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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 sun ; 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 believer inexcusable. There is evidence every way sufficient, to satisfy the mind of an impartial enquirer after truth.
And it is impoffible 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 poffibly capable to receive? That it may be effectual to establish you in the faith, is and fhall be the prayer of,
LETTER III. Wherein an historical Account
of the Birth, LIFĖ, PASSION, RESURRECTION, ASCENSION, and future KINGDOM of our blesed SAVIOUR, is collected from the Prom phecies of the Old Testament.
Rejoice to hear from you, that any endeavours of mine have contributed in the least towards
fa. tisfaction. 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 Shew you how you may cer
tainly know that the prophecies of the Old Testa« ment had a direct reference unto Jesus Christ. You may know this by the exact accommodation of the prediction with the event. That this therefore may be fet before
in a proper light, I will endeavour to give you in the form of an history) a brief representatie
of our blessed Saviour, gather'd from the Old Testat
ment; 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 prophe. cies ; since none but an omniscient mind could possibly foresee thefe events.
And you have likewise the same certainty, that Jesus Christ is the predicted Melliah, and that his mission is divine, lince what was foretold of the Messiah in the prophecy, is fulfilled in him.
The time of the manifeftation of this glorious person, whom I 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, Gen. xlix. 10, while the second temple was yet ftanding, Mah. iii. 1. Hag. ii. 7. just 450 Chaldee years after the decree went forth to restore and to build Jerusalem, which was in the twentieth year of Artexerxes Longimanus, king of Persia, Dan. ix. 25. * This king likewise came into the world, and the God of heaven fet up his everlasting kingdom, at that season of the fourth or Roman monarchy, Dan. ii. 44. 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, 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, Hag. ii. 6, 7, 9. which hap pen'd when Augustus Cæsar was emperor of Rome, and Herod the Great was king of Judea.
As to the pedigree or descent of our blessed Saviour, it must be consider’d 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 Iinmanuel, God with us, Isa. vii. 14. and that divinę Child which was born, and that Son which was given to us (at the time before describ
* Daniel's feven weeks and threescore and two weeks, or 483 years, were to terminate at the death of the MefLiah. We must therefore subftract from that number, the 33 years of his life ; and there remains 450 years to kis birth.
ed) is the mighty God, and the everlasting Father, as well as the Prince of Peace, Ifa. ix. 6. He is that God, whose throne is for ever and ever, Pfal. xlv. 6. and though a man, yet such a man, as is also God's own fellow, Zech. xiii. 7. Now, if we consider his defcent, with respect to his divine person, it must necessarily be, that though he be God the Father's Son, and begotten by him, Pfal. ii. 7. yet his going forth must have been from of old, from everlasting. And it is accordingly true, that the Lord polleled him in the beginning of his way, before his works of old : He was set up from ever. lasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was, Prov. viii. 22, 23. Being thus necessarily itopt from looking any further than to eternity, and to him that inhabits e. ternity, in considering the original of his divine person; I proceed to take notice, that in his human nature, he defcended from the loins of Abraham, Gen. xii. 3.
of Isaac, Gen. xxvi. 4. and of Jacob, Gen. xxviii. 14. from the tribe of Judah, Gen. xlix. 10. and from the royal family of David; Psal. Ixxxix. 35, 36. and that in a way surprisingly different from any ordinary human generation, a virgin conceived and brought forth this son, whose name is Immanuel, Isa. vii. 14. and this new thing did God create in the earth, that a woman hath compased a man, Jer. xxxi. 22.
The place where our blessed Saviour was born, was Bethlehem-Ephratah. This town, though but little a. mong the thousands of Judah, was honoured with being the place out of which he came forth who is the supreme ruler in Israel, Micah v. 2. Here he was born: but this was not the place of his chief and principal refidence ; that was Galilee of the nations. This people who had walked in darkness, faw this great light among them : even upon them who had dwelt in the land of tbe Shadow of death, hath this light soined, Ifa. ix. 1, 2.
The circumstances of his appearing in the world, were low, mean and abafed ; very different from the expectations men had entertained of the Meffiah; and therefore the was despised and rejected of men, they hid their faces from him, he was despised, and they esteemed him not, Ila. lii. 3. Nay, many were astonished at him,.
his visage was so marred, more than
any man; and his form more than the fons of men. Ifa. lii. 14. so far was his appearance from that glory and majesty, that pomp and splendor, which was expected in the Melliah, that he was considered as a worm and no man, a reproach of men ; and despised of the people, Pfal. xxii. 6. Even the priests and rulers themselves, who should have been the builders of the Jewish church, refused this stone, which is become the head of the corner, Pfal. cxviii. 22. And the reason of this was, that they saw no form nor comeliness, no riches nor honour, no magnificence nor beau ty in him, that they should desire him, Ifa. liii. 2.
The characters, in which he appeared in the world, were trofe of a Prophet, Priest, and King: to each of which, it is proper to speak something particularly.
The Lord our God did in the person of our blessed Saviour raise up unto his people a Prophet, like unto Mo. ses, the greatelt and most eminent prophet of the Jewish church: he puts his words into his mouth, that he might Speak unto them, whatsoever he commanded him : and held his people under the strongest injunction u. pon their peril, to hearken to the words, which this prophet should speak in his name, Deut. xviii. 18, 19. And as our Lord Jesus Christ, was destined by God the Father unto the prophetical office, he chearfully undertook it. Lo, I come, (says he) in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God : rea, thy law is within my heart, Pfal. xl. 7, 8. And as he chearfully undertook, so he diligently and faithfully dis. charged this sacred and important trust. He as a wonderful Counsellor, Ifa. ix. 6. 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 salvati
I have not concealed thy loving-kindness, and thy truth from the great congregation, Pfal. xl. 9. He conftantly preached among the people the blessed and joyful news of a glorious salvation from their fin, guilt,
danger and misery. The spirit of the Lord God was upon him, becaufthe Lord had anointed him to preach good tidings unto the meek, he fent lim 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 comfort all that mourn, to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, and to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oyl of joy for mourning : and the garment of prais for the spirit of heavinels, Ifa. lxi. 1, 2, 3. He exercised most tender compassion to dark, doubting, and tempted souls. · The bruised reed • did he not break; and the smoaking fax did he not quench, untill he brought forth judgment unto truth,' Ifa. xlii. 3. He strengthened the weak hands; and con« firmed the feeble knees; and said unto them of a faint • heart, be strong, fear not.' lfa. xxxv. 3. He warned the careless and secure finners of their misery and danger ; and proclaimed unto them the day of vengeance of our God, Ifa. Ixi. 2. He warned them to be wise, to serve the Lord with fear; and to kiss the Son, left he should be angry, and they perish by the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little, Psal. ii. 10, 11, 12. He made the path-way of salvation plain, before the eyes of all those, who believe in him, like an high way where the wayfaring men, though fools, could not err, Isa. xxxv. 8. He considered his people as his flock; and took care of them, as a most watchful and careful shepherd. He fed his flock like a shepherd, he gathered his lambs with his arm, he carried them in his bofom, and gently led those that were with young, Isa. xl. 11.
I next proceed to give you a view of our Lord Jesus Christ, as the great High Priest of our profession. such, he undertook to make an atonement and expiation for our sins. · He bore our griefs, and carried our o forrows; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, ' and with his stripes we are healed. God laid upon • him the iniquity of us all ; and he made his soul an
offering for our sins,' Ifa. liii. 4, 5, 6. 10. Thus he o finished the transgression, made an end of fin; and • made reconciliation for iniquity.' Dan. ix. 24. He likewise wrought out a perfect righteousness for sinners,