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day), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.' It was an high day because it was both the Sabbath and the feast of the Passover. Thus, therefore, the other Evangelists may be easily reconciled with St. John. They mention our Lord's eating the Passover on Thursday, as the first day of it, which it really was according to the institution of Moses, which our Lord observed. He mentions Friday as only the preparation or eve of the Passover, which according to the Jewish act of Council it was. So that, though they seemingly differ, yet in reality they harmoniously agree.”
The history of Jesus Christ is in every part of it so extraordinary, and the end for which he came into the world so momentous, that no subject of greater concern than this ever engaged the attention of mankind. To be assured that all is true which has been declared of him, and that he was indeed that PROPHET that should come into the world, is one of the most natural desires of the human heart, and well worthy of encouragement. No one can think seriously of religion, as involving every thing that is most precious to mankind, without being anxious to be satisfied of its truth, and evincing that anxiety in a frequent investigation of the Sacred Scriptures. If they speak the language of inspiration, they must be true. If they are true, they will be found to agree in all their main particulars, and no discrepancies of any magnitude will be found in them. The best proof of the integrity of any work, is its consistency with itself, and with the times and circumstances of which it treats; and above all, its general object, the ultimate design and bearing of the history, will form conspicuous features.
Now, the redemption of the human race by a person sent from God, is the main article of the Holy Scriptures, and this is so interwoven with the sacred Text, as to be inseparable from it. Take away this article, and not only does Scripture lose its interest, but it loses, likewise, its consistency, for there is no other reason to be assigned for the conduct of God towards particular persons, and especially towards the favoured nation of the Jews, but what has a reference to the redemption of the world by Christ. So strict is the connection between all God's dealings with the different generations of men, and the bringing in of the promised Deliverer, who should make expiation for guilt, and so reconcile the lost world to its Creator, that the Bible is rather a history of the Redeemer than of any thing else. The historical facts, indeed, may refer to various nations and individuals, but the object of their preservation, the very end for which they are introduced, is the Messiah. He is the great groundwork of the historical narrative. He is the theme of the sublimer prophecies. He is the end of the legal ceremonies. He is the spirit of all revelation from God.
Of this wonderful personage,
“whose goings forth
have been from of old, even from everlasting," we have various predictions scattered through the Old Testament, the fulfilment of which in Jesus of Nazareth, very distinctly points him out as the character to whom they refer. I
propose, on the present occasion, to consider those only which foretell the time when this person was to appear, and it will be seen, that the advent of Jesus fell in so immedi ately with the accomplishment of them," as to mark him out with singular precision as “Him of whom Moses in the Law, and the Prophets did write." Of these prophecies there are four which merit our more particular attention.
I. The First is that remarkable one of Jacob, who, immediately before his death, when the prospect" of that great change was full before him, described, in a beautiful strain of poetic imagery, the whole future fortunes of the twelve tribes. In this description, under the head of Judah, he uses these memorable words, “The sceptre shall not depart from "Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come, and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”
The sceptre, it is well known, was a badge or ensign of regal office, and coupled with the term lawgiver, plainly intimates, that the Jews should retain the form of independent government, till Shiloh, the Sent of God, should come. Judah stands for the whole nation of Israel, as, after the long captivity in Babylon, the remnants of the other tribes became merged in this. Accordingly, we find that this was literally the case. However conquered or however dispersed they still lived under their own laws, and were governed by magistrates of their own nation, and even during the Babylonish thraldom, they did not lose entirely the power of legislating for themselves. Though frequently enslaved by Heathen states, and mixed at times with every variety of people, they never became identified with them as one community, but the more danger there was of their national peculiarity being lost, the more tenacious they seem to have been of it. Thus they continued a standing evidence of the truth of prophecy, silently and unintentionally giving fulfilment to it, till that period arrived when the Shiloh came. It is observable, that although the Jews, at the time of our Saviour's birth, were in subjection to the Romans, they had their own king and their own laws. However much their power was abridged when their country was annexed to the Roman Empire, they were still left in the full liberty of an independent government. Herod the Great was their reigning prince.
He lived about two years after this occurrence, and at his death, the kingdom was divided into four inferior principalities, called tetrarchates, which he bequeathed to his four sons, Archelaus was made Tetrarch of Judea and Samaria, which he held till the twelfth year of our Lord, when he was deposed by the Roman Emperor, and banished to Gaul. From that time till the destruction of Jerusalem, there was no King of Judea,