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human principle, for the scriptural prophecies concerning the kingdoms of Israel, Judah and Egypt; or concerning the cities of Tyre, Nineveh, Babylon, and Jerusalem. Nay, not to take so large a compass, but to bring the matter to one point, 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 twenty-eighth 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 the late accomplished but irreligious 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 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 at some length, and boldly appeal to the common sense and reason of the most prejudiced man upón carth, whether there be not something far beyond the mere powers of nature in these strange coincidences.
1. It was predicted, many centuries before it came to pass, that Messiah should come into the world for the redemption of human beings Messiah did come into the world four thousand years after the first prediction was uttered f.
*See Joxes's Life of Bishop HORNE, p. 332.
Gen. ii. 15; Is. ix. 6, 7; Mat. i. 18-25. Dr. EvELEIGH in his Sermons says very justly, "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 GCD was pleased to foretel. 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 thefe 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 the 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."
Sermon vi. p. 210.
2. 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*.
3. 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 †.
4. 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.
5. Messiah was to come into the world before the dominion of the Jews was taken away.-CHRIST was born that very year AUGUSTUS CESAR imposed a tax upon the Jewish nation, as a token of their subjection to the Roman government §.
6. 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 world, the Roman wars were just terminated, the temple of JANUS was shut, and universal peace reigned through the empire ||.
7. 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 ¶.
8. MESSIAH was to have existed with Gon before the
Compare Hab. i. 3, 4; Psalm cxviii. 26; Is. xxxv. 4; lix. 20; lxii. 11;
Compare Haggai ii. 7, with Matthew xxi. 23. See Josephus.
Compare Haggai ii. 6, 7, 9, with the Roman History of this period.
1 Compare Haggai ii. 7-9. with Matthew ii. 1-10, and John i. 19-45The Heathens, as well as the Jews, had a firm persuasion that some extra ordinary person should arise in the world about the time of our SAVIOUR'S birth. SUETONIUS says, There was an old and fixed opinion all over the
foundations of the world were laid.-JESUS CHRIST was in the beginning with GOD, and by him the worlds were made.
9. 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 eternity †.
10. MESSIAH was to be the Son of GOD.-JESUS CHRIST was confessedly the only-begotten Son of GOD.
11. 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 §.
12. 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.
13. 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 ¶.
14. MESSIAH was to be the son of ABRAHAM, the father
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, who says in his History of the Jewish War, b. vii. c. 12. "That which chiefly excited the Jews 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 drawn out more at large by Mr. CHARLES LESLIE, in his Short and Easy Method with the Jews, and again in his Truth of Christianity demonstrated. This last treatise, together with his Short and Easy Method with the Deists, are absolutely conclusive in favour of the Gospel. One may defy the most fubile Deist in the world to refute these two treatises: They are indeed unanswerable, except by sneer and sarcasm.
* Compare Proverbs viii. 22, 23, with John i. 1-3; Colossians i. 16, 17.
and John i. 1.
Matthew iii. 175
Compare Micah v. 2, with John i. 1.
Compare Genesis iii. 15; Isarah vii. 14; and Jeremiah xxxi. 22; with Matthew 1. 22, 23.-It would be well if the opposers of the supernatural incar nation of our SAVIOUR, would soberly read over Dr. CLARKE's very sen
ther of the faithful, and the friend of GOD.-JESUS CHRIST was sprung from that illustrious Patriarch*.
15. MESSIAH was to be the son of ISAAC, and not of ISHMAEL.-JESUS CHRIST was sprung from ISAAC, and not from ISHMAEL T.
16. MESSIAH was to be the son of JACOB, and not of ESAU. JESUS CHRIST did descend from JACOB, and not from his brother ESAU .
17. JACOB had twelve sons. MESSIAH was not to spring from any other of the twelve, but from JUDAH. -JESUS CHRIST claimed JUDAH as his ancestor in a direct line §.
18. MESSIAH was to be sprung from JESSE, the father of DAVID, king of ISRAEL.-JESUS CHRIST was his descendant ||.
19. JESSE had eight sons. DAVID was the youngest. From none of the seven elder, but from DAVID alone, was MESSIAH to derive his origin.-JESUS CHRIST was the son of DAVID ¶.
20. MESSIAH was to be born in a poor and mean condition, when the family should be reduced to a very low estate.-JESUS CHRIST, both on his father and mother's side, was of very low and mean appearance, though descended from such illustrious ancestors **.
21. MESSIAH was to have a messenger going before him, to make ready a people prepared for the LORDCHRIST had a messenger going before him, who fully bare witness to his pretensionstt.
22. The forerunner of MESSIAH was either to be ELIJAH himself, or one in the spirit of ELIJAH.-JOHN the
sible discourse on the miraculous birth of CHRIST, in the 5th volume of his Sermons. My own Essay on the Authenticity of the New Testament too may be cọnsulted, especially the Addenda.
* Compare Genesis xxi. 1-12, with Matthew i. 1—16.
Compare Genesis xvii. 16-21, with Matthew i. 1—16.
Compare Genesis xxv. 24-34; xxvii. 27-29; xxviii. 13, 14; with Matthew i. 1-16.
Compare Genesis xlix. 8-12, with Matthew i. 1-16.
Compare Isaiah xi: 1, with Matthew i. 1-16.
Compare 1 Samuel xvi. 1-13; 2 Samuel vii. 12-15; Psalm lxxxix. 19-37 Matthew i. 1-16.
**Compare Isaiah liii. 2; Luke i. 48, 52; ii. 7, 24.
tt Compare Malachi iii. 1, with John i. 19-34, and iii. 26-36.
BAPTIST, the forerunner of CHRIST, was altogether in the spirit of that great Prophet*.
23. The forerunner of MESSIAH was to preach in the wilderness, and to prepare the minds of the people for his coming. JOHN the BAPTIST did preach in the wilderness of Judea, and professed himself to be sent to prepare the Jews for the advent of CHRIST †.
24. The forerunner of MESSIAH was to be considerably successful in his office.-Joux the BAPTIST was treated with great respect by his countrymen, and made large numbers of disciples
25. MESSIAH was not to be born at Jerusalem, the capital of his kingdom, but at Bethlehem, án obscure country village.-JESUS CHRIST was born at Bethlehem, by a very peculiar providence §..
26. MESSIAI was to go down into Egypt, and to be called out from thence-JESUS CHRIST went down into Egypt soon after his birth, and was called out from thence by an angel of the LORD.
27. MESSIAH was to be a preacher of the law of GOD to his countrymen in the great congregation.-JESUS CHRIST was indefatigable in his public ministrations, both in the temple, and in all other places, where the people were disposed to hear him T.
23. The tribes of ZEBULON and NAPHTALI were first to be greatly distressed, and afterwards highly honoured and exalted, by the appearance of MESSIAIL among them. These tribes principally suffered in the first Assyrian invasion under TIGLATII PILEZER, and were afterwards among the first that enjoyed the blessing of CHRIST's preaching the gospel, and exhibiting his miraculous works among them**
* Compare Malachi iv. 5, 6, with Mark i. 1—8.
+ Compare Isaiah xl. 3—5, with Matthew iii. 1-6.
Compare Isaiah xl. 3-5, with Luke iii. 21.
Compare Micah v. 2, with Matthew ii. 2.
Compare Hosea xi. 1, with Matthew ii. 13-23. See too WHISTON on Prophecy, pp. 12 and 52.
¶ Compare Psalm xl. 9, 10, with the four Gospels, passim.
** Compare Isaiah ix. 1-4; 2 Kings xv. 29; 1 Chron. v. 26, and Matt. iv.