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they could not tell of whom the Prophet spake, they would yet be comforted with the sublime thought that one was to come, who should“ raise up the tribes “ of Jacob, and restore the preserved of “ Israel,” who was to be given “ as a “ light even to the Gentiles, and who “ should carry salvation unto the ends of

the earth!” “ Your father Abraham “ himself,” says our Saviour to the Jews,

rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and “ was glad.”

There is yet a third observation, which may shew the importance of Prophecy in animating the hopes of the pious even since the introduction of the Gospel. From the fulfilment of those prophecies which refer to that great event, it is reasonable for us to conclude, that all connected prophecies will be fulfilled, and, even under the radiance of the Sun of Righteousness himself, the clouds which sit upon human affairs are sufficiently deep and portentous to make us rejoice in that additional light which Prophecy has kindled. Powerful as are the hopes and consolations of the Gospel, the faith of the righteous is yet, at times, in danger of being shaken by the disorderly appearances around them; and when they behold the triumph of successful crime, and nations themselves subjected to the caprices of individual ambition, they are apt to forego their trust in a superintending providence, and to fear that some dark fatality governs the world. .

The book of Prophecy, my brethren, dispels these gloomy apprehensions. Amidst the storms of the moral world, we there behold the hand which restrains and guides them. We see an omnipotent Lord, under whose direction, even the crimes of men are converted into the means of accomplishing greater ultimate

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good. We perceive, indeed, the rage and the tumult of human power; but we are, at the same, time made acquainted with ONE who “ knoweth its

going out, and its coming in, whose “ bridle is in its lips, and who can turn “ it back by the way by which it came :" and, as the final issue of human affairs, we are presented with those pictures of infinite beauty which describe the universal triumph of the Gospel, when “the 66 earth shall be full of the knowledge of “ the Lord, as the waters cover the sea;" when “ violence shall no more be heard “ in the land, wasting nor destruction 56 within its borders;" when “ the people “ also shall be all righteous :" and when, “as the earth bringing forth her bud, and 56 the garden causeth the things that are “ sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord $ God will cause righteousness and praise “ to spring forth before all nations." ...,

Notwithstanding the imperfection of these observations, I trust it will yet appear

from them, that, without examining closely the coincidence between particular predictions and events, we may draw an indirect inference in favour of Christianity, from contemplating the grandeur of that scheme of Prophecy upon which it is founded; the benevolence with which this dispensation supplied the defects of those religious systems which preceded the Gospel ; and the animating hopes which it still awakens, amidst the inevitable darkness and disorders of the world. We shall thus discover, in many interesting points of view, the connection between the Prophetical and the Christian dispensations--that they form indeed but one system, extending from the beginning to the end of time, and corresponding in its progress, with admirable wisdom and benevolence, to all the varying circumstances in the condition of human nature.

In opposition to the direct argument from Prophecy, the most plausible objection that can be urged, probably, is, that the people among whom the predictions of the Prophets were made, and who, therefore, may be supposed most able to interpret them, have never admitted the soundness of that interpretation which we have given them. But it may be remarked in reply—that at least the genuineness of the predictions themselves is undoubted, from their existing in the hands of those who are the greatest enemies to the Gospel,--that the prejudices of that people have, for obvious reasons, ever been peculiarly strong against the Christian interpretation of their prophecies--and what, perhaps, is-a more striking fact still, that none of the prophecies are more clear and explicit

VOL. II.

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