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« Moses : that he shall be preceded by the “ voice of a prophet crying in the wilder
ness: that he shall be born in the city of
Bethlehem, of the tribe of Judah, and of “ the house of David ; and that he shall be “ born in a time of peace: that he shall “ perform various miracles, such as curing “ the lame and blind; and that the poor “ shall have the Gospel preached to them: “ that he shall be despised; be a man of sor
row, and acquainted with grief: that he “ shall be put to death : that his side shall “ be pierced: and that he shall rise again : “ for his soul is not to be left in hell, neither “ is this holy One to see corruption.” A variety of other prophecies might be introduced ; but these are sufficient to prove not only that such a person as the Messiah was to come on earth, but such and so many peculiar marks and signs are given, as to identify him, whenever he did come, in a manner so particular, so clear, so singular, and incontrovertible, that in whomsoever these marks all met, that person must necessarily be the Messiah.
The Old Testament having been examined with reference to those prophecies which predict the advent of the Messiah, and to
those marks which were in a particular and peculiar manner to identify him whenever he did come; the New Testament is then read, to observe whether or not these distinguishing marks meet in the person of Jesus Christ.
From this perusal it is found, that it is there recorded, in a succinct manner, " that "an angel is sent from heaven to a virgin, " espoused to a man whose name was
Joseph, of the house of David, and the
virgin's name was Mary. And the angel 6. came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou " that art highly favoured : thou shalt con“ceive in thy womb, and bring forth a
and shalt call his name Jesus. He “ shall be great, and shall be called the Son “ of the Highest: and the Lord shall give
unto him the throne of his father David: " and he shall reign over the house of Jacob “ for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be “ no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, “ How shall this be, seeing I know not a "man? And the angel answered and said “ unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon “ thee, and the power of the Highest shall 5 overshadow thee: therefore also that holy “ thing which shall be born of thee shall be 66 called the Son of God.”
In the same Gospel it is found to be recorded, that when the Virgin Mary was at Bethlehem, (where, with her husband, she had gone up to be taxed, in pursuance of the order of the Emperor Augustus,) she was there delivered of a son: “ And there were " in the same country shepherds abiding in “ the field, keeping watch over their flock " by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord “ came upon them, and the glory of the
Lord shone round about them: and they
were sore afraid. And the angel said unto " then, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to “ all people. For unto you is born this day, « in the city of David, a Saviour, which is « Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign “ unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped “ in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. “ And suddenly there was with the angel. a “ multitude of the heavenly host praising “ God, and saying, Glory to God in the " highest, and on earth peace, good will to
The first criterion being fully verified, namely, that a personage appears on earth, who is born only of the seed of the woman, and, as predicted, in Bethlehem, and of the
tribe of Judah; the examination is continued, to observe whether the second mark is equally verified, which predicted the precise period of his coming. He finds it does exactly; for Archelaus, the last king of Judæa, was at this time. deposed by Augustus Cæsar, which put an end to the Jewish government; and thus the sceptre departed from Judah when Shiloh, or the Messiah, came; and Judæa from that time became a Roman province, and the tribe of Judah was no longer to be distinguished; a convincing proof that the Messiah was come, and ought ever to be so considered by the Jews. The other marks are equally recorded in the most natural and artless manner in the New Testament; he is there declared to be the Son of God by a voice from heaven, and which voice, in his ad Epistle, St. Peter positively affirms himself to have heard. 66 For we have not followed cun“ ningly devised fables, when we made “known to you the power and coming of “ our Lord Jesus, but were eye-witnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the « Father honour and glory, when there came “ such a voice to him from the excellent
glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I
“ am well pleased. And this voice which ♡ came from heaven we heard, when we were “ with him in the holy mount.”
St. John the Baptist likewise particularly testifies in the following precise manner that he was the Son of God: “I saw the spirit • descending from heaven like a dove, and it “ abode upon him, and I knew him not: “ but he that sent me to baptize with water, “ the same said unto me, Upon whom “ thou shalt see the spirit descending and “ remaining on him, the same is he which
baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw “ and bare record, that this is the Son of God." This was again confirmed by a voice from heaven, when our Saviour was baptized by St. John*. The criterion of the Messiah's being preceded by the voice of a prophet crying in the wilderness, was precisely verified by the preaching of John the Baptist, who, to the Priests and Levites that were sent from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? confessed that he was not the Christ, but that he was the “ voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of the Lord. He it
* Matth. üi. 17.