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our Saviour came in:o the world. And if they will but compare the prophesies that are there of the Messiah, with the fulfilling of them, as to time, place, and all other circumstances, in the per. fon, birih, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of our blessed Saviour, they will find this proof what the Apostle here calls it, “ a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-ftar arise in your hearts." Here is no possibility of deceit or imposture. · I defire them likewise to consider the prophecies given so long ago, of which they see the fulfilling at this day, with their own eyes, of the state of the Jews, for many ages past, and at present; particularly Jer. xlvi. 28. “ Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, faith the Lord, for I am with thee, for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee, but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure, yet will I not utterly cut thee off.” And chap. xxxi. 36, 37. “ If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus faith the Lord, if Heaven above can be meafured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneaih, I will also cut off all the seed of Ifrael, for all that they have done, faith the Lord."
Now let us see how literally this is fulfilled at this day The great and famous monarchies, who, in their turns, governed the world, and successively had destroyed the Jews (the Assyrian, the Babylonian, and the Roman) are all vanilhed, as a dream; there is not one of them left. But the Jewish nation, though fifted among all nations (as tne prophet Amos expresses it) like as corn is fifted in a fieve, yet are they preserved a visible distinct people, in all the nations whither they have been scattered. And the rage of many kings and governments have been let loose against them, to root them off from the face of the earth; and they had no helper; yet the Lord was their helper, and put it out of the power of all the earth (though without any visible opposition) to infringe the promise he had made to them.
The Deifts dare not say, that these prophesies were made yesterday, or not before the fall of these monarchies ; especially of the Roman, the greatest of them. And what a folly, as well as vanity had it been in the Jews, to have forged such audacious and pro. voking prophesies, to have thus dared all the powers of the earth to extirpare them, who hated them, and had them per feâly at mercy ?
And here let the Deisls take notice of this wonderful infance; fresh before their eyes, of God's particular' regard to this most despised and contemptible people, above all the other nations of the earth, how great and honourable soever. This is a standing miracle exhibited to the whole world!
Yet is there no partiality in this, as the Deifts weakly reason : For as Moses was a type of the Messiah, so the Church of the Jews was of the Cbrillian, whose pales, are enlarged to take in
the Gentiles, as often promised in the prophets: by which means the Jewish nation was indeed a type of the whole world (représented in the long garment of the high-priest, Wisd, xviii. 24: Israel called the first-fruits of God's increase. Jer. ii. 3.) And consequently the blessings of which the Jews partook; the promises made to them, and miraculous protection over them, was taking possession in the name, and securing the reversion of the Gentile world, in the same glorious inheritance. And it was indifferent as to the good of the world, which nation had been pitched upon as their type. But God chose the least, that his power and protection over his church might be more visible; and to Thew that she must struggle through many difficulties and temps tations; yet never be extinct (though often distressed) when all the powers and glory of this world shall vanilh as smoke before the. wind.
Moreover, if God had chosen any of the great and powerful nations of the earth for his peculiar people, to whom if he had given his promise to continue them for ever; the scorners would have blafphemed and said that God was still on the strongeft side. And they would have ascribed their preservation to their own power and greatness. This is the reason God gives, why he chose the fewest of all people, Deut. vii. 7. viii. 17. left they should say it was through their own power and might that they were préserved. Besides, the peculiar nation being a type of the Christian church, it was necessary that the odds, as to the world, should · be against that nation; which should subsist not by worldly
strength and politicks, but by signal and niraculous providences. Thus the church was best represented, as greatly DISTRESSED, . but wonderfully preserved!
And yet behold an equal promise of our Messiah to his church, and as miraculously fulfilled, as that before-mentioned to the Jews. He promised, that his Church should continue even unto the end of the world; that he would be all that time with her to preserve her, and that the gates of Hell should never prevail against her. And when was this promised ? Even at the beginning, when his religion was low and contemptible, hardly yet known in the world. All the rage and madness of kings, and states, and mobs, have been exerted against her to destroy her, for many ages together: and she was destitute of all human help. Could any power less than Divine have foretold this preservation, and have effected it for so long a time without human means, without sword or policy?
The Jews cannot deny the Matters of Fact done by our blessed Saviour, to be truly miracles, if so done as said. Nor can they deny that they were so done, because they have all the four mark's before-mentioned. Yet they cannot yield to the Truth! Why? . Because they think that the Gospel is in contradiction to the Law. Which, if it were, the consequence would be unavoidable, that ; VOL. XIX. Feb. 1796.
both could not be true. But the contradiction which they suppofe is in their comments that they put upon the Law; especially they expect a literal fulfilling of those promises of the restauration of Jerusalem, and outward glories of the Church, of which there is such frequent mention in the books of Moses, the Psalms, and all the Prophets. And many Christians expect the same; and take those texts as literally as the Jews do. "We do believe and pray for the conversion of the Jews. For this end they have been fo miraculously preserved, according to the prophecies so long before of it. . And when that time shall come, as they are the most honourable and ancient of all the nations on the earth, so will their Church return to be the Mother Christian Church as she was at first, then all nations will flow to Jerusalem ; and even Ezekiel's Temple may be literally built there, in the metropolis of the whole earth; which Jerusalem must be, when the fulness of the Gentiles, shall meet with the conversion of the Jews. For no nation will then contend with the Jews, nor will any Church con, tend with Jerusalem for supremacy. All nations will be ambi. tious to draw their original from the Jews, “ whose are the fathers, and from whom, as concerning the flelh, Chrift came.” Then will be fulfilled that restauration of the Jews and of Jerusalem, which they expect, pursuant to the prophecies. · VII. Here it may be proper to confider a common topic of the Deifts, who when they are not able to stand out againft the evi.. dence of fact, that such and such miracles have been done: then turn about, and deny such things.to be miracles, at least, that we can never be sure whether any wonderful thing that is shewn to us, be a true.or a false miracle.. .
And the great argument they go upon, is this, That a miracle being that which exceeds the power of nature. We cannot know .. what exceeds it, unless we knew the uimoft extent of the power of nature : and no man pretends to know that; therefore, that no man can certainly know whether any event be miraculous. And, consequently, he may be cheated in his own judgment betwixt.. true and falle miracles.
To which I answer, That men may be fo cheated. But that though we may not always know when we are cheated, yet we -7 can certainly sell, in many cases, when we are not cheated. For though we do not know the utmost extent of the power of nature perhaps, in any one thing: yet it does not follow, that we know not the nature of any thing, in some measure;. and that certainly too. For example, though I do not know the utmost extent of zhe power of fire, yet I certainly know, that it is the nature of fire to burn. And that when proper fuel is adminiftred to it, it is contrary to the nature of fire not to consume it. Therefore, if I fee three men taken off the street, in their common wearing apparel and without any preparation, cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and that the flame was so fierce, that it burnt up those men that threw them in; and yet that these who were thrown
in, should walk up and down in the bottom of the furnace; and I should see a fourth person with them of glorious appearance, like the Son of God. And that these men should come up again out of the furnace, without any harm, or so much as the smell of fire upon themselves, or their cloaths, I could not be deceived in thinking there was a stop put to the nature of fire, as to these men; and that it had its effect upon the men whom it burned, at the same time. : Again, Though I cannot tell how. wonderful and sudden an increase of corn might be produced by the concurrence of many causes, as a warm climate, the fertility of the soil, &c. Yet this í can certainly know, that there is not that natural force in the breath of two or three words, spoken to multiply one small loaf of bread, so fast, in the breaking of it, as truly and really, not pnly in appearance and shew to the eye, but to fill the bellies of several thousand hungry persons; and that the fragments should be much more than the bread was at first. So neither in a word Spoken, to raise the dead, cure diseases, &c.
Therefore, though we know not the utmost extent of the power of nature; yet we can certainly know what. is contrary to the nature of several such things as we do know, And therefore, though we may be imposed upon in many seeming miracles and wonders; yet there are some things, wherein we may be certain. * Therefore, from what has been said, the cause is summed up shortly in this, that though we cannot see what was done before our time, yet by the marks which I have laid down concerning the certainty of Matters of Fact done before our time, we may be as much assured of the truth of them, as if we saw them with our eyes; because whatever Matter of Fact has all the four marks before-mentioned, could never have been invented and received but upon the conviction of the outward senses, of all those who did receive it, as before is demonstrated. And there. fore this topic which I have chosen, does stand upon the convic. tion even of mens' outward senses, · VIII. These topics, which have been largely insisted upon by many, cannot be denied by any man of sound reason. But I
wave them for the present, and insist on one. And now it lies on - the Deifts to shew any Matter of Fact of former ages, which they allow to be true, that has greater evidences of its truth, than the Matters of Fact of Moses and of Christ. But I have given them greater latitude than this, for I have shewn such marks of the Truth of the Matters of Fact of Moses and of Christ, as no other Matters of Fact of those times, however true, have, but these only: and I put it upon them to thew any forgery that has all these marks.
This is a short issue. Keep them close to this. This deter. mines the cause all at once. Let them produce their Apollonius Tyanæus, whose life was put into English by the execrable
* Charles Blount, and compared with all the wit and malice he was master of, to the life and miracles of our blessed Saviour.
IX. But if they still maintain that all this is but priestcraft, the invention of priests, for their own profit, &c. then they will give us an idea of priests, far different from what they intend : for then we must look upon these priests, not only as the cunningest and wiseft of mankind, who have such power, as to impose, at their pleasure, upon the senses of all mankind, and to make them believe, that they had practised such public institutions, enacted them by laws, taught them to their children, &c. when they had never done any of these ihings, or ever so much as heard of them before. Such a power as this, muft exceed all that is human; and, consequently place these priests far above the condition of mortals.
2. Nay, this were to make them outdo all that has ever been related of the infernal powers : for though they have deceived some unwary beholders by lying wonders, yet their power never reached, nor was ever supposed to reach so far, as to deceive the senses of all mankind, in things of so public and notorious a nature as these, to make them believe, that they had enacted laws for such public observances, continually practised them, taught them to their children, and had been instructed in them them. selves, from their childhood, if they had never enacted, practised, taught, or been taught such things.
3. And as this exceeds all the powers of Hell, so is it more than ever God Almighty has done since the foundation of the world. None of the miracles that he has shewn, or belief that he has required to any thing revealed, has ever contradicted the out. ward senses of any one man in the world, much less of all man. kind together. For miracles being an appeal to our outward senses, if they should overthrow the certainty of our outward senses, must destroy, with it, all their own certainty, as to us; since we have no way to judge of a miracle exhibited to our senses, but upon the supposition of the certainty of our senses.
If then the Christian religion be a cheat, and nothing else but the invention of priests, it makes their power and wisdom greater than that of men, angels, or devils ; yea more than God himself ever shewed to impose upon the senses of mankind, in such public and notorious Maiters of Fact.
* The hand of that scorner, which uurft write such outrageous blafphemy againt his Maker, the Divine Vengeance has made his own executioner. Which I would not have mentioned (because the like judgment has befallen others) but that the atheislical-club, have set this up as a principle; and printed a vindication of this same BIOUNT, for murdering of himself, by way of justification of self-murder. Which some of them have fioce, as well as formerly, horridly practised upon themselves. Therefore this is no common judgment to which they are delivered, but a visible mark set upon them, to thew how far God has forsaken them; and as a cauti in to all Chrisians, to beware of them, and not to come near the tents of these wicked men, left they perith in their destruction, both of soul and body,