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Now, besides many other proofs, there is an evidence of the truth of the Scriptures, which is perfectly convincing to an honest and unprejudiced mind,-and that evidence is the fulfilment of prophecy!
There is a most interesting work on this subject by the late Alexander Keith, which need only be read, to convince every candid mind of the abundant proof which God has vouchsafed of the inspiration of His Holy Word. But as that work is above the reach of most of my cottage friends, I have extracted from it a very few of the most striking Scripture predictions; and their fulfilment at the present day, being an evidence which will bear the most minute investigation, and one which can be seen and examined by living witnesses; and I have done this to furnish the humbler and more timid Christian with a specimen of some of the mighty weapons of defence, with which we are provided, to repel the cavils of the infidel. I have placed them in opposite columns, that at one view may be seen the literal prophecy, and the literal fulfilment; and let my readers be informed, that the accomplishment of many of the predictions are recorded by recent travellers, who have visited the places mentioned in the prophecy, but in general without any intention on their part of thus throwing light on the Scriptures, or establishing their truth,-and one of these travellers (Volney) was an open and avowed infidel.
Prophecies concerning the Jews.
"And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord will leave you."-Deut. iv. 27.
"Thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a by-word among all the nations whither the Lord shall lead thee: and the Lord will scatter thee among all people, from one end of the earth even to the other."-Deut. xxviii.
"I will deliver them to be removed into all nations of the earth, to be a curse, &c."-Jer. xxix. 18.
"I shall scatter them among the nations, and disperse them in the countries."-Ezek. xii. 15.
"Though dispersed throughout all
Kings have often employed the severity of their edicts, and the hands of the executioner to destroy them; the seditious multitude has performed massacres and executions infinitely
Prophecies concerning Judea.
"I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries into desolation."-Lev. xxvi. 31.
"Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoiled.I beheld, and lo! the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord."-Jer. iv.
"Your country is desolate, your cities burned with fire."-Isaiah i. 7.
"By the concurring testimony of all travellers, Judea may now be called a field of ruins.-Columns, the memorials of ancient magnificence, now covered with rubbish, and buried under ruins, may now be found in all Syria."-Maritis' Travels.
"Of the celebrated cities, Capernaum, Bethsaida, Gadara, Tauchia, and Chorazin, nothing remains but shapeless ruins.”—Wilson's Travels.
"Loudd, the ancient Lydda, and Diospolis, appear like a place lately ravaged with fire and sword, and is one continued heap of rubbish and ruins."-Volney's Travels.
Prophecies concerning Idumea, or the land of Edom or
"From generation to generation it shall lie waste: none shall pass through it for ever and ever. But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also, and the raven shall dwell in it; and He shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stone of corruptness. It shall be a habitation of dragons."—Isaiah xxxiv.
"Also Edom shall be a desolation. I have made Esau bare."—Jer. xlix. "Edom shall be a desolate wilderness."-Joel iii. 19.
"From the report of the Arabs of Bakir, and the inhabitants of Gaza, there are within three days' journey' upwards of thirty ruined towns absolutely deserted. Several of them have large edifices with columns, that may have belonged to the ancient temples, or at least to Greek churches. The Arabs sometimes make use of them to fold their cattle in, but in general avoid them, on account of the enormous scorpions with which they swarm."- Volney's Travels.
Prophecies concerning Babylon.
"I will cut off from Babylon the name and remnant, the son and nephew, saith the Lord. I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water; and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the Lord of Hosts."-Isaiah xiv.
"Vast heaps constitute all that now remains of Ancient Babylon."— Keppel's Narrative.
"The ground is sometimes covered with pools of water in the hollows."-Buckingham's Travels.
"Our path lay through the great
"How is Babylon become a desolation among the nations. Her foundations are fallen: her walls are thrown down."-Jer. 1.
"And the land shall tremble and sorrow; for every purpose of the Lord shall be performed against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant." Jer. li. 29.
mass of ruined heaps on the site of shrunken Babylon; and I am perfectly incapable of conveying an adequate idea of the dreary, lonely nakedness that appeared before me.' Mignan's Travels.
"Morasses and ponds tracked the ground in various parts, &c."-Sir R. Ker Porter's Travels.
"The eye wanders over a barren desert, in which the ruins are nearly the only indication that it has ever been inhabited."-Keppel's Narrative.
"It is a tenantless and desolate metropolis."-Ibid.
The foregoing are only a few specimens. The book to which I have alluded gives at length the predictions, with their most exact and wonderful fulfilment. I need scarcely remind the Christian reader, that the prophecies concerning Christ-the time of His appearance-the circumstances of His birth-His life-His death and Resurrection, were equally the subjects of the most minute. prophecy, and equally fulfilled to the very letter. I conclude with an extract from Bp. Newton, on the evident result of the proofs of the truth of prophecy:
"Men are sometimes apt to think, that, if they could but see a miracle wrought in favour of religion, they would readily resign all their scruples, believe without doubt, and obey without reserve. The very thing that you desire, you have. You have the greatest and most striking of miracles in the series of Scripture Prophecies accomplished; accomplished, as we see, in the present state of almost all nations, the Africans, the Egyptians, the Arabians, the Turks, the Jews, the Papists, the Protestants, Nineveh, Babylon, Tyre, the seven Churches of Asia, Jerusalem, and Rome. And this is not a transient miracle, ceasing almost as soon as performed; but is permanent, and protracted through the course of many generations. It is not a miracle delivered upon the report of others, but it is subject to your own inspection and examination. It is not a miracle, exhibited before a number of witnesses; but is open to the observation and contemplation of all mankind; and after so many ages, is still
ON THE FAST OF LENT.
growing, still improving to future ages. What stronger miracle, therefore, can you require for your conviction? or what will avail, if this be found ineffectual? Alas! if you reject the evidence of prophecy, neither would you be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.' What can be plainer? you see, or may see, with your own eyes, the Scripture prophecies accomplished; and if the Scripture prophecies are accomplished, the Scripture must be the Word of God: and if the Scripture is the Word of God, the CHRISTIAN RELIGION MUST BE TRUE.”—Bp. Newton. Sent by N. B.
ON THE FAST OF LENT.
WHY this fast, or season of humiliation, should be confined to forty days, neither more nor less, may be judged to arise from a sanction given to that number, for the following reasons, viz.
Forty days and forty nights it continued raining, when the old world was drowned. Gen. vii. 4-12. "For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him. And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth. And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, there went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female as God had commanded Noah. And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights."
Forty years the children of Israel did penance in the wilderness. Numb. xiv. 34. "After the
number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.'
Ten times forty, or four hundred years, the children of Israel were afflicted before they obtained their deliverance by Moses. Gen. xv. 13. . "And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them. And they shall afflict them four hundred years."
Look to Acts vii. 6. . . "And God spake on this wise, that his seed should sojourn in a strange land. And that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years."
Forty stripes were given to malefactors, when they were corrected. Deut. xxv. 3. . "Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed, lest if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee."
Forty days and forty nights Moses fasted twice, at his receiving the law, and once more at his deprecating God's anger against the Israelites. Deut. ix. 9. 18. 25.
"When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant, which the Lord made with you, then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights; I neither did eat bread, nor drink water. And I fell down before the Lord as at the first; forty days and forty nights I did neither eat bread nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the Lord to provoke him to anger. Thus I fell down before the Lord forty days and forty nights, as I fell down at the first, because the Lord had said he would destroy you."
Forty days Elias fasted in the wilderness. xix. 8.
"And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights, unto Horeb the mount of God."
Forty days the Ninevites were allowed to repent. Jonah "And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey; and he cried, and said, Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown."