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PROP. the ears of the deaf unstopped; that the lame man XIV. should leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb

sing ;-and this was literally fulfilled in the miracles of Christ,—the blind received their sight, and the lame walked, the deaf heard, &c. (Matt. xi. 5.) It was foretold that he should die a violent death, (Isai. liji. throughout,) and that not for himself, (Dan. ix. 26.) but for our transgressions, (Isai. liii. 5, 6, and 12.) for the iniquity of us all, and that he might bear the sin of many ;-all which was exactly accomplished in the sufferings of Christ.

It was foretold, (Gen. xlix. 10.) that to him should the gathering of the people be, and (Psal. ii. 8.) that God would give him the heathen for his inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for his possession ;—which was punctually fulfilled by the wonderful success of the gospel, and its universal spreading through the world. Lastly, many minuter circumstances were foretold of the Messiah,—that he should be of the tribe of Judah, and of the seed of David, that he should be born in the town of Bethlehem, (Mic. v. 2.) that he should ride upon an ass in humble triumph into the city of Jerusalem, (Zech. ix. 9.) that he should be sold for thirty pieces of silver, (Zech. xi. 12.) that he should be scourged, buffeted, and spit upon, (Is. l. 6.) that his hands and feet should be pierced, (Psal. xxii, 16.) that he should be numbered

among

malefactors, (Is. liii. 18.) that he should have gall and vinegar offered him to drink, (Psal. lxix. 21.) that they who saw him crucified, should mock at him, and at his trusting in God to deliver him, (Psal. xxii. 8.) that the soldiers should cast lots for his garments, (Psal. xxii

. 18.) that he should make his grave with the rich, (Is. liii. 9.)

) and that he should rise again without seeing corruption, (Psal. xvi. 10.) All which circumstances were fulfilled to the greatest possible exactness, in the person of Christ : Not to mention the numberless typical representations which had likewise evidently their complete accomplishment in him. And it is

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no less evident, that none of these prophecies can PROP. possibly be applied to any other person that ever pretended to be the Messiah.

Further, the prophecies or predictions which Christ of the delivered himself, concerning things that were to prophecies happen after, are no less strong proofs of the truth himself de and divine authority of his doctrine, than the prophecies were which went before concerning him.

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things that He did very particularly, and at several times, foretel were to his own death, and the circumstances of it, (Mutt.

happen xvi. 21.) that the chief priests and scribes should condemn him to death and deliver him to the Gentiles, that is to Pilate and the Roman soldiers, to mock, and scourge,andcrucify him, (Matt. xx. 18 and 19.)that he should be betrayed into their hands, (Matt. xx. 18.) that Judas Iscariot was the person who would betray him, (Matt. xxvi. 23.) that all his disciples would forsake him and flee, (Matt. xxvi. 31.) that Peter particularly would thrice deny him in one night; (Mar. xiv. 30.) he foretold further, that he would rise again the third day, (Matt. xvi. 21.) that, after his ascension, he would send down the Holy Ghost upon hi sapostles, (John xv. 26.) which should enable them to work many miracles: (Mar. xvi. 17.) he foretold also the destruction of Jerusalem, with such very particular circumstances, in the whole 24th chapter of St Matthew, and the 13th of St Mark and 21st of St Luke, that no man who reads Josepbus's history of that dreadful and unparalleled calamity,* can without the greatest obstinacy imagi

* Very remarkable also is the history recorded by a heathen writer of what happened upon Julian's attempting to rebuild the temple : Imperii sui memoriam magnitudine operum gestiens propagare, ambitiosum quondam apud Hierosolymam templum, quod post multa et interneciva certamina obsidente Vespasiano posteaque Tito ægrè est expugnatum, instaurare sumptibus cogitabat immodicis; negotiumque maturandum Alypio dederat Antiochensi, qui olim Britannias curaverat, pro præfectis. Cùm itaque rei idem instaret Alypius, juvaretque provinciæ rector ; metuendi globi flammarum prope fundamenta crebris assultibus erumpentes fecere locum exustis aliquoties operantibus inaccessum ; hocque modo, elemento destinatius repellente, cessavit inceptum.-Ammian. Marcellin. lib. 22. sub initio,

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PROP. nable, doubt of our Saviour's divine fore-knowledge. xiv. Lastly, he foretold likewise many particulars con

cerning the future success of the gospel, and what should happen to several of his disciples; he foretold what opposition and persecution they should meet withal in their preaching ; (Matt. x. 17.) he foretold what particular kind of death St Peter should die ; (Job xxi. 18.) and hinted, that St John should live till after the destruction of Jerusalem; (Job, xxi. 22.) and foretold, that, notwithstanding all opposition and persecutions, the gospel should yet have such success as to spread itself over the world ; (Matt. xvi. 18. xxiv. 14. xxviii. 19.) all and every one of which particulars were exactly accomplished, without failing in any respects.

Some of these things are of permanent and visible effects, even unto this day ; particularly the captivity and dispersion of the Jews through all nations, for more than 1600 years; and yet their continuing a distinct people, in order to the fulfilling the prophecies of things still future: This (I say) is particularly a permanent proof of the truth of the ancient prophecies : But the greatest part of the instances above mentioned were sensible and ocular demonstrations of the truth of our Lord's doctrine only to those persons who lived at the time when they happened: The credibility of whose testimony, therefore, shall

be considered presently in its proper place. Objections But before I proceed to this, it may not be impro

per in this place to take notice of some objections which have of late been revived and urged against this whole notion, both of the prophecies themselves, and of the application of them to Christ. The sum and strength of which objections is briefly this.

That all the promises supposed to be made to the Jews before Christ's time, of a Messiah, or deliverer, were understood and meant of some "temporal deliverer” only, who should restore to the Israelites a mere worldly kingdom," without the least imagination of a spiritual deliverance,” or of any such Saviour as is preached in the New Testament.

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That, consequently, “ all the prophecies” in the PROP. Old Testament, applied to Christ by the apostles in the_XIV. New, are applied to him in a sense merely " typical, mystical, allegorical, or enigmatical;” in a sense “ different from the obvious and literal sense,” by " new interpretations put upon them not agreeable to the obvious and literal meaning of those books” from whence they are cited : That is to say, that the prophecies were all of them intended concerning other persons, and other persons only; and, therefore, are falsely and groundlessly applied either to Christ in particular, or in general to the expectation of any such Messiah as should introduce a spiritual and eternal kingdom.

That there are several passages, cited by the apostles out of the Old Testament, which are either not found there at all, or else are very different in the text itself from the citations alleged ; and consequently, are, by the apostles, either misunderstood or misapplied.

That even miracles themselves " can never render a foundation valid, which is in itself in valid ;-can never make a false inference true ;-can never make a prophecy fulfilled, which is not fulfilled;"—can never make those things to be spoken concerning Christ, which were not spoken concerning Christ: And, consequently, that the miracles said to have been worked by Christ could not possibly have been really worked by him ; but must, of necessity, together with the whole system, both of the old and New Testament, have been wholly the effect of imagination and enthusiasm, if not of imposture.

Now, in order to enable every careful and sincere reader to find a satisfactory answer to these, and all other objections of the like nature, I would lay before him the following considerations.

1. I suppose it to have been already proved in the foregoing part of this discourse, that there is a God, and that the nature and circumstances of men, and the necessary perfections of God, do demonstrate the

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PROP. obligations and the motives of natural religion; that

is, that God is a moral as well as natural governor of the world. Whoever denies either of these asser. tions is obliged to invalidate the arguments alleged for proof of them in the former part of this book, before he has any right to intermix atheistical arguments and objections in the present question: It being evidently ridiculous in all who believe not that God is, and that he is a moral judge as well as natural

governor, to argue at all about a revelation con. cerning religion, or to make any inquiry whether it be from God or no.

2. As God has in fact made known even demonstrable truths,* natural and moral truths, nct to all men equally, but in different degrees and proportions to such as have a disposition and desire to inquire after them ; so it is agreeable to reason and to the analogy of God's proceedings, to believe that he may possibly, by revelation and tradition, have given some further degrees of light to such as are sincerely desirous to know and obey him; so that they who will do his will may know of the doctrine whether it be of God: As our natural knowledge of moral and religious truths in fact is, so revelation possibly may further be, as it were a light shining in a dark place.

3. It appears in history, that the great truths and obligations of natural religion have, from the beginning, been confirmed by a perpetual tradition in particular families, who, though in the midst of idolatrous nations, yet stedfastly adhered to the wor. ship of the God of nature, the one God of the universe. And by the nation of the Jews (notwithstanding all their corruptions in practice, yet in the system and constitution of their religion) has the same tradition been continually preserved : Whereby they have been as it were a city upon a hill, a standng testimony against an idolatrous world.

4. Among the writings of all, even the most an

* See above, prop. vii. sec. 4.

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