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S E R M. want them for here, if they be genuine and true, i. e. if they were written by those Authorswhose Names they bear, Authors who knew the several Facts they relate, and, relate nothing but what really came to pass. And of this we have certainly as much Proof,,':as we are capable of having of any ancient Hook that now is, or ever was in the Worlds They have been acknowledged by Writers o£ all Ages quite down from the Time they were written in to Jthe present, to have been the Writings of Matthew and Mark, of Luke and of John. And these Persons are owned to have lived in the very Times, when the Things they relate, are faid to have happened j and so might be very competent Witnesses, whether they really happened or not. And indeed had the Evangelists reported Things that never happened, of otherwife than they happened ; it would have been impossible, for their Writings ever to have found any Reception in the World: For they published their Writings when the Time, that the Truth or Falshood, of the Things they speak of, must be well known to many Persons then living: And suppose that those who read their Books would themselvea remember the Facts related. And therefore
had had not the Facts been true'; .' it "would have s E R M. been in the Power of rriahy thoufands to have contradicted what was faid, from their own Knowledge: And consequently their Books, instead of meeting with Credit and Reputation, would immediately^ have been despised and rejected as m£13reatns of Liihaticks and Madmen.! :i '•"' (J '"':
'Bat lined from the very Time they first appfeared, they were received as true Accounts 6f rhV Firsts they fdat&o!; and firice they concur in: the Relatl6ri 'of the fame Facts • though the Authors of them wrotfe &t different Times,;and from different 'Places'; without consulting with one another; it is "impossible that what they writ should be any Story of their own Invention. - And since lastly, their most inveterate Adverfaries, both Jews and Gentiles, have attested thtTruth'bf th^eir principal Facts, such zs Lucian and Celjiis, Porphyry and Julian, •; etdcitus, and also their own Jofephus, who none of them wanted either Prejudice or Malice to .contradict and deny them if they could j since even such Men as these have assented to tire 'Truth of the principal Stories related of Jesus; I hope I might expect the fame Concession, even though I were speaking to Jews or' Infidels;
D 4 viz.
s E R M. Vi'z% that they would admit of the Testimony i of the Gospels, so far as Mats er of FaSi is concerned. In Confidence of which I (hall not scruple to suppose that whatever I shall confirm from the New Testament, will be sufficiently proved, and that I shall stand in need of no other Authority in relation to that which is to be the main Subject of my second Head, But as my Introdufiion to this Head has detained me too long to enter upon it now it must reserve.it/or the Subject of an entire Discourse, and conclude at present with an Argument for the 'Truth and Divine Æthority. of the Old Testament, which the Reasonings I have now used will naturally supply. ;, :,,
For it this Day appears that Jesus, Christ js set before us, not only as a Preacher of Righteousness, and as one ordained to be Judge of the World under the Confirmation of many Signs and Wonders wrought by God for this Purpose :. but also as one who has fulfilled, and verified all the ancient Prophet fies; and. shewn . that every Thing is true, which is therein foretold concerning the prcn mised and long-expected Redeemer. So that as the Jews ought to believe in Christ, be&qte foretold fy t\e. Prophets j so Christians,
ought ought to believe the Prophets, because they S E R M. so exactly foretold Christ. • • -'
For by this they appear to have been true Prophets; and if so, it will follow further, that their Writings, beyond all imaginable Contradiction, were divinely inspired. For who, but Men inspired by God, could so punctually for et el Things that so many Ages afterwards were to happen? No Man whatever, by the Strength of his own Faculties, would go about it; nor was it in the Power of any Genius or Devil to assist him. For foretelling ^Things to come is a Power which God himself declares none can exert, but he alone who is the true God $ and therefore when he mocks the Idols of the Heathens, and challengeth them to give a Proof of their Divinity.—Shew the 'Things that are to come hereafter (faith he,) that we may know that ye are Gods, Ifa. xli. 23. plainly intimating that God only certainly foreknows future Events; such especially as depend upon contingent Causes, and the Determinations of Men's free Will. If he therefore only foreknows them, it is he only can reveal them; and therefore Moses and the Prophets, who foretold the Events relating to Christ, must al} do it by Inspiration from him,
And indeed had it been otherwise, had the Books of the Old 'Testament been meer human Compositions; had they been indited by Men only, though the "wisest of Men j can we imagine that our Saviour in every Thing he either did or suffered, would have paid such a Regard and Deference to them? That he should submit to and undergo so many severe Trials and grievous Afflictions, only for the Sake of fulfilling some Saying, or answering some Character preserved in the Writings of some TVlen of old, that had happened to write many Hundreds of Years be-, fore him. And yet this we very well know* he did, and that he himself frequently declared, that it lay upon him to do so. Every Thing he did, was done, because the Scriptures had said it should be done. When he was apprehended in the Garden, Matt. xxvi. 53, 54. he could have prayed to his Father, and presently have had more than 12 Legiom of Angels: But how then (faith he) shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? And at his Crucifixion, his Coat without Seam was mt rent, John xix. 23, 24. But the Soldiers cast Lots for it, whose it should be; that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which faith, They parted my Rayment among them, and for my