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to cause us to abound in those fruits of righteousness and universal goodness in which the perfection of our natures, and the essence of religion entirely consist.

What, then, are the grounds on wbich our faith in Christ rests? Why, do we hope for salvation and eternal life, from one who was himself put to death on the cross?

To this we reply

That from the first entrance of sin and death into the world, we see a very wonderful train both of prophecies and promises, reaching through a long series of more than three thousand years, which plainly announce a great Saviour who was to arise, and to deliver men from the tyranny of these two dreadful oppressors, and to restore them to that liberty and happiness and life which by transgression they had lost.

In these prophecies and promises, the person, the birth, the family, the character, the office, and employment of this expected deliverer, his reception in the world, his treatment amongst men, bis death, his burial, his resurrection froin the dead, and his ascension into glory—are so circumstantially foretold, and so minutely described, that when we see them almost exactly fulfilled in our divine master Jesus Christ, we find ourselves warranted with full confidence to conclude, that this is he“ that was to come”--the great Deliverer predicted, to whom all the prophets bore witness, and that we are most joyfully to receive him as the promised Messiah, the Christ of God.

He was to be in a peculiar manner the seed of the woman-a descendant from Abraham-by the line of Jacob-of the tribe of Judah- a prophet like unto Moses, that is, a lawgiver; and also a king, to be born at Bethlehem :-.be was to

be introduced by a messenger, who was to go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah- to make his appearance among men without comeliness and form, or any external pomp to attract their vencration- to be despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.--He was to ride into Jerusalem on an ass, and a colt, the fole of an ass.The Messiah was to be cut off, but not for himselfto be wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities :-his enetnies were to shake the head, and shoot out the lip, and insult himn in his sufferings

- he was to be led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is dumb, so, it is said, he opened not his mouth :—They were to give him in his sufferings vinegar to drink-to part his garments amungst them, and to cast lots for his vesture :-he was to be numbered with transgressors ; to make his exit with the wicked, and his grave with the rich,-he was not to see corruption, but to be shewn the path of lifethough his soul, or life, was to be made an ofpering for sin, yet he was to prolong his days, to see his seed, and the pleasure of the Lord prospering in his hands :-he was to dignify the second temple with his presence; and thereby to confer on it a greater honour, than the former enjoyed, in which the cloud of glory dwelt.-— Finally, he was to ascend up on high, to lead captivity captire, to receive gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious also, the Gentiles, that the Lord God might dwell amongst them.

Now, when we see all these peculiar, descriptive, characteristic marks, which were to indicate and point out the expected Messiah ; and which were not only recorded, but read publicly in the Jewish Church, some of them above a thousand, all of them many hundred years before the

appearance of Jesus upon earth : when we see them all so circumstantially and minutely fulfilled in him, there appears not the least room for a rational doubt, whether this was the very Saviour whom all the prophets had foreshewn ? And we have the clearest reasons to affirm, that they never were, nor ever can be, applied justly to any other.

And when, from these prophecies, we proceed to consider the excellent and divine doctrine which he came to preach amongst men; the ad, mirable system of religion and morals which his gospel contains; far nobler and more perfect than any wise men or philosophers of Greece or of Rome were ever able to produce; so rational and sublime, so perfective of our nature, so admirably conducive to the peace, the good order and happiness of mankind, and so consonant to that eternal law of conscience, or moral sense, which was originally written by the finger of God upon every man's heart-and that he not only exemplified in his own spotless, beneficent life, the laws he prescribed, but enforced them by motives of infinite weight, respecting not the present only, but also the future everlasting state :

Farther; when we also see, thạt God himself, from heaven, most evidently bore witness to the divinity of his mission, by the variety of stupendous miracles which he enabled him to perform; by healing all manner of diseases, casting out demons, giving sight to the blind, speech to the dumb, and even raising the dead to life ; thus affording, at the same time, a lively specimen or sample, as well as a kind of ocular demonstration, that he was the expected Saviour who was to overthrow, and to destroy the power of sin and of death, and to rescue men from the fatal bondage under which they were oppressed : and when

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we further consider, that though, according to the divine counsels, and his own repeated prediction, the Jews, with wicked hands, were suffered to put him to death; yet, both Judas who betrayed him, Pilate who condemned him, and the Roman centurion who had the charge of his execution, and saw the calm and devout manner in which he bore his extreme sufferings, and at last breathed his departing spirit into the hands of God, all bore witness to the innocence of his character: heaven also, by the awful prodigies which attended that great event, attested strongly the same; by the preternatural darkness which for three hours, at mid-day, covered the whole land, by the earth shaken, the rocks rent, the graves opening, and the veil of the temple torn in twain :- And that as it was not possible that death should hold him captive who came from heaven to destroy it ; so he rose again the third day, as he had frequently foretold; shewed himself alive to great nuinbers of his disciples, to more than fire hundred brethren at once ; he eat and drank and conversed familiarly with them, for forty days; they not only saw and heard, but felt and handled him ; had every possible proof that it was he, himself, not a spectre or phantom, but their real beloved master: and at last, leading them out to Bethany, he talked with them, and blessed them; and while he was blessing them, in the presence of them all, was taken up into heaven, and a cloud of attending angels received him out of their sight.

When we calmly consider all these things, I say, we might rest the evidence here : that which has been already given, being abundantly sufficient to justify our faith in Jesus as the promised Messiah, and to demand our most serious and

attentive regard to the divine message he hath brought.

But let it be further observed—That, some few days after his ascension into heaven, he poured down a variety of amazing gifts and powers upon his feeble, timid, unlearned disciples; whereby they were enabled to speak fluently the languages of all the surrounding nations ; to preach, with great boldness, Jesus and his resurrection, before princes and councils, and the most numerous assemblies; to work great and stupendous miracles, even greater than those which their master himself had performed; such as healing all manner of diseases, striking with death, or raising the dead to life, insomuch, that when the multitude of Jews who were assembled at the feast of Pentecost, from every nation under heaven, Greeks, Parthians, Medes, Phrygians-heard them speak, in their own tongues, the wonderful works of God, they were all amazed : and having the gospel scheme of salvation further explained to them, in that first sermon of Peter's, three thousand of them were convinced and baptised into the christian faith; and soon after five thousand were numbered amongst their converts : so swiftly ran the word of God, and mightily prevailed.

And now behold! these twelve poor illiterate fishermen, unsupported by any human power, uninfluenced by any prospects of worldly honour or gain, opposed by all the learning, genius, and wit of the age ; even sure to draw upon themselves the indignation of the rulers of this world; and to be attacked by the united rage both of princes and priests ; as the doctrine they preached subverted the whole frame of the established religions both of Gentiles and Jews !--See them, in the face of a thousand dangers and distresses, boldly going forth, attesting the divine mission

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