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that ADAM was created on the sixth Day at nine in the Morning; that he fell about Noon, That being the Time of eating ; and that CHRIST was promised about three o' Clock in the Afternoon.
So that the Truth of Christianity depends, as it ought, on ancient Revelations, which are containd in the Old Testament, and more particularly and immediately on the Revelations made to the Jews therein.
That the chief Proofs of Christianity from the
Old Testament, are urged by the Apostles in the New Testament.
OW Christianity depends on those Re
velations, or what Proofs are therein to be met withal in Behalf of Christianity, are the Subjects of almost all the numerous Books written by Divines and other Apologists for Christianity ; but the Chief and Principal of those Proofs, may be justly supposed to be urged in the New Testament by the Authors thereof; who relate the History of the first Preaching of the Gospel, and were themselves, either Apostles of Jesus or Companions of the Apostles.
That if those Proofs are valid, Christianity is
invincibly establish’d on its true Foundation.
HOSE PROOFs have in some Measure
been already produced by me. And if they are valid Proofs, then is Christianity strongly and invincibly establish'd on its true 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 establish'd on those Foundations ; because a Proof drawn from an inspired Book, is perfectly conclusive ; and Prophecies, delivered in an inspired Book, are,
when fulfillid, such as may be justly deemid (n) sure and demonstrative Proofs ; and which (0) Peter prefers as an Argument to the miraculous Attestation, whereof he himself and two other Apostles were Witnesses, given by God himself to the Mission of JESUS CHRIST. His Argument seems as follows.
Laying this Foundation, that Prophecy proceeds from the Holy Ghost, it is a stronger Argument, than a Miracle, which depends upon external Evidence and Te
Besides, according to our (p) Saviour, Moses and the Prophets are, not only without farther
(n) Origen contr. Cell. p. 34.
(0) 2 Pet. 1. 19. See Whitby in locum. Wbiston's Lect. p. 4. (!) Luke 16. 31. Matt. 24. 23, 44. Mark 13. 21, 22.
Miracles, but tho' Miracles should be wrought in Opposition to them, a sufficient Foundation of Faith.
In Building thus on Prophecy, as a Principle ; Jesus and his Apostles had the Concurrence of all Sects of Religion among the Pagans ; who (9) universally built their Religions on Divination; and also made a great Part of their Religion to lye in the Practice of that Art. They learnt that Art in Schools, or under Discipline, as the Jews did (r) Prophecying in the Schools and Colleges of the Prophets ; where the learned DoDWEL says, the Candidates for Prophecy were taught the Rules of Divination practised by the Pagans, who were skill'd therein, and in Poffeffion of the Art long before them. Besides, this miraculous Gift of Prophecy, among the Jews, was not occasional, but a common Matter of Fact, and a standing Proof of the divine Authority of Judaism. For, suitably to the Words of Moses, (s) A Prophet will the Lord God raise up unto thee like unto me; to him fall ye bearben; (which imply an (t) Establishment of an Order and Succession of Prophets in Analogy to the Heathen Diviners) there were great (u) Numbers of Prophets among
who not only in the most important Affairs of Government, but in the Discovery
(9) Cicero de Divinatione.
(r) Bull's Sermons, p. 419. Wheatley's Schools of the Prophets. Dodwel's Letters of Advice, &c. p. 214, &c.
(s) Deut. 18. 15, 18. (t) Dodwel, Ib. Stilling fleet's Orig. facræ. 1. 2. c. 4. n. 1. (n) [b. n. 2. Burnet. Archæol, p. 43, 44.,
of (w) loft Goods, and in telling Fortunes, shew'd their divine Inspiration ; and who were paid for it by those, who consulted them, either in Vištuals or Money, or Presents. Whereby the meanest Person in Judæă had the Opportunity of having this Miracle wrought for him, whenever he had Occasion, which therefore we may easily judge must have been a coinmon 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 supposed, 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 fulfill'd seem the most proper of all Arguments to evince the Truth of a Revelation, which is design'd to be universally promulgated to Men. For a Man, for Example, who has the Old Testament put into his Hands, which contains Prophefes, and the New Testament, which contains their Completions, and is once satisfy'd, as he may
(70) 1 Sam. 9. 6, 20. 1 Sam. 9. 7, 8.
1 King. 14. 2, 3
2. King 8. 8, 10.
be with the greatest Ease, that the 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 Authority 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 sæculis, fingendi licentia, tam prona in credendo facilitas, ut rerum gestarum fides graviter exinde laboraverit; nec orbis tantum terrarum, fed & Dei eccleßa de temporibus suis mythicis merito queratur. Bishop STILLINGFLEET says, (y) that Antiquity is most defective, where it is most useful, namely in the Time immediately after the Apostles. And Dr. Hickes says, (2) that there were in the Apostles Times as many, and as great Herefies, and Schisms, as perhaps have been fince in any Age of the Church. So that setting aside the before-mention'd internal Proofs from Prophecy, (which are apostolical Proofs, and sufficient of themselves) Christianity should seem, by this
(*) Fell, in Præmiffa Monit. Confeff. fuppof. Cypriani.