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III. That he has good reasons for foretelling events before he brings them to pass.

I. I am to show that God foretells, in his word, many events before they come to pass. This appears from the text, and from the whole history of his conduct from the beginning to the end of the Bible. Many of the great and important events which have come to pass, we find foretold in the sacred scriptures. God foretold the incarnation of Christ, four thousand years before he became incarnate. He foretold the general flood, an hundred and twenty years before it swept mankind from the earth. He foretold the fate of Shem, Ham and Japheth, long before their dispersion at the building of Babel. He predicted that the Amorites should be destroyed and that the seed of Abraham should possess their land, four hundred years before these events took place. He foretold the fortune of Joseph, and of all Jacob's family, long before either of them went down to Egypt. He foretold to Moses, that he should actually lead Israel out of Egypt, and that the people should worship in that mountain where he was then speaking before the event came to pass. He foretold the character, conduct and condition of Ishmael and his posterity, for ages to come. He foretold the dispersion of the Jews, his own people, hundreds of years before they were actually scattered all over the earth. He foretold the ruin of Nineveh and Babylon, sometime before they were destroyed. He foretold the rising and falling of the four great empires, before they rose and fell. He foretold the time and place of Christ's birth, the manner of his life, and the most remarkable circumstances of his death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven, before he appeared in the flesh. He foretold a general apostacy from Christianity. And last of all, he foretold the corruption and ruin of the seven churches of Asia, the rise and fall of the Mohammedans, the rise and fall of the man of sin, the commencement and duration of the millennium, 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 foretells. 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 Babylonish, 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 foretell any events whatever. We cannot conceive any cause which should constrain him to foretell any events which he did not choose should exist. And we cannot conceive that he should foretell even such events as he designed should take place, unless he chose to foretell 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 foretell. 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 foretell events which he did not choose should exist, and which he did not choose to foretell, 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 chose that all the events he has foretold should exist, and since he chose to foretell 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 always in one mind, and none can turn him. He never did, and never will alter any

of his determinations. He has never foretold any event but what he has determined to bring to pass; and therefore we may be certain that he fulfils, from time to time, every event which he has foretold in his word.

3. God has foretold nothing but what his own glory requires

him to fulfil. As he has foreordained nothing but what he intends shall promote his own glory, so he has foretold 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 designs and operations. If the power of men resist his designs, he can break their power. If the hearts of men resist his designs, he can change their hearts. If 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 no avail to prevent him from bringing about the events which he has designed and predicted to bring about. 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 foretell 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 foretell 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 in 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 had 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 for 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. I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I showed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass. Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and ihy 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 showed it thee; lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done ther, 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 this 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 was concerned in causing those events to take place. And this is one very important reason, why God has foretold so many future events in his word.

2. God's foretelling and bringing to pass some events, demonstrates the truth of his bringing all other events to pass, which he has not predicted. For the events which he has predicted stand inseparably connected with all the other events which he has not predicted. God's predicting the death and crucifixion of Christ four thousand years before Christ came, suffered and died, and bringing these events to pass, stood connected with all other events which took place in every part of the world during that period. If God had not governed all events from Adam to Christ, he could not have brought about the death of Christ. He must have brought into being all the men that existed from Adam to Christ, and governed all their thoughts, words and actions, in order to prepare the way for the existence of Judas, Pontius Pilate, and of all others who were concerned in his crucifixion. And since God has foretold a multitude of events which reach from the crucifixion of Christ to the end of the world, he has set his hand and seal to all those events; which will demonstrate that he was concerned in bringing them to pass, after they have actually taken place. And, since all other events, from the crucifixion of Christ to the end of the world, stand inseparably connected with the events foretold; the final accomplishment of all divine predictions must necessarily de

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