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his back to the smiters; and though they buffeted and spat upon him, yet such was his astonishing meekness and patience, that he gave his cheeks to them that plucked off the hair, and hid not his face from shame and spitting, Isa. l.6. They pierced his hands and his feet, Psa.xxii. 16. And when they had nailed him to the cross, they gave him gall for his meat; and in his thirst gave him vinegar to drink, Psa. lxix. 21. They mocked, and upbraided, and even laughed him to scorn; they shot out their lips, they shook their heads, saying, He trusted in the Lord, that he would deliver him ; let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him, Psa. xxii. 7, 8. They cut him off from the land of the living, Isa. liii. 8. Thus was the Messiah cut off, but not for himself, Dan. ix. 26. For the transgression of God's people was he stricken. . He made his soul an offering for sin, and he poured out his soul unto death, that he might bear the sin of many, and make intercession for transgressors, Isa. liii. 8. 10. 12. After his death, his murderers parted his garments among them, and cast lots upon his vesture, Psa. xxii. 18. And being dead, he made his grave with the rich, Isa. liii. 9, that is, he was buried in a rich man's tomb. Thus I have followed our blessed Saviour to the grave. But could the grave detain him? Could it keep him its prisoner P : No! “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth,” Job xix. 25. His flesh might go to the grave, and rest in hope ; for God would not leave his soul in hell, nor suffer his holy One to be so long under the power of death as to see corruption, Psa. xvi. 9, 10. After his soul was made an offering for sin, he saw his seed, and prolonged his days, Isa. liii. 10. He ascended to the right hand of God; and the Lord said to him, “Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool," Psa. cx. 1. He ascended on high, that he might lead captivity captive, and give gifts unto men, Psa. lxviii. 18. Having thus given you some account, from the ancient prophecies, of the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, I shall now proceed to show you some of the consequences of this great event. And it may be proper, in the first place, to take notice, what were the effects of the jews thus rejecting and murdering the Prince of life; and to show you, that the people of Titus, the roman prince, came upon them, destroyed the city and the sanctuary, caused the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and the abominations (or abominable armies) with their eagles (and superstitious rites) to overspread and to make them desolate, Dan. ix. 27. When God had laid in Zion, for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, and a sure foundation for all that would believe on him, he then took notice of the scornful men that ruled in Jerusalem. He laid judgment to the line, and righteousness to the plummet; the hail swept away the refuge of lies; and the waters overflowed the hiding-place. Their covenant with death was disannulled, and their agreement with hell could not stand, when the overflowing scourge passed through them ; and they were trodden down by it: from the time it went forth it took them ; for morning by morning it passed over them, by day and by night, until it was a vexation only to understand the report. For the Lord rose up as in mount Perazim; he was wroth as in the valley of Gibeon; and a consumption was determined upon the whole earth, or upon their whole land, Isa. xxviii. 14–22. The Lord numbered them to the sword, and they all bowed down to the E
slaughter: because when he called, they did not answer; when he spake, they did not hear; but did evil before his eyes, and chose that wherein he delighted not: therefore the Lord said unto them, “Behold, my servants (the christians) shall eat, but ye shall be hun: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty : behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed: behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit. And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen, for the Lord God shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name;” christians, and not jews, Isa. lxv. 12–16. Another consequence of the sufferings of the Messiah, and his pouring out his soul unto death, was the calling of the gentiles into a church state. Behold God's servant whom he upholds, his servant in whom his soul delighteth ; he hath put his Spirit upon him, and he hath brought forth judgment unto the gentiles. He has not failed nor been discouraged, till he has set judgment upon the earth, and the isles have waited for his law, Isa. xlii. 1. 4. Then did the barren sing that did not bear; she broke forth into singing, and cried aloud, that had not travailed with child; and more were the children of the desolate, than of the married wife. For she brake forth on the right hand and on the left; and her seed inherited the gentiles, and made the desolate cities to be inhabited, Isa. liv. 1.3. Thus was our Lord Jesus given for a light to the gentiles, that he might be for salvation unto the ends of the earth, Isa. xlix. 6. And the gentiles came to his light, and kings to the brightness of his rising, Isa. lx. 3. Thus you have had a general view of our blessed Saviour's life, death, resurrection, ascension, and kingdom, out of the jewish prophets. I have not given you all, nor indeed a tenth part, of the predictions of the Messiah, that are to be found in the Old Testament; and yet I have, by these brief hints, given you the means of considering, whether these prophecies did not in all circumstances exactly agree to the Lord Jesus Christ; and whether they did or possibly could agree to any other person in the world.
And now, sir, I leave it to yourself to judge, whether we can either have or desire greater certainty of any past event, than that these prophecies did directly refer to, and were all accomplished in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Suppose we had as certain direction, when to begin the forty-two months, or one thousand two hundred and sixty years of antichrist's reign, as we have with respect to the beginning of Daniel's weeks; and you should find, by calculation, that they would terminate in the year 1946; and being filled with expectations of the events of that year, should (when it comes) actually see all the popish princes of Europe brought into subjection, the protestant princes united in confederacy, the city of Rome sacked and burnt, and the papal hierarchy every where overturned; the turkish empire destroyed; and the jews collected and brought into the christian church; would you not acknowledge these prophecies to be of Divine original, and the pope and roman papacy to be the antichrist therein predicted P And would you not also live in certain expectation of all the other events which are foretold as consequences of this revolution? You certainly would. And yet I must take the liberty to tell you, that there is a much brighter light shining upon the prophecies concerning our blessed Saviour, in their exact accomplishment, than this would prove, should all these circumstances concur, as is here supposed.
That the Lord may graciously grant both you and me a sincere faith in this blessed Saviour, and prepare us both for the great events that are hastening upon us, is the prayer of, SIR,
WHEREIN IS CONSIDERED THE CERTAINTY OF THOSE FACTS UPON WHICH THE EVIDENCE OF CHRISTIANITY DEPENDS.
SIR, YoU mistake, in supposing that “my last letter has set the evidence of our Saviour's Divine mission, from the Old Testament prophecies, in the strongest possible light.” There might be much stronger light brought from the prophetic writings, in confirmation of this blessed truth; and you must allow me the freedom to tell you, that my letter justly demands of you a firmer assent than you are pleased to express to that fundamental article of our faith and hope. It represents to you more than “a strong probability, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and the Saviour of the world.” Consider, I beseech you, whether it is possible, for any or for all created intelligences, to foresee and foretell such future events, as depend wholly upon the mere good pleasure of God; such events as are altogether out of the way of God's ordinary dispensations of providence; and such events as