Page images

herself and the surrounding nations, should be distinctly set forth.

Accordingly, the evidences from Prophecy are very numerous,—far too much so to be exhibited fully in these

[blocks in formation]

We have not space to write at full length even the predictions relating to Christ. In Horne's Introduction, a work which some of our Native friends in Bombay are ac quainted with, the prophecies regarding Christ, with the statement of their fulfilment, occupy no less than 15 pages in small type. It is then only to a few of the most remarkable of the prophecies that we can now direct our attention. Let us first notice the prophecies which Christ himself delivered. They may be classed under the following heads.

Prophecies by Christ.

Prophecies respecting his death, and the circum

stances attending it.

2. Prophecies respecting his resurrection and ascen


3. Prophecies respecting the history and condition of his followers.

4. Prophecies respecting the destruction of Jerusalem.

In regard to his death, and the events connected with it, Christ distinctly predicted the PLACE1 where he should die, the TIME2,-the CIRCUMSTANCES, viz. the treachery

* Many works have been written on the subject, and we may refer to such books as Dr. Keith's Evidence of Prophecy for a full, yet simple, statement of this important argument, Bishop Newton on the Prophecies is also an admirable work, but scarcely so simple as Keith.

1 Matt. xvi. 12. From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things, and be killed.

2 Matt. xx. 18. Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death.


[ocr errors]

of one disciple,3 the desertion of the rest, and conspiracy against him by the chief priests and scribes,5-the MANNER of his death, viz. crucifixion.6 That kind of death was unknown among the Jews,-it was a death reserved by the Romans for their slaves; and yet Christ distinctly predicted that this punishment would be inflicted on himself. He also predicted that he would rise again from the dead on the third day. This prediction had been so distinctly made that his enemies knew it, and endeavoured to prevent its fulfilment.8 He foretold his ascension into heaven.9 He predicted that his followers would be hated, excommunicated, and persecuted by their countrymen and the world generally, and that many of them would be put to death.10-Let us here pause for a moment to

匱 3 Mark xiv. 18. And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me.

4 John xvi. 32. ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone;

Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that

and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

5 Mark x. 33. Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles. 6 Matt. xx. 19. And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him.

7 Mark x. 34. And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him; and the third day he shall rise again.

8 Matt. xxvii. 62, 63. Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.

9 John vi. 62. What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?

10 John xv. 19. If ye were of the world, the world would love its own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

John xiv. 2, 5. They shall put you out of the synagogues; yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth yon, will think that he doeth God service.

But these things have I told you that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

inquire what impostor ever ventured to predict his resurrection from the dead and ascension into heaven. Or who but Christ ever warned his disciples that their believing on him would be attended with shame, suffering, and death? Assuredly, to say such things is not the way in which an impostor would try to gain converts.

One of the longest and most remarkable prophecies in the New Testament is that respecting the destruction of Jerusalem. See Luke xxi, Matthew xxiv. The prediction was uttered about forty years before the fulfilment ; and at that time there was no probability, which mere human wisdom could discover, of such a thing taking place. Jerusalem was then in the hands of the Romans, and Judea was in complete subjection. Yet Christ foretold the destruction of the city and temple, and the circumstances therewith connected. Moreover, these things are by no means declared in mere general terms;-the description is exceedingly particular. How exactly all was fulfilled, we learn from the Jewish historian Josephus, who would not have said any thing he could have avoided saying, that tended to confirm the evidences of the Christian Religion. Christ predicted that, before Jerusalem was destroyed, false Christs—that is, men who pretended to be the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament-would appear. He pre

dicted that fearful calamities would happen during the interval between the time when he spoke and the destruction of Jerusalem. He spoke of wars and rumours of wars; of famines, pestilences, earthquakes; and of severe persecutions to which his followers would be subjected, but which would not prevent his religion from being very extensively propagated. He mentioned a particular sign which would warn his followers to flee from the general ruin in Jerusalem; the enclosing of Jerusalem with armies; the unparalleled afflictions to which its inhabitants would be subjected; the entire destruction of the city and tem

ple. Points still more minute even than these were specified. Of that strong and massive structure, the temple, He predicted that not one stone would be left standing on another; the city was to be laid even with the ground; the siege was to be shortened, to allow the lives of some to be spared; and the Jews were to be carried away captive into all nations. And these things took place. We know from history that the Christians who lived in Jerusalem escaped the fearful calamities that befel the Jews, because the former believed the words of Christ, and left the devoted city, when the signs of its coming desolation, that had been enumerated by Christ, began to appear. So undeniable was the exact correspondence between the prophecy and the accomplishment, that Eusebius, one of the early Christian writers, after quoting long passages from Josephus, the Jewish historian, to prove that the words of Christ had been literally fulfilled, appeals to the prediction as evincing a wonderful and "truly divine" knowledge, and as furnishing an unanswerable argument for the truth of the Christian Religion.

in O. T.

The Old Testament, in like manner, contains many reProphecies markable prophecies, the fulfilment of which demonstrates the truth of the Christian Religion. As the plan of these "Letters" requires us to postpone the consideration of the Old Testament until the whole inquiry with respect to the New Testament is ended, we shall not now enter at length into the subject of the prophecies contained in the former. Yet we must not entirely pass by a subject of such exceeding interest and magnitude. You may first turn to the Appendix, and read what is there written regarding the antiquity, genuineness, and credibility, of the Old Testament, and then. proceed with what I have now to say regarding the predictions which that book contains. Or, it may perhaps suffice for the present, if you remember that, at all events,

the Old Testament was written at least 300 years before the birth of Christ. For we have a translation of it from Hebrew into Greek,* which, according to accurate computations, was executed in Egypt about the year 285 before Christ, and soon came into general use in the countries where the Greek language was spoken. This fact is quite enough for our present purpose; for no man will deny that the fulfilment of a series of prophecies, which were delivered three hundred years before the events took place, would evince supernatural knowledge on the part of those who uttered them. It matters little whether the prophecy was delivered two hundred years, or a thousand years, before the event ;-in either case, the foreknowledge is miraculous. The chief subject of Prophecy in the Old Testament is Regarding Christ himself. One feels himself overwhelmed with the multitude of passages, when he proceeds to enumerate the predictions that point to Christ. They amount literally to hundreds. I can give only a few specimens. We find, near the commencement of the Bible, a prediction of a deliverer who was to be the "seed of the woman." a of the seed of Abrahamb; of the tribe of Judah; of the house of Davidd; in the city of Bethleheme; while the second temple was standingf; and at a specified time.s A remarkable person resembling Elijah was to precede him.h He was to be born of a Virgin. He was to work miracles evincing exceeding power and love.j He was to be rejected by his countrymenk; scourged, mocked, spit


Again, he was to be born

* Commonly called the Septuagint Translation.

a Gen. iii. 15. Compare Gal. iv. 4. f Hagg ii. 7,9.

Heb. ii. 14.

b Gen. xxii. 18-Gal. iii. 16.

c Gen. xlix. 10.-Hebr. vii. 14.

d Isai. xi. 10. Jerem. xxii. 5, 6.

e Micah v. 2.-Matt. ii. 1.

g Dan. ix. 24.

h Mal. iv. 5.

i Isai. vii. 14.

j Isai. lxi.1, 2, 3.-Luke iv. 17—21.

k Isai. liii. 2, 3.-John i. 11.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »