« PreviousContinue »
of any ability that may have been shewn in the com-, pilation of these arguments. I mean to speak of the goodness and truth of the cause which poused. I trust that the arguments will bring conviction to the breast of every candid unbeliever who will attend to them. I conceive it to be vain that the Infidel rages against Christianity, for let him do whatever he can against it, let him heat the fiery furnace of Inquisition seven times hotter than it lias ever been yet heated against the Gospel, we shall find, that at the last it will come out from thence, like the opposers of Nebuchadnezzar's Idolatry, pure, and uninjured, uncontaminated, and impenetrable.
I shall begin with observations upon some of the prophecies, of which we now see the accomplishment, or which can be proved by indisputable evidence to have been accomplished. The dispersion of the Jews was more than three thousand years ago foretold by Moses and afterwards by other prophets, and lastly by Christ himself) in as circumstantial a manner, as any one could describe it, after having seen the event. Moses foretold the siege of Jerusalem, and the subversion of the Jewish government by the Romans. He says, (addressing himself to the Jews) “ The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, frem the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle fieth ; a
nation whese tongue thou shalt not understand ; a nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person
of the old, nor shew favour to the young. And he shall eat the fryit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed : which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until le have destroyed thee. And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, throughout all the land which the Lord thy God hath given thee. And thou shalt cat the fruit of thine own body, the flesha of thy sons and of thy daughters (which the Lord thy God hath given thee) in the siege and in the straitness wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee."* And again he $ays, " And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude, because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the Lord thy God. And it shall come to pass that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good and to multiply you : so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to naught: and ye shall be plucked from of the land whither thou goest io possess it. And the Lord shall scatter theeamong all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other, and there
* Deuteronoriy, chap. xxviii. verse 49.
shalt thou serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among those nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy feet have rest, but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind.”+ And Jeremiah says, “And of your brethren that are not gone forth into captivity, thus saith the Lord of Hosts, Behold I will send on them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and I will make them like vile figs, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil. And I will persecute them with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be removed to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, and an astonishment, and a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations whither I have driven them.". And our Saviour says, " And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall he led away captive into all nations, and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."*
The condition of the Jews at this day, is a living evidence for the truth of the sacred writings. It is
+ Deuteronomy, chap. xxvii. verse 62. 1 Jeremiah, chap. xxix. verses 16, 17 and 18. * Luke, chap. xxi. versé 24.
known by every one that they are now
" scattered among all people, from one end of the earth to the other.” It is beyond a doubt that many of them, incited by the terrors of the inquisition, have joined the idolatries of the Roman Catholics," that they have served other Gods, which neither they nor their fathers have known, even wood and stone." Who is ignorant that the Jews are now a curse, and an astonishment, a hissing and a reproach,” in every part of the globe, and that “ Jerusalem is trodden down of the Gentiles?” To every one who is versed in history it is also certain that the Romans “besieged Jerusalem in all her gates," and that all the particulars that Moses foretold in regard to the siege actually happened. It is not possible with the least appearance of reason to ascribe the prophecy of the dispersion of the Jews, or any of these prophetic descriptions to chance. Such an extraordinary, such a singular event, as the dispersion of a nation without their extinction, had never happened before the prophecy that the Jews would be dispersed, and not yet be extinguished. Nor had Moses and the other prophets (in the writings of whom, we find various particulars in regard to the present dispersion of the Jews described in as lively and just a manner, as any one could at this day describe them, after having considered the living particulars themselves) nor had they any reason to suppose either from experience or from the contemplation of human affairs, that such an event would ever happen. They could only have uttered these prophecies through the particular inspiration of him who foresees all events. If these prophecies therefore have been uttered through the inspiration of God, it is the part of reason to believe that those who uttered them came from God, that their writings are holy, and in short it will naturally follow from hence that Christianity is a true and certain revelation.
I will now make some observations upon the famous prophecy of Daniel in regard to the Messiah. "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy. Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall even in troublous times. And after threescore and two