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to Christ, strengthens the credibility of Christianity. For .it precludes any solution, or conjecture about a solution, which imagination, or even which experience might suggest concerning some particular miracles, if considered independently of others. The miracles of Christ were of various kinds * and performed in great varieties of situation, form, and manner ; at Jerusalem, the metropolis of the Jewish nation and religion; in different parts of Judea and Galilee ; in cities and villages ; in synagogues, in private houses; in the street, in highways ; with preparation, as in the case of Lazarus; by accident, as in the case of the widow's son of Nain ; when attended by multitudes, and when alone with the patient; in the midst of his disciples, and in the presence
* Not only healing every species of disease, but turning water into wine (John, ii.); fceding multitudes with a few loaves and fishes (Matt. xiv, 15.; Mark, vi. 35. ; Luke, ix. 12. ; . John, vi. 5.); walking on the sea (Matt. xiv. 25.); calming a storm (Matt. viii. 26. ; Luke, viii. 24.) ; a celes. tial voice at his baptism, aud miraculous appearance (Matt, iii. 16.; afterwards Joho, xii. 28.); his transfiguration (Matt, xvii. 1-8.; Mark, ix. 2. ; Luke, ix. 28. ; 2 Peter, i. 16, 17.); raising the dead in three distict instances (Matt, ix. 18.; Mark, v. 22.; Luke, viii. 41.; Luke, vii. 14.; John, xi.).
of his enemies; with the common people. around him, and before Scribes and Pharisees, and rulers of the
I apprehend that, when we remove from the comparison, the cases which are fairly disposed of by the observations that have been stated, many cases will not remain. To those which do remain, we apply this final distinction ; 66 that there is not satisfactory evidence, that persons, pretending to be original witnesses of the miracles, passed their lives in labours, dangers, and sufferings, voluntarily undertaken and undergone in attestation of the accounts which they delivered, and properly in consequence of their belief of the truth of those accounts.'
But they, with whom we argue, have uns doubtedly a right to select their own examples. The instances with which Mr Hume has chosen to confront the miracles of the New Testament, and which, therefore, we are entitled to regard as the strongest which the history of the world could supply to the inquiries of a very acute and learned adversary, are the three following:
I. The cure of a blind and of a lame man at Alexandria, by the emperor Vespasian, as related by Tacitus ;
II. The restoration of the limb of an attendant in a Spanish church, as told by Cardinal de Retz ; and,
: III. The cures said to be performed at the tomb of the Abbé Paris, in the early part of the present century.
I. The narrative of Tacitus is delivered in these terms :
66 One of the common people of Alexandria, known to be diseased in his eyes, by the admonition of the god Serapis, whom that superstitious nation worship above all other gods, prostrated himself before the emperor, earnestly. imploring from him a remedy for his blindness, and entreating that he would deign to anoint with his spittle his cheeks and the balls of his eyes. Another, diseased in his hand, requested, by the admonition of the same god, that he might be touched by the foot of the emperor. Vespasian at first derided and despised their application; afterwards, when they continued to urge their petitions, he sometimes appeared to dread the imputation of vanity; at other times, by the earnest supplication of the patients, and the persuasion of his flatterers, to be induced to hope for success. At length he commanded an inquiry to be made by the physicians, whether such a blindness and debility were vincible by human aid. The report of the physicians contained various points; that in the one the power of vision was not destroyed, but would return if the obstacles were removed ; that in the other, the diseased joints might be restored, if a healing power were applied ; that it was, perhaps, agreeable to the gods to do this: that the emperor was elected by divine assistance : lastly, that the credit of the success would be the emperor's, the ridicule of the disappointment would fall upon the patients. Vespasian, believing that every thing was in the power of his fortune, and that nothing was any longer incredible, whilst the multitude, which stood by, eagerly expected the event, with a countenance expressive of joy, executed what he was desired to do. Immediately the hand was restored to its use, and light returned to the blind man. They who were present, relate both these cures, even at this time, when there is nothing to be gained by lying *.”