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such a great increase of learning, to prepare for what he designs to accomplish for his church in the approaching days of its prosperity. Thus the wealth of the wicked is laid up for the just, Prov. 13: 22.
IMPROVEMENT OF PAST EVENTS.
Having now shown how the work of redemption has been carried on from the fall of man to the present time, before I proceed any further, I would make some APPLICATION.
I. From what has been said, we may see great evidence of the truth of the Christian religion, and that the Scriptures are the word of God. Three arguments especially may be deduced.
1. It may be argued from that violent and inveterate opposition there has always appeared of the wickedness of the world against this religion. The religion that the church of God has professed from the first, though the dispensations have changed, has always, as to its essentials, been the same. The church of God, from the beginning, has been one society. The christian church is manifestly the same society continued that was before Christ came; grafted on the same root, built on the same foundation. The revelation on which both have dependcd, is essentially the same: for as the christian church is built on the holy Scriptures, so was the Jewish church. Though now the Scriptures are enlarged by the addition of the New Testament, still it is essentially the same revelation with that which was given in the Old Testament, only the subjects of divine revelation are now more clearly revealed in the New Testament than they were in the Old. The sum of both the Old Testament and New, is Christ and his redemption. The ground-work of the religion of the church of God, both before and since Christ has appeared, is the same great scheme of redemption by the Son of God. The church that was before the Israelitish church, was still substantially the same, and professed and practiced essentially the same religion. Thus it was from Noah to Abraham, and thus it was before the flood; for the church then was built on ihe foundation of the revelations of Christ given to Adam and Enoch. So that the church of God has always been built on those divine revelations, which have been always essentially the same, and they are summarily com. prehended in the holy Scriptures. Ever since Moses' time the church has been built on the Scriptures themselves.
So that the opposition which has been made to the church of God in all ages, has always been against the same religion and the same revelation, which is a strong argument of their truth. Contraries are well argued one from another. We
well and safely argue, that a thing is good according to the degree of opposition in which it stands to evil, or the degree in which evil opposes and is hostile to it. Now it is evident by what we have seen, concerning the church of Christ and that holy religion of Jesus Christ which it has professed, that the
wickedness of the world has had a perpetual hatred to it, and made most violent opposition against it.
That the church of God has always met with great opposition in the world, none can deny. This is plain by profane history as far as that reaches; and before that, divine history testifies the same. The church of God, its religion and worship, began to be opposed in the time of Cain and Abel; and was so when the earth was filled with violence in Noah's time. After this, how was the church op posed in Egypt! and how was Israel always hated by the nations round about. Jer. 12 : 9. " Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her.” And after the Babylonish captivity, how was this church persecuted by Antiochus Epiphanes and others! How was Christ persecuted when he was on earth! and how were the apostles and other Christians persecuted by the Jews, before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans! How violent were that people against the church! and how dreadful was the opposition of the Heathen world against the Christian church after this before Constantine ! How great was their spite against the true religion! And since that, how yet more violent, and spiteful, and cruel has been the opposition of Antichrist against the church!
There is no other such instance of opposition. History gives no account of any other body of mer that have been so hated, and so maliciously and insatiably pursued and persecuted, nor any thing like it. No other religion ever was so maligned age after age. The nations of other professions have enjoyed their religions in peace and quietness, however they have differed from their neighbors. One
nation has worshiped one sort of gods, and others another, without molesting or disturbing one another about it. All the spite and opposition have been against this religion of the church of Christ. All other religions have seemed to show an implacable enmity to this; and men have seemed to have, from one age to another, such a spite against it, that they have seemed as though they could never satisfy their cruelty. They put their inventions upon the rack, to find out torments that should be cruel enough; and yet, after all, never seemed to be satisfied. Their thirst has never been satisfied with blood.
That this religion, and these Scriptures, have always been malignantly opposed in the world, none will doubt. The only question that remains is, What it is that has made this opposition ? Whe. ther it be the wickedness and corruption of the world, or not, that has done this? But of this there can be no greater doubt than of the other, if we consider how causeless this cruelty has always been, who the opposers have been, and the manner in which they have opposed. The opposition has chiefly been from Heathenism and Popery; which are the fruits of the blindness, corruption, and wickedness of men, as the very •Deists themselves confess. The light of nature shows that the religion of Heathens, consisting in the worship of idols, and sacrificing their children to them, and in obscene and abominable rites and ceremonies, is wickedness. And the superstitions, idolatries, and usurpations of the church of Rome are no less contrary to the light of nature. Thus it
that this opposition to the church of God has been made
by wicked men. And with regard to the opposition of the Jews in Christ's and the apostles' time, it was in a most corrupt time of that nation, when the people were generally become exceedingly wicked, as some of the Jewish writers themselves, Josephus and others, who lived about that time, expressly declare. And that it has been mere' wickedness that has made this opposition, is manifest from the manner of opposition; the extreme violence, injustice and cruelty with which the church of God has been treated. It seems to show the agency of malignant infernal spirits.
Now what reason can be assigned why the corruption and wickedness of the world should be so implacably set against this religion of Jesus Christ, and against the Scriptures, but that they are contrary to wickedness, and consequently good and holy? Why should the enemies of Christ, for so many thousand years, manifest such a mortad hatred to this religion, but that it is the cause of God? If the Scriptures be not the Word of God, and the religion of the church of Christ be not the true religion, then it must follow that it is a most wicked religion-nothing but lies and abominable delusions, invented by the enemies of God. And if 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 opposition and dangers. 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 Redemption.