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indeed from all the histories and prophecies of the Old Testament.
23. We need not wonder at all, that God should so often reveal himself by prophets and miracles, to the Israelitish nation, and that now we should see nothing of this nature; for this way of revealing himself is not at all suitable to the present state of the church. The church was then confined to one particular nation, that God chose on purpose to make them the receptacle of his revelation, and the conveyancer of it to the rest of the world. And I can think of no other way that it could be done with any tolerable convenience, but by a chosen peculiar nation, that should alone be God's people, and have the true religion among them. Therefore, it was highly convenient and necessary, that there should be such a manner of communication, with such a nation. It was also necessary, in the first transition of this revelation from the Jews to the world, as it was in the apostles' times, that the world receiving this revelation from them, might see God still revealing himself; and so might receive it from God, in the same manner as they received it. But that God should now reveal himself after that manner to his church, is no way necessary, nor at all suitable to the gospel state of the church, which is not any particular inclosure, but is dispersed through the whole world. How is it practicable that God should treat with the church now, in such a way as he did with that peculiar nation? Besides, if it were practicable, it would be very inexpedient; for, what need of new revelations to the end of the world? Is it not better that God should give the world a book, that should be the summary of his will, to which all nations in all ages may resort? Prophecy and miracles are nothing without charity; like the shadow without the substance and seeing the substance is come, what need the shadow should be continued? Seeing the end is come, it would be impertinent still to continue the means. The church now enjoys that glory, in comparison with which all the glory of prophecy and miracles, even those of that extraordinary prophet Moses, is no glory at all, 2 Cor. iii. 10.
§ 24. If there be any such thing needful, or at all proper and suitable, that God should reveal himself to mankind; it is perhaps impossible that he should do it in any other way, or with any other kind of evidence, than he has done it. No kind of miracle can be thought of, that would be more evidential, than those by which Christianity has been confirmed.
§ 25. It is no argument against the reality of the incarnation of Jesus Christ-whereby God became the same person
with a man-that there is nothing else like it any where to be seen; because it was evidently God's design to shew his wisdom, by doing a thing that was, and for ever would have been, far beyond the thoughts of any creatures. Man's fall was God's opportunity to shew how far his contrivance and wisdom was beyond that of all creatures.
§ 26. It was often prophesied among the children of Israel, that the gods of the nations round about, should perish from off the earth; and that they should cease to be acknowledged and worshipped: but that the worship and acknowledgment of their God should remain for ever, and should, in due time, take place of those others. Jer. x. 11. "The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens." This came to pass by means of the Christian religion. It is Christ's appearing, and the preaching of his doctrine in the world, that has been the means of it all. It is by means of these, that the Mahometan parts of the world came to acknowledge the One God and it is by these means, that even the Deists come to it.-Again, it has been only by means of Jesus Christ's appearing and teaching, that the world ever came to have any clear, distinct, and rational notions about a future state; notions every way agreeable to reason.
It is a confirmation that God designed the Christian religion should succeed the Jewish; that, speedily after the introduction of the Christian religion, God, in his providence, by the destruction of the temple, and dispersion of the Jewish nation, made that religion impracticable. It was prophesied of old, that God should be acknowledged and worshipped by other nations, and that other nations were to be God's people. Therefore, there was a religion to succeed the Jewish, very different as to external worship; because the Jewish religion was not fitted for more than a single nation: nor is it practi cable by the world in general. But the Christian religion is exceedingly fitted for universal practice.
27. There are these things remarkable in Christ's raising Lazarus from the dead, John xi.; viz. that he called upon God, before he did it, to do it for him; and thanked him that he had heard him; and told him, that he knew that he heard him always: and when he spake to him, he called him Father; and told him that he spake to him for that end, that others that stood by, when they should see that what he asked of him, was granted in such an extraordinary thing, might believe that he sent him. Now, can it be imagined, that God would thus hear an impostor?
28. It is an evidence that the apostles had their doctrine from inspiration of some invisible guide and instructor, that there was such a vast and apparent difference made in them at once after Pentecost. They were illiterate, simple, undesigning, ignorant men before; but afterward, how do they express themselves in their speeches and epistles! they do not speak as being in the least at a loss about the scheme of salvation, and the gospel mysteries. With what authority do they teach! in how learned and intelligent a manner! How came Saul by his scheme, and by all his knowledge of the Christian doctrines and mysteries, immediately upon his conversion?
§ 29. Christ joined pardoning sins with his healing the sick, When one came to be healed, he first told him, that his sins were forgiven; and when the Jews found fault that he should pretend to forgive sins, then, immediately, he heals the person's disease, that they might believe that he had the power to forgive sins, and tells them that he does it for this end. Matth. ix. 2. Mark ii. 3. Luke v. 18. Now if Christ were an impostor, can it be believed, that God would so coun tenance such horrid blasphemy as this would be, to enable him to cure the disease by speaking a word, a work which God appropriates to himself as his own, Psal. ciii. 3. Would God give an impostor this attestation to a blasphemous lie, when he pretended to do it as an attestation to his divine mission?
§ 30. Christ, by the works which he wrought, shewed that he had an absolute and sovereign power over the course of nature, and over the spiritual and invisible world, and over the bodies and souls of men. It was not so with other prophets; they could not work what miracles they pleased, and when they pleased. They could work miracles, only when they were excited and directed to it by a special command or impulse from heaven. But Christ wrought them as of his own power at all times. Men came to him, under the notion that he was able; and Christ required that they should believe in order to it; to which never any prophet pretended. Moses was shut out of the land of Canaan, partly for working a miracle in his own name, and not sanctifying the Lord God. "Must we fetch water out of this rock?" The prophets never pretended that they themselves had properly any power to work miracles; but disclaimed it. God never subjected the course of nature to them, to work miracles by their own word and command upon all occasions. Care was taken in all the miracles wrought by the prophets, that it should be visible, that what was done, was done only by God; and that what
they said or did, upon which the miracle was wrought, was by particular revelation from heaven. They who came to Christ that he might work miracles for them, did it in the faith, that by his own power and holiness he was able to do it for them. The leper said, Matth. viii. 2, "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." He believed that Christ could work miracles, when he would. This Christ approved of, Matth. viii. 8. "But speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed." Matth. ix. 18. "My daughter is even now dead; but come and lay thine hand on her, and she shall live." Matth. ix. 28. "Believe ye that I am able to do this? they said unto him, Yea, Lord." Matth. ix. 21. "If I may but touch bis garment, I shall be whole." In Matth. xvi. 9, Christ reproves his disciples, because they were afraid of wanting bread, not remembering how he had fed multitudes in the wilderness: which implies, that he was able to do the like again when he pleased. He cast out devils as of his own power and authority; Mark i. 27. "With authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him." And Christ, as having power of his own to work miracles, gave power to his disciples, as Matth. x. Mark iii. 14, and vi. 7, &c. and Luke ix. and x.; and so miracles were wrought in Christ's name, by the apostles, and many other disciples. Moses did not in the least pretend to any such thing. But Christ did pretend, and he declares himself fellow with God in working; John v. 17. "My father worketh hitherto, and I work."
§ 31. If there must be a revelation, it is convincing, that the Christian revelation is the true one; that it has been by means of this revelation, and this only, that the world has come to the knowledge of the one only true God. Till this came, all the world lay in ignorance of him. But when this came, it was successful to bring the world to the acknowledgment of him. If there be a true revelation in the world, it is not to be supposed, that by a false one, an imposture, the world should come to the knowledge of the true God. If the Christian revelation be not the proper means to bring the world to the knowledge of the true God, it is strange that the world, which was before ignorant of him, should be brought to the knowledge of him by it; and no part of it ever be brought to the knowledge of him by any other means.
§ 32. It is an argument for the truth of the Christian revelation, that there is nothing else that informs us, what God designs by that series of revolutions and events that are brought to pass in the world; what end he seeks, and what scheme he has laid out; agreeably to the challenge which God makes to the gods, and prophets, and teachers of the heathen
world, Isa. xli. 22, 23. It is most fit, that the intelligent beings of the world should be made acquainted with it. The thing that is God's great design, is something concerning them; and the revolutions by which it is to be brought to pass, are revolutions among them, and in their state. The state of the inanimate, unperceiving part of the world, is nothing regarded any otherwise, than in a subserviency to the perceiving and intelligent part. And it is most rational to suppose, that God should reveal the design he has been carrying on, to his rational creatures; that as God has made them capable of it, they may actively fall in with and promote it, acting herein as the subjects and friends of God.-The Christian revelation is a design most worthy of an infinitely wise, holy, and perfect being.
33. The doctrine of the general resurrection at the end of the world, upon many accounts, seems to me a most credible doctrine. There are a multitude of resemblances of it in nature and providence, which I doubt not, were designed to be types of it. It seems credible on this account, that the work of the Redeemer is wholly a restoring work from beginning to end; and that he would repair all the ruins brought on the world by sin.
34. If the New Testament be not a divine revelation, then God never yet has given the world any clear revelation of a future state. But if a revelation be needful upon any account, it is that we may have some certain and distinct knowledge of the future invisible world. If God designed a true revelation, it is not probable that he would suffer that any false revelation should anticipate it, and do the work beforehand. And, upon many other accounts that might be mentioned, it is incredible that the true revelation should still be deferred.
35. It is very unreasonable to make it an objection against the Christian revelation, that it contains some things that are very mysterious and difficult to our understandings, and that seem to us impossible. If God will give us a revelation from heaven of the very truth, concerning his own nature, acts, counsels, and ways, and of the spiritual and invisible world; it is unreasonable to expect any other, than that many things in such a revelation should be utterly beyond our understanding. For was there ever a time, when, if there had been a revelation of the very truth in philosophical mattersconcerning created things, which are of a vastly lower nature, and must be supposed more proportioned to our understandings-there would not have appeared many things, not