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his death and resurrection, then, and even till some nations had been converted, the whole evidence was not complete ; and hence miracles were necessary during the whole of that time. Now, however, they are no longer needed. Prophecy fulfilled is a standing miracle.
4. The state of the Jews strikingly proves the truth of our religion. It is wonderful to see this people, subsisting for so many centuries, and to see them always wretched : it being essential to the evidence in support of Jesus Christ, that they should subsist as witnesses to him; and that they should be miserable, because they slew him. And though their misery presses against their existence, they exist still, in spite of their misery.
But were they not almost in the same state at the time of the captivity? No. The continuance of the sceptre was not interrupted by the captivity in Babylon; because their return was promised and predicted. When Nebuchadnezzar led them captive, lest it should be supposed that the sceptre had departed from Judah, it was previously declared to them, that they should be there for a short time only, and that they should be re-established. They had still the consolation of their prophets, and their kings were not taken away. But the second destruction of their polity, is without any promise of restoration, without prophets, without kings, without comfort, and without hope ; for the sceptre is removed for ever.
That was scarcely a captivity which was alleviated by the promise of deliverance in seventy years; but now they are captive without hope.
God had promised them, that even though he scattered them to the ends of the earth, yet if they were faithful to his law, he would bring them back again. They are faith. ful to the law, and yet remain in oppression. It follows, then, that Messiah must be come, and that the law which contained these promises, has been superseded by the establishment of a new law.
5. Had the Jews been all converted to the faith of Christ, we should have had none but suspected witnesses, and had they been extirpated, we should have had no witnesses at all.
The Jews rejected Christ, yet not all of them. Those who were holy, received him ; those who were carnal did not: and so far is this from militating against his glory, that it gives to it the finishing touch. The reason of their rejection, and the only one which is found in their writings, in the Talmud, and in the Rabbins, is that Jesus Christ did not subdue the nations by force of arms. sus Christ,” they say, “ has been slain ; he has fallen; he has not subdued the heathen by his might; he has not given us their spoils; he has given no wealth.” Is that all they can say? It is for this that I love him. A Messiah such as they describe, I have no wish for.
6. How delightful it is to see with the eye of faith, Darius, Cyrus, Alexander, the Romans, Pompey, and Herod, labouring unwittingly for the glory of the Gospel.
7. The Mohammedan religion has for its foundation the Koran and Mohammed. But has this man, who was said to be the last prophet expected in the world, been at all the subject of prediction? And what mark has he to accredit him, more than any other man who chooses to set up for a prophet? What miracles does he himself affirm that he performed? What mystery has he taught, even by his own account? What morality did he teach, and what blessedness did he promise ?
Mohammed is unsupported by any authority. His reasons then had need to be powerful indeed, since they rest solely on their own strength.
8. If two men utter things which appear
of place and popular kind, but the discourse of one has a twofold sense understood by his disciples, whilst the discourses of the other have but one meaning ; then any one, not in the secret, hearing the two persons saying similar things, would judge in a similar way of both. But if, in conclusion, the one utters heavenly things, whilst the other still brings forward only common-place, and mean notions, and even fooleries, he would then conceive that the one spoke with a mystic meaning, and the other did not; the one having sufficiently proved himself to be incapable of absurdity, but capable of having a mystic sense; the other, that he can be absurd, but not a setter forth of mysteries.
9. It is not by the obscurities in the writings of Mohammed, and which they may pretend have a mystic sense, that I would wish him to be judged, but by his plain statements, as his account of paradise, and such like. Even in these things he is ridiculous. Now, it is not so with the Holy Scriptures. They also have their obscurities; but then there are many clear and lucid statements, and many prophecies in direct terms which have been accomplished. The cases then are not parallel. We must not put on an equal footing, books which only resemble each other in the existence of obscurities, and not in those brilliancies, which substantiate their own divine origin, and justly claim a due reverence also for the obscurities, by which they are accompanied.
The Koran itself, says that Matthew was a good man. Then Mohammed was a false prophet, either in calling good men wicked, or in rejecting as untrue, what they affirm of Jesus Christ.
10. Any man may do what Mohammed did; for he wrought no miracles, he fulfilled no previous prophecy. No man can do what Jesus Christ did.
Mohammed established his system by killing others; Jesus Christ by exposing his disciples to death ; Mohammed by forbidding to read; Jesus by enjoining it. In fact, so opposite were their plans, that, if according to human calculation, Mohammed took the way to succeedJesus Christ certainly took the way of failure. And instead of arguing, that because Mohammed succeeded, therefore Jesus Christ might; it follows rather, that since Mohammed succeeded, Christianity must have failed, if it had not been supported by an energy purely Divine.
THE PURPOSE OF GOD TO CONCEAL HIMSELF FROM SOME,
AND TO REVEAL HIMSELF TO OTHERS.
IT was the purpose of God to redeem mankind, and to extend salvation to those who will seek it. But men render themselves so unworthy of it, that he is equitable in refusing to some, because of the hardness of their hearts, that which he bestows on others, by a mercy to · which they have no claim. Had he chosen to overcome the obstinacy of the most hardened, he could have done so, by revealing himself to them so distinctly, that they could no longer doubt the truth of his existence. And he will so appear at the last day, with such an awful storm, and such a destruction of the frame of nature, that the most blind must see him.
He did not, however, choose thus to appear at the advent of grace; because, as so many men rendered themselves unworthy of his clemency, he determined that they should remain strangers to the blessing which they did not desire. It would not then have been just to appear in a mode manifestly divine, and such as absolutely to convince all men; nor would it have been just on the other hand, to come in a mode so hidden, that he could not have been recognized by those who sought him in sincerity. It was his will to make himself perfectly cognizable to all such ; and hence, willing to be revealed to those who seek him with their whole heart, and hidden from those who, as cordially fly from him, he has so regulated the means of knowing him, as to give indications of himself, which are plain to those who seek him, and shrouded to those who seek him not, *
2. There is light enough for those whose main wish is to see ; and darkness enough to confound those of an opposite disposition.
There is brightness enough to enlighten the elect, and sufficient obscurity to keep them humble.
There is mystery enough to blind the reprobate ; but light enough to condemn them, and to make them inexcusable.
# The pillar of cloud and of fire, is a beautiful illustration of this idea.