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tist, “ Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?' The same appeal is made to his works in the reply he gives to these inquirers.
It follows next in order that we should ask what these works were, and it so happens, that the person who performed them, has himself enumerated them in the following words : “ The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached unto them.' These are works, it must be acknowledged, of a most benevolent sort ; they are not indeed so splendid as the miraculous act of dividing the Red Sea for the people of Israel to march through it, and again commanding it to close upon their pursuers in the rear, and swallow up the
of Pharaoh ; they are not of so tremendous a character as those afflicting plagues with which Moses punished the Egyptians: but would these, or such as these, have been characteristic of a Mediator? Christ came to save and not to destroy the world, and the works above described are no less merciful in their nature, than miraculous.
When the Jews, therefore, tauntingly assert the superior magnificence of the miracles wrought by Moses, which we admit to have been in all respects suitable to the commission which Moses was encharged with, they should with equal candour admit, that the less splendid, but more salutary, miracles of Christ, were no less suited to the merciful commission, which he came amongst us to perform. There is, indeed, more horrible grandeur in the spectacle of a vast army swallowed up by the sea, miraculously divided into a wall on each side of those who passed through it; but who will say that God's power is not as wonderfully and conspicuously displayed in restoring dead Lazarus to life, as in drowning Pharaoh and his host? Surely it is as great a miracle to give life to the dead, as it is to put the living to death.
The miracles of Christ were performed without ostentation and display, yet they were of such general notoriety, that the Jews themselves did not, and do not even now, deny their being wrought by him, but ascribed them to the aid and agency of the devil: a miserable subterfuge, indeed! But this is not all; a contemporary writer of that nation, David Levi, in his letter to Dr. Priestley, asserts, that there was not only no such necessity' for the miracles of Jesus as for those of Moses, but that they were scarcely just or rational, and, consequently, cannot be offered as proofs of his divine mission, in comparison with that of Moses,' pp. 67, 68.
In support of this assertion, the learned controversialist observes, that as to the miracles of Moses, there was the greatest necessity for them; for instance, the plagues he brought upon the Egyptians were necessary for the redemption of the Jewish nation; as was the dividing of the Red Sea, and the drowning the Egyptians for their further deliverance from them; the manna from heaven and the water from the rock were necessary for their subsistence in the wilderness; the same of all the rest.'
This we may admit in its full force: but as the miracles which Christ wrought were altogether as necessary for the proof of his divine mission, as these of Moses for the proof of his; a man must be very partial to his own nation, who will assert, that the deliverance of the Jews from their captivity in Egypt, was a more important object than the re. demption of lost mankind. We will not doubt but it was necessary the Egyptian host should be drowned, because it seemed good to God so to punish their obduracy, and extricate the Jewish tribes; but it
is no less necessary, that mankind should believe in Christ, if they are to be saved through his means, and for the confirmation of that necessary faith, these miracles were performed : the author of the objection, who himself asserts that Moses delivered the important doctrine of a future state, will not deny that the belief of a future state is a necessary belief; and if it be so, it must follow that Christ's resurrection and appearance upon earth after his crucifixion, a miracle, I presume, as great and striking as any wrought by the hand of Moses, was as pertinent to that general end, as the wonders in the land of Egypt and at the Red Sea were to the particular purpose of rescuing the Jews out of their captivity.
If we grant that Moses, as this objector intimates, did impart the doctrine of a future state, Christ did more by exemplifying it in his own person, and against such evidence we might presume even a Sadducee would not hold out. Now, as so large a portion of the Jewish nation were still in the avowed disbelief of that doctrine, which our opponent believes was taught them by their great prophet and lawgiver himself, surely he must of course allow, that the resurrection of Christ was to them at least, and to all who like them did not credit the doctrine of a life to come, a necessary
miracle. Where such a teacher as Moses had failed to persuade, what less than a miracle could conquer their infidelity? Unless, indeed, our author shall join issue with Abraham in his reply to Dives, as recorded in the words of Christ, and maintain with him, that as they would not believe the word of Moses, neither would they be persuaded, though one actually rose from the dead.
And now I will more closely animadvert upon the bold assertion of David Levi, the Jew, whose
hostile opinions we tolerate, that the miracles of Christ, the Saviour of the world, whose religion we profess, were scarcely just or rational.'
Our faith is at issue, our established church falls to the ground, our very sovereign becomes no longer the defender of our faith, but rather the defender of our folly, if this contemner of Christ, this alien, who assaults our religion, whilst he is living under the protection of our laws, shall with one stroke of an audacious pen, undermine the strong foundation of our belief.
Let us hear how this modern caviller confutes those miracles, which his forefathers saw and did not dare to deny.
He takes two out of the number, and if there is any merit in the selection, he is beholden to his correspondent for it: these are, first, the driving the devils out of the man possessed, and sending them into the herd of swine; Matt. viii, 28. Secondly, the curse pronounced upon the barren fig-tree;' Mark, xi. 13.
Upon the first of these he has the following stricture—“ This I think was not strictly just, for as according to your (Dr. Priestley's) opinion, he was but a man and a prophet, I would willingly be informed what right he had to destroy another man's property in the manner he did, by sending the devils into them, and so causing them to run violently into the sea and perish ?'
This miracle is recorded also by Saint Mark, v. l. and again by Saint Luke, viii. 26. What Saint Matthew calls the country of the Gergesenes, the other two Evangelists call the country of the Gadarenes, and St. Luke adds that it is over-against Galilee; this country, as I conceive, was within the boundaries of the half tribe of Manasseh, on the other side of Jordan, and is by Strabo, lib. 16. called. Gadarida. Now Moses, both in Leviticus, xi, and Deuteronomy, xiv. prohibits swine, as one of the unclean beasts : ‘Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.' Isaiah also states it as a particular sin and abomination in the Jews, whom he calleth a' rebel. lious people, a people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; which remain among the graves and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine's flesh.' lxv. 2, 3, 4. And again, . They that sanctify themselves and purify themselves in the gardens, behind one tree in the midst, eating swine's fesh, &c. shall be consumed together, saith the Lord.' lxvi. 17. Eleazar the scribe, . when constrained to open his mouth and eat swine's flesh, chose rather to die gloriously, than to live stained with such an abomination.' 2 Macc. vi. 18, 19. The seven brethren also, who were compelled to the like abomination, declared, they were ready to die rather than to transgress the laws of their fathers.' This being the law of Moses with respect to this proscribed animal, and such being the corruptions of the people in violating that law, I am at a loss to discover the injustice of the miracle; seeing what abominations these creatures had occasioned amongst the Jews, so as to draw down the denunciations of the prophet Isaiah, repeatedly urged in the passages above quoted ; and it is with particular surprise I meet the charge from one, who is himself a Jew, and who, I must presume, would die the death of Eleazar rather than be defiled with such abominable food. It would be hard, indeed, if Christ, whom he arraigns for abolishing the Mosaical dispensation in one part of his argument, should in another be accused of wrong and injury for conforming to it: but any wretched shift shall be resorted to for matter of railing against Christ, and rather than not feed lis