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but also a much greater than John's, even the witness of his Father, ver. 32, 33, 36, 37. Now there are three ways by which his Father testified for him; all which do abundantly evince his being the true Mediator. First, by sundry ancient predictions of him, which were all exactly accomplished in him; for the testimony of Jesus, saith St. John, is the spirit of prophecy, Rev. xix. 10. Secondly, by sundry voices from heaven, by which the Father proclaimed him his well beloved Son. Thirdly, by miracles, which by the power of God he frequently wrought in his own person while he was upon earth, and in the persons of his followers after his ascension into heaven. To treat of all which would require a volume by itself: and therefore, for the first of these ways, I shall refer the English reader to the reverend Mr. Kidder's Demonstration of the Messiah ; wherein the testimony of prophecy is handled at large with very great strength and clearness of judgment. And as for the second way of God's bearing witness to Jesus, viz. by voices from heaven, I refer the reader to our learned Dr. Hammond's Reasonableness of the Christian Religion, at the end of his Practical Catechism ; it being my intent to insist only upon the third and last way of God's attesting Jesus to be the Mediator, viz. by miracles; for this way our Saviour himself most insists on and appeals to. So in the afore-cited John v. 36. But I have a greater witness than that of John : for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. So also John X. 25. The works which I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. And in John xv. 24.
our Saviour makes the inexcusable aggravation of the Jews' infidelity to be this, that they would not be convinced by all those miraculous works which he had done among them; If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin : but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. In these and sundry other places, our Saviour appeals to those miraculous works which he did, as to a certain testimony from God, that he was the only true Messias or Mediator between God and men. And indeed, seeing the great aim and design of our Saviour's mediation is to advance the honour of God and the perfection of souls ; and seeing how admirably it is framed and contrived to promote those blessed ends, miracles are a most certain attestation of the truth of it: for though the scripture tells us of false miracles wrought by the power of evil spirits, and history furnishes with innumerable instances of it; yet it is against all reason to imagine that ever evil spirits would exert their power to attest a doctrine so infinitely repugnant to their own temper and interest. Had the design of our Saviour's mediation been to alienate men's minds from God and goodness, we might have justly concluded all his miraculous works to be nothing but magical tricks performed by confederacy with the Devil. For how could we have imagined either that God or any good spirit would ever have employed his power to propagate a doctrine so infinitely repugnant to his will and nature, seeing it is equally incredible either that a bad religion should be the will of a good God, or that the God of truth should bear false witness to a lie? And therefore we always find, that those false miracles, effected by evil spirits, whereof the scripture and history make mention, were always wrought to deprave men's minds with vicious principles, and to seduce men from God to superstition and idolatry, or to confirm them in it: but that an impious spirit should ever work miracles to promote true piety, to inspire men's minds with great and worthy thoughts of God, and suitable affections towards him; that a malicious, proud, unjust, and revengeful spirit, should by miraculous signs endeavour to reduce the world to the practice of charity, humility, justice, patience, meekness, and equanimity, is infinitely incredible. And therefore, since the doctrine of our Saviour's mediation doth, above all the religions that ever were professed in the world, most powerfully oblige us to these and all other instances of piety and virtue, we may depend upon it, that though the Devil had known it to be a lie, he would never have been so great a fool as to cheat the world into the belief of it; for though he loves to deceive, yet there is nothing in nature he more hates, than to deceive men into piety and virtue, because hereby he deceives himself, and betrays his own interest in the world. The miracles of our Saviour therefore being all designed to attest a most pure and heavenly doctrine, a doctrine that is throughout exactly conformable to the nature of God, and infinitely abhorrent to the genius of devils, must necessarily be the effects of a divine power; because to work miracles for the attestation of such a doctrine could be neither agreeable to any other nature, nor serviceable to any other interest but God's.
so often appeal, and upon which he did so much stake the credit of his doctrine, as that of his own resurrection from the dead. For thus when he had performed that heroic act of zeal, whipping the money-changers out of the temple, and the Jews required some sign of him by what authority he did it; he bade them Destroy this temple, pointing to his own body, and in three days I will raise it up again, John ii. 19. So also, when the Pharisees desired him to give them some sign of his being the true Messias, he tells them, that no other sign should be given them, but only the sign of the prophet Jonas : for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, Matt. xii. 39, 40. which necessarily implies, that after that he should rise again. And accordingly we find that after he was risen and ascended, the principal business of his apostles was to testify his resurrection to the world : for so, Acts i. 22. St. Peter makes this to be the reason why it was necessary that one should be chosen into the apostolate to supply the room of Judas, that he might be a witness with them of Christ's resurrection. And in Acts iv. 33. we are told, that with great power the apostles gave witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus ; and still when they were to prove any article of the Christian faith, this they urge as the great argument. Thus from the resurrection of Christ St. Paul proves the general resurrection, 1 1 Cor. xv. So also Acts xvii. 31. he proves that God hath appointed a day wherein he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained, viz. Christ Jesus, by this very topic, whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead : and 1 Pet. i. 3. that apostle makes Christ's resurrection from the dead to be the great motive of credibility by which God hath begotten them again into a lively hope of future happiness : so also, Acts ii. 36. Therefore (saith the same apostle, i.e. because God had raised him from the dead, ver. 24.) let all the house of Israel know, that God hath made this same Jesus both Lord and Christ: and Rom. i. 4. he is said to be declared the Son of God, by the resurrection from the dead : yea, so undoubted an argument is this of Christ's being the true Messias or Mediator, that the Jews themselves were convinced, that they must either allow him to be so, or else outface the truth of his resurrection; which put them upon all possible ways of stifling the report of it, knowing that if once it obtained credit in the world, the last error would be worse than the first, Matt. xxvii. 64. From all which it is evident, that
. . it was taken for granted, not only by Christ himself and his apostles, but even by his most avowed enemies, that supposing his resurrection to be true, it would from thence undeniably follow, that he was the Messias or Mediator.
In the management of this argument therefore I shall endeavour these two things:
First, To prove the truth and reality of this miraculous attestation which God gave to our Saviour, viz. by raising him from the dead.
Secondly, To shew what an excellent convincing argument this is of the truth of his doctrine and mediation.
1. I shall endeavour to prove the truth and reality