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ligion of the church of Christ, be noi the true religion, then it must follow, that it is a most wicked religion ; nothing but a pack of lies and abominable delusions, invented by the enemies of God themselves. And if this were so, it is not likely that the enemies of God, and the wickedness of the world, would have maintained such a perpetual and implacable enmity against it.

(2) It is a great argument that the Christian church and its religion is from God, that it has been upheld hitherto through all the opposition and dangers it has passed through. That the church of God and the true religion, which has been so continually and violently opposed, with so many endeavors to overthrow it, and which has so often been brought to the brink of ruin, and almost swallowed up, through the greatest part of six thousand years, has yet been upheld, does most remarkably show the hand of God in favor of the church. If we consider it, it will appear one of the greatest wonders and miracles that ever came to pass. There is nothing else like it upon the face of the earth. There is no other society of men that has stood as the church has. As to the old world which was before the flood, that was overthrown by a deluge of waters ; but yet the church of God was preserved. Satan's visible kingdom on earth was then once entirely overthrown ; bụt the visible - kingdom of Christ never has been overthrown. All those ancient human kingdoms and monarchies of which we read, and which have been in former ages, they are long since come to an end. Those kingdoms of which we read in the Old Testament, of the Moabites, the Ammonites, the Edomites, &c. they are all long ago come to an end. Those four great monarchies of the world have been overthrown, one after another. The great empire of proud Babylon was overthrown by the Persians; and then the Persian empire was ovorthrown by the Greeks ; after this the Grecian empire was overthrown by the Romans ; and, finally, the Roman empire fell a sacrifice to various barbarous nations. Here is a remarkable fulfilment of the words of the text with respect to other things, even the greatest and most glorious of them: They have all grown old and have van


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ished away : “ The moth has eaten them up like a garment, and the worm has eaten them like wool;" but yet Göd's church remains,

Never were there so many and so potent endeavors to de stroy any thing else, as there have been to destroy the church. Other kingdoms and societies of men, which have appeared to be ten times as strong as the church of God, have been destroyed with an hundredth part of the opposition which the church of God has met with ; which shows, that it is God who has been the protector of the church. For it is most plain, that it has not upheld itself by its own strength. For the most part it has been a very weak society. They have been a little Hock : So they were of old. The children of Israel were but a small handful of people, in comparison of the many who often sought their overthrow. And so in Christ's time, and' in the beginning of the Christian church after Christ's resurrection, they were but a remnant : Whereas the whole multitude of the Jewish nation were against them. And so in the beginning of the Gentile church, they were but a small number in comparison with the Heathen, who sought their overthrow. And so in the dark times of Antichrist, before the Reformation, they were but a handful ; and yet their enemies could not overthrow them. And it has commonly been so, thať the enemies of the church have not only had the greatest number of their side, but they have had the strength of their side in other respects. They have commonly liad all the civil authority of their side. So it was in Egypt: The cívil authority was of the side of the Egyptians, and the church were only their slaves, and were in their hands ; and yet they could not overthrow them. And so it was in the time of the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes: The authority was all on the side of the persecutors, and the church was under their dominion and yet all their cruelty could not extirpate it. And so it was afterwards in the time of the Heathen Roman government. And so it was in the time of Julian the apostate, who did his utmost to overthrow the Christian church, and to restore Heathenism. And so it has been for the most part since the rise of Antichrist : For a great many ages, the ciya


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il authority was all on the side of Antichrist, and the church
seemed to be in their hands.

And not only has the strength of the enemies of the church
been greater than the strength of the church, but ordinarily
the church has not used what strength they have had in their
own defence, but have committed themselves wholly to God.
So it was in the time of the Jewish persecutions before the
destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans ; and so it was in
the time of the Heathen persecutions before Constantine ;
the Christians did not only not rise up in arms to defend
themselves, but they did not pretend to make any forcible re-
sistance to their Heathen persecutors. So it has for the most
part been under the Popish persecutions ; and yet they have
never been able to overthrow the church of God; but it
stands to this very day.

And this is still the more exceeding wonderful, if we consider how often the church has been brought to the brink of ruin, and the case seemed to be desperate; and all hope gone, and they seemed to be swallowed up. In the time of the old world, when wickedness so prevailed, as that but one family was left, yet God wonderfully appeared, and overthrew the wicked world with a flood, and preserved his church. And. so at the Red Sea, when Pharaoh and his host thought they were quite sure of their prey ; yet God appeared, and destroyed them, and delivered his church. And so was it from time to time in the church of Israel, as has been shown. So under the tenth and last Heathen persecution, their persecu. tors boasted that now they had done the business for the Christians, and had overthrown the Christian church ; yet in the midst of their triumph, the Christian church rises out of the dust and prevails, and the Heathen empire totally falls before it. So when the Christian church seemed ready to be swallowed up by the Arian heresy ; so when Antichrist fose and prevailed, and all the world wondered after the beast, and the church for many hundred years was reduced to such a small number, and seemed to be hidden, and the power of the world was engaged to destroy those little remainders of the church ; yet they could never fully accomplish their deVol. II.

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sign, and at last God wonderfully revived his church in the time of the Reformation, and made it to stand as it were orr its 'feet in the sight of its enemies, and raised it out of their reach. And so since, when the Popish powers have plotted the overthrow of the Reformed church, and have seemed just about to bring their matters to a conclusion, and to finish their design, then God has wonderfully appeared for the deliverance of his church, as it was in the time of the Revolution by King William. And so it has been from time to time ; presently after the darkest times of the church, God has made his church most gloriously to flourish.

If such a preservation of the church of God, from the beginning of the world hitherto, attended with such circumstances, is not sufficient to show a divine hand in favor of it, what can be devised that would be sufficient? But if this be from the divine hand, then God owns the church, and owns her religion, and owns that revelation and those scriptures on which she is built ; and so it will follow, that their religion is the true religion, or God's religion, and that the scriptures, which they make their rule, are his word.

(3) We may draw this further argument for the divine authority of the scriptures from what has been said, viz. that God has so fulfilled those things which are foretold in the scriptures....I have already observed, as I went along, how the prophecies of scripture were fulfilled : I shall now therefore single out but two instances of the fulfilment of scripture prophecy.

[1] One is in preserving his church from being ruined. I have just now shown what an evidence this is of the divine authority of the scriptures in itself considered : I now speak of it as a fulfilment of scripture prophecy. This is abundantly foretold and promised in the scriptures, as particularly in the text : There it is foretold, that other things shall fail, other kingdoms and monarchies which set themselves in opposition, should come to nothing : “ The moth should eat them up like a garment, and the worm should eat them like wool.” And so it has in fact come to pass. But it is here foretold, that God's covenant mercy to his church should con

tinue forever ; and so it hath hitherto proved, though now it
be so many ages since, and though the church has passed
through so many dangers. The same is promised, Isa. liv.
17.“ No weapon that is formed against thee, shall prosper ;
and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment,
thou shalt condemn." And again, Isa. xlix. 14, 15, 16. 6. But
Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath
forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that
she should not have compassion on the son of her womb ?
Yea, they may forget, but yet will I not forget thee. Behold, ,
I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands, thy walls are
continually before me." The same is promised again, in
Isa. lix. 21, and Isa. xliii. 1, 2, and Zech. xii. 2, 3. So Christ
promises the same, when he says, “ On this rock will I build
my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
Now if this be not from God, and the scriptures be not the
word of God, and the church of Christ, built on the founda-
tion of this word be not of God, how could the persons who
foretold this, know it ? For if the church were not of God, it
was a very unlikely thing ever to come to pass. For they
foretold the great opposition, and the great dangers, and also
foretold that other kingdoms should come to: nought, and
that the church should often be almost swallowed up, as it
were easy to show, and yet foretold that the church should re-
main. Now how could they foresee so unlikely a thing but
by divine inspiration?

[2] The other remarkable instance which I shall mention
of the fulfilment of scripture prophecy, is in fulfilling what is
foretold concerning Antichrist, a certain great opposer of
Christ and his kingdom. And the way that this Antichrist
should arise, is foretold, viz. not among the Heathen or those
nations that never professed Christianity ; but that he should
arise by the apostacy and falling away of the Christian church
into a corrupt state : 2. Thess. ii. 3. « For that day shall not
come, except there come a fel'ing away first, and that man
of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.”.....And it is proph-
esied, that this Antichrist, or man of sin, should be

that should set himself up in the temple or visible church of God


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