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that the revelation is from him. Now, what I desire of you is, to sit down, and consult upon some such means of doing this, as would strike your mind with the strongest conviction, obviate all your doubts, and give you the fullest confirmation of the Divine original of such a revelation. When you are come to a point, consider the credentials of christianity; and see whether you can find what you yourself would demand, and what you suppose most likely to give you satisfaction.
Would you expect from such a revelation a reasonable account of our first original? Look into the mosaic history of the creation; and there you will find, how the world, and how yourself, originally sprang from the Divine Fiat, and in what manner we are the offspring of God.
Would you expect a narrative of such circumstances of God's dispensations towards us from the beginning, as would be correspondent with our constant experience and observation? The same history will inform you of those irregular affections, and vitiated appetites and passions, which every man finds in himself; and which have brought such destruction and misery upon the world, in all its successive periods, since Adam's fall.
Would you expect, that there should be early intimations of the method of our recovery from the state of sin and guilt, which we had brought ourselves into by apostasy? You will there also find the gracious promise, that the Seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head, and deliver us from the deadly effects of his malicious temptation.
Would you desire to find a particular prediction of the promised Saviour, by whom we are to obtain a redemption; his lineage and descent; the time, place,
and manner of his birth; the circumstances of his life, death, and resurrection; a particular description of the nature, the subjects, and the continual progress of his kingdom? Read the prophecies of the Old Testament; and read the history in the New; and you will find such a correspondence and agreement, as will afford you matter of fullest satisfaction, that they are both from God.
Would you expect, that there should be some means to keep the promised Saviour in the continued view of God's people, before his actual and personal manifestation, and to keep alive their faith and hope in him? What were all their sacrifices, their legal purifications, their priesthood, and all their long train of rites and ceremonies, but institutions purposely adapted to that end?
Would you expect repeated and renewed testimonies from heaven, to the professing people of God, that their religion was from him; and that their faith and hope, excited by these typical institutions, were built upon a sure foundation? Such were the miracles frequently wrought among them, the manifestation of the Divine presence in the Shechinah, their Urim and Thummim, their frequent oracles, their succession of prophets, whose predictions respecting the jews themselves, and the nations round about them, were continually fulfilled and fulfilling before their eyes; and the accomplishment of many of them is apparently open and visible to us also.
Would you suppose, that near the predicted time of the Saviour's appearance, not only the jewish nation, but all others that were acquainted with their sacred books, would live in raised expectations of this great and wonderful event? You will find in the Gospels; in Josephus, De Bell. Jud. lib. vii. cap. 31; Tacitus,
Hist. cap. 13; and Suetonius, in Vita Vespas. cap. 4, that this was the case in fact.
Would you expect, that when the Saviour did appear, he would, by the holiness and beneficence of his life, and by numerous open and uncontested miracles, give such attestation to his Divine mission, as would be sufficient evidence, that he was indeed the Messiah so frequently predicted, and so earnestly expected? Do not the sacred historians answer your highest expectations in this respect? In them you find, that the dead were raised, the sick healed, the maimed restored to the use of their limbs, the sight of the blind recovered, the deaf brought to their hearing, the lepers cleansed, the demons ejected; and, in a word, that the whole time of his ministry was a continued succession of the most beneficent and astonishing miracles-miracles as surprising in their nature as their number, such as vastly exceeded the power of all created beings; and were therefore the strongest testimony from heaven, that this Saviour most certainly was what he professed himself to be.
Would you expect, that this Saviour should verify his Divine mission, to future times, by prophecies of succeeding events? Do not the evangelists afford you many instances of such predictions, which have been clearly and fully accomplished? In these historians you will find, how he foretold the treason of Judas, the shameful fall of Peter, with the flight of all his disciples, in that gloomy, dreadful night, when the Shepherd was smitten, and the sheep scattered.-In these you will find, how he foretold the time and manner of his own death, the term of his continuance in the grave, with his glorious resurrection and ascension. You will there also find him foretelling the mission, Divine inspiration, miraculous powers, and
glorious success of his apostles, and their fellowlabourers in the gospel ministry. These historians do likewise set before you his particular prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem, and the abolition of the temple, with the prodigies which preceded, the tribulation which accompanied, and the dispersion of the jewish nation which followed that amazing desolation. And does it not surprise you to find, from Josephus, that the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, and the twenty-first chapter of Luke, are more like a history than a prophecy of that dreadful event? If you should yet further expect some predictions from him, that extend to the present times, and are now visibly accomplished before your eyes, has he not foretold, and do you not find it true, that Jerusalem shall continue to be trodden down of the gentiles, until the time of the gentiles be fulfilled?
Would you expect, that when this Messiah, according to the prophecies concerning him, was cut off, he should declare himself the Son of God with power, by his resurrection from the dead? And has it not appeared true, that no precaution, by sealing his tomb and setting a guard over it, could prevent his triumph over the grave; and was it not proved also by his appearing to great numbers of his disciples; and frequently and familiarly conversing with some of them, for forty days together; and, finally, ascending up to heaven before their eyes?
Would you expect, that his disciples, who were eye and ear-witnesses of his life, death, resurrection, and ascension, and could not possibly be deceived in facts so open to all their senses, should, at their peril, preach this Saviour to the world; and continually undergo a life of painful travel and fatigue, po verty and reproach, opposition and persecution, to
propagate his gospel; and that they would finally sacrifice their lives in the cause, and seal their doctrine with their blood? This they have done, and it is impossible that more could be done to raise their truth and sincerity above all suspicion.
Would you expect, that these disciples should be extraordinarily and peculiarly qualified for their great work; and sent forth to the nations with sufficient credentials, to confirm their testimony and make their doctrines credible? What greater qualification can you suppose needful in such a case, than for a number of unlearned men to be instantaneously endued with an intimate and familiar acquaintance with all sorts of languages; and capable constantly and familiarly to converse with every nation in their own proper speech; and with the greatest propriety to write, and transmit to posterity, the history and religion of their Lord and Master, in a foreign language which they had never learned? Can you, sir, possibly imagine a greater and brighter display of the immediate agency and omnipotent power of the glorious Author of our beings, than thus at once to enlarge the mind, and furnish it with such an amazing extent of knowledge, while God himself bore them witness, with signs and wonders, and with diverse miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
Suppose you should see some unlearned rustics, with whom you are acquainted, pretending to a new revelation; and confirming their pretences, by speaking familiarly all the languages of Europe; by healing the sick and decrepid with a word; raising the dead to life, and striking men dead by a word; revealing the secrets of other men's hearts; communicating these and such like powers to others by the imposition of their hands; and declaring to you, that