Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

16.; that they should spit upon him, Isaiah 1. 6.; and kill him, Dan. ix.; and cast lots for his vesture, Psalm xxii. 18. That he should rise again the third day, Psalm xvi. Hosea vi. 2, That he should ascend to to heaven, Psalm xlvii. 5.lxviii. 18.; and sit down at the right hand of God, Psalm cx. 1. That the kings of the earth should take counsel against him. Psalm ii. That sitting at the right hand of God, he should make his foes his footstool, Psalm cx. 1. That ail kings shall fall down before him—all nations shall worship him. Psalms lxxii. That the Jews should subsist perpetually as a people, Jer xxxi. 36. That they should wander about, Amos ix. 9.; without a prince, without a sacrifice, without an altar, Hosea iii. 4.; and without prophets, Psalm lxxiv. 9.; looking for redemption, but looking in vain, Isaiah lix. 9. Jer. viii. 15.

3. The Messiah was to form to himself a numerous people, elect and holy; to lead them, to nourish them, to bring them into a place of rest and holiness; to make them holy to the Lord, to make them the temple of God; to reconcile them to God; to save them from the wrath of God; to rescue them from the slavery of sin, which evidently reigns over men; to give a law to them, and to write it in their hearts; to offer himself to God for them; to sacrifice him for them ; to be both the spotless victim, and the offering priest; he was to offer himself, both his body and his blood to God.Jesus Christ has done all this.

It was foretold that a deliverer should come, who should bruise the serpent's head, who should deliver his people from all their iniquities, Psalm cxxx. 8.; that he should establish a new covenant, which should be everlasting ; and a new priesthood after the order of Melchisedec, to abide for ever; that the Messiah should be glorious, powerful, and mighty, and yet so abject, as to be disowned; that he should not be esteemed for what he -really was; that he should be rejected, that he should be slain ; that his people who denied him, should be his people no longer; that the idolatrous Gentiles should believe, and fly to him for ref

uge; that he should abandon Zion, to reign in the centre of idolatry; that the Jewish nation, notwithstanding, should still subsist; and that this person so predicted, should spring out of Judah, at the time when the kingdom ceased.

4. Now consider, that from the beginning of the world, the expectation, or the actual worship, of Messiah, has continued without interval; that he was promised to the first man, immediately after his fall; that other men appeared subsequently, who declared that God had revealed to them also, that a Redeemer should be born, who would save his people; that Abraham then came, who affirmed the fact of a revelation made to him, that the Redeemer should descend from him, by a son of his, who was yet unborn ; that Jacob said, that out of his twelve-sons, Judah should be the direct ancestor of the Messiah; that Moses and the prophets, at length pointed out the time and manner of his coming ; that they declared the then present law, to be only a provincial appointment till the coming of Messiah; that, till then only it should endure, but that the other should last for ever; but so that either the old law, or that of Messiah, of which the first was a typical pledge, should be ever on the earth; that such has been the fact; and that at length Jesus Christ did come, in circumstances entirely conformed to all these minute predictions. Surely this is wonderful!

But it will be said, If all this was so clearly foretold to the Jews, why did they not believe, or why are they not utterly destroyed for having resisted so clear a testimony? I answer, that both these facts are in the prediction; both, that they would not believe this ample testimony, and that they should not be exterminated. And nothing could more effectually subserve the glory of Messiah; for it was not sufficient to have the testimony of prophecy on his behalf; but those prophecies must be preserved in circumstances actually free from the slightest taint of suspicion.

5. The prophetic writings have, blended with the predictions concerning Messiah, some others that were local and peculiar, in order that the prophecies, concerning Messiah, might not be without some other evidence; and that the local predictions might have their use in the system.

We have no king but Caesar, said the Jews. Then Jesus was the Messiah. For their arowed king was an alien, and they recognized no other.

A doubt hangs on the beginning of the seventy weeks of Daniel, on account of the wording of the prophecy itself; and also on the termination of that period, owing to the differences among chronologists. But the utmost limits of the difference is not more than 200 years.

The prophecies which tell of Messiah's poverty, describe him also as lord of all nations.

The prophecies which announce the time of his advent, only speak of him as the king of the Gentiles, and as a sufferer; not as a judge coming in the clouds of heaven; and those which describe him as judging the nations on his throne of his glory, say nothing of the precise period of his coming.

When they speak of Messiah's advent in glory, it is evidently his coming to judge the world, not to redeem it. Isaiah lxvi, 15, 16,

CHAPTER XVI.

OTAER PROOFS OF JESUS CHRIST.

If we do not give credit to the apostles, we must hold either that they are deceived or deceivers. But either alternative has its difficulties. In the first case, it is scarcely possible to be cheated into a belief, that a dead man had risen again; and in the other, the supposition that they were themselves impostors, is

Let us follow out the case. suppose that these twelve men assembling after the

very absurd.

Let us

death of Christ, and conspiring together to maintain that he had risen from the dead. We know, that by this doctrine, they attacked all the powers of this world. The heart of man also is strongly disposed to levity and to change, and easily influenced by promises and gifts. Now, if in these circumstances of risk, but one of them had been shaken by those allurements, or what is more likely, by imprisonment, torture, or the pain of death, they were all lost.

While Jesus Christ was with them, he could sustain them; but afterwards, if he did not appear to them, who did encourage them to action ?

2. The style of the gospel is admirable in many respects; and, amongst others, there is not a single invective indulged by the historians against Judas or Pilate, or any of the enemies or murderers of Jesus Christ.

Had this delicacy on the part of the evangelical historians been only assumed, together with all the other features of their amiable character; and they only assumed it, that it might be observed,—then, even though they had not dared in some way or other to point the attention to it themselves, they could not have failed to procure some friend to notice it to their advantage. But as they were quite unaffected and disinterested, they never provided any one to make such a comment. In fact, I know not that the remark was ever made till now; and this is a strong proof of the simplicity of their conduct.

3. Jesus Christ wrought miracles; so did his apostles. So also did the primitive saints; because, as the prophecies were not fulfilled, and were in fact only fulfilling in them, there was as yet no testimony to the truth but miracles. It was foretold that Messiah should convert the nations. How could this prophecy be fulfilled but by the conversion of nations; and how were the first nations to be converted to Messiah, not seeing this conclusive result of the prophetic testimony in support of his mission ? Till his death and resurrection, then, and even till some nations had been

[ocr errors]

converted, the whole evidence was not complete; and hence miracles were necessary during the whole of that time. Now, however, they are no longer needed. Prophecy fulfilled is a standing miracle.

4. The state of the Jews strikingly proves the truth of our religion. It is wonderful to see this people, subsisting for so many centuries, and to see them always wretched : it being essential to the evidence in support of Jesus Christ, that they should subsist as witnesses to him; and that they should be miserable, because they slew him.

And though their misery presses against their existence, they exist still, in spite of their misery.

But were they not almost in the same state at the time of the captivity? No. The continuance of the .sceptre was not interrupted by the captivity in Babylon; because their return was promised and predicted. When Nebuchadnezzar led them captive, lest it should be sụpposed that the sceptre had departed from Judah, it was previously declared to them, that they should be there for a short time only, and that they should be re-established. They had still the consolation of their prophets, and their kings were not taken away. But the second destruction of their polity, is without any promise of restoration, without prophets

, without kings, without comfort, and without hope; for the sceptre is removed for ever.

That was scarcely a captivity which was alleviated by the promise of deliverance in seventy years; but now they are captive without hope.

God had promised them, that even though he scattered them to the ends of the earth, yet if they were faithful to his law, he would bring them back again. They are faithful to the law, and yet remain in oppression. It follows, then, that Messiah must be come, and that the law which contained these promises had been superseded by the establishment of

a new law.

4. Had the Jews been all converted to the faith of Christ, we should have had none but suspected wit

« PoprzedniaDalej »