Further informationWilliam Paley:The following is Section III chapter 5 from William Paley ‘Evidence of Christianity’:
THAT THE CHRISTIA MIRACLES ARE OT RECITED, OR APPEALED TO, BY EARLY CHRISTIA WRITERS THEMSELVES SOFULLY OR FREQUETLY AS MIGHT HAVE BEE EXPECTED.
I shall consider this objection, first, as it applies to the letters of the apostles preservedin the New Testament; and secondly, as it applies to the remaining writings of other early Christians.The epistles of the apostles are either hortatory or argumentative. So far as they wereoccupied in delivering lessons of duty, rules of public order, admonitions againstcertain prevailing corruptions, against vice, or any particular species of it, or infortifying and encouraging the constancy of the disciples under the trials to whichthey were exposed, there appears to be no place or occasion for more of thesereferences than we actually find.So far as these epistles are argumentative, the nature of the argument which theyhandle accounts for the infrequency of these allusions. These epistles were not writtento prove the truth of Christianity. The subject under consideration was not that whichthe miracles decided, the reality of our Lord's mission; but it was that which themiracles did not decide, the nature of his person or power, the design of his advent, itseffects, and of those effects the value, kind, and extent. Still I maintain thatmiraculous evidence lies at the bottom of the argument. For nothing could be so preposterous as for the disciples of Jesus to dispute amongst themselves, or withothers, concerning his office or character; unless they believed that he had shown, bysupernatural proofs, that there was something extraordinary in both. Miraculousevidence, therefore, forming not the texture of these arguments, but the ground andsubstratum, if it be occasionally discerned, if it be incidentally appealed to, it isexactly so much as ought take place, supposing the history to be true.As a further answer to the objection, that the apostolic epistles do not contain sofrequent, or such direct and circumstantial recitals of miracles as might be expected, Iwould add, that the apostolic epistles resemble in this respect the apostolic speeches,which speeches are given by a writer who distinctly records numerous miracleswrought by these apostles themselves, and by the Founder of the institution in their presence; that it is unwarrantable to contend that the omission, or infrequency, of suchrecitals in the speeches of the apostles negatives the existence of the miracles, when