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were brought under his laws; the kingdom of the world submitted to his. He is esteemed · fairer than the children of men ;' and, as such, he is beloved, obeyed, adored. Nay, what the Jews, blinded by pride and ambition, could not see, we have now seen; namely, his humiliation and sufferings, according to the prophecies, made the means of his exaltation and success; for it hath happened exactly according to the prediction of Isa. liii. 11, 12, Because of the travail of his soul, he hath seen his desire, and hath been satisfied. Therefore hath God divided him a portion with the great, and he hath shared the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. What human wisdom could have foreseen, that one of these seeming opposites should have been made the very means and reason of the other? The Jews, who could not foresee it, because they did not understand this prophecy, persecuted him, put him to death, and did all they could to destroy his kingdom in its infancy; but by these very means they proved him to be the Messiah, procured him success with the world, and both ways verified the seemingly contradictory predictions, in him and themselves.
I mention themselves ; because this leads me to another seeming opposition between the prophecies that foretell the strength and happiness of Christ's people, and those that predict their misery and ruin. No terms can be stronger, nor plainer, than those in which both are foretold by the prophets, and both foretold as attendants on Christ's appearing in the world.
You may see the miseries threatened by Almighty God to his people in the sixty-fifth chapter of Isaiah. Ye are they that forsake the Lord, that forget my holy mountain,' ver. 11; . Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter; because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear,' ver. 12. * Therefore thus saith the Lord God-Ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and howl for vexation of spirit. And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen ; for the Lord God shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name,' ver. 14, 15. The angel Gabriel acquaints Daniel with the precise time of this calamity, which having pointed out by
the famous prophecy of seventy weeks, he says, people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary, and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease; and for the overspreading of abominations, he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate, Dan. ix. 26, 27. This dreadful destruction, according to the prophecy, is soon to follow the cutting off, or murder, of the Messiah. The prophet Malachi sets this alarming eventin a yet stronger light, and affixes it to the time of the Messiah. • Behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea and all they that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch,' iv. 1. But lest his people should not be apprized of the time when these calamities were to befall them, God says, • Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord,' ver. 5.
Directly opposite to these judgments are the blessings promised by Almighty God to his people on the coming of Christ. • In his days,' that is, in the days of the Messiah, saith God by Jer. xxiii. 6, ‘Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely. They shall sit every man under his vine, and under his fig-tree, and none shall make them afraid,' Micah. iv. 4. 'I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the Lord their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen,' Hos. i. 7. · The Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob,' Isa. lix. 20. •He will make a covenant of peace with them, an everlasting covenant. He will place his tabernacle also with them: yea, he will be their God, and they shall be his people,' Ezek. xxxvii. 26, 27. In those days, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more,' Isa. ii. 4. •And it shall come to
pass, that I will hear, saith the Lord; I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil, and they shall hear Jezreel,' Hos. u. 21, 22. • Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that the ploughman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine,' Amos ix. 13. For the happiness of the blessed state under the Messiah, the prophets proclaim a jubilee to the whole world. Sing, O heavens,' saith Isaiah,' and be joyful, 0 earth ; and break forth into singing, O mountains; for the Lord hath comforted his people,' Isa. xlix. 13. • Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it; shout, ye lower parts of the earth ; break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein; for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel,' xliv. 23.
Here' now are misery and destruction threatened, happiness and salvation promised, to God's people, and both at the coming of the Messiah. Before he did come, who could have reconciled these things, or pointed out a. possibility of completion to prophecies so directly contrary?
The Jews dwelt only on the promises, and understood them in no other than a gross and carnal sense. The generality of them were not to be disabused of this mistake. •In them was fulfilled the prophecy of Isaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand ; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive ; for these people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed ; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them ;' Isaiah vi. 9, 10. This our Saviour quotes and applies, Matt. xiii. and St. Paul, Acts xxviii. On this account Christ'beheld the city of Jerusalem, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace !-but now are they hid from thine eyes : for the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall Jay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation, Luke xix. 42-44.
Accordingly, the Jews, not knowing the time of their visitation by Christ, though so clearly pointed out by the angel in Daniel, treated their heavenly visitor with con
tempt, persecuted him, crucified him, and praying that his 'blood might fall on their heads, and the heads of their children,' were soon after visited by the most dreadful calamities, and extirpated by the most exemplary destruction, that ever befel any nation under heaven. Thus were the prophetic threatenings verified, on the one side ; while, on the other, the promises were no less signally made good to such Jews, and Gentiles also, as believed in Christ, and, by virtue of the new covenant, became the people of God. These, warned by their master, fled to Pella, a little city beyond the Jordan, and so escaped the calamity. Here they lived in peace and plenty, while the unbelievers were tearing and eating one another in the besieged city; and thus the prophecy by Isaiah was literally fulfilled : Thus saith the Lord, Behold, my servants shall eat; but
eat; but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink; but ye shall be thirsty : behold, my servants shall rejoice; but ye shall be ashamed : behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart; but ye shall
for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit,' Isa. Ixv. 13, 14. Never was there on earth so happy a people as the Christians. They were sometimes persecuted indeed; but in that they rejoiced, and gloried ; because it was for the sake of him who had bought them with his blood. There were none poor or distressed among them; for they enjoyed all things in common, and, as occasion required, sent relief to one another from distant countries. They were all brothers and sisters in love, all saints in piety and integrity. Among them, ' mercy and truth had met together; righteousness and peace had kissed each other.' How happy must a people be, who, in all their intercourse, were governed by such principles ! But they were still infinitely happier in their expectations, founded on the true spiritual construction of the prophecies and promises. They then saw where their beautiful Canaan, and glorious Jerusalem lay. They counted it a thing of little consequence to them, how they fared in this world, because they exulted in the sure and certain hope of a resurrection to eternal life. Here lay their happy abiding place; and hither they hastened with all the speed an innocent and holy life could give them. The prophetic promises were more than fulfilled in the consolations of the Holy Spirit.
Those foretold plenty of corn, wine, and oil, and temporal peace; these conferred inspirations, miracles, virtues, and ensured eternal peace and happiness. Those were the shadows; these the substance. Those were given to minds yet carnal; these to the regenerate and spiritual.
There was another thing prophesied of our Saviour, which it was much more improbable he should perform, than that the seeming opposites, already mentioned, should be reconciled in him; which was, that he should work miracles. The pretended prophet who tells the world, a divine person, not to be born for five or six hundred years after him, shall, at a certain period, spring from a particular family, and work the most stupendous miracles, must take it for granted, that when the period predicted shall arrive, the whole world will take him for an impudent impostor; because he can have no hope, that God will enable any one to fulfil his prediction, and he knows none but God can. That prophet may have some chance for a completion, who foretells a natural event, though ever so uncommon or strange; but he who foretells a miracle, must either do it on a full assurance, that God speaks by him, or take it for granted, that time will prove him a deceiver. But if a prediction of this kind actually finds its completion in the event foretold, it is then as evident, the prophet spoke by divine wisdom, as it is, that the performer of the miracle acted by divine power; and the truth and goodness of that purpose, be it what it will, for which the one was wrought, and the other pronounced, are doubly demonstrated. We cannot conceive a possibility of higher evidence than this; yet this hath been amply given to our holy religion. God, speaking by Isaiah, xxix. 18, 19, and xxxv. 5, 6, saith, ‘In that day,' in the days of Christ, 'shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wil. derness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.' He also saith, xxvi, 19, The dead men shall live.' To this prophecy, and the completion of it, our blessed Saviour