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to such excellent Uses, was, at this time, more neceffary, and in all respects as convincing, as if it had been of a merciful and beneficial na. ture (all which our Author has amply discoursed) there is certainly no Appearance, either of Folly, or Ignorance, or Injustice, or Passion, or Ill-nature in our Saviour's doing it.
The 17th Section treats of his healing the impotent Man at the Pool of Bethesda. To which it is objected, " That there is reason to sup“ pose, that this whole Account is a mere “ Fiction ; since neither Josephus, nor any o" ther Author, makes any mention of this mi“ raculous Pool: That St. John, the only Au“thor of it, is very defeEtive in not telling us « the occasion, time, and manner of the Angel's « descending; and very absurd, in making the « balt, the blind, and the withered, &c. (Per“ fons that were unable to help themselves). " the Patients, that waited for the Cure : That “ this impotent Man, in particular, was. “ highly foolish, for waiting fo long to no “ purpose ; that Jesus (if he could have done “ it) Thould have healed the whole Multitude " of miserable Objects, and not this one only; . “ whose Cure, after all, might perhaps be no “ Miracle, but only the effect of his Disease " worn off in a natural way." To this it is answered, that the miraculous Cures of the Waters of Bethesda, are a distinct Consideration from our Saviour's Cure of the impotent Man, whom he found there, and cannot invalidate his Miracle, even tho we could not account for their fanative Virtue ; That fome Account, however, may be given of the Nature of this miraculous Pool; when its fanátive Virtúe first began; how long it continued among the Jews ;'
why Josephus makes no express mention of its tho’ probably he may do it under another Naine: That tho' the Opinions of learned Men concerning the Cause of this fanative Virtue be various ; yet the most probable Hypoa thesis is; that it was occasioned by the Action of an Angel, who might descend; about the time of the Passover, to keep up a Sense of God's Providence among the Jews; and, to inake thë Action appear more miraculous; cute no more than one at once: That there was no Folly, but a proper Reliance on God's Providence, in the Impotent Man's waiting fo long i no want of Charity or Commiseration in our Saviour, in curing one out of so many, nor any Collusion in the Cure it self; since the Man's Cafe (aca cording to all Symptoms) was a confirmed Palsy of thirty eight Years standing, which all Physicians allow is above the Power of Nature to remedy:
THE 18th Section treats of his curing the Man that was born Blind. To which it is objected, " That his using an Ointinent to this " purpose (tho' it was a very strange and “ whimsical one) destroys the Credit of the Mia “ racle; because he might have some fanative “ Balfam in his Mouth, which mixt with his « Spittle, might imperceptibly work the Cure;
which had it been done by a Word's Speaking, “ would have been much more declarative of « his Almighty Power." And to this it is rea plied, That the Evangelist is so very minute in describing the Circumstances attending this Cure, that there is no possibility for any Fraud or Collusion in it: That tho there are Media cines, which may strengthen the optick Nerves, when weakened or relaxed; yet no Power of.
Art can cure a Man, that is born blind ; and that the incompetency of the Application our Saviour made use of (where he was certainly, at his own liberty) instead of impairing, inhances the Merit of the Cure, and convinced the Spectators, as well as the Patient himself, of his Almighty Power,' which could produce such a wonderful Effect by means that were indifferent, if not obstructive to the Cure,
THE 19th Section treats of his turning Water into Wine. And here it is objected, “That it 66 was inconsistent with the Character of Jesus 66. to go to a Marriage, where there was usually “ great Excess and Riot, and much more to 66 be such an encourager of Intemperance, as " to supply a large quantity of Wine, when " the Guests had drank more than enough 6 already: That the rude and unmannerly « Answer he gave his Mother at this time, " would make one suspect that himself was not « rightly sober; and, as for the Miracle itself,
it seems not unlikely, that he might mix. «. fome spirituous Liquor with the Water, « and so palm it upon the Company for good « Wine." To which it is replied, That tho our Saviour was a Person of very grave Deportment , yet, since the manner of celebrating Matrimonial Festivals among the Jews was put under such Regulation, that Men of the greatest Arietnefs and fobriety might frequent them, without any Imputation on their Character ; fince to this Marriage of: Cana in Galilee our Saviour was more particularly obliged to go, as being either a Relation or intimate Acquaintance to the Parties. efpoused; and could not, without a breach of good manners, and neglecting an opportunity of doing much good,
decline their Invitation ; since, in his miraculous Production of Wine upon this Occasion, the quantity was not so large as our Translation rec presents it-; or if so large, was not intended for one day's Subfiftence only ; but to last out the remainder of the Festival, and all that time fopply-the whole Company, which afually came in great numbers ; since the Phrafe in St. John, when Men have well drank, is only a., Circumftance, thrown in to illuftrate the Comparison, or describe the latter end of a. Feast, and has no manner of teference tơ the Condition of the Company then prefent ; and, lastly, since the Reply, which our Saviour made his Mother, was, at most, but a gentle Rebuke for her intruding into matters, which did not properly concern her, but depended upon his infinite Wisdom to determine, (all which our Author has fully made appear ;) then was there plainly neither any Levity in our Saviour's going to this Marriage, nor any encouragement of excess in his fupplying the Company with Wine, nor any signs of neglect or difefteen, and much less of any worse Cause, in the reply he gave to his Mother; and, that the Miracle it self was not performed by any artful trick of his own, or Collusion with others; the Testimony of the Servants of the House, the Judginent of the Ruler of the Feast, and the Conviction of his Difciples from thenceforward, are a plain Demonstration. Ini !!! " .: The 20th Section treats of his curing the Pas
ralytick at Capernaum. To which it is objected, «. That no probable Reason can be given, why: o the Croud about the Door, where Jesus was, « should be so great, as is represented, but admit it was, 'tis supposeable that the
“ Paralytick and his Bearers should have stay'd, 65, until the Multitude was dispersed ; or if so they were in such hafte, that Jesus should « have healed the Patient at a distance, and or with a Word's speaking, rather than give " themi che Trouble of hoisting him up with “ Ropes and Pullies, and then breaking open " the Roof with Hatchets and. Hammers, to " the great detriment of the Master of the “ House, who can hardly be supposed to be “ hold all this without making some Remon.' - ftrance." And to this it is answered, thať according to the Account of two several Evan: gelists, i the Admiration" which 'our Saviour's Doctrine had occafioned the time before, when he was at Capernaum, might very well draw a great Multitude from all adjacent Places to hear him ; and his former sudden Departure, after he had done preaching, might very justly make the Paralytick, and his Friends impatient to come at him, for fear of missing so precious'an' Opportunity :" That the manner of building Houses among the Jews, with Stairs without doors, flat Roofs, and Trap-Doors on the Roof, might make it an easy matter for the Paralytick to be carried up, and let down in his Couch or Elbow-Chair before Christ, without doing any manner of Injury to the House; and, for Chrift to cure him after such an Apparatus, was both a greater Declaration of their Faith, and Ma-1 nifestation of the Cure, than if he had done it! in an easier way.
THE 21 ft Section treats of his raising three dead Persons. And here it is objected, “ That : us tho raising of Lazarus from the Dead, was .'s certainly the greatest of these three Miracles,
No XIII. . . E.. ... yet? .. Vol. III,