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SERM. fiab, and that Jefus did truly fulfil those
And indeed if Miracles, wrought in Con. SER M. firmation of a Divine Commission, be not of themselves a fufficient Ground whereon to acknowledge fuch a Commiffion in the Person that works them; even the Jews themfelves must ftand condemned for being too eafy of Belief, in admitting Mofes as a Mef fenger from God, upon the Credit of the Miracles, which at God's Command he wrought to convince them. For it is very well known, that there were no Prophecies of Mofes, given of him beforehand, to foretell his coming : And yet the Ifraelites adhered to and followed him, upon Account of his Miracles. This therefore is fufficient to fhew that even the Miracles which Jesus wrought (and which had all the Appearance we can poffibly defire, that they were really wrought by the Power of God) are a Proof and Demonstration that he really and truly came from God; although we knew nothing of any foregoing Predictions, or whether he had fulfilled any Prophe cies or not. Confequently the Truth of our Saviour and his Doctrine does not depend fo wholly and entirely, upon the Evidence of Prophecy, as the Adverfary to our Faith, whom I just now mentioned, would infinuate and fuggeft. An Adverfary to our Faith I furely
SERM. may call him, finçe it plainly appears that he would confine us to this Teft of the Truth and Certainty of the Chriftian: Revelation, only because he thinks it the most precarious one, and the easiest to be disputed, :..... no.
But farely one would wonder what Service could be proposed to the Cause of Infidelity, by endeavouring to render the Prophecies concerning Jefus confused and obscure. For it has been afked fince, and very judiciously * what Ground or Pretence is there, to enquire whether the Prophecies, forefliewing that the Christ or Meffiab fhould die and rife again, do really and truly belong to Jefus ; unless we are firft fatisfied that Jefus did die and rife again? And if the Refurrection of Jefus be allowed; what would Unbelievers gain by difcrediting the Prophecies? For the Event will be what it is, let the Prophecies be what they will. 'Tis plain then, that the Matters, related in the Gofpel, do not depend for their Reality upon the Evidence of Pro phecy: Since the Facts may be true, though never foretold, or foretold obfcurely; nay they must actually be admitted as true; before we can enquire whether there be any Prophecy that foretels, them.
*Bithop Sherlock on the Ufe and Intention of Prophecy. p.
But if this be the Cafe, that we must ad- SER M. mit all the Facts of the Gospel to be true, before we can come at the Evidence of Prophecy; what Occafion (you may ask) have we to enquire (as I did fo largely in my laft Difcourfe) after Prophecies at all? For if the Miracles of Chrift be fufficient Evidence of the Truth of his Gofpel; why should we trouble ourselves to know whether he was foretold or not? This is a Question that deferves to be answered: And in our Anfwer we allow, that Miracles, when once admitted to be true, are a compleat Evidence of the Divine Authority of him that works them. Confequently had we known no more of Christ, than that he claimed to be attended to as a Perfon fent and commiffioned by God; he would not have needed any other Credentials than these already mentioned: And it would have been very impertinent in any one to have asked what Prophet had foretold his coming. But now Chrift has not only done the Works which none other Man did, John xv. 24. and by that means given us the fulleft Evidence of a divine Commiffion; but he alfo claims to be the Meffiah foretold by Mofes and the Prophets. And therefore when the Woman of Samaria faid to him, John
SERM. iv. 25, 26. I know that Meffias cometh, or is coming, which is called Chrift; when he is come he will tell us all Things. Jefus faith unto her, I that speak unto thee, am be. And when John the Baptist fent two of his Disciples to Jefus, faying, Art thou be that should come, or look we for another? Luke vii. 19· 23. Jefus immediately convinced them that he himself was he whom they looked for, by giving them the Character of the Meffias, as it lies in the Prophet Isaiah, and then anfwering that Character by feveral Miracles he wrought before them. And when in difcourfing with the perverfe and obftinate Jews, he could not convince them either by the Teftimony of John, nor by that of his Father, nor by the Power of his Works; he at last referred them to the Holy Scriptures, and put himself upon the Teft of what they had faid concerning himself. John v. 39. Search the Scriptures, (faid he) for in them ye think ye have eternal Life, and they are they which testify of me.Ver. 46, 47. Had ye believed Mofes, ye would have believed me, for he wrote of me: But if ye believe not his Writings; how fhall ye believe my Words. For as he reprefents Abraham as fpeaking on another Occafion, If they hear not Mofes and the Prophets,