Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

XVI. Let ine now conclude, and apply all that has been said, by a thort recapitulation and enforcement of the principal parts of it.

You have given up all the credibility that there is for the truth of Mofes and your Law, rather than admit of the fame credibility (and stronger) that there is for Christ and the Gospel. So that, as was said before, and has been proved, you have involved yourfelves under the necessity either of rejecting Mofes, or embracing of Christianity.

Your objections have been answered ex abundanti; for after the full proof of the miracles of Christ and his Apostles, there needed no more to have been said, as to receiving the do&rine which they taught, and those expofitions they gave of the Law, which stand upon as sure a foundation, and carry the fame infallible credentials of divine authority as the Law itself.

And these cannot be overthrown by ever so great a cloud of difficulties or objections, though they could not be answered to fatisfaction, without disproving the motives of credibility upon which they are received.

For we may have sufficient reason to believe many things, and yet not be able to solve all the difficulties that may arife concerne ' ing them.

As in natural things, we cannot explain the manner and conveyance of sensible objects through our outward organs to our foul, nor the thousandth part of those difficulties which are started concerning the foul itself, yet no man doubts but that he has a foul, that he fees, hears, thinks, reasons, &c.

So in fupernatural things, who can solve all that may be asked concerning the being and operations of God? Yet all this is no argument against the belief of a first cause, and its essential perfections, because it is forced upon us by undeniable reafon.

Therefore, unless you can fhew the fallacy of thofe four marks which in the first part are set down to ascertain the truth of matfers of fact; or, fecondly, shew that the matters of fact of Christ want any of them, all your objections borrowed from other topics, can signify nothing against the truth of Christianity.

And if you can shew the uncertainty of these marks, or that they are wanting to the evidence of Christianity, then down comes your Law with it, and we must all together turn Deists.

You say (as has been before quoted) that if Christ, after he role from the dead, had appeared to the whole congregation of Israel,

&c. that this would have removed all scruple from you, and that you would, without all doubt, have believed him.

And now, I beseech you, have you not had as miraculous confirmation of him, as even this which you require? Was not the visible descent of the Holy Ghost upon him at his baptism, and the audible voice from heaven, before all the people, telling them from the mouth of God, “ This is my beloved Son, &c.” was not this a much stronger indication from God, than if a man formerly dead, had appeared ? Might not one man be like another? Have not many been deceived upon that point ? Were not the Apostles hardly brought to believe it, even by many miracles? Would there not be more questions to be asked in that case, than in such a visible apparition from heaven, before the eyes of so many people, and of words spoke from heaven in all their hearing?

Our blessed Saviour faid to some of your fathers, (u) that “ if

they heard not Moses and the prophets, neither would they be “ persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” And the reafon is plain, because the proofs for Moses, &c. are more indubitable than the apparition of the dead man.

But do you want even this proof? Did not Christ appear, after his resurrection, to above five hundred of your fathers at once? And has not this been attested by a multitude of miracles wrought by those of your fathers, who saw him; who cat with him, and conversed forty days with him, after he rose from the dead? Did he not appear to Paul from heaven after his afcenfion? If not, would not soine of those Jews who then journied with him, who faw that light, above the brightness of the fun, and heard the voice, though not the distinct words of him that spoke to Paul, who were struck down to the earth, and greatly terrified, who saw Paul struck blind upon the spot, and led him by the hand into Damascus : would none of these have discovered the cheat, if all this story had been a mere invention and forgery of Paul's? Would none of these have done it, who were so far from being favourable to the Christian side, that they were then going along with Paul to persecute that way, even unto the death? Would they not have done it, when Paul trumpt it up, and the Christians laid fuch stress upon it, that it is told at large in three several places of the Acts, chap. ix. xxii. and xxvi.? When Paul, within three days,

(u) Luke xvi. 31.

began to preach Christ in Damascus, and confounded the Jews there, where those who journied with him were then prefent, and inight have confounded him, if they had denied that matter of fact, when he adduced them as witnelles of it. But above all, the miracles which Paul wrought, as great even as this, do vouch his truth in this matter; seeing they are deduced to us with all the four marks before-mentioned, which do infallibly demonstrate the certainty of any matter of fact.

Moreover consider, that all thefe witnesses to the resurrection of Christ were Jews, and none other. It has been before observed that Christ preached to none but the Jews before his death; so after his resurrection he fhewed himself to none other but to them. And from the Jews only have we Gentiles received the knowledge of his resurrection, and of all the Gospel. This is a tradition of the Jews, and deduced through a greater number of them and their posterities, (as before has been thewn) than there are Jews who now stand out against it. These reject the tradition of their fathers, upon which they now lay the whole stress of their religion, and are proof against those convictions which have converted the Gentiles. The Christian Jews did not set up Christ for their Messiah ; (*) they chuse not him but he chose them. They knew him not to be the Mefliah, till they were convinced by many miracles; they understood not the nature of his kingdom, but were bronght by him from their notion of reigning, to that of fuffering with him upon the earth. Therefore these are to be less fufpected than those others of your fathers who set up Mefliaks for themselves, in hopes to reign with them in the land of Canaan, and have been as often deceived, and suffered miserable destruction by it.

But as before has been argued, there is no such visible means in the world to bring them to that temporal grandeur which they expeet, and the nation of the Jews to that universal honour, supereminence, and dominion through the whole earth, as their converfion to Christianity. Then will Christ be not only a light to the Gentiles, but the glory of his people Ifrael.

But chieffy, and above all, I earnestly recommend to you Jews the consideration of your eternal state, towards which you expect no benefit from your Meffiah, and yet without whom you can give no account how you fhall be delivered and purged from those

(*) John xv. 16.

fins for which there were no sacrifices or expiation under the Law, as has been discoursed before.

There was none for those who fled to the cities of refuge. (y) Nothing could deliver them from thence, but the death of the high-priest; which was a plain type that nothing but the death of our great high-priest can deliver us from the guilt of fin. The like parallel, might be carried on through every branch of your Law, pointing to the Messiah, but that would divert too much. You have only a few instances here; the whole would take up a discourse longer than all I have written to you.

I wish even the temporal glory of Israel, and should rejoice that, in the day of their conversion, I should be found among those who are sprung from their stock, and shall exult to re-assume our ancient and most honourable name of Jews.

And let the chiefest glory, as in heaven, so on earth be to those of you who shall lead the way, and be instrumental in the restoration of the families of Jacob.

Towards which I will with these my small endeavours, join my hearty prayers, made more effectual as offered

up

in the communion of the holy Catholic church, that part of it especially in England which prays for you, on this blessed day, to your God, and our God, through the mediation and satisfaction made for us by your and our only Messiah ; and after his holy example, who, this day, poured forth his blood, with his prayers for you upon the cross. O Lord, that this were the time when they should be heard! Amen. Lord Jesus, come quickly.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

y) Num. XXXV, 25, 28.

GOOD-FRIDAY,

1689.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »