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was foretold should be after the cutting off of the Messiah.e A's the time of Christ's birth was foretold, so was the place of it. It was prophesied that the Messiah should be born in Bethlehem of Judea : and the providence of God so ordered it, that Joseph and Mary should be brought up to Bethlehem, by a general tax which Augustus then laid ; not only that she might be delivered, but that their names might be there entered, and their family ascertained and proved, without doubt, to have descended from David. The person of whom our Saviour was born was likewise foretold : according to Isaiah, she was to be a virgin; and thus Christ was emphatically the seed of the woman, agreeably to the promise made to our first parents.
Q. What prophecies which related to the life of the Messiah were fulfilled in Jesus?
A. The meanness and obscurity, and sorrows of his life, are expressed by Isaiah.! The Messiah was spoken of by the prophets as a person that was to be reputed vile and abject, who should be despised and rejected of men.b ACcordingly, in the gospel, Christ is called a Nazarene, and had not where to lay his head; and yet, notwithstanding these circumstances, he was to be eminent for his patience and meekness. His abode was to be chiefly in Galilee ;j and, accordingly, Christ was brought up at Nazareth, and dwelt at Capernaum.
His character of a prophet was asserted by Moses and Isaiah ;k and this character Christ sustained, in that he foretold future contingencies. His power of working mawy and great miracles was foretold by The same prophet ;' and this prediction was accomplished by Christ in such a manner that many of the people believed in him, and said, When Christ cometh, shall he do greater miracles than this man hath done ?m It was foretold that the people should receive him with joy and triumph, when he came riding upon an ass;" which prediction was afterwards fulfilled ;, and that he should be sold for thirty pieces of silver,P the price which Judas received for betraying his master.9
Q. What prophecies which related to the death of the Messias were fulfilled in Jesus ?
A. His violent death was foretold by the prophets, and by several types which represented and prefigured his death.
g Isaiah liii. 2, 3. j Isaiah ix. 1. k Deut. xviii. 15; Isaiah Ixi, 1. | Isaiah xxxv. 5, 6.
pZech. xi 12.
f Matt. ïi. 6.
e Micab v. 2.
h Psalm lxix. 9, 10.
m John vii. 31.
• Matt. xxi. 3.
n Zech, ix. O.
Abraham's offering up of Isaac was a type of Christ's bee ing offered upon the cross; Isaac's carrying the wood on his shoulders was a type of Christ's carrying his own cross ; and the brazen serpent and the paschal lamb prefigured Christ's being lifted up, and his being made a sacrifice for the sins of the people. Our Saviour was buffetted and spit upon, according to the prophecy of Isaiah. He had vinegar given him to drink mingled with gall, and his garments parted among the soldiers by casting lots, according to Da. vid. He was numbered with the transgressorst being condemned as a malefactor, to suffer with malefactors, being crucified between two thieves. He cried out under his sufferings, according to David," and prayed for his wicked
persecutors, according to Isaiah. It was foretold he should make his grave with the rich, and, accordingly, he was put, after his crucifixion, into the tomb of Joseph, a rich man of Arimathea.
Q. What prophecies which related to the resurrection and ascension of the Messiah were fuifilled in Jesus ?
A. The resurrection of Jesus Christ was predicted by David; thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, nor suffer thy Holy One to see corruption, for to this purpose this passage is applied by St. Peter. The time was foretold by Hosea to be after two days, as several of the Rabbies unstood that place. And it was prefigured by the type of Isaac's deliverance when he had been offered up, and by the type of Jonas being three days and three nights in the whale's belly. His sitting at the right hand of God, which supposeth his ascension into heaven, was foretold by the royal prophet,b Sit thou at my right hand till I make thine enemies thy foot-stool. The accomplishment of the forementioned prophecies is a sufficient proof that our Saviour was a person sent from God.
Q. How was Jesus proved to be sent from God by a voice from heaven ?
A. Just before he began his public ministry, when he was baptized by John in the presence of a great assembly of the people, the Holy Ghost descended upon him, with a voice from heaven, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice was again repeated, though not so publicly, at his transfiguration on
r Isaiah 1. 6.
s Psalm xxii. 18; lxix. 21.
t Tsaiah liji. 12.
u Psalm xxi. 1.
the mount ;d and is mentioned by St. Peter as a considerable argument of Christ's divine authority :? For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we have made known unto you the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of his majesty ; for he received from God the Father, honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard when we were with him in the holy mount.
And a third time there came a voice to him from heaven in the hearing of all the people."
Q. What further evidence is there that Jesus was a person sent from God?
A. Jesus proved that he was sent from God, by the power with which he was endowed of working miracles; which power, when the miracles are great and unquestionable, and frequently wrought in public, is one of the highest evidences we can have of the divine mission of any person. And that our Saviour did many wonderful things, is confessed by his greatest enemies, Celsus and Julian, though they attributed them to the power of magick.
Q. Of what nature were our Saviour's miracles, and how were they wrought?
A. He healed all sorts of diseases, in multitudes of people, as they came accidentally without distinction. The manner of curing them was above the ordinary course of nature; for a touch or a word alone produced the cure, and often he cured those at a distance from him. The most inveterate diseases submitted to his power: he restored sight 10 the man born blind; he made the woman straight that had been crooked and bowed together eighteen years; and the man that had an infirmity thirty-eight years, he bids take up his bed and walk.h He multiplied a few loaves and fishes for the feeding of some thousands ;i which miracles were twice done, and at both times many thousands were witnesses of them :j and, what all men grant to be miraculous, he raised several persons from the dead, particularly Lazarus,k after he had been four days in the grave. All these miracles he wrought publicly in the midst of his enemies, and for a long time together, during the whole season of his public ministry, which was about three years and an
& Matt. xvii. 5. e 2 Peter i. 16, 17, &c. f John xii. 28. g Matt, iv. 23, 24. h John ix. 7; Luke xij. 13; John v. 8. i Matt. xiv. 21. j Matt, xy, 31. * John ai.
his sufferings; the treachery of Judas, the cowardice of his disciples, and St. Peter's denying him ; his own resurrection, and the descent of the Holy Ghost. He prophesied of the destruction of Jerusalem, which came to pass in forty years after his own death, within the compass of that generation, as he had foretold : the very foundations of the temple and city were destroyed, and the ground ploughed up, so that there was not left one stone upon another that was not thrown down, according to our Saviour's prediction. And, indeed, the signs that he foretold should precede the destruction of that city, with the concomitant and subsequent circumstances, exactly agree with that particular and credible history of the fact related by Josephus, a Jew. Christ assured his disciples that his gospel should be published in all nations, and that his religion should prevail against all the opposition of worldly power and malice, and that the gates of hell should not prevail against it. The fulfilling of these predictions proves a prophetic spirit in our Saviour, and, consequently, his divine authority.
Q. What evidence did the apostles give of their divine mission?
A. As witnesses, they justified the credibility of their testimony, in testifying only of such things as they themselves had seen and heard, and in hazarding their lives for this testimony, and sealing it with their blood. And God was pleased to confirm this testimony, by endowing them with the power of working miracles, whereby they spake all languages, healed diseases, cast out devils, foretold things to come, raised the dead. These sensible demonstrations of a divine power gave credit to their testimony among those to whom they were otherwise unknown, and enabled them to establish throughout the earth the pure and self-denying religion of their Master, though it was opposed by the pride, the prejudices, and the power of the world.
Q. Since the proof of the Christian religion to us, in the present age, depends on our being satisfied of the truth of the matters of fact recorded in the gospel, what method will you take to prove this point ?
A. There are four rules that make it impossible for matters of fact to be false, where they all concur. First, That the matter of fact be such as that men's outward senses,
9 Matt. xx. 19; Mark x. 33, 34; Matt. xvi. 21; xxvi. 21, &c.; Luke xxiv ; Mark xvi, 17, 18. r Matt. xxiv. s Matt. xxiv. 14; XX. 8; xvi. 18, 49.
i Leslie's Sbort and Easy Method with the Deistso
their eyes and ears, may be judges of it. Secondly, That it be done publicly in the face of the world. Thirdly, That not only public monuments be kept in memory of it, but that some outward action commemorating it should ever afterwards be performed. Fourthly, That such monuments and such actions or observances be instituted and do commence from the time when the matter of fact was done..
Q. Wherein appear the advantages of these rules for the proof of matters of fact?
A. The two first rules make it impossible for any such matter of fact to be imposed upon men at the time it was said to be done; because every man's eyes and senses would contradict it. And the two last rules make it impossible that any such matter of fact should be invented some time after, and imposed upon the credulity of after ages; because, whenever sucio matter of fact came to be invented, if not only monuments were said to remain of it, but likewise public actions and observances were said to be constantly used ever since the matter of fact was said to be done, the deceit must be detected by no such monuments appearing, and by the experience of all persons, who must know that no such actions or observances were used by them.
Q. Show how these four rules meet in the matters of fac$ recorded in the gospel of our blessed Saviour.
A. According to the two first rules, the matters of fact of the gospel were such of which men's outward senses, theiv eyes and ears, could judge, and were done publicly in the face of the world, and thus our Saviour argues with his accusers," I spake openly to the world, and in secret have I said nothing: and it is related in the Acts, that three thousand at one time, and five thousand at another, were converted upon the conviction of what they had seen, what had been done publicly before their eyes, wherein it was impossible to have imposed upon them. According to the two last rules, we find Baptism and the Lord's Supper were instituted as perpetual memorials of these things, and this at the very time when these things were said to be done ; and have been observed, without interruption, in all ages, through the whole Christian world, from that time to the present : and Christ himself did ordain apostles and other ministers of his gospel to preach and administer these sacraments, and to govern his Church, and that always unto the
u Joha xviii, 20.
V Acts ii, 41:
w Acts iv. 1.