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tent knowledge of hiftory; p. 413. The patrons of
infidelity are only pretenders to learning and know-
ledge; p. 414. Modern infidelity worfe even than
that of the Jews; ibid. So many inftances of pro-
phecies and their completions, the strongest attesta-
tions of a divine revelation; p. 414, 415. Miracles
and other proofs of the truth of the Chriftian religion;
p. 415, 416. Prophecies accomplished the greatest
of all miracles; p. 416. Conclufion; p. 416, 417.








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HE Jewish church, confifting only of a fingle nation, and living under a theocracy or the immediate government of God, experienced continual interpofitions of a particular extraordinary providence in its favor and protection, and was from time to time inftructed by prophets raised up and fent one after another as occafions required. But the Chriftian church being defigned to comprehend the whole world, was like the world at firft erected by miracle, but like the world too is fince governed by a general ordinary providence, by established laws, and the mediation of fecond caufes. This difference in the nature and conftitution of the two churches, is the reafon why prophecies, and miracles, and other fupernatural powers, which were continued fo long, and repeated fo frequently in the Jewish church, were in the Chriftian church confined to the firft ages, and limited chiefly to the perfons of our bleffed Saviour, and his difciples, and their companions. There were prophets (Acts XI. 27.) who came from JeVOL. II. rufalem


rufalem unto Antioch. One of them, named Agabus (ver. 28.) foretold the great dearth, which came to pass in the days of Claudius Cæfar. The fame prophet foretold likewife (Acts XXI. 10, 11.) the bonds and imprisonment of St. Paul. Philip the evangelift had alfo (ver. 9.) four daughters, virgins, which did prophefy. Prophetic as well as other fpiritual gifts abounded in the primitive church; their fons and their daughters did prophefy, (Acts II. 17.) their young men fate vifions, and their old men dreamed dreams. But the only prophecies, which the Spirit of God hath thought fit to record and preferve, are fome delivered by our bleffed Saviour himself, and by his apoftles, particularly St. Paul and St. John.

Our bleffed Saviour, as he was the great fubject of prophecy, fo was an illuftrious prophet himfelf; as he excelled in all other fpiritual gifts and graces, fo was eminent in this alfo; and gave ample proofs of his divine commiffion by his prophecies as well as by his miracles. What he faid upon one occafion, is equally applicable to all his predictions, that their accomplishment is a fufficient atteftation of his being the Meffiah; (John XIII. 19.) Now I tell you before it come, that when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he He foretold not only his own paffion, death, and refurrection, but alfo the manner and circumftances of them, that he fhould be betrayed by one of the twelve, even by Judas Ifcariot the fon of Simon; that all the reft fhould be offended because of him that very night, and notwithftanding their proteftations to the contrary fhould forfake him and fly: that Peter particularly, who was more zealous and eager than the reft, before the cock crew twice, fhould deny him thrice; that he should be betrayed to the chief priefts, and be delivered to the Gentiles to mock, and to fcourge, to fpit upon, and to kill him; that he should be crucified, and the third day thould rife again, and appear to his difciples in Galilee. He foretold that his apoftles fhould be enabled of plain fishers to become fishers of men; that they fhould be indued with power from on high to speak with new tongues and to work miracles; that they fhould go forth into all mations, and publish the glad tidings of the gospel unto



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the uttermoft parts of the earth. He foretold the perfecutions and fufferings which his difciples fhould undergo, and particularly by what manner of death Peter in his old age fhould glorify God, and that John should furvive till after the deftruction of Jerufalem. He foretold the rejection of the Jews and the calling of the Gentiles; that the kingdom of heaven should be taken away from the former, and be given to the latter, who fhould bring forth the fruits thereof; that the number of his difciples from finall beginnings thould increase wonderfully, as a little feed groweth into a tree, and a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump; that his church shall be fo founded upon a rock, that it fhould ftand for ever, and all the powers of hell fhould not prevail against it. These things were most of them contrary to all human appearances, and impoffible to be forefeen by human prudence or effected by human power; and he must be thoroughly acquainted with the hearts of men, and with the direction and difpofition of future events, who could foretel them with fuch certainty and exactnefs: and fome of them are actually accomplishing in the world at this present time.

But none of our Saviour's prophecies are more remarkable than thofe relating to the deftruction of Jerufalem, as none are more proper and pertinent to the defign of these difcourfes: and we will confider them as they lie in the twenty fourth chapter of St. Matthew, taking in also what is fuperadded by the other evangelifts upon parallel occafions. Thefe prophecies were delivered by our Saviour about forty years, and were committed to writing by St. Matthew about thirty years, before they were to take effect. St. Matthew's is univerfally allowed to be the (1) firft of the four Gofpels; the first in time, as it is always placed the firft in order. was written, as (2) moft writers affirm, in the eighth year after the afcenfion of our Saviour. It must have been


(1) προῖον μεν γεγραπται το κάτα τον που τελώνην, ὑπερον δε αποτολον Ιησε Χριςε Ματθαιον. Primum evangelium fcriptum effe a Matthæo, prius, quidem publicano, poftea vero apoftolo Jefu

Chrifti. Origen. apud Eufeb. Ecclef.
Hitt. Lib. 6. Cap. 25. &c. &c.

(2) On croit que faint Matthieu commença a travailler à fon evangile, la huitiéme année après la refurrection

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