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niable, that even when appearances were darkest and most discouraging, there was never wanting a covert for the holy seed, to preserve it from perishing-a remnant who should be “ accounted unto the Lord for a generation," it is a supposition equally reasonable, that provision would be made for sustaining their faith and hope in the approach of brighter and better times. This was accordingly effected by means of PROPHECY-a divine impression upon, and communication to the minds of holy men, whereby they were assured, that in the fulness of time, such and such happy changes should take place; in which assurances they rejoiced, and looked forward with ardent desire, and firm confidence, to their accomplishment. It was, at the same time, expressly intimated and clearly understood, that the method whereby this most glorious and highly improved state of things should be introduced, was the appearance of a person, distinguished, far beyond all who had preceded him, by the attributes of a messenger from God, in whom to believe, and whom to obey, should be productive of the happiest consequences, both public and personal. That expectation might be kept more lively and active by being directed towards a certain point, it was declared that this person should be a descendant, in a direct line, of the family of David; and, as the event drew nearer, even the time when it should take place, was, not obscurely, indicated. When 6 JESUS OF NAZARETI, the son of Joseph," came forth into the world, the marks of resemblance were so strong and striking, that no one, who was not under the influence of the most powerful and fatal prejudice, could doubt whether it were he « of whom Moses and the prophets did write;" and the te
nor of his message appeared so directly calculated to produce those blessed consequences which had been foretold as following its promulgation, that it was hailed, by every sincere and believing heart, as the GOSPEL, that is, as the term signifies, the glad tidings of salvation-deliverance from all the mise. rable consequences of an apostacy from God, both in the present, and in a future world. Comparatively slow, and apparently interrupted as the progress of this divine remedy for evil, both natural and moral, has been, there is not a rational being, exercising the free and unbiassed use of his understanding, who can doubt of its adequacy to the end proposed; or who, believing in the perfections and providence of the supreme Governor, can doubt of its final attainment. This is, consequently, a subject in which every individual of us is interested. And it will be a very proper, and I therefore trust, not unprofitable employment of our time on the present occasion, if we trace the correspondence of the facts recorded in the New, with the predictions contained in the old Testament. “ Search the scriptures," said our Lord to the Jews, “ for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me.” Thus were the ingenuous, the noble-minded Bereans engaged, who, when the transactions and doctrines relating to Christianity were laid before them, compared spiritual things with spiritual—o searched the scriptures, whether those things were so."
It would lead me into too wide a field if I were to attempt to bring into view all things which are written in the books of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning the Messiah, and which
were fulfilled in the Lord Jesus-my purpose will bo sufficiently answered,
1. By noticing some of the most remarkable circumstances relating to the promise and its accomplishment;
2. The principal features of correspondence in his character and actions with the prophetic descriptions; and
3. By proposing whatever may be yet uncompleted, as, for these reasons, the ground of a consistent faith, and a full reliance on the divine power and truth.
1.- In the covenant which God made with Abraham, he was repeatedly assured that in his seed all the families of the earth should be blessed. Of Isaac, before his birth, it was said, “I will establish my covenant with bim for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him;" and to Jacob was repeated the express declaration—" In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” These words are quoted by the apostle Peter, when he preached Christ to the multitude which were collected at the temple upon the miraculous cure of the lame man, where he tells them that they were the children (i. e. the inheritors) of the covenant which God made with their fathers ; the like reference is made by Paul in his address to the Jews in the sy. nagogue at Antioch, and in his defence before Agrip. pa. David was also a person highly distinguished by the divine favour; to him and his posterity were made many gracious and glorious promises, which cannot with any propriety be understood as referring merely to an earthly kingdom and temporal
prosperity, for their failure in that sense is notorious; whereas their meaning, as expressed in prophetic language, has not in any age been doubtful to those that understood the spiritual nature of the Messiah's kingdom, who is spoken of by Isaiah, as “ a rod to come forth out of the stem of Jesse and a branch to grow out of his roots"-by Jeremiah as “ a righteous branch” to be raised up unto Davidand again, as the “ branch of righteousness to grow up unto David." And Ezekiel characterises him by name itself of David. Accordingly we find that those who looked for the redemption of Israel, whether under correct or mistaken notions, entertained no other idea (as founded on the prophecies) than that he was to be by natural descent, or as it is expressed in the text, 66 according to the flesh," the “ son of David." By that title Jesus was spoken of, addressed, and welcomed in triumphal procession into Jerusalem ; the amazing miracles he wrought, called up the association in the minds of the spectators— Is not this the son of David ?” and through that prince his genealogy is traced by Luke in a direct line up to Abraham and even to Adam, as by creation the Son of God. It was a principal argument which the apostles used with the Jews to persuade them to accept of Jesus as the Christ, that he had raised unto them this Saviour of the seed of David. And Paul lays considerable stress upon this circumstance, as well worthy to be borne in mind, not only in our text, but in his second epistle to Timothy, chap. ii. 8. This being perfectly understood, it is unnecessary to dwell on those incidental expressions which denote him as a child to be born, as growing up like a tender plant, or like a branch from its parent stock, or of his in
crease in wisdom and in stature. These are the natural characteristics of an human being, the expansion of whose intellectual faculties kept pace with advancing age. On the subject of a state of glorious antecedent existence or equality with God, the prophets are profoundly silent; nor does the evangelical history supply the chasm which intervenes be.' tween his early youth and his entrance upon his thirtietli year, when, in the language of the apostle, he was declared to be the Son of God with power, by his anointing with the holy spirit. Read attentively the book of Acts, and you will find the period of his coming dated from the time of that event and not before (See ch. i. 21, 22. X. 57, 38. xiii. 23, 24.). This naturally introduces what I proposed to consider,
II. The principal features of correspondence, in his character and actions, with the words of prophecy.
And here, our attention cannot fail to be particularly drawn to his annunciation as the Messiah by the prince of prophets, speaking in the person of Jehoval binnself, and in the loftiest style of inspiration -". Behold my servant whom I have chosen, mine elect in whom my soul delighteth I bave put my spirit upon him." Doubtless there were many present to whom this passage of sacred writ was familiar, and who must have been filled with an ecstasy of holy joy, wbc the heavens were opened when the ray of glory was seen resting upon his head--when the voice was heard, substantiating the oracular designation, and proclaiming--- This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” As an appointed witness, the Baptist had previous notice of the ap