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SEJM>i, and that Jesus did truly fulfil those Prophecies j yet we can by no means allow that this is the only Ground and Foundation upon which the Christian Religion is built. If it were; hard would be the Cafe of the poor Heathens, who, upon this Supposition, must be brought a strange round-about way, to the Faith of the Gospel, and cannot be persuaded of the Truth of the New Testament before they have made themselves Masters of the Old. But St. Paul thought otherwise, and therefore took quite different Measures: For when he reasoned with the^Æhenians, ABs xvii. 31. he did not endeavour to convert them to the Faith by shewing how Jesus had fulfilled the Characters given of him by the Prophets, (whom none of the Athenians knew any Thing of, or if they did, had no Reverence or Esteem for them j) but he convinced them •by appealing to plain Matters of Fact, Things capable of undeniable Evidence and Demonstration; he appealed to the Miracles which Jesus wrote, particularly to that great one of h\% Resurrection from the Dead; the Fame of which had probably reached the Athenians ibefore, and which, ,as the Apostle could (hew it to be true, the Athenians could not but -feadily admit, as a cetfain Proof of his coming tfrom God, And
And indeed if Miracles, wrought in Con* s Er* M. firmation of a Divine Commiffion, be not of\, themselves a sufficient Ground whereon to acknowledge such a Commission in the Person that works them j even the Jews themselves must stand condemned for being too easy of Belief, in admitting Moses as a Messenger from God, upon the Credit of the Mi.r racles, which at God's Command he wrought to convince them. For \t is very well known, that there were no Prophecies of Moses, given of him beforehand, to foretell his coming: And yet the Israelites adhered to and followed him, upon Account of his Miracles, This therefore is sufficient to shew that even the Miracles which Jesus wrought (and which had all the Appearance we can possihly desire, that they were really wrought by the Power of God) are a Proof and Demonstration that he really and truly came from God j although we knew nothing of any foregoing Predictions, or whether he had fulfilled any Prophe^ cies or not. Consequently the Truth of our Saviour and his Doctrine does not depend so wholly and entirely, upon the Evidence of Prophecy, as the Adverfary to our Faith, whom I just now mentioned, would insinuate and suggest, dn Adversary to our Faith I surely is.*' . may
SERM. may cdtliim^lm^elt jrfaiftly aj)peat$ .that he /would cdnsine us to this Test of the Truth and Certainty of the Christian Revelation, only because he thinks it the most precarious one, and the easiestjtq be disputed. \. 'But surely one would wonder what Service could be proposed to the Cause of Infidelity, by endeavouring to render the Prophecies conczvnip.zjifus confused and obscure. Fork has been asked fince, and very judiciously *'} what Ground or Pretence is there, to enquire whether'the Prophecies, foresjiewing" that the Chriji or .Mejfiab should. die and rife again, do really and truly belong to Jesus; unless we are .'first satisfied that Jesus did die arid rife again? And if the Resurrection of Jesus be allowed; what would Unbelievers gain by discrediting the Prophecies? For the EVent will be what it is, let the Prophecies be What they will. *Tis plain then, .f. that the Matters, related in the Gospel, do not depend for their Reality upon the Evidence of Pro* pheey i Since the Facts may be true,, though never foretold, or foretold obscurely; nay they must actually ht admitted as true; bedsore We.can enquire whether there be any Prophecy tbaisoretels,'them.. '.. :.'.
"... ♦'''Bifcep.SAw/^ on the Use and Intention of Prophecy, p.
But if this be the Case, that we must ad- s E R M. mit all the Facts of the Gospel to be true,,JJ; before we can come at the Evidence of Prophecy; what Occasion (you may ask) have we to enquire (as I did so largely in my last Discourse) after Prophecies at all? For if the Miracles of Christ be sufficient Evidence of the Truth of his Gospel j why should we trouble ourselves to know whether he was foretold or not? This is a Question that deserves to be answered: And in our Answer we allow, that Miracles, when once admitted to be true, are a compleat Evidence of the Divine Authority of him that works them. Consequently had we known no more of Christ, than that he claimed to be attended to as a Person sent and commissioned 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 Christ has not only done the Works -which none other Man did, John xv. 24. and by that means given us the fullest Evidence of a divine Commission; but he also claims to be the Messiah foretold by Moses and the Prophets. And therefore when the Woman of Samaria faid p him, John 1 2 . 1 iv.
SE RM. j^, z$, a 6. I knew that Mefstas cometh, or is i coming, which is called Christ; when he is come he will tell us all Things, Jesus faith unto her, I that Jpeak unto thee, am he. And when John the Baptist sent two of his Disciples to yesus, saying, Art thou be that should come, or look we for another? Luke vii. 19—— 23. yesus immediately convinced them that he himself was he whom they looked for, by giving them the Character of the Mejjias, as it lies in the Prophet Isaiah, and then answering that Character by several Miracles he wrought before them. And when in discoursing with the perverse and obstinate Jews, he could not convince them either by the Testimony of yohn, 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 Test 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 Moses, ye would have believed me, j or he wrote of me: But if ye believe not his Writings; how shall ye believe my Words. For as he represents Abraham as speaking on another Occasion, If they hear not Moses and the x Prophets,