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glorify our Father which is in heaven.” God grant, my brethren, that we may all of us so feel the power and influence of religion upon our minds, as thus to regulate our conduct in life; to support and comfort us in death, and to prepare us for that better state, that blissful immortality, which hath been brought to light by the Gospel.

41.

SERMON IV.

ON PROPHECY. THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM.

“ And now I have told you before it come to pass, that when

it is come to pass, ye might believe.”--John xiv. 29.

I'r was the object of our last discourse to show from the miracles of our Saviour, and from the spirit of prophecy with which he was endued, that the establishment of the Christian religion was attended with such divine sanctions, as to make it evident that it is indeed and in truth a revelation from God. The subject of miracles has been discussed: we shall now proceed to enter more fully on the subject of prophecy, considered as a divine testimony to the truth of our Saviour's mission. To this evidence, he himself appeals in our text. And now,” saith he, “I have told

you

before it come to pass, that when it is come to pass,

, ye might believe.” We read in the Acts of

the Apostles, that there were prophets who came from Jerusalem unto Antioch. One of which, named Agabus, foretold the death that came to pass in the days of Claudius Cæsar. The same prophet foretold, likewise, the bonds and imprisonment of Saint Paul. Prophetic, as well as other spiritual gifts, abounded in the primitive church; but the only prophecies which the Spirit of God hath thought fit to record and to preserve are some delivered by our Saviour himself, and by his apostles, particularly. by St. Paul and St. John.

Our Saviour was not only the subject of prophecy, but was also illustrious prophet himself, and gave ample proofs of his divine commission, by the events that he predicted, as well as by the miracles which he performed. He foretold, not only his own sufferings, death, and resurrection ; but also the circumstances under which they should take place. That he should be betrayed by Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve; that the rest should forsake him; that Peter in a párticular manner should deny him thrice; that he should be betrayed to the chief priests, and be

an

delivered to the Gentiles, who should mock and scourge him, and then crucify and put him to death; that on the third day he should rise again, should appear to his disciples in Galilee, and ascend into heaven. He foretold, that his apostles should be enabled of plain fishermen to become fishers of men; that they should be endowed with power from on high ; that they should speak in languages that they had never learnt; that they should work miracles, that they should go forth into all nations; and publish the glad tidings of the Gospel unto the uttermost parts of the earth. He foretold the persecutions and sufferings they should undergo, and the kind of death which some of them should suffer. He predicted 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; that the number of his disciples should won, derfully increase, as a small seed groweth into a tree, and as a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump; that his church should be founded upon a rock, that it should stand for ever, and that not all the powers of hell should prevail against it. These predictions were most of them contrary to all human appearances, and impossible either to have been foreseen by human sagacity, or to have been effected by human power. But none of our Saviour's prophecies are more remarkable than those relating to the destruction of Jerusalem ; and as none are better adapted to our present purpose,

I

propose in this, and some following discourses, to consider these prophecies, as they are recorded in the 24th chapter of St Matthew ; referring when necessary to what is added by the other evangelists. Those who are desirous of consulting the authorities that may be quoted will find them stated at large in Bishop Newton's Dissertations on the Prophecies, a work which for ability and learned research cannot be too strongly recommended; and from which the substance of this and of my following discourses on the subject of prophecy will be taken.

The prophecies of our Saviour relating to the destruction of Jerusalem were delivered about forty years, and committed to writing by St. Matthew, about thirty years before they were accomplished. In the conclusion of the 23d chapter of St. Matthew, our Saviour had with

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