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FROM this short and cursory view of the subject, as far as the old testament affords testimony to it, the serious and well informed mind must be convinced, as one well observes, "that there is a continued series and connection, one uniform analogy and design carried on for many ages by divine prescience, through a succession of prophecies, which as in the proper centre, do all meet together in Christ, and in him only, however the single lines, when considered apart may, in many instances, be imagined to have another direction and point to intermediate events; nothing is more evident, than that the whole succession of prophecies can be applied to none but Christ."-So it is in lines drawn from a centre to an outward circle-the line equally tends to such outward circle, notwithstanding it may strike a number of smaller and intermediate ones.
In vain it is for minute philosophers, or proud, vain and ignorant men, to cavil and raise objections to this settled and determinate plan of infinite wisdom, persuading themselves, in order to cover their indolence or weakness, that the nature and attributes of the Deity are inconsistent with what they in the pride of their conceited understandings, think proper to call partial and local attachments to a particular
people, more remarkably obstinate and rebellious than any other nation on the earth.
This nation, it must be acknowledged, was singled out from all the other nations, as God's peculiar people, they only persevering as a nation, in the worship of the one only living and true God; and although at present apparently cast off from being his people; yet their time to come, will be a time of love, and they will yet be gathered into the sheep-fold of the great shepherd-God therefore has in great mercy left us on record, an account of his dealings with, and his instructions to, these his peculiar people, who he yet considers as the apple of his eye, who once were under his own immediate government.
This was done for the advantage and improvement of the christian church, when he should think proper in his all-condescending grace to extend the dispensation of his mercy, through his beloved son, and some of all the nations of the earth, Jew and Gentile, should be taken into the family of the faithful, and become, in like manner, his peculiar people under the immediate guidance of his holy spirit.Ought not these objectors rather to reflect seriously on the fact? That God has thus given up and rejected, though for a time, his own beloved people; the children of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, with whom he entered into a special covenant, and for whom it is said he has manifested so great partiality. And this on account of their unbelief and disobedience to his righteous government-what then must neces
sarily be their portion, who make no pretensions to having any covenant right to the favor of God; who cast off his fear, and desire not the knowledge of his ways?
In general, God, in his word, does not condescend to treat of, or make, the subject of his revelation or prophetic discoveries, any of the actions of kingdoms or nations, but, only in so far, as they respect the prosperity or persecution of his church and people.His lan has been finally to establish a people peculiar to himself, zealous of good works—a kingdom of saints-a glorious catholic or universal church triumphant in the new Jerusalem; not of this or that denomination of professors, but of all nations, languages and tongues, who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and truth-who fear God and work righteousness. This has been a regular system from the beginning of time, to which all the prophets and apostles bear witness; and to which alone we are to look in considering the prophecies of the scriptures.
The modern pretended philosophers, for want of an bumbling knowledge of the divine mercy and goodness towards a lost and sinful world, seem incapable of taking into their ideas, this whole plan of the great salvation by Jesus Christ, notwithstanding the plainness and simplicity with which it is revealed in the gospel-They see the mysterious conduct of the great governor of the universe, but on the dark side; and thereby all their reflections tend to mislead them, as the pillar of cloud did the Egyptians.
It is in vain for weak and foolish man, to say that God is the God of all flesh and no respecter of persons-A God of mercy and love who delighteth not in the death of a sinner, but would rather that he should return, repent and live.-Let him look round him, on facts happening among mankind every day
-behold the distinctions-the poverty-the misfor. tunes-the awful sufferings of many, while others are rolling in wealth-affluence and luxury-From whence arise wars-insurrections and bloodshed.
This very reasoning of the objector, proves the truth of the prophetic revelation, which has expressly asked in view of this temper of the infidel— "Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are only spiritually to be discerned."
The sole question ought to be, are these the predictions of unerring wisdom and truth, or are they not? We are now arrived at so late a period of the world, that we are able to look back and enquire, whether those things foretold some thousands of years ago, as to take place previous to this our day, have been accomplished or not? If they have not, we ought not implicitly to believe those, that are predicted to happen hereafter-but if they have, and that with a critical chronological exactness, sufficient to astonish the mind of the correct and careful en
quirer, has not the whole thereby received the seal of truth; and is there not as much propriety in believing those that are to come, as those that are past? -If, therefore, they are found by this unfailing testimony, to be the predictions of infinite wisdom, who or what presumptuous mortal has a right to ask why is it so? shall the clay say to the potter, why have you made me thus?
Let the most scrupulous sceptic enquire then, has the fourth beast or the Roman government arisen up? has he been more powerful and stronger than all that went before him? did the people of the prince that did come, invade Jerusalem, destroy the city and burn the sanctuary with fire? did he cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease? were the Jews, the peculiar people of God, dispersed among all the nations of the earth, and have they become a hissing and a bye-word among all people? Do they so continue to this day, and yet remain a separate people, contrary
every other instance known in the world, as a miraculous and uncontrovertable evidence of the truth of prophecy? are not their conquerors and oppressors almost all destroyed so as to be lost and forgotten, while they remain, as an increasing proof of the truth of prophecy? is their once goodly land overrun by Gentiles and Idolaters, and wholly taken out of their hands, so that they scarcely have a place for the soles of their feet?-did, in the days of this fourth government at the end of the appointed time, a great personage appear, declaring himself to be the Mes