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that it is ouverhable, ord alterable in can govert of his Cread
Loe ves ones Power, Ja, than a Man cake
pleased to make it immutable ; and therefore this Power being passed out of his Hands, he cannot recal it, with out Violation to his Wisdom; and a perfect Confusion to the present Scheme of Beings. But to consider this a little. As God by his omnipotent Power created all Things, so by his Providence he governs them, and takes care of them. And it is equally Absurd to say any Thing Should not be governed by infinite Providence, as to assert any Thing might be created without omnipotent Power. Both these are God's Attributes, and to do Violence to either of these is injurious to God. Now how can it be said, that God by his Providence takes care of the World, when he has made such a fatal unalterable World that it is out of his power to take care of? For whatsoever is governable, or the Subject of Government, must be in one's Power, and alterable : But God can no more govern a fatal World, than a Man can govern the Winds and the Sea. But to govern and take care of his Creatures, is the necessary Attribute of a wise and a good God; and therefore the World, which he takes care of; must be governable, and consequently not fatal. .
Phil. But by the Way, Sir, is it not more agreeable to the divine Wisdom to create a World fixt and immutable, than such a one whose Laws should be weak and shatter'd, that they must need his Assistance every Moment, to preserve them, and make them go according to his Will?
Cred. I do not deny but that the Laws of Nature are God's Fries in themselves sufficiently firm and immutable, and that vidence they will unchangeably preserve their Course, when it better than does not please God they should be interrupted by his katabiry: Superior Power. But it is no Reflection upon God's Wifdom, 'that he did not make the World so immutable, that his Providence could not interpose in it: Nay, it would · have been a greater Reflexion upon his Wisdom, to have made such a World, which it was out of his power to controul. Let any one judge, if a Prince does not ac more prudently by granting a limited Commission to a General and Deputy to be fuperseded at his Pleasure, than
by granting an absolute and unlimited one, which it is out : of his power to restrain.
Phil. This is true among Princes, because they have à finire Understanding, and can have no Knowledge of Futures ; and so may undo themselves by not reserving a Power to themselves upon some extraordinary Emergency ; but God Almighty knows all Things, because he eternally Decrees them: And therefore nothing can happen afterwards unexpected, or contrary to his Foresight ; and therefore he might very well compofe a fixt and immurable World, without any Prejudice to himself, or Rea
flexion upon his Wisdom. God a mile Cred. Tho' we must not consider God as a finite Givernour, Prince, yet we must consider him as a wise Governour; and without fa- he cannot be a wise Governour by fatal Laws: For the
Laws of Virtue, which are certainly God's Laws, fuppose Liberty ; but to command a Thing to be freely done, which cannot but be done, or is impossible to be done, does argue a foolish Governour; and therefore God cannot do so. God muft therefore referve to himself the continual Management of the Affairs of Nature to maintain the Freedom of Man's Will; and to adjust Matters fo as becomes a good Governour. Bat to go on where
we left of. Miracles
1. 3. It is another of your great Mistakes to assert, That not Occur. Miracles are only such Occurrences in Nature as the Vulrences, gar do not understand. For generally the Miracles which
hich the are recorded in Scripture, are such as the Vulgar are as Vulgar do
coder. proper Judges of as the greatest Philosophers. Indeed if 127.d. the Miracles were only fome extraordinary Performances
in recondit Arts and Sciences, then they would afford fome Reason for learned Men, to question their Sincerity. If they were the Resolutions of fome very difficult Questions in Algebra, fome curious Tables of the Morions of the heavenly Bodies for many Years, fome wonderful Per-. formance by mechanick Philosophy, which had amused the common People into the Opinion that they were Miracles; then something of this Nature might be pretended. But when all the Miracles in Scripture are such as the
ance by mechanic'h many Years, fome the Motions of
meanest Men might be Judges of, and which they cannot be deceived in, the Case is quite different. Any ordinary Man might be Judge whether it were not by a miraculous Power, that bitter Waters, by a Word of the Prophet, were made sweets that an Iron Hatchet was made to swim; that a dead Child was raised to Life. Every ordinary Man was as good a Judge of Taste, of the Heaviness of Iron, and when the Soul was departed from the Body, as the greatest Philosopher. When our Saviour, by a Word spoke, turned Water into Wine, cured the Blind and the Lame, and raised Men from the Dead; in these Cases the relieved Persons, and every Beholder, could 'tell that this was above the Power of Nature, as well as those that had continually applied themselves to the Study of it. There is no Need for an Insight in Philosophy, or the Mathematicks, for Men to know when they are sick, or when they are well ; to know, that tho' Phyfick does often cure diseased Men, yet Words naturally do not; that medicinal Operations are slow and gradual; and therefore when they see Men instantaneously cured of a Disease, which for a long while has baffled the Power of Medicine, that this must needs be by a supernatural Power, when they see all natural Means have failed.
4. And your. Assertion is equally false, wherein you Miracl do lay down, Íhat Miracles do rather make Men doubt of not make
* Men doust a God, than prove his Being to them. Now we do not fay, that Miracles are the belt Argument to prove the Being of a God, for the most excellent Frame and Contri. vance of the World, are the most obvious Proof of it. But Miracles are far from making any wife Man doubt of the Being of a God. For the wise, and constant Ends and Regularities in Nature are so forcible a Proof upon Men of his Being ; that every little Disorder cannot make a wise Man doubt of it. For if I behold in any Work a thoufand wise Ends that I am able to discover ; I may very well conclude that a few other Things were as wifely design'd, whose Ends I am not able to guess at. But why should Miracles make Men doubt of the Being of a God? In my Mind they do plainly prove his Exiftence.
Türes theicod which erialists), Matters
Atration, there the Eviaterialist,
For when ever a Miracle is done, there is something done by a Power superior to Nature: Now if there be a Power superior to Nature, then Nature is not Self-existent, and consequently there is a God which created Nature. This must be Demonstration to all Materialists, that allow nothing in the World but infinite and eternal Matter, and a necessary Concatenation of Causes. For if a Miracle or supernatural Power breaks or disturbs one Link of these Causes, and Nature afterwards goes on undisturbedly again, it is most certain that there is a Power above Nas ture which directs it ; for otherways a necessary and fatal Nature would move on with an infinite Disturbance. So that I say, Philologus, that tho' to an Epicurean, who would have all Things come by Chance, Miracles are not so good a Proof of a Deity, as the Frame of the Universe, and the wise Ends of Things; yet to a Materialist, who will have all Things to be Nature, the Eviction of a Miracle must be Demonstration : For this overthrows his whole Hypothesis, and tells him, to his Face, that Matter and Nature are but a limited and subordinate · Power, and in Subjection to a superior Mind or Power,
which is God. Náy, let the Miracle be true or false, either wrought by God, or the Devil, it is liome-proof against a Materialist; for a Witch, or an Apparition, is total Destruction to that Philosophy, Therefore it is no Wonder, that so great an Outcry is raised against Mira, cles and preter-natural Powers; for if these are once evin,
ced, the Hobbist is at an End... False Mi- .; S. And whereas you object against Miracles, that they racles no
... are no Proof of an Inspiration from God, because there Argument mainit may be a great many false Miracles, and that Mofes, in Frue ones. the 13th of Deutero071y, gives them Warning of the
fame : I think this is only puzzling the Casc, and raising a Dust; instead of arguing the Point, For what though there be false and pretended Miracles, are there therefore .no true oncs? Because there have been many false Wit-nesses, must therefore no true Evidence be credited ? Because there are very many Quacks and Empiricks, are there no good Physicians in the World? Because
Axions by ind Reason to distand Design. Ang
there are many Knaves, are there no honest Men? This is a mad Way of concluding, which would destroy all human Sociery and Conversation out of the World. Men must neither eat nor drink, because some Men have been poisoned those Ways. 'They must receive no good Money, because there is a great deal of Counterfeit. They must believe nothing that is told them ; because there are many Liars among Men. Now Man would be the most miserable Creature in the World, if he were to square his A&tions by this Method. But God has given to all Men Judgment and Reason to distinguish between Truth and Falsnood, between Sincerity and Design. And this we must make use of in considering miraculous Powers, and proving the Spirits whether they be of God. By this we may discern whether the produced Miracle be above the Power of Art or Nature, or whether it does not shew the Finger of God; whether it be the Effect of a déluded Imagination, and not rather the Evidence of clear and undisturbed Sense; whether it be the Operation of God, or 'the Power of the Devil; whether it tends to the Advancement of the Kingdom of Light, or of Dark, ness; whether it tends to further moral Goodness and Piety, or elle Wickedness and superstition; whether it. contributes to the strengthening or overthrowing of God's Laws; whether it confirms what we are sure God has re, vealed before, or contradicts it. Now with this Caution we may very well distinguish true from falle Miracles, and affent to the True, whilst we reject the False. And therefore Mofes, in the Chapter which you alledged, does' with very good Reason, give the Fews Warning that they do not receive Impression from Miracles with too great Precipitancy, and gives them a good Rule to judge when they are false ; viz. namely, 'when they contradict the Atanding Rules of Morality, or any other Revelation of God. If there arise among you a Prophet, or a Dreamer of Dreams, and giveth thee a Sign, or a Wonder, &c. saying, . Let us go after other Gods, &c. Te Mall not hearken unto the Words of that Prophet, &c. but ye fall walk after the Lord your God, and keep his Commandments, and obey his Voice, &ic,