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viour's Pretenfions, we have only to fatisfy ourfelves of the Authenticity of the Gospel History, and to learn from thence that fuch particular Works were exhibited, and that fuch particular Facts did really happen. But the Truth of Prophecies must be introduced to our Affent by a longer Progrefs. For after we are, in the fame Manner as before, satisfied that fome particular Events did happen in the Life of our Saviour, we are still advanced but a little Way to a full Perfwafion that the Prophecies of the Meffiah received their Completion in these Events. There remains behind large Matter of Enquiry. The Authority of the Scriptures of the Old Testament must first be proved: these must be carefully examined for the Prophecies they contain: And, when they are found, we are to be affured that they belonged to the Character of the prómifed Meffiah. After all this, a Comparison is still to be nicely made between them and the Events, for fhewing the Fitness and Agreement between them. And when their Correfpondency is clearly feen, and we have no longer any Scruples remaining of the Reality both of the Events and Predictions separately, or Sufpicion that the one may not yet belong to the other, then only are we fully fenfible of the Proof which Prophecies yield of the divine Miffion of our Saviour.

WHEN both are clearly apprehended, they may have equal Power over our Minds. But the Truth of the one is not fo foon established there as of the other. They both lead finally to


the fame End, and if purfued bring us with equal Certainty to it, but not by Ways equally fhort or easy. While fome make their Approaches to the important Truth to which they lead by one Path, others may delight to investigate it by another. But it muft furely be equally agreeable and serviceable to all to know that it is acceffible by more Ways than one, and that they are at Liberty to pursue that to which the Bent of their Mind, their Studies, or Opportunities fhall determine them; or with varied and renewed Pleafure, to explore both in their Turns.

WHAT has been faid may be illustrated by a familiar Example. Euclid has left us a Series of Mathematical Truths demonftrated in a very elegant Manner. His Commentators, endeavouring to render fuch ufeful Knowledge as eafily attainable as poffible, have adapted different Demonftrations to all thofe Propofitions which feemed most difficult to be understood; drawing those out into a fuller Explanation which He had delivered in a concifer Manner, and demonftrating those by fenfible Schemes which he had treated in a more abstracted Way. We allow the Design its due Praise: not that one Demonftration is truer than another, or gives better Evidence to the Propofition, but because various Geniuses are better fuited, pleafed, or affifted by these different Demonftrations than they could have been by one alone. They are all equally convincing when understood, but, it may be, not equally pleafing, nor equally clear to all Capacities.

pacities. However it contributes more to the Entertainment and Inftruction of all, that they can place the Propofition in that Light which themselves fhall moft approve of, than if they had been confined to one View of it, and that, by trying several, one Pofition of it may at last be found which shall strike every Capacity.

THUS We fee that any Difference which may be in the Forces of Prophecy and Miracles for proving our Saviour's divine Miffion, is not natural but accidental to them; and arifes folely from the different Reception they meet with in the different Natures, or Abilities of thofe to whom they are applied. God has graciously been pleased, in manifefting to the World a Truth of fuch univerfal Importance, to lead Us to it by various Ways, that different Natures, thus accommodated with what is moft fuitable to them, might not want the Means of attaining to that Knowledge which is equally neceffary for all. If its Divinity had been attefted by either of these fingly, Chriftianity would in all Ages have wanted many Converts, which it now owes to their joint Efficacy: And both Ways lying open, many have constantly been brought into the Flock of Christ who might have strayed for ever without the Pale, if only one Entrance had been afforded them. Let not us then defraud the Gofpel of its Rights, by making the Gate which leads into it ftraiter than its great Author has thought fit to make it: Nor allow fuch poor ridiculous Sophiftry to deceive Us which would


prove its Weakness from its Strength; which would make its numerous Forces hurtful to it, and take an Advantage against it from its having more Proofs, which could not have been found had it been fupported by one alone: Which, by comparing one Argument of its Truth with another, would deftroy all Arguments; and by fhewing that Prophecy is ftronger than Miracles make the World believe that it is weaker than if it had ftood by the Force either of Prophecy or Miracles alone. Let us beware of receiving fuch Refinements into Reasoning, as have long ago been admitted into Life; which skilfully create Want out of Plenty, and induftriously turn the Bounties of Heaven into Curses, by making that Poison which was defigned for wholesome Food. If one of these great Proofs of the Divinity of the Gospel should have more Power over the Minds of particular Men than the other, they, who feel it, are the only Judges which that is. Every Man is fenfible of the Workings of his own Mind alone, and therefore we might as well pretend to be conscious for others, as to determine with which of these Proofs they shall be most affected, or which shall draw them most mightily to Conviction. Let not Us quarrel with Men because they will not be convinced in the fame Way with Ourfelves. If they are gained over to Conviction, by what Road they arrived at it is hardly worth Enquiry; all is done that any juft Concern of ours for them can prompt Us to with, or their own Salvation does demand.


It is the Business of the Friends and Affertors of Christianity to set both these Proofs in the cleareft Light they are able, and then to leave all Men to apprehend for Themselves: To prefs Home the great Argument for its Truth in its full Extent, not confining themselves to any peculiar Branch of it; And, while they now try one Power and then another till they find out the prevailing one, not to fuffer one Soul to fail of the Kingdom of Chrift which may by any Industry of theirs be gained over to it: to light fome into it by setting up to their View the glorious Effulgency of Gods eternal Wisdom, and to draw others by displaying before them all the Wonders of his Power: Like skilful Artists, still to encrease the Force of their Machine by combining Powers with Powers, as the Greatnefs of the Work to be done fhall require it: to add Prophecy to Prophecy till the whole fhall grow up into one grand complicated Prophecy; and to join Miracle to Miracle, till all shall stand embattled in one invincible Body: And then last of all, to unite both these Powers alfo, till that Energy, which was before scattered and distributed through various Parts, being now collected into one, the Gospel shall stand forth impregnable, and all the Forces of Infidelity shall fink before it.


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