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"letter as from us, that the day of Christ is at hand,” adds a declaration, that that day should not come till after fome fignal apoftacy, and the revealing of fome mighty and unrighteous power, which he terms "the man of fin," the character and progrefs of which, he reminds them he had already in converfation described to them, and now therefore only briefly touches on.

Thus alfo St. Peter, while he afferts the certainty of their Lord's coming to judge the world, yet declares it fhould be fo long deferred, that immoral and impious men should scoff at the delay. How remote from enthusiasm, or from deceit, are fuch predictions in both the apoftles? May we not reason with a late judicious writer, that a fanatic would have been flow to entertain in his own mind, or to disclose to his hearers and correfpondents, fuch discouraging ideas; and that a hypocrite would not have betrayed these difcrediting particulars of his own plan, by foretelling the depravity of those who should hereafter embrace it.

Finally, it seems probable, for the fame reason, that if impoftors had fabricated fuch a prediction after the event, in order to gain credit to their Lord,

2 Peter, the entire 3d chap.

Dr. Mainwaring, profeffor of divinity in Cambridge, in his fermon preached before the univerfity, the 3d of May, 1795, P. 2.


they would have confined themselves to that event, I as the only one which it was confiftent with their purpose to allude to.-Now, this is not the cafe ;23 this prophecy does not confine itself to the immedi ate event of the deftruction of Jerufalem, but predicts a continuation of its defolate and ruinous ftate. Jerufalem fhall be trodden down of the Gentiles, "till the times of the Gentiles fhall be fulfilled.". Now, to this hour Jerufalem is trodden of the Gentiles, and to this hour the event, denoted by the times of the Gentiles being fulfilled, in whatever fenfe we interpret these words, has not taken place. Is the prediction of this coincidence of two continued and independent circumstances, in the courfe of human affairs, for above one thoufand feven hundred years, to be accounted for, either by enthusiasm or imposture.

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But I must forbear enlarging on fuch prophecies of the new teftament, as were not fully accomplished during the lives of those to whom it was first addreffed; as these could have formed no part of the evidence on which the first converts received the gofpel, which only I am now obliged to confider. Undoubtedly no argument more decifively proves the genuine inspiration, and divine authority, of the apoftolic writings, than the predictions found in them, of the fucceffive fortunes of Chriftianity, from its first promulgation to the prefent hour; predictions which have been conftantly and gradually accomplished

plished on the earth, and are at this moment advanc ing to a still more perfect and fignal completion.

But this important argument, which every day receives accumulated evidence, need not be introduced here, it has been ably and fully treated of by many writers, whose works I would earnestly recommend to every man who wishes to confirm his faith, and impress upon his heart a deep fenfe of the divine origin and ftupendous importance of the Chriftian fcheme. I fhall conclude my remarks on this part of


* Amongst the most useful of these works are the following: Lardner on the fulfilment of our Saviour's predictions concern-、 ing the Jews-Jewish and Heathen teftimonies, vol. 1. ch. iii.— Seventh vol. of Dr. Keppis's edition-Ditto, in his three fermons on the state of the Jews, vol. 10, p. 63-Newton's differtations on the prophecies-Bifhops Hurd, Halifax and Bagot, in their fermons preached at Warburton's lecture-Worthington's fermons, preached at Boyle's lecture, 1766-Sharpe's fecond argument in defence of Chriftiany-Kidder's demonstration of the Meffiah-The works of Joseph Mede, and Henry More—The approved commentators on the New Teftament, especially on the Revelations-Whifton's fcripture prophecies-* Dr. Macknight's truth of the gospel history, p. 199-Miller's history of the propagation of Christianity—*Benson's effay on the man of fin, in his paraphrafe on the Epiftles, p. 268-And to mention no more, the Rev. E. W. Whitaker, in his general and connected view of the prophecies relating to the times of the Gentiles, Egham, 1795, fold by Rivington, in London, I vol. 12mo. a work which must interest the generality of readers, as the author adduces the testimony of the celebrated Mr. Gibbon, to the facts which, as he alledges, prove the accomplishment of the fcripture prophecies.


N. B. The tracts marked are re-printed in the 5th vol. of Bishop Watson's excellent collection.



the fubject, by obferving, that as the prophecies contained in the apoftolic writings, which by their speedy accomplishment may have contributed to conciliate or to 'confirm the faith of the first converts, arė evidently such as enthusiasm did not dictate; fo also these writings rarely contain any predictions of events immediately approaching, except thofe delivered by our Lord, which we have now confidered; and the few they do contain are not afcribed to the apostles or evangelists themselves.

In the Acts of the apostles I have observed only the following predictions. One, of the famine which took place in the days of Claudius Cæfar, and which was related, not merely to fhew the inspiration of the prophet, but because it was connected with the fubject of the history; as in confequence of it a contribution was raised in the different churches for the Christians in Judea-a fact to which frequent allufions are made, both in the Acts and Epiftles.-Another was pronounced, when St. Paul was going up to Jerufalem, declaring, that the Jews there would bind him, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles; which seems also to have been mentioned, not fo much for its own fake, as to introduce the affecting incidents connected with it. When the Chriftians, at Cæfarea, befought the apostle, that he would not go up to Jerufalem; and he answered,

b Acts xi. 30.


e Ib. xxi. 10.

with the firmness of a martyr, and the tenderness of a parent, ❝d what mean you to weep and to break "mine heart, for I am ready, not to be bound only, "but to die at Jerufalem, for the name of the Lord "Jefus." Both these predictions are ascribed to the fame perfon, Agabus, who does not seem to have been distinguished on any other account in the Chriftian church.


St. Paul himself is defcribed in one place, when in danger from a violent tempest, to have received an affurance, that he, and all his companions in the voyage, fhould escape; and in another, he exhorts the Theffalonians, not to be moved with his afflictions, for "yourselves, fays the apostle, know that we are "appointed thereunto; for verily, when we were with you we told you before, that we should fuffer tribula❝tion, even as it came to pass, and ye know." But though affured that he was appointed to sustain fuffering in general, yet he confeffes himself ignorant of the particular mode of fuffering which awaited him; for before he heard the prophecy of Agabus, as to the particular event of his journey to Jerusalem, he declares to the church at Ephefus-"Behold I

e Ib. 27. 10.

f 1 Thef. iii. 3.

d Acts xxi 13. & Acts xx. 17.—The entire address is well worth perusal; confcious truth and honefty, fincere piety, and prudent, but earneit zeal, breath forth fo forcibly in every part of it, as can scarcely fail of penetrating the heart, and convincing the underftanding of every reader.

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