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stream of human affairs; such as being evidenced and granted to have been really performed, either all men will believe, or the wisest men will readily confess the being of such a cause as we assert.

I. Let us first consider the first kind : and of these we may generally affirm, that no man can deny many such to have been performed, without giving the lie to the most authentic records of history that are or have been extant; without extremely disparaging the credit of mankind; without impeaching all nations and all ages not only of extreme weakness, (in credulous assent unto, regarding and relying on, such appearances; which not only the vulgar sort, but even princes and statesmen, learned men and philosophers, every where have done,) but of notorious baseness and dishonesty, in devising and reporting them; without indeed derogating utterly from all testimony that can be rendered to any matter of fact, and rendering it wholly insignificant; for that if we may disbelieve these reports, there is no reason we should believe any thing that is told us.

To this kind we may refer the presignification and prediction of future events, especially those which are contingent, and depend on man's free choice ; to the doing of which nothing is more evident in itself, nor more acknowleged by all, than that a power or wisdom supernatural is required; concerning which we have the (not despicable) consent of all times, continued down from the remotest antiquity, that frequently they have been made : There is,' saith Cicero, an ancient opinion, drawn even from the heroical times,' (that is, from the utmost bounds of time spoken of,) • that there is among men a certain divination, which the Greeks call prophecy,'(or inspiration,) 'that is, a presension and knowlege of future things.'* And of this kind even profane story doth afford many instances; there indeed having scarce happened any considerable revolution in state, or action in war, whereof we do not find mentioned in history some presignification or prediction ;t whereof though many were indeed dark and ambiguous, or captious and fallacious, yet some were very clear and express, (according as God was

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* De Dis.

+ Idem.

in his wisdom pleased to use the ministry of those spirits, which immediately conveyed them, in directing men for their good, or misguiding them for their deserved punishment;) such as were for instance, that concerning Cyrus's conquering the Lydians; that concerning the battle at Salamis; that concerning the battle of Leuctres; and divers others which occur in stories composed by wise men of the wisest nations ; even the life of one man, (good Socrates,) described by excellent persons his most intimate acquaintance, (Xenophon and Plato,) affords divers; and Cicero acquaints us that Chrysippus did collect (and it is great pity his collection hath perished) an innumerable store of them, all confirmed by good authority and testimony.* I cannot stand to relate many of them particularly, or discuss the validity of relations concerning such instances : I shall only say, that discourse in Tully, concerning the oracle at Delphos, which may be extended to the rest of that sort, doth not seem contemptible : • I defend,' saith he, this one thing; that never would that oracle have been so renowned, nor so stuffed with the gifts of all nations and kings, if every age had not experienced the truth of those oracles ;'t for it is hard that a mere imposture should, to the expense and damage of so many persons, so long continue in credit. I will adjoin but one observation to this purpose, that even among those Pagans who regarded these things, it was known and acknowleged, that such portending, or predicting future things, although immediately conveyed by inferior powers, did originally proceed from the one Supreme God: so the wise poet implies, when he makes the prophetic fury say, that she received her prediction from Apollo, and Apollo from the Almighty Father;

Accipite ergo animis, atque bæc mea figite dicta,
Quæ Phoebo Pater omnipotens, mihi Phæbus Apollo
Prædixit, vobis Furiarum ego maxima pando:I

• De Div. 172.

+ Defendo unum hoc, nunquam illud oraculum Delphis tam ceJebre, et tam clarum fuisset, neque tantis donis refertum omnium populorum atque regum, nisi omnis ætas oraculorum illorum veritatem esset experta, &c. P. 172.

I Æneid. 3.

where Servius notes, that even Apollo (he who among their deities was in chief esteem for rendering oracles) is said to derive his knowlege from Jove,' or the Sovereign God.

It seemed not amiss to touch those instances of this kind which profane story yields, but the holy Scriptures afford most evi. dent and eminent ones; some of them extant in books written and in use long before the events foretold; as that of Abraham's concerning his posterity sojourning and being afflicted in Egypt four hundred years; of the prophet concerning Josiah, some hundred years before his birth,) that such a prince should be, and what he should do; of Isaiah concerning Cyrus by name, his conquests, his restoring the Jews from exile, his reedifying Jerusalem; of Jeremiah concerning the captivity, and its duration for seventy years; of Daniel concerning the grand revolutions of empire in the world, (wherein the achievements of Alexander and his successors are so plainly described, that Porphyrius could not but acknowlege the consonancy of them to the events ;) of our Saviour concerning the siege and destruction of Jerusalem : the truth of which reports, although we should allow those writings which contain them an authority no greater than human, there were no reason to question ; since most of those writings were extant a good time before the events specified. Now if but one of these innumerable instances were true, if ever one event hath been presignified or predicted, (and it were a hard-case that among so many not one should prove so,) it sufficiently evinces what we in

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But to our purpose especially do appertain the works usually styled miraculous, which exceed or contravene the ordinary course or power of nature; which therefore all men will readily confess performable only by an agent in power or knowlege exceeding their comprehension, (such as are, for example, the fire being withheld from burning, and the waters from flowing; the sick being (without medicinal applications) cured of long chronical distempers; limbs being in the like manner) restored to persons maimed, and senses to them who from their birth (or otherwise for a long time) had been deprived of their nse; restoring the dead to life, (a thing which Pliny mentions

as impossible in his conceit to God himself,“) and the like :) of these, although all nations have had so many performed among them, as sufficed to breed every where a constant opinion that a divine power did frequently interpose, so as to control and overbear the force of nature, (which opinion could not in likelihood so generally and constantly prevail without any ground at all;) yet the holy Scriptures do most fully and clearly testify concerning them to have been in great number performed, (for the confirmation of that divine truth and will of God, which they declare him pleased to reveal ; for guiding men into or setting them in right opinions or good practices; for disabusing and withdrawing them from ways of error and vice; for the encouragement and relief of good, or the restraint, discouragement, and chastisement of evil men ; which in reason are the most proper causes, why by such a Being, as we suppose, (so wise, so good,) such works should be effected ;) the testimonies concerning which there can be no good reason assigned of refusing, but very great to admit them, as we hope at another time satisfactorily to declare. Indeed God's patefaction of himself, his mind, his will, in many kinds and manners particularly to the Fathers of old, and afterward generally to all the world by his Son; on purpose sent from heaven to publish and accomplish his designs of mercy and favor to all mankind,) accompanied with so many prodigious works of power, and so many glorious circumstances of providence conspicuous to all the world, and withal so accommodated as to beget first of all this assurance in us, that a divine

doth exist and preside over all affairs both natural and human, is an argument which in all honest and well-disposed minds (not possessed with false prejudices, nor depraved by vicious inclinations) cannot but obtain effect; the fuller urging and confirming of which I shall refer to another season, when it will serve a more general purpose, even the confirming not only this part, but even the whole of our religion in gross : I shall only now briefly say concerning them, that considering the works themselves, they were in number so many and various ; in kind so great and high ; as to the manuer of performance so naked

power

* Nat. Hist. ii. 7.

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and open, (being done in the face, and exposed to the senses of all men ;) that there could be no reason to suspect any juggling or human artifice used about them: considering the witnesses that asserted them, they were persons who by their writings, by their behavior, by the effect of their endeavors, approved themselves very intelligent; in their intentions very honest and free from any sinister design, in their conversations very innocent and virtuous, in their attestation very consistent and constant; so that there could be desired no witnesses of any fact better qualified, or more credible than they : considering the design of those works, there could be none more noble and excellent, more worthy of God, more beneficial to man; it being chiefly the confirmation of a doctrine, incomparably the most reasonable and most useful that ever appeared among men ; productive of the best fruits, apt (being entertained heartily) to make men highly good and truly happy; to promote the honor of God and the interests of goodness; to secure as much as can be both the public and private welfare of mankind. Considering which things, we can have no good reason to distrust the performance of such works, by authentic records, by constant tradition attested to us.

I may adjoin to the former sorts of extraordinary actions, some other sorts, the consideration of which (although not so directly and immediately) may serve our main design ; those (which the general opinion of mankind hath approved, and manifold testimony hath declared frequently to happen) which concern apparitions from another world, as it were, of beings unusual; concerning spirits haunting persons and places, (these discerned by all senses, and by divers kinds of effects ;) of which the old world (the ancient poets and historians) did speak so much, and of which all ages have afforded several attestations very direct and plain, and having all advantages imaginable to beget credence; concerning visions made unto persons of especial eminency and influence, (to priests and prophets ;) concerning presignifications of future events by dreams ; concerning the power of enchantments, implying the co-operation of invisible powers ; concerning all sorts of intercourse and confederacy (formal or virtual) with bad spirits : all which things he that shall affirm to be mere fiction and delusion, must

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