Though twentieth-century philosophers often write as if there were no significant discussions of miracles between Aquinas and Hume, the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries were the home of what R. M. Burns has rightly called ‘The Great Debate on Miracles’. He suggests, only slightly intemperately, that Hume's ‘essay was very much a tail-end contribution to a flagging debate’, a debate which both started and peaked considerably earlier.
Two of the major English philosophers of the second half of the seventeenth century, Robert Boyle and John Locke, wrote interestingly and at length on the topic. Both were aware that belief is often a product of upbringing. Locke asked, ‘How much more does [a child's notion of God] resemble the Opinion, and Notion of the Teacher, than represent the True God?’, and Boyle noted that ‘usually, such as are born in such a place, espouse the opinions, true or false, that obtain there’, indeed, ‘the greatest number of those that pass for Christians, profess themselves such only because Christianity is the religion of their Parents, or their Country, or their Prince, or those that have been, or may be, their Benefactors; which is in effect to say, that they are Christians, but upon the same grounds that would have made them Mahometans, if they had been born and bred in Turky’, but both felt that their faith was more solidly grounded.