« PreviousContinue »
spoken it?" Is it not he, of whom Micah prophesies: "Out of thee" (Bethlehem) "shall he come "forth unto me, that is to be Ruler in Israel: 66 WHOSE GOINGS FORTH HAVE BEEN FROM OF OLD, FROM EVERLASTING.-And he shall stand and feed, "in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of "the name of the Lord his God: and they shall ❝abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends "of the earth?" 2 Surely this is He, whom JEHOVAH calls "My SHEPHERD: the Man that is Could this language be used
with truth of any other shepherd? Where do we read any thing like it of David, or any of those who fed Israel most faithfully? No, here is "THE GOOD Shepherd, who laid down his life for the "sheep :" "THE GREAT Shepherd," who made our peace" by the blood of the everlasting cove"nant;" "Yea, THE CHIEF Shepherd, who shall "appear" to judge the world.3
But what does "the Lord of hosts" say concerning this his Shepherd? "Awake, O sword, "against my Shepherd.-Smite the Shepherd." How can this be? The sword, which JEHOVAH calls to awake, must be that of avenging justice. Why must this "sword smite his Shepherd?" Let Isaiah answer the question: "He was wounded "for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities. All we, like sheep, have gone astray, 66 we have turned every one to his own way; and "the Lord hath caused to meet on him the ini"quity of us all." "It pleased the Lord to bruise "him: he hath put him to grief; when thou shalt
1 Ezek. xxxiv. 23, 24.
2 Micah v. 2-5.
Heb. xiii. 19, 20. 1 Pet. v. 4.
"make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his "seed; he shall prolong his days; and the 'pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand." 1
Have we then no ground in the Old Testament to conclude, that the promised Messiah would, when he came, be rejected, despised, hated, persecuted, put to death as a malefactor, even crucified; yet die as an atoning sacrifice for sin? Certainly these things ought not to be passed over in silence, or without notice, by him who would disprove the Messiahship of Jesus the Nazarene. Certainly these prophecies must all be satisfactorily explained in another meaning; or else our appeal to the Old Testament cannot be set aside or resisted.-Indeed I have by no means brought forward all the proof of this from the Old Testament: but, when what I have adduced has been disposed of, some other Christian writer, (for my age and infirmities exclude the thought of my attempting it,) will cut out for the answerer further employment; if that ever be needful, which indeed I do not think it will be.
Our next particular has been so far anticipated, that little remains to be done.
III. It is predicted in the Old Testament, that the Messiah should arise from the dead, and ascend into heaven; and that most glorious effects would follow his ascension and exaltation.
They, however, for whose benefit I chiefly write, if once convinced of those facts concerning the Messiah which have been stated, will not require mueh proof of this particular; and, without this
1 Is. liii.
conviction, all proof must be disregarded: it therefore is not requisite to enlarge upon it.
The passage in the sixteenth Psalm can never admit of any other interpretation. "I have set "the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth; my "flesh also shall rest in hope: for thou wilt not "leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer
thy holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew "me the path of life." The person here speaking evidently considers himself as one who was about to die and be buried; "My flesh shall rest in hope." His soul would go into Hades, is the unseen world, but would not be left there; his body would be a corpse, but it would "not see corruption;" that is, not remain dead so long as to begin to putrefy and return to the dust. On the contrary, he was confident that he should arise, not to remain on earth, and die a second time, as those who were raised by miracle did; but that he should be shewn the path of life; and enter the presence of God, "where is fulness of joy, and "pleasures at his right hand for evermore."-Now in what other person were all these particulars ever verified, except in Jesus of Nazareth, "the "Holy One of God?"-But I forbear: the apostle's argument is so conclusive, and it proved so efficacious, that I need only adduce it; not as authority; but as an argument, requiring an answer, in the same manner as my arguments may do: for I expect a Jew to consider it in the same
Ps. xvi. 8-11.
light." Men and brethren, let me freely speak "unto you of the patriarch David; that he is both "dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us "unto this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath unto "him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to "the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his "throne: he, seeing this before, spake of the re"surrection of Christ; that his soul was not left
in hell, neither did his flesh see corruption."In like manner, another apostle says; "He saith, "Thou shalt not suffer thy holy one to see corrup❝tion. For David, after he had served his gen"eration by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was "laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: but he "whom God raised again, saw no corruption."
Indeed, every prediction of the glorious and enduring kingdom of the Messiah, when once it is established that a Messiah was predicted who should bleed and die, immediately becomes a demonstration of his resurrection. Intimations of this are given in several other scriptures, as, Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye "that dwell in the dust; for thy dew is as the "dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast forth her "dead." Who here speaks? Even he who "is "risen from the dead, and become the first fruits" of the resurrection; who said, "I am the Resur"rection and the Life!"2
It is also foretold in the scriptures that the Messiah should ascend into heaven, as introduc
1 Acts ii. 30-32. xiii. 34-37. xi. 25. 1 Cor. xv. 20. See also Hos. vi. 2. xiii. 14.
2 Is. xxvi. 19. John
tory to the grand establishment of his kingdom. "Thou hast ascended on high; thou hast led cap"tivity captive; thou hast received gifts for men ;
yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord "God might dwell among them."-Who is this, who, ascending on high, and leading captivity captive, received gifts for men? If JEHOVAH, from whom did he receive them? Yet the whole context speaks of JEHOVAH. If not JEHOVAH, who is intended? Of whom are these things spoken? Is not the apostle's application of the passage, far more obvious and reasonable than any other which can be adduced or imagined?" Wherefore he "saith, when he ascended up on high, he led cap
tivity captive, and gave gifts to men. Now that "he ascended, what is it but that he also descended "first into the lower parts of the earth? · He "that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill "all things. And he gave some apostles, and "some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, &c."1 "Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having "received of the Father the promise of the Holy
Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now "see and hear. For David is not ascended into "the heavens; but he saith himself, The Lord "said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, " until I make thy foes thy footstool.” 2
I do not expect, that Jews should receive these quotations from the New Testament as the word of God; but can they deny that they are at least
Ps. lxviii. 18. Eph. iv. 8-12 Ps. cx. 1, 2. Acts ii. 33-35.