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in the world, as we are given to expect, the prophecy is verified. Take then this prophecy in what sense soever it may be literally expounded; there is nothing in it that gives the least countenance to the judicial pretence from the words.
84. The second collection of promises which is insisted upon, is of those which intimate the destruction of idolatry and false worship in the world, with the abundance of the knowledge of the Lord taking away all diversity in religion that shall be in the days of the Messiah. Such is that of Jer. xxxi, 34; “They shall teach no more every man his neighbor," &c. Zeph. iii, 9; “I will turn to the people a pure “language, that they may call on the name of the “Lord, to serve him with one consent.” Zech. xiv, 9; “And the Lord shall be king over all the earth,” &c. But for the present we see, say they, the contrary prevailing in the world. Idolatry is still continued; diversities of religion abound; nor can the Jews and Christians agree in this very matter about the Messiah; all which make it evident, that he who is promised to put an end to this state of things, is not yet come. We answer,
1. That these things are not spoken absolutely but comparatively; namely, that in those days there shall be such a plentiful effusion of the spirit of wisdom and grace, as shall cause the true saving knowledge of God to be more easily obtained, and much more plentifully to abound, than it did in the time of the law; when the people, by an hard yoke, and insupportable burden of carnal ordinances, were but obscurely, and with difficulty, instructed in some part of the knowledge of God. And that the words are thus to be interpreted, the many promises that are given concerning the instruction of the church, in the days of the Messiah, and his own office of being the great prophet of the church, which the Jews acknowledge, do undeniably evince.
2. That the terms of all people and nations are necessarily to be understood as before explained, for many nations, those in an especial manner in whom the church of Christ is concerned; neither can any one place be produced, where an absolute universality is intended.
3. That the season of the accomplishment of these and the like predictions is not limited to the day or year of the Messiah's coming, as the Jews, amongst other impossible fictions, imagine; but extends itself to the whole duration of the kingdom of the Messiah, as hath been shewed before.
4. That God sometimes is said to do that, for the effecting of which he maketh provision of outward means, though as to some persons and times they may be frustrated of their effect, or genuine tendency, which the Jews not only acknowledge, but also con tend for in other cases.
$5. These things being supposed, we may quickly see what was the event, as to those promises, upon the coming of the true and only Messiah; for,
1. It is known to all, and not denied by those with whom we have to do, that at the coming of Jesus of Nazareth, setting aside that knowledge and worship of God which was in Judea, a little corner of the earth, and that also, by their own confession, then horribly defiled and profaned, the whole world was utterly ignorant of the true God, and engaged in the worship of idols and devils from time immemorial,
2. Although the Jews had taken great pains, and compassed sea and land, to make proselytes, yet they were very few, and those very obscure persons, whom, they could at any time, or in any place, prevail with to receive the knowledge, or give up themselves to the worship of the God of Israel; but of converting people or nations to his obedience, they never entertained the least hopes.
3. It is manifest to all the world, that upon the coming of Jesus, and by virtue of his gospel, all the old idolatry of the world was destroyed; and that the whole fabric of superstition, which Satan had been so many ages engaged in erecting, was cast to the ground, and those gods of the earth, which the nations worshipped, utterly famished. Hence it is come to pass at this day, that no people or nations under heaven continue to worship those dunghill gods, which the old empires of the world adored as their deities, and in whose service they waged war against the God of Israel, and his people. And had it not been for Jesus Christ and his gospel, the true God had been, most probably, no more owned in the Gentile world, at this day, than he was at his coming in the flesh; and yet these poor blinded creatures can see no glory in him, nor in his ministry.
4. The Lord Jesus Christ, by his Spirit and word, did not only destroy idolatry and false worship in the world, but also brought the greatest and most potent nations of it to the knowledge of God; so that, in comparison of what was past, "it covered the earth as “the waters cover the seas."
5. The way whereby this knowledge and worship of the true God was dispersed over the face of the earth, spreading itself like an inundation of saving waters over the world, was, by such a secret energy of the Spirit of Christ, accompanying his word and the ministration of it, that it wholly differed from the operose, burdensome, and, for the most part, ineffectual
way of teaching, which was used by the priests, Levites, and scribes of old; there being much more of the efficacy of grace, than of the pains of the teachers, seen in the effects produced, according to the words of promise, Jer. xxxi, 34.
6. In this diffusion of the knowledge of God, there was way made for the union, and joint consent in worship, of those that should receive it. For the partition wall between Jews and Gentiles was removed, and an holy and plain way of spiritual worship was prescribed to all that should embrace the law of the Messiah.
7. Notwithstanding all that hath been already accomplished; yet there is still room and time remaining for the farther accomplishment of these predictions; so that before the close of the kingdom of the Messiah, not one tittle of them shall fall to the ground. And thus also the open event, known to all the world, manifests the due and full accomplishment of these promises, making it unquestionable, that the Messiah is long since come, and hath fulfilled the long-designed work.
$6. Neither are the exceptions of the Jews of any force to invalidate our application of these promises. We have shewed already, that these and the like predictions are to have a gradual accomplishment, not all at once, in every place. It is sufficient, that there is an everlasting foundation laid for the destruction of all false worship, which having had a conspicuous and glorious effect in the most eminent nations of the world, sufficient to answer the intention of the prophecy, shall yet farther, in the appointed seasons, root out the remainder of all superstition and apostasy from God. For what concerns Christians themselves, it cannot be denied, but that many who are so called have corrupted themselves, and contracted the guilt of that horrible iniquity which they charge upon them. But this being the crime of some certain persons,
and not of the professors of Christianity at large, ought not to be objected to them. And I desire to know, by what means the Jews suppose that themselves and the nations of the world shall be kept from idolatry and false worship in the days of the Messiah? If it be, because their Messiah shall give such a perfect law, and such full instructions concerning the mind and will of God, that all men may clearly know their duty; we say, that this is already done in the highest degree of perfection conceivable. But what if, notwithstanding this, men will follow their own vain reasonings and imaginations, and fall from the rule of their obedience into will-worship and superstition, what remedy have they provided against such backsliding? If they say, they have none but only an endeavor to press upon them their duty to the words and institutions of God; we reply, that we have the same, and do make use of it to the saine important end. If they shall say, that their Messiah will kill them, or slay them with the sword; we confess, that ours is not of that mind; and we desire them to take heed, lest, in the room of the holy, humble, merciful King, promised to the Church, they look for a bloody tyrant, that shall exercise force over the minds of men, and execute his unhallowed revenge on those whom he likes not. And with respect to the multitude of sects, which every where spring up, we reply, that as all agree in the worship of the God of Israel, by Jesus Christ the „Messiah, which contains the sum of their religion; so, their profession itself is not to be measured by the doctrines and conceptions of some amongst the,m but