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vailed among the 'heathen nations to owe its ongin to the dispersion of Daniel's Prophecy by the Jews, or he will trace it to the patriarchal ages. The universality of this expectation would alone render it highly probable that the knowledge of Prophecy confirmed and corrected tradition, rather than produced it. But if it be granted, and I fee not how it can be denied, that the hope of a Redeemer was given in the very earlief times, and continued to exist throughout the world, though obscured and deformed by allegory and idolatry, probability rises almost into certainty.
The confidence and eagerness with which the Pagans looked for this “ mighty Prince, : who was to restore the golden age,” is scarcely to be accounted for upon the supposition, that they received the first intimation of this great event from the Jews, who were too much accustomed to interpret the promise of the Mefliah as exclusively beneficial to them. selves. But when, by the translation of the inspired writings into a language very generally understood, and by the increased intercourse among the learned of all countries, it was found that the Prophecies contained in the writings of this singular people (whose VOL. I.
wonderful history must add authority to their Scriptures) perfectly agreed with a tradition which had existed from the most remote antiquity, hope would gradually gain strength, and spread itself among the people. The particular, information given by Daniel concerning the time when “ the Desire of all nations" was to appear, would animate enquiry, and the general state of the world was calculated to heighten expectation. Thus the common belief asserted by the historians who wrote concerning this remarkable period, becomes clearly explicable--the worship of the Magi will cease to excite surprise, –and the dying injunction of Confucius in the distant * regions of China, will no longer appear incredible." A great Legislator -a mighty Conqueror, who was to deliver the world from evil --establish the kingdom of peace and bliss-renew the happiness of the golden age, and extend his auspicious dominion over the whole earth,” are terms in which this expectation is expressed by many very antient authors". And we find this subject particu
o Prideaux, vol. ii. p. 492, 1 Macc. iv. 46. xiv. 41. Kidder's Demonstration of the Messiah, part i. p. 13. Chandler's Defence, c. i. The Indian Vedas. .
larly mentioned by the historians who wrote near the time of our Lord's appearance. "
Julius Marathus, quoted by Suetonius in his Life of Octavius, mentions a Prophecy which then prevailed, that “ Nature was about to bring forth a son, that should be King of the Romans s." It is true, Flattery applied this Prophecy to the Emperor ; but she borrowed it from Public Opinion, drawn from a higher Source. Tacitus affirms, " that a perfuafion prevailed with great numbers, that it was evident from the antient books of the priests, that at the time when Titus conquered the Jews, the East should have the pre-eminence, and that those who came from
Judea should obtain the empire of the world.” “ An antient and general opinion (says Suetonius“) had very much prevailed over all parts of the East, that it was ordained by the fates, for those who came from Judea to obtain the supreme dominion.” It should be ob
• This phrase expresses fomething more than ordinary both in the cause and the effect ; for here nature herself, or the God of nature, is made the immediate agent of his birth; and be must far exceed the condition of mere hu. manity, who was to derive his origin from such a parent. Prideaux, vol. ii. p. 492. • Taciti Hift. c. xiii. In Vespasian, C. 4. M 2
served, that Suetonius, Tacitus, and Jofephus, were by no means inclined to favour the Christian cause; and that their opportunities of being well informed rendered them fully competent to speak to the Fact -- that this, expectation did generally prevail at the precise time when Jesus Christ, the Messiah--the Prince—so particularly defcribed by Daniel, was manifested to the world.
CHAPTER THE EIGHTH.
The Promise of Fohn the Baptist, the Mef
senger, or Forerunner of the Mefiah, given 400 Years before his Birth."
BEHOLD, I will send my messenger, and be fall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, pall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in; behold, be fall come, faith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of bis coming and who fall stand when he appeareth? for be is like a refiner's fire,' and like fuller's sope: and he hall fit as a refiner and purifier of silver : and he shall purify the fons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteoufness. Then fall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years. And
· I will