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where a solemn, final, and irreversible sentence determines the everlasting state of all. Let the reader have his mind fully occupied in the contemplation of these things; and then let him figure to himself the Judge of all the earth proclaiming his almighty purpose in those solemn words as recorded in his scripture, "Produce your cause, saith the Lord; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the king of Jacob. Let them bring forth and shew us what shall happen. Let them shew former things what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them, or declare us things for to come. Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods; yea, do good or do evil, that we may be dismayed and behold it together," Isa. xli. 21-23.
Here then is the proclamation of Jehovah! In the issue of the things here spoken of, the Lord condescends to rest the decision of his own divine character. He subponeth also by way of confirmation to the whole "the blind that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears;" and saith of them, " "Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen." Let the reader ponder all these things, and let him receive (for language fails to express) what the final issue will be in the everlasting confusion which must overwhelm the infidels of every age and nation; and the everlasting joy which will burst forth from every heart, in the vast assembly of all true believers in Christ.
And here, for the better apprehension of the subject itself, let us go over, one by one, the more prominent features which present themseves to our view in this proclamation of the Lord.
And first let the child of God observe (for it is to such only I send forth this little love token for the new year) let him I say first observe, what a very blessed testimony by the way the Lord hath inadver
tently given of himself, in relation to the peculiar mode of his being, as distinguished from his creatures in a Trinity of Persons. This is indeed the first great beauty in his scripture, and merits the closest attention of all the Lord's people. It is strikingly observable that in a proclamation like this, where Jehovah is maintaining his own sole glory in the possession of all divine attributes, which constitutes Godhead; he speaks of himself as existing in a Trinity of Persons, in the unity of the divine essence. Let the reader not fail to observe this. And let him note that the Lord again and again, and within the compass of only three verses, speaks of himself three times in the plural number. Let them (saith the Lord, alluding to idols, and to the followers of idols) let them shew us what shall happen. Let them shew former things that we may consider, and that we may know. Oh! how gracious was it in God, (and I pray the child of God above all things to notice his grace in this act) that while putting to confusion the whole host of infidels, whether blasphemers of the bible, or blasphemers of either of the Persons in the Godhead, (for they are all alike under the same conclusion, as far as blasphemy is concerned) he hath adopted so blessed a method of perserving his people "in the faith once delivered to the saints." The US and the WE, in this proclamation of Jehovah, decidedly prove this fundamental article of our most holy faith. And let the reader not fail to connect with it the many other scriptures to the same amount. For it is the same US, which said at the creation, "Let us make man in our image after our likeness," Gen. i. 26. The same us which concerning the tower of Babel said, "Let us go down," &c. Gen. xi. 7. The same US which our prophet heard in that vision when he saw the glory of Christ and heard the Holy Ghost speak, which said, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us," Isa. vi. 8. For that this was Christ's glory John
declared, John xii. 41. And that the Holy Ghost was the Almighty speaker, Paul testified, Acts xxviii. 25-27. And it was the same US, of which Hosea hath recorded, concerning the Lord's manifestation of himself to the patriarch Jacob at Bethel, where it is said that he spoke with us, " even the Lord God of Hosts; the Lord is his memorial," Hosea xii, 4, 5. And, to mention no more, the same of whom the Son of God himself spake, when he most graciously promised the unceasing presence of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, with his people, for he said, "We will come, and make our abode; and the Holy Ghost shall abide with you for ever," John xiv. 16, 23.
When the reader hath felt the full impression of this glorious part warming his very soul; let him pass on to a second observation on the divine proclamation of Jehovah.
In the Lord's demanding from dunghill idols and their votaries, proofs of fore-knowledge and fore-appointments, he hereby asserts that these attributes which are among the highest testimonies of Godhead, he himself exclusively possesseth; and thus he establisheth his own sovereignty of character. "Let them shew what shall happen. Let them declare the things that are to come," &c.
Now in proof of our God in his Trinity of Persons possessing and exercising this divine prerogative, we need go no further than those scriptures of the prophet now before us. Jacob lived more than seven hundred years before the coming of Christ. And yet under the spirit of prophecy he hath drawn the features of characters, which mark the Person, Godhead, and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, so striking, that they appear more like an history of facts already accomplished, than of events which were not to take place for so many centuries after. I stay not to particularize on the very many statements of the prophet; for in
that case I should have to bring before the reader a great part of Isaiah's writings. One or two instances in point will be sufficient.
The prophet spake of Christ's miraculous conception, chap. vii. 14. his birth, ix. 6. his ministry, miracles, and their effects, xxxv. he speaks of his ordination and call by the Father, xlii. and xlix. and the meekness and mildness of his character, xl. 11. and the contempt and cruelty offered to his person, 1. 6, &c. And whoever compares these prophecies with the events in the life of Christ, will find his mind overwhelmed with conviction in the wonderful correspondence. Had Isaiah stood on the banks of Jordan when Jesus was baptized, and beheld the Spirit descending like a dove and lighting upon him, he could not have expressed the wonderful relation more accurately than he hath done in his eleventh chapter. Had he heard Christ preaching in the synagogues, as related Luke xiv. 18, &c. he could not have described both the divine Preacher, and the substance of his sermon, in more striking language than was done by him in his 61st chapter. And with what astonishment must every enlightened eye read the prophet's narrative of the Lord" Jesus' agony in the garden," chap. lxiii. and his sufferings at the hall of Pilate and hill of Calvary, chap. liii. when he beholds almost word for word, the history of the whole as drawn by the evangelists!
If then it be allowed, (as that it must be allowed) the foretelling future events can only be the prerogative of Jehovah; and we thus see the things predicted by Isaiah, concerning Christ, so fulfilled in his person and offices; who, but the most determined infidel, would venture to call in question those divine oracles of God in the bible, where these records, both of prophecy and fact, are faithfully contained?
But, thirdly, what the prophet foretold, and the
evangelists proved, is but a part, and that a small part of what the apostles predicted should take place in the latter days. Here the Lord manifested his glory, in declaring events to come the most improbable, but which we have lived to see fulfilled, and are fulfilling daily in the earth. The prophet Isaiah lived (as hath been already said) more than seven hundred years before the coming of Christ. And now eighteen centuries have since run out. Let any man look at the world as it now is, and with the bible in his hand, mark well the corresponding features. Had the apostle Paul (to mention no other) lived but yesterday, and written his epistle to Timothy this day, it is impossible he could have drawn characters more faithful. What we now see and what he then wrote are perfect counterparts of each other. "This know, (said he) that in the last days, perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their ownselves; covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God," 2 Tim. iii. 1, 5. Were these scriptures indeed written so many ages since, and purposely to mark the present æra? And do we now behold their accomplishment daily in our streets, so that any man, and every man looking on might say, there are the several characters virtually before us? And can there be a more decisive proof both of the authenticity of the bible, and of the Godhead under whose inspiration it was written? 2 Tim. iii. 16. 2 Pet. i. 20, 21. And reader! do observe this one thing. Though it be most painful to witness the blasphemy of some, and the atheism of others, and the general profligacy of all; and though all feeling minds cannot but be tremblingly alive for what must be the eventual consequences to those awful characters living and dying