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tion of making himself a temporal king of the Jewish nation, he must make up his mind to believe that a private individual, born in the lowest sphere of life, without arms, interest, or connections, and contrary to the will of every man of consequence in his nation, would undertake singly, or at most only supported by a few rabble, to make himself a king in opposition to the will of a powerful Roman governor, residing on the spot; and of that of a cruel, vindictive, despotic monarch, (Tiberius,) at that time ruling the greatest and mightiest empire in the world : no man in his senses can, I
presume, entertain so silly an opinion. Indeed, the folly and absurdity of the objection in question is so very great, that it requires only to be truly stated to expose its futility ; it is of a nature, that no man, who is not very deficient in judgment, and very ignorant, can admit it for a moment.
Having endeavoured to refute the two greatest objections that I apprehend have been adduced against the divinity and divine mission of our blessed Saviour, I proceed to accomplish the further objects of this proposition.
It is finely observed by Dr. Barrow,“ that
* God designed the Christian dispensation < from the beginning; that he formed plans “ for the disclosure of it; and that he pre
pared evidence for the confirmation of it." In this dispensation, the infinite goodness, wisdom, and power of God are so strongly evinced, that it can only arise from inattention, and a neglect of a due and candid examination of its evidence, that the mind of man is not impressed with a firm and unalterable conviction, that its whole economy proceeds from God. The entire history of the Jews, particularly from the time of their quitting Egypt, the manner of their departure from thence, the types and figures in their ceremonial law, their prophecies, the miracles wrought by Moses, and their present dispersed and despised state, are all proofs of a divine agency with respect to the Jewish dispensation, the foundation of Christianity. And in respect to the Christian superstructure, the miracles that were wrought in confirmation of this dispensation by our blessed Saviour and his Apostles were so numerous, and so publicly displayed, that they could not be denied either by Jews or Infidels, though these latter profanely ascribed their agency to magic, as the former did to
that of devils. The prophecies having been delivered, through a series of ages, by men who never saw each other, quite of different talents and rank in life, in the opinion of every man of judgment and reflection absolutely exclude all possibility of any combination or forgery in them; and the resurrection of our Saviour is attended with the most undeniable and irrefragable marks of truth, since we have not a shadow of reason to doubt or question the veracity of those grave and holy assertors of this truth, or to imagine they could mistake the person of our blessed Redeemer after his resurrection. St. Matthew declares, that, after his resurrection, he appeared to his Disciples, who worshipped him. St. Mark, that “ he appeared “ to the eleven as they sat at meat, and said, “ Go ye into all the world, and preach the
Gospel to every creature.” St. Luke remarks, that Jesus appeared unto the eleven after his resurrection; that he ate with them, and afterwards opened their understandings, that they might understand the Scriptures. St. John observes, that, after his resurrection, “ where the Disciples were assembled
for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and "stood in the midst, and saith unto them,
* Peace be unto you: and when he had so
said, he shewed unto them his hands and his “ side.” Eight days after this appearance, to convince Thomas, who was not present at his first appearance, and who, in the interim, had declared, “ Except I shall see in his * hands the print of the nails, and put my
finger into the print of the nails, and “ thrust my hand into his side, I will not “ believe; then saith he to Thomas, Reach “ hither thy finger, and behold my hands; “ and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it “ into my side: and be not faithless, but be
lieving. And Thomas answered, My Lord “ and my God.” Further, St. Paul affirms, that after his resurrection “ he was seen of
Cephas ; then of the twelve; and after that “ he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain at
present.” If we attentively consider the whole character of our Saviour, ás embracing all his words and actions, we shall not only observe that perfect consistency between them, which is so very convincing an indication and test of truth, but we cannot fail remarking, at the same time, that he fulfilled all the prophecies and predictions respecting himself.
When a person reads the Old Testament with a view to these prophecies, and to oba serve whether they were or were not accomplished in the person of Jesus Christ, he remarks a plain declaration from the mouth of God Almighty, that at some time or other “ the seed of the woman should bruise “ the serpent's head;" in other words, that . some person in the form of the human species should hereafter be appointed by God, possessed with a capacity of destroying the power of that evil being, who had seduced our first parents from their duty. The
precise time of the appearance of this personage, or the Messiah, (sent from God,) on earth, is fixed, by a subsequent prophecy, to a period when the sceptre shall be departed froin Judah : and another plain and unequivocal prophecy states, that “ in the Messiah “ all nations of the earth shall be blessed." Another, equally unequivocal, asserts, that
a virgin shall conceive, and bring forth a
son, who shall be called Immanuel, (or “ God,) the mighty God, the everlasting Fa6 ther, the Prince of Peace.” In various other prophecies, both general and particular marks are affixed to this personage; such as that “he shall be a prophet like unto