Page images
PDF
EPUB

infinitely greater. And since God's heart is bound up in his own glory, he will infallibly pursue that course of conduct in his providence, which he views as best suited to promote it. His predictions tell us what his heart is fixed upon, and when we know what his heart is fixed upon, we have no ground to doubt, that he will pursue the objects of his desires to the utmost of his power. Poor, weak, dependent creatures are given to change, and grow weary and faint, and totally discouraged in their most ardent and sanguine pursuits. But God is never faint, or weary, or discouraged in his pursuits, or disposed to change the objects of his pursuit, which affords a very strong and weighty evidence, that he will infallibly bring about the events, which he has decreed and foretold. Besides,

4. God has foretold nothing but what he is able to bring to pass. Job said unto God, " I know that thou canst do every thing.” This is strictly true. God can do every thing that power can do, or that does not involve a contradiction. There is none that can stay his hand, or effectually resist his operations in the kingdoms of nature, providence and grace. He can

. overturn, overturn, and overturn all difficulties, impediments, or obstacles, that stand in the way of his designs and operations. If the power of men resist his designs, he can break their power. If the hearts of men resist his designs, he can change their hearts. If kings or kingdoms presume to oppose him, he can break them, as a potter's vessel is broken. If all nations were to unite their counsels and exertions against God's purposes and predictions, they would be of no avail, to prevent him from bringing about the events, which he has designed and predicted to bring about. This God knew, when he foretold future events, and this we know after he has foretold them. We have, therefore, the highest and strongest evidence, that can be derived from the conduct, the power, and glory of God, that he will never fail to fulfil his predictions, or to bring to pass every event, which he has predicted in his word.

It now remains to show,

III. That God has good reasons for foretelling events before they come to pass. God was under no obligations to mankind to foretel any future events. Though he had foreordained all future events, and consequently foresaw all future events ; yet he was under no obligations to inform mankind what events he foresaw and determined to bring about. He knew, indeed, the natural curiosity and propensity of mankind to look into futurity, and, if possible, to discover the good, or evil which may await them in time to come. But he never would have adopted the method of predicting future events, merely to gratify their vain and sinful desires. There is, therefore, just ground to inquire what were the real and good reasons of his foretelling future events in his word. We find that it has been his usual way, from age to age; to raise up holy men

, and inspire them to foretel great and important events, which he had determined to bring to pass. The question now is, why did he adopt this mode of conduct towards mankind'? There may be two very good reasons for his foretelling future events in his word:

1. To convince mankind, that he is concerned in bringing about all the events which he has foretold. They are extremely apt to overlook the hand of God in bringing about events in the course of his providence. They will hardly believe that his hand is concerned in bringing to pass any event, unless it appears extra

, ordinary, supernatural, or miraculous. Of course, they will not see and acknowledge his hand, even in fulfilling his predictions, until after they are fulfilled. This was the case, with respect to the body of the Jewish nation, as well as in respect to the disciples of Christ. The Jews did not see nor acknowledge the divine power and agency, in bringing about the incarnation, crucifixion, and ascension of Christ, while God was invisibly and irresistibly producing these great and important events, which he had foretold in his word. Though God had minutely described the person, the conduct, the preaching, and sufferings of Christ; yet the

1

[ocr errors]

them to pass.

Jews did not discover these things, nor the hand of God in bringing them to pass. And even the disciples of Christ did not know that God influenced them to carry him in triumph to Jerusalem, until he had come and left the world. The peculiar people of God had been for

ages before equally stupid and blind to the hand of God, in fulfilling prediction after prediction concerning Christ. God upbraids them of this, and assigns it as a reason, why he foretold events before he brought

6 “ Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah; which swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness. For they call themselves of the holy city, and stay themselves upon the God of Israel; the Lord of hosts is his name. 1 have declared the former things from the beginning and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them ; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass. . Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass; I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I shewed it three : lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image hath

, commanded them." All mankind are naturally like the Jews, in overlooking, and disbelieving the hand of God in bringing to pass those things which he has foretold in his word. Nothing, therefore, is better calculated to convince mankind of the universality of divine providence, than God's foretelling future events. For when he has fulfilled his predictions, and actually brought about the events he has predicted, he has set his hand and seal to these events, and marked them as the production of his own hand. And as his hand and seal will sooner or later be seen, it will be out of the power of man to disbelieve, that he brought about the events which bear his plain and legible signature. As this signature is actually set upon all events which have been foretold; so the predictions of those events will sooner or later convince all mankind, that God

to

was concerned in causing those events to take place. And this is one very important reason, why God has foretold so many future events in his word.

2. God's foretelling and bringing to pass some events, demonstrates the truth of his bringing all other events

pass, which he has not predicted. For the events which he has predicted stand inseparably connected with all the other events which he has not predicted. God's predicting the death and crucifixion of Christ, four thousand years before Christ came, suffered, and died, and bringing them to pass stood connected with all other events, which took place in every part of the world, during that period. If God had not governed all events from Adam to Christ, he could not have brought about the death of Christ. He must have brought into being all the men that existed from Adam to Christ, and governed all their thoughts, words, and actions, in order to prepare the way for the existence of Judas, Pontius Pilate, and of all others who were concerned in his crucifixion. And since God has foretold a multitude of events, which reach from the crucifixion of Christ to the end of the world, he has set his hand and seal to all those events, which will demonstrate that he was concerned in bringing them to pass, after they have actually taken place. And since all other events from the crucifixion of Christ to the end of the world, stand inseparably connected with the events foretold; the final accomplishment of all divine predictions must necessarily demonstrate, that God had always governed all events, without a single exception, from the beginning to the end of the world. The glory of God and the good of the universe depend upon its being universally known, that his heart and hand are concerned in every event that takes place. It appears, therefore, that God could not have proposed a nobler, or more important end, in foretelling future events, than to make all his intelligent creatures believe, that he exerts his power and influence in governing all things. This design of prophecy coincides with God's ultimate end in creation, and directly serves to promote it. It de

-5

[ocr errors]

monstrates, that of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: that he is the Alpha and Omega, or the great centre to which all things past, present, and to come ultimately tend.

IMPROVEMENT.

1. It appears from the design of prophecy, that the predictions, which God has already recorded in his word, are the last he will ever give. He continued to foretel future events from Adam to Moses, from Moses to Christ, from Christ to the Apostle John. Then he directed him to close the cannon of scripture, and denounce a curse upon a man, who should presume to add any thing to, or take any thing from his written word. This looks like putting a final period to prophecy from that time to the end of the world. And we have reason to think so, because the series of predictions in the book of Revelations respects the most important events from the days of John to the final consummation of all things; by which God has infallibly marked all future events, as the production of his own hand. When the events which he has predicted, are actually brought to pass, it will necessarily appear that he has constantly governed the world. There never has been, and there never will be any occasion for new

, prophecies since the death of John. All who have pretended to prophecy since that time, have been impostors, who were deceived themselves or meant to deceive others. There have been not a few such sons, and may be again ; but they are to be disbelieved and treated according to the directions of the more sure word of prophecy.

2. It appears from the design of prophecies, that they may answer their end, though they are not understood before they are fulfilled. Many, if not most of the divine predictions in the bible, are delivered in such dark, figurative language, as is not very easy to understand. This is the case in respect to common people, and even in respect to the most ingenious, stu

per

« PreviousContinue »