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easily conjecture that the son of Amilcar would be an enemy to Roman power, but none could foretell the splendour and variety of his successes, nor his melancholy end. The friends of the German Reformer, who saw him a devout and fearless boy, might guess or hope the faith and courage of the man. But the most sagacious could not imagine that the child, who sang from door to door, should shake down the pillars of Papal power, and extend his moral influence to the limits of the civilized globe, and the end of time. Yet prophecy takes a still wider range. It does not form conjectures respecting the future destinies of those whose character and circumstances are known. It announces the birth of Him who was yet unborn, and was not to be born until centuries after its voice had been hushed into silence—it assigns the time and place of his birth, the features of his character, the course of his life--the reception which he should meet with from his contemporaries, and the influence which he should exercise as long as the moon endureth. Here then is a direct appeal to God's omniscience. If it be beyond human wisdom to foretell the futurity of its nearest living friend, it is clearly the exclusive attribute of the Divine prescience to announce the life and acts of him who is yet to come. If, therefore, we can show, that prophecies respecting an individual did exist centuries before his birth, and that these prophecies have been minutely fulfilled, we prove an interposition of Divine omniscience, and have consequently the same species of proof as that offered by Elijah to his countrymen. He appealed to omnipotence, we to omniscience; the one as certainly the attribute of Deity as the other.*
Such is the object of these Lectures. It is proposed to show that before the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ certain prophecies existed, which have been fulfilled in his history, and that of the world; thence to infer that the prophecies are divine, and he in whom they are accomplished, the Redeemer of Israel, and the Saviour of the world.
But here we are met by a grave objection. The modern Jews assert that the appeal to prophecy is vain, inasmuch as Christ's claims have been already examined, and not only rejected, but he himself condemned to death, by a tribunal instituted by God, and endowed with infallibility.†
* “ Si quis mortalis possit esse, qui conligationem causarum omnium perspiciat animo, nihil eum profecto fallat : qui enim teneat causas rerum futurarum, idem necesse est omnia teneat quæ futura sint. Quod cum Nemo facere, nisi Deus, possit ; relinquendum est homini, ut signis quibusdam consequentia declarantibus futura presentiat,” &c.—“Cicero de Divinatione,” lib. i. 56.
+ Thus Orobio reasons. Having cited Deut. xvii., he says to Limborch-“Ecce, Doctissime vir, ad quos pertinebat Israelis dubia circa legem judicare : et quod majus dubium quam de doctrina, et Propheta eam edocente, in quo consistebat non minus quam negotium religionis et salus tota populi ? Quod judicium si infallibile non esset, quare Deus eandem et majorem poenam reluctanti præscripsisset, quam ei, qui vero Prophetæ non auscultaverit ? Poterant quidem, vel malitia, vel ignorantia errorem committere ; sed jam Deo placuit, ut semper secundum Legem judicium facerent, ne errarent. Talis fuit illa divina providentia, præsertim in iis quæ ad religionem pertinebant ... ad hoc tribunal mittebatur judicandus propheta.”—“Amic. Coll. Tertium Scriptum Judæi,” p. 113.
The Sanhedrin, say they, have already adjudicated in the matter, and to their sentence Moses commands an unhesitating and unconditional submission. “ If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy gates : then shalt thou arise, and get thee up unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose ; and thou shalt come unto the priests, the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and inquire; and they shall show thee the sentence of judgment. And thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee: according to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall show thee to the right hand nor to the left. And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the Lord thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away evil from Israel. And all the people shall hear and fear, and do no more presumptuously.” (Deut. xvii. 8.) These words are strong, but to apply them to the case of Jesus of Nazareth, two things are necessary, 1. To prove that the tribunal here described was at all times, and under all circumstances infallible; and, secondly, that the tribunal which condemned him was identical with that whose institution is here prescribed, both of which things are impossible. The history of Israel and the words of the prophets demonstrate that during the first temple every class of the people was involved in the general rebellion against God, erring in doctrine, as well as in practice. Thus it is said, “Moreover, all the chief of the priests, and the people transgressed very much, after all the abominations of the heathen, and polluted the house of the Lord which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers rising up betimes and sending, because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling-place: but they mocked at the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord rose against his people, till there was no remedy.” (2 Chron. xxxvi. 14–16.) Yea, God himself says, that in Jerusalem, there was not a single man that executed judgment.
In like manner speaks M. Salvador. “De même que les petit-conseils des tribus, et des villes jugeaient les particuliers, de même le conseil general jugeait les senateurs accusés, les sacerdotes, les prophétes, les chefs militaires, les rois, les villes, et les tribus rebelles.”—“Histoire des Institutions de Moise," lib. iv., c. ii. Edit. Bruxelles, vol. ii., p. 78. Compare the whole of ch. iii. and liv. II. c. ii.
“Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.” Yea, “ the priests, and the prophets, and all the people" assembled in the house of the Lord, most unjustly condemned Jeremiah, and solemnly declared, “this man is worthy to die,” for no other offence than simply declaring the will and purpose of the Almighty. So far were they from infallibility, that they solemnly pronounced the declaration of Divine truth to be a crime punishable with death.
To Ezekiel was exhibited the melancholy sight of the seventy elders, of whose infallibility modern Jews would persuade us, engaged in the practice of every species of idolatry. “He said unto me, Go in and behold the wicked abominations that they do here. So I went in and saw ; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, pourtrayed upon the wall round about. And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood