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in the last, it ends. Its spirit arose with the fall of man in Eden; its predictions will end only with his perfect recovery in heaven. During the progress of more than four thousand years the scheme of prophecy was continually opening, its predictions were continually multiplying, its grand object and purpose were becoming more and more distinct and luminous. The spirit of prophecy first uttered its voice when as yet our fallen parents had not been expelled the garden of innocence. Cain heard in it the warning of his punishment. Enoch continued its declarations. Noah transmitted its strain. Abraham's whole life was guided and encouraged by its inspirations. Isaac was the child, as well as the instrument of prophetic communication. Jacob with his last breath foretold the future history of his twelve sons in their generations, and the reign of a lawgiver in Judah till Shiloh should come. The harp of prophecy remained in silence while the posterity of Jacob remained in Egyptian bondage; but no sooner was Israel free, than the Spirit again breathed upon its strings, and in the hand of Moses it spoke of the great Prophet who was to come to the church, and sketched the Jewish history with wonderful minuteness, down even to the present and far future times. Between Moses and David lived Samuel, a prophet of the Lord. Immediately after him began what may be styled, with emphatic distinction, "the age of prophecy." It opened with the elevated and sublime poetry of David. It advanced with the stern ministry of honored Elijah. As he went up in the flaming
chariot, translated to heaven, his mantle descended upon the "man of God" Elisha. Among the minor prophets who carried on the spirit of this age of seers, were Hosea, Amos, and Micah. Then followed Isaiah, as full of the spirit of the gospel as of the spirit of prophecy; and Jeremiah, overflowing as well with tender lamentation for the affliction of Israel, as with the sublimest predictions of the days when the Lord would heal and comfort them; then Ezekiel, with as many visions of the future as the eyes in his mysterious wheels, prophesying "in the midst of the valley which was filled with bones." Ezekiel connected in his person the age of prophecy with that of the captivity of Judah. Daniel succeeded him, and besides the prophetic interpretation of the handwriting on the wall, foretold the succession of the four powerful monarchies, and the feeble rising and ultimate dominion of the fifth, and determined the time when the daily sacrifice would cease, and Messiah be cut off-not for himself. Haggai and Zechariah continued the prophetic strain, after the return of Judah from captivity. Malachi terminated the line of Old Testament prophets and the canon of Old Testament scriptures, with the sublime annunciation of one who was to come, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to prepare the way of the Lord. Again the harp of prophecy was silent, as during the bondage of Egypt, until "that prophet" like unto, but infinitely greater than Moses arose. JESUS, the great object of prophecy from the beginning himself "the spirit of prophecy"-foretold, besides his own death and resur
rection, the calamities that should befall Jerusalem, as well as the utter destruction of the Jewish state. Paul followed his Master's steps, as well in the walks of prophecy as of martyrdom, forewarning the church of "that man of sin, the son of perdition, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders."* John closed the succession of prophecy and the canon of Scripture together, with predictions, the awful sublimity of which no pen can rival, and the wonderful expanse of which nothing but the events of all future time can measure.
Thus have we a train of holy men, reaching from the earliest age of mankind, through a period of more than four thousand years, and extending their predictions to the world's end. I see in them the utmost variety, as well in condition and character as in the ages in which they lived-princes, patriarchs, priests, legislators, shepherds, fishermen. Exceedingly various in natural qualifications, in education, habits, and employments, they wrote in various styles, but each as he was moved by the Holy Ghost. Now when, in connection with this variety in the prophets themselves, I consider the vast variety and extent of the subjects on which their predictions are employed, embracing not only the history of the Jews for many centuries, but that also of the minor nations immediately around, with that of the more remote empires of Egypt and Assyria, and Chaldea and Persia, and Macedon and Rome; when I consider that in this immense vastness of extent, so great is their minuteness 2 Thess. 2: 3-9.
of detail, that sundry particular events and features in the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, of Nineveh and Babylon and Tyre, are predicted with the most graphic and striking precision; when, in the midst of such wonderful diversity of authors, ages, circumstances, and of subjects, from the downfall of an empire to the tumbling of a wall, I perceive not the smallest inconsistency or collision, but on the contrary the utmost harmony, as well of execution as of purpose and of spirit, the whole array of prophecy, from first to last, bearing down and concentrating upon one grand object, the testimony of Jesus—the rise, progress, and eternal accomplishment of his plan of redeeming love: in a word, when I behold a scheme so vast as to embrace all time, and yet so minute that it can detail the events of an hour; so general, that in a few lines it predicts the history of the four mightiest empires, and yet so particular that chapters are devoted to the history of one individual; so diversified in its materials as to be made up of contributions from men of all ages and minds, during a period of four thousand years, and yet so identical that one spirit and one grand, harmonious purpose animated the whole: when I compare all this, arrayed as it is in the richest poetry and loftiest eloquence that eye of man ever read, with whatever else in the world ever pretended to the praise of prophecy, I behold a grandeur of conception, a sublimity of design, an all-controlling power of execution, a unity and self-depending supremacy of mind which bespeak the omniscience and omnipotence of Him who "was, and
is, and is to come, the Almighty." I say nothing yet of the fulfilment of any portion of this stupendous plan; I only say, look at the plan itself in all its comprehensiveness and minuteness, and tell me if it be not utterly at variance with all human experience, and in itself perfectly incredible, that imposture should have conceived such a scheme, or should ever have dared to commit its cause to a venture that could only succeed by a continuance of miraculous fortune through all ages of the world. Consider the plan itself, the various minds that carried on the succession of its several predictions, forming a line of holy men from the earliest periods of antediluvian history down to the last of the apostles of Christ; see how they all agree in spirit and purpose, while yet so different in character and circumstances; see how they all unite in testifying to Christ, so that as the last of them said, "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy;" then tell me how imposture can be supposed to have wrought unexposed for so many thousands of years, how it could have chosen its agents out of forty centuries, out of circumstances so disadvantageous, and bid them embrace such an immense range of subjects for their predictions, and yet without any inconsistency or want of harmony, or any thing incompatible with the idea of one all-pervading mind having regulated the whole. I do not say that so much as one prophecy has been fulfilled. I only say, and I challenge all denial, that not a single prediction in the whole succession can be shown to have failed, or to have been contradicted by the