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lytes, Cretes and Arabians, 2. Acts 9, 10, 11. Whether these were Circumcised or Uncircumcised Proselytes, is not said; but Proselytes they were out of all these Nations, who came up at the Feast to worship at Jerusalem ; from whence we learn, that the dispersion of the Jews into all Nations, made great Numbers of Profelyres, who either undertook the observation of the Mosaical Law by Circumcision, and became fews, or at least renounced all the Heathen Idolatries, and worshipped no other God but the God of Ifrael.
The number of these last seems to have been much greater than that of Circumcised Proselytes ; and if we believe some Learned Men, there is frequent mention made of them in Scripture under the Names of worshipping Greeks, and devout Men, and those wbicb feared God. When St. Paul preached at Thesalonica, there consorted with Paul and Silas of the devout Greeks a great multitude, 17. Acts 24. The very Name of Greeks proves them to be Gentiles, not Fews, who are always distinguish'd from each other; and that they were gebókluci, devout or worshipping Greeks, proves that they were the Worshippers of the God of Israel; for that Title is never given in Scripture to Idolàters, and their frequenting the Fewish Synagogues sufficiently proves it ; for no Gentiles resorted thither, but those who worshipped the God of Israel. Of this number was Ludia, 16. Afts 14. and Cornelizes the Roman Centurion, who was not only a devout Man, and one who feared God himself, bụt all his Family were so too, 10. Afts 2. and the Eunuch, 8. Acts 27. and almost in every place where St. Paul preached the Gospel, we find great numbers of these worshipping Gentiles; af Thessalonica and
Philippi, as you have seen ; at Corinth, 18. A&ts 4. at Antioch of Pisidia, 13. Ačts 43. and we have reason to conclude that thus it was in other places; which shews what a great Effect the dispersion of the Jews into all these Countries had in making Proselytes, some to the Jewish Religion, but many more to the Worship of the God of Israel; which prepared them to receive the Gospel when it was preached to them: For they were the Worshippers of the True God, and were instructed in the Law and the Prophets, as appears from their frequenting the Jewish Synagogues, and therefore were in expectation of the Messias, and were capable of understanding the Scripture Proofs of the Christian Faith. It is certain the firft Gentile Converts were of this sort of Men, who more readily embraced the Faith, than the Jews themselves; for they had all the Preparations for Christianity which the Jews had, but none of their Prejudices : Neither a fondness for their Ceremonial Worship, nor for the Tempo
ral Kingdom of the Messias, And Mr. Joseph therefore a very Learned Man exMede's Dif
pounds that Text, 13. Afts 48. As course 3. on 17. ACE. 4. many as were ordained to eternal life,
believed, of these devout and Worshipping Gentiles, that they were tera sufii, ready disposed and prepared to receive the Doctrine of Eternal Life by Christ Jesus.
And thus we are come to the Days of Christ, whose appearance in the World was the last and most effectual means God used for the recovery of Mankind. · To consider the Divine Wisdom in the Redemption of the World by Jesus Christ, relates to the Wisdom of the Christian Religion, not of Providence, and therefore does not concern my present Argument ; but if we take
a brief Review of what I have said, we may the better understand in what sense Christ is said to, come in the fulness of time ; for he came as soon as the World was prepared to receive him. For I would desire any Man, who complains that the coming of Christ was too long delayed, to tell me in what sooner Period it had been proper for him to appear?
In every Age, as I have already shewn, God took the wifest Methods that the Condition of Mankind would at that time allow to reform the World ; and if Christ appeared at such a time, as the Divine Wisdom saw moft fit and proper for his appearance, he appeared as soon as he could, if we will allow God to dispense his Grace and Favours wisely. That he did so, no Man can doubt who believes the Wisdom and Goodness of God: But my business at present is to give you a fair Representation of all those wise Advances God made to this last compleating and stupendious Act of Grace and Love.
God had promised our first Parents immediately upon the Fall, That the feed of the Woman should break the Serpent's head; and by virtue of this Promise all truly good Men were saved by Chrift from the beginning of the World : But the more to recommend the Love of God in the Incarnation and Death of our Saviour, it seems very congruous to the Divine Wisdom, that all other Methods should be first tried for the reforming of Mankind, before the coming of Christ, and that he should come in such a time when the World was beft prepared to receive Him; and as little as we understand of the un. searchable Counsels of God, it may satisfy us, that upon both these accounts Christ appeared in the fulnefs of time.
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When all flesh had corrupted his ways, and there was but one Righteous Family left, the only probable means of restoring Piety and Virtue to the World, was to destroy all thar Wicked Ge, neration of Men, and to preserve that Righteous Family to new people the World.
When that New Generation began to corrupt themselves, God separated them from each other by confounding their Languages; and formed them into diftinct Societies and Kingdoms, which was the most effectual way to stop the Infection, and to force on them the Practice of many Moral and Civil Virtues.
When notwithstanding this, they all declined to Idolatry, God chose Abraham and his Pofterity to be his peculiar People, to preserve the Faith and Worship of the One Supreme God in the Worid; he gave them his Laws, committed to them the Types and Prophecies of the Meffias, and punished them very severely when they worshipped any other Gods; sent them into Captivity, and by various Providences scattered them almost over the Face of the whole Earth, and thereby propagated the Knowledge of himfelf, and of his Laws, and the Prophecies of the Messias ; made numerous Proselytes to the Worship of the One Supreme God, and made ready a people prepared for the Lord, and then Chrift came : And whatever sooner time you fix on for the appearance of Christ, you will find it, either bofore God had tried all other Methods for the reforming the World, or before the World was prepared for the receiving of Christ.
And having thus in the best manner I could, represented to you the wonderful Wisdom of Providence from the beginning of the World to the appearance of Christ in the Flesh, in some of the most remarkable Events which have hap
pened, I shall here break off; for though the
But yet to compleat the Jewish History, as far as the Scripture-Account goes, it will be necessary to take notice of the final Destruction of Ferufalem by the Romans, which put an end to their State and Government, and dispersed them into fo many different countries ; for it seems very surprizing, that God should cast off his People, who were in Covenant with him, and to whom the Promises of the Messias were peculiarly made, so soon after the Appearance of the Meffias in the World.
And therefore to vindicate both the Truth and Faithfulness of God's Promise to Abrabam, and the Wisdom of his Providence in the final Overthrow and Dispersion of the Fewish Nation, we muft diftinguish, as St. Paul frequently does, especially in Rom. 9. between the Carnal and the Spiritual Seed of Abraban; the Children of the Flesh, and the Children of the Promise: Those who defcended from Abrabaın by Carnal Generation, and those who were the Children of Abraham by Faith in Christ Jefus, 3. Galat. 26. 29.