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sure word' is well fitted also for you; and you would do well to take heed unto it as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day star arise in your heart.' It leads to no doubtful disputations. And if heretofore the scoffs of the scorner have troubled you—if the deceitfulness of sin has been in danger of hardening you in unbelief-or if the insidious arguments of a vain philosophy have ever shaken your faith, it should be no inwelcome or unprofitable task to you to use diligently those means which God has provided, in order that you may be well assured of the truth of his word, and to which you have only to look, that you may learn that the spirit of prophecy is indeed the testimony of Jesus, and that it is verily confirmed as such, to a jot and tittle, our enemies themselves being judges. And if, hearing, you would hear, or, seeing, you would see, you could be no longer doubtful, that prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but that holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost ; so that instead of having but a name to live, and yet being dead, seeking, you might find ; and be enabled by the self-same Spirit to call Jesus, Lord—to own him for your Saviour and your Master, and, being rooted and grounded, and established in the faith, truly to confess him before men, of whom all the prophets bear wit
Or, reader, if you are an adversary, yet this volume may prove a friend to you.
It is not in unkindness that you are invited to the proof that
salvation may be found. And wherefore should you refuse a patient hearing? Would it be in candour, or for truth, or reason, or your safety ? • Come and let us reason together,' is the language of the christian, and of the God he worships, as well as it is thine. If
you be fortified in a strong delusion,' the less should be your fear, and the greater is your need, of looking to the 'sure word of prophecy.' Yet in your own hopeless way, you cannot possibly reach further than doubt, and is it wise to reject, without even a hearing, the proffer of certainty and of salvation in its stead? And whether you will hear, or whether you will forbear, “ thou art the man' to whom the full testimony of Jesus is borne, in the manifest fulfilment of many prophecies, that all the benefit of such a combination of miracles may, if you harden not your heart, be yours; that what partially tends to confirm the belief of others, may lead to your conviction ; and that thus you may pass from darkness to light, and from death to life, if peradventure God would give you repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.'
Or, reader, if your case be more desperate still, for worse than an infidel' there
; if lukewarmness mark your character, so that you scarcely care so much for the faith as it is in Jesus, as to trouble yourself at all to act on it as a truth, or to question whether it be true or false; if the alienation of your heart from the living God be so great, that no bias of judgment is needful to sustain a practical infidelity like yours; if,
wedded to the world, and bigoted to sense, you mind only earthly things, and place all your love, and happiness, and confidence in them, and care for none of those things which pertain to life, to godliness, to your peace, and to immortality; if the tidings of salvation have no charm for you ; and if the terrors of the Lord be as little understood or regarded as words spoken in an unknown tongue ;-yet there is a language that you still may hear, there are truths which pertain not to this life alone that you still may discern; and even that for you also, in this the time of merciful visitation, God has provided a way of escape. For since to earthly things only you will look, it is to them that the word of prophecy directs you. You may ask of those things that are at the present day to be seen, of which it told, and they will all answer in one voice that they have been, and now are, what in the ages of old it was declared, by inspiration of God, that they would be. And thus you may learn, that the Bible is the word of God—that the world which you worship is his, from whose worship and service its vanities entice you—that his power is over all—that the successive changes and convulsions among nations are credentials of the unerring certainty of the word of Him who changeth not—and that all his promises are true, and all his judgments
Or, is the passing of an idle hour the purpose of your reading? And is it not worthy of a trial, at least, to ascertain whether wonderful things may not be beheld out of the law and of the
prophets, as capable as the delusions of any idle tale of producing a momentary excitement as well as a deeper feeling? If your search be after novelties, it may possibly be new to you to read, in the writings of unbelievers, commentaries on the scriptures and confirmations of their truth; and it may not lessen your surprise, to find that in the construction of this part of the christian evidence, (as also in others,) they have been more efficient, though not less regular and laborious cooperators, than are the hewers of wood, and the drawers of water.' Or if you seek for wonders, and have not acquainted yourself with God, nor considered the operation of His hands, you have only to hear what He hath purposed, and how He hath fulfilled it, and to behold the wondrous things that He hath done, that, if these. be thought upon aright, your ears may tingle; and that, instead of such excited feelings passing away in mere unprofitable amazement, your lips may be ready to confess that it would be the greatest of wonders, that such demonstrations of the Spirit and of power could ever be resisted, and that if you yourself did not believe Moses and the prophets, neither would you suaded, though one rose from the dead.'
Or, reader, if happily a different spirit be within
your mind revolt at the thought of opposition to a doctrine according to godliness, and if you seek for truth in the love of truth, it will give you comfort to know that high as the consolations of religion are, clear as are its pretonts, gracious as are its tidings, and glorious
as are the hopes which it sets before the christian, even so abundant is the proof, and so sure the word of prophecy. And if such be the chris tian temper of your mind, you will not be slack to regard the strong confirmation which the fulfilment of each successive prediction gives, that, in the revelation of the will of God to man through Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and rose again for our justification, truth is united to mercy, righteousness, and peace, and that they all meet together. Nor will you ever be at a loss to bear home this application of such a subject, that, knowing the word to be divine, you have ever to give earnest heed to all that is written therein, to you and to your children,-so that, walking in the light which has come down from heaven, you may now believe, and hereafter feel, that the immortal glory which it reveals, as the final portion of every faithful servant of Jesus, shall as assuredly be realized as the fact may now be manifest, that many prophecies of old have already proved true.
Whenever a man, even for the first time, beholds a regular and magnificent edifice, he has at once undoubted evidence of the skill of the architect, and of the power that was put forth in its construction. Of this he is convinced without any argument. He is not blind, and he has visible proof before him. He neither sees, nor ever saw, a plan of the building, nor a single man at work ; but he knows that all was planned and built ; otherwise so goodly a structure, evidently the work of human hands, would never