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lieve that they saw a man whom they knew to have been lame from his birth, daily walking among them perfectly well. The five thousand were fully persuaded that they did all eat and were filled with a few loaves and fishes. The people of Syria were so tricked as really to believe that their multitudes of sick with divers diseases and torments, whom they had brought to Jesus, went home with them perfectly well, without an exception. Yea, the whole Jewish and heathen world was so imposed upon by these unlettered, simple, despised, persecuted Jews, as tacitly to confess the genuineness of their miracles. Philosophers and rabbies, when they attacked Christianity, did not deny it; several of them positively in their books acknowledged it; and hundreds of thousands in the age of the apostles, out of the most polished cities and most respectable classes, were so entirely taken captive and spellbound by the magic scheme of these weak men, that they forsook all, and took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, and yielded themselves to fire and sword and wild beasts, rather than not confess and follow Christ.
Such are the wonderful things, such the violations of the laws of nature and of common-sense, such the wicked and contradictory miracles, which necessarily follow as true, as soon as the miracles of Christianity are rejected as false. Now, tell me on which side the charge of credulity lies with the greatest weight. Now, give the reason why our modern unbelievers, instead of meeting the testimony of the gospel miracles in front, are so conscientiously scrupulous never
to know any thing about it, and always expend their ingenuity in ridiculing the dignity, or in picking out what they would represent as the inconsistencies of Scripture. Now explain the singular phenomenon that the grand high-priest of modern infidelity should have invented the convenient principle which sceptical philosophy had ever before so painfully sighed after, that no testimony can prove a miracle. Ah, yes. It was his only hope. The testimony of the Christian miracles is perfect. It is so overwhelming, that if there be any difficulty about their miraculous character, it arises from the very brightness of their evidence itself. It is almost inconceivable that such works, wrought so publicly and frequently, and with such incontrovertible marks of a divine hand, should not have made more converts-that all who beheld them did not yield at once to the great Teacher whom they attested, and espouse his cause. But the explanation is not difficult. The human heart is depraved enough for the most desperate rejection of such a master as the Lord Jesus. Men will go to the greatest lengths of folly and unbelief to gratify their passions, foster their pride, retain their prejudices, and escape the necessity of making sacrifices for conscience' sake. The truth that so many Jews and heathens, with this blaze of testimony before them, did not submit to the gospel, is not so astonishing as what is seen every day among ourselves: persons believing the New Testament, and that Christ is the only Saviour of sinners-that eternal blessedness awaits those who follow him, and eternal woe those
who neglect his salvation, and yet, for all practical ends, as unmoved by these truths as if they were fables as little engaged in the service of Christ as if they had never heard his name.
But we must conclude. I trust you will henceforth allow me to consider the miracles of the gospel as proved to be genuine. If so, we must consider the credentials of Christ and his apostles as acknowledged. They were therefore what they professed to be, divinely commissioned and inspired teachers. God was with them. What they published as a revelation from God, we are consequently bound to receive as a revelation from God. That publication is contained in the New Testament. We have already ascertained the authenticity and credibility of the New Testament. We now cease, therefore, with the conclusion that the religion published in the New Testament is a revelation from God.
May the greatest and best of all the works of the Lord Jesus be wrought in all of us, even the blessed work of his grace, awakening the sinner from spiritual death; changing, exalting, purifying all the affections of his depraved nature; opening the eyes of his understanding to behold the glory of God; leading him in repentance and faith to the cross, for pardon and peace; shedding abroad in his heart the spirit of divine love, and causing him to rejoice in the blessed assurance of a crown of glory that fadeth not
HAVING shown the genuineness of the miracles recorded in the New Testament in attestation of the divine mission of the Saviour and his apostles, we are now to take up the subject of PROPHECY. But while proceeding to this additional source of evidence, it is important to be observed that we do so, not because we consider the reasoning in proof of Christianity as a divine revelation, to which you have already listened, in any sense incomplete. Had our course of lectures been terminated with the last, the argument would have been brought to an incontrovertible issue. Having made out the great point, that genuine miracles were wrought by the Saviour and his apostles in attestation of the divine authority of what they did and taught, we have established, by necessary consequence, the great truth that Jesus Christ was a teacher come from God, and that the New Testament, as an authentic publication of the religion taught by him, is to be received as containing a divine revelation of truth and duty. One line of evidence therefore, one road leading to the Scriptures as the great central fountain of divine truth, we have travelled over, and it has set us down beside the water of life. Now, if this were the only road, it would be amply sufficient. The loftiest intellect need
not be ashamed-the weakest need not fear to walk therein.* But God has not only furnished us with the plainest, but with the most various and abundant evidence. And since the object of these lectures is, not only to prove the divine authority of the gospel, but also to give you an idea of the diversified character of the many ways by which the proof may be established, we propose now to return from the position we have reached by the argument of our last lecture, and endeavor to arrive at it again by a route. entirely different. We take up the prophecies recorded in the Scriptures, and shall endeavor to produce from them satisfactory and impressive evidence that in the Bible we have divine inspiration, and in Jesus Christ a teacher sent of God.
What is a prophecy, according to the sense of Scripture, and as we are now about to consider it? It is a declaration of future events, such as no human wisdom or forecast is sufficient to make-depending on a knowledge of the innumerable contingencies of human affairs, which belongs exclusively to the omniscience of God; so that from its very nature, prophecy must be divine revelation. "The prophecy
A celebrated infidel once acknowledged that even Atheism would be refuted by the proof of a single miracle of the gospel. Spinoza declared that he would have broken his atheistic system to pieces, and embraced without repugnance the ordinary faith of Christians, could he have been persuaded of the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead. Was it not a foresight of the inferences that would necessarily result from the proof of this miracle, that prevented him from being persuaded of its truth?