« PreviousContinue »
Concerning which good effects of Christian religion the ancient Christians had good reason to glory, and to say with Origen; • The adversaries of Christianism do not discern how many men's diseases of soul, and how many floods of vices, have been restrained; and how many men's savage manners have been tamed by reason of the Christian doctrine; wherefore being satisfied with the public beneficialness thereof, which by a new method doth free men from many mischiefs, they ought willingly to render thanks thereto, and to yield testimony, if not to the truth of it, yet to its profitableness to mankind.
There remain behind several important considerations appertaining to this purpose, concerning the performance of the Messias, and events about him ; his being to suffer grievous things from men, and for men; his performing miraculous works; the yielding various attestations from heaven to his person and doctrine; from the congruity of which particulars to what Jesus did endure and act; and to what God hath done in regard to him, the truth of our conclusion, that • Jesus is the very Christ,' will be manifest : but time now forbiddeth the prosecution of those matters; and I must therefore reserve it to other occasion.
Now, ' To him that is able to keep from falling, and to present us blameless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now, and for ever.'
• Unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.' Amen.
• Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever.'
• Salvation be unto our God which sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb.'
Amen; Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. • Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive
* Orig. in Cels. lib. i. p. 50.
riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.'
• Unto bim that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.' Amen.
· Brief repetition of what has been done: we now proceed to show that Jesus was the Messias, from other very considerable particulars foretold, and suiting to him; and first from those things which the Messias was to undergo and suffer.
The humble birth, the sufferings, and the death of the Mes-, sias as predicted, set forth : yet all this the Jews, though they expected a Messias, did not, and hardly could believe: reasons of this given ; and their conduct described when Jesus did appear : prejudices even of his disciples. This degradation, of all things notifying the Messias, was that which the Jews would not acknowlege; and this in fact caused them to overlook all the rest, however clear. Yet notwithstanding their (affected) blindness, there is no particular concerning the Messias in the ancient Scripture either more frequently glanced at, or more clearly expressed. Thus it was written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer.
For the explaining and confirming which truth, a digression is here made concerning the nature of divine presignifications. We may consider then, that the allwise God, having before eternal times determined in due season to send the Messias for accomplishing his great design, did by his incomprehensible providence so order things, that all the special dispensations preceding it, should have a fit tendency and reference thereto; so that when it came on the stage it should appear the main plot; &c. Hence the most eminent men whom he raised up and employed in his affairs tending to this end, as they did resemble the Messias in being instruments of his particular grace and providence, (being as it were inferior Christs and mediators, &c.) so were they ordered to represent him in several circumstances of their lives, and divers actions, &c. : so also the rites and services instituted by them were adapted to the same purpose. Thus was Adam a type of Christ. Thus also Abel, Melchizedek, Isaac, Moses, David, &c., are intimated to have been such. They served to the subindication and shadowing of heavenly things. This in particular true of David.
It is also to be observed that, because those eminent servants of God were representatives of Christ, many things are spoken of them as such; many things are ascribed unto them, which only or chiefly were intended of him; their names are used as veils to cover divers things concerning him, which it seemed not to Divine Wisdom convenient to disclose promiscuously to all men : this topic enlarged on. Many circumstances also are attributed, not only to persons, but to things, which do not intirely agree with them : many things were promised, which appear never to be accomplished, except after an improper and hyperbolical manner of expression : this point enlarged on, and instances given.
Neither are these only said according to suppositions assumed in the New Testament, but they agree, as to their general importance, with the sense of the ancient Jews, who conceived such mysterious references often to lie couched under the letter of their Scriptures, in which they supposed there was a midrash, or mystical sense : this enlarged on.
These things being premised, we return and say, that the Messias being to suffer, was in various passages of the ancient Scriptures prefigured: this topic dilated on, and instances specified.
Which being admitted, on a comparison of the passages which we have there with what actually befel Jesus, we shall
find an admirable harmony: this instanced by various quotations respecting his low and despicable estate ; the hatred and persecution of his enemies, &c.; his desertion by his followers; the sense of God's withholding his favor and help; his charity and conduct towards his persecutors ; &c.
But there are not only oblique intimations, shrouded under the cover of other names, but direct and immediate predictions concerning the Messias's being to suffer : the whole 53rd chapter of Isaiah specified as an example. The same things are also by parts clearly predicted in other places of this prophet, and in other Scriptures: instances given : from which passages we may well say with our Lord, that thus it was written, and thus, 'according to prediction, it was to happen, that the Messias should suffer, in a life of penury and contempt, in a death of shame and sorrow,
That it was thus to be, might also be inferred from the qualities of the Messias's person, and the nature of bis performances, such as they are described in Scripture : this point enlarged on and explained. Conclusion.