Imágenes de páginas

I may once more subjoin to al! this, that it is at least highly improbable, that the early Writers against Christianity fhould never deny thefe Facts, if they were not notoriously true, when. they could not want Advantages to detect any Fraud or Deceit that can possibly be supposed in a Ose of this Kind.——And it is yet more improbable, that any of the Adoerjaries of Christianity should confirm the Truth of these Facts, as we find some of them do, if they had not bepn moil apparently and undoubtedly true.

And now, Sir, what can be wanting, what can you demand or dt.sire more, to consirm you in the Faith of Christianity i It is established upon the Veracity of God himself; upon thole Facts, by which he has from ifcaven artest.'d to the Truth of it; and these Facts are verified by Evidences which cannot possibly deceive us.——By believing therefore, we set to our Seal 'that God is true : But he that believesh not, m iketh him a Liar; because he believeth not the Record that God gave of hit Son.

You may perhaps tell me, that if you had seen these Miracles yourself, you would have believed them. —But has not every Body else the same Claim to this Sort of Satissaction as you; and the same Reason to desire to be Eye and Ear-Witnesses of

such miraculous Operations? At this Rate,

Miracles would cease to be miraculous, they would become common and samiliar 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 Sun ; or any other such Di plays of the divine Power, in the common Course of Providence.

Upon the whole, there is no Evidence wanting, to leave the Unbeliever inexcusable.~-Tb.ere is Evidence cJencf every Way sufficient to satisfy the Mind of an impartial Enquirer aster Truth. And it is impossible for any Man in the World to imagine any Means of Consirmation 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, Sir,

Yours, &c.

LETTER III. Wherein an historical Account of the Birch, Life, Passion, Refurrection, Afcension, and suture Kingdom of our blessed Saviour, is collected from the Prophecies of the Old Testament.


IRejoice to hear from you, that any Endeavours of mine have contributed in the least towards your Satissaction. 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 stiew you " how you may certainly know that "the Prophecies oi the Old Testament had a direct "Reserence unto Jefus Christ."—You may knowT 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^. brief ReD -|ir?senution presentation 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 invents. And you have likewise the same Certainty, that Jesus Christ is the predicted Mejsiah, and that his Million is divine, since what was foretold of the Mefiah in the Prophets, is sulfilled in him.

The Time of the Manisestation of this glorious Person, whom.1 am now to describe, was during the Continuance of the Kingdom of Judah, while a Scepter was in the Hand, and a Lawgiver came from between the Feet of that Tribe, (a) while the second Temple was yet standing, t.b)just 4joChaIdee Years aster the Decree went forth to r ester e and to build Jerusalem, which was in the twentieth Year of Artaxerxes Longimanus^ King of Pe/Jia. (c) *

This King likewise came into the World, and

the God of Heaven set up his everlasting Kingdom, at that Season of the fourth ox Roman Monarchy,(d) when there was an End put to the dreadsul Shaking es the Heavens and the Earth, the Sea and the dry Land, and indeed of all 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, (e) which happened when Augustus Ctesar was Emperor of Rome, and Herod the Great was King of Judea.

{a) Gen. 49. Jo. (b)Ata/. 3. t. Hag. X. 7. (c) Dan. 9- 2S

• Daniel's seven Weeks and threescore and two Weeks, or 483 Yean, were to terminate at the Death of the Messiah. hi vt'ifl therefore subtract from that Number, the 33 Yean of bit life; and there remains 450 Years to his Birth. (d) Dn. 2, 44. (e) Hag, j, 6, 7, 9.

As to the Pedigree or Descent of our blessed Saviour, it must be considered with Respect to the two different Natures that were united in this glorious Person. For how wondersui soever it may appear to us, the Man Cbrisl Jesus was also lmmanucl, God 'with us; (f) and that divine Child which was born, 3nd that Son which was given to us, (.at the Time before described) is the mighty God, aud the everlasting Father, as well as the Prince of Peace. (g) He is that God, whofe Throne is for tver and ever; (.h) and though a Man, yet such a Man, as is God's own Fellow. (i) 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 begotten by him, (k) yet his going forth must have been from of Old, from Everlasting. (l) And it is accordingly true, that the Lord possessed him in the Beginning of his Way, before his Works of old: He was set up from I'verlasting, from the Beginning, or ever the Earth •was. (m)—Being thus necessarily stopt from looking any surther than to Eternity, and to him that inhabits Eternity, in considering the Original of hit divine Person, I proceed to take Notice, that in his human Nature, he descended from the Loins of Abraham, (n) of Isaac, (o) and of Jacoh, (p) from the Tribe of Judah, (q) and from the royal Family of David, (r) and that in a Way surprizingly disserent from any ordinary human Generation, a Virgin conceived and brought forth this Son, whose Name is Immanuel; (s) and this new Thing did God create in the Earth, that a Woman hath compassed a Man. (t)

{t)1{a.7. 14. (g) Isa. 9.6. (b) Pscl. 4r. 6. (I) Zecb.

13. 7. {k)F>/.2. 7. (\)M:cb. 5. 2. {m)Pnv.%. 2i,ll. («) Gen. ij, 3. (p) Gen. 26. 4. (p) Cm, 28.

14. {a) Gen. 49. 10. (r) Psat. 83. 3J, 36. <c) Isa.

J. 14. (t)^,. 3J. »2.

P 2

The Place where our blessed Saviour was born was Bethlehem-Ephratah. This Town, tho' 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. (u) 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, Jam this great Light among them; even upon them who had dwelt in the Land of the Shadcruj of Death, hath this Light Jinned, (w)

The Circumstances of his appearing in the World were low, mean and abased ; very different from the Expectations Men had entertained of the Messiah; and therefore he was despifed and rejected of Men, they hid their laces from him, he was despised, and they esteemed him not. (x) Nay, many were aftonifljed at him, his Vifage was so marred, .more than any Man; and his Form more than the Sons of Men. (y) So sar was his Appearance from that Glory and Majesty, that Pomp and Splendor, which was expected in the Mefiah, that he was considered as a Worm and no Man, a Reproach of Men, and despised of the People. (z)—Even thee Priests and Rulers themselves, who mould have been the Builders of the Jewish Church, refused this Stone, which is become the Head of the Corner, (a) \nd the Reason of this was, that they

saw no Form nor Comeliness, no Riches nor Honour, no Magnificence nor Beauty in him, that they should desire him. (b)

The Jlharaclers, in which he appeared in the World, were thofe of a Prophet, Priest and King j

(u) Micab;. 2. (w) Isa. 9. 1. 2. (x) Isa. 53. 3.

(y) Isa. si. 14. (z) Psa.: zz. 6. (3) tsal. 118. 21. (b) >/". Si


« AnteriorContinuar »