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Chriftian Church, the extraordinary Gifts which were bestowed on
An Efay concerning Inspiration, taken from Doctor
What Dr. Powe! has faid in his difcourfe intitled The Nature
An Efay concerning the Unity of Senfe: to fhew that no
This is prefixed to Dr. Benfon's Paraphrafe on St. Paul's Epiftles.
rally applied to Chrift, might more fitly be applied to other Matters: other Enemies of the Chriftian name, in the first ages of the Church, ftrongly objected to the pertinency of adducing the Old Testament Prophecies, as proofs that Jefus of Nazareth was the Meffiah.
On the other hand, fome of the ancient Fathers (not content with fhewing that a great many prophecies refpected the Meffiah, and received a direct and full accomplishment in the Perfon of Jefus of Nazareth) maintained that almost all the predictions and hiftorical Events mentioned in the Old Teftament, had an indirect and typical relation to his advent, character, or kingdom.
Grotius is faid (though the fact may be questioned) to have been the firft Interpreter of Scripture who diftinctly fhewed that the greatest part of the Prophecies of the Old Teftament had a double fenfe, and have received a double accomplishment. He maintained that the Predictions, even of the Evangelical Prophet Ifaiah, related, in their primary and literal fenfe, to the times and circumftances of the Jewish People, but that they refpected the Meffiah in a fecondary and allegorical Senfe. Limborch, in his Commentary on the Acts of the Apoftles, accedes to the Opinion of Grotius in thefe words-Recte à doctiffimis interpretibus obfervatum eft, pautiffima effe apud Prophetas vaticinia, quæ directè et fenfu primo de Domino Jetu loquuntur; fed plerifque duplicem ineffe fenfum, literalem unum, olim in typo imperfecte, alterum myfticum, in Domino Jefu plenè et perfecte impletum.
Father Baltus, a Jefuit, in the Year 1737, published his Defense des Propheties de la Religion Chretienne: in this work he purpofely examines and refutes the Opinion of Grotius at great length; and fhews that the most ancient Fathers of the Church, as Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Origen, &c. never thought of interpreting the Prophecies of the Old Teftament in a double Senfe; but applied them in their literal meaning to the Meffiah. Whiston, in his Sermons preached at Boyle's Lecture in 1707, had fupported the fame fentiment before Baltus: he ftrongly contended that "the Prophecies "of the Old Teftament at all appertaining to the Meffiah, particu"larly thofe which are quoted as Teftimonies and Arguments in "the New Teftament, do properly and folely belong to the Meffiah, "and did not at all concern any other perfon." In 1710, Archdeacon Clagget animadverted on this notion of Whiston, and undertook the Vindication of thofe Chriftian Commentators who had explained fome prophecies concerning the Meffiah as not folely relating to him, in a Treatife intituled Truth defended and Boldness in Error rebuked.
In 1724, Collins publifhed a Difcourfe on the Grounds and Reafons of the Chriftian Religion, in which he revived the Objections of Fauftus, Origen, Celfus, and fuch other early writers against Chriftianity, as had endeavoured to prove that the Prophecies of the Old Teftament had no direct relation to Jefus Chrift. I refer the Reader to Leland's View of the Deistical Writers, and to Fabricius' Lux Evangelica, for an Account of the feveral Answers which were pub
lifhed to this, and to another work of the fame Author, intitled, The Scheme of literal Prophecy confidered. Bishop Warburton alfo, in the fixth Book of the Divine Legation of Mofes, has anfwered what Collins had objected against a second Senfe of Prophecy. Laftly, Doctor Fortin, not to mention fome learned Authors who are ftill alive, and who have written very ably on Prophecy, has given us fome very judicious Observations, both concerning Prophecy in general, and concerning a double Sense of fome Prophecies, in the firft Volume of his Remarks on EccleLaftical History.
AS DELIVERED IN THE
THE little fatisfaction and confiftency that is to be found in moft of the fyftems of divinity I have met with, made me betake myfelf to the fole reading of the fcripture (to which they all appeal) for the understanding the Chriftian religion.
What from thence, by an attentive and unbiaffed fearch I have received, Reader, I here deliver to thee.
If by this my labour thou receiveft any light or confirmation in the truth, join with me in thanks to the Father of lights for his condefcenfion to our understandings.
If, upon a fair and unprejudiced examination, thou findeft I have mistaken the fenfe and tenor of the gospel, I beseech thee, as a true Chriftian, in the spirit of the gospel (which is that of charity) and in the words of fobriety, fet me right in the doctrine of falvation..
reads the New
obvious to that the doctrine of redemption, and confequently of the gospel, is founded upon the fuppofition of Adam's fall. To understand therefore what we are reftored to by Jefus Chrift, we must confider what the fcripture fhews we loft by Adam. This I thought worthy of a diligent and unbiaffed fearch: fince I found the two extremes, that men run into on this point, either on the one hand fhook the foundations of all religion, or on the other made Chriftianity almoft nothing. For whilft fome men would have all Adam's pofterity doomed to eternal infinite punishment, for the tranfgreffion of Adam, whom millions had never heard of, and no one had authorized