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the Substance of their Religion for vain- Traditions, and superstitious Observances. They referr'd themselves to these Prophets for the Authority of their Religion, and acknowledg'd, that they had neither Prophecies nor'Miracles after the Captivity. For during the Captivity in Babylon, the false Prophets had lost all Reputation with the'People, who found themselves so miserably disappointed in the deluding Hopes, which those Prophets, that set themselves in opposition to Jeremiah and Ez.ekiel, had given them. Those Prophets became a Curse and a Proverb of Reproach among the Jews, as Jeremiah had foretold, Jer. xxi.v. 22. And from that time, false Prophetts never could gain Esteem enough, to vent their Prophecies, if they attempted it.
Of the Dependence of the several Parts of the Scriptures upon each other •, and that the Old Tefament proves the New,, and the Few again proves the Old, as the Cause and the EffeB.
IT is a thing altogether incredible, that the Inhabitants of so small a part of the World as Judæa is, should lay a Design of imposing upon the rest of Mankind, which could prove so successful for so many thousand Years together; and that they should be such Masters of Deceit, and the World so fond of receiving Revelations from them, that at last, though the greatest part of that People disclaim'd the Books, which some few, and those the most unlearned among them, would impose for Inspired Writings •, yet the Authority of these Books ihould be more acknowledg'd in all Parts of the World, than those had ever keen, in which they all unanimously agreed, and the
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rest should be receiv'd for the sake of these , more than ever they had been upon their own account: which is the cafe of the Books of the Old and New Testament. If the Jews (even the meanest aud most ignorant of them) could do this merely by their own Wit and Device, they must have a Genius superiour to that of all Mankind besides. For what imaginable Reason is there, why the Oracles of all the Heathen Nations should never be much regarded, and now, in a manner, Utterly lost, and that the Books of the Jews should still be preserv'd in their full Authority i but the Power and Advantage of Truth in these, and the want of it in them?
And the Evidence of this Truth is most observable, in the mutual Dependence which all the Parts of the Scriptures have one upon another. They were pen'd by Men of different Countries, different Ages, different Conditions and Callings and Interests, from the King to the poor Fisherman } and yet all carry on the same Design': They are not like the Oracles of the Heathen Gods, which must stand or fall by themselves •, but there is an admirable Series and Connexion between all the Writings of the Holy Scriptures, by which the several Parts of them give a mutual Support and Attestation to each other. The Pentateuch of Moses contains the first Lineaments, and evident Types and Prophecies of all that Is contain'd in the. rest: He foretold , That a Succession of Prophets should arise, and that at last the Great Prophet should be sent, who is Christ; and he foretold all that was to befal the Jews, from his own time, to the Destruction of Jerusalem. A nd as Moses has given us the general State of the Jews, for all Generations \ so the several Prophets, who were sent from time to time, according to his Predictions, foretold particular Events, and more especially they foretold an4 'described the Times of the Gospel. This was the great Design of ajl Prophecies, aud the thing that God bad spoken by
the Prophets, which have been since the world began, Luke i. 70. For in Christ: was the Accomplishment of all the Types and Prophecies in the Old Testament.
And this Dependence and Coherence between all the Parts of the Scriptures, in the Matter and Design of them, which is as great as the Dependence of one Part of any Book written by the fame Author, can be upon another, gives great Strength and Confirmation to the Whole; since it is an Evidence, that it was all Inspired by the same Infallible Spirit \ and if one Part of Scripture be prov'd to be true, all must be so: for besides the particular Evidence which may be brought for any Part separately, we must consider the Connexion which it has with the rest, and the Evidence which is deriv'd upon it by this Connexion. If the Pentateuch be once prov'd to be of Divine Authority, then the Prophets who succeeded Moses must be Divinely Inspired j because he foretold the Succession of such Prophets: And if the Prophecies and Miracles of the Prophets were Divine, the Pentateuch must be so} because they all along acknowledg'd and appeal'd to it, as containing God's Covenant with his People the Jews, aud being therefore the Ground and Foundation of their own Mission. If Moses and the Prophets be from God, the Gospel must be from him, if that be foretold by them: And if the Prophecies and Miracles of our Saviour and his Disciples prove their Divine Authority, the Writings of Moses and the Prophets must be likewise of the fame Authority j because they acknowledge them for such, and prove their own Authority from them, as well as from the Miracles that they themselves wrought. And if the Prophecies and Miracles either of Moses or of the Prophets, or of our Saviour and his Apostles, taken by themselves, and apart from the rest, be sufficient, they must needs be more convincing, when they are consider'd together, in their united Force and Light.
I might farther observe, That Miracles without Prophecies, or Prophecies without Miracles, or that one evident Miracle, or one evident Prophecy; at least, That either the Miracles or Prophecies of some one Person in the several Ages in which so many Prophets liv'd, would have been a sufficient Ground of Faith, and that therefore they must all be much rather so in conjunction: But I shall only desire it may be remember'd , That whatever Evidence has been brought in Proof of the Divine Authority of the Books of Moses, and of the Prophets, doth reciprocally prove both the one and the other j and that therefore whatever is brought from either of them, in Proof of the Gospel, has the Evidence of the whole } and that the Gospel in different respects doth prove them, and is proved by them, both deriving Authority from the Books of the Old Testament, and communicating its own Authority to them: For as the Cause may be proved by its Effect, and the Effect by its Cause } so both Predictions prove the Things foretold j and the Accomplishment of the Things foretold, verifie the Predictions , and Miracles wrought in consequence of Prophecies concerning them, have doubly the Divine Seal and Attestation. Now, the Mejfias is the Scope and Centre of the whole Old Testament, as the Jews themselves ever understood it •, and whatever Testimony is produced from thence, brings with it the Evidence of the whole: And a like Evidence is again reflected upon the whole Old Testament, by the Accomplishment of any part of it in the New, and by the Appeal which our Saviour and his Apostles constantly made to it.
THat in the Reign of Tiberius, there liv'd such a Person as Jefttt Christ, who suffer'd 1 under Pentitu Pilate, is exprefly written by Tacitm \ and that he cur'd Diseases, and wrought other Miracles, was never denied by the worst Enemies to the Christian Name and Doctrine. So that the Substance of the History of the Life and Death of our Saviour, is acknowledge by our very Adversaries, and the Power, by which he wrought his Miracles, is the thing which was in dispute between them and the Primitive Christians. And therefore I shall take the Observations which I make concerning our Blessed Saviour, from that account which the Evangelists give of him, which is in great part confess'd by the Jews and Heathens, and which deserves at least the fame Credit that all other Histories do, till it can be disproved , and in the following Chapters I shall shew, that it is infallibly true.
The Divine Nature of our Blessed Saviour is of anr other Consideration: We are in this place to consider him, according to the Appearance he made in the World: And this was such as fhew'd him to be void of all ambitious and aspiring Thoughts, and to be meek and humble, and perfectly vertaous and holy i his Miracles were wrought without Vanity and Ostentation, and never out of Revenge, or to shew his Power over his Enemies, but always with a gracious and merciful Design: He avoided all Opportunities of Popularity •,
« Vulgus Christianos appellabac. Austor nominis ejus Christus, fluf, Tiberio imperante, per procuracorem Pontium Pilaturn supplicio affestus crat. Tacit. Annas, 1.15. c. 44; ,
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