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evidence. For it is Mofes, who records this prophecy; and what end could he propose to answer by fo doing, as he was of the tribe of Levi. If he did this out of favour to Judah, why was he not afraid of difobliging, not only Reuben, but Simeon and Levi? -Or, what reafon can be affigned why he did not rather chufe to make the prophecy fall on the tribe of Levi, fince that would have added weight to his authority? Nay, what gratification could this be even to Judah, fince that tribe was then excluded, and had no share in it till a thousand years afterwards? When all these circumstances fhall be duly confidered, this prophecy has moft affuredly all the evidence of the spirit of God, that can reafonably be defired.
In the bleffings which Jacob conferred on his posterity, he points. out the feveral parts that should be allotted to each of his children in the land of Canaan, as if he himself had been in the actual poffeffion of them: To one he affigns the fea-coast; to another the corn-country, and to a third the vineyards, in the very fame manner as they were fome hundred of years afterwards divided amongst them. Now, how could this be, but by the all-wife direction of the fovereign Disposer of all things?—But when we read, that Jacob, in bleffing the children of Jofeph, preferred Ephraim, the younger fon, before Manaffes the elder; and that when he was warned thereof with fome concern by the father, his anfwer was; "I know it, my fon, I know it; he alfo fhall. "become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his "younger brother will be greater than he, and his feed fhall be"come a multitude of nations." What motive could induce Jacob to fay fo, or Mofes to record fuch prophecy?.
Again, Mofes is continually reminding the people of the conqueft of Canaan, according to the promise, and therefore this phecy muft needs be well known among them. Moreover, Mofes portions out the land, as if they had been in actual poffeffion ;;
nominates proper arbitrators to make the just partitions for them; prefcribeth laws for their establishment, and the regulation of their future conduct; lays them down a plan, or platform, of their feveral cities, fuburbs, and houses which they fhould erect; injoineth them the tilling of their grounds; their refting on the feventh year, their public feftivals and other folemnities; and appointeth cities of refuge for such as should be guilty of cafual man-flaughters. This was dictating as if the country was already in their hands. And yet what likelihood was there that they should ever be masters of that land, when they burned bricks in Egypt, or when they lingered in the wilderness? Or, indeed, at the return of the men that were fent to spy out the land, when they reported nothing but the beauty of the place and the intrepidity of the people?- Suppose a man should at this day portion out France or Spain, and affign to every one of us our refpective share; would he not expofe himself to the utmost contempt, and become the object of derifion? And yet Mofes himself never entered into that land, and those who waited for it died in the way. At the time appointed, however, the Canaanites gave place. Now, is it reafonable to suppose, that the people would ever have followed Mofes, or that Mofes, who might have been fo well provided for in the court of Pharaoh, would ever have attempted to lead them through fuch a long series of wayward diftreffes, had they not been wellaffured that the promise came from God himself? But Mofes proceedeth still further; for as he forefaw that they would become masters of Canaan, fo he foreknew that they would offend the Almighty, by ferving Baal after they were in poffeffion. He forefaw that they would ungratefully forget their God; and that God, however, even in his wrath, would remember mercy. He forefaw that they would be dispersed, and scattered over the face of the whole earth, and be trodden under the feet of ftrangers. In fhort, he forefaw that God would call the Gentiles into his church in Tz their
their stead; yea, and all these future events were revealed to him fo clearly, that he enumerates them in his fong, which he earnestly desired might be handed down to latest pofterity, as a witness against them, and a vindication of his own conduct. Though from the top of mount Nebo he could take a furvey of the land of Canaan, and give fuch a lively defcription of it; yet from what mountain could he difcern the intentions of mens hearts, who were yet unborn? In what book could he meet with fuch fecrets as lay deep in the womb of time, but in the book of life; or, in other terms, but by divine revelation? Let us add to this, that what was fo foretold by Mofes was punctually performed by Joshua, without the leaft addition or diminution; which is a very ftrong prefumption that Joshua did not fo much obey Mofes, as the word of God, which was fpoken by him.
The curfe which Joshua pronounced against the man that should build Jericho is too remarkable to be paffed over in filence.— He shall lay the foundation thereof in his first-born, and in his "youngest son shall he fet up the gates of it.”—That is to fay he shall be punished with the fudden death of his children."Hiel of Bethel built up Jericho, he laid the foundation thereof in "Abiram his first-born, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest "fon Segub. And the book of Kings further faith, it was ac"cording to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Joshua,. "the fon of Nun."
In the books of Joshua and Judges, we find the accomplishment of thofe events which were foretold by Mofes, and the promises,. as well as denunciations, in every refpect fulfilled.-For, according as the people of Ifrael either turned away from, or fought the Lord, God raised up tyrants in Canaan, or deliverers in Ifrael. And the books of Samuel, Kings, and the prophets, were either predictions of what was to happen hereafter, or the effects of prophecies actually past. In short, during the whole course of facred
faered hiftory, there is no feafon to be found without both prophet and prophecy. And were we but better acquainted with the perfons, places, and state of affairs at that time, than we are, we fhould have a more lively and adequate idea of these things; and Lince these helps are wanting, we need not wonder, that the generality of mankind read those remarkable transactions with so much remiffness and difregard.
WE shall proceed to another remarkable prophecy, from whence we hope you may frame to yourselves fome conclufions of the utmost importance. When Jeroboam, the fon of Nebat made the ten tribes fall away from Rehoboam, the fon of Solomon, that they fhould have no occafion to return to their allegiance, by reforting to Jerufalem to worship there, he reared an altar in Beth-el, contrary to the law of God. "And behold, there came a man of God out "of Judah, by the word of the Lord unto Beth-el and Jeroboam "stood by the altar to burn incenfe. And he cried against the "altar in the word of the Lord, and faid, O altar, altar, thus faith "the Lord, behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David,
Jofiah by name, and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and mens bones fhall be "burnt upon thee. And he gave a fign the fame day, faying, this "is the fign which the Lord hath spoken; behold, the altar fhall` ❝ be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out. And' "it came to pass when king Jeroboam heard the faying of the man ❝of God, which had cried against the altar in Beth-el, that he put "forth his hand from the altar, faying lay hold on him. And his "hand which he put forth against him, dried up, fo that he could "not pull it in. again to him. The altar alfo was rent, and the "ashes poured out from the altar, according to the fign which the "man of God had given by the word of the Lord." This pro
phecy was fulfilled in each individual article by Jofiah three hundred years afterwards. When Jofiah, according to our history had fo done, he faw a certain tomb, and asked whose it was, intending to have burnt the bones of him that lay there, as he had done those of the other priefts in Beth-el; but when he was informed, that it was the tomb of the man of God, who had foretold thofe things fo many years ago, he forbad any man to touch it. Befides, as this prophecy was written fome time before the coming of Jofiah, it could be no forgery; for who could have been fo fortunate, as to hit upon his name? And if it was written after, and devised upon the event, how came the faid tomb to be made at the fame inftant? Or, was there no eafier method to be found? Would it not have been fufficient to have faid Jofiah fhall come, &c. without inention of the death of the man of God, or of his meeting with the lion, or of his converfation with the prophet of Samaria? Would not what is here related have difcovered the fraud had there been one? And would not the Samaritans have been able to trace the tomb from its original? But this prophecy is so very punctual in all refpects, both as to name, place, and circumftance, that the denial of its divine author would be absurd to the last degree. And as a further confirmation of the purity of the faid fcripture, we find it recorded, that this very man of God was flain by a lion, for turning back to eat with the prophet of Samaria, contrary to the word of the Lord: now, how very improbable is it, that he should be the author of a forgery, who to tell the truth, did not fcruple to dif honour the memory of fo great a prophet, and whose fincerity, in fuch a variety of circumstances, was so very apparent?
Ifaiah, in thofe events which he foretelleth concerning the kingdom of the Meffiah, and the calling of the Gentiles, feems rather an Evangelift than a Prophet. And when he threatneth Jerusalem with the captivity of Babylon, or confoles them with the hopes of their deliverance, he utters his predictions, as one, who had been