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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 itfelf by new exertions, or to sustain new trials, it was fortified by new proofs.
During a considerable 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 selection, he descends with them into the plain, and heals multitudes in their presence. A considerable interval, filled with the most * awful miracles, intervened between this call,
* Vid. Newcome's Preface to his Harmony, p. 5. “ The “ jealousy of the Jewish rulers was not early awakened by the “ call of the twelve apostles to a stated attendance. This
event took place after our Lord had celebrated his second “ passover at Jerusalem, when he was about to absent himself “ from that city for so long an interval as eighteen months ; “ in like manner the seventy were not sent forth, to skew, “ throughout a wide tract of country, with what wisdom and
power their Matter endued them till within about six monthş “ of our Lord's crucifixion.”_Vid. also the notes on section 33, of Newcome's Harmony, p. 16. Matt. x.2—4. Mark iïi. 13-19. Luke vi. 12—19.
* Between the selection of the twelve and their first mission, amongst many other miracles were the following distinguished ones—the servant of the Centurion at Capernaum, Matt. viii. Luke vii.--Newcome's Harmony, $ 37, p. 63. the widows fon at Nain is raised from the dead, Luke vii. 11.--Newcome's Harmony, Ø 38, a tempest is calmed by a word, Matt. vül. 23—26. Luke viii. 22.–Newcome's Harmony, 8 go, and the daughter of Jairus is raised to life, Matt. ix. 18. Mark v. 22. Luke vii. 41. Newcome’s Harmony, $ 52.
and his delegation of them to visit the cities of Judah, that they might teach and work miracles themselves. And in that mission they received such new and signal proofs of divine assistance, that any attempt to account for them by the delusions of enthusiasm is the extreme of abfurdity. They departed and
went through the towns and healed every where." After another long interval seventy disciples, with similar power, were sent forth, and with equal fuccefs; aa « 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 enthufiasm, considered and explained.
It may be necessary here to remark, that the series of miracles which our blessed Lord performed, was decidedly above every possibility of being accounted for by any enthusiastic delusions, or any force of imagination in the persons on whom these miracles were wrought. A suspicion, 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 those cases which have given occasion to this suspicion, from our Lord's requiring faith before he conferred his miraculous fa'vours, one obfervation which has not been, I think, fufficiently attended to, seems to me to prove to a certainty, that it was not because the success of the miracle, in any degree, depended on this faith ; we uniformly find that our Lord required faith, only in the person at whose request the miracle was vouchSafed, not at all in the patient on whom it was wrought, except he applied in person for the cure. Thus, when the nobleman, whose son 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,
except ye fee figns and wonders ye will not " believe ; but go thy way, thy son liveth; and the
man believed and went his way.”—Now, could the force of imagination in the father heal the absent fon?
Thus also, when the Centurion at Capernaum sent the elders of the Jews to beseech him “ to heal " his servant, who was very dear to him, who was
fick and ready to die,”—and proved the greatness
6 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 shouldst come under my roof, but say the “ word only, and my servant shall be healed.” Our Lord declares, “ he had not found fo great faith, no not in Israel ;” and adds,“ go thy way, and as " thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee." Here, could the faith of the master contribute to the cure of the servant, except only as being the motive of our Lord's prompt interference? Thus the faith of the person on whose 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 observation of our Lord's divine power, but that it must have been derived from irrational credulity and blind enthusiasm ? Surely not. In every inftance, when we find such faith required, it is plain from the history, that the person of whom it was required, must have had opportunities of being fully assured of our Lord's supernatural power, and gracious mercy in exerting it.When men improved these opportunities with serious 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 consequence of this conviction they applied to him with seriousness and humility, he never refused to lend a pitying ear, and extend a saving arm : thus he rewarded the sincere believer, while he displayed 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 fullest opportunities of conviction like the
Pharisees, they attributed the plainest manifestations of divine benevolence to the influence of malignant demons—or applied to see a sign; not because they had not already seen abundant wonders, but because they resolved not to be satisfied with any evidence, except such as they pre-conceived would mark out that temporal deliverer, whom alone their worldly minds expected or desired ; an expectation in which when they found themselves disappointed by the meek Jesus ; 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 curiosity, without any desire for information or convi&ion, but rather with a fixed aversion to the purity and beneyolence of that system which the Son of God laboured to inculcate and exemplify.-Others, like the Nazarites, beheld his mighty works, and heard
d Matt. xii. 22.–37. Newcome's Harmony, 42.
8 Luke iv. 15.-31. Newcome's Harmony, Ø 25. Again, Matt. xiii. 54.--58. Newcome's Harmony, $ 55.