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modern infidels, as a test of divine truth, and divine authority. Nicodemus declared the common sentiment of the Jews, in his address to our Saviour; “We know, that thou art a teacher come from God, for no man can do
the miracles that thou dost, except God be with him.”
When Christ had raised Lazarus from the dead, and wrought many other miracles, in the presence of the multitude; “Then gathered the chief priests and the pharisees a council, and said, What do we ? for this man doth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him; and the Romans shall come,” (as Christ had prophesied,) “and take away both our place and nation.” The same Jewish council was thrown into perplexity by the miracle wrought upon the lame man, at the gate of the temple. “What shall we do to these men " said the venerable council; “for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them, is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.” 0f course, they could not deny the divine power and authority of to. and his apostles. Thus it was acknowledged, by the enemies as well as the friends of Christ,that miracles were wrought, and that they afforded an ample evidence of the truths, which they were wrought to confirm. But every page of the bible has been sup: ported by this kind of evidence. Almost innumerable have been the particular and temporary miracles, wrought for the confirmation of certain divine truths, or for the windication of particular divine claims. There are also Slumding miracles; such as the preservation of God’s antient covenant people, in all their sojournings, captivities, dispersions, and calamities; and the preservation, en. o and prosperity of the christian church, under all her persecutions and distresses. It is by a standing miracle, that we realize, in part, and anticipate more fully, the restoration of Israel to their long lost inheritance of the land of promise; together with a fulness of accession from the gentile nations, in the fulfilment of Sacred prophecy. By the same standing miracle, “The earth shall be, ultimately, filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the seas.” Thus, by miracles, the divine inspiration of the scriptures is, in the view of candid minds, unquestionably proved.
2. Another external evidence is derived from the exact fulfilment of scripture prophecies. “For the prophecy came not in old time, by the will of man; but holy men of God spake, as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” But how does this appear P It appears from the matter and circumstances of the prophecies, compared with their fulfilment. The prophecies were delivered, not with any pretence to foreknowledge; but altogether in the style of a divine revelation. “ Thus saith the Lord,” was all that the prophets pretended to know; and, in many instances, they probably understood but very imperfectly, the subjects of their own prophecies. And the things predicted, which were best understood, were, in human view, very improbable; many of them depending on the voluntary agency of people who were, as yet, unborn. Another circumstance of the scripture prophecies is, that they are exceedingly numerous; and relate to the events of all ages, and all nations. Of course, many of them must have been delivered several thousand years before their fulfilment. The most of the prophecies relate to Christ and his church; and this being the case, the fulfilment must, as we have found, de
end on thousands of miracles. . But who could foretel what it would be the will of God to do, in a way of miracles, for his redeemed church P Under all these circumstances, it is manifest, that if men have uttered none but true and correct prophecies, they “ have spoken as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” But, that hundreds of correct prophecies, respecting the incarnation, works, sufferings, exaltation and triumph of Christ; and respecting the rise, progress, sufferings, and ultimate glory of his church; as well as respecting the rise and fall of the nations and empires of the world; admits not the shadow of a doubt. For it is increasingly evident, that, as fast as events can succeed one another, all the proph: ecies are or will be fulfilled. Who but the omniscient God, could foresee the most singular events respecting Abraham and his seed P and, that from him should proceed the Messiah, who should be cut off, but not for himself? Without the spirit of prophecy, who could measure the time of the advent and sufferings of Christ? Who but God himself, could foretel the rise, character, progress, duration and downfall of papal Rome 8 And who could describe, with such exactness, the universal dispersion of the infidel Jews P and their final and glorious restoration? But, that all these things, and many more, have been foretold, in the ancient ages of the world, as i. as in the time of Christ and his apostles, cannot be
The evidence from o. of the divine inspiration of the holy scriptures, is rapidly increasing. The events of every year are a more and more clear fulfilment of ancient prophecy. The state of the Jews, for instance, is m0re and more clearly seen to be such as has been long pointed out in prophecy. They are beginning to set their faces towards Mount Zion. They begin to favor the reading of the New Testament. Individuals begin to preach àe gospel successfully, to their deluded brethren. Soon will their restoration and conversion to Christ, as clearly accomplish the prophecies, as their captivity, and dispersion. Another prophecy, remarkably fulfilling at this day, is, that God will give unto his Son the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. And how wonderful it is, that, while all the antichristian nations are passed by, and given over to their abominable idolatries; the greatest exertions are made, and successfully made, to send the missionaries of the cross, with the bible in their hands, to the most benighted heathen nations ! Do we not see another angel, an extra angel, it this day, fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to Preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people : And does there not follow yet another angel, saying, “ Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city ?” Papal Rome is evidently falling to the ground; and the heathen nations are gathering round the standard of the Redeemer. These remarkable prophecies, being now fulfilling before our eyes, affords us the clearest evidence, that they, and all the prophecies, and all the scriptures, were given by inspiration of God. To say, that such a multitude of predictions are mothing but human conjectures, is to say what no candid man can believe. For, in the common affairs of life, human conjectures are, most generally, found by experience to be groundless. If any say, that pretended prophecies are but a mere history of events, after they had . place; let them inform the world when, and by whom this history was written. We know the origin of the Alcoran; and of the books of heathen Mythology. . We know the origin of the Antiquities of Josephus, and of all other writings of any considerable notoriety. How can there be any doubt, respecting the more interesting and important writings of the prophets P These have been constantly in the hands of the Jews, read in their temple and synagogues, every sabbath day; and they have always been regarded as the true history, and the records of the nation. If these writings had been a forgery, there would certainly have been a detection; for the Jews and christians have always kept a jealous eye on each other, and have critically guarded every word and letter of the Old Testament. #the prophecies had been a forgery, how could they have been palmed on that enlightened nation ? any more than a similar forgery could now be palmed on our nation. It is certainly unreasonable to conceive, that the great . of prophecy, which has been, and now is, so strikingly fulfilled, was written as a mere history of past events. “We have,” undoubtedly, “a more sure word of prophecy, unto which we do well to take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place.” And it is evident from the scriptures, that the design of prophecy was, to establish the whole system of revealed truth. For if the prophecies of scripture are divinely inspired, so is every, other branch of scripture. For the prophecies were designed as a confirmation of the whole. We now proceed to a discussion of the internal evi
dence of this kind is various; and we may notice a number of particular arguments. 1. The holiness and purity of the doctrines and laws of the bible, afford a powerful argument of its divine original. That the whole world lieth in wickedness, is a fact so glaringly evident, that few are found to dispute it. The hearts of men are deeply corrupted and deprayed; fully set in them to do evil. Selfishness is, manifestly, the governing principle in the human heart. Where then can we look for a system of holy doctrines and laws, except to the inspiration of a holy and righteous God? In the bible, we find a system of religion and morality, perfectly pure and holy; perfectly diverse from al Jo systems, which are acknowledged to be of human invention. The basis and substance of this system is contained in two great commands, viz. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy § with all thy heart, and with all thy soul; and thy neighbor as thyself.” From whence originated these holy commands P #. counteract the feelings of every natural heart; and of course could not have been a human invention. No sinful being could ever be disposed to bind himself and others to a rule, which is the abhorrence of his heart. But, that these commands are holy, just, and good, must be acknowledged. No man of a correct and well informed conScience, can utter a cavil against them. ... “The law is holy, and the commandment is holy, and just, and good.” From whom, but God himself could such a law proceed But, as the law, which is the basis of all religion, is holy; 80 also is the gospel: so are all the doctrines of the holy scriptures, All are doctrines, which are according to godliness. Most evidently, the bible, which is holy, is given by divine inspiration. 3. The scriptures were written, either by very honest, virtuous and candid men, as appears, by the previous argument, to have been the case; or else by the vilest impostors, whose object it was to play the hypocrite. But if the scriptures are a mere forgery, it is absurd to suppose, that they were written by good men, And