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forms such as we use to express the relations of things, stiffened by an unyielding construction, and confined by the dependence of words upon verbal roots to outward action. Such a language could not be used for abstract or abstruse ideas. It was suited only for the simplest historical narratives, and for poetry in which images and figures and sensations succeeded one another in rapid course. Hence no school of native philosophy has ever arisen, nor treatise of metaphysical thought ever appeared in any of the dialects of this family. This family of tongues was for the preservation rather than for the propagation of revealed truth. Such was eminently the nature of the ancient Hebrew, the language of Abraham, to whom were committed the oracles of truth; and the intellectual character of his posterity, as well as the nature of their language, fitted them to be the depository of revealed truth. As they yielded themselves to the awful ministry of Jehovah's prophets, so did they cling with most astonishing tenacity to the simple history of their early ages. The Old Testament, containing the deepest Revelations of religion, the most awful denunciations of prophecy, the wisest lessons of virtue, and the sweetest strains of heavenly poetry, was given to the world in the Hebrew language, which, if not the only language that could have preserved and transmitted uncorrupted the word of God, was certainly adapted for this mission in a most remarkable degree. But when the fulness of time was come, when the Old Testament dispensation was to be fused into that of the New, then God changed the language which had been the medium of his Revelation, from the Hebrew to the Greek. Abraham's posterity and language were to keep alive on earth the knowledge of one true and living God, and the promise of the coming of a Messiah. The Hebrew character and language were fitted for this. The Gospel on the other hand, was intended for the whole world, and for each individual of the human race. In Abraham's seed, all the nations of the earth were to be blessed. Christianity was not, therefore, intended to be the shibboleth of a party, nor the badge of a sect or nation, but the creed of mankind. It is evident, then, that it was necessary to give it to other than Jewish husbandmen-to give it to men whose intellectual character and language might be adapted to introduce it into every country, and into the language of every people on earth. The oracles of revealed truth in the gospel dispensation were given to men of deep mental discipline, whose ever eager impulse to investigate would discover more easily, and bring to light their inexhaustible beauties; who would know and communicate their claims upon inspirationand by searching out their connections with one another, and

with the varied but wise and harmonious dispensations of God, bring forth new motives for conviction-new themes of praise. And in all these particulars we find that the gospel came in the fulness of time. It was revealed to men, and in a language, and at a time, best suited for the accomplishment of its glorious objects. The Roman arms had subdued the world to Roman laws, and consequently their language and that of the Greeks, which they read and spoke, and which had prevailed most extensively from the conquests of Alexander the Great, filled almost the whole of the then known and peopled world. The Greek was the language then most universally understood, and the language of all then in existence, best suited for the preaching of the gospel. It was the fulness of time, therefore, for the Son of God to come, as the world was then so far at peace, and the laws and prevailing language of one empire so well known, that it was a favorable time for the propagation of truth. The contents of the New Testament were committed to men whose intellectual character and language, in a very special manner, fitted them to investigate their claims to inspiration. No age would have been better fitted for the adoption of Christianity than the Augustan age. The temple of Janus was shut; the clangor of arms has ceased. The Roman roads, trade and commerce became pathways for the feet of the messengers of the glorious gospel of the Son of God. There was no period before, nor has there been any since, when the gospel could have been introduced with such facilities for its propagation as at the time Christ actually set up his kingdom among men. The Mosaic law, the religion of the ancient Jews, was communicated to them in a language of all best adapted for the reception and preservation of such articles of faith, and the articles of faith thus revealed, were such as were needful for the age of the world in which they were made, and the preparation of mankind for the manifestation of "God with us." And the gospel being for all ages, and for all the world, was revealed. in like manner in an age and in a language, and to a class of men better fitted for its propagation, all things considered, than any other age, language, or men that have existed.

2. In the second place it was the fulness of time when Christ came, for the world was then prepared to examine the claims of the gospel. Both Gentiles and Jews were prepared to detect an imposter. The Jews had been taught by Moses and their prophets. In Judea, there was Jerusalem, the holy city, with its temple and its priests, and sacrifices, and prophets, and holy writings. And in the Grecian isles there stood. Athens, "the eye of Greece. mother of arts and eloquence."

There the olive grove of Academus, where Plato studiedthere the schools of ancient sages, the Lyceum and the painted Stoa-and there philosophy from heaven descended to the low roofed house of Socrates, "whom well inspired the oracle pronounced wisest of men"-the Academics, Peripatetics, Epicureans, and Stoics, and boasted poets, wits and philosophers of mankind. Moses and Samuel, David and Isaiah, Demosthenes and Aristotle, had all lived and taught before the coming of Christ. Both Jews and Gentiles had been taught to expect some great religious teacher about this time. The whole world was looking for a Messiah. He was the DESIRE of all nations. The Gentiles had no well defined ideas, but were expecting some manifestation from heaven. They had long sat at the feet of the wise men-had long lived in the light of tradition, and wandered after the torch of philosophy over the dark mountains and dreary deserts of idolatry and superstition. They had had oracles and poets, and philosophers and sibyls. Their own longings and hopes all concurred to produce a general expectation that some great personage was about to come into the world-Virgil had framed his eclogues after some of Isaiah's visions.

Nor is it strange that the learned should have indulged such hopes for Ptolemy Philadelphus had caused a careful and complete translation of the Hebrew scriptures to be made into the Greek tongue one hundred and eighty-six years before the coming of Christ. All the curious and learned were therefore acquainted with the writings of the Hebrew prophets.

Again, the age of Christ and his apostles was pre-eminently an age of scrutiny and inquiry. Cicero had previously introduced that system of argumentation which doubted and disputed everything, and taught that nothing was to be received without proof. If Bolingbroke and Hume, Voltaire and Paine, had lived then, they could not have brought more talent and learning, more wit, subtlety, raillery and malice, impudence and blasphemy, into the field against the gospel than was then employed.

The Jews were under the Roman yoke, and had no hope of deliverance but from the Messiah. On the other hand, Romans were jealous of losing any portion of their power. And hence, both would scrutinize the claims of Christ, as the promised Messiah, until they saw clearly that his kingdom was not of this world.

Now, as it is a maxim in law, that a man shall not be put in jeopardy of life and limb twice for the same offence, and as Christianity was tried in the first centuries by every species. of opposition, and triumphed most gloriously, should we not now regard it as an incontrovertible fact that the Son of God

did come in the fulness of time, to seek and save our lost world, and that there is salvation only through him?

3. It was the fulness of time, because the world was then fully able to appreciate the doctrines of the Gospel by comparison and contrast.

Does infidelity inquire-why did not Christ come sooner? Ans. No teacher like experience. Had he come a century sooner, philosophy would have contended that she was fully able and competent to instruct and rule mankind. God in his wisdom left the world to try its own strength, until it was manifest that by her own wisdom she knew not the true God, nor could she, by searching, find out the way, the truth, and the life.

When Christ came, the doctrine of immortality was almost expunged from the creed of the race, and the practice of suicide had become popular and common. But although philosophers could blot the doctrine of immortality from the creed it could not root its idea out of the human mind. Life was too dear, and the love of life was too ardent, to be readily given up; and hence, at the precise period when immortality was so longed for, and men were sick of the doctrine of annihilation, Christ came, and brought life and immortality to light. Man's extremity was God's opportunity.

At that time, too, the doctrine of sacrifices was fully understood-"It is true they had declined in the Jewish temples, but were taken up with increasing eagerness by the heathen. At the time Christ came, the doctrine of vicarious sacrifices was most popular, and the offering of those sacrifices at its highest pitch. The altars of Jupiter blazed incessantly but they blazed in vain; those who offered them found that the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin. And at the precise period when sacrificers became tired of their round of offerings, at the very moment when hope was about to give up the ghost, Christ came to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Yes; at this solemn crisis, when philosophy failed to teach men the way of happiness, and the sacrifices which had so long been confided in were about to be put away, then Christ came to teach men the way of life and salvation, and then was his blood shed to ransom men by thousands and millions."-Dr. Philip.

4. There was no time from the creation to the Advent, nor has there been since that event, s proper for Christ's coming, as the time when he did actually come.

It would have been untimely during the antediluvian age, or at the time of the flood. There was no man living then able to have written an account of it, or to have written such an account as would have interested all the ages of the world

in time to come. Hence it was delayed until an age of learning and philosophy, when the facts were all scrutinized, and the records made so as to stand out pre-eminently beyond all other writings.

Nor was it a proper period from the flood to the time of Moses. Then the world was not only uncivilized, but sparsely populated. Then there would have been but few to see him, and fewer still able to appreciate his worth.

Nor was it the proper time from Moses to the prophets; because even the Jews were then as minors under tutors and governors-under the elements of the world, and unable to understand the spiritual nature of their own dispensation. They groped in darkness even when Christ did come how much more were they unfit to receive the Messiah, when just emerging from the bondage of Egypt, with all the associations which their minds had formed in that land of gross idolatry and bondage. Nor would it have been any more a proper time for Christ to have come during the period of the four great monarchies. If Christ had come then, infidels would have said Christianity is the mere invention of the Nimrods and tyrants of past ages-is a mere political scheme to bring men under the rule of despots.

Finally. Christ came in the fulness of time, as it regards the types, promises and prophecies, which all concurred in fixing the time of the actual advent, as the time appointed of the Father. If Christ had come immediately after the expulsion from Eden we should have been deprived of the instruction of these types, promises, and prophecies. And as he could not have come sooner, so neither could he come later, for the types, promises, and prophecies were fulfilled and came to an end in the age of the advent. According to the Hebrew scriptures, Christ was to come while the second temple was standingwhile there was yet a sceptre in Judah, and a law-giver between his feet, and of the line and lineage of David. All these points meet in Christ and the advent. But in no age since could they be converged upon any point of time, nor upon any family of Israelites. The nation and temple were destroyed by the Romans. Their genealogies are lost. If Christ be not the Son of God, the true and long expected Messiah, the whole Bible is a fable. But the Bible is not a fable. It is the word of the only living, true God, who did send his Son in the fulness of time, as indicated by types, promises, and prophecies, and the united longings, necessities and out-cryings of all nations and ages.

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