Dissertations on the Prophecies: Which Have Remarkably Been Fulfilled and at This Time Are Fulfilling in the World (Classic Reprint)by Thomas Newton
One of the strongest evidences for the truth of revealed religion is that series of prophecies which is preserved in the Old and New Testament; and a greater service perhaps could not be done to Christianity than to lay together the
Excerpt from Dissertations on the Prophecies: Which Have Remarkably Been Fulfilled and at This Time Are Fulfilling in the World
One of the strongest evidences for the truth of revealed religion is that series of prophecies which is preserved in the Old and New Testament; and a greater service perhaps could not be done to Christianity than to lay together the several predictions of Scripture with their completions, to show how particularly things have been foretold, and how exactly fulfilled. A work of this kind was desired by the Lord Bacon in his Advancement of Learning, and he entitleth it The History of Prophecy, and therein would have 'every prophecy of the Scripture be sorted with the event fulfilling the same throughout the ages of the world, both for the better confirmation of faith,' as he saith, 'and for the better illumination of the church, touching those parts of prophecies which are yet unfulfilled: allowing nevertheless that latitude which is agreeable and familiar unto divine prophecies, being of the nature of the Author, with whom a thousand years are but as one day, and therefore they are not fulfilled punctually at once, but have springing and germinant accomplishment throughout many ages, though the heighth or fulness of them may refer to some one age.'
Such a work would indeed be a wonderful confirmation of our faith, it being the prerogative of God alone, or of those who are commissioned by him, certainly to foretel future events; and the consequence is so plain and necessary, from the believing of prophecies to the believing of revelation, that an infidel hath no way of evading the conclusion but by denying the premises. But why should it be thought at all incredible for God upon special occasions to foretel future events? or how could a divine revelation (only supposing that there was a divine revelation) be better attested and confirmed than by prophecies? It is certain that God hath perfect and most exact knowledge of futurity, and foresees all things to come as well as comprehends every thing past or present. It is certain too that as he knoweth them perfectly himself, so he may reveal them to others in what degrees and proportions he pleaseth; and that he actually hath revealed them in several instances, no man can deny, every man must acknowledge, who compares the several prophecies of Scripture with the events fulfilling the same.
But so many ages have passed since the spirit of prophecy hath ceased in the world, that several persons are apt to imagine, that no such thing ever existed, and that what we call predictions are only histories written, after the events had happened, in a prophetic style and manner: which is easily said indeed, but hath never been proved, nor is there one tolerable argument to prove it. On the contrary, there are all the proofs and authorities, which can be had in cases of this nature, that the prophets prophesied in such and such ages, and the events happened afterwards in such and such ages: and you have as much reason to believe these, as you have to believe any ancient matters of fact whatever; and by the same rule that you deny these, you might as well deny the credibility of all ancient history.
But such is the temper and genius of infidels; "they understand neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm," (1 Tim. i. 7;) and so betray their own ignorance, rather than acknowledge the force of divine truth; and assert things without the least shadow or colour of proof, rather than admit the strongest proofs of divine revelation.
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