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DISCOURSE XXXI.

CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS.

John xx. 30, 31.And many other signs truly did

Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not
written in this book : But these are written, that ye
might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God;
and that believing ye might have life through his
DISCOURSES ON THE MIRACLES,

пате. .

page 483

DISCOURSE I.

INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS,

JOHN III. 1, 2.

There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

In whatever point of view we contemplate the character and history of our Saviour, we shall find abundant cause to acknowledge that He was with the greatest justice and propriety styled

" wonderful.” Doubtless he was the most extraordinary personage that ever appeared in the world. That he was a Teacher sent from God, was satisfactorily proved by the combined evidence of the extensive instructions which he communicated, and of the mighty works which he performed. In reference to the latter, we are well assured that the impression which they pro.

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duced was by no means confined to Nicodemus, or to those with whom he was intimately connected: multitudes besides them were convinced that no man could do those miracles that Jesus did, except God were with him.

We have already largely considered the character of Jesus Christ as a Teacher sent from God, in a series of Discourses on the principal Parables which he delivered. More than eighteen months have elapsed since that series was brought to a close. It is now my intention, if God permit, to bring before you the principal Miracles of our Lord, as they are also recorded by the Evangelists : which, while they establish his Divine Mission, are in other respects abundantly instructive. We shall not, however, as in the series to which I have alluded, follow the order of the Four Evangelists successively,—which in the present case could not be so conveniently done ; but having classified the miracles according to their respective kinds, we shall then endeavour, in each class, to observe, as nearly as may be, the order of detail. The classification which I propose to adopt is the following:

1. The Healing of the Sick, and the Removing of Infirmities :

2. The Cleansing of Lepers :
3. The Casting out of Devils :
4. The Raising of the Dead :
5. Miscellaneous Miracles; and
6. The Triumphs of our Lord.

It may be expedient, however, conformably with the plan adopted in our former series, to employ an

Introductory Discourse in making some preliminary observations

I. ON MIRACLES IN GENERAL :
II. ON THOSE OF OUR LORD IN PARTICULAR.

May it please Almighty God to grant us the blessing and direction of his Holy Spirit in this undertaking, that it may be conducive to the setting forth of his glory, and to the setting forward of our own salvation. Let us then proceed to make some observations,

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I. ON MIRACLES IN GENERAL.

1. Now here it will be proper, in the very outset, to attach some definite idea to the term Miracle. Without attempting then to 'enumerate the various definitions which have been given of a miracle, we would understand by the expression a sensible effect produced by the power of Almighty God, contrary in itself or in its circumstances to the ordinary course and power of nature, and which we consequently call supernatural. By nature we are to understand “ the constant and uniform operation of some invisible agent through all parts of the world.” 1

When an event occurs according to that operation, it is in the course of nature, and is called ordinary. When any thing occurs contrary to the general laws or course of nature, it is extraordinary, supernatural, or miraculous : this we attribute to God, who alone can

See Bishop Conybeare's admirable Sermon on the nature, possibility, and certainty of Miracles, in the second volume of Bishop Randolph's Enchiridion Theologicum.

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