John v. 18, to the end