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be established in the world, and nations, the learned and the rude, to be brought into subjection to it, who were the instruments employed? Were they rabbies, doctors, men of renown for philosophical knowledge and literary accomplishments ? Instead of these, a few poor fishermen are selected, and appointed to the important work-men who were regarded as the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all things. Before them, Satan fell as lightning from heaven; his kingdom tottered to its foundations. The word of God ran and was glorified. A plain sermon, preached by one of them converted thousands. They triumphed in Christ, and the savour of his knowledge was made manifest by them, in every place. But the excellency of the power was of God, and not of man.
PROVIDENCE FULFILLING PROPHECY.
Eternal Spirit! God of truth! to whom
By the term PROPHECY we mean the foretelling of future events : and this power must be communicated immediately from the omniscient God : since man was never endowed with prescience as a natural faculty. The methods adopted by Almighty God, who possesses every avenue to the human heart, were various, and diversified according to his pleasure in his intercourse with the different instruments whom he employed. Sometimes his determinations respecting the future were communicated in a Dream. It was thus that God predicted to Abram the captivity and deliverance of his posterity in Egypt. “And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram ; and lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him. And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation whom they shall serve will I judge ; and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace;
thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.”
As dreams were the ordinary communications from God, while as yet the canon of scripture was incomplete and inadequate to all the necessities of human nature, prophecy, by way of preeminence, was more frequently the subject of Visions. In the use of this term we mean to convey an idea of impressions superior to those received in dreams : and we will specify the distinction which appears to subsist between these apparently similar vehicles of sacred intercourse. Dreams took place when the man was asleep : God whispered, (so to speak) some future events to the mind, which time was to unfold. But a vision surprised the prophet when he was awake; and abstracting him from all surrounding objects, impressed upon his imagination other scenes, visionary indeed, but which absorbed all his attention. In the meantime all his senses were exercising their several functions: he spoke—he understood as at other times--only that the designs of God, passing before his imagination, swallowed up all his faculties.
But whatever modes of communication were adopted, the prediction was not affected by the method; and in every instance in which prophecy is concerned we abide by the simple definition of it which we have given—the foretelling of future events.
Let us now attend to a few instances which prove that God in his providence has fulfilled the prophecies contained in his word. And as our space is limited, we can only make a selection of those prophecies which are of the most importance relative to past events, and respecting the accomplishment of which, no reasonable doubt can remain, from the ample and convincing evidence of subsequent historical testimonies.
Wherever there is prophecy or promise in Scripture, says Dr. Cumming, we shall find God in history, watching over its perfect fulfilment. The minutest characteristics of the Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman empires were pictorially set forth in the book of Daniel, long before their corporate existence; and the evidence of God in history is the fact that Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Alexander, Pompey, Cæsar, and Constantine, all start up in brilliant succession at the moment indicated some thousand years before ; and having done the work predetermined of God, they successively sunk into the darkness, out of which, like meteors, they originally emerged.
Read the prediction respecting Ham, that his descendants, the children of Africa, will be bondsmen of bondsmen. England nobly sacrificed twenty millions of money, in order to wash her hands of the heinous crime and horrible abominations of slavery, and sent her cruisers to sweep the seas of every craft that ventured to encourage the inhuman traffic. But while God is not the author of this sin, nor man irresponsible for his crimes, slavery has grown under the attempts to extinguish it, and shot up in spite of the power of Britain, and the piercing protest of outraged humanity, the hour of its extinction not having yet come; thereby show