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xix. 25. His flesh might go to the grave, and rest in hope; for God would not leave his soul in hell ; nor suffer his holy One to be so long under the power of death, as to fee corruption, Psal. xvi. 9, 10. After his soul was made an offering for fin, he saw his feed; and prolonged his days, Ifa. liii. 10. He ascended to the right hand of God; and the Lord faid to him, Sit thou at my right hand untill I make thine enemies thy footstool, Pfal. cx. 1. He ascended on high, that he might lead captivity captive ; and give gifts unto men, Pfal. Ixvii. 16.
Having thus given you fome account from the anci. ent prophecies, of the life, death, and refurrection of our Lord Jesus Chrift, I fhall now proceed to thew you some of the consequences of this great event. And it may
proper in the firft place to take notice, what were the effects of the Jews thus rejecting and murdering the Prince of Life; and to shew you that the people of Titus the Roman prince came upon them, destroyed the city and the fanctuary, caused the facrifice and the oblation to cease; and the abominations (or abominable armies) with their eagles (and fuperftitious rites) to overfpread and to make them defolate, Dan. ix. 27. When God had laid in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner. Atone, and a fure foundation for a'l that would believe on him, he then took notice of the fcornful men that ruled in Jerufalem. He laid judgment to the line, and righteousnefs to the plummet, the hail swept away the refuge of lies; and the waters overflowed the hiding place. Their covenant with death was disannulled, and their agreement with bell could not ftand; when the overflowing scourge paffed through them ; and they were trodden down by it, from the time it went forth it took them, for morning by morning it paflied over them, by day and by night, until it was a vexation only to understand the report. For the Lord rose up as in mount Perazim, he was wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, and a consumption was determin'd upon the whole earth, or upon their whole land, Ifa. xxviii.
-22. The Lord pum. bered them to the tword ; and they all bowed down to the faughter, becaufe when he called they did not
answer, when he spake they did not hear: but did evil before his eyes, and chose that wherein he delighted not; therefore the Lord said unto them, Behold, my servants (the Christians) shall eat: but ye shall be bungry. Behold, my fervants fhall drink: but ye shall be thirsty. Behold, my fervants shall rejoice: but ye shall be ashamed. Behold, my servants fhall sing for joy of heart: but ye shall cry for forrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit. And ye shall leave your name for a curse upon my chosen, for the Lord God shall flay thee, and call his fervants by another name; Christians and not Jews, Ifa. Ixv. 12. 16.
Another consequence of the excision of the Mefliah, and his pouring out his soul unto death, was the caling the Gentiles into a church state. Behold God's servant whom he upholds, his fervant in whom his foul delighteth, he has put his fpirit upon him, and he hath brought forth judgment unto the Gentiles. He has not failed nor been discouraged, till he has fet judgment u. pon the earth;
and the isles have waited for his law, lla.
Then did the barren fing that did not bear ; the broke forth into finging and cry'd aloud, that had not travailed with child; and more were the children of the desolate, than of the married wife. For she brake forth on the right hand and on the left; and her feed inherited the Gentiles; and made the delolate cities to be inhabited, Ifa. liv. 1, 3. Thus was our Lord Jesus given for a light to the Gentiles, that he might be for falvation unto the ends of the earth, Ifa. lix. 6. And the Gentiles came to his light, and Kings to the brightness of his rising, Ifa. lx. 3.
Thus you have had a general view of our blessed Saviour's lite, death, refurrection, ascension, and kingdom, out of the Jewilh prophets. I have not given you all (nor indeed a tenth part) of the predictions of the Mefliah, that are to be found in the Old Teftament; and yet I have,sby these brief hints, given you the advantage to consider, whether these prophecies did not in all circumstances exactly agree to the Lord Jesus Christ; and whether they did or poflibly could agree to any other person in the world.
xlii. I, 4
And now, Sir, I leave it to yourself to judge, whether we can either have or defire greater certainty of any past event, than that these prophecies did directiy refer to, and were all accomplished in the Lord Jesus Chrift.
Suppose we had as certain direction, when to begin the forty two months, or one thousand two hundred and fixty years of Antichrist's reign, as we have with respect to the beginning of Daniel's weeks; and you should find, by calculation that they would terminate in the year 1746; and being filled with expectations of the events of that year, should (when it comes) actually see all the popish princes of Europe brought into subjection, the protestant princes united in confederacy, the city of Rome fack'd and burnt, and the papal hierarchy every where overturn’d, the Turkish empire destroy'd ; and the Jews collected and brought into the Christian church: would you not acknowledge these prophecies to be of divine original ; and the pope and Roman papacy, to be the Antichrist therein predicted ? And would you not also live in certain expectation of all the other events, which are foretold as consequences of this revolution ? You certainly would. And yet I must take the liberty to tell you, that there is a much brighter light shines upon the prophecies concerning our blefled Saviour, in their exact accomplishment, than this would prove, should all these circumstances concur as is here supposed.
That the Lord may graciously grant both you and me a Gncere faith in this blessed Saviour; and prepare us both for the great events that are hastening upon us, is the prayer of,
LETTER IV. Wherein is considered the Cer
TAINTY of those. Facts, upon which the evio dence of Christianity depends.
OU mistake in supposing, that my laft letter has
• set the evidence of our Saviour's divine million,
< from the Old Testament prophecies, in the strongest
light.' There might be much stronger light brought from the prophetick writings, in confirmation of this blessed truth and you must allow me the freedom to tell you, that my letter juftly demands of you a firmer afsent, than you are pleased to express, to that fundamental article of our faith and hope. It represents to you more than 'a strong probability, that Jesus Christ is the
Son of God, and the Saviour of the world.' Confider, I beseech you, whether it is possible, for any or for all created intelligences, to foresee and foretell such future events, as depend wholly upon the meer good pleasure of God ; such events as are altogether out of the way of God's ordinary dispensations of providence; and such events as had not the least probability from the laws of nature, to have ever come to pass; and then to over-rule the various revolutions of nature and provi. dence in such a way, as is utterly inconsistent with, and in many instances altogether contrary to, the known ftated methods of God's governing the world, in order that those predictions (even in every particular circumItance) should be exactly accomplifhed. I intreat you, Sir, to consider the affair in this view (for in this view it ought to be considered) and then tell me, whether the evidence does not amount to more than a strong probability. And confider what evidence of this kind you your. felf can possibly imagine, that would bring your mind into a full acquiefcence in this truth, as certain and undoubted.
If there can be any reasonable doubt remaining, it must be for one of these following causes. Either,
1. It must be fupposed, that the Jewish prophets had no such events in their eye; that the quoted predictions had a reference to something else ; or perhaps no reference to any thing at all ; but were the casual sallies of the several authors fruitful fancies or imaginations.
But then if this be supposed, how comes it to pass that they are all fo exactly verified ? Certain it is, that the Jews fuppofed all these predictions to be divine inspirations, kept up flated memorials of them, and longed for their accomplishment. And it is equally certain,
that at the very time when they ought to be expected, they were all fulfilled, in every circumstance. This is an affair that demands your attention. Here are predictions of most wonderful amazing events : such as no appearances, that ever had been in the world, could any way lead the minds of the prophets to think of, or ima. gine. These events were foretold as to time, place, and many other particular circumstances, that you see a biftory of our Saviour's birth, life, death, resurrection, afcenfion, and future kingdom, could be made up out of these prophecies: and to crown the whole, they have all been exactly fulfilled. Now then, I have a right to demand ; were thefe froin heaven or of men; Can the most licentious imagination apprehend these very nu. merous and various predictions to be the effects of ca. pricious fancies; and their fulfilment, a matter of mere chance or casualty ? Then may the Epicurean philosophy take place again; and the world in all its glory, or. der and symmetry, be reasonably believed to be the effect of a fortuitous concourse and jumble of atoms. I hope, this doub: is cleared out of your way ; and I know of but one more that can remain; which is,
2. That there never were any such predictions of these things in the Jewith prophets ; but that all of them were written since the events.
But then, you must suppose, that this was done by the Christians, without the privity of the Jews and others who had these books in their hands; or that it was done by a joint confederacy of Christians and Jews. If the former, you must imagine, that the whole nation of the Jews, and all the other nations who had the Greek translation of the Jewish Bible in their hands, must be persuaded to believe that they always had, and always read, those things in their Bible, which were never there; or else all of them to a man must be prevailed upon, out of complaisance to their greatest adversaries, to interpolate their Bibles, by inserting these predictions ; and not leave to posterity a single copy unadulterated, to discover and correct the fraud. But if you choose the latter of those supposals, that these prophecies were added to the Jewish Bible by a joint confederacy of