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J. P. 4740.
5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto
destroyed? Was the river changed into blood, and was the Red Sea opened for their rescue? And were all these things publicly and instantaneously performed ? Equally wonderful was the darkness at the crucifixion of Christ; the feeding of a multitude with seven loaves and a few small fishes; and, above all these, the public resurrection of the dead to life.
3. Could the senses of the people perceive and know the miracles of Moses and of Elias ? So the miracles of Christ appeal to the scrutinizing examination of the multitudes who witnessed them.
4. Were the accumulations of the waves of the sea, as the gathering waters on each side of the passing Israelites rose in heaps, instead of smoothly proceeding on their course, evidently independent of second causes ? So was the miracle of Christ, when he rose from his slumber in the endangered vessel, at the entreaties of his terrified disciples, to rebuke the raging of the winds, and the roaring of the sea, and command the elements to subside into a calm. What human power could have enabled Moses to divide the sea, or Joshua to roll back the tide of Jordan, or Elijah to part the river, and go through dry shod, or Christ to walk himself, and to enable Peter to walk on the bosom of the deep? They were the manifestations of the providence of the same God, watchful over the same people.
5. Were public monuments set up, or outward actions performed, to celebrate the miracles that delivered Israel from Egypt? Was the Passover appointed as a lasting memorial ? Equally is it demonstrable that the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was ordained as a continual remembrance of the sacrifice of the death of Christ, and likewise the Christian Sabbath for a testimony of his resurrection : and, to come to the sixth criterion of public miracles, if the Passover was instituted at the time when the Exodus took place, to be continued from that day to the time of the true Paschal Lamb, we also, who glory in the name of Christians, can demonstrate, by the most indisputable authority, that the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was instituted but a few hours before the death of our beloved Master, and has ever, from that period, been commemorated by his followers, in remembrance of his precious death.
Let us refer also to other circumstances, and compare the character of the witnesses who have testified the truth of these miracles, under the separate dispensations. The most decided impugner of the truths of Christianity, who receives the Old Testament, will be satisfied with the evidence in favour of our sacred faith. In whatever point of view we consider these witnesses, we shall find them distinguished by the same characteristics. Their motives, circumstances, and conduct, wonderfully correspond. It appears graciously designed by Jehovah, that the whole system of Revelation should be established on the same evidence that if one was worthy of faith and acceptance, the other was equally so.
Was Moses, the legislator of his people, appointing for their government a new code of laws? So also was Christ the great lawgiver of his people. If Amos was an ignorant and obscure man, “neither a prophet, nor a prophet's son," but a herdman, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit, it cannot be necessary to shew that the majority of the twelve apostles were equally unlearned, and so much
6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after J, P. 4740.
V. Æ. 27. the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.
Cana, in Ga. lilee.
f Mark vii. 3. without pretension, that when the high priests desired to repress the incipient dawning of Christianity, they permitted them to remain at Jerusalem, as too inferior, both in rank and attainments, to excite either apprehension or suspicion. If the testimonies of Isaiah and Amos be received, and thereby, as a necessary consequence, demonstrate the divine origin of the Old Testament, what reason can be assigned why St. John and St. Paul, and the Apostles, should not be equally regarded as credible witnesses to the truth of Christianity ?
Was Moses brought before Pharaoh, or Daniel before Darius, or the three children before Nebuchadnezzar, to appeal by the miracles that evidenced the superiority of Jehovah, to all the wise, and learned, and noble of their own day, and to confirm the truth of their religion for ever? So was Christ brought before Herod, before the Roman Governor, and the assembly of the Priests, who had heard of his mighty deeds. It was in the presence of the rulers of the people, that Christ raised the dead, and healed the sick, and created new limbs to the maimed; while they, hating his doctrine, were keenly and maliciously intent upon all his actions, to denounce him as an enthusiast, or to prove him an impostor. St. Paul struck the sorcerer with blindness at the tribunal of Paulus; and St. Peter restored the lame man, who was known to all the heads of the Priests, and the rulers of Israel.
Did Moses work his miracles in that place where detection would have been the most easy? So did Christ, when he multiplied bread in the wilderness, which produced only roots and herbs, the scanty provision of nature. Did the ancient Prophets so entirely and unanimously agree with each other, that no contradiction whatever is to be found between them? So neither can any variation of doctrine be discovered between the testimonies of the Evangelists, and the writers of the Epi stles. Was Isaiah tortured with the saw, and Jeremiah cast into prison ? So also were the Apostles, and first Martyrs, crucified, stoned, imprisoned, or otherwise persecuted. If we believe, therefore, the writers of the Old Testament; the same laws of reasoning and judgment require, that we should give equal credence to those of the New Testament. Of both it may be justly asked,
Why should men, of various age and parts,
Starving their pains, and Martyrdom their price."
If the representation of this agreement between the writers of the Old and New Testament, be not satisfactory to the Jewish reader, let him further consider the singular contrast between his past and present condition.
J. P. 4740. 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the water-pots with water. V. Æ. 27. And they filled them up to the brim.
Cana, in Ga. lilee,
Unless the Messiah has really come, and the Jews have despised and crucified him, as we assert; by what means can they reconcile to themselves the fearful change that has taken place in their circumstances ? Let them tell the Christian, for what reason it is, that the sons of Abraham, so long the peculiarly favoured children of God, who were honoured with miracles, admonished by prophets, directed by visions, and visited by angels, should, for so long a period, be permitted to wander over the whole world, a by-word, and the very scorn of all nations, without a king, a temple, or a prophet? When their proud and noble city was destroyed, idolatry had long ceased. They were zealous for the letter of the law-they venerated even the characters in which it was written, and the parchment on which it was inscribed. The gods of the Gentiles were abhorred. They ventured even to encounter the hatred of the merciless Caligula, rather than admit an image into their sacred temple. Jehovah was the God they worshipped, with an enthusiastic adherence to the minutiæ of their difficult and burthensome ritual. The most embarrassing of their appointed ordinances was their pride and boast. Wherefore, then, has God forgotten to be gracious ? They have endured, and suffered, and hoped, and prayed for mercy, for centuries; they have called upon the Jehovah who from the beginning promised them a Messiah-yet no prophet has appeared—no miracle has been wrought in their favour. Since the destruction of their beloved Jerusalem, which took place forty years after the crucifixion of their Redeemer, they have been scattered over the face of the whole earth, an astonishment, and a proverb, among all nations, (Deut. xxviii. 37.) by the command of an overruling Providence, an undeniable evidence of the fulfilment of prophecy, in their own blindness of heart, and of the truth of Christianity. Can any cause whatever be assigned for this standing miracle, this wonderful dispersion, so long, and faithfully predicted by their great lawgiver, (Deut. xxviii. 64–68.) than that which is given by inspiration itself. “ He came to his own, and his own received him not;" and they remain, as Moses foretold they should remain, a “sign and a wonder," till the day in which they shall say, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord (c)."
(c) See the Letter of Mr. Hamilton to Dr. Herschell, chief Rabbi of the German and Polish Jews in London. Horne's Crit. Introduct. first edit. vol. i. p. 584. with his references. Limborch's Amica Collatio cum erud. Jud. 4to. p. 172. where this learned writer shews that the divine mission of Christ is less dubious than that of Moses. Quæro nunc : Si de alterutrius mirabilibus factis dubitari a quoquam possit, in quem magis alicujus artis, qua res non prorsus veras nec tantas ignaro populo persuasit, cadere possit suspicio; an in virum doctum, aulicum, potentem, liberatorem populi e durâ servitute, et omnia pro nutu suo moderantem ; an in pauperculum, contemptum, doctoribus populi invisum, magistratui exosum, et omni humanâ ope, ac favore destitutum ? Non solum ea in auctoribus et utriusque religionis fundatoribus est differentia ; sed in ipso populo, qui hæc accepit, et posteris tradidit. Tempore enim Mosis, populus diuturnâ et durissima servitute fractus non poterat non esse rudis, et ignarus valde, et, uti est oppressæ plebis animus, paratior ad quævis magnifica de liberatoribus suis credenda, et de jis posteris suis majora tradenda ; quam ii, qui jam libertati assueti, patriis institutis imbuti, legi, quam divinam habebant, addicti, nullo magno beneficio ab hoc suo Messiah in præsente hâc vitâ affecti, nullo
8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto J. P. 4740. the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
V. Æ. 27. 9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that
Cana, in Ga. was made wine, and knew not whence it was : (but the ser- lilee. vants which drew the water knew ;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,
10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine ; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse : but thou hast kept the good wine
11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, 8 and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples be- 8 Ch. i. lieved on him 12.
JOHN ii. 12. After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his Capernaum. mother, and his brethren, and bhis disciples : and they h Matt. xii.46. continued there not many days 13.
12 A very curious, but too forced and mystical an interpretation of this miracle, is given by Lampe, in which he endeavours to shew, that by the bridegroom is meant the governors of the Jewish Church-the bride is the Jewish Church itself—the marriage is the Christian dispensation. The failing of the wine is the departure of the Spirit of God from the Jewish Church, which had begun to depart from the purity of the law-the mother of our Lord is the heavenly Jerusalem, bringing into the liberty of the Gospel the children of the Jewish Church ; but she is reproved for impatience, not knowing the times and seasons, or the hour which had not yet come. The water is changed into wine, that is, prophecy and the law are changed into the Gospel ; with much more of the same kind. Lampe, vol. i. p. 518-520.
13 The expression, not many days, is used in Acts i. 5. In that passage it denotes ten days only, being the interval between the Ascension and the day of Pentecost.
mundano splendore, vel felicitate moti, et diversa plane expectantes ; quibus igitur nihil aliud nisi rerum ipsarum claritas argumento esse posset, ut vel ipsi crederent, vel aliis pro veris narrarent. This is admirably done. The whole work abounds with eloquence, as well as sound argument. Leslie, in his Preface, acknowledges his obligations to Limborch, and confesses that his work was principally compiled from the Amica Collatio.
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JOHN ii. 13, to the end. 13 And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,
14 We are informed by Josephus(a), that a stranger was not allowed to pass into the holy place, that is, into the second court of the temple, where the Jews and circumcised proselytes, when not legally unclean, were admitted. The third court was without the sacred limits, and divided from the other by little pillars, or columns, with this inscription-Μη δείν αλλόφυλον εντός τ8 “Αγία παριέναι, and the reason is assigned, το γάρ δευτερόν ίερον"Αγιον εκαλείτο. This part of the temple was intended for the Jews who were unclean, and the devout Gentiles, the Proselytes of the Gate. Although the Jews held the Gentiles in the greatest contempt, stigmatizing them with the opprobrious epithet of “dogs," refusing all intercourse or familiarity with them, still we find them so inconsistent as to suffer them to carry on, even in the very precincts of their temple, n the courts appointed for the Gentiles, a traffic in oxen, sheep, and doves, which were required by the worshippers, for their sacrifices and purifications., In every age of the Jewish Church many Proselytes of the Gate united themselves to the congregation of Israel: but in consequence of the constant merchandise going on, which must be attributed to the negligence of the governors of the temple, the devout Gentiles were at all times disturbed in their devotions ; and at the greater festivals must have been nearly or altogether excluded from the place of worship. It was worthy then of the Messiah, to commence his public ministry, by cleansing the temple, by driving from it the profane and worldly; an action, by which he declared himself at once the Lord of the temple, and the protector of all those from among the mass of mankind, who sought him in the way he had appointed. It was impossible that the composure of spirit, and serenity of mind, which are necessary to the duty of prayer (6), could have been preserved among the loud talking and disputing of buyers and sellers, the jingling of money, the lowing of oxen, and the bleating of sheep. Yet it was among these only that the Gentile worshippers could find admission. Our Lord's motive, in the second instance, for thus cleansing the temple, is given by St. Mark, xi. 17. which passage, says the learned Mede, ought to be translated—My house shall be called a house of prayer to, or for, all nations -Toi rois Oveol(c). Though the Jewish dispensation was not yet com
(a) De bello Judaico, lib. 6. chap. vi. Mede's Works, p. 44. fol. Camb. 1677. (6) That great master of our noble language, Jeremy Taylor, in his second sermon on the return of prayers, bas this beautiful passage :-Prayer is the peace of our spirit, the stillness of our thoughts, the evenness of recollection, the seat of meditation, the rest of our cares, and the calm of our tempest. Prayer is the issue of a quiet mind, and untroubled thoughts; it is the daughter of charity—it is the sister of meekness; and be that prays to God with a troubled and discomposed spirit, is like to him that retires into a battle to meditate, or chooses a frontier garrison to indulge in contemplation. Taylor's Discourses, &c. vol. i. p. 88. Longman's edit. 1807. (c) Vide Mede's Sermon on this text, Works, fol. p. 44.