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ny ages past, and at present; without a king, or priest, or temple, or sacrifice ; scattered to the four winds'; sifted as with a seive, among all nations ; yet preserved, and always so to be, a distinct people from all others of the whole earth. Whereas, those' mighty monarchies which oppressed the Jews, and which, in their turns commanded the world, and had the greatest human prospect of perpetuity, were to be extingushed, as they have been ; even that their names should be blotted out from under heay. en !
As likewise, that as remarkable of our blessed Saviour, concerning the preservation and progress of the Christian Church, when in her swaddling clothes, consisting only of a few poor fishermen : not by the sword, as that of Ma. homet; but under all the persecution of men and hell; which yet should not prevail against her.
But though I offer these, as not to be slighted by the Deists, to which they can shew nothing equal in all profane history, and in which it is impossible any cheat can lie ; yet I do not put them on the same footing as the prophecies before mentioned, of the marks and coming of the Messiah, which have been since the world began.
And that general expectation of the whole earth at the time of his coming, insisted upon in the Method with the Fews, Sect. 5. is greatly to be noticed.
But, I say, the foregoing prophecies of our Saviour, are so strong a proof, as even mira
cles would not be sufficient to break their authority.
I mean, if it were possible that a true mira. cle could be wrought, in contradiction to them : for that would be for God to contradict him. self. .
But no sign, or wonder, that could possibly be solved, should shake this evidence. . It is this that keeps the Jews in their obsti. nacy. Though they 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 marks before mentioned : yet they can. not yield! Why? Because they think that the gospel is in contradiction to the law. Which if it were, the consequence would be unavoida. ble, that both could not be true. To solve this, is the business of the Method with the Jews. But the contradiction which they suppose, is in their comments that they put upon the law ; especially they expect a literal fulfilling of those promises of the restoration 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 do expect the same, and take those texts as literally as the Jews do. We do be. lieve, and pray for the conversion of the Jews, For this end they liave been so miraculously preserved, according to the prophecies so long before of it. And when that time shall come, as they are the most honorable 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; and Rome must surrender to Jerusalem. Then all nations will flow thither; 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 church with Jerusalem for supremacy. All nations will be ambitious to draw their original from the Jews; whose are the fathers, and from whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ
Then will be fulfilled that outward grandeur and restoration of the Jews, and of Jerusalem, which they expect, pursuant to the prophecies,
They pretend not that this is limited to any particular time of the reign of the Messiah. They are sure it will not be at the beginning; for they expect to go through great conflicts and trials with their Messiah, (as the Christian church has done) before his final conquest, and that they come to reign with him. So that this is no obstruction to their embracing of Christianity. They see the same things fulfilled in us, which they expect themselves; and we ex. pect the same things they do.
I tell this to the Deists, lest they may think that the Jews have some stronger arguments than they know of, that they are not persuaded by the miracles of our blessed Saviour, and by the fulfilling of all the prophecies in him, that were made concerning the Messiah.
that such and
As I said before, I 1
and down in racles against these.
should see a And if this is sufficiel must work still far greate who labors not under thes
Besides; I would not ses (in a sound sense) reasonab Christian writers ; not to 1 truth wholly upon miracles, tion, when not done in contra w the reye elations already given in the Holy Scriptures.
And they do it upon this consideration ; That though it is impossible to suppose, that God would work a real miracle, in contradiction to what he has already revealed; yet men may be imposed upon by false and seeming miracles, and pretended revelations, (as there are many examples, especially in the church of Rome) arid so may be shaken in the faith, if they keep not to the Holy Scriptures as their rule.
We are told, 2 Thess. ii. 9, of him whose coming is after the working of Satain with all power, and signs and lying wonders ; and Rev. xiii. 14. xvi. 14. xix. 20. of the devil and false prophets working miracles. But the word in all these places is only semeia, signs, that is as it is rendered, Matth. xxiv. 24 ; which, tho' sometimes it may be used to signify real miracies-yet not always, not in these places : for though every miracle be a sign, and a wonder ; yet every sign, or wonder is not a miracle.
X. Here it may be proper to consider a common topic of the Deists, who, when they are not able to stand out against the evidence of fact,
that such and sach miracles have been donë. then turn about, and deny such things to be miracles, at least that we can never be sure wheth. er any wonderful thing that is shewn to us, be a true or 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 know the utinost extent of the pow. er of nature ; and no man pretends to know thật: therefore, that no man can certainly know whether any event be miraculous : and, consequently, le may be cheated in his judgment betwixt true and false miracles.
To which I answer, that men may be so chea. ted; and there are many examples of it.
But that though we may not always know when we are cheated; vet we can certainly tell, in many cases, when we are not cheated.
For, though we do not know the utmost ex. tent 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 the power of fire ; vet I certainly know, that it is the nature of fire to burn; and that when proper fuel is administered to it; it is contrary to the nature of fire not to corsume it. Therefore, if I see 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 name was so fierce, that it burnt up those men that threw them in; and yet that those who