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Jacob.-Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come. - Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods : yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.—Behold, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought: an abomination is he that chooseth you.
It is the same still. I need not say that no religion but the Christian has ever stood on this ground. We made a similar remark in closing the argument from miracles. Other religions had professed to work occasional miracles, but no one, except the Christian, had ever been established, in the first instance, by clear miraculous operations. With regard to the palpable prediction of distinct events, the field is yet more completely void of pretenders. Neither in the origin nor the progress of any other religion has any series of predic. tions looking into futurity, been delivered or appealed to. The oracles of Paganism were petty and impotent mockeries of a prescience which they did not possess, and could not imitate. Mahometanism is unsupported by a single prediction. The apostate western church has claimed the power of miracles-rainly
indeed—but it has claimed it; but to prophecy it has never put in a pretence: and the wretched attempts of occasional enthusiasts in modern times, have only served, by their speedy discomfiture, to mark out the boundaries between human folly and divine foreknowledge.
Here, then, the Almighty proposes to every one of us the most powerful external means of conviction. All that argument can effect on the judgment of men is in vain, if the prophetical word fail to persuade. And yet, be it well remembered, it will fail to persuade, if the heart be not sincere and humble in the investigation. A certain state of mind is, as I must again and again remind you, essential to a consideration of the Christian question. In a humble and teachable spirit, the blaze of glory bursting forth from the word of prophecy penetrates and convinces the soul—the awakened heart trembles at its former obduracy—the greatness and the wisdom of God shine forth in every step of the investigation—the person and grace of the divine Redeemer are illustrated by every fulfilment of his word. But to the prejudiced and unwilling student, to the objector and the sophist, to the immoral and the proud, to the presumptuous and self-con
fident, prophecy speaks in vain. The eye will hover round the dark and obscure parts, and close its view to the bright and luminous. The prophetic word especially requires that candid temper, that simplicity which our Saviour enjoins, where he says, if thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light; which he illustrates, as I have before noted, by the example of children; and commends in the person of the guileless Natbanael; and which is mentioned, as a characteristic of the first Christian converts, under the expression of singleness of heart. They who apply themselves with such a disposition, are in that state of mind in which only they correspond with the economy of grace. In such persons the prophetic word, whether written in the scriptures, or indicated by the events of mankind, will have free course, and be glorified.
. . Let us then learn more and more of this heavenly temper. Let us look forward to that last solemn judgment, of which many of the divine prophecies are adumbrations and pledges,18 with solemn preparation, with jealous watchfulness, with holy awe; and let us anticipate those glorious triumphs-and, so far as we are able, advance and bring them on—which are to close the whole scheme of fulfilled prediction on earth, and to introduce and fall into, the unbroken peace and glory of the eternal abodes of heaven.
18 Especially the prophecies of the destruction of Jerusalem, and of the fall of the western apostacy.
THE PROPAGATION OF CHRISTIANITY.
1 Cor. i. 19-21, and 27-29.
For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of
the wise, and I will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world ? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness
of preaching to save them that believe. God hath chosen the foolish things of the world
to confound the wise ; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound things that are mighty. And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen; yea, and things that are not, to bring to nought things that are; that no flesh should glory in his presence.
Having considered the arguments for the divine authority of the Christian religion, de