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.“ be agreeable to, or founded on the No^ tions of the Old Testament.” Wherein the Word proves (which is a Word he (c) singles out, and builds upon, with Regard to your own Explication thereof in the Words immediately following it) has no Relation to the Proof of any Christian Faets, but means, Newing those Faats (which are supposed Facts, proved in a proper Way, That is, by Testimony) to be Things (d) foretold, as to come to pass under the Gospel-Dispensation.
But left this should be mistaken by others, by the Means of Mr. Green, give me Leave to explain your Sense yet more distinctly by an Instance; which I will so express, as to . make it a Key to this whole Controversy.
1. The fundamental Article of Christianity is, that Jesus of Nazareth is the Meiab, or Person promised in the Old Testament.
2. Whether JESUS of Nazareth be the · Messiah, or Person promised in the Old Tef
tament, must be try'd and proved by the Old Testament.
3. That trying and proving from the Old Testament, whether Jesus of Nazareth be the Messiah, includes in it all proper Confiderations of the Faats relating to the Mesabfhip of JESUS, told in the New Testament. För how, for Example, can the miraculous Conception of the Mesab, his Birth at Beth
(5) Letters, p. 1'.
(d) See also Discourse, p. 25. 33.
lehem, his Miracles, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension, which are some of the Facts relating to the Mefiah told in the New Teftament, and supposed to be prophesied of in the Old Testament; be urged as applicable to JESUS, but by producing those Facts, as gone through and perform’d by Jesus? And what is producing those Faits, but producing those Facts attested by good Witnesses?
At the Close of this Letter, he urges a Para ticular that has a real Opposition to you, and which I shall consider, when I have stated, in your own Words, the Matter, to which he objects.
After you had maintain'd, that if the Prophesies of the Old Testament are fulfill'd in JESUS, then is (e) Christianity establisß'd on a valid Foundation, you assert on the (f) other Side, that if the Prophesies cited from the Old Testament be not fulfill'd, then bas Chrif tianity no just Foundation ; for the Foundation, on, which Jesus and his Apostles built it, is then invalid and falje. Nor can, add you, Miracles said to be wrought by JESUS and his Apostles, in Behalf of Christianity, avail any Thing in the Case; for Miracles can never make a Prophesy fulfilld, which is not fulfill'd, and can never mark out a Meffiah, or Jesus for the Messiah, if both are not mark'd out in the Old Testament. And
(c) Discourse, p. 24.
(f) Ibid. p. 28.
you say, that Miracles, said to be wrought, may be often justly deemed false Reports, when attributed to Persons, who claim an Authothority from the Old Testament, which they impertinently alledge to support their Pretences. Against This Mr. Green argues, that (g) your fine Reasoning fignifies nothing at all, for it ferves his Purpose as much as yours. Tó make out which he thus proceeds; If; fays “ he, the Arguments to prove that yesus “ rose from the Dead, and that numerous “ and wonderful Miracles were wrought by “ him and his Apostles be conclufive, these • Things were certainly fo; nor can the “ charging them with laying an invalid Foun“ dation for Christianity, making false Infe« rences, misapplying Prophesies, marking
out one for the Messiah, who was not " mark'd out in the Old Testament, claim“ ing thence an Authority without Reason, os and impertinently alledging it to support
their Pretences, avail any Thing in the “ Cale; for such Things as these can never
render That no Resurrection, which was “ a Resurrection, or those no Miracles, " which were Miracles, or those no Facts, “ which were Facts; can never make a true “ History false. This, adds he, proves no“thing on either Side, and is no more than “ to fay; that That, which is true, cân by “ no Means be proved to be false." But in
(5) Letters, p. 176
the farther Prosecution of his Matter, he, fomewhat inconsistently with This, carries his Arguments farther, and supposes, that, when the Messiahship of Jesus is proved by (h) Miracles, such Proof remains good, and cannot be overthrown by any Obje&tion, on the Head of Prophesy; which cannot be
To which I answer, 1. That whether JESUS of Nazareth be the Messiah promised in the Old Testament, can only be try'd and proved from the Old Teftament.
2. That JESUS CHRIST appealing to the Old Testament, as prophesying of him, it is but Justice to him, to examine him by that Criterion.
3. That the Meaning of Books is to be settled by the common Rules of interpreting Books, and not by Miracles, which are not Mediums, or Rules, to mark out the Meaning of Books; and that when the Bereans are commended for searching the Scriptures, or Old Testament, to see, whether what the Apostles preached was true, or no, it was for their endeavouring to try the Apostles Doctrine by the Old Testament, interpreted by the common Rules of interpreting Books, and not by the Senfe given of those Books by Jesus and his Apostles, who are supposed
(b) Letter V.
to have wrought Miracles for the Justness of the Sense they had given of thofe Books ; For if Miracles had been a just Medium to fix the Sense of those Books, there needed no Search to find out their Sense, which had already been made evident by Miracles; nay, such a Search, as engaging them in the Difficulties supposed and allow'd by Mr Green to be in the Affair of Prophefy, and of the Citations made out of the Old Testament by the Apostles, would not only have been needless, but have embarrass'd them about a Matter; that was fully proved before.
In a Word, is it not exceedingly absurd in the Question of Transubstantiation, the Determination whereof depends on the Meaning of these Words, This is my Body, to quit the context, wherein they are found, and to consider, whether Transubstantiation be held forth in that Place, from the nume. rous Miracles attested to be wrought in divers Ages of the Church in Behalf of that Doctrine, or by the late Miracle, said to be wrought publickly in the City of Paris, and attested to by threescore chosen Witnesses, and publish'd and proclaim'd by a great Christian Prelate, his Eminency the Cardinal de Noailles, Archbishop of Paris, and believed by every Christian, or not publickly deny'd by any, in the City or Country where it was wrought?
Miracles, though ever so well attested, seem to me so improper a Medium in the Case, and to have so little Relation to the Determination of the true Meaning of the Words, This is my