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reproachful to them to erect Monuments of perpetual Acknowledgment, That they were the Children of them which killed the Prophets, Matth. xxiii. 31. and chose to die any Death, rather than renounce the Authority of their Books, or part with them, even when they had forfaken their Doctrine, and chang'd the Substance of their Religion, for vain Traditions, and fuperftitious Obfervances. They referr'd themselves to these Prophets, for the Authority of their Religion; and acknowledg'd, that they had neither Prophecies nor Miracles after the Captivity. For during the Captivity in Babylon, the Falfe Prophets had loft all Reputation with the People, who found themselves fo miferably disappointed in the deluding Hopes, which thofe Prophets, that fet themselves in oppofition to Jeremiah and Ezekiel, had given them. Thofe Prophets became a Curfe and a Proverb of Reproach among the Jews, as Jeremiah had foretold, Jer. xxix. 22. And from that time, Falfe Prophets never could gain Efteem enough to vent their Prophecies, if they attempted it.
Of the Dependence of the feveral Parts of the Scriptures upon each other; and that the Old Teftament proves the New, and the New again proves the Old, as the Cause and the Effect.
T is a thing altogether incredible, that the Inhabitants of fo fmall a part of the World as Judaa is, fhould lay a Defign of impofing upon the reft of Mankind, which could prove fo fuccefsful for fo many thousand Years together; and that they fhould be
fuch Masters of Deceit, and the World fo fond of
And the Evidence of this Truth is moft obfervable, in the mutual dependence which all the Parts of the Scriptures have one upon another. They were penn'd by Men of different Countries, different Ages, different Conditions, and Callings, and Interefts, from the King to the poor Fisherman, fome by Prophets of Judah, and fome by thofe of Ifrael, and others by Prophets born in Chaldea; and yet all carry on the fame Defign: They are not like the Oracles of the Heathen Gods, which must stand or fall by themfelves; but there is an admirable Series and Connexion between all the Writings of the Holy Scriptures, by which the feveral Parts of them give a mutual Support and Atteftation to each other. The Pentateuch of Mofes contains the firft Lineaments, and evident Types and Prophecies of all that is contained in the reft: He foretold, That a Succeffion of Prophets fhould
arife, and that there would likewife be Falfe Pro phets; He fhew'd how they were to be difcovered and diftinguished from the True Prophets, and declared, that at laft the Great Prophet fhould be fent, who is Chrift; and he foretold all that was to befal the Jews, from his own time, to the Deftruction of Jerufalem. And as Mofes has given us the general State of the Jews, for all Generations; fo the several Prophets, who were fent from time to time, according to his Predictions, foretold particular Events, and more-efpecially they foretold and defcribed the Times of the Gofpel. This was the great Design of all Prophecies, and the Thing that God had fpoken by the Prophets, which have been fince the world began, Luke i. 70. For in Chrift was the Accomplishment of all the Types and Prophecies in the Old Teftament.
And this Dependence and Coherence between all the Parts of the Scriptures, in the Matter and Defign of them, which is as great as the Dependence of one Part of any Book written by the fame Author, can be upon another, gives great Strength and Confirmation to the Whole; fince it is an Evidence, that it was all inspired by the fame Infallible Spirit; and if one Part of Scripture be prov'd to be true, all muft be fo: For befides the particular Evidence which may be brought for any Part separately, we must confider the Connexion which it has with the reft, and the Evidence which is deriv'd upon it by this Connexion. If the Pentateuch be once prov'd to be of Divine Authority, then the Prophets who fucceeded Mofes must be divinely inspired; because he foretold the Succeffion of fuch Prophets: And if the Prophecies and Miracles of the Prophets were divine, the Pentateuch must be so; because they all along acknowledg'd and appeal'd to it, as containing God's Covenant with his People the Jews, and being therefore the Ground and Foundation of their own Miffion. If Mofes and the Prophets be from God, the Gospel must be from Him, if that be
foretold by them: And if the Prophecies and Mira cles of our Saviour and his Difciples prove their Di vine Authority, the Writings of Mofes and the ProTM phets must be likewife of the fame Authority; be cause they acknowledge them for fuch, and prove their own Authority from them, as well as from the Miracles that they themselves wrought. And if the Prophecies and Miracles either of Mofes or of the Prophets, or of our Saviour and his Apoftles, taken by themselves, and apart from the reft, be fufficient, they must needs be more convincing, when they are confider'd together, in their united Force and Light.
I might farther obferve, That Miracles without Prophecies, or Prophecies without Miracles, or that one evident Miracle, or one evident Prophecy; at least, That either the Miracles or Prophecies of fome one Perfon, in the feveral Ages in which fo many Prophets liv'd, would have been a fufficient ground of Faith, and that therefore they must all be much rather fo in conjunction: But I fhall only defire it may be remember'd, That whatever Evidence has been brought in Proof of the Divine Authority of the Books of Mofes, and of the Prophets, doth reciprocally prove both the one and the other; and that therefore whatever is brought from either of them, in Proof of the Gospel, has the Evidence of the whole; and that the Gospel in different respects doth prove them, and is proved by them, both deriving Authority from the Books of the Old Teftament, and communicating its own Authority to them: For as the Caufe may be proved by its Effect, and the Effe&t by its Caufe; fo both Predictions prove the Things foretold; and the Accomplishment of the Things foretold, verifie the Prediations; and Miracles wrought in confequence of Prophecies concerning them, have doubly the Divine Seal and Atteftation. Now, the Meffias is the Scope and Centre of the whole Old Teftament, as the Jews themselves ever understood it; and whatever Testimony
mony is produced from thence, brings with it the Evidence of the whole And a like Evidence is again reflected upon the whole Old Teftament, by the Accomplishment of any part of it in the New, and by the Appeal which our Saviour and his Apoftles conftantly made to it.
Of the Perfon of our Bleffed Saviour.
Hat in the Reign of Tiberius, there liv'd fuch a
as under Pon
tius Pilate, is exprefly written by Tacitus; and that he cur'd Difeafes, and wrought other Miracles, was never denied by the worft Enemies to the Chriftian Name and Doctrine. So that the Subftance of the Hiftory of the Life and Death of our Saviour, is acknowledg'd by our very Adversaries, and the Power, by which he wrought his Miracles, is the thing which was in difpute between them and the Primitive Chriftians. And therefore I fhall take the Obfervations which I make concerning our Bleffed Saviour, from that account which, the Evangelifts give of him, which is in great part confefs'd by the Jews and Heathens, and which deferves at least the fame Credit that all other Hiftories do, till it can be difproved, and in the following Chapters I fhall fhew, that it is infallibly true.
The Divine Nature of our Bleffed Saviour is of another Confideration: We are in this place to confider
Vulgus Chriftianos appellabat. Autor nominis ejus Chriftus, qui, Tiberio imperante, per procuratorem Pontium Pilatum, fupplicio affectus erat. Tacit. Annal. I. 15, C. 44,