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the Christian church, are of such a nature as must, I think, impress conviction on every mind not previously biassed by the most unreasonable prejudice. The narrow limits I have prescribed to myself will not allow me to attempt to traverse this mighty maze; but there are two considerations, connected with the prophetic branch of evidence, which I cannot wholly omit to mention. The first is, the present state and circumstances of the Jewish nation. The Jewish prophets have unani. mously asserted, and Christianity consequently supposes, a general restoration of that people to their own country, where they may again perhaps become the medium of the divine communications to the rest of mankind. Now it must be allowed, that the bare possibility of the fulfilment of a prediction of this nature is itself a most fingular and extraordinary circumstance. Two thousand years ago the nation of the Jews, a pretty Arabian horde, as they have been contemptuously styled, were conquered by the Babylonians, a great and powerful people, and carried far away into captivity; and though it might naturally be expected, that they would in process of time have coalesced with their conquerors, and have been ultimately absorbed and annihilated by the union, the fact is, that, dispersed and scattered as they have almost ever since been over the face of the globe, they have never, perhaps, in a single instance, in any country, loft their religous or national distinctions, and they are now generally supposed to be as
numerous as before the Babylonian, or, as some think, even the Allyrian captivity. This is perfeetly amazing ; it is contrary to all history, and all experience of the course of human affairs in similar cases; it has been boldly and not improperly styled a standing miracle.
Within one thousand or twelve hundred years back, a great variety of extraordinary and important revolutions have taken place among the nations of Europe, In our own country, the Britons were conquered by the Saxons, the Saxons by the Danes, and the Danes and Saxons by the Normans; but in a few centuries these opposite and hostile nations were consolidated into one indistinguishable mass, A part of the British nation indeed, by retiring into an inaccessible and mountainous country, and fecluding themselves from the rest of the island, has retained its language and nationality, though not its religion, to the present time; but this can, not be looked upon as in any degree analogous to the state of the Jews.
Italy, about the same time that Britain was fubdued by the Saxons, was conquered by the Goths and Vandals; and it is not easy to conceive a more striking contrast, than that which fubfisted between the polished inhabitants of that delighțful country, and their savagę invaders; and yet how soon did all distinction cease between them! In France, the Roman colonies gradually assimilated with the ancient Gauls; and in Spain, though the Moors continued for several ages, and till their final expulsion, a distinct people, after they were once reduced to a state of fubmiffion and subje&tion their numbers very sensibly diminished; and there is no room to doubt, but that they would in course of time have mingled with the general mass: but with regard to the Jews, the wonder is, that though they do not in any country where they are settled bear any proportion to the natural inhabitants, though they are universally reduced to a state of the lowest subjeđion, and even exposed to hatred, contempt, and persecution; yet in no instance does there seem to be any appearance or probability of diminution with respect to their numbers, in no instance do they discover any decay of attachment to their religious principles. According to the best information I could ever obtain from history, the situation of the Jews is absolutely without example; but it should at the same time be remembered, that the reality of a miraculous interposition respecting this nation by no means depends upon the proving it to be striąly unique; that this situation is uncommon and extraordinary will be readily admitted, and yet, extraordinary as it may be deemed, it is perfectly conformable to those antient oracles and prophecies which have always been regarded by them as sacred and divine. The case of the remaining descendants of the ancient Britons is likewise, undoubtedly, very remarkable and fingular; but it by no means amounts to a proof, or even a presumption, of a
supernatural interposition ; but if it could be proved, that the present condition and circum-, stances of that people were the subject of clear and express predictions pronounced two thousand years ago, then indeed we might well suppose, and I think we must unavoidable suppose, the intervention of a fagacity and foresight more than human ; and this is the conclusion which must unavoidably result from an impartial consideration of the peculiar and unprecedented situation of the Jewish nation, taken in connection with those antient prophecies which either express or imply it.
; The second observation I have to make is this ; It is evident, from the express declarations of Christ and his apostles, that Christianity was ori, ginally destined, as indeed it is calculated, for an universal religion: this event is the subject of numerous prophecies. Now it is truly remarkable, that the present situation of things in the world is such, that there seems a strong probability, if we reason merely from the regular operation of moral causes, that the time will come when Christianity shall be diffused throughout the uni. verse. Those nations which have embraced the Christian religion have acquired so complete an afcendency over the rest of mankind, that as it is utterly incredible on the one hand that they themfelves should be induced to forsake the religion of their ancestors, and to adopt any other system from nations comparatively illiterate and barbarous ; fo, on the other hand, it seems per
fectly consonant to the usual course of human events, that as the arts, the arms, and the learning of Europe are every day making some progress, the religion of Europe will also gradually extend itself; and as to the important but accidental circumstance of its being professed by that part of the globe which has obtained fo prodigious and decisive a superiority, it possesses the intrinsic advantage of an appearance of evidence, at least, as well as moral excellence, far beyond that of any religion which can be opposed to it, what can be the result of a conteit so circumstanced, but the final downfal of those various systems of superstition and absurdity which at present prevail in the world? A long succession of ages must no doubt elapse previous to this glorious consummation; but if we consider the different aspect which Christianity wears at present, from that which it presented two or three centuries ago ; if we consider the prodigious improvements which have been made during this period in every branch of human knowledge; if we consider with how much greater facility that knowledge is now capable of being communicated ; if we consider the mutual intercourse which is established, and the intimate connections which subsist, between the most distant parts of the globe ; if we consider the ardent and enterprising fpirit by which the European nations are animated; the surprising effects which that fpirit has already produced, and the still more wonderful effects which it is