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liver the prophecy in such a way, and with such plainness, as would best and most effe&tually obtain the ends proposed to be answered thereby ; whereas the very reverse to this seems to be the present case, For, as Sir Isaac Newton alone, through his superior abilities and application, has discovered the meaning of the prophecies, from the events only ; so, if he had not examined the subject, or if he had not published his sentiments upon it to the world, then the true sense of the prophecy (supposing Sir Isaac's sense to be the true sense) might have been for ever unknown to mankind. And tho'it
be moft evident, that Sir Isaac Newton's greatly superior abilities better qualified him to dilcover and ascertain the true state of the natural world ; yet, that he was thereby better qualified to discover and ascertain the true sense and meaning of dark and anbiguous prophecies, may not, perhaps, be quite so apparent.
B ” † farther, admitting, for argument's fake, that the prophecies which are appealed to, as evidences in the present case, are true prophecies, and that the sense put upon them by Sir Isaac Newton, or any other interpreter of prophecy, is the true sense, and that
the events have fully answered the predictions ; then there are two points which the case requires to be considered, viz. what it is that constitutes the christian revelation properly so called, which these prophecies bear witness to ? And, when that point is fairly and fully settled ; then, how do those prophecies prove that revelation to be divine ? The first point to be considered is, what is the Chriftian revelation ? This question, surely, must be fairly and fully answered, and the point settled to satisfaction; else all that is urged from prophecy with regard to it, stands for nought. It must be particularly Specified and ascertained what is the Christian revelation, because without this it is, as it were, arguing without a subject ; seeing it is not determined by those prophecies what that subjet is, nor, indeed, whether there be any such thing. And therefore, Sir Isaac Newton's valuable discovery of the laws of gravitation, may, perhaps, be equally as useful to Christianity, as his discovery of the sense of prophecies, whilst it remains indeterminate what is the Christian revelation. And if the books of the New Testament be considered as, and called the Christian revelation, which these prophecies do not sew them to
be ; then, the question is, how do those prophecies Thew and prove the books of the New Testament to be a divine revelation ? Do those prophecies prove that the several books of the New Testament were written by the persons respectively whose names they bear ? that the Deity dictated to, and impressed upon the minds of the writers the subject matter contained in them, effectually restraining each one from mixing his own conceptions with what was thus dictated to him ? that those books have been faithfully transmitted, from their respective original copies, down to this time, without any corruption, alteration, addition or diminution ; and that they have been justly rendered into our language? I say, do the prophecies referred to prove these points ? surely, not any of them ; and yet the case seems to require the proof of them all, in order to give proper proof that those books, which are put into our hands, commonly called the New Testament, are a divine revelation. And, supposing there are a series of events that are relative to the Christian feet, which are foretold in the aforesaid prophecies; and that Sir Isaac Newton has plainly sewed this to be the case; then the question is, what does this
prove? does it prove that there is such a thing as a Christian revelation ? that the New Testament is that revelation ? and that it is a divine revelation? I say, do the prophecies referred to prove each and every of these points ? surely not. Suppose, upon enquiry, it were to appear, that there are, in these prophecies, some events foretold that are relative to the Mokometan jeet ; then the question would be, what would these prophecies prove with regard to that fiet? would they prove that the Mahometans have a revelation? that the Coran is that revelation and that it is divine ? surely not. If a thing or fact appears to be the subject of prophecy, then the question is, whether any thing more is proved, by such prophecy, than that such tbing or fact was foreknown and foretold, whatever it may be relative to ? and if the prophecies under consideration do weither shew what is the Christian revelation, nor prove what may otherwise be shewn to be fo to be a divine revelation, which, surely, they do not; then, I think, their evidence is scarce worth contending for, But farther, if the Deity was plealed to give a propbetic history relating to the Chrijtian religion and the Christian church, in which
are foretold many great events that are past, and many others that are yet to come ; is it not strange, yea exceeding strange, that no account should be given, no notice taken of that great event, that great defection from Christianity and from the Cbristian church, that took place in, and by Mahomet and his followers ? which I do not apprehend that there has. A defection so great(if I maybe allowed to express it in the prophetic language) that in it not only a third, but, perhaps, two third parts of the stars of heaven fell to the earth; a defection that has continued for twelve bundred years past, and is likely to continue as long as Christianity itself; a defection that as much affe&ts the Christian religion and the Christian church, is as remarkable in itself, as well known to the world, and which, surely, must have been equally foreknown to the Deity, as any of those other great events that are set forth to be the subjects of prophecy. I say, that an affair of such moment should be, as it were, forgot by the Deity ; should not be foretold, nor pointed out by fome emblem, fome enigma or riddle, is what, surely, may justly be wondered at.