« Prev SECT. XVII. The same proved also from predictions. Next »

SECT. XVII. The same proved also from predictions.

THERE is another argument to prove the providence of God, very like to this of miracles, and no less powerful, drawn from the foretelling of future events, and was very often and very expressly done amongst the Hebrews; such as the man’s being childless who should rebuild Jericho;148148   Compare Joshua vi. 26. with 1 Kings xvi. 34. the destroying the altar of Bethel, by king Josiah by name, above three hundred years before it came to pass:149149   CCCLXI. as Josephus thinks, in his ancient history, book x. chap. 3. so also Isaiah foretold the very name and principal acts of Cyrus;150150   Chap. xxxvii. xxxviii. For the fulfilling, see chap. xxxix. and Eusebius, book ix. chap. 39. of his Preparat. brings a testimony out of Eupolemus, both of the prophecy, and the fulfilling of it. and Jeremiah the event of the siege of Jerusalem, after it was surrounded by the Chaldeans; and Daniel the translation of the empire from the Assyrians to the Medes and Persians,151151   Daniel, chap. ii. 32, 39. v. 28. vii. 5. viii. 3, 20. x. 20. xi. 2. and from them to Alexander of Macedon,152152   In the fore-cited chap. ii. 32. and 39. vii. 6. viii. 5, 6, 7, 8, 21. x. 20. xi. 3, 4. whose successors to part of his kingdom were to be the posterity of Lagus and Seleucus:153153   Chap. ii. 33, 40. vii. 7, 19, 23, 24. viii. 22. xi. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. and what evils the Hebrews should undergo from all these, particularly the famous Antiochus;154154   Chap. vii. 8, 11, 20, 24, 25. viii. 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 23, 24, 25, 26. xi. 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31. 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44. 45. xii. 1, 2, 3, 11. Josephus explains these places as we do, book x. chap. 12.; and book xii. chap. 11.; and book i. chap. 1. of his Jewish war. Chrysostom, ii. against the Jews, making use of the testimony of Josephus, and Polychronius, and other Greek writers. so very plainly, that Porphyry,155155   See Jerom upon Daniel, throughout. 67who compared the Grecian histories, extant in his time, with the prophecies, could not make it out any other way, but by saying, that the things ascribed to Daniel were wrote after they came to pass; which is the same as if any one should deny, that what is now extant under the name of Virgil, and was always thought to be his, was writ by him in Augustus’s time. For there was never any more doubt amongst the Hebrews concerning the one, than there was amongst the Romans concerning the other. To all which may be added, the many and express oracles amongst those of Mexico and Peru, which foretold the coming of the Spaniards into those parts, and the calamities that would follow.156156   (Garcilazzo de la Vega) Inca, Acosta, Herrera, and others, relate strange things of these oracles. See Peter Cieza, tome ii. of the Indian affairs.

And by other arguments..157157   What is here said, does not so much prove the existence of God, who takes care of the affairs of men; as that there are present with them some invisible beings, more powerful than men, which whoever believes, will easily believe that there is a God. For there is no necessity that all things, which come to pass different from the common course of nature, should be ascribed to God himself; as if whatever cannot be effected by men, or the power of corporeal things, must be done by Him himself. Le Clerc.

To this may be referred very many dreams, exactly agreeing with the events; which, both as to themselves and their causes, were so utterly unknown to those that dreamed them, that they cannot without great shamelessness be attributed to natural causes: of which kind the best writers afford us eminent examples. Tertullian158158   Chap. xlvi. where he relates the remarkable dreams of Astyages, of Philip of Macedon, of the Himerræan woman, of Laodice, of Mithridates, of Illyrian Balaris, of M. Tully, of Artorius, of the daughter of Polycrates Samius, whom Cicero calls his nurse, of Cleonomus Pieta, of Sophocles, of Neoptolemus the tragedian. Some of these we find in Valetius Maximus, book i. ch. 7. besides that of Calpurnia concerning Cæsar, of P. Decius, and T. Manlius, the consuls, T. Atinius, M. Tully in his banishment, Hannibal, Alexander the great, Simonides, Crœsus, the mother of Dionysius the tyrant, C. Sempronius Gracchus, Cassius of Parmenia, Aterius Rufus the Roman knight, Hamilcar the Carthaginian, Alcibiades the Athenian, and a certain Arcadian. There are many remarkable things in Tully’s books of divination; neither ought we to forget that of Pliny, book xxv. chap. 2. concerning the mother of one that was fighting in Lusitania. And also those of Antigonus and Artucules, who was the first of the race of the Osmanidæ, in the Lipsian Monita, book i. chap. 5. and others collected by the industrious Theodore Zuinger, vol. v. book iv. the title of which is, concerning dreams. has 68made a collection of them in his book of the soul; and ghosts have not only been seen, but also heard to speak,159159   See Plutarch, in the life of Dion and Brutus, and Appion of the same Brutus, in the fourth of his Civilia, and Florus, book iv. chap. 7. Add to these, Tacitus concerning Curtius Rufus, Annal. xi. which same history is in Pliny, epist. xxvii. book vii. together with another; concerning that which that wise and courageous philosopher Athenodorus saw at Athens. And those in Valeriva Maximus, book i. ch. 8. especially that of Cassius the Epicurean, who was frighted with the sight of Cæsar, whom he had killed; which is in Lipsius, book. i. chap. 5. of his warnings. Many such histories are collected by Chrysippus, Plutarch in his book of the soul, and Numenius in his second book of the soul’s immortality, mentioned by Origen, in his fifth book against Celsus. as we are told by those historians who have been far from superstitious credulity; and by witnesses in our own age, who lived in Sina, Mexico, and other parts of America; neither ought we to pass by that common method of examining persons’ innocence, by walking over red-hot ploughshares, viz. fire ordeal, mentioned in so many histories of the German nation, and in their very laws.160160   See the testimonies of this matter, collected by Francis Juret, upon the 74th epistle of Ivon, bishop of Chartres. Sophocles’s Antigone tells us how old this is, where the Theban relations of Œdipus speak thus:—    “We are prepared to handle red-hot iron,
To pass through fire, or to invoke the gods,
That we are innocent, and did not do it.”

   Which we learn also from the report of Strobe, book v. and Pliny’s natural hist. book vii. chap. 2. and Servius upon Virgil’s eleventh Æneid. Also those things which were seen of old, in Feronia’s grove upon the mountain Soracte. To these things which happened contrary to the common course of nature, we may add, I think, those we find made use of to preserve men’s bodies from being wounded by arrows. See also the certain testimonies concerning those who have spoke after their tongues were cut out upon the account of religion, such as Justinian, book i. chapter of the prætorian office, concerning a prefect in Africa; Procopius in the first of his Vandalics; Victor Uticensis, in his book of persecutions and Æneas Gaza in Theophrastus.

« Prev SECT. XVII. The same proved also from predictions. Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection