Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

themselves to be imposed upon by fuch deceitful and dæmoniacal Signs and Wonders; to colour over the groffest Heresies, or Corruptions in Religion. The Case was the very fame of Old in the Contest between the Magicians and Moses in Egypt; wherein the Magicians, by the Aid of their Dæmons, imitated three of Moses's Miracles, and turned their Rods into Serpents; [Ex. vii. 11, 12.] and turned Water into Blood, [v. 22.] and brought Frogs; (viï. 7.] while upon the next Miracle of Moses, the Plague of Lice, the Divine Power interposed, and restrain'd those Dæmons from any more Pretences to vie with Mofes any longer. Nay those Magicians found, that as Moses's Rod turned into a Serpent, swallowed up their Rods, (vii. 12.) so they confess'd, that this last Miracle was the Finger of God himself, (viii. 18, 19.) and was not to be contradicted by their Dæmoniacal Powers any longer ; nay, they could not themselves, with all the Alistance of their Dæmons, avoid the terrible Pestilence of Boils and Blains as we read, [xi. 11.] which Superiority of the Divine Power over all that the Dæmoniacal Powers can do, is justly and wisely insisted on by the great Mr. Lock, in his judicious Discourse of Miracles, as a certain Kitaplov of such Divine Powers in all such Contests, and an universal Distinction between Miracles derived from God himself, and those derived from Dæ

We have also a direct and strong Caution which God gave the Ifraelites, in this very Case, which supposed the Power of the Heathen Gods, or Dæmons, in producing Signs and Wonders, which O4

might

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

mons,

[ocr errors]

might come to pass for their Deception into Idolatry, and fully expects that this solemn Prediction or Caution, like that of our Saviours already mentioned, should prevent such their Deception.

[Deut. xiii. 1-5.] If there arise among you a Prophet or a Dreamer of Dreams, and giveth thee a Sign or a Wonder ;

2. And the Sign or the Wonder come to pass, whereof be Spake to tbee, saying, Let us go after other Gods, (which thou hast not known) and let us serve them;

3. Thou shalt not bearken to the Words of that Propbet, or that Dreamer of Dreams: For the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether

you love the Lord your God with all your Heart, and will all your soul.

4. Ye fall walk after the Lord your Gód, and fear bim, and keep his Commandments, and obey bis Voice, and you shall serve him, and cleave unto him.

5. And that Prophet, or that Dreamer of Dreams fall be put to Death: (because be barb spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, which brought you out of the Land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the House of Bondage: [by such miraculous Works, many more in Number, and entirely superior to the pretended Signs and Wonders of the Magicians, derived from your Idols or Dæmons, the Idols themselves being drowned also, with their Worshippers by the God of Israel in the Red Sea ;] [Ex. xii. 12.] to thrust thee out of the Way which the Lord thy God commanded thee to walk in ;] so smalt thou put the Evil away from the Midst of tbee.

Now

[ocr errors]

Now I have here particularly inserted this Dircourse, because of the Delusions that have of late been occasioned from the Want of this moft material Distinction, between magical or Dæmoniacal Operations, and truly Divine Miracles, by the AthanaJians and Papifts; and this very lately in two famous Instances. A learned, and otherwise a very worthy Clergyman, Dr. Berriman by Name, has several Years insisted on a pretended Divine Attestation to the Athanasian Doctrine, by certain Athanasians of the fifth Century, speaking after their Tongues had been cut out by the Arians. The Evidences for the Facts are, I think, fully satisfactory: But being done so long after the Divine Power of Miracles had been taken away from the Church, and the Dæmoniacal come in their Place, they were rather Confutations than Confirmations of that Athanasian Heresy. The French Jansenifts also, some Years ago, made a mighty Ado with the miraculous Curés done by the dead Body of the Abbee Paris, near the City of Paris : And the Proofs seem also to me very numerous, and very satisfactory, or rather entirely undeniable. Yet, because they seem to have ceased upon the Silence imposed upon the Partizans of the Jansenists, by the Royal Authority; and because they were done so very long after the ceasing of the really true, miraculous, or Divine Miracles, and near the End of the Antichristian Times themselves, these Jansenists cannot hence infer the Truth of any of their Tenets. As to the DiAtinction of the Signs themselves, Divine or Dæ

moniacal,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

moniacal, the Author of the Recognitions affures us,
(Recognit. iii. 59, 60.) and this in the Name of
St. Peter himself, that generally the Divine Signs
tend to the Benefit of Mankind; while the other
are useless and unprofitable. Only he adds, what
comes up fully to the Cures of Abbee Paris, that
• At the Conclusion of the World only, 'tis allow'd
• the evil One to intermix some of the profit-

able Signs, i. e. to drive away Dæmons, and to

cure Diseases ; and that he will on that Account • be destroyed, as one that has gone beyond his 6. Bounds, and is divided against himself. And « therefore is it, that the Lord foretold, that in the

last Days there would be so great a Trial, that • therein, if it were possible the Eléct themselves « would be deceived: (Matt. xxiv. 24.] that upon * this confounding together the Characteristicks of « the Signs ; even those that seem'd well skilled in • discerning of Spirits, and distinguishing Miracles, ? muft be in Confusion also."

But now, after all, to leave this Digresion, and to return to my main Design, it may properly be here asked, if Things are in this perillous State, and we have the juftest Cause to believe that the Divine Vengeance is already begun, and that we are in the uttermoft Jeopardy of being soon and suddenly destroyed by it, What shall we do to be saved? How fall we be able to escape these terrible Calamities? I answer, that tho' it has appeared all along that the few really good Christians, will be

pre ferved from those Judgments, by a particnlar Providence, when [Matt. xxiv. 40, 41.] two fall be

[ocr errors]

I

in the Field, the one shall be taken, and the other left: Two Women shall be grinding at the Mill, the one fall be taken and the other left: Yet, what Comfort is this for the Body of a wicked Nation and more wicked Metropolis? Who can by no Mcans lay Claim to such Comfort. I answer farther, in Bishop Sherlock's own Words, upon this Occasion, in his Letter, Pag. 12. · Let us not despair, there is still one Remedy left; and whatever Reason we have to condemn ourselves; yet this we may be sure, that God has not forgotten to be gracious. To him let us turn with hearty

Repentance for our Sins, and with a Resolution

to do, each of us in his proper Station, what lies ' in our Power to stem the Torrent of Iniquity, o which threatens our Ruin.' But to be more explicite, I shall here add, what I twice proposed to my Auditors at my third Lecture, that I see no other possible Way of appealing the hot Anger of a just God (to say nothing now of what I repeated a little above out of the Book of Joel) than the same that is propofed to us in the third Chapter of the Book of Jonah; which had its full

and happy Effect at that Time, and saved the great | City of Nineveh, after they had been folemnly

doomed to Destruction by the Prophet in the Name of God himself ; premising only this standing Rule of God in such Cases, by his Prophet Jeremiab, [xviii. 7-10.] At what Instant I fall Speak concerning a People, and concerning a Kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that Nation against whom I have pronounced, turn from

1

« PreviousContinue »