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long before the Coming of Christ
, were so ufual among the Jews; and the common Places, where he was predicted in the Old Testament, were so obvious to all, and so universally explained in the fame Manner; that it was impossible they should have prevaricated in this Matter, if they would. All Parties were agreed in these Things; neither Christ, nor his Apostles, find fault with the Jews for their Explications, nor do the Jews blame them for their Citation of Texts, in the sense their Church had explained them. The Jews at that Time never had the Hardness to dispute, whether those Texes were Predictions of the Messias ? but whether those Characters did agree to Christ or no? for the other Matters were incontrovertibly allow'd, till the modern Fews, and the other incredulous, have put the Christians upon the Proof of them. Phil. But still
, my good Catechift, you must bring fome more evident Prophefies of Christ, than these you have alleged, or else, notwithstanding all the Pains you have laid out upon me, I Mall remain in the Depth of Infidelity still. These Predictions you have already been discoursing of, are clear but to fome dull Talmudical Brains, and are proper only to convince the musty Rummagers among the Rabbins, who are wont to take every Thing for a rare Argument, which they find in an old Hebrew Book. If these. Passages are Prophesies of Christ, they are such slender Glances by the By, as People who have not a great deal of Credulity beforehand, will hardly be convinced by. Let us fee, I pray then, fomething more directly prophetick, and which may not look fo like
a poetical Ramble of Thoughts, as most of these do. Prophesy of Cred. It is impossible I should have Time to shew you, the Call of how all the Prophesis, which lie every where scattered the Gentiles Terified in
in the Old Testament, do exactly agree and con-center Chrift.
in our blessed Saviour; for that would require a longer Time, than You and I have Patience to talk together, and you may at your leisure see them made out at large in Commentators upon the Bible, and in the Writings of other learned Defenders of the Christian Faith. I thall
only only pick out two or three of the most remarkable Predictions, and urge them home against the Unbelievers.
And first, I Thall begin with che famous foretelling of the Calling of the Gentiles
, and God's manifesting the true Religion to them. Every one that understands any thing of the History of the Jerus, knows how great an Aversa tion they bore to the Heat hen Nations, and what dreadful Judgments their Prophets, even with a seeming Spirit of Joy, denounce against Edom and Ægypt, &c. and yet'tis plain, that these very Prophets, in the same Breath almost, in which they are foretelling these horrid Punishments which would befall those People, frequently fall into a Strain of predi&ing the greatest Blessings upon them ; foretelling, That, in a while, they should be a People as dear to God as the Fevs themselves, and That they should have the true Religion, which they had been so long Strangers to, planted among them. The very Way of predicting such blessed Everits" to hoftile Nations, is very astonishing, and without Precedent; but that these should exactly be compleated, according to the Prediction, is perfectly miraculous. Suppose thirty or forry bigotted Divines of the Romish Church, that had lived in different Times and Places within these 150 Years last past, since the preaching of Luther, should, after having faid Abundance of hard Things against the Protestants, say, That, notwithstanding all this, these hated Protestants should be, in a little While, God's pe culiar Favourites ; That the present Form of the Romish Church should be perfectly destroyed, and the Protef tants be all in all; and if there shall be any Sticklers for the present Roman Church, that they should be hated and perfecured by God, and dispersed over the Face of the whole Earth : And then supposing this should come to pass in the next Generation, exactly as these Men had foretold in all the particular Circumstances; who would not allow, that these Men had foretold these Matters by
the Afiftance of a fupernatural Power ; or that God had We predicted the Downfal of Anti-christ's Kingdom, by the Lips of his own Priests; tho at the fame Time it was their
Desire and Interest to support it? I don't, by this, make any Comparison between the Church of the Jews, and the Church of Rome, in relation to Errors; but only I fay, the Jewish Prophets had as much Aversion to their Heathen Enemies, as the Popis Priests have to us Pretestants, and therefore could be supposed to prophesy nothing in their Favour; and, there being so many of them of different Times and Places, that all prophesy of the fame Event, therefore it could not be a random Guess, which might chance to come to pass: And their Intereft being so much engaged in the Welfare of their own Church, they could never be supposed, unless by the particular Interposirion of God, to harbour a Though of the Alteration, much less of the Dissolution of it. But yet, notwithstanding all this, we see nothing is so common among all the Prophets, as the Predictions of the Call of the Gentiles, and those other Events which ensued upon it. This is the constant Theme of all the Prophets, down from Mofes to Malachi. I will move them to Jealousy with those that are not a People, and will provoke them to Anger with a foolish Nation, says God, Deut. xxxii. 21. That is, the Jews shall after a time be no longer God's peculiar Favourites ; and that formerly beloved Nation, Ihall with Envy and Grief behold Narions, which God heretofore seemed to slight, taken into his particular Love and Favour. Time fall be, says holy David, when all the Ends of the World fall remem ber and turn unto the Lord; and all the Kindreds of the Nations shall worship before him, Pfal. xxii, 27. The whole Book of Isaiah is full of the Predictions of this particular Thing. It Mall come to pass (says he) in the Last Days, that the Mountain of the Lord's House fball be established in the Top of the Mountains, and shall be exalted above the Hills, and all Nations shall flow unto it, &c. Ifa
. ii. v. 2 and 3. Arise, soine for thy Light is come, and the Glory of the Lord is risen upon thee; and the Gentiles fball come to thy Light, and Kings to the Brightness of thy Rifing
, Ifa. lx. v. 12. 3. I was fought of them that asked not for me, &c. Ifa. lxy. I. Sing, O Barren, for more are the Child dren of the desolate than of the married Wife, faish the Lords Ifa. liv. '1. And more particularly, Chap. xix. 21. The Lord fball be known in Ægypt, and the Ægyptians shall serve the Lord. And in the 44th Chapter, God promises to give a Saviour or Messias, both to Jews and Gentiles, To raise up the Tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a Light to the Gentiles, that thon mayest be my Salvation to the End of the Earth. And in the 420 Chap. speaking of the Messias, God faith, Behold my Servant whom I uphold, &c. I the Lord have called thee in Righteousness, &c. I will give thee for a Covenant of the People, for a Light of the Gentiles, to open the blind Eyes, &c. And he users in this Matter, as if he was saying the most incredible Thing in the World. Behold, new Things I declare, before they spring forth I will tell you of them, &c. and then he says, he will bring the Blind by the way he knew not ; as before, that the Isles shall wait for God's Law, v. 4. And so the other Prophets, In that Day, faith the Lord, I will assemble her that halteth, &c. Mic. iy. 5, 6. And the Lord shall be King over all the Earth, and in that Day Shall there be one Lord, and his Name one, Zach. xiv. 8. From the rising of the Sun, unto the going down of the fame, my Name shall be great among the Gentiles, and in every placé Incensé Mall be offered to my Name, and a pure Offering for my Name shall be great among the Heathen, faith the Lord of Hofts, Mal. i. II. Now, I pray you, was ever any Thing more plainly predicted than the Manifestation of the true Religion to the Gentiles, and that by so many Men who lived in such different Ages? If they had lived at one Time, they might have been said to have completed together ; but for so many Writers, so many Ages diftant from each other, all to predio che fame Thing, and that so unlikely an one to come to pass, as the Call of the Gentiles ; nay, and this thing too to happen exactly as they foretold it; this does unexceptionably shew, That it was owing only to the eternal Fore-knowledge of God, who was pleased to reveal the secret Workings of his
Providence to the Prophets, so many Ages before it was displayed.
Phil. Bur it may be, this Predictions as you call it, was only a lucky Guess which chanced to come to pass,
as, once in a hundred Times, such a thing may happen. Call of the Cred. But then how came so many different Men, at Gentiles no such different Times, all to light upon the same Guess ?
Men whofe Prediction only consists in guessing, guess Guess of the Pro
only at something that is probable to happen; as that phets. there shall be Frost or Snow in January, and hot Wea
ther in July; but no one would ever guess of walking over the Thames in Summer. Nor would it be less extravagant for a few, two thousand Years ago, to have guelled at the Call of the Gentiles. For how could it ever come into such an one's Head to think, That the prophane Heathen Nations, which he had been taught from his Cradle to have such an Abhorrence of, many of which God Almighty had folemnly cursed, and which they were commanded, to the utmoft of their Power, to destroy; to think, That these execrable Nations should ever become God's Favourites and People; or, That ever those many countries would condescend, to receive a Religion from the Fews, who were so hated and despised by all the World? These were such strange Things, tho’ they did really come to pass, that could never enter into any one's Thoughts, to imagine before-hand; and there fore could be revealed only by the prophetick Spirit of God.
Pbil. What is your next Prediction? Glory of the - Cred Why, I think it is a remarkable Prediction of recond
the Prophet Haggain ii. 7. That Christ should come, Temple, Hag. ii. 7:
during the second Temple. For by the second Temple a Prophesy the Jews understood the Administration of Ecclesiastical of Chrifi. Affairs after the Captivity, and not the bare Walls of Ze
rubbabel's Temple ; for tho' Herod the Great in his Time, rebuilt the Temple in a more splendid manner, it was counted the second Temple ftil), in Opposition to that more famous Oeconomy of Ecclefiaftical Matters, which flourished whilst the first Temple was standing. Now