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in their accounts of the Messiah, differed only in point of time, the one foretelling what should happen to him, and the other describing those very particulars as what had actually happened. This our Saviour himself was pleased to make use of as the strongest argument of his being the promised Messiah, and without it would hardly have reconciled his Disciples to the ignominy of his death, as in that remarkable passage which nentions his conversation with the two Disciples, on the day of his resurrectionSt. Luke xxiv. 13. to the end.
VI. The heathen converts after haying travelled through all human learn. ing, and fortified their minds with the knowledge of arts and sciences, were particularly qualified to examine these prophecies with great care and impartiality, and without prejudice or prepossession. If the Jews on the one side put an unnacural interpretation on these prophecies, to evade the force of them in their controversies with the Christians; or if the Christians on the other fide over-strained several passages in their applications of them, as it often happens among men of the best understanding, when their minds
are heated with any consideration that bears a more than ordinary weight with it : The learned heathens may be looked upon as neuters in the matter, when all these prophecies were new to them, and their education had left the interpretation of them free and indifferent. Befides these learned men among the primitive Christians, knew how the Jews, who had preceded our Saviour, interpreted these predictions, and the several marks by which they acknowledged the Mefiah would be discovered, and how those of the Jewish Doctors who succeeded him, had deviated from the interpretations and doctrines of their forefathers, on purpose to stifle their own conviction.
VII. This set of arguments had therefore an invincible force with those Pagan Philosophers who became Christians, as we find in most of their writings. They could not disbelieve our Saviour's history, which so exactly agreed with every thing that had been written of him many ages before his birth, nor doubt of those circumstances being fulfilled in him, which could not be true of any person that lived in the world besides
himself. This wrought the greatest confufion in the unbelieving Jews, and the greatest conviction in the Gentiles, who every where speak with astonishment of the fé truths they met with in this new magazine of learning which was opened to them, and carry the point so far as to think whatever excellent doctrine they had met with among Pagan writers, had been stole from their conversation with the Jews, or from the perufal of these writings, which they had in their custody.
SE C T I.
Of God, and his Attributesi
Temperat boris :
IMONIDES being ask'd
by Dionysius the tyrant what S
God was, desired a day's time to consider of it before he waded but the more out of his depth ; and that he lost himself in the thought, instead of finding an end of it.
made his reply. When the day was expired, he desired two days ;, and afterwards, instead of returning his answer, demanded still double the time to consider of it. This great poet and philosopher, the more he contemplated the nature of the Deity, found that he E 5
If we consider the idea which wife men, by the light of reafon, have framed of the Divine Being, it amounts to this : That he has in him all the perfection of a spiritual nature ; and since we have no notion of any kind of spiritual perfection but what we discover in our own fouls, we join Infinitude to each kind of these perfections, and what is a faculty in an human soul, becomes an attribute in God. We exist in place and time, the Divine Being fills the immensity of space with his presence, and inhabits eternity. We are poffeffed of a little power and a little knowledge, the Divine Being is Almighty and Omniscient. In short, by adding Infinity to any kind of perfection we enjoy, and by joining all these different kinds of perfections in one Being, we form our Idea of the great Sovereign of nature.
Though every one who thinks must have made this observation, I shall
produce Mr. Locke's authority to the same purpose, out of his essay on human understanding. If we examine the Idea