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ordinary and established course of nature, this cannot be set aside by the Omnipotent Being who first arranged it, though for moral and religious purposes, the
greatest and the most worthy of his benevolent interposition which can be conceived.
The miracles of Christ were ' publicly appealed to by his Apostles a few days after his ascension ; they are transmitted down to us by eye witnesses, and contemporary writers, in well authenticated books ; and they are supported by the most credible testimony, that of a number of plain honest men, who sacrificed all worldly advantages, and life itself, in attestation of what they advanced. And we are to consider in these witnesses their competency to judge of the facts, their integrity, and their benevolence to mankind; not their learning, station, or opulence.
Upon the whole, the miracles of Jesus prove St. John's conclusion, TILAT HE WAS THE CHRIST, THE Son of God.
WKY OUR LORD SOMETIMES CONCEALED HIS MESSIAHSHIP, ANY
THE MIGHTY WORKS WHICH PROVED IT.
A CANDID and attentive reader of the gospels will be convinced that our Lord's Messiahship was sufficiently promulged to the Jews ; and that the display of his miracles, one great proof of his prophetic character, was sufficiently illustrious to create attention and conviction.
When the angel Gabriel announced the birth of John the Baptist, he foretold to Zacharias that his son should be “great a before the Lord ; and should go before him in the power and spirit of Elias.”
When the same angel was sent to Mary, he described her promised son in the following terms : “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High ; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David. And he shall e reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."
“ The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee : therefore also the holy
a Luke i. 15, 17.
bib. 32, 3. · His spiritual kingdom on earth shall last as long as the world itself, and for ever in heaven. Prophecy seems to point out a very glorious manifestation of this kingdom here below. Dan. ii. 44. vii. 14, 27. Rom. xi. 12, 15, 25, 26. Rev. xi. 15. XX. 4. xxi, 10, 23, 24.
child who shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”
Mary herself was inspired with this language : “He hath holpen his servant Israel, that he might remember his mercy (as he spake unto our fathers) to Abraham and to his seed, for ever." And Zacharias represented God as “ visiting and redeeming his people, according to the oath which he sware unto Abraham.”
When the angel appeared to Joseph, an intimation was given that Jesus should be a king : “ Thou 5 shalt call his name Jesus ; for he shall save his people from their sins.”
Immediately after Jesus's birth at Bethlehem, an angel used very express terms to the shepherds, “ Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour who is CHRIST the Lord.”
It was revealed to Simeon that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's i CHRIST : and accordingly Simeon called him God's salvation ; a light to lighten the Gentiles; and the glory of Israel, on account of his birth and appearance among that people.
At the same time Anna, a prophetess, spake of the child Jesus to all those who looked for * redemption in Jerusalem.
When the Magi came to Jerusalem, and asked, “ Where is he that is born King of the Jews ?”
d Luke i. 35.
fib. 68, 73. 3 Matt. i. 21. Locke's Reasonableness of Christianity, p. 50. 8vo. 1736. k Luke ü. 11.
i ib. 26, 30, 32. k ib. 38.
Herod immediately inquired of the chief priests and scribes where · CHRIST was to be born.
We see then what expectation was raised of Jesus at his coming into the world, and how directly, and indirectly, but in language well understood by the Jews, his peculiar office was declared.
About thirty years after this, “when the people were in expectation, and all men reasoned in their hearts of John, whether he were the m Christ or not,” John disclaimed that character, and described a much greater person who was to succeed him.
At Jesus's baptism, a voice from heaven proclaimed, and probably in the hearing of the multitude, n« Thou art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased.”
When the Jews sent a osolemn embassy of Priests and Levites from Jerusalem, for the purpose of asking John, Who art thou ? he confessed that he was not the Christ, and asserted that there was one among them whom they knew not, who came after him, but was before him, and for whom he was not worthy to perform the meanest offices. Again : he called Jesus, “ The Plamb of God, who took away the sins of the world :" and he bare witness to the miracle at his baptism ; and in effect asserted his Messiahship, by acknowledging him to be the Son of God. And how this language, repeatedly used by John, was understood among the Jews, may
the Jews, may hence appear very plainly ; that one of the Baptist's disciples, who heard it, said to his brother Simon, “ We have found
| Matt. 17. 2, 4. John i. 19--27.
1 Luke iii. 15, 16. pib. 29, 33, 34.
ib. 21, 22
the 4 Messiah.” Nay, the Baptist himself puts the meaning of his declarations beyond a doubt, when he says, “ Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ; but that I am sent before him.”
At the first passover Jesus indirectly affirmed that he was the Messiah, when he said, “Make not my s Father's house a house of merchandise.” And to Nicodemus he expressed himself very remarkably: “No man ascendeth up to heaven, but he who descended from heaven ; even the Son of Man, who was in heaven :” and he styled himself - the Son of God, and even his only begotten Son, in whom whosoever believed should have everlasting life.”
The Baptist's last testimony to Jesus was, “ He * that cometh from above, is above all. What he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth. He, whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son, hath ever. lasting life.”
Soon after this our Lord unreservedly declared to the woman of Samaria, » I that speak to thee am the Christ.
John the Baptist, our Lord himself, the twelve, and the seventy, preached that the z kingdom of heaven was at hand.
It is my opinion that demoniacs were supernaturally influenced to proclaim, as they often do,
9 Jobni. 41, 45. rib.iii. 28. sib. ii. 16. nib. 17
wib. 16, 18. *ib. 31-36. z Matt. iii. 2. iv. 17. x. 7. Luke x. 9.