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of the New Teftament, the miracles did not irresistibly carry, even those who faw them, to the conclufion intended to be drawn from them; or fo compel affent, as to leave no room for fufpenfe, for the exercife of candour, or the effects of prejudice. And to this point, at leaft, the evangelifts may be allowed to be good witneffes; because it is a point, in which exaggeration or disguise would have been the other way. Their accounts, if they could be suspected of falsehood, would rather have magnified, than diminished, the effects of the miracles.

John vii. 21-31. "Jefus anfwered, and faid unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel-If a man on the Sabbathday receive circumcifion, that the law of Mofes fhould not be broken, are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the Sabbath-day? Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgement. Then faid fome of them of Jerufalem, Is not this he whom they seek to kill? but lo, he fpeaketh boldly, and

and they fay nothing to him; do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Chrift? Howbeit we know this man, whence he is; but, when Chrift cometh, no man knoweth whence he is. Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, faying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am; and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not; but I know him, for I am from him, and he hath fent me. Then they fought to take him, but no man laid hands on him because his hour was not

yet come; and many of the people believed on him, and said, When Chrift cometh, will be do more miracles than those which this man hath done?"

This paffage is very obfervable. It exhibits the reasoning of different forts of perfons upon the occafion of a miracle, which perfons of all forts are reprefented to have acknowledged as real. One fort of men thought, that there was fomething very extraordinary in all this; but that still Jefus could not be the Chrift, because there was


a circumstance in his appearance, which militated with an opinion concerning Christ, in which they had been brought up, and of the truth of which, it is probable, they had never entertained a particle of doubt, viz. that "when Chrift cometh no man knoweth whence he is.' Another fort were inclined to believe him to be the Meffiah. But even thefe did not argue as we should; did not confider the miracle as of itself decifive of the question, as what, if once allowed, excluded all farther debate upon the subject, but founded their opinion upon a kind of comparative reasoning, "When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than thofe which this man hath done ?"

Another paffage in the fame evangelift, and obfervable for the fame purpose, is that in which he relates the refurrection of La


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zarus : Jefus," he tells us, (xi. 43, 44.) "when he had thus fpoken, cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth; and he, that was dead, came forth, bound hand and foot with grave-clothes, and his face was


bound about with a napkin. Jefus faith unto them, Loose him and let him go." One might have expected, that at least all thofe who stood by the fepulchre, when Lazarus was raised, would have believed in Jesus. Yet the evangelift does not so represent it. "Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jefus did, believed on him; but fome of them went their ways to the Pharifees, and told them what things Jefus had done." We cannot fuppofe that the evangelift meant, by this account, to leave his readers to imagine that any of the fpectators doubted about the truth of the miracle. Far from it. Unqueftionably, he ftates the miracle to have been. fully allowed yet the perfons who allowed it, were, according to his reprefentation, capable of retaining hoftile fentiments towards Jefus. "Believing in Jefus" was not only to believe that he wrought miracles, but that he was the Meffiah. With us there is no difference between these two things; with them there was the greateft. And the difference is apparent in this tranfaction. If St.

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St. John has reprefented the conduct of the Jews upon this occafion truly (and why he fhould not I cannot tell, for it rather makes against him than for him), it fhews clearly the principles upon which their judgement proceeded. Whether he has related the matter truly or not, the relation itself dif covers the writer's own opinion of those principles, and that alone poffeffes confiderable authority. In the next chapter, we have a reflection of the evangelift, entirely fuited to this ftate of the cafe ; " but though he had done fo many miracles before them, yet believed they not on him*." The evangelift does not mean to impute the defect of their belief to any doubt about the miracles, but to their not perceiving, what all now fufficiently perceive, and what they would have perceived had not their underftandings been governed by ftrong prejudices, the infallible atteftation which the works of Jefus bore to the truth of his pretenfions.

* xii. 37.


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