Page images
PDF
EPUB

discretion, those kings of Damascus and Samaria were destroyed. Or the expression may denote the time of any child being born, and coming to maturity of understanding, and consequently the promised child. In as short a space of time, as this promised child, when he shall be born, shall come to know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, shall this deliverance be wrought.

$14. (IV.) Another descriptive note of the Messiah, is, what he was to teach. This Moses describes, Deut. xxviii, 18, 19; “I will raise them up a Prophet “from among their brethren, like unto thee,” &c. This is that signal testimony concerning the Messiah, which Philip urged to Nathanael, John i, 45; which Peter not only applies to him, but declares that he was solely intended in it, Acts iii, 22, 23; and Stephen seals that application with his blood, Acts vii, 37. Nor do the Jews deny that the Messiah was to be a prophet, or that he was promised in these words. It is evident from this passage, that, in the ordinary course of God's dealing with the Jewish church, there was no prophet like to Moses. Hence, Maimonides with his followers conclude, that nothing can ever be altered in their law, because no prophet was ever to arise with authority equal to him, who was their law-giver. But the words of the text are plain: the prophet here foretold, was to “be like to him," that is, he was to be a law-giver to the house of God, as our apostle shews, Heb. iii, 1–5. The words of the author of Sepher Ikkarim, Lib. iii, cap. x, are remarkable: “It cannot “be, that there should not at some time arise a Prophet “like unto Moses, or greater than he; but thus, these “words, there arose none like him,' ought to be in"terpreted, not as if none should ever be like him, but "that none should be like him, as to some particular “quality, or accident; or that in all the space of time, “wherein the prophets followed him, until prophecy “ceased, none should be like to Moses; but hereafter “there shall be one like him, or rather greater than he.” Such a prophet was the Messiah to be, a law-giver, so as to abolish the old, and to institute new rites of worship. This rising up of the Prophet, like to Moses, declares that the whole will of God, as to his worship, and the church's obedience, was not yet revealed. Had it been so, there would have been no need of a Prophet like to Moses, to lay new foundations, as he had done. But being invested with that authority, it is declared, that whosoever.refuseth to obey him, should be exterminated, and cast out from the privileges of being reckoned among the people of God.

$15. We are, then, in the next place, to consider the accomplishment of this promise, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Now, that he was a prophet, and so esteemed by the Jews themselves (until, through the envy of the Scribes and Pharisees, and their own unwillingness to admit of the purity and holiness of his doctrine, they were stirred

up

to oppose and perse cute him, as they had done all other prophets, who, in their several generations, foretold his coming) that he was, I say, a prophet, is evident from the record of the evangelical story; See Matt. xxi, 46; Mark vi, 15; Luke vii, 16; xxiv, 19; John ix, 17; vi, 14; Acts iži, 22, 23; and their present obstinate denial of this fact is a mere contrivance to justify themselves in their rejection and murder of him. But this is not all; he was not only a prophet in general, but he was that Prophet foretold by Moses and all the prophets, who was to put the last hand to Divine revelations, by a full declaration of the whole counsel of God, the peculiar work of the Messiah. For,

34

VOL. I.

1. The nature of this Prophet's doctrine confirms our assertion. Whatever characters of Divine truth that can rationally be conceived, are eminently imprinted on the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Whatever tends to the glory of God as the first cause and last end of all things; whatever is suitable to excite and improve that which is good in man, in the notions of his mind, or inclinations of his will; whatever discovers his wants and defects, that he may not exalt himself in his own conceit above his real condition, or is needful to point out to him his end or his way, his happiness, or the method of attaining it; whatever may teach him to be useful in society, in all those relations in which he may stand; whatever is useful to deter him from evil, or even to suppress the hidden seeds of it, without the least indulgence; whatever in short, may contribute to stir up and direct him in the practice of what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and of good report, is clearly revealed by this Prophet, and in the most heavenly manner.

2. The removal of types, carnal ordinances, clouds and shades, with which the Mosaical dispensation abounded, with a clear explanation of the nature, reason, and use of all those institutions, was a work no less glorious than the very first revelation of the promise itself; and this was what was reserved for the great Prophet, the Messiah. For that God would prescribe ordinances and institutions for his church, whose full nature, use, and end should be everlastingly unknown to them, is unreasonable to imagine. But Christ unveiled the mind of God in all these institutions; and we may assert, that there is not the neanest Christian, who is instructed in the doctrine of the gospel, but can give a better account of the nature, use, and end of the Mosaical institutions, than all the profound rabbins in

the world either can or ever could do; he that is "least “in the kingdom of God,” being greater in this light and knowledge than John the Baptist himself, who yet was not behind any of the prophets that went before him.

3. The event confirms the character of that promised prophet to the Lord Jesus; for whoever should not receive the word of the prophet, God threatens to require it of him, that is, as they themselves confess, to exterminate them from among the number of his people, or to reject them from being so. Now this was done by the body of the Jewish nation; they received him not, they obeyed not his voice; and what was the end of this their disobedience? They who, for their despising, persecuting, and killing the former prophets were only chastened, afflicted, and again quickly recovered, out of the worst and greatest of their troubles, are, upon their rejection of him, and disobedience to his voice, cut off, destroyed, exterminated from the place of their solemn worship, and utterly rejected from being the people of God. Whatever may be conceived to be contained in the commination against those who should disobey the voice of that prophet promised, is all of it to the full, and its whole extent, come upon the Jews, upon their disobedience to the doctrine of Jesus of Nazareth; which, added to the foregoing considerations; undeniably prove him to be that prophet.

$16. 5. There is yet another character given of the Messiah in the Old Testament, in what he was to suffer in the world, in the discharge of his work and office. This being that wherein the main foundation of the whole was to consist, and that which God knew would be most contrary to the apprehensions and expectation of that carnal people, is, of all other descrip

[ocr errors]

tive notes of him, most clearly and fully asserted. The first evident testimony given hereto,is in Psal. xxii, l22. It would be easy to evince, by a critical examination of ever part, that it is the Messiah, and he alone, who is ultimately and absolutely intended in this Psalm; and the whole was so exactly fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, that it appears to be spoken directly of him. and no other. The manner of his sufferings is scarcely more clearly expressed in the story of it by the evangelists, than it is here foretold by David in prophecy, and therefore many passages out of this Psalm are expressed by them in their records. He it was, who pressed with the sense of God's dereliction, cried out, “My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me?" He it was that was accounted "a worm, and no man." and who was reviled and reproached accordingly; at him did men “wag their heads,” and him did they reproach with his trust in God; his “bones were drawn “out of joint,” by the manner of his sufferings; his hands and feet were pierced, and upon his vesture they did cast lots; upon his sufferings were the truth and promises of God declared and preached to all the world.

$17. We have yet another signal testimony to the same purpose, Isa. liii. As the outward manner of the Messiah's sufferings, with their actings who were instrumental therein, is principally considered in Psal. xxii, so the inward nature, together with the important end and effects of them, are declared in this prophecy. Nor is there any prophecy that fills the present rabbins with more perplexities, or drives them to more absurdities and contradictions. That it is the Messiah, and none other, we have not only the evidence of the text and context, and the nature of the subject matter treated of, with the utter impossibility

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »