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ral Blessing, a numerous Off-spring, ac- SER M. cording to the Flesh, and ends with the future Enlargement of the Spiritual Kingdom of Christ; the former of these being indeed a Figure only, or Mystical Emblem of the latter, to which this Divine Promise cheifly referr'd, and in which it was finally and fully accomplish’d. For the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Heathen through Faith,preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, In Thee shall all Nationsbe blessed. The same Gal. iii.&. Promise was afterwards expresly renew'd to Ifaac, and Jacob, but to none other of Gen.xxvi, the succeeding Patriarchs: and from these 4 alone, therefore, God took his Title, and xxviii. 18. vouchsafed to be call’d the God of Abraham, Ifaac, and Jacob; because to these alone he had made the Promise of that Seed, in whom all the Nations of the Earth should be blessed, by being ingrafted into his Church, and becoming the Subjects of his Spiritual Kingdom.
Many Predictions of the same kind to be met with in the Psalms, and the Prophets; particularly in Isaiah. His LXth
SER M. Chapter, is nothing else but a Description
of the glorious State of the Christian Church, upon the abundant Access of the Gentiles : and he closes that Prophecy as we have heard, with the Text, which in few Words comprizes the small Appearance the Gospel should make at first, the vast Increase it should afterwards receive, and the speedy manner in which it should take place. A little one shall become a Thousand, and a small one a gréat Nation ; I the Lord will haften it in His time : In the Messiah's time this great Event shall come to pass ; and, when it begins, it shall be hastned ; it shall proceed with an astonishing and irresistible Swiftness, until it be fulfill'd.
If then the victorious Progress of the Christian Faith be in itself a sufficient Evidence of its Divine Original ; that Argument must needs be somewhat height= ned and improv’d, by considering, that the Spirit of Prophecy had long before signifyd and promis’d this Success : for from the fame Spirit, from which the
Prophecy came, the Completion of it af- SERM, terwards proceeded. I add,
3dly, That the Advantage, peculiar in this respect to Christianity, doth from hence also appear; in that the wondrous Success of the Gospel confirms the Truth of those Miracles, by which it is said to have been planted, and frees the Account of them from all possible Suspicion of Mistake, or Impofture.
The only way that Infidelity hath left, to escape the Force of the Argument drawn from Miracles, is, by denying the Truth of the Facts. How unreasonable and absurd a Plea this is, may be shewn many ways, particularly from hence: That they, who deny the Credibility of the Gospel-Miracles, must allow fomewhat else, altogether as incredible ; to wit, that the Gospel was propagated into all the Regions, and subdu'd all the Religions of the World, without Miracles which , considering the Meekness and Incompetency of the Instruments, that
SERM wrought this Effect, is itself a Miracle,
and the greatest of Miracles *.
In vain, therefore, do some Men reject the Account of the Miracles done by the Apostles, if they admit (and they cannot but admit) the Account of the extensive and swift Propagation of the Gospel by the Apostles means ; for the one of these Accounts evidently confirms and establishes the other. The very Existence of the World is a Proof, that it was at first miraculously created ; and so, even the Existence of the Christian Religion (as at present spread and profess’d in the World) is a Proof, that it was at first miraculously planted. For the second Creation by Christ Jesus, can no more be accounted for by Natural Causes, than the first; and carries in it
* Πώς, και μη σημξα επoίεν, έπαθον και αξεποίων θε&' δψαμις ήν : Η και μη επoίoν, και εκράτεν, σωλύ tou.as otsegy iv tò quibér• Chrys. in 1 Cor. cap. 1. Οταν λέγωσι μή γενές σημα, μειζόνως εαυτός σειπέρυσι τέτο δ μέγισον σημάον, το, χωρίς σημείων, και οικεμβύην προσδ εαμιν άπασαν, από δώδεκα αθωχών και αγραμμάτων ανθρώπων αλιέθεσαν. Ιd. in Aa.
as evident Marks and Impressions of an SER M. Omnipotent Power.
Now this is such a Proof of the Reality of the Apostles Miracles, as is wanting to those wrought for the Establishment of the Law of Moses ; the Authority of which stands folely on the Authority of External Testimony, and the Traditional Belief of the Jewish Nation: but we have no Internal Evidence of their Truth from the Nature and Reason of the Event. This way of Proof is particular to the Gospel-Miracles; the Account of which comes to us, not merely as Matter of Historical Truth, but as in itself demonstratively certain; because Miracles were necessary towards diffusing the Gospel in that speedy and effectual Manner, wherein it is confess'd to have been propagated. And, where an End cannot be obtain’d, without particular Means, the visible Accomplishment of the End is a fure Proof that those Means must have been employ’d, which were necessary towards attaining
ing it. The Jewish Worship might possibly have been erected by Mo