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been already noticed, in the meeting between Philip and the Eunuch, the sufferings of Christ, his death, and burial are distinctly foretold. That Jesus of Nazareth lived in the time of Tiberius Cæsar and Caligula, emperors of Rome, and that he assumed the character of the Messiah, cannot be denied; that he suffered an ignominious death under Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, is equally well attested; and that, within forty years after his death, Jerusalem was destroyed, and the nation of the Jews dispersed, is altogether undeniable. Without going into other concurring evidences for the truth of Christianity, these connected proofs bear a striking testimony to its authenticity; and it is incumbent on unbelievers to shew, if they sincerely desire to know the truth, how these remarkable appearances exist, of prophecies uttered more than two thousand years ago, fulfilled and fulfilling by extraordinary facts unfolding themselves during successive ages; the prophecies, and their completion, agreeing, supporting, and proving one another.
The passage which I have quoted, from the Prophet Isaiah, plainly shews that the restoration of the Jews is closely connected with the
conversion of the Gentiles; I shall therefore forbear at present to produce further prophecies from the rest of the Prophets' predictions of the first-mentioned event; and shall postpone their production till we come to the consideration of, what the Apostles call," The mystery of Christ, which, in other ages, was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy Apostles and Prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the Gospel."*
I proceed, therefore, to examine the prophecies of Jesus himself, foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem, and the ruin that was to overtake the land and its inhabitants.
* Ephes. iii. 3-6.
PROPHECIES OF JESUS FORETELLING THE
It must be evident to all that Jesus, in the course of his ministry, laboured to correct the pernicious doctrines of the Scribes and Pharisees, which had been corrupted by their traditions. When they asked him, "Why do thy disciples transgress the traditions of the elders, for they wash not their hands when they eat bread? He answered and said unto them, Why do you also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother, and he that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me," meaning, I have
dedicated to sacred purposes the sum that would have been applied to the support of my parents, "and honour not his father and mother," that is, support them not," he shall be free. Thus,” says our Saviour, "have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition."*
This conversation elicited from our Lord, in few words, a developement of the pure principle of morality. "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man, but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man."+
Our Lord's answer, when he was told that the Pharisees were offended at this saying, is worthy of particular observation, and seems to show that he thought them incorrigible, and to be given up to their own blindness: "He answered and said, Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up. Let them alone; they be blind leaders of the blind; and if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch."+
In the following chapter he warns his disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees,
* Matt. xv. 2-6.
+ Matt. xv. 11.
Matt. xv. 13, 14.
and Sadducees, which, as they afterwards understood, was meant as a caution against their doctrine. Some of our Lord's parables are also directly pointed against these perverters of the law; and their extirpation is threatened in language which they fully understood. In the parable of the vineyard let out to husbandmen is pourtrayed, in terms not to be mistaken, the fate of the Jewish nation: and how impressive is the whole parable? "Last of all, he sent
unto them his son, saying, they will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir, come let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance; and they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the Lord, therefore, of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto these husbandmen? They say unto him, he will miserably destroy these wicked men, and will let out his vineyard to other husbandmen, which shall render him their fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become
* Matt. xvi. 6 and 11.