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rejected him, and by that rejection prove that Jesus was he of whom Moses wrote-for the Lord has executed the punishment he threatened should befall them, if they refused to hearken unto this prophet; thus the Jews are living monuments of the truth as it is in Jesus. Oh, may we take warning from their calamities, and receive the sent, the sealed, the anointed of the Father, as our prophet, priest, and king; even Jesus the Messiah, the Christ of God!


The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.-Isaiah xl. 3.

THE Prophets Isaiah and Malachi * were commissioned to inform the church, that when the period should arrive for the coming of the Messiah, a messenger would be sent to announce his near approach. This promise was most strictly fulfilled: Jesus, the Son of the Most High God, did not visit this our world, without first directing an herald to proclaim his coming; even John, who was sent to prepare the

* Mal. iii. 1., iv. 5.

way before him.* This harbinger deserves our attention; he was no ordinary character. An angel, even Gabriel, posted from heaven to speak of his birth, and declare he should be filled with the Holy Ghost from the first dawn of life. If such distinguishing honour was paid to the messenger, how great that due to the master! John demands our respect, on account of the sanctity of his life, the simplicity of his manners, and the active zeal and ardent love he manifested in the cause, and towards the person, of his Lord, and for the integrity and faithfulness exhibited in every part of his conduct towards man. He feared not to reprove sin in whatever class of persons he beheld it, from the common soldier even to the monarch on the throne. To a character so exemplary as John's, the highest respect and veneration are due; and the testimony of such a man deserves not to be lightly regarded. John's birth was six months prior to his Lord's, † and being the first who used water-baptism as a divine ordinance, he was surnamed the Baptist. He abode "in the deserts" of Judea "until the day of his showing unto Israel," and had never seen his Lord

* Matt. iii. 3., xi. 2-15. Mark i. 2-8. Luke i. 5—26. + Luke i. 39-44.

(who resided at Nazareth, in Galilee), until he came
to Jordan for baptism. The testimony he then gave to
the person of Jesus merits observation. He publicly
acknowledged him to be the person whose way he was
sent to prepare, and spoke of him as one whose shoe's
latchet he was not worthy to unloose. We see John,
when surrounded by his own disciples, point to Jesus,
and say
"Behold the Lamb of God which taketh
away the sin of the world," and "this is he of whom I
said, after me cometh a man which is preferred before
me; for he was before me." John gave the most
decided testimony to the Godhead of Jesus, for he said
he would "baptise with the Holy Ghost," which is the
prerogative only of God. What man can, by any
means, redeem his brother, or give to God a ransom
for his soul? but John spake of his Lord as "the
Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the
world." Yes, he is the "Lamb slain from the foun-
dation of the world." Under the Mosaic dispensation,
the lamb slain, as a morning and evening sacrifice, and
on the great day of atonement, was only a type of this
Lamb of God's own providing, who offered himself up
as a sacrifice for the sins of many. When the disciples
of John appeared displeased at the growing popularity
of Jesus, their master instantly checked them by


saying "he must increase, but I must decrease; he that cometh from heaven is above all." After John


was cast into prison, we find him sending two of his disciples to Jesus, to inquire if he were the Christ or not. Having heard the testimony John had before given to the person of Jesus, we cannot suppose he had any doubts in his own mind as to his being the Messiah, but rather that he was fully convinced of the fact himself; and wishing his disciples to be firmly established in the same faith, he, as the most effectual method, sent them to Jesus for satisfactory proofs of a truth which he (John) had been continually teaching through the whole course of his ministry. John was a faithful witness in his master's cause, and to him we are much indebted. But let us not bestow on him

the honours due to Jesus, who is deservedly preferred before him; for, as John justly observed, he was before him. This is strictly true, for although Jesus did not take on him our nature until six months after the birth of John, yet, being God as well as man, his existence is from everlasting to everlasting.

Josephus, in his history of the Jews, speaks of John the Baptist in the highest terms of respect and venera

* Luke vii. 18-28.

tion: he says he had acquired such credit and authority amongst the people by the holiness of his life, and his disciples were so numerous, that Herod, dreading a revolt, confined John in the castle of Macharas, and afterwards beheaded him, for no other crime than his honest faithfulness.* Herod's army was soon after totally routed by the troops of Aretas, and the Jews considered it as a mark of Divine vengeance for his cruel treatment of the Holy Baptist.


Therefore, the Lord himself shall give you a sign, behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.-Isaiah vii. 14.

THE portion of scripture now before us is highly interesting, and demands serious attention. About seven hundred and eight years before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah was commissioned to tell the church, a virgin should conceive and bear a son, and should call his name Immanuel. For proofs of the fulfilment of this prophecy, we would refer to Matthew and Luke,+ and request their testimony may be read with the

* Matt. xiv. 3-10.

+ Matt. i. 18-25. Luke i. 26-38.

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