Page images

suffering, death, resurrection, ascension, and kingdom of our LORD and SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST. There can be no doubt respecting the priority of the predictions to the birth of Christ, because it is well known by every person, who is at all conversant in these matters, that the Old Testament was translated out of Hebrew into the Greek language, and dispersed over the world, many years before CHRIST came; and that the latest of the predictions was upwards of three centuries before the birth of the ReDEEMER of mankind. Such a variety of circumstances, therefore, predicted concerning one man, so many years before he was born, of so extraordinary a nature, and under such convulsions and revolutions of civil

governments, all accomplished in Christ, and in no other person that ever appeared in the world, point him out, with irresistible evidence, as the Saviour of mankind. I call upon, and challenge the most hardened infidel in Christendom to refute the conclusion,

But to render the investigation more simple, and to bring the enquiry into a narrower compass, let any man, who is sceptically inclined, take the fifty-second and fifty-third chapters of Isaiah, and compare them seriously with the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh chapters of St. Matthew's gospel, and then let him deny that Jesus Christ is the true MESSIAH, if he can. ROCHESTER, and many others have made the experiment, and found it the power of God unto the conviction of their minds, and the salvation of their souls. That all these extremely minute circumstances of time, place, character, and the like, should concentre in Christ, and in no other person that ever appeared in human nature, is truly remarkable, and absolutely demonstrative of his Messiahship, Indeed, that he should be born at such a time, in such a place, and under circumstances of poverty; that he should suffer, and be opposed by those who were strangers to his character, and be finally put to an ignominious death: these things were all common to him, with many more of our fellow-creatures. But, that he should profess to be the SAVIQUR of mankind that he should be described as one who was to come-be born under the fourth monarchy-while the second temple was yet standing-before the dominion of the Jews was evtirely taken away-in a time of profound and universal peace--when there was a general expectation of some extraordinary person: --- that he should have existed with God before the foundations of the world were laid-been the companion of the Almighty-been sprung from the Deity by an ineffable generation--been the son of God-tbe son of man -- begotten of a pure virgin by divine energy, and not by carnal copulation—that he should be the son of A BRAHAMISAAC-JACOB-JUDAH-Jesse-David--horn in mean condition--yet having an illustrious herald preceding him---in the spirit of ELIJAH preaching, not in Jerusalem, but in the wilderness---and successful in his office :--that he should be boru in Bethlehem---go down into Egypt---be a preacher of the gospel-m-exercise his ministry in Galileein the neighbourhood of Zebulon and Naphthali-yet be the proprietor of the temple in Jerusalem :---that he should be emphatically the servant of God, whose name is the branch , -a plant of renown---the messenger of the covenant --a prophet--a priest; not of the tribe of Levi, and after the order of AARON, but after the order of MelchZEDEC--a king--a righteous king---the prince of peace--having a universal and everlasting kingdom :--that he should be the sun of righteousness---the East---the Just One --Emmanuel-the shepherd---JEHOVAH our righteousness--the lion of the tribe of JUDAH: that he should be anointed, not with oil to his offices, but with the Holy Ghost :---that he should be of a most week, patient, and humble disposition--teaching mankind the doctrines of salvation without pomp and noiseendowed with a peculiar degree of wisdom and understanding—and speaking the most healing words to tender minds and afficted consciences--changing thereby all the powers of the soul:--that he should confirm the reality of his mission and the divinity of his doctrine by a variety of benevolent miracles----and yet that the principal persons among his couulymen should not subunit to his pretensions--be the chief corner stone of his church--and, notwithstanding, rejected by the builders -- though embraced by many of the common people:--that he should be despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrow's and acquainted with grief-seen iding in humble triumph into the capital of his kingdom-the people crying hosannah to the son of DAVJE:--that his zeal for the honour of God should transport bim almost to excess :--that he should be betrayed by a friend-sold for thirty


pieces of silver:--that these pieces should be thrown down in the temple--and applied to the purchase of a potter's tield: that he should be condemned in judgment-forsaken by all his friends in his greatest need-tinish bis public office in three years and a half-be ignominiously scourged-smitten on the face-befouled with spittle-wounded in his hands by his friends--marred and disfigured in his countenance patient and silent under all his ill-treatment-suspended with wicked men-buried in the tomb of a rich man--put to death exactly at the end of 490 years from a particular period presented with vinegar and gall ---Wounded in bis hands and feet-laughed to scorn under bis sufferings that his garment should be parted among his keepers :--that lots should be cast for his seamless vesture:-under all his distresses that not a bone of his body should be broken :--that his side should be pierced :--that he should make intercession for transgressors :-be cut off, though innocent:--that a fountain should be opened to wash away sin--atonement made for the iniquities of the world in the last of DANIEL's 70 weeks the old covenant abolished-a oue introduced the blood of MESSIAH being the seal of the covenant :-that though he should be buried, be should not see corruption but be raised from the grave on the third day:-that he should bring from the dead some tokens of his victory ascend into heaven-attended with angels---take his place at the right land of God and send down the Spirit upon his followers : --that the gospel should be first preached in Jerusulem-multitudes converted to the faith--great persecutions endured by those who embraced it—the Jews rejected—and the church called by a new name :-that the gospel should be generally opposed by the kings and governors of the world-yet after some time they should become favourable, and give it encouragement ?--that the Gentile nations should be enlightened and called:--that every soul should submit to Messiah those who reject him being confounded—and those who embrace him being protected--that he should finally be the judge of the world - destroy death-and crown his faithful people with everlasting joy :-that all these things should be predicted of some one person, several hundreds, or even some thousand years asunder from each other; and that they should all receive accomplishment in Jesus Christ, without

[ocr errors]

any one exempt case, and in no other person that ever appeared upon earth: if under such circumstances Jesus CHRIST were not the person intended in the divine councils, and the MESSIAH whom all the Prophets were inspired to predict, it would be one of the greatest of miracles. Prophecy would be of no lise. All evidence would be rendered precarious, and mankiud left to roam at large without any satisfactory guide to direct their steps in pursuit of truth and salvation. I think then we may say, with unshaken confidence, in the words of St Philip to NATHANIEL; IVe have found him, of whom Moses in the Law, and the Prophets did write, Jesus of NAZARETH, the son of Joseph.

But, if we turn from these prophecies to those which more immediately respect the condition of the Christian church in these latter days, we shall find they also are extremely remarks able, and absolutely conclusive for the divine authority of the Sarred Writings.

NEBUCHADNEZZAR, king of Babylon, invaded the land of. ISRAEL about 600 years before the birth of Christ, and carried into captivity a considerable nuniber of the inhabitants of the country. Among others, led captive, were DANIEL and his three companions, SHADRACH, MESHACH, and ABEDNEGO. Is the second year of his reign, he had a remarkable dream, which made a strong impression upon his mind, but which he was not able to recollect. He sent for all the wise nen of Babylon, and, however unreasonable the injunction, insisted, that they should make known his dream, together will the interpretation thereof, upon pain of death. After some time, the king's determination was revealed unto Daniel. He requested a little respite might be allowed him, before the decree should be put in execution. This being granted, he went to his three religious companions, and desired them to join with him in fasting and prayer, to entreat the Lord to discover unto him the king's dream, and the interpretation thereof, The LORD was intreated of DANIEL and his three friends, and the whole matter from first to last, was revealed unto him, to the full satisfaction, and even astonishment of the king. The introduction to the dream is extremely beautiful. Sce Daniel ji. 1-30. The dream is this, Dan. ii. 31-35. The interpretation rụns thus: Dan. jí. 37 -15. The king was so affected with the wonderful

[ocr errors]

manifestation of his inmost thoughts, that he was quite overcome, forgot his own dignity, and fell into an act of idolatry. Dan. ii. 46-49*.

The dream is so distinct, the interpretation of it so satisfactory, and the whole so perfectly conformable to the history of the world, as far as the several ages have hitherto pro ceeded, that 'no thoughtful man can help being exceedingly struck with the accuracy of the divine foreknowledge.

The dream itself was the figure of an image in the form of a man, made principally of metal, but yet the metal was of different kinds. The head was of gold.

This was an emblematical representation of NEBUCHADNEZZAR and the Babylonian empire over which he presided. The breast and the arms of the image were of silver. This was an emblematical representation of the empire of Persia, which was to subvert and succeed the Babylonian. NEBUCHADNEZZAR was, at that time, the most powerful monarch' in all the earth, and made Babylon, the capital of his kingdom, the wonder of the world. Within sixty years, however, the empire was overturned, and Bubylon itself taken by CYRUS the GREAT, afterwards king of Persia.--The belly and thighs of the image were of brass. This represented a third empire which was to succeed the Babylonian and Persian. Accordingly, about 200 years after the establishinent of the Persian empire, ALEXANDER, king of Macedonia, a small state in the upper part of Greece, marched against DARIUS, king of Persia, defeated him in three pitched battles, and totally sufverted the second of the four empires. The Grecian then became the third. The fourth was represented by legs of iron, and feet part of iron and part of clay. This is die Roman; for it was these people, who subdued the four successors of Alexander, and reduced their kingdoms into Roman provinces, and particularly Greece and Alacedonia, which were subdued by them 130 years after the conquest of Persia by ALEXANDER the GREAT', and 200 years before the birth of Christ. The Roman empire then was the fourth and the last. It was represented in this inage by iron legs, and feet of iron and clay. Thou saurst, says DANIEL,

* Let the Reader take his Bible, turn to these several passages, and consider them well, before he proceeds to the observations wlich dotlow.

« PreviousContinue »