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hope that is in us with meekness and fear."* It is well to know, on solid ground, that we have not followed cunningly devised fables, but that our faith is founded on the truth of Jehovah. Then we shall continue in the faith grounded and settled, and shall not be moved away from the hope of the Gospel.†
There are three evidences for the truth of Christianity, which, like a three-fold cord, cannot be broken.
I.-The external evidence, arising from the fulfilment of Prophecy, as recorded in the inspired writings of the Evangelists, in the subsequent pages of history, and confirmed by numerous credible authors in every age. Also, from well-attested miracles which were a divine seal to the truth of Christianity at its first establishment.
ÏI.—The internal evidence, arising from the holy character of the religion of Christ; from its wonderful adaptation to the wants and miseries of a fallen world; to the promotion of man's real happiness; and to the display of the perfections of God.
III.-The inward witness in the heart of every true believer in Jesus, arising from the change wrought in him through this blessed religion, whereby he is raised from the ruins of the Fall, restored to the divine favour and image, and made a partaker of all that Christ has done and suffered for him.
Surely, then, it must be profitable to search the records of eternal life; to examine the foundation of our hope. The blessed result of this search will be, if only we seek in faith, that we shall find the PEARL OF GREAT PRICE. We shall assuredly know, that Jesus Christ is the promised Redeemer, the longexpected Messiah, who shall reign over all the earth, and of the increase of whose government and peace there shall be no end. This knowledge will gladden our hearts, purify our souls, and be the earnest of future glory; for thus prayed the interceding Saviour, "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the * 1 Pet. iii. 15. + Col. i. 23.
Isa. ix. 7; Zech. xiv. 9.
only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."*
The poor illiterate Christian may not be able to search the Records of Antiquity, nor to study learned dissertations on Prophecy:-he may not be able to contemplate, in all its bearings on time and eternity, the sublime plan of his Redemption :-Is he, then, deprived of solid evidence that Christianity is of God? Surely not. If redeemed through the blood of Christ, he possesses an INWARD WITNESS to the Truth. He can say to infidels and cavillers, This "one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see."+ Once I was miserable, now I am happy. Once I was far from God, now I am his adopted child. Once I was the slave of sin and Satan, now I have obtained the victory. Once I was lost, and now, all glory to Sovereign Grace, I am saved. The whole world cannot deprive me of this assurance. feel its truth in the conversion of my soul to God. O! what a precious evidence is this. With it, the poorest, untaught believer in Jesus, may triumph in life and in death:-Without it, the richest and most learned professor of the Gospel, is destitute of its saving blessings. Gracious, indeed, are the Saviour's words: "To the poor the gospel is preached."+ "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight."§
The Prophecies are gradually unfolded to us, like the ancient roll on which they were written. They resemble the process in the vegetable world, yielding their bud, and flower, and fruit. Like the shining light, they shine more and more unto the perfect day, as we advance from the Patriarchal to the Gospel times. It is striking to observe how the prophecies respecting the nature, person, offices, and work of our Redeemer, increased in clearness and + John ix. 25.
* John xvii. 3.
§ Luke x. 21.
Luke vii. 22.
|| Prov. iv. 18.
particularity, as the time drew near when he should be manifested as "the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Our earth is the theatre on which are displayed the wonders of Redemption. Here "Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other."* Blessed are they who prize the sacred Scriptures, as the revelation of the grace of God; who inwardly experience their sanctifying power; and who remain unshaken by the scoffs of infidels, or the sneers of the world. Standing on this Rock of Truth, they can behold, with the assurance of hope, the predicted convulsions of the world, knowing that their "redemption_draweth_nigh."† To such, the Redeemer saith: "Fear not."
The Holy Scriptures reveal to us man's fall and his recovery. What revelation can be so important as the knowledge of salvation by Jesus Christ. O! that we may rejoice in the Lord alway, and prize above every earthly treasure, that Book which contains the purposes of his grace towards a ruined world.
When our first parents transgressed the law of their Creator, given to them as a test of their obedience, and to prove their allegiance to their Almighty Sovereign, sin entered into the world, and death by sin. God, who is love, foreseeing the fatal apostacy of his creature man, through a wilful compliance with Satan's temptation, in his wise counsel devised a remedy, which would be sufficient to save the sinner, and to glorify his own perfections.
When God pronounced the curse upon the serpent, he proclaimed salvation to the guilty pair: "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."§
This was the first prophetic promise of that Saviour who was to be peculiarly the seed of the woman,||
* Psa lxxxv. 10. † Luke xxi. 28. Matt. x. 28.; Luke xii. 32. § Gen. iii. 15.; Luke xxii. 53.; Col. ii. 15. || Luke i. 26-31.
and by whose power the kingdom of Satan should be destroyed, although he himself should suffer in the conflict. Through faith in this promised Redeemer, Adam, Abel, Noah, and all the ancient Patriarchs were saved, notwithstanding their views of him must have been very obscure and limited. It was prophecy in the bud. We behold the unfolding of this first prophecy in that gracious promise made to Abraham, and afterwards confirmed to Isaac and Jacob: “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed."+ Christ is called the seed of Abraham, because he should spring lineally from him according to the flesh. Thus the FAMILY was now ascertained from whence the Saviour of the world should come.
The Holy Ghost, who spake by the mouth of the holy prophets since the world began, and whose office it is to glorify Christ, gave a still clearer view in the dying benediction of good old Jacob: "The sceptre (or staff of a tribe) shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver (or Judge) from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be."|| Here the very TRIBE is named, that particular branch of Jacob's family, and Abraham's posterity, which should have the honour of being the Tribe, among whom the Messiah should be born. And oh! how marvellously was this prophetic declaration of the pious patriarch fulfilled, who died in faith, exclaiming: "I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord!"** During the patriarchal age, Job was upheld when passing through deep waters, by a believing view of the Redeemer: "I know that my Redeemer liveth."++
The wicked Balaam, being overruled by the Spirit of God to bless Israel, spake of Jesus as the star and the sceptre: "There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel."++
* Heb. ii. 14. ; 1 John iii. 8.
Gen. xxii. 18; xxvi. 4; xxviii. 14.
|| Gen. xlix. 10.
++ Job xix. 25.
+ Matt. xx. 18, 19.
Gal. iii. 16.
** Gen. xlix. 18.; see Heb. vii. 14.; Rom. i. 3.
林 Numb. xxiv. 17.; Rev. xix. 16.
It is remarkable that a star guided the wise men from the East to Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born.-See Matt. ii.
The family and tribe being foretold, the next unfolding prophecy relates to one of the offices of the Messiah, which was declared by Moses to the children of Israel: "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a PROPHET from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken."* St. Peter declared this to be prophetic of Christ.+ so did Stephen.‡
DAVID, the sweet Psalmist of Israel, by the Spirit of prophecy, foretells two other important offices of Christ :
I. His kingly office. "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre."-Psa. xlv. 6.
II. His priestly office. "Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek."-Psa. cx. 4.
St. Paul, in his epistle to the Hebrews, applies both these prophecies to Jesus Christ. See Heb. i. 8.; vii. 17.
The Psalms abound with wonderfully minute and circumstantial prophecies of the ever-blessed Jesus. Indeed, they are full of Christ. Oh! for faith to receive them aright!
The divine nature of Christ is clearly asserted in Psa. cx. 1.:
"The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool;" and which our Saviour applied to himself in the presence of the unbelieving Jews.-Matt. xxii. 41-46; Acts ii. 32-36.
His human nature is strikingly foretold in Psa. xl. 6, 7.
"Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt-offering and sinoffering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come in the volume of the book it is written of me." * Deut. xviii. 15. + Acts iii. 22. Acts vii. 37, 52.