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Prophesy. Or how can any one think, that Isaiah should say so many great and wonderful Things of a Prophet, who was, in all Refpects, inferior to himself? What was there so stupendous in the Birth of Jeremiah, as should make Isaiah cry out here, Who shall declare his Generation ? This can agree only to the eternal Generation of our bleffed Lord. How are we healed by Jeremiah's Stripes? And what Prophet was ever made a vicarious Punishment, for the Sins of the People?
Nor will the Exposition of some other modern Jous, who apply this Prophesy to the Jewish Nation, be of more Validity. For how should the Prophet ever come to describe that refractory People, who were always lo stubborn under their Afiations, by a Lamb that openeth not his Month? When that Nation was fo often reproved by the Prophers, for their enormous Sins. How could they be said to have done no Violence, neither to have any Deceit in their Mouth? How could the Jews, who were God's People, be said to be stricken for the Transgressions of God's People? This is to make the fame Jesus to be both Innocent and Transgressors, to suffer and not to suffer at the same Time; which is such horrible Nonsense, as is not to be endured.
Phil. I confess I am more puzzled with this Chapter, than any
other Place I know of; and when I am more at Leisure, I will give it a more attentive Consideration than I have hitherto done. And now, Sir, will you be pleased to proceed to some other Prediction.
Cred. Next, Sir, I desire you would reflect upon that wonderful Prophesy contained in the II. VII. VIII. and
IX. Chapters of Daniel. I pray you attentively to conin Daniel's Prophesies sider, how evidently he sets forth the four great Monarof Christ. chies of the World : First, By the Interpretation of
Nebuchadnezzar's Dream, Chap. II. And then again,
The Monarchies and Weeks
plainly set down, Dan. viii. 21 ? Or that, upon the first King of Grecia's Death, several Kingdoms Thould arise out of his Conquests? v. 21. What should move him to say, That in the latter Time of their Kingdom (i. e. of the Grecian Monarchy) when the Transgressors are come to the full, a King of fierce Countenance, and understanding dark Sentences, shall stand up; and his Porver shall be mighty, but not by his own Power, and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper and practice, and shall destroy the mighty, and the holy People. And through his Policy he shall canjè Craft 10 prosper in his Hand, and he shall magnify himself in his Heart, and by Peace ball destroy many; he shall stand up against the Prince of Princes, but he Mall be broken without Hand, &c. Dan. viii. 23. Which is a perfect Descrip, tion of the Power, the Pride, and Craft of King Antiochus, one of the Seleucida; as also of his unmerciful Cruelty to the holy People, or the Jews, and of his remarkable Death, as you may find them recorded in the Books of the Maccabees, and in Josephus. But this is not all; for after the Prophet has been foretelling of the Succesfions of these four earthly Monarchies, he begins to tell of the heavenly or spiritual Kingdom of Christ. Anda in the Days of these Kings Mall the God of Heaven set up a Kingdom, which shall never be destroyed, and the Kingdom Shall not be left to other. People, but it all break in Pieces, and consume all these Kingdoms; and it fall stand for ever, Forasmuch as thou savest, that the Stone was cut out of the Mountain without Hands, and that it brake in Pieces the
Iron, the Clay, the Brass, &c. Dan. ii. 44. And when in the VII Chap. he speaks of the fame Monarchies under the Representation of Beasts, he says: As concerning the rest of the Beasts they had their Dominion taken avay, yet their Lives were prolonged for a Season and a Time. I saw in the Night Visions, and behold one like the Son of Man came with the Clouds of Heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him: And there was given him Dominion, and Glory, and a Kingdom, that all people, Nations, and Languages should serve him : His Dominion is an cyerlasting Dominion, which shall not pass away, and his
Kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. And again, The Saints of the most High fhall take the Kingdom, and possess the Kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. Now what greater Evidence can be required of the Truth of the Christian Religion, then that so many hundred Years before, it should be predicted, That, in the Time of the fourth of these great Monarchies, or the Roman Empire, the Kingdom of the Son of Man, or Jesus Christ, should be established, which should continue for ever? It is very wonderful that Daniel, who lived in so early an Age, should foretell, so exactly, not only the Diffolution of the great Empire he then lived under, but of several others that succeeded upon it; and should give such a particular Description of King Antiochus, and his barbas rous Usage of the Jews, as looks more like a History than a Prophesy. But it improves our Faith to a Sort of Demonstration, to find this holy Prophet, fo many Ages before, foretelling the Success of the Christian Religion, and the Kingdom of Christ enduring for ever. If we suppose, with you Deifts, that all this was a rambling Guess; yer how could Daniel guess at a thing which he cannot be supposed to have thought of ? One could hardly suppose that a Man, who lived under the Power and Grandeur of one of the Eastern Monarchies, could ever think it should be destroyed by a King of Grecia a poor inconsiderable Spot of Ground in respect of their vast Dominions, and, at the Time when Daniel lived, very little known at Babylon? But it is inconceivable, how it should enter into Daniel's Thoughts, to talk of a spiritual Kingdom of Saints, orgood Men; and this at a Time, when the Minds of the Jews were set only upon a temporal Kingdom, upon returning Home again, and being victorious and glorious in their own Country. How came he to guess that there should be a Person called the Son of Man, that this person should have Dominion and Glory given him by God? That this Person was to have a Kingdom, and that Kingdom to be of Saints, and thofe Saints of all Nations and Languages, and their Kingdom to continue to the End of the World too? After this
Rate, one may write a History, as well as a Prophesy, by Guess. In short, the great Porphyry was so confounded by the surprising Exa&ness of this Prophesy, in relation to the four Monarchies, and the Cruelties of Antiochus, that he was forced to assert, That the Author of the Book of Daniel lived after Antiochus's Time. And I wonder why some of you Deifts (to tread in your Master's Steps) don't as well affert, that he lived since Constantine, when the Empire became Christian : For the Prophesy is altogether as exact, about the Kingdom of Christ, as about either of the Monarchies. Nay, if we were at this Day to contrive an hieroglyphical Description of the Prevalency of Christ's Kingdom over the Powers of this World, and the Fall of the Pagan Empires by the Progrefs of Christianity; how could one better express it, than by Daniel's Stone cut out of the Mountain without Hands, which brake in Pieces the Images, which represented the four Empires? What could be more strong and powerful, than those vast Monarchies? And yet the strongest of them, viz. that of Rome, that had subdued and proudly stood upon the Ruins of all the rest, and laid out all its Force, and Power, and Policy, against the Christian Religion, was never able to prevail against it. For, notwithstanding this, This Stone cut ont of the Mountain without Hands, the Religion of Christ that was founded
upon no human Art nor Policy, a plain Institution, without any artificial Finery, propagated only by a few unlearned Fishermen, allisted by the Power of God, destroyed all the Pagan Worship throughout the Roman Empire, brake down their Images, demolished their Temples, and banished their Gods, and never ceafed till it had perfectly broken in Pieces this great and gaudy Image, and had substituted, in lieu of it, the fpiritual Kingdom of Christ, which must endure to the End of the World.
This is a wonderful Prediction, and the more we consider it, the more we must adınire it; and that also which follows concerning the Time of the Death of the Meffias, is not only the Subject of our Admiracion, but likewise
a great Confirmation of our Faith. After threescore and two Weeks, the Messias sball be cut off, but not for himSelf; and the Pcople of the Prince that fall come, shall destroy the City and the Sanctuary, and the End thereof shall be with a Flood, and unto the end of the War Desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the Covenant with
many for one Week, and in the midst of the Week be shall cause the Sacrifice and the Oblation to cease; and, for the overSpreading of Abominations, he shall make it defolate, even untill the Confummation, and that determined shall be poured out nepon the Desolate, Dan. ix. 26, 27. Now if by these 62 Weeks, and the 7 mentioned before, which make up in all 69 Weeks, (fully to be compleat before the great 70th Week, v. 24. wherein these remarkable Things are to happen) I say, if by these we are to understand Weeks of Years, as it must in some Places of Scripture *, that is, 69 times 7 Years, or 474. Years, reckoning from the Time of this Prophefy to the preaching of Christ, the Time will come very near to the Account of our ordinary Chronology; and, perhaps, if the Reigns of the Persian Kings, and some other Particulars in History, were well adjusted, this prophetical Computation would exactly agree even with the Time of Christ's Death. But it has pleased the wise Providence of God, to suffer thefe Matters to lie in fome Manner of Confusion, that our Faith might be founded upon a nobler Principle than that of Chronological Niceties : But yet the Prophesy, if attentively considered, carries as much Weight with it, as if it agreed with the Chronological Tables to a day. Here are predicted so many of the principal Adions in the Life of Christ, as to their exact Time, and other Particularities, that, after all the Subterfuges and Shifts which can be made, they can be attributed only to the all-knowing Spirit of God, that, so many Ages before, revealed them to this Prophet.
* Vid. Ez. Cap. iv. Rev. xii. 6. xiii. 5. and particularly, Gen. xxix. 27. Fulfil her Weeks, (i. e.) her Seven Years, Levit. xxix. 27. Thou Swalt number Seven Sabbaths, or Weeks, of Years unto thee.