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For consider, that these prophecies involve in their fulfilment the truth and divinity of the whole of the religion of which they form a part. The woes which Jesus pronounced upon Jerusalem he frequently declared to be called down
her because she knew not the hour of her visitation, and would obey none of his laws, and gave heed to none of his claims.
“Did ye never read in the Scriptures,” said he, “the stone which the builders refused is become the head of the corner; this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes. Therefore, I say unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” Hear also another parable which he spake. The Lord of a certain vineyard, whose husbandmen were fruitless and disobedient, said, “What shall I do? I will send my beloved son. And he sent unto them his son; but the husbandmen cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. What, therefore, shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them. He shall come and destroy those husbandmen, and give their vineyard to others.” Now the chief priests and scribes perceived that he had spoken this parable against them. “And when they heard it they said, God forbid.” But God did not forbid. In all its minuteness, in all its extent, in all its singularity, their ruin was accomplished, and they themselves were slain, and their city
· Matt, xxi 42. • Matt. xxi. 33. *Luke xx. 16.
made a perpetual wonder in the hands of strangers. Jesus also said, “Upon this rock i will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” He speaks not of a church in general, but of his own Church in particular, and of himself as its builder and of building it upon the rock of Peter or of his confession. And the whole of this we have seen literally fulfilled. Now it is impossible for any man to look upon the completion of these predictions, and not think that the completion was permitted by God. It is equally impossible for any honest and unprejudiced man to suppose their completion, after having been thus solemnly appealed to by Jesus, to have been permitted by God, had not the religion in whose favour they were appealed to, been true. For by only not permitting their full and fair accomplishment, God would have given us the immediate means of detecting the existence of imposture and deceit. But God has permitted the fulfilment of those judgments which Jesus denounced
the adversaries of his claims, and of those promises which he made of establishing his pretensions ; and therein we are plainly taught that his claims ought to have been admitted, and that his pretensions were just.
Here then, at length, we are enabled to estimate the nature, and measure the value of that testimony
which his own accomplished predictions are able to bear to the truth of Jesus. They were uttered in the wisdom of the spirit of divine foreknowledge. They were appealed to as proofs of his divine mission, and by their accomplishment, therefore, they are created not only into real miracles, but divine. They are miracles which are performing in the present generation, and before our own eyes, and so demonstrate to the senses and to the experience of the men of the present and every other generation, not only the probability, but the absolute certainty, that Christianity is supported by the evidence of real and divine miracles. They may be reasoned upon also like any other miracles; and, as the Jews and the primitive Christians had an opportunity of beholding the wonderful performance of the works of Jesus, and by comparing them with his life and doctrine, were enabled to demonstrate the divine authority of his commission ; so also, and with equal certainty, may we do the same, by only applying the same course of argument to the wonderful fulfilment of his prophecies. What that course of argument is, I have already pointed out in a previous Discourse;" and it is necessary, therefore, further only to observe, first, how completely the words of the Apostle are verified, when he says, that “the spirit of prophecy is the
testimony of Jesus” in every age; and, secondly, to mark the kindness of God in having given us such a sensible and everlasting illustration of the truth of our religion, and the reasonableness of our faith, and the solidity of our hopes of salvation :-for which great and unspeakable and unmerited mercy to his fallen and unworthy creatures, his holy name be praised, both now, henceforth, and for ever!
Acts XIX. 20.
Mightily grew the word of God and prevailed."
In all that I have hitherto ventured to lay before you in defence of the truth of that religion by whose promises we are animated to the pursuits of holiness, and by whose awful terrors we are guarded against the temptations of a sinful, but seductive world ; in all the Discourses which I have hitherto delivered, it has been my leading object to assign to each portion of the evidence its proper weight and place ; and to shew that whilst all the various arguments have been appropriated, like the members of the human body, to the discharge of some special and important office, they have been so combined together at the same time, as to give the greatest possible degree of strength, and beauty, and order to the whole. To compare the probable with the actual result;