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Infani fapiens nomen ferat, æquus iniqui,
Ultrà quàm satis est, virtutem fi petat ipfam [f].

The issue of his general scheme was what might easily be foreseen: and of his arguments, I shall only say thus much, That the Romish writers themselves, for whofe use they might seem to be invented, though they continue to object his name to us, are too wise to venture the stress of their caufe upon them.

To conclude this head of authority, let me just observe,

3. In the last place, that, if any regard be due to it, the advantage will clearly bę on our side. For, though the name of Grotius made an impression on some Protestant interpreters of scripture, not inconfiderable for their parts and learning, yet, when the grounds of his opinion came to be examined, the most and the ableft of them have generally declared against him : and among these, let it be no offence to

[] Hor, 1 Ep. vii 15.

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the manes of this great [8] man, if we particularly mention two, and prefer even to his authority that of Newton and Clarke; the one, the ablest philosopher, and the other, the coolest and most rational divine, that any age has produced.

IV:“ Another; and fourth, prejudice may have been entertained on this subject from observing that many curious persons, who have employed themseves much and long in the study of the prophecies, especially of those concerning Antichrist, have been led, (on their authority, as they pretend) to fix the time and other circumstances of great events, which yet have not fallen out -agreeable to their expectations. Whence it is inferred, that no folid information can

[&] Grotius was more than a great, he was a falbionable mat. No wonder therefore that; under the ins fluence of two such prejudices, his opinions should find followers; which yet they would scarce have found with ûs, if the political state of that tinie had not been third prejudice in their favour. See the Bishop of Gloucester's Sermon, On the rise of Antichrift. Vola II.

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be derived from the prophecies, and that all our reasonings upon them are no bettet than fancy and conjecture.

Now, though the indiseretion of these curious persons, who would needs prophecy when their business was only to interpret [b], be injurious enough to their own character, I do not see how it affects that of the prophets ; unless whatever may be abused (as every thing may) be answerable for the abuses made of it. But to reply more directly to this charge.

The ill fuccess of men in explaining prophecies of events, not yet come to pass, can in no degree discredit those prophecies, unless it be essential to this sort of revelation to be so clearly proposed, as that it may and must be perfectly understood, before those events happen; the contrary of which I have already shewn, in a preceding

[1] “ The folly of interpreters has been, to fore* tel times and things by this prophecy, as if God “ designed to make them prophets." Sir I. Nesteny p. 251.

difcourse.

discourse. The very idea of prophecy is that of a light shining in a dark place: and a place is not dark, if we have light enough to discern distinctly and fully every remote corner of it. But the thing speaks itself. For to what end is the prediction delivered in obfcure and enigmatic terms, if the purpose of the inspirer was that the subject of the prediction should be immediately, and in all its circumstances, precisely apprehended? Why, then, is any distinction made between Prophecy, and History? The mode of writing clearly demonstrates, that something, for a time at least, was meant to be concealed from us : and then, if men will attempt, out of season, to penetrate this mystery, what wonder if mistake be the fruit of their presumption ?

Again: the declared end of prophecy is, not that we may be enabled by it to fore. fee things before they come to pass, but when they come to pass, that we may acknowledge the divine author of the prophecy[]. What dishonour, then, can it God gave this, and the prophecies of the Old

be to the prophet, that he is not perfectly understood, till we be expected to make use of his information ? Nay, in the cafe before us, it would dishonour him, if he was. For, of the prophecies concerning Antichrift we are expressly told, that they are put up and sealed, till the time of the end; that is, till Time brings the key along with him. So that, if men could open them, by their own wit and fagacity only, they would give the lye to the prophet. And thus we see, that the very mistakes of interpreters attempting prematurely to unfold the sealed prophecies concerning Antichrift, far from fubverting, fupport the credit of those prophecies [k].

“ Testament, not to gratify men's curiosities by ena& bling them to foreknow things; but that, after they á were fulfilled, they might be interpreted by the

event; and his own providence, not the intepreter's, “ be then manifested thereby to the world.” Sir I. Neuton, p. 251.

[X] “ 'Tis a part of this prophecy, that it should not t be underfood before she last age of the world; and

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