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pletion may not improperly be dated from the rime God, in the abundance of his mercy and love for his fallen creatures, condescended to offer them terms of salvation from Mount Sinai*} and yet it is not to be fulfilled until the day of judgment. Of the same kind is the Prophecy of Moses and other Prophets, of the coming of Christ to redeem the world, which began to be fulfilled at his birth; and which yet will not be fulfilled, until the militant state of his Church shall end, if before he shall judge the world. So the completion of the Prophecy respecting the independence of the Arabians commenced 2000 years before Christ, when the twelve sons of Chus, the descendant of Ishmael, emigrated and settled in Arabia; and yet it is not completed, but is fulfilling at this day. Of the same nature is the prediction of the dispersion of the Jews, the completion of which began when Titus destroyed the City and Temple of Jerusalem; and yet it is not in all its branches fulfilled, nor will be, in all probability, until the reign of Christ upon earth. And so the rise of the Church of Rome foretold by St. Johnf, began its completion in the year 606, when the Bishop of Rome was constituted Pope;% and although it has been progressively fulfilling during the last twelve centuries yet it was not completely fulfilled until the year 1798, when the French General Berthier conquered Rome, and sent the Pope into captivity; and perhaps not even then. Now, it is easily perceived, that each of those great Prophecies, to use the expressions of Lord Bacon, t( has its springing and germinant accomplis hments" as naturally growing out of them (as the branches of a tree or a vine germinates from the original stock) continually rising, growing, and fulfilling, in different and , uccessive ages, until the principal Prophecy shall be
• Exod- xix. xx. 19, 20. f J,
\ See the preceding Dissertation.
completely fulfilled, according to God's appointment, in the course of his righteous providence. To illustrate this truth by only one example. In the great Prophecy of the mission of Christ to redeem the world the following relative events are included and predicted: His miraculous birth of a virgin, foretold by Isaiah*, The manner of his death and crucifixion, and the place of it, foretold by Zechariahf. His merciful and unceasing pastoral care over his church, in the twofold characters of a shepherd and husbandman, by the same%. The triumph of his Church over the heathen world, foretold by the Evangelist St. John§. The declension of the Church into schisms, by the same||. The dreadful judgments of God inflicted on the Church on account of its departure from the true faith, through the means of the barbarian nations^; the Reformation**; the rise of Mohamedff and of the PopeJ|; the rise of Atheistical France^; of the Grand Confederacy, or Babylon The Great|||1; of the reign of Christ in the MilleniumKU, and of God and Magog***; by the same. Now all these different events appeitain, relate to, and grow out of, the great Prophecy of the mission and office of the Messiah, delivered by God Himself to Moses at Mount Sinai; and all of them, except the three last, have been in a manner already fulfilled; and all and every of them have therefore produced their internal evidence: amounting to the greatest of all moral demonstrations of the truth of Prophecy. Here then is wisdom! What a wonderful plan is here for unfolding, renewing, and perpetuating the knowledge of the Attributes of the Ever-livIng, SELF-EXISTING, and OMNIPOTENT God, to his
* Chap. vii. 14.—t xiii. 6.—\ xiii. 5.—§ Rev. vi. 2, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17.—1| vii. 17.—f viii. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13-—** ix. per totum.—ft xii. per totum.—\\ xiii. first ten verses.—xiii. from 10 Io tbe end of the chapter.—1||| xvi. 13, 14, 13,16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21.—fU xx. 1, 2,. 3, .4, 5, 6.—"* Ibid. viii. 9,10, 11,12, 13.
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fallen creature man! Where could it be contrived, but in the counsels of infinite wisdom! The evidence is forcible, irresistible, and conclusive: evidence that surpasses that of all other truths, whether physical or moral! Evidence so conclusive, that its power to convince admits of no increase! so full and completely demonstrative, that one instance has the force of ever so many! so durable that it runs through all ages ! so constant and unremitting, that it is in every age, and at all times, presented to our senses, and within the compass of our comprehension. And evidence to which Christ himself appeals for the truth of his mission and doctrines! And are we to wait for this evidence until all the Prophecies shall be fulfilled, when it would be nugatory and useless? Has a God of infinite wisdom and goodness offered terms of salvation to his fallen creatures, and yet withheld from them unequivocal, and the most perfect evidence, external as well as internal of his perfections, and of his ability to fulfil his covenants with them? No! It is impossible! Let us not then entertain a notion so absurd, so derogatory from his glory, and unbounded love to his creatures, as to believe, that he has not given to his Churches, and through them to mankind, the fullest and most perfect evidence of all that was necessary for them to know, respecting his attributes and perfection ; and of the duty he expects from them. For he has solemnly declared, that " he hath no pleasure in the death of the wicked;" and to show that he has left them without any excuse, emphatically asks them, "Why will ye die, O House of Israel!*" I say, let us reject the notion so incau? tiously adopted, and so unworthy of a God of Lovefr and which tends to undermine the very foundation of the Gospel of his blessed Sen.
I have said this much to remove this mischievous ob
* Ezek. xxxiii. 11. f 1 John iv. 8. lfr
jection out of my way; and shall now return to the Apocalypse,'which I have endeavoured to prove in the following argument, has brought with it, during the last 1500 years, full and perfect internal evidence of its divine authenticity itself, ratified and confirmed by God Himself, in the course of his Dominion and Providence over the world, by the great and wonderful events foretold and particularly described in it, and by their yet more wonderful accomplishments; accomplishments attested by the most faithful historians, contemporary with the events themselves.
To prove this important truth; to silence all cavil respecting that Holy book; to wipe ofF all that slander with which it has, for ages past been clouded and darkened; to restore it to the rank it originally held in the Gospel of Christ; and to bring it forward into the pulpit as well as the closet, is the sole aim of the following argument; the scope of which is to demonstrate what are indeed almost self-evident propositions; — 1st, That no man has a knowledge of the events, whicli are to come to pass in the course of the supreme spiritual government and providence of God, over the -world. 2d, That this prescience of events, is the peculiar attribute of God only. And 3d, That the Apocalypse did foretell, and particularly delineate, events U come, after it was known and published 10 the world, in the course of that Providence; and therefore it follows that it is a book of the Most High Authority, proceeding from the holy Spirit of God, through Christ to his beloved Apostle John.
ATHEIST and INFIDEL, Sc.
Proposition l.«—A knowledge of events, whether past, present, or to come, is necessary to enable a man to describe and communicate right ideas of those events.
Proposition 2.—But such is the limited nature of the intellectual faculties of man, that his knowledge of external objects is confined to things and events which have previously existed.
CONCLUSION OR INFERENCE.
Therefore it is impossible that man can describe and communicate right ideas of events which have never existed, by the natural agency of his intellectual powers.
The first Proposition requires no demonstration; because, as that attainment of the human mind, called knowledge, consists in perceiving