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Moreover, it was also foretold that they should be scattered among all people. This was also literally fulfilled. They are now scattered over every nation under heaven. For eighteen hundred years they have suffered almost all sorts of plagues, indignities, and privations. They are to this day a standing, indubitable proof of the truth of the predictions concerning them.
The prophecies of this chapter were delivered more than three thousand years since; yet the condition of the Jews is as minutely described from that time to this as if the writer had been a spectator of every scene through the whole series of events. Could Moses have uttered prophecies which have been thus fully and circumstantially fulfilled, unless he had been inspired ? Impossible!
The reader's attention is now directed to a few predictions respect. ing the Messiah, and their complete fulfilment in Jesus Christ.
Take, first, the prophecy respecting the place where the Messiah was to be born. Micah v, 2: * Thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel.”
Fulfilment. Luke ii, 4, 5 : “ All went to be taxed, (or enrolled,) every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, with Mary his espoused wife, unto Bethlehem; and while they were there she brought forth her first-born son." Compare also Luke ii, 10, 11, 16, and Matt. ii, 1, 4-6, 8, 11; John vii, 42.
Consider, secondly, his public entry into Jerusalem. Zech. ix, 9: " Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Jerusalem : behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation ; lowly, and riding upon an ass, even upon a colt, the foal of an ass."
Fulfilment. Matt. xxi, 7–10: “ The disciples brought the ass and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and set him thereon; and great multitudes spread their garments," &c., &c. Matt. xxi, 4, 5: “ All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Behold thy King cometh,” &c., &c.
Again, thirdly, the circumstances of his death. Psa. Ixix, 21: “ They gave me also gall for my meat, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” Psa. xxii, 18: “
Psa. xxii, 18: “They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture."
Fulfilment. Matt. xxvi, 48, &c. : “ And they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.” John xix, 23, 24 : “ And the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam; they said, therefore, Let us not rend it, but cast lots whose it shall be.”
Again; Psa. xxxiv, 20: “He keepeth all his bones, not one of them is broken.” Zech. xii, 10 : “ And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced.”
Fulfilment. John xix, 32, 34: “ Then came the soldiers and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him; but when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs. But one of the soldiers, with a spear, pierced his side, and forth with there came out blood and water."
The above are sufficient to show the accuracy of the fulfilment of those predictions respecting Christ-predictions made hundreds of years before the Messiah appeared in the flesh. Therefore we will not notice the numerous other prophecies running through all the prophets respecting this glorious personage. Suffice it to say, that the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, which was written more than seven hun. dred years before Christ, seems almost like a complete history of his character, sufferings, and death. On this account, it is said that the Jews omit that chapter in their reading, teaching, and even in the transcriptions of their sacred books. They are evidently afraid of the truth.
Now, we candidly ask, Is it possible for persons to foretell that a Messiah should come—the precise time of his coming—the dignity of his character—the place where he was born-bis birth and manner of life-his sufferings and death-his resurrection and ascension, hundreds of years before these events took place, without being inspired by Him " who seeth the end from the beginning ?" Indeed, the inevitable conclusion is, that, if the sacred writers could utter predic. tions respecting different events, which have been fulfilled in all their minuteness, centuries after the predictions were made, that they were inspired men,“ moved by the Holy Ghost.” “ Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man,” &c. If then the sacred writers were inspired, they must have recorded facts and transactions as they were directed by God; hence what they wrote while inspired must be divine.
Prophecies respecting other subjects might be noticed were it ne. cessary; but, if the above be not sufficient for our purpose, we shall fail in amplifying further. Reader, may the God of all grace lead thee to a knowledge of the truth on this subject-and mayest thou find that the blessed Bible is a sure and unerring directory to present and eternal blessedness!
Our second position is, that the divine origin of the Scriptures is demonstrated from their morality. That the sacred writers have presented to mankind an incomparable system of morality, no one can deny: a system reasonable, consistent, comprehensive, and simple ; harmonizing in all its parts, and having the most direct tendency to make men wise, holy, and happy in themselves, and useful to mankind. It universally prohibits all sinful practices, such as adultery, fornica. tion, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, and revellings; while it exhibits, and holds out to the reception of every individual, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. It teaches men to be meek, yielding, complying, forgiving; not only prompt to act, but willing to suffer; silent and patient under calumny and insult, seeking reconciliation where others would demand satisfaction. “ Resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also ; and if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also; and whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain ; love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you." " This truly," as Dr. Paley justly observes, " is not common-place morality. It is based on the golden rule, Whatsoever ye would that others should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophèts.” How simple, yet how grand and sublime !
However little attention some bearing the Christian name may have paid to these great and Christian principles—and this failure, by the way, argues nothing against the truth of Christianity-yet there are many who have adhered to them with a tenacity truly com. mendable. “Their praise is in all the churches ;" and of many of them, it may be said, “ Their record is on high.”
Clement of Rome says, in speaking of the early Christians:“ These things, (the duties of religion,) they who have their conversation toward God, not to be repented of, both have done, and will always be ready to do."
Polycarp speaks of them as “not rendering evil for evil, railing for railing, striking for striking, cursing for cursing, &c. ; but as walking by the same rule, and minding the same things.” Those who lived otherwise, he rebuked.
Ignatius, in exhorting them under their persecutions, says:~" Be ye mild at their anger, humble at their boastings, to their blasphemies return your prayers, to their error your firmness in the faith ; when they are cruel, be ye gentle; not endeavoring to imitate their ways: let us be their brethren in all kindness and moderation ; but let us be the followers of the Lord—for who was ever more unjustly used, more destitute, more despised ?" Noble exhortation! So much for the early Christians. Were it necessary, copious examples to the point might be adduced of Christians in modern times.
But let us inquire. In what productions of uninspired men do you find a morality which will compare with that of the Bible? Where will you find unbelievers who have set themselves up as teachers of mankind, whose lives will compare in moral rectitude with those of the sacred writers, or even of true Christians of all ages ? Moral impurities run through all the productions of philosophers, heathens, skeptics of ancient times, as well as through those of infidels in modern times. Let us briefly examine the writings of some of the heathen philosophers and moralists :
Zeno the stoic, and Diogenes the cynic, taught the foulest impuri. ties. Socrates, the best of heathen philosophers, and Seneca, cele. brated for his morals, taught that adultery and suicide are lawful. Solon gave license to dissoluteness, and Lycurgus tolerated theft as a part of education. Plato recommended a community of women, and taught that lying was lauful; while Aristotle maintained the right of making war upon barbarians. The elder Cato taught the practice of inflicting cruelties upon slaves; the younger disregarded the obligations and duties of the marriage state. Epicurus taught that pleasure was the chief good to be sought; while the writings of Xenophon, Cicero, and Epictetus are marked with loose and deleterious prin. ciples.
The writings of modern infidels are no better. Voltaire taught, that if men lived up to their religious systems, whatever they were, they were virtuous. Hobbes advocated the doctrine, that every man had a right to all things, and might lawfully get them, if he could. Helvetius and Rousseau inculcated the practice of “the unlimited gratification of the sensual appetites.” Hume and Bolingbroke in
sisted on the sentiments, that polygamy is a part of the law of nature, and that adultery and suicide are consistent and lawful. Unlimited sensuality and the most degrading practices, as cardinal points to be observed, run through the writings of Volney, Diderot, D'Alembert, Herbert, Shaftesbury, Morgan, Byron, Gibbon, and Paine.
With the above we may notice the writings of Mohammed. While many good things are found in them, (and these, by the way, are drawn from the Christian Scriptures,) yet they contain the most unlimited sensual indulgences.
But it may be said, “ that the writings of many individuals above named contain good moral precepts." True; but they are indebted to the Bible for them. The ancient heathen philosophers probably received some traditional notices of revelation, while modern infidels have had an opportunity of examining the entire Scriptures. That many of the good things they have said were taken from the Scriptures, their own testimony confirms.
Our limits will not permit us to notice other systems of ancient and modern moralists in detail. Suffice it to say, that most of them are exceedingly defective. While they contain many good moral precepts, they sensualize the mind, pervert the taste, and lead men to neglect the great object of their being.
Having examined the various productions of men for a pure system of morality in vain, we are again led to observe that the Bible con. tains such a system, and that it bears irrefragable proof of its divine origin. In fidels themselves, and even the most talented of them, while they must have seen the corrupting influence of their own boasted morality, have confessed that the sensibilities and passions of human nature have been greatly cultivated and improved, and society greatly meliorated, by the influence of the Bible. Hume, in his His. tory of England, says, “ The Puritans (they took the Bible for their guide) had the purest morality; and the English nation were in. debted to them for the first spark of liberty that was ever struck out in that kingdom.” Lord Bolingbroke declares, that "the gospel is in all cases one continued lesson of the strictest morality and justice." Rousseau says, “ The majesty of the Scriptures strikes me with admi. ration, as the purity of the gospel hath its influence on my heart. Peruse the works of our philosophers, with all their pomp of diction ; how mean, how contemptible are they, compared with the Scriptures!" Thomas Paine confessed that Jesus Christ was “a virtuous and an amiable man. The morality that he preached and practised was of the most benevolent kind.” These confessions are remarkable, seeing they come from the most determined opposers of Christianity. They clearly show that the understanding will sometimes get the better of the depraved affections, and will then speak out the truth. “ Our rock is not their rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.” If the Bible, then, contains the best system of morality ever presented to mankind-and that it does we think has been made to appear, both from friends and enemies—both in its doctrines and practical results, we are inevitably led to the conclusion, that it is divine in its origin. This leads us,
3. In the third place, to show that the Bible is divine in its origin, from the influence which it has had universally upon the hearts and Vol. X. -July, 1839.
lives of men. This we have partially seen while examining the morality of the Bible ; but as this point is of considerable importance in settling the subject satisfactorily now under consideration, further examination seems to be necessary. That the effects produced by the Bible on the hearts and lives of men, not only in the apostolical, but through subsequent ages, has been powerful, benign, and salutary, the history of the church abundantly attests. The Bible has destroyed the ferocious disposition, subdued the obdurate will, and restrained the most violent passions of men. It has disclosed to man his unbelief, rebellion, impiety, impenitence, ungratefulness, hatred of God, rejection of Christ, &c., all of which it has led him voluntarily to renounce; and also it has led him to cherish the amiable spirit of submission, repentance, confidence, hope, gratitude, and love. It has taught man how he might obtain the image of his Maker here, and shine with moral and eternal beauty in the kingdom of God.
The influence of the religion of the Bible on the lives of men has been astonishing and glorious. It has removed from men, whenever it has been embraced, the most degrading superstitions; the impure, brutal, and sanguinary worship, practised in regions of idolatry, together with the horrors of war, so far as its influence has extended, and many other enormous crimes of a similar nature. It has provided support for the poor and suffering, secured the rights of strangers, erected hospitals for the sick, formed with great expense a rich variety of institutions for the preservation and education of orphans, the in. struction of poor children, the suppression of vice, the amendment of the vicious, and the consolation of the afflicted. It has made better rulers and better subjects, better husbands and better wives, better parents and better children, better neighbors and better friends. Have infidelity and philosophy, with all their boastings, ever done as much toward making men happy, useful, and blessed? The answer must be returned in the negative.
But it is sometimes insultingly asked, “Who are those who believe in the Bible? Are they not the illiterate, silly, weak-minded,” &c. We would, in turn, ask, Who are those who propound such inquiries? Why, they are such men as Thomas Paine, Voltaire, Carlisle, Shaftesbury, and a few other French and English infidels, with Abner Kneeland, and a few others of the same school. But what if such men, with all their illiterateness, immorality, insolence, wit, sarcasm, sophisms, ridicule, and slander, have rejected the Bible, and set at nought the spirit and principles of Christianity, if we can number among the believers in Christianity the wise, the good, the talented, the learned, men of distinguished sense, and the first characters who have adorned the world, in every department of life? But, let us now inquire, Who are those who are called “ silly, weak-minded,” &c. ? Why, they are such divines and philanthropists as Butler, Barrow, Berkley, Clarkson, Cudworth, Watts, Clark, Sherlock, Doddridge, Lardner, Pearson, Taylor, Usher, Wesley, A. Clarke, Watson, Wilberforce, Howard, Dwight, Bacon, Jones, and a thousand others. Such poets as Spencer, Waller, Cow. ley, Prior, Thompson, Gray, Young, Milton, Cowper, and many others. Such statesmen as Hyde, Somers, Pulteney, Cullen, King, Barrington, Littleton, Washington, &c. Such moralists as Steele, Addison, Hawksworth, Johnson, &c. Such physicians as Arbuthnot, Cheyne,