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man could never have foreseen.
Each speaks for itself. And all of them declare, with one united voice, that the word which revealed them is indeed divine.
T'he prophecies contained in the scriptures are so numerous, and the proofs of their fulfilment so abundant, that, instead of any deficiency of evidence, the only difficulty lies in selecting or condensing them. A general view of the prophecies, that have a definite and distinct meaning, and that have received an express and literal accomplishment, may, perhaps, best convey, in a short compass, some representation, however inadequate to the subject, of the fulness and force of this sure evidence of inspiration. The subject cannot be exhausted after the fullest investigation, for it forms a growing evidence, and is continually gaining fresh strength as the progress of events throws fresh light on the accomplishment of the predictions. And the slightest and most superficial view that can be taken of the subject—if the corresponding prophecies and facts be but touched upon, and presented to any inquiring or candid mind, and be made a matter of reflection at all-cannot fail to show that there must be more in the word and in the work than man's knowledge and device. And if the reader shall close the perusal of this work lightened of a doubt or strengthened in the faith, would to God that he would suffer us to crave of him, in return, to leave the first principles of the knowledge of Christ, and to go on unto perfection; to search the scriptures as for hidden treasures; to hearken diligently to the oracles of the living God, knowing that he is not a man that he should lie, nor the son of a man that he should repent; and to give all the glory unto God, that the gain may be his own.
CHAPTER II. Prophecies concerning Christ and the Christian
Religion. The coming of a Saviour, which was the hope of Israel, and the expectation of the Jews in every age, is frequently foretold throughout the old Testament scriptures. They represent it as announced by the voice of God to the first human pair, and as forming, from the first to the last, the theme of all the prophets. And, however imperfect a summary view of such numerous prophecies must necessarily be, a few remarks respecting them shall be prefixed to the more direct and immediate proofs of the inspiration of scripture, derived from existing facts, in order that the reader may be rather induced to search the scriptures to see how clearly they testify of Jesus, than contented to rest satisfied with the mere opening of the subject.
A few of the leading features of the prophecies concerning Christ, and their fulfilment, shall be traced as they mark the time of his appearance, the place of his birth, and the family out of which he was to arise, his life and character, his sufferings and his death, the nature of his doctrine, and the extent of his kingdom.
The time of the Messiah's appearance in the world, as predicted in the Old Testament, is defined by a number of concurring circumstances that fix it to the very date of the advent of Christ. The sceptre was not to depart from Judah, mor a
lawgiver to cease from among his descendants, till Shiloh should come. The desire of all nations, the Messenger of the covenant, the Lord whom they sought, was to come to the second temple, and to impart to it, from his presence, a greater glory than that of the former.t А messenger was to appear before him, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, to prepare his way. I A specified period, -marked, according to similar computations in the Jewish scriptures, by weeks of years, each day for a year,—was set, from the going forth of the command to restore and to build Jerusalem, after the Babylonish captivity, unto Messiah the prince. A period somewhat longer was determined upon the people and upon the holy city.ll After the Messiah was to be cut off, the people of the prince that should come were to destroy the city and the sanctuary ; desolations, even to the consummation, were determined, and the sacrifice and oblation were to cease. A king did reign over the Jews in their own land, though the ten tribes had long ceased to be a kingdom; their national council, the members of which, as Jews, were lineally descended from Judah, exercised its authority and power—the temple was standing the oblation and sacrifice, according to the law of Moses, were there duly and daily offered up—and the time prescribed for the coming of the Messiah had drawn to its close-at the commencement of * Genesis xlix. 10. + Haggai ii. 7,9. Malachi ii. 1.
Isaiah xl. 3. Malachi ii. 1. iv. 5. § Daniel ix, 25 Ibid, ix. 24.
T Ibid. ix. 26, 27.
the christian era. Before the public ministry of Jesus, a messenger appeared to prepare his way; and Josephus, in the history of that time, speaks of the blameless life and cruel death of · John, that was called the baptist,' and describes his preaching of virtue, and baptism with water.* But every mark that denoted the fulness of the time, and of its signs, when the Messiah was to appear, was erased soon after the death of Christ, and being fixed to that single period, they could no more be restored again than time past could return. The time determined on the people and on the holy city, seventy weeks or four hundred and ninety years, passed away. The tribe of Judah were no longer united under a king. Banished from their own land, and subjected to every oppression, there was no more a lawgiver of the tribe of Judah, though Judah was he whom his brethren were to serve. Of the temple one stone was not left upon another. The sacrifice and oblation, which none but priests could offer, altogether ceased, when the genealogies of the tribe of Levi were lost, and when the Jews had no temple, nor country, nor priest, nor altar. Ere Jerusalem was destroyed, or desolation had passed over the land of Judea, the expectation was universal among the Jews that their Messiah was then to appear; and heathen as well as Jewish historians testify of the belief then prevalent over the whole East that the ancient prophecies bore a direct and express reference to that period. And the question might now go to the
• Josephus's Antiquities, b. xviii. c. v. § 2