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St. MATTHEW XI. 12-14.

From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And, if ye will receive it, this is Elius which was for to come.

THIS explicit and comprehensive declaration did Jesus make to the assembled multitudes, after the dismissal of John's disciples with the answer to their master's message. He uttered these words with all the confidence and composure of one who "spoke that which he knew, and testified that which he had seen;" and he subjoined in this instance, as well as on other important occasions, the awakening words, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."

The statement, which he had just advanced, did indeed demand attention, if they considered him from whom it proceeded. It came from one

to whom John had just been proposing the question, "Art thou he that should come, or look we for another?" It came from one who had been performing in their presence such miracles, that the simple enumeration of them served as an answer to that question; miracles, in consequence of which they themselves "glorified God, saying, That a great prophet has risen up among us, and, That God has visited his people."-The declaration also demanded attention, if they considered the purport of it. It announced to them the termination of that season, during which the glories of the latter days were made known to the sons of men only in consolatory promises, foreshadowing types, and prophetic anticipation. It announced the actual presence, exhibition, and offer of the expected blessings. It referred them to the valedictory declaration of the last of the prophets, with which, four hundred years before, the voice of prophecy had ceased, and by which the volume of inspiration had been completed. Remember ye," said the Lord of hosts by Malachi, "the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord"."-Thus were the Jews, to adopt the ex

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Mal. iv. 4, &c.

pression of an Apostle, to be " kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed"." Yet the law and the prophets were not silent respecting "good things to come." Both the one and the other "prophesied." Previously to the appearance of John the Baptist, these prophecies had not received their accomplishment. But then had that period commenced, in which "the God of heaven would set up a kingdom that should never be destroyed." "From the days of John the Baptist," said our Lord, "the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."

Such declarations as these also claim the attention of us Gentiles. For the things of which the law and the prophets prophesied, were spoken of "the last days, in which it was to come to pass that the mountain of the Lord's house would be established in the tops of the mountains, and be exalted above the hills; and all nations would flow into it." And already has it come to pass that many nations have said, "Come ye and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of

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Zion hath gone forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." He, who was the messenger of the new and universal covenant, through whose doctrine "the idols have been utterly abolished"," and in whose name we trust, appealed to the law and to the prophets as giving witness to himself. He came "not to destroy, but to fulfil them." He referred to the Scriptures, as "they that testify of him," and to Moses, as "writing of him." He declared that "all things that were written by the prophets concerning the Son of man would be accomplished." And as he declared that "the law and the prophets prophesied until John," so did he manifestly thereby intimate, that in his time we may justly expect to find the accomplishment begin, and that from his time we shall be able to trace its progress.

In the investigation of this, as well as of the other evidences of the mission and character of Jesus, we may take his own discourses as a faithful and sufficient directory. He has not omitted either expressly to cite, or very intelligibly to refer to, the entire prophetic testimony respecting the Christ, and has required of us to inquire and judge for ourselves whether it has not received its fulfilment in himself. During his personal mi

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a Isai. ii. 2, 3.

b Ibid. v. 18.

© Matt. v. 17. John v. 39, 46. Luke xviii. 31.

nistry, indeed, as we observed in the last Lecture, the proof from prophecy could not be fully stated and exhibited, because the most signal events to which the prophets referred had not then taken place. But the transactions of his crucifixion and resurrection having rapidly, and beyond all human calculation, evinced the fulfilment in Jesus of one large class of predictions, occasion was thereby given to appeal to them; and the way was also then prepared for the fulfilment of many others. But even during the progress of his personal ministry, a portion of the proof from prophecy was already developed, and was accordingly appealed to by Jesus. And it is also worthy of remark, that during this period he made provision for the elucidation of the remainder, and also for the establishment of his own character as an original prophet, by express, literal, and enlarged predictions of those very events, which furnished the clue for unraveling the whole mystery of the prophecies, which reconciled the apparently contradictory attributes of the promised Messiah, and which displayed fully and finally the character of bis office, the nature of his kingdom, and the purposes for which he was manifested. These several particulars we shall endeavour, under the guidance of the statements of Jesus, to elucidate in some future Lectures; confining our attention, during the remainder of this, to his actual citations

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