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A Little one shall become a Thousand; and
a Small one, a strong Nation : 1, the Lord, will hasten it, in His time.
HE Evangelic Prophet is very par
ticular, throughout this Chapter, in describing the sudden and mighty increase of Christianity, it's triumphant progress
thro' all Nations, and it's prevalence over
First, I shall briefly represent to You the matter of Fact it self, to which this Prophecy referrs; how swift and strange a Progress the Gospel made, at, and after it's first setting out from Jerusalem.
Secondly, I shall prove to you, that this Success of it must have been Miraculous, and owing chiefly to the mighty Operations, and effectual Affiftances of the Holy Spirit of God. After establishing which great Truth upon firm and proper Arguments, I shall, in the
Third place, fairly lay together what III. can be offer'd to evade the force of them; and give the several Objections, their Ansivers.
Fourthly, I shall consider, how Great IV. and how Distinguishing an Advantage this was to the Christian Institution; and to what Useful Ends and Purposes the Consideration of it may be apply’d. Fifthly, and Lastly I shall enquire in
V. to the time when, and the manner how, this Miracle ceas'd; and make some fuitable Reflections upon it, with regard, both to Those who liv'd Then, when this Stop was put to the Gospel; and to Us, who live Now, in the Latter Ages of the World.
First, I am to represent to You the Matter of Fact itself, to which the Prophecy of the Text referrs; how swift and strange a Progress the Gospel really made, at, and after it's first setting out from Jerusalem. And the account of this is as much above Imagination, as it is beyond Dispute.
From S. Luke we learn, that, upon the Ascent of Our Saviour, the little Flock, He had gather'd, consisted of but One hundred and twenty Disciples; These receiv’d
a mighty addition to their number, on
had given of him, that he should catch Men! Acts vi. 7. After this, the number of the Disciples mul
tiplied in Jerusalem greatly, faith the same holy Pen, (greatly, even in proportion to their first increase): and from thence the Doctrine was soon carried into all the Remoter Regions of the Earth; insomuch that the Book of the Apostles Acts (which, being written by S. Luke, the Companion of S. Paul, is chiefly taken up in giving an account of that particular Apoftle's Labours, and Travels; and of those of them only, which he underwent in the First years of his Ministry: I say, even this Book it self) doth contain an account of the spreading of the Gospel, forwards, thro’many Eastern Countries; and, backwards, thro' a great part of the West: of it's piercing, on the one side, into all the Civiliz'd, and some of the Barba rous Provinces of Asia; and, on the other, as far as the great Metropolis of