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the Old and New Testament in their Hands: And yet these very Men, after comparing things together, did assent to the Truth of the Apostles Reasoning, and became Converts to Christianity.
In a Word, if the Jews understood the Prophesies of the Old Testament in their plain and literal Sense, and the Apostles, in their Address to them, applied them.in a Sense that was myjlical and enigmatical, we cannot see how they could ever have made one Proselyte -, being in the fame Condition with what St.,<Paul describes, when he tells us, i that he, that speaketb in an unknown ^tongue (and why not he, that ipeaketh in an unknown Meaning) Jpeaheth to the Air, and becometh a Barbarian to him, that heareth, but underftandeth not. So that, every "Jew, converted to the Christian Faith, is to • us an implicit Proof of the Apostles applying the ancient Prophesies in a Sense, that was then current and familiar to them. A Sum- -And now to look back on what has mary of been said on this Argument. If real and vholc. true Miracles can be perform'd only by God, or by Persons delegated and commistion'd by him; and our blessed Sa-< viour, who was sent to institute a new
'i Cor. xiv. j, 10.
Religion, was, in the Nature of Things, required to lhew his Credentials by "working Miracles: If Miracles, thus "wrought, are a more positive and immediate Indication of a divine Concurrence, than either the Completion of ancient Prophesies, or the cPredi$'wn of future Events can possibly be: If neither the Words of St. Peter, concerning the more Jure Word of Prophesy, nor the Words of Abraham in the Parable, concerning the standing Revelation of Moses and the 'Prophets, need ib to be interpreted, as to impair the Worth and Authority of Miracles: If neither St. Paul, in his Defence before Felix and jQgrippa, nor St. Peter, in his Discourse before Cornelius, nor any other of the Apostles, in their endeavours to gain Converts, making constant Use and Application of the Prophesies, to prove Jesus to be the Christ, and Christianity a divine Institution, have exalted them above measure: then will the Evidence of Miracles, upon the Comparison, appear to be superior, though the Evidence of Prophesies, it must be own'd, is a very good collateral Proof; especially when applied to the Person or Event, they are to denote, in their natural and most obvious Signification.
S E C T. V.
Of the right /Application of some controverted Prophesies.
The ob- " T3UT why should' you talk of
jection. « J"^ the natural> and most obvious
"Sense of Prophesies, when the Mat"ter of Fact is directly against you: K a for look but into Matthew (one E"vangelist for all) and he will tell you, "that Jesus was carried into Egypt, "from whence he returned, after the "Death of Herod, b 'That it might be "fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord "by the Prophet,saying, Out Of Egypt "Have I Called MY Son; which Words *' are no where to be found, but in the "Prophet Hojea, and yet, according to "their plain and obvious Sense, they "are no Prophesy, but relate to a past "Action, viz. the conducting the Chili "dren of Israelout of the Land of Egypt* u Again, the fame Evangelist, fpeak"ing of John the Bapttfi, calls him u c the Elias, that was to come; wherein
'Vid. Grounds and Reasons. 'Matt. ii. ij. •Matt* xi. ix.
"he is supposed to refer to these Words "of Make hi, d Behold, I will fend you "ETtjah the Trofhet, before the coming cc of the great and terrible Day of the <c Lord; which, according to their lite"ral Sense, are a Prophesy of Elijah's "coming in Person, and could be ful<c filled in John the Baptist, no other"wise, than in a mystical. Again, in "the same Evangelist we find Jesus : citing this Prophesy of Isaiah, e By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and assuring us, that, in "his time, it was fulfilled, in those, to "" whom he spake in Parables; though "it is certain, that, according to the "primary Sense, it relates to the obsti"nate Jews only, who lived in the "time of Ifmah. Once more, the fame "Evangelist, after having given an * Account of the Conception of the "Virgin Mary, and of the Birth of *' Jesus, fays, that s all. this was done, "that it might be fulfilled, which was il Jpokeu by the Qrophet, faying, Behold "a Virgin shall be with Child, and shall li bring forth a Son, and they shall call "his Name Immanuel; but the u Words, g as they stand in Isaiah (from "whom they are supposed to be taG i. "ken)
. *MaI. iv. J. *Matt. xiii. 34, 35. f Mm.J. it, 13. * isa. vii, 14".
"ken) do, in their obvious and literal "Sense, relate to a young Woman in the "Days of Ahaz, King of Judah; as "appears both by the Context and "Reason of the Thing, and can no "otherwise, than in a typical and my"stical Sense, be applied to the Birth "of Jesus. In fine, most of the Pro-" phefies, cited from the Old Testa"ment, by the Authors of the Neivf "do so plainly relate, in their obvious "and primary Sense, to other Mat"ters, than those, which they are pro"duced to prove j that, even that re"markable Passage in the Pentateuch, "h A Prophet will the Lord God raise "up unto thee, like untome, to him shall "ye hearken, is supposed, by learned "Men,not to denotes one ip particular, "but to a Succession of Prophets; and "that famous Prophesy of Daniel, urg'd "'by Christ, as foretelling the Destru"ction of "Jerusalem, has been thought "to relate to that Event only, in a se"condary Sense. Answer That there are several Texts in the tmg*L Old Testament, relating to a particular several Person, who was to make an extraorKtndir of binary Figure in the World, no one can fy,°ase" doubt, who has read of k the blessed Seed
some are nf
*Deut. Kviii. ij, i8. 'Matt, xxm *Gen. xxviii. 14.