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'Tis a Truth which does not yet appear to have been made known to mankind that the twofold Nature of Christ's office has been more than oncé, or twice, represented to us by a Bruise. And this, I conceive, can neither easily nor. clearly be proved by any One, unless it be a Person who has some knowledge in the pra&tice of Physick. And so likewise the Seed of the Woman, is an Expresion that requires to be considered by a Person thus qualified. And indeed, there is still some necessity for this kind of knowledge, even in the confideration of the part ordained to be bruised, And therefore it would be no unreasonable conjetture, if we should fuppose, that the original Promise ever was intended to be explained by a Person brought up in the Prastice of Physick, even from the very time that it was first published; because every part of it seems to be adapted to the capacity of a Person thus qualified.
But, bewever, whether it was, or was not, is of no great consequence; the only thing to be confidered is, what are the Advantages that will be gained, when the Promise is thus explained? And to this I answer, Nothing less than a full and satisfa&tory Proof of the twofold nature of Christ's Person and Office. These are the fundamental Ar. ticles of the Christian Faith; and I think, I shall be able to prove thet they are all contained in the original Promise, viz. that no sooner was Sin committed, but we had the Promise of a Saviour, and that this Saviour was to be God-Man; that he was to fuffer Death; that he was to rise from the dead, and to deliver the whole Human Race from the Treachery and Malice of the Serpent.
All this, perhaps you will say, is the height of Imagination, and I should not wonder at it if you do. But however, I shall make no fcruple to affirm, that you may as well pretend to charge Ifaiah with this height of Imagination, as what I have here published in explanation of the Promise. For the whole drift of this Prophet was to explain the twofold nature of Christ's Person and Office; and his fifty third Chapter is an admirable Explanation of the Bruise, and the part ordained to be bruised, as Mall be fully proved in the following Difcourse.
But since there is no small stress laid on this part of the Argument, 'tis therefore not at all inprobable that by endeavouring to make things plain, I may have proved too much: what I mean by this is, that I may, and I believe I have sometimes run into a needless repetition. This, it must be confeft, is a.fault; but then 'tis a fault on the right Side, it being much better to read things of this nature two or three times over, than not to read them at all; for if any one should by this means arrive at a full conviction of the Truth maintained, the very great advantage which he will obtain thereby, will sufficiently compensate for the trouble which was occasioned likewise by a needless repetition.
To be fully assured that the fifty third chapter of Isaiah was written in Explanation of the Bruise, and the part ordain'd to be bruised, will be of no small Advantage to the Christian cause ; for if this can be maintained, it will be no difficult matter to prove likewise, that all the antient Prophecies re- . lating to the Promised Melah, were intended to
unfold and explain the several Truths contained in the original Promife, as well as this Chapter ; and in this view the Prophets will appear in their true Charakter, that is, as Expositors to Moses ; in this view the Prophets will appear to be all Servants of the fame Lord, and sent with the same Mesage; namely, to furnis Mankind with true Notions of those benefits which would be procured for us in the Accomplishment of the Promise. And from hence it will be highly reasonable to believe, that the Disciples were appointed to be witnesses to the Promise fullfilled; for it would be very absurd to suppose, that such great care should be taken to unfold and explain the Promise, whilst the Accomplishment of it was in expectation, and that no notice should be taken of it when it was fulfilled. The same reasons which made it necessary to send Messengers before, to prepare the way for the Coming of our promised Deliverer, will likewise prove it necessary for him to be attended with proper Witnesses when come : because, without such Witnesses, if the Primitive Church (i. e. the Jewish Church) should have imbibed any Erroneous opinions concerning the Promise, or the sacred Pere son by whom it was to be fulfilled, it is morally imposible that the present Church (i. e. the Christian Church ) jould ever have been freed from them by any other means whatsoever: and therefore, as the Errors of the primitive Church are too notorious to be mentioned; so it is very certain, that the safety and preservation of the present Church required that the Accomplishment of the Promise should be well attested. If therefore, the Time when the blessed Jefus appeared, was the time appointed for the accomplishment of the Promise, then there will be no room to doubt that be was the Perfon appointed to fulfill the Promise : for the many pre
tended. Meffabis arose about the Time of his Appearance, yet not one of them was properly attended, that is, they had no proper Vouchers with them. By this I don't mean a croud of followers who are ready to bear Witness to the truth of all ibat the Pretender is pleased to say of himself; for this, I suppose, every Impostor is provided with before be sets out upon the design of deceiving ; but I mean such Perfons as are willing to seal their testimony with their blood; I mean, such persons who when being convinced of the truth of what they are to report, will freely lay down their lives in confirmation of it. This I think, might reasonably be expeEted from those who were to attend on the promised Meffiah; for since the disciple is not above his mafter, if therefore our promised Deliverer was to be made a Sacrifice for Sin, then I don't see how the Difciples, bis Servants, could refuse to do what their mafter had so willingly done before them, more especially as they themselves were to be made partakers of the benefits of bis Sufferings ; and more especially as in his Resurrection they had such an undeniable proof of a full and satisfactory reward. These then, I say, are the per fons that might reasonably be expeeted to attend on the promised Mefah, let the Time of his Appearance be whenever it will. And since the blessed Jesus is the one ly Person who was thus attended; and since the time appointed for the coming of the promised Mefiah is long since paft and gone, we therefore can by no means avoid concluding, that he is the Person who was appointed to be our Deliverer.
This then is one Advantage that will be gained by proving that the Prophets were no other than fo many Expositors to Moses. And tho' it is an ad
vantage of no small magnitude ; yet there are many others arising from it, which are every way equal (if not superior) to it. And therefore when it shall be considered bowe greatly Christianity will be the Gainer, by proving that the Prophets were Expositors to Moses ; and likewise how greatly the proving, that the fifty third of Isaiah was written in Explanation of the Promise, contributes to establish the Truth of this Argument; whoever, I say, considers the nature of this proof, and from whence it arises, will, I presume, very readily overlook fuch a fault as Repetition is, provided I bave been guilty of it; and more especially when it shall be considered, that the whole of this discourse was written by Bits and Scraps just as opportunity offered.
Again, according to the title page it, appears, that here are very great things promised ; and even more than ever has been attempted by any of the learned Pens who have ever yet undertaken the defence of Christianity; but nevertheless I must not forget to inform the Reader, that I neither am, nor would I be thought to be the Scholar. And therefore, as all that I can do in defence of Christianity, must be done by dint of Reason; so if I can make good my Promise, it will, I think, be demonstrably plain, that the several articles of the Christian Faith are neither so difficult to be .comprehended, nor. yet so unreasonable to be believed as the Adversaries to Christianity are pleased to represent them.
And now, I suppose, it will not be expeeted that this Argument should appear in.fo corre&t a Stile, as if it had been condueted into the world by a Person who had either more learning or more time to