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portion as the lapse of ages might seem to weaken the argument derived from miracles long since performed, that very lapse serves only to strengthen the argument derived from the completion of prophecy.”
If these remarks be correct-if prophecy furnish an argument every way adapted to the popular mind, as being remarkably fitted to elicit interest and produce conviction, the inquiry then again returns, Why does not the evidence from prophecy receive more general attention? And if, indeed, we should, pause here, unable to give any answer, and only be able to listen to the responsive echo of our own question," Why ?” the facts in the case would remain the same, the subject would be none the less important because of the unaccountable neglect. But we think an answer in part, at least, is at hand.
First. The pulpit, which usually takes the lead in directing the attention of the Christian community, is in fault. It does not give this subject its just claims. Why it does not we do not know, unless it be that, in giving a prediction and its accomplishment, such minuteness and accuracy are required as calls for considerable labor; and, particularly in the case of those who never write sermons, quite an exertion of memory. If this is not the cause, and whatever may be, the fact is still the same. If the writer of this article should say that he has enjoyed a tolerable opportunity of knowing what topics are discussed in the pulpits of different denominations of Christians, and yet, from year to year, has scarcely heard this one brought forward, it is apprehended he would only speak the experience of thousands. It
may be observed, as a second reason why this subject has not taken a more general hold of the popular mind, that it has not been heretofore reduced to a sufficiently popular form. Mr. Keith tells us, "the idea of the propriety of such a publication was first sug. gested to his mind in consequence of a conversation with a person who disbelieved the truth of Christianity, but whose mind seemed to be considerably affected even by a slight allusion to the argument from prophecy. Having endeavored in vain,” says he, “ to obtain for his perusal any concise treatise on the prophecies, considered exclusively as a matter of EVIDENCE ; and having failed in soliciting others to undertake the work, the writer was induced to make the attempt."
The excellent work of Bishop Newton was indeed before the public-a work which probably would be preferred by those whose lives are devoted to theological studies; but that was too extensive to obtain a general circulation. Thousands who might be induced to read Mr. Keith would think, at least, that they had not time for reading so large a work as Bishop Newton's.
And here we may be allowed to remark, that most of the books which treat upon the evidences of Christianity are wanting in adaptation to the popular mind. They are generally too large, and embrace too wide a range. They are also too recondite, and too abstract in their reasonings : there is too much parade of learning -often quotations from the dead languages left untranslated; and the style is wanting in simplicity.
A writer in one of our public journals some time since observed, in speaking of tracts, that we wanted for tract writers such men, as to style, as Cobbett. We may apply this remark to those who write for common people on the evidences of Christianity. The simplicity, the energy, the directness, and the common sense terms of that powerful writer should characterize the style of such works. Though the book of Mr. Keith is reduced to about the right size, and though the style is tolerably well calculated to fasten his subject, still he has not been entirely successful in this particular: his sentences are sometimes too long, too intricate, and too much labored. The choice of subjects is very judicious.
The following is a list of those embraced :—Chapter first contains the introduction, embracing remarks on the importance of the subject-General view of the evidence--On the obscurity of prophecy–Nature of proof from prophecy-Antiquity of the Old Tes. tament Scriptures. Chapter second is on the prophecies concerning Christ, and the Christian religion, embracing the coming of the Messiah-Time of Christ's advent, &c.— The place of his birthHis character, &c.—The manner of his death--Nature of the Chris. tian religion-Its rejection by the Jews, &c.- Propagation and extent of Christianity, &c. Chapter third— The destruction of Je. rusalem. Chapter fourth--The destruction of Tyre. Chapter fifth is on the land of Judea and circumjacent countries; this embraces the ancient fertility of Judea, the cities of Judea, &c.— The countries, inhabitants, &c.- Partial exceptions from desolations, &c.--Sama. ria, Jerusalem, Ammon, Moab, Edom, and Idumea, Philistia, Gaza, Ashkelon, Ekron, Lebanon. The sixth chapter embraces Nineveh, Babylon, Tyre, and Egypt. The seventh, the Arabs-Slavery of the Africans--European colonies in Africa. The eighth chapter treats of the seven Churches of Asia. The ninth—Prophecy of the things noted in the Scriptures of truth, embracing the Macedonian empire-Alexander the Great-Kings of Syria and Egypt-Roman empire-Long.continued spiritual tyranny-and Turkish empire, together with some apposite concluding remarks.
We have given the table of contents entire, as it will give the reader who may not have seen the work a better view of the inte. resting topics embraced than we could otherwise impart. To furnish him with a specimen of the ability with which our author has treated his subject, we extract the following observations on the fate of Jerusalem, as announced by prophecy, and now fulfilled to the very letter. We must, however, remind him, that the predictions concerning the destruction of that devoted city, and their fulfilment, form a separate chapter, too long, however, to introduce here.
After speaking of the fulfilment of the prophecies concerning Samaria, our author proceeds to that of the capital of Judea :“But the predicted fate of Jerusalem has been more conspicuously displayed and more fully illustrated than that of the capital of the ten tribes of Israel. It formed the theme of prophecy from the death-bed of Jacob, Gen. xlix, 10; and as the seat of government of the children of Judah, the sceptre departed not from it till the Messiah appeared on the expiration of seventeen hundred years after the death of the patriarch, and till the period of its desolation predicted by Daniel had arrived; Dan. ix, 24. A destiny diametrically opposite to the former awaited it even for a longer duration,
and 'ereits greatness was gone, even at the very time when it was crowded with Jews from all quarters resorting to the feast, and when it was inhabited by a numerous population, dwelling in secu. rity and peace, its doom was denounced, that it was to be trodden down of the Gentiles till the time of the Gentiles should be fulfilled. The time of the Gentiles is not yet fulfilled, and Jerusalem is still trodden down of the Gentiles. The Jews have often attempted to recover it. No distance of space or of time can separate it from their affections: they perform their devotions with their faces toward it, as if it were the object of their worship as well as of their love; and although their desire to return be so strong, indelible, and innate, that every Jew in every generation counts himself an exile, yet they have never been able to rebuild their temple, nor to recover Jerusalem from the hands of the Gentiles. But greater power than that of a proscribed and exiled race has been added to their own in attempting to frustrate the counsel that professed to be of God. Julian, the emperor of the Romans, not only permitted but invited the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem and their temple, and promised to reestablish them in their paternal city. By that single act, more than by all his writings, he might have destroyed the credibility of the gospel, and restored his beloved, but deserted paganism. The zeal of the Jews was equal to his own; and the work was begun by laying again the foundations of the temple. In the space of three days Titus had formerly encompassed that city with a wall when it was crowded with his enemies; and instead of being obstructed, that great work, when it was confirmatory of an express prediction of Jesus, was completed with an astonishing celerity. And what could hinder the emperor of Rome from building a temple at Jerusalem when every Jew was zealous for the work. Nothing appeared against it, but a single sentence uttered some centuries before by one who had been crucified. If that word had been of man, would all the power of the monarch of the world have been thwarted in opposing it? And why did not Julian, with all his inveterate enmity and laborious opposition to Christianity, execute a work so easy and desirable? A heathen historian relates, that fearful balls of fire, bursting from the earth, sometimes burned the workmen, rendered the place inaccessible, and caused them to desist from the undertaking. The same narrative is attested by others. Chrysostom, who was a living witness, appealed to the existing state of the foundations, and to the universal testimony which was given to the fact. And an eminent modern traveler who visited, and minutely examined the spot, testifies, that there seems every reason for believing, that, in the reticulated remains still visible on the site of the temple, is seen a standing memorial of Julian's discomfiture.'-(Clarke's Travels, vol. ii, note at the end of the volume.) While destitute of this additional confirmation of its truth, the historical evidence was too strong even for the skepticism of Gibbon altogether to gainsay, and brought him to the acknowledgment that such authority must astonish an incredulous mind! Even independent of the miraculous interposition, the fulfilment is the same. The attempt was made avowedly, and it was abandoned without any apparent cause. It was never accomplished, and the prophecy stands fulfilled. But, even if the attempt of Julian had never been made, the truth of the prophecy itself is unassailable. The Jews bave never been reinstated in Judea. Jerusalem has ever been trodden down of the Gentiles. The edict of Adrian was renewed by the successors of Julian; and no Jews could approach unto Jerusalem but by bribery or stealth. It was a spot unlawful for them to touch. In the crusades all the power of Europe was employed to rescue Jerusalem from the heathen, but equally in vain. It has been trodden down for nearly eighteen centuries by its successive masters-by Romans, Grecians, Persians, Saracens, Mamelukes, Turks, Christians; and again by the worst of rulers, the Arabs and the Turks. And could any thing be more improbable to have happened, or more impossible to have been foreseen by man, than that any people should be banished from their own capital and country, and remain expelled and expatriated for nearly eighteen hundred years? Did the same fate ever befall any nation, though no prophecy existed respecting it? Is there any doctrine in Scripture so hard to be believed as was this fact at the period of its prediction ? And even with the example of the Jews before us, is it likely, or is it credible, or who can foretell that the present inhabitants of any country upon earth shall be banished into all nations—retain their distinctive character--meet with an unparalleled fate continue a people—without a government, and without a country-and remain for an indefinite period, exceeding seventeen hundred years, till the fulfilment of a prescribed event, which has yet to be accomplished ? Must not the knowledge of such truths be derived from that prescience alone which scans alike the will and the ways of mortals, the actions of future nations, and the history of the latest generations ?”
We have only to remark, in concluding, that Mr. Keith may sometimes be a little in fault in seeking a minute and particular fulfilment of those prophetic passages which were, perhaps, intended as mere general announcements. Still, he often succeeds in showing, that the declarations of the prophets were not only fulfilled as to their general scope, but that the scenes were so presented to the vision of the inspired seer that he saw them in their details, and wrote as though employed on a history, not only of past events, but events of which he had been an eye-witness.
To those who have not perused this book, and especially to those who are not particulary conversant with the characters and writings of the prophets, we would say, purchase this volume, and at once form an acquaintance with this most deeply interesting and highly important subject, and also with those singular and holy men employed by God in unveiling the future to the view of the world. If there is aught that is specially interesting in biography, we shall find it here. “ The Hebrew prophets present a succession of men at once the most singular and the most venerable that ever appeared in so long a line of time in the world. They had special communion with God; they laid open the scenes of the future; they were ministers of the promised Messiah; they upheld religion and piety in the worst times, and at the greatest risks, and their disinterestedness was only equalled by their patriotism. The houses in which they lived were generally mean, and of their own building. Their food was chietly pottage of herbs, unless when the people sent them
some better provision, as bread, parched corn, honey, dried fruits, and the like. Their dress was plain and coarse, tied about with a leathern girdle. Riches were no temptation to them : therefore Elisha not only refused Naaman's presents, but punished his servant Gehazi very severely for clandestinely obtaining a small share of them. To succeeding ages they have left a character consecrated by holiness, and 'visions of the Holy One,' which still unveil to the church his most glorious attributes and his deepest designs. They flourished in a continued succession of more than a thousand years, reckoning from Moses to Malachi, all co-operating in the same designs, uniting in one spirit to deliver the same doctrines, and to predict the same blessings to mankind. Their claims to a divine commission were demonstrated by the intrinsic excellency of their doctrine, by the disinterested zeal and undaunted courage with which they prosecuted their ministry, and persevered in their great designs, and by the unimpeachable integrity of their conduct. But even those credentials of a divine commission were still further confirmed by the exercise of miraculous powers, and by the completion of many less important predictions which they uttered. These illustrious personages were likewise as well the types as the harbingers of that greater Prophet whom they foretold, and in the general outline of their character, as well as in particular events of their lives, they prefigured to the Jews the future Teacher of mankind.”
Such were the Hebrew prophets. The study of their characters combines pleasure and profit in a degree only equalled by that derived from a knowledge of their most singularly faithful deli. neations of coming events—events which were, when predicted, shrouded with the dark, and, to mere uninspired mortals, impene. trable veil of futurity.
From the (London) Wesleyan Methodist Magazine.
present State of the Wesleyan Methodist Societies throughout the World. By
That we' have to commence the critical labors of the year by the examination and announcement of this important volume, we cannot but regard as an auspicious circumstance. We may say, in the very outset, that unpretending as is its character, it is nevertheless a vo. lume which only Mr. Jackson could have written. Peculiar qualifica. tions were required for it, and those peculiar qualifications were all found in him. Accurate and extensive acquaintance with the early history of Methodism, and with the lives of its venerated founder and his truly illustrious brother; a clear insight into that admirable scheme of theology which the Methodists believe is contained in the sacred Scriptures, and which they likewise believe it pleased God to employ Mr. Wesley in reviving, when unhappily it had been too long and too much overlooked ; that well-disciplined state of mind by which the stores of information which years of untiring industry had accu