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raculous operations?--At this rate, miracles would cease to be miraculous, they would become common and familiar things, and no longer strike the mind with
any conviction at all, any more than the ebbing and flowing of the sea, the rising and setting of the fun; or any other such displays of the divine power, in the common course of Providence.
Upon the whole, there is no evidence wanting, to leave the unbeliever inexcusable.-There is evi. dence every way sufficient to satisfy the mind of an impartial inquirer after truth. And it is impossible for any man in the world to imagine any means of confirmation in this important truth, superior to what is herein set before you.-How unreasonable would it therefore be, to require more evidence in a case, wherein we have already as much as we are possibly capable to receive!_That it may be effectual to establish you in the faith, is, and shall be the prayer of,
LETTER III. Wherein an Historical Ac
count of the Birth, Life, Passion, Resurrection, Afcenfion, and future Kingdom of our Bleffed SAVIOUR, is collected from the Prophecies of the Old Testament.
of mine have contributed in the least towards your
satisfaction. I am thereby the more encouraged to hope, that your remaining difficulties may easily be obviated ; and particularly, that it will not prove difficult to answer your present demand ; to Thew you
“ how you may certainly know that the “ prophecies of the Old Testament had a direct re. 6 ference unto Jesus Christ.”_You may know this by the exact accommodation of the prediction with the event. That this therefore may be set before you in a proper light, I will endeavour to give you (in the form of an history) a brief representation of our blessed Saviour, gathered from the Old Testament; and leave you to compare this with the narrative of him in the New.-If these agree, you thereby have a certain discovery of the divine Original of these prophecies; since none but an omniscient mind could possibly foresee these events. And you have likewise the same certainty, that Jesus Christ is the predicted Meffiah, and that his mission is divine, since what was foretold of the Meffiah in the Pro. phets, is fulfilled in him.
The time of the manifestation of this glorious Person, whom I am now to describe, was during the continuance of the kingdom of Judah, while a Sceptre was in the hand, and a Lawgiver came from between the feet of that tribe (a), while the second Temple was yet standing (b), just 450 Chaldee years after the decree went forth to restore and to build Jerufalem, which was in the twentieth year of Ar. taxerxes Longimanus, King of Persia (c) *.-This King like wise came into the world, and the God of heaven set up his everlasting kingdom, at that season of the fourth or Roman Monarchy (d), when there was an end put to the dreadful shaking of the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land, and indeed of all
nations, (a) Gen. xlix. 10. (b) Mal.iii. 1. Hag. ii. 7. (c) Dan. ix. 25. * Daniel's Seven weeks and threescore and two weeks, or 483
years, were to terminate at the death of the Messiah. We must therefore subtract from that number, the 33 years of his life; and there remains 450 years to bis birth.
(d) Dan. ii. 44.
nations, by the wars of Alexander the Great, the four kingdoms that arose out of his conquests, and the Romans the conquerors of them all ; and when peace was restored to the world (a), which happen. ed when Augustus Cæsar was Emperor of Rome, and Herod the Great was King of Judea.
As to the pedigree or descent of our blessed Sa. visur, it must be considered with respect to the two different natures that were united in this glorious Person. For how wonderful soever it may appear to us, the Man Christ Jesus was also Immanuel, God with us (b); and that divine Child which was born, and that Son which was given to us, (at the time before described) is the mighty God, and the everlasting Father, as well as the Prince of Peace (c). He is that God, whose throne is for ever and ever (d); and though a Man, yet such a Man, as is God's own Fel. low (e). Now, if we consider his descent, with respect to his divine Person, it must necessarily be, that though he be God the Father's Son, and be. gotten by him (f), yet his going forth must have been from of old, from everlasting (g). And it is accordingly true, that the Lord pollessed him in the beginning of his way, before his works of old : He was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was (h). -Being thus necessarily stopt from looking any further than to eternity, and to him that inhabita eternity, in considering the original of his divine Person, I proceed to take notice, that in his human nature, he descended from the loins of Abraham (i), of isaac (k), and of Jacob (1), from the tribe of Judah(m), and from the royal family of David (n), and that in a way surprisingly dif. ferent from any ordinary human generation, a Vir
gin (a) Hag. ii. 6, 7, 9. (b) Ifa. vii. 14. (c) Ifa. ix. 6. (d) Pfal.
xlv. 6. (e) Zech. xiii. 7. (f) Pral. ii. 7. (8) Micah v. 2. (h) Prov. viii. 22, 23, (i) Gen. xii. 3. (k) Gen. xxvi. 4. (Gen. xxviii, 14. (m) Gen. xlix. 10. (n) Plal.Ixxxix. 35,36.
gin conceived and brought forth this Son, whose name is Immanuel(a); and this new thing did God create in the earth, that a woman hath compased a man (b).
The place where our blessed Saviour was born, was Bethlehem-Ephratah. This town, though but little among the thousands of Judah, was honoured with being the place out of which he came forth who is the supreme Ruler in Israel (c). Here he was born: But this was not the place of his chief and principal residence; that was Galilee of the nations. This people who had walked in darkness, saw this great Light among them; even upon them who had dwelt in the land of the Shadow of death, hath this light shie
The circumstances of his appearing in the world were low, mean and abased; very different from the expectations men had entertained of the Meffiah; and therefore he was despised and rejected of men, they hid their faces from him, he was despised, and they esteemed him not (e). Nay, many were astonished at him, his visage was so marred, more than any man; and his form more than the fons of men (f). So far was his appearance from that glory and majesty, that pomp and splendor, which was expected in the Messiah, that he was considered as a worm and no man, a reproach of men, and despised of the people (g).-Even the priests and rulers themselves, who fhould have been the builders of the Jewish Church, refused this Stone, which is become the Head of the Corner (h). And the reason of this was, that they saw no form nor comeliness, no riches nor ho. nour; no magnificence nor beauty in him, that they should defire him (i).
The characters, in which he appeared in the world, were those of a Prophet, Priest and King;
D 2 (a) Isa vii. 14. (b) Jer. xxxi. 22. (c) Micah v. 2. (d) Ifa ix. 3. (e) Isa. liii 3.
(f) Ifa. lii. 14. (8) Pfal. xxii. 6. (h) Pral. cxviii, 22. (i) Ifa. liii. 2.
to each of which it is proper to speak something particularly.
The Lord our God did, in the Person of our bles. sed Saviour, raife up unto his people a PROPHET, ,like unto Nioses, the greatest and most eminent Prophet of the Jewish Church: He put his words into his mouth, that he might speak unto them whatsoever he commanded him; and held his people under the strongest injunction, upon their peril, to hearken to the words which this Prophet should speak in his name (a). And as our Lord Jefus Christ was destined by God the Father unto the prophetical office, he cheerfully undertook it. Lo i come, (says he) in the volume of thy book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, o my God: Yea, thy law is within my heart (b). And as he cheerfully undertook, so he diligently and faithfully discharged this sacred and important trust. He, as a wonderful Counsellor (c), preached constantly to the people, and made known the whole mind and will of God to them; and could make this appeal to his heavenly Father, I have preached righteousness in the great congregation. Lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knoweft. I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart. I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation. I have not concealed thy loving kindness and thy truth from the great congregation (d).
He constantly preached among the people the blessed and joyful news of a glorious falvation from their fin, guilt, danger and misery. The spirit of the Lord was upon him, because the Lord had' anointed him to preach good tidings unto the meek; he sent him to bind up the broken hearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that were bound, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, to com
(a) Deut. xviii. 18. 19.
(d) Pfal. xl. 9, 10.
(6) Pfal. xl. 7, 8.
(c) Ifa. ix, 6.