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of Asia, the rise and fall of the Mahomedans, the rise and fall of the man of sin, the commencement and duration of the millenium, the last declension of religion, the second coming of Christ, the general judgment, and the final state of all holy and unholy creatures. This is a brief and general account of prophecy. A vast many more particular predictions might have been enumerated; but those which have been mentioned are sufficient to make it appear, that God has usually foretold great and interesting events, long before they have come to pass. He has raised up prophets from age to age, to reveal his purposes to his professing people, and through them to the rest of mankind, who are all deeply interested in their final accomplishment.
I now proceed to show,
II. That God always brings to pass the events which he foretels. This will appear, if we consider,
1. That we have no evidence that he has ever failed of bringing to pass the events which he has foretold. We know that he has brought about many things which we find were foretold in his word. Though the disciples of Christ did not know at first, that he had fulfilled his prediction concerning his riding in triumph into Jerusalem, yet they afterwards knew and declared, that they themselves had been personally instrumental of fulfilling it. We know, that God has already fulfilled his predictions concerning the old world, concerning the seed of Abraham, concerning the Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman empires, concerning the coming of Christ, concerning the dispersion of the Jews, and concerning the rise and corrupting influence of the man of sin. The fulfilment of these predictions affords a strong presumptive evidence, that he has never yet failed, and never will fail, of bringing to pass all the events he has foretold. His conduct has hitherto confirmed the veracity of his predictions, and given us sufficient evidence to believe, that his faithfulness is immutable and infallible.
2. God has never foretold any events but such as he was willing to bring to pass. He never was and
never could be under any compulsion to foretel any events whatever. We cannot conceive any cause, which should constrain him to foretel any events, which he did not choose should exist. And we cannot conceive, that he should foretel even such events as he designed should take place, unless he chose to foretel them. We must conclude, therefore, that all the events which he has foretold, were such as he chose should exist, and such as he chose to foretel. This amounts to a high degree of certainty, that he always does and will bring all things to pass, that he has foretold. If he had been compelled to foretel events, which he did not choose should exist, and which he did not choose to foretel, we could have no ground to believe, that he always does and always will, bring about all the events he has foretold. But since he ehose that all the events he has foretold should exist, and since he chose to foretel them, we may be assured that he will punctually and faithfully fulfil every prediction in his word, according to its strict and proper meaning. What God once chooses should exist, he always chooses should exist, and what he once chooses should exist, he is always willing should exist. He is brays in one mind, and none can turn him. He never Tl, and never will alter any of his determinations. be has ever foretold any event but what he has deErmined to bring to pass; and therefore we may be certain that he fulfils, from time to time, every event which he has foretold his word.
3. God has foretold nothing but what his own glory ing uires him to fulfil. As he has foreordained nothing was what he intends shall promote his own glory, so he has oretold nothing but what his own glory requires him to bring to pass. He regards his own glory more than any of his creatures regard their interests. We know, that they sometimes regard and pursue what they suppose to be their own interests with great, constant, and persevering attention, diligence, activity and zeal. But the attention, diligence, activity, and zeal of the Lord of Hosts, in promoting his own glory, is
infinitely greater. And since God's heart is bound up in his own glory, he will infallibly pursue that course of conduct in his providence, which he views as best suited to promote it. His predictions tell us what his heart is fixed upon, and when we know what his heart is fixed upon, we have no ground to doubt, that he will pursue the objects of his desires to the utmost of his power. Poor, weak, dependent creatures are given to change, and grow weary and faint, and totally discouraged in their most ardent and sanguine pursuits. But God is never faint, or weary, or discouraged in his pursuits, or disposed to change the objects of his pursuit, which affords a very strong and weighty evidence, that he will infallibly bring about the events, which he has decreed and foretold. Besides,
4. God has foretold nothing but what he is able to bring to pass. Job said unto God, "I know that thou canst do every thing." This is strictly true. God can do every thing that power can do, or that does not involve a contradiction. There is none that can stay his hand, or effectually resist his operations in the kingdoms of nature, providence and grace. He can overturn, overturn, and overturn all difficulties, impediments, or obstacles, that stand in the way of his årsigns and operations. If the power of men resist ludesigns, he can break their power. If the hearts ly men resist his designs, he can change their hearts. It kings or kingdoms presume to oppose him, he can break them, as a potter's vessel is broken. If all nations were to unite their counsels and exertions against God's purposes and predictions, they would be of navail, to prevent him from bringing about the eve rewhich he has designed and predicted to bring al This God knew, when he foretold future events, and this we know after he has foretold them. We have, therefore, the highest and strongest evidence, that can be derived from the conduct, the power, and glory of God, that he will never fail to fulfil his predictions, or to bring to pass every event, which he has predicted in his word.
It now remains to show,
III. That God has good reasons for foretelling events before they come to pass. God was under no obligations to mankind to foretel any future events. Though he had foreordained all future events, and consequently foresaw all future events; yet he was under no obligations to inform mankind what events he foresaw and determined to bring about. He knew, indeed, the natural curiosity and propensity of mankind to look into futurity, and, if possible, to discover the good, or evil which may await them in time to come. But he never would have adopted the method of predicting future events, merely to gratify their vain and sinful desires. There is, therefore, just ground to inquire what were the real and good reasons of his foretelling future events in his word. We find that it has been his usual way, from age to age, to raise up holy men and inspire them to foretel great and important events, which he had determined to bring to pass. The question now is, why did he adopt this mode of conduct towards mankind? There may be two very good reasons for his foretelling future events in his word:
1. To convince mankind, that he is concerned in bringing about all the events which he has foretold. They are extremely apt to overlook the hand of God in bringing about events in the course of his providence. They will hardly believe that his hand is concerned in bringing to pass any event, unless it appears extraordinary, supernatural, or miraculous. Of course, they will not see and acknowledge his hand, even in fulfilling his predictions, until after they are fulfilled. This was the case, with respect to the body of the Jewish nation, as well as in respect to the disciples of Christ. The Jews did not see nor acknowledge the divine power and agency, in bringing about the incarnation, crucifixion, and ascension of Christ, while God was invisibly and irresistibly producing these great and important events, which he had foretold in his word. Though God had minutely described the person, the conduct, the preaching, and sufferings of Christ; yet the
Jews did not discover these things, nor the hand of God in bringing them to pass. And even the disciples of Christ did not know that God influenced them to carry him in triumph to Jerusalem, until he had come and left the world. The peculiar people of God had been for ages before equally stupid and blind to the hand of God, in fulfilling prediction after prediction concerning Christ. God upbraids them of this, and assigns it as a reason, why he foretold events before he brought them to pass. "Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah; which swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness. For they call themselves of the holy city, and stay themselves upon the God of Israel; the Lord of hosts is his name. have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass. Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass; I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I shewed it thee: lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image hath commanded them." All mankind are naturally like the Jews, in overlooking, and disbelieving the hand of God in bringing to pass those things which he has foretold in his word. Nothing, therefore, is better calculated to convince mankind of the universality of divine providence, than God's foretelling future events. For when he has fulfilled his predictions, and actually brought about the events he has predicted, he has set his hand and seal to these events, and marked them as the production of his own hand. And as his hand and seal will sooner or later be seen, it will be out of the power of man to disbelieve, that he brought about the events which bear his plain and legible signature. As this signature is actually set upon all events which have been foretold; so the predictions of those events will sooner or later convince all mankind, that God