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tablishment of idolatry, the principle of working by craft, meretricious splendour, and religious delusion-the energy of error"-together with the persecutions which hare characterized for so many centuries the church and bishop of Rome, expound the divine prophecies.
Such a combination of tokens, rerified before our eyes in a spiritual apostacy, which bas existed unchanged in all its characters, for nearly twelve centuries, is a proof of prophetic inspiration of the most illustrious kind; at the same time that it explains and develops the mystery of the divine providence, which the actual state of Christendom exhibits-Dar, it turns the most painful and oppressive view which the sincere Christian can take of the declension of the church, into the strongest confirmation of his faith.
Rut, I pause: for surely the combined force of these branches of the fulfident of prophecy, OTCIW be?ms the mind. Each division strength
is le rest: ter embrace Dot matters of cuTiONIT, but are subiects in which the higbest interests of revelation are concerned. Under the air bead the troneous of the Messiah, we se lhe Christan disnasadion established.
* Leru' Tier 1 Thess i..?1.
Under the second, the predictions concerning the Jewish and Christian churches, we see, so far as we have hitherto gone, the designs of God as to the progress of redemption, developed. We behold the Jewish people cast into exilethe cities and nations of the world exhibited in their connexion with the church, and the providence of God displayed in all the revolutions of empire-and the Christian church corrupted and desolated by spiritual judgments for its unfaithfulness to its privileges and advantages. But we must not stop here : let us add a reflection, as we proposed, on the
IVth and last branch of this second head, the prophecies of THE FUTURE CONVERSION OF THE WORLD, AND THE FINAL TRIUMPH OF HOLINESS AND TRUTH.
For such is the consummation to which we are encouraged to look forward. The earth is to be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. The vail is to be removed from the heart of the Jew. The anti-christian apostacies are to cease. The heathens are to be brought home to the fold of God. Jerusalem is not always to be trodden down of the Gentiles. Satan is to be cast into the lake of fire, and to be chained, and deceive the nations no more. Christ our Lord is to reign over all the nations of the earth; a long and glorious period of truth and holiness is to succeed to all the confusions and disorders of the present state of things; and, lastly, after a brief effort of evil and sin, the end is to come. Our Lord will appear to judge the quick and dead, the general resurrection will take place, the righteous and wicked be assigned to their respective portions, and the kingdom of the Mediator be delivered up to God, even the Father.
I adduce not these unaccomplished parts of prophecy, as direct supports of my argumentthe case admits not of it—they are not as yet fulfilled—but I adduce them as a strong additional presumption of the truth of all we have hitherto asserted. That such a scheme as we have developed, centering in the person of the Saviour, drawing into its current all the events of the world, marked by the exile of the former church, and by the apostacy of large portions of the present—that such a scheme, thus far so undeniably fulfilled by all the events of history, should not rest incomplete, but should look forward to a conclusion as great and glorious, as all the parts are majestic and divinethat it should stretch on to the end of all things, and not desert us till the honour of God is vindicated, the grace of Christ made triumphant, the power of darkness utterly discomfited, and the salvation of the world accomplished, is a token of a divine inspiration, which adds
force to all the preceding considerations. The very hazarding of prophecies, which reach to the consummation of all things, and which, if not of divine prescience, might be defeated and rendered incapable of fulfilment, in any passing age, is itself no mean proof of inspiration. What religion but the true, would have suspended the faith of its adherents on the successive development of prophecy, from the time of its promulgation to the last judgment?
More than this; That during eighteen hundred years, no series of historical events should have arisen in the least to contradict the succinct and anticipated scheme of the prophecies ; but that, on the contrary, the present state of the world should be obviously adapted and prepared for the fulfilment of all the remaining predictions, is a positive argument of no slight force in our favour. The Jews are still distinct from other nations. The Christian church is waiting for the destined termination of the eastern and western apostacies; which is to close her oppressions, and bring on the return of the Jews, the conversion of the nations, and the final triumph of the peaceful and holy religion of the bible throughout the world. In the mean time, the innumerable prophecies fulfilled and fulfilling before our eyes, are the pledge and assurance of the accomplishment of the remainder. The hope of this blessing sustains the church under the corruptions which prevail, and excites an expectation of the second coming of our Lord; even as the accomplishment of the predictions of the old dispensation sustained the faith of the Jewish church, as to his first advent. The prophecies also animate to many important duties, warn against the contamination of anti-christian doctrines and practices, and promote humility, prayer, and dependence upon God. With such uses attached to the unfulfilled word, and with such a long series of previous predictions accomplished, I conceive that the future parts of the divine scheme form a powerful presumption in favour of the celestial origin of the whole. In so vast a plan, it is greatly in favour of its inspiration, that it stops not at an intermediate period, nor forsakes the system unfinished, but stretches onward to an adequate and most glorious consummation. I affirm, that no mark of truth can be more palpable than the permitting, in this way, every successive age to judge of the gradual fulfilment of prophecy, by the unerring comment of facts, and thus nobly challenging all the generations of men to the investigation of its claims. This becomes the great God: it bears the impress of his majesty, his omnipotence, his wis