« AnteriorContinuar »
which my Father hath given me to finish, the fame Works that I do, bear Witness of me, that I am the Messias, or, which
is all one, that my Father bath fént me. A Padige St. Peter indeed, speaking of our in 2 Pet. Saviour's Transfiguration on the Mount, xii. 19.
and the miraculous Voice from Heaven declaring him to be the Son of God,
seems to give the Preference to the Evi· dence of Prophecy, above any other Me
thod of Conviction, y We have also a more Jure Word of Prophecy, says he, whereunto. ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a Light that Mineth in a dark Place, until the Day Dawn, and the Day Star arise in your Hearts. But, whatever the Sense of the Words may be, 'tis obvious ? that the Apostle never intended to give the Evidence of Prophecy a Superiority to all the other Proofs, we have for the Truth of the Gospel ; because he not only compares it to a Light shining in dark Places, but tells us expressly, that it is so far from being the best, that we are to expect a better, being to attend to it no longer, than until the Day Dawn, and the Day Star arise in our Hearts : which is a plain Argument that the Apostle never looked upon the Word of Prophecy as the best support of the Chri.
ftian 2 Pet. xii. 19. ? Vid. The Use and Intent of Prophecy.
ftian Faith ; for then instead of limiting the time for our attending to it, he would have recommended it to our conftant Study and Meditation, as long as Life and Thought remain'd.
To find out the true Sense and Meaning of the Words then, we must obferye, that the Design of this second Epistle of St. Peter was to support the Hopes and Expectations, which he had raised in the firft. In the first he had given the Christians, to whom he wrote, (then in a State of févere Trial and Perfecution,) Assurance of a speedy Deliverance, a of a Salvation ready to be re. vealed, and of that Honour and great Glory, which their Afflictions would yield them b at the appearing of Jefus Chrift; and, to justify this Afsurance, he reminds them of that Glory and Powe er, which Christ, the Author and Fżnilber of their Faith, had already received, and wherewith he would return, to effect their Rescue and Deliverance. This is the main Point, whereon St. Peter, in his first Epiftle, has placed the Hopes and Expectations of true Belie. vers; and, to the fame purpose, he tells them in the second, We have not followed cunningly devised Fables, when we made known unto you the Power and
F4 Coming • 1 Pet. i. 5. Ver. 7. 2 set. i. 16.
Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. But, because the coming of Christ was a future Event, and depended entirely (as to any Knowledge that could be had of it) upon the Authority of Prophesy ; he therefore refers them, in d both his Epistles, not only to the antient Prophets, but to the inspired Preachers of the Gospel, in order to justify the Hopes he had raised; bidding them be mindful of the Words, which were spoken before of the Holy Prophets, and of the Commandments of the Apostles of the Lord and Saviour, or (as it is in the former Epistle) of them, who have preached the Gospel unto you, with the Holy Ghoft fent down from Heaven.
The Power and Coming of Christ then being the only Point in Question, the Apoftle, to evince that, produces his own Experience; that he had been an Eye-witness of his Majesty, and of that Honour and Glory, which he receiv’d, when there came a Voice to him from the excellent Glory, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. But, because seeing Christ in Glory and Majesty on the Mount, did not necessarily infer his returning in the same manner to deliver his Servants, the Apostles, to convince us that he will so come, and so use his
dou the power an Point in Quroduces his
Power, tells us farther, that we have also a more fure Word of Prophecy, i. e. we have the very Word of God (speaking by his Prophets) to whom all Futu. rity is known, to assure us of the Certainty of this future Event. So that, if, according to this Interpretation, the Word of Prophecy relates only to the Coming of Christ, here is no Pretence to say, that Prophecy is a better Argument for the Truth of the Gospel, than all the Miracles of Christ and his Apoftles ; because the Truth of the Gospel is not the point here in Question : And yet, if by this Word of Prophecy we are to understand, not merely the Prophesies of the Old Testament, but those of the New likewise (as it seems highly probable by St. Peter's appealing, not only to the ancient Prophets, but also to the Preachers of the Gospel) this, of all others, is a most unhappy Text, for such as are minded to set up ancient Prophecy in Opposition to Gospel-Evidence; since the Prophecy, here intend. ed, 'is probably it self a Gospel-Evidence, and so far from being superior to all the Miracles of Christ and his ApoAles, that it owes all his Authority to them.
: Vid. The Use and Iptent of Prophecy.
And ano- In the Parable of the rich Man and
; Lazarus, f the rich Man is represented Luke xvi. La 27, Esc. as being in Torments, and defiring of explain'd Abraham to send Lazarus, who is faid and fer right.
to be in his Bofom, to his Father's House, . to convert his surviving Brethren ; whereupon Abraham tells him, They have Moses and the Prophets, let them bear them : Nay, replied the rich Man, but if one went to them from the Dead, they will repent. To which the Patria arch rejoins, If they hear pot Mofes and the Prophets, neither will they be perfuaded, though one rose from the Dead. But, besides that there is no ftrict arguing from Parables, where fo many Circumstances are ornamental, and thrown in purely to beautify the Narration ; the whole Design of the conclusive Words in this, is, to fhew the sufficiency of a ftanding Revelation, and the probable Unsuccessfulness of any extraordinary Means to effect the Conversion of those who have been long habituated to their Sins. But what has this to do with the Evidences of the Gospel, or the pretended Supe riority of Prophecy above Miracles, to confirm the Truth of a Divine Revelation ? A Man, that is wedded to his Lufts, and intoxicated with Pleasures,
may * Luke xvi. 27, Egco