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dious, and learned divines. Expositors have found more difficulty, and made more mistakes, in their comments on the prophetical parts of scripture, than on any other parts of it. This has led some to think lightly of prophecies in general, and to despise all attempts to explain them. Voltaire says, Sir Isaac Newton wrote upon prophecies to console mankind for his superiority over them in other respects. But though the general obscurity of prophecies renders them difficult to explain and understand, either before they are fulfilled, or while they are fulfilling, or for some time after ; yet they may answer the important purpose, which God designed to answer by them. Though the vision be for an appointed time, yet at the end it will speak, and answer the purpose for which it is given. Whether a prediction be understood before it is fulfilled, or while it is fulfilling, or even a long time after, it will finally mark the event with a divine signature, and demonstrate that God was concerned in bringing it to pass. There is reason to think, that there are many predictions in the bible which have been punctually fulfilled long ago, and which have never been fully understood or properly explained. But they will be understood some time or other, and then answer the purpose for which they were given. Great pains have been taken to understand, and explain the predictions concerning the return of the Jews to their native land, the overthrow of the Mahomedan imposture, the nature, commencement, and duration of the millenium. But it is a question whether any body has understood and properly explained these important predictions respecting these important future events. These predictions, however, will be fulfilled, and understood at the very time God intended, and consequently will fully answer his original purpose.

3. It appears from the design of prophecies, that their being disbelieved, does not in the least destroy their evidence or importance. They are designed to make it appear that God is concerned in bringing about all

. predicted and unpredicted events. Their being disbelieved by some, or by many, before they are fulfilled, or while they are fulfilling, or long after they are fulfilled, does not prevent their being fulfilled, and being understood, just as God designed they should be, and consequently does not destroy or diminish their usefulness. Though thousands now disbelieve the predictions concerning the overthrow of popery, paganism, and all false religions, their disbelief may promote, rather than retard the accomplishment of these predictions. We

We may ask them the same pertinent question which Paul asked the Jews. 6 What if some did not believe, shall their unbelief make the faith of God of none effect?” What if the Jews disbelieve the predictions concerning them, or what if the Mahomedans disbelieve the predictions concerning them, or what if the Papists disbelieve the predictions concerning them, their disbelief will not expunge these predictions from the bible, nor hinder God from fulfilling them. So that the unbelief of Jews, Mahomedans, and Papists, ought not to destroy or weaken our faith in the divine predictions concerning them. The disbelief of divine predictions has not prevented their fulfilment in time past ; and it will not prevent the fulfilment of those predictions which remain hitherto unfulfilled. The Jews' disbelief of Christ's first coming, did not prevent his coming at the appointed time, and their present disbelief of his second coming will not prevent his second appearance to judge the world.

God is constantly preparing the way as fast as possible, by one event after another for the great day of consummation, when all preceding predictions will be fully accomplished and fully known. How many events must take place, and how many years roll away before the Jews shall be brought in, all false religions destroyed, the millenium commence and terminate, and the final judgment sit and continue, we know not. These are circumstances not predicted; but the events predicted shall certainly come to pass.

4. It appears from the design of prophecy, that the fulfilment of every divine prediction is an infallible

and increasing evidence of the truth and divinity of the bible, which contains the prophecies, which have been fulfilled. God is the only being in the universe, who is able to foresee and foretel future events. He expressly claims this prerogative. He says, “ I am God, and there is none else: I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, my counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” God has been pleased to foretel many future events, and recorded his predictions in his word, and it is only to open the bible and read his predictions; and then compare them with the relation which sacred and profane historians have given of events, in order to determine whether any of those predictions have been fulfilled ; and if we find they have been fulfilled, we discover an infallible evidence of the divine inspiration of the scriptures. None who have read the bible carefully and intelligently can deny, that some of the most important predictions in it have been fulfilled. Did God foretel the coming, life, and death of Christ? These events have taken place. Did God foretel the infidelity and dispersion of the Jews? These events have come to pass. Did God foretel the spread of the gospel, the destruction of the seven churches of Asia, the rise of Popish and Mahomedan impostures and delusions, and the savage state and character of the descendants of Ham and Ishmael. These events have actually and visibly taken place. These events have been brought about in succession, and one has been evidently instrumental of another, and the accomplishment of one prediction has been a corroborating evidence of the truth of another. And this chain of evidence in favour of divine Revelation, is continually lengthening, and becoming more and more forcible and irresistible. There is but one kind of evidence more infallible and conclusive in support of the inspiration of the scriptures, and that is, the evidence of miracles, which were wrought as credentials to the inspired writers. Miracles are a direct testimony of God


himself, that he inspired the prophets and apostles to write his predictions of future events. Miracles and predictions are the two fundamental supports of divine revelation. Were all other sources of evidence removed, these are alone sufficient to justify all who read the bible to believe that it came from God, and could not come from any other being in the universe.

5. It appears from what has been said, that the criminality of unbelief, has been continually increasing from Adam to this day. Though Adam was a believer in divine revelation; yet it seems that Cain was not. Though the patriarchs were believers; yet the great mass of mankind were unbelievers from Cain to Abraham. Though some of the seed of Abraham were believers till the coming of Christ, yet the rest of the world, and most of Abraham's descendants were unbelievers. Though there have been many individuals since Christ's day, who have been believers ; yet the great majority of mankind still remain unbelievers. And the present unbelievers are of all others, the most inexcusable and criminal for their speculative, and experimental unbelief. For they are acquainted with the predictions recorded in the bible, many of which have been signally fulfilled ; and are now visibly fulfilling. A full blaze of light has been shining in their eyes all their days, which they have obstinately resisted. And there is nothing that aggravates so fast and 60 much as resisting the light of truth. Our Saviour says, “ This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” He said of the Jews, “ If I had not come, and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now they have both seen, and hated both me, and


father." And again he said, “ Wo unto thee Chorazin, BethBaida, and Capernaum: for if the mighty works which have been done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth

and ashes. But I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon and Sodom, at the day of judgment, than for you.” Infidelity in Europe and America, is, of all others, the most aggravated sin, and will draw after it, the most aggravated condemnation. The bare knowledge of the bible, whether it be obtained by preaching, or by reading, will either save the believer, or condemn and destroy the unbeliever. All under the gospel are in the most favourable, and yet the most dangerous circumstances. They are shut up to the faith, and must either believe and be saved, or disbelieve and be damned. And how long God will allow them to live in this interesting state of trial, they know not. Their duty is plain, urgent, and infinitely important.

6. It appears from the nature and design of prophecy, that God will finally have the glory of all his works. For by his predictions and the accomplishment of them, it will appear that his heart and hand had been concerned in bringing about not only all the events that had been predicted, but all other events, which were inseparably connected with predicted events. It will finally appear, that God had as constantly and universally governed all events in the moral world, as in the natural world. So that all the holiness and happiness, which had been produced by the creation, the government, and redemption of the world, must be primarily and supremely ascribed to the power, the wisdom, and the goodness of God. Besides, the accomplishment of divine predictions will clearly discover not only the heart and hand of God in all events, but the heart and hand of every man, and of every intelligent creature, in what they had done, as instruments of fulfilling divine predictions. After Christ was glorified, his disciples remembered the prophecy that had been fulfilled, and their own free and voluntary conduct in fulfilling it. And this will be the result of all divine predictions after they are accomplished. When all the predictions contained in the bible shall have been fulfilled, they will show to the whole intelligent universe

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