페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

verified, and so signally concluded. It is the completion of the prophecies, in facts, seen and acknowledged, which confirms the divinity both of the Old and New Testaments.

“ Prophecies fulfilled prove invincibly the Divine inspiration of the prophets. But if the prophets were inspired, the Divine mission in which the predicted marks of the Messiah meet, must needs be acknowledged.

“ Prophecy and miracles, are in themselves two distinct positive proofs. Either proof is direct, and would have been sufficient if the other had not been given. But the Divine Goodness, for our more abundant satisfaction, and to leave infidelity without excuse, hath made the one proof dependant on the other; so that neither the argument from prophecy is complete without the miracle, nor the argument from miracles, as applied to Christ, unless he likewise appear to have fulfilled the prophecies. Can we desire a stronger proof, that neither they who predicted the miracles were false prophets, nor he who claimed to himself the application of the prophecies was a false Messiah ?

“ It must strike the most careless reader of the prophecies to observe, that the general subject of them all was announced from the earliest time: and that, as to the serpent, it commenced

from the lapse of man, and was only drawn out more distinctly by succeeding prophets. The subject was opened by the old prophets as far as was expedient in that age, and clear enough to show the integrity and continuity of the whole system. It was more illustriously, because more distinctly, displayed by the evangelical prophets, who not only attest the coming of Christ, but, as if impatient to be confined to so narrow bounds, overflow into future ages, and expatiate on the principal facts and circumstances of his second coming."

CHAPTER XXXI.

PROPHECIES CONCERNING THE JEWS.

WE have seen that the ten tribes of Israel were in a manner lost in their captivity, while the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin were restored, and preserved several years afterwards. And what can we believe was the reason of this difference and distinction being made between them? The ten tribes had totally revolted from God, to the worship of the golden calves in Dan and Bethel; and for this, and their other idolatry and wickedness, they were suffered to remain in the land of their captivity.

The Jews were restored, not so much for their own sakes, as for the sake of thos

wav saluers; the promise to Judah, that the Messiah should come of his tribe; the promise to David, that the Messiah should be born of his family. It was therefore necessary for the tribe of Judah, and the families of that tribe, to be kept distinct until the coming of the Messiah. But now these ends are fully answered, the tribes

[ocr errors]

99

of Judah and Benjamin are as much confounded as any of the rest; all distinction of family and genealogy is lost among them; and the Jews themselves acknowledge as much, in saying, that when the Messiah shall come, it will be part of his office to sort their families*, restore the genealogies, and set aside strangers."

The preservation of the Jews through so many ages, and the total destruction of their enemies, are wonderful events; and are made still more wonderful by being signified beforehand by the spirit of prophecy, as we find particularly in the prophet Jeremiah, xlvi. 28 : “ Fear thou not, O Jacob, my servant, saith the Lord, for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee, but I will not make a full end of thee.”

“ The preservation of the Jews is one of the most signal and illustrious acts of Divine Providence. They are dispersed among all nations, and yet they are not confounded with any. The drops of rain which fall, nay, the great rivers which flow into the ocean, are soon mingled and lost in that immense body of waters; and the same, in all probability, would have been the case of the Jews; they would have been mingled and lost in the common mass of mankind; but, on the contrary, they flow into all parts of the world, mix with all nations, and yet keep separate from all.

* Şee Chandler's Defence of Christianity, chap. 1, sect. 2.

“They still live as a distinct people ; and yet they no where. live according to their own laws, no where elect their own magistrates, no where enjoy the full exercise of their religion. Their solemn feasts and sacrifices are limited to one certain place, and that hath been now for many ages in the hands of strangers and aliens, who will not suffer them to go thither.

No people have continued unmixed so long as they have done, neither of those who have sent forth colonies from foreign countries, nor even of those who have abode in their own country. The northern nations have come in swarms into the more southern parts of Europe ; but where are they now to be discerned and distinguished ? The Gauls went forth in great bodies to seek their fortunes in foreign parts; but what traces or footsteps of them are now remaining any where? In France, who can separate the race of the ancient Gauls from the various other people, who from time to time have settled there? In England, who can pretend to say with certainty what families are derived from the ancient Britons, and which from the Romans or Saxons,

« 이전계속 »