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foundations. It is establish'd on its true foundations; because Jesus and his apostles grounded christianity on those proofs: and it is strongly and invincibly established on those foundations; because a proof drawn from an inspir'd book, is perfectly conclufive; and prophecies deliver'd in an inspired book, are, when fulfilled, fuch, as may be justly deem'd (n) fure and demonstrative proofs; and which' © PETE Ř prefers as an argument to the miraculous attestation, whereof he himself and two other apostles were witnesses, given by God himself to the miffion of Jesus CHRIST. His argument feems as follows, « Laying this foundati" on, that prophefy proceeds from the “ Holy Ghost, it is a stronger argument, « than a miracle, which depends upon ex« ternal evidence and testimony.

Besides, according to our (P) Saviour, Moses and the prophets are, not only without further miracles, but tho' miracles should be wrought in opposition to them, a sufficient foundation of faith.

In building thus on prophesy as a principle; Jesus and his apostles had the concurrence of all feậs of religion among the pa

gans;

(n) Origen contr. Cell. p. 34.

6) 2 Pet. 1. 19. See Whitby in locum. Whifton's Lect. p. 4.

(p) Luke 16. 31. Mat. 24. 23, 24. Mark 13, 21, 22.

gans ; who (g) universally built their reli-
gions on divination ; and also made a great
part of their religion to lie in the practise of
that art. They learnt that art in schools, or
under discipline, as the Jews did (r) prophe-
fying in the schools and colleges of the prophets;
where the learned DoDWELL says, the
candidates for prophesy were taught the rules
of divination prattis'd by the pagans, who
were skill'd therein, and in possession of the
art long before them. Besides, this miracu-
lous gift of prophesy, among the Jews, was
not occasional, but a common matter of fact,
and a standing proof of the divine autority of
judaism. For, fuitably to the words of
Moses, (s) a prophet will the Lord God
raise up unto thee like unto me; to him shall
yc hearken ; (which imply an (t) establishment
of an order and succeslion of prophets in ana-
logy to the heathen diviners) there were great
(2) numbers of prophets among them; who
not only in the most important affairs of go-
vernment, but in the discovery of (7) loft

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goods

(9) Cicero de Divinatione.

(s) Bull's Sermons, p. 419. Wheatley's Schools of the Propbets. Dodwel's Letter of Advices, &c. p. 214, &c.

(s) Deut. 18. 15, 18.

() Dodwel, Ib. Stilling fleet's Orig. Sacræ, l. 2. C. 4. 0. l.

(6) Ib. n. 2. Burnet, Archæol. p. 43, 44.

(w) i Sam. 9. 6, 20. į Kings 14. 2, 3. 2 Kings & 8,10. 1 Sam. 9. 7, 8.

goods, and in telling fortunes, shew'd their divine inspiration; and who were paid for it by those who consulted them, either in vietuals or money, or presents. Whereby the meanest person in Fudea had the opportunity of having this miracle wrought for him, whenever he had occafion; which therefore we may easily judge must have been a common indisputed matter of fact; for the frequent wants of the people must have made them often attend the prophets, as the livelihood the prophets got by it must have caused them to have made constant use of their divine faculty.

It may also be justly fuppofed, that the divine power of interpreting dreams, (which was a prophetick science pretended to in all nations) prevalent among the Jews, gave daily occasion to numbers of people to have their dreams interpreted, which were usually thought to signify some good or evil that was to befal them, and were commonly interpreted in relation to things to come.

Lastly, Prophesies fulfilled, feem the most proper of all arguments, to evince the truth of a revelation, which is designed to be univerfally promulgated to men. For a man, for example, who has the Old Testament put into his hands, which contains prophefies, and the New Testament, which contains their completions, and is once satisfy'd, as he may be with the greatest case, that the

Old

Old Testament existed before the New, may have a compleat, internal, divine demonstration of the truth of christianity; without long and laborious inquiries. Whereas, arguments of another nature, such, for instance, as relate to the autority and genuinness of books, and the persons and characters of authors and witnesses, require more application and understanding than falls to the share of the bulk of mankind; or else are very precarious in themselves, as we may judge by the representation of the state of primitive antiquity given us by our most learned Divines.' The pious and learned Bishop Fell says, (x) Tanta fuit primis fæcullis fingendi licentia, tam prona in credendo facilitas, ut rcrum geftarum fides graviter exinde laboraverit; nec orbis tantum terrarum, fed dei ecclesia de temporibus suis mytbicis mcrito queratur. Bishop STILLINGFLEET says, (y) that antiquity is most defetive, where it is most useful, namely in the time immediately after the apostles. And Dr. Hickes says, (x) that there were in the apostles times as many, and as great berefies, and schisms, as perhaps harc been since in any age of the church. So

that

ani.

{x} Felt, in præmiífa Monit. Confell. fuppof. Cypri(y) Stilling fleet's Trenicum, p. 296. .

(zHickes's Apol. Vind of the Church of England, P. 124.

that setting aside the before-mention'd internal proofs from prophesy, (which are apostolical proofs, and sufficient of themselves) christianity should seem, by this representation of its primitive state, to be destitute of other or external arguments ; and nothing should seem more falle and more remote from the original state of things, than the assertion of the reverend Mr. Reeves, (a) that if christianity be a cheat, 'tis a cheat, [fo prov'd or contriv'd] that we are bound to embrace and follow.

VII.
That if those proofs are invalid, then is

Christianity false.
N the other side, if the proofs for chri.

stianity from the Old Testament be not valid ; if the arguments founded on those books be not conclusive ; and the prophesies cited from thence be not fulfilld; then has christianity no just foundation : for the foundation on which Jesus and his apostles built it is then invalid and false. Nor can miracles, said to be wrought by Jesus and his apostles, in behalf of Christianity, avail any thing in the case : for miracles can

. . neyer

(6) Reeves's Apol. Vol. 2. p. 137.

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