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the truth of his own sufferings as the Merfiah, fools, and flow of heart to believe all which the prophets have spoken ! Qught not Christ to have suffered these things ?' I must also beseech you to note another remarkable instance of harmony between the accomplishment of an event, respecting the certainty that Jesus was the Messiah, recorded by Luke, and the prediction of that event by David. This royal Psalmist, prophetically speaking of the Messiah, says, “Thou, God, 'wilt not leave my soul in hell,' in the grave, “neither wilt thou suffer thine holy one to see corruption. Now Luke, in his second chapter of the Acts of the apostles, citing this prophecy, adds, 'He, David, seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ.' Accordingly the flesh of Jesus did not see corruption, for God raised him up on the third day, before putrefaction took place; and therefore this is an additional irrefragable proof, that this Jesus was the Messiah, and that the prophecy received its completion in him. To Chriftians I must inculcate this fundamental maxim, that in all points respecting the nature or person of Christ, no credit should
be be given to assertions made in what are
stiled the canonical Scriptures of the new, which are not authenticated by proofs drawn from the prophecies of the old, Teftament, those infallible divine evidences of the truth of the Christian religion, uncontrovertibly confirming the credibility of its human testimony, or, in the language of the Apocalypse of John xix. 10. "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy,' or rather, to translate the original more intelligibly, the spirit of prophecy is the teftimony of Jesus. If the great “Son of Da. vid, Jesus, the Christ, or Messiah, had descended from his loins by the mother's fide only, and had not been generated by an human father, I firmly believe this extraordinary regulation of his future birth would have been pre-signified in express unequivocal terms, by God to the Jewish prophets. But no such extraordinary regulation is predicted by them. I therefore declare, that, if an angel from heaven preach any other Gospel than that, which is foretold by the divinely-inspired prophets in the Old Testament, or fix on their predictions a different interpretation from that, which D 2
they they will, without manifest perversión, bear, I am bound to reject him as an impoftor. Genuine Christian Scripture is so far from countenancing the merely maternal birth of Christ, that it speaks of him, as . a man, of the seed of David,' Of this man’s,’ David's, 'seed hath God according to his promise, raised unto Ifrael, a favior, Jesus,' Acts xiii. 23. These very expresfions imply, that his mother conceived and bare him, in consequence of a previous carnal knowledge of her husband Joseph, a man lineally descended, as was his wife, Mary, from that King of Israel.
But it may be objected, is it not plainly revealed in lsaiah, vii. 14.‘a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel ?' We must not be too hasty in applying this prediction to the merely maternal birth of Christ, for, in the first place, the Hebrew word noso means any young woman ; and, secondly, if we examine the context, we shall find it points at a totally different event, to be fulfilled in the reign of Ahaz, king of Judah, when Isaiah prophesied, and not long after the deli
very of the prophecy ; • The Lord himself Thall give you a sign, behold! a virgin' or young woman, "Thall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good; for, before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good, the land, that thou abhorrest, shall be forsaken of both her kings, namely, Rezin, king of Syria, and Pekah, King of Israel, who we are informed, in the first verse of the same chapter, 'went up towards Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it. Accordingly we learn from 2 Kings xvi. 9. that Tiglath-Pileser, king of Assyria, at the intreaty of Ahaz, 'went up against Damascus, took it, and flew Rezin,' and in 2 Kings xv. 3.0. we are told, that `Hoshea made a conspiracy against Pekah, and flew him. The compiler indeed of the Gospel, denominated Matthew's, applies this prophecy to the event of the supposed miraculous nativity of Jesus; but with what semblance of truth this faithful representation of the event, to which it evidently refers, is sufficient to determine. I cannot take my leave of this extract,
without informing you, that Mr. Harmer, in his Observations on different passages of Scripture, supposes, that the words of the prophecy “ Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may 'know,' in the original, inposato refuse the evil, and choose the good,' should be thus translated, “Butter and honey shall he eat, when he shall know to refuse, &c.' that is, as he judiciously explains it,' though now Judah be terribly harrassed, and that occafion's scarcity, when this child shall be grown up to be able to distinguish between good and evil, both these kings shall be cut off, and this country enjoy such plenty, that he shall eat butter and honey':
I now proceed to corroborate the preceding arguments in support, as well of the generation of Christ by a man, as of his parturition from a woman, with additional proofs, deduced from Scripture and reason.
God, in his infinite wisdom, seems to have permitted the plain truth, as it is in Jesus, to be transmitted down to us, intermixt, in the instance of a few interpolated passages in the writings of the New Testament, with the abstruse errors of the 'vain