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ON TRE INSPIRATION
goes under his name. The same thing
ith respect to Nehemiah. bowever, we cannot determine with cer. schors of the historical books ; yet we ssured, that the Jews, who had already
Sospired books from the hands of Moses, may resc receira no Ba ve admitted any other as coming from
-Orce, if they had not seen incontestible
at the writers were to accoui
ext to the testimony of Christ and his to have b into a con
apostles, Thich corroborates all our reasonings for satisfacto
the inspirasion of the Old Testament, and, when any trick
distinct asaments for any particular book cannot into smal
be found, SOPplies their place, we must depend, in a large c
the case bere us, on the testimony of the Jews. prey to s And though the testimony of a nation be far from
ery instance, a sufficient reason for be.
sacred books to be possessed of that di. lieving its vine authoZEY which is attributed to them; yet the
the Jews has a peculiar title to credit testimony
cumstances in which it was delivered. from the in their possession genuine inspired books, were It is the teSanony of a people, who, having already
Dle to judge of others which advanced
Spiration; and who, we have reason to disposed precipitately to recognise it, O being credulous with respect to such
cb deliberation and care in examining Orted by satisfactory evidence. They
of this nature, and rejected them
sarned that false prophets should
their own fancies in the name of I hile they were thus put upon their ** furnished with rules to assist them
in distinguishing a true from a pretended revelation.* We have a proof that the ancient Jews ex. ercised a spirit of discrimination in this matter, though at a period later than that to which we refer, in their conduct with respect to the apocryphal books : for though these books were written by men of their own nation, and bore the names of the most eminent personages, Solomon, Daniel, Ezra, and Baruch, they rejected them as human compositions, and left the infallible church to mistake them for divine. As the Jews then have, without a dissenting voice, asserted the inspiration of their historical books, their testimony, strengthened by their peculiar circumstances, authorizes us to receive them as a part of those scriptures which were intended for our learning, that we, through the patience and comfort which by the divine blessing they impart, might have hope.
III. I proceed to consider the Prophetical Books.
The proof of their inspiration, which I shall lay before the reader, is not drawn from any external -source, but arises from their contents. They carry in their bosom the evidence of their origin, and manifest themselves to be the Word of God by many clear predictions, which have been most exactly fulfilled, long after they were uttered. These are so numerous, that, at present, we can only select a few, as a specimen.
The fate of Egypt was thus foretold by Ezekiel: “ It shall be the basest of kingdoms, neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations; for I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over
* See particularly Deut. xviii. 15–22.
the nations."* Accordingly we learn from history, that since the days of Ezekiel, it hath been succes. sively subject to the Babylonians, the Persians, the Macedonians, the Romans, the Saracens, the Mamalucs, and last of all to the Turks, of whose empire it is, at this moment, a province, though in fact it be governed by a number of chiefs, called Beys, who are the very refuse of mankind, having risen by various means from the condition of slavesot
The same prophet foretold the ruin of Tyre. “I will make thee like the top of a rock ; thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon : thou shalt be built no more : for I the Lord have spoken it, saith the Lord God."! And how punctually hath the prediction been fulfilled! The city, which was a“ mart of nations," as Isaiah calls it, is now become a heap of ruins ; and instead of being the resort of ships from every region of the earth, it is visited only by the boats of fishermen, whose nets are seen spread out to dry in the sun.
Concerning Babylon it was predicted, that it should be besieged by the Medes and Elamites ; that its river should be dried up; that the city should be taken in the time of a feast, while her mighty men were drunken; and that God would make the country around it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water. Now it is well known, that, in conformity to these prophecies, Babylon was besieged by the Medes and Persians, who are the
. Ezek. xxix. 15. 7 At the time of printing this edition, it is not deeided, whether the Turks or the Beys shall be its masters; but under the domimation of either, that miserable country will be equally base.
# Ezek. xxvi. 14. $ Isa. xii. 17. xxi. Jer, I. 38. li. 36. 39. 57. Isa. xiv. 23.
same with the Elamites ; that Cyrus turned the Euphrates, which ran through the midst of it, out of its course, that his troops might find a passage by its channel ; that it was taken in the night during the dissipation and security of a feast ; and that the water of the river not having been afterwards confined to its ancient bounds, the adjacent country was converted into a marsh, frequented by aquatic birds. If any man shall suspect, as infidels have often insinuated, but were never able to prove, concerning the prophecies of scripture, that the prediction was written after the event, let him think of the following words, which are fulfilling at this hour. “ And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be, as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation : neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there, neither shall the shepherds make their folds there : But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there, and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures, and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces : and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged."* It is long since the populous city was turned into a solitude ; long since it was converted into a chace for wild beasts by the kings of Persia ; long since it was rendered inace cessible by the poisonous animals which lodged in its ruins ; long since it ceased to be known. So completely hath God, according to his word, swepo
Isa. xiii. 19-22
it with the besom of destruction,” that no man can now tell with certainty the place where it stood.*
Not to multiply particulars, there is one grand subject, in which, as a centre, all the lines of prophecy meet. This is the Messiah, to whom gave all the prophets witness. The minuteness, with which the circumstances relative to him are foretold, is truly astonishing, when viewed in connexion with the exactness of the accomplishment. It is predicted, that he should be a descendant of David, and that he should be born of a virgin, in the town of Bethlehem ; that having been anointed with the Holy Ghost, he should assume the character of a public teacher ; that he should perform great and beneficent miracles ; that his countrymen should despise and persecute him, and put him to death ; that he should rise from the grave, ascend to heaven, triumph over his enemies, and, though rejected by the Jews, be acknowledged and served by the Gentiles.t Nay, the time of his death is particularly mentioned ; and are there not obscure hints of the manner of it, though crucifixion was a species of capital punishment unknown among the Jews, in the days of the prophets. These are only a few, selected from a great variety of particulars.
There are two classes of predictions concerning the Messiah, of which the one describes his humiliation, and the other his glory. He is represented at one time, as a worm and no man, and, at another, as a prince higher than the kings of the earth ; as
* Isa. xiv. 23. † Isa. xi. 1. vii. 14. Mic. v. 2. Isa. Ixi. 1. xxxv. 5, 6. liji. 1-10. Dan. ix. 26. Psal. xvi. 9, 10. Ixviii 18. ii. 8. Isa. xlii. 1-4. xlix. 5,6.
# Dan. ix. 24--27. Psal. xxii. 16, 17. Zech. xii. 10.