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grounded, and I am convinced of its truth. This examination is a subject within the reach of human capacity : you * have come to one conclusion respecting it, I have come to another; both of us cannot be right: may God forgive him that is in an errour!
CONNEXION OF THE OLD TESTAMENT WITH THE
NEW, IN THE PROPHECY OF THE MESSIAH. The books of the Old Testament open with the earliest accounts of time, earlier than any human records reach ; and yet, in many instances, they are strengthened by human records. The heathen mythology is often grounded upon remnants of the saered story,
of the Bible events are recorded, however imperfectly, in profane history. The very face of nature bears witness to the deluge.
In the history of the patriarchs is exhibited a most beautiful picture of the simplicity of ancient manners, and of genuine nature, unaďorned indeed by science, but impressed stror.gly with a sense of religion. This gives an air of greatness and dignity to all the sentiments and actions of these exalted characters.
The patriarchal history is followed by the Jewish. Here we have the principal events of that peculiar nation, which lived under a theocracy, and was set apart to preserve and propagate the knowledge of the true God through those ages of ignorance antecedent to Christ. Here too we find those types, and representations, which the apostle to the Hebrews calls the shadows of good things to come.
* The person addressed here is the celebrated Thomas Paine. Editor,
To those books, which contain the legislation and history of the Jews, succeed the prophetic writings. As the time of the promise drew still nearer, the notices of its approach became stronger. The kingdom of the Messiah, which was but obscurely shadowed by the ceremonies of the Jewish law, was marked in stronger lines by the prophets, and proclaimed in a more intelligible language. The office of the Messiah, his ministry, his life, his actions, his death, and his resurrection, are all very distinctly held out. The marks are peculiar, and can neither be mistaken nor misapplied : ' He was to be born of a virgin—he was to turn the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just--though dignified with the characters of a prince, he was to be a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief—though described to be without sin, he was to be numbered with transgressors—his hands and his feet were to be pierced
- he was to be made an offering for sin-and was never to see corruption. These prophecies were published many hundred years before the birth of Christ; and had been all along in the hands, not ouly of the Jews, but of all men of letters. The Old Testament had been early translated into the Greek language; and received into the politest libraries of those times.
With these ideas, let us open the New Testament, and it is obvious that no picture can be
more like its original, than these prophecies of Christ in one Testament, aré to his history in the other. Here we see that extraordinary virginbirth unravelled. Here we see a life spent in turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just.--Here we find the prince of his people, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. -Here we see the Lord of righteousness numbered with transgressors—we see his hands and his feet pierced—we see him made an offering for sin --and we see realized that extraordinary idea, of death without corruption.
It were an easy matter to carry this comparison through a more minute detail of circumstances ; but I mean only to trace the outlines of this great resemblance. To complete the picture would be a copious work.
ANECDOTE OF A LEARNED RABBI, CONFIRMING
THE PROPHECY OF THE MESSIAH. I HAVE somewhere read an account of a solemn disputation which was held at Venice, in the last century, between a Jew and a Christian. The Christian strongly argued from Daniel's prophecy of the seventy weeks, that Jesus was the Messiah whom the Jews had long expected, from the predictions of their prophets: the learned Rabbi, who presided at this disputation, was so forcibly struck by the argument, that he put an end to the business, by saying, “Let us shut up our Bibles ; for if we proceed in the examination of this prophecy, it will make us all become Christians.'
FORCE OF THE ARGUMENT FROM PROPHECY. PORPHYRY was so persuaded of the coincedencé between the prophecies of Daniel and the events, that he was forced to affirm, the prophecies were written after the things prophesied of had happened. Another Porphyry has in our days been so astonished at the correspondence between the prophecy concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, as related by St. Matthew, and the history of that event, as recorded by Josephus, that, rather than embrace Christianity, he has ventured (contrary to the faith of all eeclesiastical history, the opinion of the learned of all ages, and all the rules of good criticism), to assert, that St. Matthew wrote his Gospel after Jerusalem had been taken and destroyed by the Romans. You may from these instances perceive the strength of the argument from prophecy: it has not been able indeed to vanquish the prejudices of either the ancient or the modern Porphyry; but it has been able to compel them both to be guilty of obvious falsehoods, which have nothing but impudent assertion to support them.
HISTORICAL EVIDENCE THAT JESUS CHRIST LIVED,
AND WAS THE AUTHOR OF A NEW RELIGION. A PERSON celebrated as Jesus Christ was, we may suppose, would naturally find a place in the profane history of his times. It may not be amiss, therefore, to introduce the evidence we are about to collect, with the testimony of some of the more emin tof the heathen writers, who have mention
ed him. They will at least inform us, that such a person lived at the time we assert: and that he was the author of a new religion. I shall quote only Suetonius, Tacitus, and Pliny.
Suetonius * tells us, that the emperor Claudius drove all the Jews from Rome, who, at the instigation of one Christ, were continually making disturbances,
Tacitust, speaking of the persecution of Christians, tells us, that the author of that name was Christ, who was put to death by Pontius Pilate, in the reign of Tiberius.
Pliny's testimony is more large. It is contained in a letter, written to the emperor Trajan, desiring his instructions with regard to Christians. He blames their obstinacy in refusing to sacrifice to the Roman deities--but from their own confession can draw nothing, but that they assemble, on a certain day, before sun-rise—that they pay divine honours to Christ as a God—that they bind themselves by a sacrament not to steal, nor to commit adultery, nor to deceive—and that, after the perform ance of these rites, they join in one common meal. Nay, he examined, he says, two of them by torture; yet still he finds nothing obnoxious in their behaviour, except their absurd superstitions. He thinks, however, the matter should be inquired into: for Christianity had brought religion into great disuse. The markets were crowded with victims; and scarce a purchaser came near them.
These writers afford us sufficient testimony, tlat Jesus Christ lived at the time we assert; and that
• In Vita Cland. Cæs.
+ Lib. xv.