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with circumstances that had all the marks of superstition, and which seemed designed and fitted to strike the imagination. The earth of his tomb was often employed, or the water from the well of his house Nine days' devotion was constantly used, and frequently repeated again and again by the same persons: 7. All the cures recorded by Montgeron as duly attested, were partial and gradual, and were such as might have been effected by natural means. Not one of them was instantaneous. The persons at the Abbé's tomb never attempted to raise the dead, nor is there any evidence that either the blind or the deaf were actually cured there. The notary, who received affidavits relative to those miracles, was not obliged to know the names of the persons who made them, nor whether they gave in their own or only fictitious names: -8. The cures wrought at the tomb were not independent of second causes; most of the devotees had been using medicines before, and continued to use them during their applications to the supposed saint; or their distempers had abated before they determined to solicit his help :-9. Some of the cures attested were incomplete, and the relief granted in others was only temporary: but the cures wrought by Christ and his apostles were complete and permanent:-10. Lastly, the design of the miracles ascribed to the Abbé de Paris was neither important nor was it worthy of God. The miracles of Christ and of his apostles, as we have already seen, were intended to prove the divine authority of the most excellent religion: those reported of the Abbé, to answer the purposes of a party. The former answered the end for which they were designed: the latter raised a prejudice against Jansenism, and divided its adherents, several of whom were provoked at the frauds of their party, and bitterly reproached and accused each other. The moment the civil power interfered to put an end to the impostures, they ceased but all the powers on earth, both civil and sacerdotal, could not arrest the progress of Christianity, or put a stop to the wonderful works wrought in confirmation of it. To conclude, with regard to the attestations given to Christianity, all was wise, consistent, worthy of God, and suited to the end for which it was designed: but the other is a broken incoherent scheme, which cannot be reconciled to itself, nor made to consist with the wisdom and harmony of the divine proceedings. The miracles of Christ therefore are indisputably true; but those ascribed to the Abbé de Paris are totally destitute of reality, and are utterly unworthy of belief.1

1 Campbell on Miracles, pp. 181-203. Vernet, Traité de la Verité de la Relig. Chrét. tom. vi. pp. 63-135. Leland's View of the Deistical Writers, vol. i. pp. 319-335. 4th edit. Bp. Douglas's Criterion, pp. 122-233; in pp. 233–236. he has some observations on the pretended miracles of the French prophets.

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I. Prophecy defined. The highest evidence that can be given of divine revelation.II. Difference between the pretended predictions of the heathen oracles and the prophecies contained in the Scriptures. III. On the use and intent of Prophecy. IV. On the Chain of Prophecy. Classification of the Scripture prophecies. - CLASS I. Prophecies relating to the Jewish nation in particular. Abraham.-2. Ishmael.-3. Settlement of the Israelites in Canaan. 4. Predictions of Moses relative to the sufferings, captivities, and present state of the Jews. 5. Birth of Josiah foretold, and his destruction of idolatry.-6. Isaiah's prediction of the utter subversion of idolatry among the Jews. — 7. Jeremiah's prediction of Zedekiah's captivity and death.-8. Ezekiel's prediction of the calamities of the Jews, inflicted by the Chaldeans.-9. Daniel's prediction of the profanation of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes, &c.-10. Hosea's prediction of the present state of the Jews. CLASS II. Prophecies relating to the nations or empires that were neighbouring to the Jews.-1. Tyre.-2. Egypt.-3. Ethiopia.-4. Nineveh.-5. Babylon.-6. The four great monarchies.-CLASS III. Prophecies directly announcing the Messiah; their number, variety, and minute circumstantiality.-1. That the Messiah was to come. 2. The time. -3. The place of his coming.-4. His birth and manner of life and doctrine. 5. His sufferings and death. 6. His resurrection and ascension.-7. The abolition of the Jewish covenant by that of the Gospel. - The certainty with which these prophecies can only be applied to Christ.

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CLASS IV. Prophecies delivered by Jesus Christ and his Apostles.-1. Prophecies of Christ concerning his death and resurrection, the descent of the Holy Spirit, the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple, and the spread of Christianity. — Refutation of objections drawn from its rejection by Jews and Gentiles, and from the existence and prevalence of Mohammedism.-2. Prophecies of the apostles concerning the corruptions of the Gospel by the church of Rome, and the spread of infidelity.-V. Refutation of objections from the alleged obscurity of prophecy. Concluding observations on the evidence afforded by prophecy.

I. THE various criteria and considerations which have been stated in the preceding section, will enable the impartial inquirer to distinguish between true and false miracles. We add that it is equally easy to distinguish between true and false prophecies; for PROPHECY is a miracle of knowledge, a declaration, or description, or representation of something future, beyond the power of human sagacity to discern or to calculate, and it is the highest evidence that can be given of supernatural communion with the Deity, and of the truth of a revelation from God.

VOL. 1.


The knowledge of future events is that object, which man, with the greatest desire, has the least ability to attain. By tracing cause and effect in their usual operations, by observing human characters, and by marking present tendencies, he may form some plausible conjectures about the future: and an experienced politician, who is thoroughly acquainted with the circumstances, interests, and tempers both of his own community and of those who are his neighbours, will frequently anticipate events with a sagacity and success, which bears some resemblance to direct prescience, and excites the astonishment of less penetrating minds. Still, however, he is limited to a kind of contact with present circumstances. That which he foresees must have some connection with what he actually beholds, or some dependence on it: otherwise his inquiries are vain, and his conjectures idle and delusive; and even within those narrow limits, how often is his penetration baffled, and his wisdom deceived! The slightest intrusion of uncommon circumstances, the smallest possible deviation from rules, which cannot by any means be rendered exact, destroys the visionary chain which he has constructed, and exposes his ignorance to himself and others. The prescience of the most experienced politician, in short, bears a close resemblance to that of an experienced general or a skilful chess player. Judging how he himself, were he in his adversary's place, would act in consequence of one of his own movements, he builds upon his adversary's acting in the same manner, when placed in the same circumstances; and thence, on the presumption of his thus acting, he provides against what he foresees must be the result of it; anticipating in this manner the final winding up of the affair, even when he is at a considerable distance from its termination. Prescience, then, of the present description, will extend just so far as the principle upon which it is built. But the deducing of effects from a combination of causes can never be carried forward to any very remote period: because new causes, which themselves again must be combined, will perpetually spring up; and consequently, as those new causes are as yet unknown, no human sagacity can deduce events from such causes.

To foresee and foretel future events is a miracle of which the testimony remains in itself. It is a miracle, because to foresee and foretel future events, to which no change of circumstances leads, no train of probabilities points, is as much beyond the ability of human agents, as to cure diseases with a word, or even to raise the dead, which may properly be termed miracles of power. That actions of the latter kind were ever performed, can be proved, at a distant period, only by witnesses, against whose testimony cavils may be raised, or causes for doubt advanced: but the man, who reads a prophecy and perceives the corresponding event, is himself the witness of the miracle; he sees that thus it is, and that thus by human means it could not possibly have been. A prophecy yet unfulfilled is a miracle at present incomplete; and these, if numerous, may be considered as the seeds of future conviction, ready to grow up and bear their fruit, the corresponding facts shall be exhibited on the theatre of


the world. So admirably has this sort of evidence been contrived by the wisdom of God, that, in proportion as the lapse of ages might seem to weaken the argument derived from miracles long since performed, that very lapse serves only to strengthen the argument derived from the completion of prophecy.

If the books of the Old and New Testament be genuine and authentic, that is, were written by the persons to whom they are ascribed, and at or about the times when they profess to have been written, (and these points have already been proved to demonstration,) the very numerous predictions which they contain must necessarily be divine. For they are a regular chain, extending almost from the beginning to the end of time: and many of them relate to events so distant, so contingent, and so apparently improbable, that no human foresight could ever anticipate them. Some relate to dates and circumstances that require the most exact accomplishment, and some are fulfilling to the present time, and before our eyes: so that, though this kind of evidence might be rendered doubtful or suspicious, yet it is daily ac cumulating and gathering strength as it accumulates.

II. When we meet with a prophecy, the avowed end of which is to satisfy some trivial curiosity, or abet the designs of some ambitious leader, suspicion must necessarily take the alarm. This was evidently the character of the antient oracles. However directed, whether by evil men or evil spirits, they certainly spoke as they were paid or intimidated and the long continued history of antient times has completely informed us of the practices by which the priests of the false gods endeavoured to gain credit for their idols, and profit for themselves, by foretelling things to come. "But how did they conduct this difficult traffic? Did they make it hazardous as well as difficult, by pledging their lives on the truth of their predictions? Far otherwise: They had very different arts and plans, much more compatible with the consciousness of being extremely liable to error. first place, unless a direct appeal to their inspiration was made by direct inquiry, they usually observed a prudent silence. They uttered no spontaneous prophecies. In saying nothing, they exposed themselves to no detection; and when they were obliged to speak it was always with sufficient precaution. Obstacles were first thrown in the way of inquiry. By magnificent and repeated sacrifices, it was rendered extremely expensive. This preliminary had a double advantage: it lessened the number of inquirers, and at the same time secured abundant advantage to the priests. These sacrifices were preceded, attended, and followed by many prescribed ceremonies; the omission or mismanagement of any one of which was sufficient to vitiate the whole proceeding. The gods were not at all times in a humour to be consulted. Omens were to be taken, and auguries examined, which, if unfavourable in any particular, either precluded the inquiry for the present, or required further lustrations, ceremonies, and sacrifices to purify the person who consulted, and render him fit to receive an

1 Van Dale, De Oraculis, tom. i. p. 3.

answer from the gods, or to bring their wayward deities to a temper suitable to the inquiry." When indeed answers were given, the heathen oracles had no determinate scheme, and related to detached, unconnected events; while the prophecies of Scripture respect one great scheme, and point to one person, whose family, country, character, and circumstances, they announce, long before he was born. The heathen oracles spoke what rulers dictated, or what tended to advance the interest of the priests: precepts of morality, and rules of just conduct, were seldom-if ever delivered from the cave, or from the consecrated tripos. The purest sentiments prevalent among the pagans, were either delivered by the philosopher, (who had no means of enforcing them,) or adorned the pages of the poet: while the Hebrew prophets, on the contrary, boldly reproved kings, enforced the purest morality by the most solemn sanctions, and suffered rather than gained by the predictions which they uttered.2 They did not prophesy in compliance with the wishes or natural propensities of their countrymen; but opposed their prejudices, by predicting the impending calamities, the humble state of the Messiah, the rejection of the Jews, and the call of the Gentiles. Their prophecies tended to one end; and the total cessation of them, when that end

J Dr. Nares's Connected View of the Prophecies relative to the Christian Church, P. 14. 2"Happy had it been for the Heathen world, if, upon the subject of morality, their oracles had been invariably silent. The few sentiments, which they did deliver, were not always grounded upon the severe principles of reason and truth: they varied with the fluctuation of human opinions, and were even accommodated to the prejudices, the passions, and the vices of their votaries. Nay, they frequently even commanded the grossest violations of morality and decorum, and veiled, under the prostituted name of religion, the most flagitious and horrible abominations, which have ever been permitted to pollute the annals of the human race.

"The Prophets of the true God were inspired by the purest principles. They actively and invariably exerted themselves in the cause of virtue. The system of morality, which they sanctioned, was pure, severe, and founded upon determinate and acknowledged principles. They tempered its severity, however, with the love of mercy and the gentle feelings of benevolence. With all the warmth of zeal, and energy of eloquence, they recommended the cause of the stranger, the widow, and the orphan. Neither the pomp of station nor the tyranny of power could shield the offender from their manly and indignant rebukes: and exhibiting a boldness, which, perhaps, is unparalleled in the whole history of mankind, and which could only be inspired by the confidence of truth and the certainty of Divine assistance, they even chastised a powerful monarch for the unlawful indulgence of his passions and openly denounced the vengeance of the High Being, by whom they were inspired, against a formidable tyrant, who had murdered for the sake of plunder the poor possessor of a neighbouring vineyard. The piety, which they required, was not the cold and inefficient duty of an external ritual; it was the religion of the heart, the control of the internal feelings of the soul, and an inward and ever-active persuasion of the existence and providence of an all-judging God. It earnestly excited gratitude for his favours, supplication for his forgiveness, and reliance on his protection. These moral and religious duties were not varied with the progress of civilisation, nor made to bend to temporal occurrences, to the will of a favoured monarch, or the caprices of contending parties. They were independent of human events, regular as the order of nature, and eternal as the Foun tain of inspiration. Their influence was the most extensive which the imagination can conceive. They were not calculated to aggrandise a favourite state, not appropriated to the inhabitants of a particular climate; but they were equally useful to all countries, and obligatory on the whole human race." Richards's Bampton Lectures, for 1800, pp. 241-244.

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