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&c. (Apoc. xiii. 14.] The Second Beast doth great Wonders; so that be maketh Fire to come down from Heaven upon the Earth, in the Sight of Men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the Earth by those Miracles which he had Power to do, in tbe Sight of the [other] Beast.
[xvi. 14.] The three unclean Spirits are the Spirits of Demons, working Miracles ; which go forth unto the Kings of the Earth, and of the whole World, to gather them to the Battle of the great Day of God Almighty.
[Mat. xxiv. 24.] There hall arise false Chrifts, and false Prophets, and shall new great Signs and Wonders; infomuch that, if it were possible, they Joall deceive sbe very Elect. Bebold I bave told you before.
[Constitut. vi. 18.] There hall come false Cbrifts, and false Prophets, and shall few Signs in the Heaven, so as if it were possible, to deceive the Ele&t.
Now the Reason for inserting these Testimonies here, is to caution Christians against the later Antichristian, Popish and Athanafian Pretences to fupernatural Powers and miraculous Operations, as Testimonials to the Truth of their Doctrines. Not that they are all meer vain Pretences, and false Facts : For that cannot be supposed, unless the foregoing Predictions of our Saviour and his Apostles, which so strongly foretell them, be supposed vain, and never to have been fulfilled ; but that all true Christians, should take particular. Notice of our Saviour's Words here, Bebold I have told you before, and therefore ought not to suffer
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 Mofes 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 Moses 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 Affistance 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, isjuftly and wisely insisted on by the great Mr. Lock, in his
judicious Discourse of Miracles, as a certain Kgothgeor 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 Israelites, in this very Case, which supposed the Power of the Heathen Gods, or Dæmons, in producing Signs and Wonders, which 04
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 Propbet 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 fpake 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 Prophet, 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 Shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear bim, and keep his Commandments, and obey bis Voice, and you shall serve bim, and cleave unto him.
5. And that Prophet, or that Dreamer of Dreams shall 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 Houfe 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 Wor. shippers 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 spalt thou put the Evil away from the Midst of thee.
Now I have here particularly inserted this Dira course, because of the Delusions that have of late been occasioned from the Want of this most material Distinction, between magical or Dæmoniacal Operations, and truly Divine Miracles, by the Atbanafians and Papists; 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 Atteftation 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 Athanafian Heresy. The French Jansenists 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 feem 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 DiItinction of the Signs themselves, Divine or Dæ
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, ë. to drive away Dæmons, and to
cure Diseases, and that he will on that Account • be destroyed, as one that has gone beyond his
Bounds, and is divided against himself. And < therefore is it, that the Lord foretold, that in the
Jast Days there would be so great a Trial, that • therein, if it were possible the Eléęt tbemselves • 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,
must be in Confusion also."
But now, after all, to leave this Digression, 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 uttermost Jeopardy of being soon and suddenly destroyed by it, What shall we do to be saved ? How shall 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 preferved from those Judgments, by a particnlar Providence, when [Matt. xxiv. 40, 41.] two fall be