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hear it from your own mouth, who was the child's true father and mother, that we may write him down accordingly in our tables? For whom you say are his parents, them will we write down, and none other. Mary replied, and told them, of a truth I brought him forth, not knowing any father he had upon earth, but I heard from the angel that he was the Son of God. He is therefore the son of me, who am called Mary, and the Son of God; and having never had knowledge of a husband, I am still a virgin. The priests hearing her say so, took the table book, and wrote down accordingly. On such a day died the priest, who was the son of such a father and such a mother, and by our common suffrage, Jesus, the son of the living God, and of Mary thevirg in, was chosen priest in his stead. Now this book was carefully preserved by the chief men among the Jews at the time of the taking the temple and Jerusalem, and it is laid up in Tiberias.
This mystery is known among a very few, and those the faithful of our nation. Wherefore it was revealed to roe, as a governor and master of the Jews. For we are fully satisfied, not only from the law and the prophets, that Christ, who is worshipped by you christians, is the very Son of the living God, who came upon earth for the salvation of the world, but from that writing, which is preserved and kept at Tiberias to this very day. When Philip the christian had heard all this from the Jew, being moved with a zeal for God, he says to the Jew, we will immediately hasten to the faithful and pious emperor, and relate to him what you have told me, that he may send to Tiberias, and publish the book which you mention, to convince the Jews of their infidelity. At which words the Jew replied to the christian, What, have you a mind to bring judgment upon your own soul? Should you inform the emperor of this you would be never the nearer obtaining what you wish for. For if such a thing should come to pass, a war must necessarily ensue, and blood and slaughter would be the consequence of it. And then besides, when the Jews perceived themselves hardly prest, they will assuredly set fire to the place where the book is lodged, and so our labour will be to no purpose, and our wish not answering, we shall be the authors of so much bloodshed. I have made these things known to you, because you are my loving friend, and I will assure you, that it is not for want of knowledge that I embrace not Christianity, but merely out of vain-glory and love of the world. The christian hearing thus much from the Jew, and believing what he said was certainly true, did not make known to the faithful emperor Justinian what he had heard, lest that great monarch, stirred up with zeal for God, should cause a vast effusion of blood, and not obtain his ends: but he told this discourse to several of his friends and acquaintance, which we had from those who had it from the aforementioned Philip, the silversmith, and therefore we took no small pains in searching into it, being willing to know whether that description of the Jew might be depended upon. We found therefore that Josephus, the historian, who wrote the siege and taking of Jerusalem, (and of whom Eusebius makes frequent mention in his ecclesiastical history,) plainly affirms in his commentaries of the destruction of Jerusalem, that Jesus sacrificed in the temple with the priests. Which when we found related by Josephus, a man of antiquity, and one who lived not long after the apostles' time, we did our utmost endeavour to find whether this account might any ways be confirmed by the authority of the scriptures. Upon reading, therefore, we found in the gospel according to St. Luke, iv. 16—18. that " he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath-day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias; and when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, " The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor," &c.
Wherefore we argued within ourselves, that unless Jesus Christ had some sacerdotal office among the Jews, it was not likely a book should be delivered to him to read in the audience of the people. For it is not lawful among us christians for any one who is not in holy orders to read in the church before all the people the books of the inspired writers. We know then, both from the writings of Josephus, as also the narration of St. Luke the evangelist, that Theodosius the Jew, did not feign or invent the above-mentioned account to the said Philip the silversmith, but that he confidently, and from the bottom of his heart, revealed that hidden mystery to him, as an old acquaintance, and loving friend.
The sinner can never be too frequently reminded of his true condition by nature, as viewed by the omniscient eye of Jehovah, and described with inimitable exactness in the volume of divine inspiration. In his unrenewed state he requires the reiteration of the awful fact, that those to whom it is given to be faithful, may be clear from the blood of all men, and that he himself, dying in that condition, may be found at the last day without excuse. In his regenerate state he needs an unceasing testimony borne to the humiliating truth, that pride may be hid from his eyes, and that the glorious person and work of the Almighty Deliverer may ever hold the pre-eminence in his affections: so that a knowledge of the bitterness of sin may be productive of the sweetness of an assured deliverance from its curse and punishment; and scriptural views of the Lord Jesus engross his whole heart and soul, advancing him in the divine life from glory to glory by the mighty power of the Lord the Spirit.
Previous to the great transgression man was perfectly free in the exercise of the vast powers with which his pure mind was furnished, and he was employed without cessation in acts of dutiful obedience to the will of his Creator. The immediate effects of the fall appeared in the total loss of that perfect rectitude, and with it the freedom of his will, and even the power to will spiritually was sacrificed! By the mercy of God he was not deprived of the ability to think and act, freely, in matters connected with himself and the creatures formed for his temporal use and advantage. In those things, both to will and to do was present with him; but how to do good, he knew not.
Against fallen Adam's posterity the just and holy law perpetually sends forth its astounding denunciation; and "pay me that thou owest!" is unceasingly demanded of all who continue estranged from God, walking in the ways of truth. Not only so; for by nature they are confined in the gloomy prison, and tied and bound with the chain of sin: so that if there were a willingness for deliverance, they have no power to loose their fetters and to escape the dungeon. But the law is still inexorable in its requirements, nor withholds, nor varies its claims. It admits of no compromise; will attend to no plea on the part of the transgressor; but requires, and will receive nothing short of full payment. This leads us to the consideration of the * pitifulness of that great mercy' which 'for the honour of Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Advocate,' liberates the prisoner of hope, and proclaims to him the acceptable year of the Lord.
The records of the Lord's church, particularly in the Old Testament, abound with intimations of the great and marvellous deliverance wrought for the children of Israel, in bringing them up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. They were a long time under the dominion of the most powerful enemies, and so great and successful were the power and stratagem exercised against them, that they, becoming habituated to thraldom, evinced no desire for liberation. The despotic rule of him who was permitted to tyrannize over them, succeeded in subduing them even to a willing captivity! But the chosen tribes were a typical people; and in the slavery they endured, and in the degradation to which they submitted, yea, and to a much higher degree, in the willingness to continue in bondage, the character of every man by nature is described. Satan, the archdespot, rules with unrestrained sway over all the children of disobedience.
Before the Lord brings salvation to his Israel, he will cause them to suffer by reason of their afflictions, to groan under the tyranny of their task-masters. He will teach his chosen people what thraldom means: he will possess them of earnest desires for freedom from their chains: he will cause them to mingle with their groan>ing, strong cries unto him who can alone free them: and he will in his own time visit them in love, and proclaim himself to them as their deliverer! Oh! in what unmeasured strains of love did the Lord make himself known to his covenant people when he thus spake to Moses in their behalf: "I have seen, I have seen, the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them." I am come down to deliver them! Blissful visit! yes, the Redeemer of Israel and the Saviour thereof, came down from the throne of his glory and delivered his people from the wrath to come; he came down and released them from the power of the enemy; he came down and freed them from the curse of sin; he comes down by the power of the Holy Ghost, and delivers them from themselves, from the reigning power of sin in their hearts and lives. And every visit he pays to poor sinners, whether in their first convictions, or in his love-interviews after they have recognized his person and favour; whether in the congregated assemblies of his saints, or associating with those that dwell solitarily and alone; the occasion is sublimely interesting, the season is divinely sacred, the privilege is unspeakably blessed!
How merciful the unceasing interposition of the Lord's hand in the daily walk of the believer, though his presence be not always realized to the eye of faith! He has constant need to be reminded of the advantages of a solid judgment in the things of God; so perpetually, by trusting for consolation in frames and feelings, does he anticipate and hasten the approach of disappointment. Is he troubled and distressed? he knows that the same afflictions are accomplished in his brethren that are in the world. Is he perplexed? he cannot despair: for he who hath delivered in six troubles, saith, "yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee!" Is he persecuted? he is not forsaken: for his Lord saith, "Lo, I am with you alway, unto the end of the world." Is he cast down? he is not destroyed; and Jesus hath said, "Because I live, ye shall live also." Oh! it is a privilege, indeed, to attain experimentally to the apostle's conclusion from his own interrogatories: "Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the lite also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal body." 2 Cor. iv. 8—10.
The Lord lead his dear people into a growing acquaintance with the things that make for their everlasting peace, and give them the blessed assurance of personal interest in the deliverance Wrought for them by their glorious surety; so that their lives may shew forth his most worthy praise, and the ungodly take knowledge of them that they have been with Jesus.
Sennons, Doctrinal and Practical, with illustrative Motes and Authorities. By the Rev. John Noble Coleman, M.A. late of Queen's College, Oxford. Holdsworth.
The perusal of this volume of Sermons, has afforded us great pleasure, and the circumstance that the more important topics embraced , are founded on the stability of the holy covenant, and illustrated by the Calvinistic creeds and articles of our national church, has increased that delight, and left on our mind so favourable an opinion of the whole, that the impression will not easily be effaced. The subjects of discourse are these:—" On the Trinity"—" The Sovereignty of God"—" The Power of the Devil in the World"—" The Faithfulness of Jehovah to his people"—" Salvation by Christ alone"— "The Believer's Exodus from the World, and his union with Christ" —" The duties of Minister and People"—" The duty of studying the Apocalypse"—" Exposition of the 18th. Psalm"—" Exposition of the last words of David"—" The repentant Thief"—" The Coming of Christ"—" The day of Judgment"—" The knowledge of each other in the world to come"—"On the advantages and abuses of Benefit Societies"—and, " On relinquishing a Curacy."
As our limited pages prevent the doing justice to such a variety of subjects, we will introduce quotations with as few remarks of our own as possible. Sermon 1. on Matt, xxviii. 18—20. consists of an able and conclusive defence of the doctrine of the Trinity, against the lamentable expedients of gainsayers: clad in the armour of truth, our author comes forth valiantly to the help of the Lord against the mighty, and acquits himself as a true soldier of Christ., Having staled the doctrine and supplied its illustration from the holy records, he enters largely into the importance of the divine command, to preach and to worship, " One God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity."
"It is our duty to preach this doctrine unto yon, because, according to the language of our text, the reception of the doctrine of the Trinity is absolutely essential to salvation. On this ground I have preferred the marginal to the textual rendering, and have quoted it: "Go ye, therefore, and make disciples (or christians) of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." From these words we infer, that he who does not believe the doctrine of the Trinity, as it is set forth in holy scripture, is no disciple of Christ, and has no pretensions to the name of a christian. Nay, farther, we contend that such a character is as far removed from God, and from the way of salvation, as the deluded followers of the Arabian impostor. Indeed, the main difference we discern between the creed of the two, is simply this: that the followers of Mohammed consistently believe both the mission of their prophet, and the grand doctrine of unity which he taught: whilst the anti-trinitarian, with manifest inconsistency, believes his doctrine, but rejects his mission. The creed of the Mohammedan and of the anti-trinitarian is: "There is no God but one God." The creed of the Jewish church is: "Hear, 0 Israel,