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Qf tfce Prophecies and Miracles of the Prophets.
TH E False Prophets prophesy'd in the Name of Jehovah, i Kings xxii. which supposes that True Prophecies were wont to be deliver'd in his Name, or else they could never have hop'd to deceive by it. And in the Historical Books of the Old Testament, in which the Prophecies and Miracles of the Prophets are related , Reference is frequently made to the Records then extant in the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah and Israel; most of the Prophecies and Miracles being of that Publick Nature, and so intermix'd with the Affairs of State, that they must be recorded together with them.
Josiah a«was prophesy'd of by Name , Three hundred sixty one Years before the Event: Behold a child jhall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name., i Kings xiii. 2.. and this was foretold by a Prophet, who came out of Judah, purposely to denounce the Judgments of God upon the Priests of the Altar, and upon the Altar it self, which Jeroboam had newly set up at Bethel j when Jeroboam stood by the Altar to burn Incense: and his Prediction , at the fame time, was confirmed by Two Miracles j one wrought upon Jeroboam himself, by drying up his hand, which he stretched forth against the Prophet, and which, by the Prophet's Prayer, was restored again whole to him, as it was before •■, the other Miracle was wrought upon the Altar, by rending it, and pouring out the Ashes from it. And a Prophecy deliver'd in the presence and to the Face of an enrag'd Prince, against the Religion of his own setting up, to secure to himself
* Joseph. Antiq. 1. 10. c. 5.
the the Kingdom he so lately became possess'd of, at the very time when he was offering Incense upon his New Altar: And this Prophecy , confirm'd by an immediate judgment both upon the King himself, and his Altar, in the sight of so numerous an Appearance as must be present on so solemn an occasion, and these Enemies to the Prophet, who came from judab, and to his Religion \ a Prophecy thus delivers, had all the Circumstances to make it remarkable and notorious, in all the Tribes both of Israel and Judab, then at hostility with each other, that can almost be conceiv'd: . And yet the strange Death of the Prophet of Judahy for transgressing, by his own Confession, the Word of the Lord to him, and his Sepulchre, with its Title or Inscription still remaining at Bethel, when Josiabdemolish'd the Altar there, gave a farther Confirmation to it.
The Fulfilling of this Prophecy by Josiab, was no less remarkable, 2 Kings xxiii. 15. Josiab was the Son of a* very wicked King, and born at a time when the People were exceedingly corrupted by the Idolatry of his Grandfather Manases; and his Sons likewise proved wicked: so that he was so singular in his Piety, and so wonderful an Example of it, that no Man of his own Age could have imagin'd that of him, which had been foretold so many hundred Years ago. In all humane appearance, this was a very unlikely time to see that Prophecy fulfill'd •, and that which had been wonderful in any Age, was much more wonderful in ■this: and in so wicked an.Age, this good King set about the Work of Reformation very young, to shew that it was not of Men, but of God. The Prophet Ahijab , who had prophesy'd , that Jeroboam should be King of the Ten Tribes (1 Kings xi. 31.) foretold likewise the Death of Jeroboam's Son, the Destruction of his Family , and the Captivity of those Tribes by the Assyrians, (i Kings xiv. 10.)
The Deliverance of Judah, ait Jehojhapbat's Prayer, was foretold by Jahaziel, in the midst or the Congregation ; and was accomplished accordingly, by their Enemies destroying one another, 2 Chron. xx.
Eltiah foretold, that the Dogs should lick Ahab\ Blood in Jezjred-, where they had lick'd the Blood of Naboth: which, as b Jofephtu fays, was objected by Zedecbiah, one of the False Prophets, against Micaiahy who foretold, that Abab should be slain at Ramoth-gilead \ but he was brought home in his Chariot from Ramoth-gilead to Samaria, and there the Dogs lick'd his. Blood in Jez.reel, 1 Kings xxii. 38. so that both the Prophecy of Elijah and Micaiah was fulfill'd.' And when one Prophet seems contrary to another, one foretelling the principal thing, and another some accidental circumstance, which those that were present , and most concern'd in the Action , could not imagine, till it happen'd ; and False Prophets, in the mean time, watch the Events, to take all Advantages from it, against the True Prophets, and can find none : nothing more can be desired, to assure us of the Truth of any Prophecy. The fame Prophet foretold the like Judgment upon Jezebel, and that the House of Abab should be like the House of Jeroboam, and like the House of Baajha •■, the Destruction of both which had been foretold by other Prophets, and their Prophecies fulfill'd, as this of Elijahs also was.
Elijah, by a Writing sent to Jehoram King of J«-dahy foretold his Death, and the strange manner of it, viz.. That after the Loss of his Children, and his Wives, and all his Goods, he should be afflicted in his Bowels, and that his Bowels should fall out by degrees, 2 Chron. xxi. 12. The fame Prophet not only foretold the Death of Ahauah, but caus'd Fire twice to come down from Heaven, upon those who were sent to apprehend him, 2 Kings i. And at his Prayer,
k Joseph. Antiq. 1. 8. c. 10.
Fire descended from Heaven, and consumed the Sacrifice, in the fight of Baal's Prophets, being Four hundred and fifty ', to whom Elijah, who was the only Prophet of the Lord there present, had made this Proposal, "the God that answer eth by fire, let him he Cods And when Baal, notwithstanding all their hideous Cries, and the cutting themselves, did not hear them •, then, upon Elijah's Prayer, the fire of the Lord fell-, and consumed the burnt-sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench, i Kings xviii. 38. which was the fame Miracle, repeated in the midst of Idolaters who were so provoked and enraged against the Prophet Elijah , that had been before wrought in the fight of the People of Israel, in the time of Moses, Lev. ix. 24. and of David, 1 Chron. xxi. 25. and at the Dedication of Solomon's Temple, 2 Chron. vii. 1. c Aud this Miracle of Elijah, in bringing down Fire from Heaven, to consume the Sacrifice, and that of Moses in like manner, were both confess'd to be true, by Julian the Apost ate himself.
The miraculous Cure of Naamans Leprofie, must be notorious throughout the Kingdoms both of Syria and Israel, 2 Kings v. The wonderful Deliverance of the Israelites, when the Syrians heard a Noise of Horses and Chariots, and therefore rais'd the Siege of Samaria, and the Plenty which follow'd, was foretold by Elifha, with a Judgment upon that Lord who doubted of the Truth of his Prediction. The fame Prophet foretold the Death of Benhadad King of Syria , and that he should neither recover of his Sickness , nor die a Natural Death. And the Reign of Hnuiel, who succeeded him, is describM in such true and dreadful Characters , that HatAtl thought it impossible for him to be guilty of so much Cruelty, 2 Kings vii, viii.
• Cyril, contra Julian. 1.10. p. 343* Edit. Lips.
The Leprofie inflicted upon Vz.z.iah, for presuming to burn Incense unto-the Lord , which it was lawful for the Priests only to do, was a permanent^ Miracle j for his Leprofie continued till his Death ; and for that reason, he liv'd separately, and his Son, from that time, had the Administration of Affairs, 2 Kings xv. 5. and this Miracle of the Leprofie was d accompanied with a terrible Earthquake, mentibn'd Zech. xiv. 5. Amos i. 1. and the ' Ruins which were caus'd by the Earthquake, remain'd as a perpetual Memorial of the Judgment.
An Hundred fourscore and five thousand of the Assyrians were slain by an Angel of the Lord , in one Night, 2 Kings xix. 35. and this Deliverance was •foretold by Isaiah, when the Assyrians were in the Height of their Pride and Blasphemy, and the People of Judah in "the Extremity of Danger and Despair, Isai- xxxvii. It happening likewise, that this Invasion of the Ajsyrian Army was in the Year of Jubilee* the Enemy had ravaged and consum'd the. Corn of the last Year, and by the Law concerning the Years of Jubilee, the Jews were commanded not to sow in those Years, (Lev. xxv. 11.) so that there was a miraculous Provision promised, and accordingly made them , of Two Years Sustenance, without their own Care or Labour, 2 Kings xix. 29. At the Prayer of Isaiah, the Sun went back ten Degrees, for aSign to King Hez.ekiah of his Recovery: and the Princes of Babylon-feat Embassadors to enquire of this Wonder, 2 Kings xx. 11. 2 Chron. xxxii. 31.
It was impossible there should be any Mistake in Miracles of this nature, which have the fame Evidence that those of Moses himself had, having the joint Testimony of a whole People to prove the Truth of them.
* Hieron. in Esai. c. vii. & in Zech. c. xiv.
* Joseph. Antiq. 1. 9. c. 11.