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ever, from the difficulties attendant on this, the question of fact may be considered; for though neither the system of the antient, nor that of the modern Millenaries be well founded, still the antient people of the Lord may be gathered together, and see a long age of prosperity under the protection of God and His Chrift: And there is the same reason for now calling on men to attend to the predictions which contain assurances of this, as has been assigned for the delivery of those promises of future salvation, made by the prophets to their country when in a state of adversity and suffering. To preserve the afflicted Ifraelites from defpondency, in the midst of rebukes for their disobedience, and menaces of punishment, the future mercies of God were revealed, and the hopes of the remnant who had not forfeited their inheritance kept alive by declarations, that the promise once given should never fail ; to confirm the wavering, encourage the fearful, rouse the unthinking, and strike awe into the scoffer, and the faithless, it is now requisite to demonstrate, that the promises which have not yet been fulfilled, have still not failed, since the time at first
marked for their accomplishment is not yet arrived, though the things preparatory to it have hitherto been regularly coming to pass, and nothing has yet happened to render the event either impossible, or even less probable; while the triumph which the unbelievers might gain from supposed failures, is destroyed by its being proved, that those whose interpretations have been false, have been deceived through their own ignorance or hastiness only, and that that portion of their hopes which was justly grounded on the promises, is not lost, but only deferred. The Jews might expect, that whenever the Messiah should appear,
appear, the kingdom should be restored unto Ifrael, and all the promised glories of his reign be displayed; but the prophets had declared, that He must appear first in humility, and through sufferings make His way to glory. In thinking that their Master would immediately manifest His power unto the world, by freeing their nation from subjection, the apostles were mistaken ; nevertheless, their expectation of the kingdom's being given unto Him were just, though it was not for them to know the times or the seasons which the
Father hath put into His own power. The whole controversy between the believer and the infidel may be fairly rested on one point, and that too a point which, if a love of truth be not wanting, may be very
foon determined ; Our Lord, the prophets, and the apostles have assumed to themselves the power of prophecy, as a certain proof of their Divine Mission, and have left us many predictions in consequence thereof; “Hath " time then shewn the justice of this their
claim, or not?” A fairer issue cannot be proposed ; let every man therefore, with a degree of seriousness proportioned to the opinion he entertains of the importance of the sanctions of religion, consider the scriptural predictions, and compare the accounts therein given of the fate of the Jewish nation, of the treatment and fortunes of the Christian church, and of the state of that part of the earth which hath hitherto been the scene of those fortunes, with what has come to pass; and when he has discovered, how accurately the events have thus far corresponded with the words of the preachers, let him deny, if he can, that the spirit of prophecy dwelt in them.
IN TRODUCTORY CHAPTER.
HETHER the fortunes of the poste.
rity of Israel have hitherto been, and
will in future prove consistent with the predictions of the Holy Scriptures concerning them, is a question, in which the Infidel, the Jew, and the Christian are equally interested, since on the determination of it depend the safety of the one, and the deliverance, and hopes of the others: If then to an enquiry closely connected with a point of importance so general, I venture to claim the attention of all, arrogance or presumption will not, I trust, be laid to my charge; neither shall I be accused, of calling those who may peruse the present Tract, from the confideration of subjects of more consequence, to that of trifles. The Prophets of the Lord have addressed themselves into all lands, and B
they frequently call on the men of every nation, , to attend to their declarations, as containing matter of universal concern : Terrible are the judgements, which they denounce against those who shall refuse to listen unto them: Fearful is the vengeance, with which they threaten the careless finner, and the obstinate unbeliever : the name in which they speak, fully entitling their words to attention, and the manifest truth of those which have already had their complesion, forming a just claim to credit for the rest : While they hold up the mercy of God as being ever prepared to receive the penitent, and as ready to give unto the seed of Abraham, if they will turn unto him, the blessings promised to their forefathers; and afford unto the fincere Christian, by the accuracy with which they have foretold the fortunes of the Church, a light which may guide him through the gloom raised by superstition; and constantly manifest unto him the path of truth, though all around him be enveloped in the thick darkness of infidelity. For however low the cause of true religion may at present appear, however active and inveterate its enemies may be, however cold and indolent many who would be thought its friends, the faithful servant of Christ need not be disheartened, since such a state of things was foretold by the Apostles of his Lord * ; and even the Lord his 2 Tim. iii, 1. 2 Pet. iii, 3. Jude, verse 18.