Imágenes de páginas

present day? No person ever honestly examined the whole of the evidence for the truth of the New Testament, who did not find it satisfactory. Indeed, the gospel itself is so pure that no decent man.can reject it. Hence, it has ever been the custom of unbelievers to attack the corruptions of religion, which more or less prevail in all countries; and, through the sides of those human appendages, to wound the cause of truth itself

. These arts, however, are inconsistent with honour, and no person of the least integrity of mind can be capable of them. Modest men too, who have not thoroughly examined the arguments for and against Scripture, will be silent. If they cannot believe in se sus, they will be extremely cautious upon what ground they reject him. They will remember that Newton examined the evidence of his divine mission, and was satisfied; that Locke examined, and died glorying in his salvation. They will recollect that West, jenyns

, Littleton, and Pringle, were all unbelievers; all undertook, like wise men, to examine the grounds of their infidelity; were all convinced that they had been dangerously mistaken; all became converts to the religion of the Son of God; and all died, declaring their belief in him, and expectations from him. Paine

, therefore, and his humbie joilowers, may ábuse and misrepresent the facts and doctrines contained in the sacred code, as Bolingbroke, and other deistical, but immoral men, have frequently done, with learning and ability greatly superior ; but they only display their own malignitý, and want of solidinformation. It is not every dabbier in science th:t is qualified, either to vindicate or oppose the Bible with effect. Deep and various learning is necessary for this experience of past ages might convince any man, that it will be found hard to kick against the pricks, and to resist the evidence with fuil satisfaction of inind. All bitter sarcasms, therefore, with which infidels so un



mercifully load that best of books,(6) are unbecoming, and should be suspended, lest they recoil upon their own heads. It hath stood the rude shocks of learned Jews and heathens, hereties and unbelievers of foriner ages, and it is not about to receive its death-wound from the feeble assaults which the present deists are capable of making upon it. We challenge all the unbelievers in christendom to account, upon any merely human principle, for the scriptural prophecies concerning the kingdom of Israel, Judah, and Egypt; or concerning the cities of Tyre, Nineveh, Babylon, and Jerusalem. Nay, we defy any man, on simple human principles, to account for the present state of the Jews. Would we give ourselves time soberly to compare the twentyeighth chapter of Deuteronomy with the history and dispersion of that extraordinary people, we could not fail of having our minds strongly impressed with conviction. This one argument is invincible, and not to be fairly got over by all the wit of man, as Chesterfield. was honest enough to declare.

But, if we turn from these prophecies to those which respect human redemption, and the Saviour of mankind, we shall find that they are extremely remarkable and minute, and absolutely conclusive for the Messiahship of Jesus Christ, the son of Mary. We will consider the predictions and fulfilments, and boldly appeal to the common sense of the most prejudiced man upon earth, whether there be not something far beyond the mere powers of nature in these strange coincidences.

It was predicted, many centuries before it came to pass, that Messiah should come into the world for the

(6) For the learning that is now in the world, we are indebted to the Bible. To it likewise, we are indebted for all the morality and religion which prevail among men. Nay, even the absurd tales and fables which we read in the writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans, are nothing more than perversions of their several histories and characters recorded in the Old Testament.

redemption of human beings.-Messiah did come into the world, four thousand years after the first predicLion was uttered.(7)

Messiah is frequently prophesied of under the character of him that was to come. - Jesus Christ is several times described in this form by the writers of the New Testament.(8)

In ancient times there were four monarchies in the world one succeeding another, more famous than all the rest. It was foretold that Messiah should appear under the last of them.-Christ was born after the destruction of the three first, and while the fourth was in all its glory (9)

Messiah was to come among men before the destruction of the second temple.-- Jesus Christ preached in that temple; and it was totally destroyed within forty years afterwards.(60)

Messiah was to come into the world before the dominion of the Jews was taken away.-Christ was born that very year Augustus Cæsar imposed a tax upon

(7) Gen. iii. 15; Is. ix. 6, 7; Mat. i. 18-25. Eveleigh says, " the great object of the prophecies of the Old Testament, is the redemption of mankind. This, as soon as Adam's fall had made it necessary, the mercy of God was pleased to foretell, And, as the time for its accomplishment drew nearer, the predictions concerning it became gradually so clear and determinate, as to mark out with historical precision, almost every circumstance in the life and character of infinitely the most extraordinary personage that ever appeared among men. Any one of these predictions is sufficient to indicate a prescience more than human. But the collective force of all, taken together, is such, that nothing more can be necessary to prove {he interposition of Omniscience, than the establishment of their authenticity. And this, even at so remote a period as the present, is placed beyond all doubt.”

(8) Compare Hab. ii. 3, 5; Psalm cxvii. 26; Is. xxxv. 4; lix. 20; lxii. 11; Dan. ix 26, Zech ix 9; Mal. iii. 1; Matth. vi. 3; John i. 30; iv. 25; xi. 27; Acts xix. 4,

(9) Compare Daniel ii. and vii. with Luke ii. and iii. (60) Compare Haggai ii. 7, with Matthew xxi. 23.

the Jewish nation, as a token of their subjection to the Roman government.(1)

When Messiah should make his appearance among men, it was to be a time of general peace, after dreadful wars and convulsions.-- When Jesus Christ came into the worlıl the Roman wars were just terminated, and the temple of Janus was shut, and universal peace reigned through the empire.(2)

Messiah was to make his appearance among men, at a time when there should be a general expectation of him. When Jesus Christ came into the world, all nations were looking for the advent of some extraordinary person.(3)

Messiah was to have existed with God before the foundations of the world were laid.- Jesus Christ was in the beginning with God, and by him the worlds were made.(4)

(1) Compare Genesis xlix. 10, with Luke ii. 1-7.

(2) Conspare Haggai ii. 6, 7, 9, with the Roman History of this period.

(3) Compare Haggai ii. 7-9, with Matthew ii. 1-10, and Johni. 19–45.

The Heathens, as well as the Jews, had a firm persuasion, that some extraordinary person would arise in the world about the time of our Saviour's birth. Suetonius says, “ There was an old and fixed opinion all over the east, that it was decreed by heaven, that about that time some person from Judea should obtain the dominion over all.”

Tacitus mentions the same prophecy, and almost in the same words :-"Most of the Jews had a persuasion, that it was contained in the ancient books of their priests, that at that very time, the east should grow powerful, and some person from Judea should gain the dominion.”

To these testimonies of the Scriptures and heathen writers we may add that of Josephus; “ that which chiefly excited the Jew's to the war against the Romans, was a dubious oracle, found in their Sacred Writings, that about that time, one of them from their parts should reign over the world.”

See this subject explained at large by Leslie, in his Short and Easy Method with the Jews, and in his truth of christianity demonstrated.

(4) Compare Proverbs viii. 22, 23, with Johni. 13; Cotossians i. 16, 17.

Messiah was to be one, who had been the fellow, the equal, and the companion of the Almighty:- Jesus Christ thought it not robbery to be equal with God, and was with him from all eternity.(5)

Messiah was to be the Son of God. Jesus Christ was confessedly the only begotten Son of God. (6)

Messiah was to have had an eternal and ineffable generation.--Jesus Christ was the Son of God, prior to his being born of the virgin Mary, in a way not to be explained by mortal man.(7)

Messiah was also to be the Son of Man.--Jesus Christ sustained this character, and seemed to have a pleasure in being called by that name:(8)

Messiah was not to be born according to the ordinary course of nature, but to descend from a pure virgin. Jesus Christ was born of the virgin Mary:(9)

Messiah was to be the son of Abraham, the father of the faithful, and the friend of God.- Jesus Christ was sprung from that illustrious patriarch.(70)

Messiah was to be the son of Isaac, and not of Ishmacl.(1)-Jesus Christ was sprung from Isaac, and not from Ishmael.

Messiah was to be the son of Jacob, and not of Esau. - Jesus Christ did descend from Jacob, and not froin his brother Esau.(2)

(5) Compare Zechariah xiii. 7, with Phil. ii. 6, and John i. 1.

(6) Compare Psalm ii 12; Proverbs xxx. 4; Hosea xi. 1, Mathew jii 17; xvii. 5.

(7) Compare Micah v. 2, with John i. 1. (8) Daniel vii 13; Maithew viii. 20.

(9) Compare Genesis jii, 15; Isaiah vii. 14 ; and Jeremiah xxxi. 22 ; with Matthew i 22, 23.—The opposers of the supernatural incarnation of our Saviour should soberly read Clark's Discourse on the Miraculous Birth of Christ. My Essay on the Authority of the New Testament may be consulted, especially the Addenda

(70) Compare Genesis xxi. 1-12, with Matthew i. 1-16. (1) Compare Genesis xxii. 16-21, with Matthew i. 1-16.

(2) Compare Genesis xxv. 24—34: xxvii. 27-28; xxviij. 13,14; with Matthew i. 1-16.

« AnteriorContinuar »