« הקודםהמשך »
panied to eternity by the prayers of three hundred
children, may advance with humble confidence into * the presence of their Father and their God!”
The collection was then made, and amounted to about 6501.
In the following month of October, the city of London, with incomparable munificence and liberality, presented the Associated Charities with two hundred guineas.
AN INTENDED LIFE OF CHRIST.
C H A P. I.
ON THE PROPHECIES OF THE MESSIAH.
1. The religion of the antediluvian patriarchs consisted in the knowledge, love and adoration of one supreme God; in the belief, that he created a man and a woman, and placed them in a state of bliss, to endure for ever, if they should observe the command which he gave them, to abstain from eating of a forbidden tree; that they ate of it, and were punished for their disobedience ; that, by their disobedience, they and their posterity incurred a total loss of the divine favour ; but were to be restored to it by a divine Redeemer, who, in the fulness of time, would be born of woman, and crush the serpent's head (').
These sublime tenets composed also the creed of Noah, and were spread over the world, by his first descendants. But, insensibly, the faith of mankind
() Gen, iii. 15.
was adulterated. From the contemplation of the Creator, they naturally turned to a view of the wonders of his hands, particularly the sun, the moon, and the starry host of the heavens. By degrees, an opinion gained ground among them, that the heavenly bodies were inhabited by beings, endowed with intelligence and power, and entitled to religious worship. Kings, warriors, and the inventors of useful arts, next had their adoration; and in the progress of time every object, animate or inanimate, which had, in a high degree, attracted their fear or love, appeared to them divine. A something divine was even supposed to reside in their images, and thus, idolatry spread itself over the earth.
In the midst of this corruption, the family of Shem, the eldest son of Noah, preserved, in a great degree, its religious integrity. From Shem, Abraham was tenth in descent. God made an alliance with him ; promised him to be the God of him and his descendants, and to establish him in a country abounding with plenty and temporal delights ; that it should be the seat of the true religion; and that, from his seed, One should arise, by whom blessing and grace should be diffused through the whole earth (»). These promises he renewed to Isaac and Jacob; and, in the prophecy of the latter, the Redeemer, generally promised to Abraham to be of his seed, was fixed to the tribe of Judah (3); and it was afterwards successively revealed, that he
(*) Gen. xii, xv, xvii.
(3) Gen. xlix. 10.
should be of the root of Jesse, of the royal house of David (4), and born of a virgin (-).
II. Such, according to the prophet, was to be the earthly lineage of the Messiah. On his chą. racter, and the object and nature of his mission, the revelations of the Almighty to the prophets were equally clear. His spiritual generation and glories from everlasting in his father's womb, were revealed to them (). It was announced to them, that God would make a new covenant with his people; engrave a new law on their hearts ; that the Messiah should bear the sins of his people ; and, being himself without sin, should, for the sins of mankind, and for their salvation, be despised, rejected, and led like a lamb to the slaughter (V); that he should not see corruption, or his soul left in hell(); that, after two days, he should rise (°), be the redemption of Israel ("), and the hope of the Gentiles, who should flock in crowds to adore him and learn his law (").
III. The time of his appearance was announced with the same precision. The prophecy of Jacob
(*) Psal. lxxxviii. 4, et seq. Isa. xi. 1, et seq. Jeremiah xxii. 5, 6. xvii. 13, et seq. () Isa. vii. 14. Jer. xxxi. 22. Ezek. xliv. 2, 3. Psal. cix.
(7) Isa. liii. 1.7. C) Psal. xv. 8, 9, 10
© Osee vi. 3, 4. (10) Osee xiii. 9. Dr. Pococke shows in his commentary, that the Rabbis always applied to the Messiah the passage referred to by this note.
(1) Isa. xliii. 4, et seq. lxiv. 4. Agg. 11, 10.
foretold, that, before his advent, the house of Judah should lose its power and pre-eminence ('); the prophecies of Aggæus (*) and Malachi (') declared, that the Messiah should appear while the new temple stood; and the visions of the prophet Daniel (4), after prefigurating, by the most splendid and distinct imagery, the successive rise and fall of the Medes, Persians, and Macedonians; and the rise and establishment of the Roman empire, assigned the end of seventy weeks of years, computed from the return of the Jews from their captivity, for the appearance of the Redeemer of Israel.
With these predictions, events had corresponded. A few years before the birth of Christ, Judea was reduced to the state of a Roman province, and, in consequence of it, the house of Judah lost all its political consequence ; the second temple had been rebuilt, and was standing in its highest glory; the Median, Persian, and Macedonian empires had disappeared; the Roman empire was advancing to its zenith ; and the last day of the last of Daniel's weeks was arrived. The period, therefore, according to the repeated and uniform predictions of the prophets, was come, when, in the language of Isaiah (), so beautifully marking the
(1) Gen. Ixix. 8. See the learned Bishop of Avranche's interpretation of this prophecy in his Demonstratio Evangelica. Pro. ix. (%) ii. 3. (3) iii. 3. (*) Dan. ix. 21.
(5) ch. Ixv. 6.