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mentation throughout the whole discourse, which in no other instance is in the hortatory form. But still the same recommendation, which is expressed in the other translation, perhaps more agreeably to the phraseology of the original, is in this implied with almost equal force. Our Lord evidently conveys, in either case, his decided commendation of their attention to Scripture; and he assigns the powerful motive, which either did, or ought to influence them in such a pursuit: "Ye search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life."

With respect to the Jews of that time, this motive might have considerable difference of character and operation. Some of them seemed to think that the mere searching of the Scriptures, and “making broad the phylacteries" on which its words were inscribed, were of themselves meritorious acts; and that thereby "they had eternal life." Others might think it attainable by observance of the ritual law of Moses. Others, like the scribe with whom Jesus conversed, doubtless esteemed the moral law as more than all "whole burnt-offerings and sacrifice,” and that the things therein prescribed they must " do, to inherit eternal life." And, doubtless, they looked forward to the Messiah, as their own writings testify, as the bestower of eternal life on the Jews; and some of those, who waited for "the consola

tion of Israel," probably derived from the Scriptures an expectation less free from the general prejudices of their nation; and expected him who was to be "the glory of his people Israel," would also be "a light to lighten the Gentiles."-But to all these our Lord's argument was equally cogent. Whatever were the modifications of their sentiments, it was believed by all, except the Sadducees, that in them they had eternal life; and therefore did they value them, and therefore were they bound, by their own principles, to make themselves fully acquainted with their contents. We also are assured, that the Holy Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation; and that their record is, not only that" God hath given to us eternal life," but also "that this life is in his Son;" and that, both in the Old and New Testament, everlasting life is offered to mankind through Jesus Christ, as the only Mediator between God and man". Yet the Jews in general" were not willing to come to him that they might have life." They had untraced such interpretations of the prophecies, as could result only from attending to some, and overlooking others. And when these others were pointed out, and when the event shewed the proper sense both of these and of the former, their prejudices in favour of their own interpretation,

a Art. VII.

and against the external humility of a suffering Messiah, armed their perverse and depraved wills against the decision, which would have been suggested by an unfettered judgment; and therefore were they "unwilling to come to Jesus that they might have life." They themselves thought that in the Scriptures they had eternal life; and, added our Lord, "they are they which testify of me."

In this important declaration, our Lord not only asserts that the Scriptures would be found to predict and testify of him, but that he was that exalted Person, who, as Jewish writers themselves have confessed, is the great and continual theme of all the prophets. He lays down therein that principle, which is, in fact, a guide to the consistent and complete elucidation of the whole prophetic scheme. Prophecy had indeed a present and immediate use in supporting the hope, and exercising the faith, of those to whom it was first delivered. But even this end was attained by speaking of good things to come; and by giving repeated assurances that a personage, who, after having been designated by various other titles and characteristics, was at length called "Messiah the Prince," would in the latter days appear to accomplish the purposes of God, and to complete the felicity of man. To predict the advent of Messiah-to communicate the previous knowledge of those marks by which he might be recognized

as he that was to come-to display the necessity, and to explain the object of his coming-and to attest the importance of his mission, by shewing that all the revolutions of the world, as well as of the Jewish people, were overruled in order to prepare for his advent, and for the establishment of his kingdom-this was the main end and aim of "all that was spoken by the mouth of God's holy prophets which had been since the world began." Thus had the matter been stated by Zacharias in his prophetic hymn; thus was it stated by our Lord, when, after his resurrection, "he expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself, beginning at Moses and all the prophets." Thus did the Apostles declare, that "to him give all the prophets witness;" thus did the angel declare also to St. John, "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy';" 'the spirit of prophecy having no other use or end than to bear testimony, and to do honour, to him".'

a Luke i. 68, &c. xxiv. 27, 44. Acts x. 43. Rev. xix. 10. See also 1 Pet. i. 10-12. 2 Pet. i. 19-21.

b Bishop Hurd in Serm. II. on the Prophecies.-He who, like the Ethiopian convert (Acts viii, 27, &c.) is ready to say, "How can I understand what I read in the Prophets, except some man should guide me?" may with great satisfaction and benefit peruse Bishop Hurd's Introduction to the Study of the Prophecies, Serm. I-VI; Bishop Sherlock's Discourses on the Use and Intent of Prophecy; the four first Sermons of Bishop Horsley, Vol. II; and


Let this principle be kept in view, and it will shew, in the clearest manner, the object, and the connexion, of all that the prophets have spoken. It will teach us rightly to estimate the nature and the evidence of prophecy. It will shew that it was not vouchsafed to gratify the curiosity of mankind, or to serve a merely temporary purpose; but that it was designed to demonstrate not so much the general superintendence of divine providence, as that particular and important exercise of it, which was subservient to the establishment of the Gospel. Hence it will also appear that the prophetic spirit was generally confined to one family and nation, not out of a peculiar favour or preference to them; but that these oracles were committed to their care, in order that the priority of their existence, and their uncorrupted preservation, might be guaranteed and demonstrated. For, at the arrival of that period which was the fulness of the time, considered with reference to the predictions themselves, and the fitness of the time, considered with reference to the actual state of the world, "the Gentiles were to become fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of the promise of God

two very valuable tracts by Mr. Rotherham, published in 1753, and 1754, entitled, "The Force of the Argument from a collective view of Prophecy," and "a Sketch of the one great Argument, formed from the several concurring Evidences, for the Truth of Christianity."

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