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Title: Jesus, The Messiah; or, the Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in the New Testament Scriptures
Author: Anonymous, (A Lady)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Jesus, The Messiah; or, the Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in the New Testament Scriptures" ***

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       *       *       *       *       *








  _The Profits will be devoted to Charitable Purposes._








I have been induced to solicit the honour of dedicating this little
work to your Lordship from the conviction that its contents are not
only consonant with the Doctrines and Articles of that Church of
which your Lordship is so bright an ornament, but that they are in
unison with the truths of Divine Revelation, that perfect standard
by which all Theology and Morality must be judged. My object in
presenting it to the Public is a wish to render the Scriptures more
familiar to the young: and while I feel grateful for the honour of
your Lordship's sanction, allow me to express my sincere thanks
for the favour you have conferred on one who is, with the greatest

My Lord,
Your Lordship's very obliged Servant,

_August 18th, 1828._


Custom demands a preface; and though the public is generally
uninterested in the reasons which influence an author to appear
before its tribunal, yet an introductory notice is usually expected.

This little work was the employment of many a retired moment. In
turning over the pages of the sacred volume, the writer was struck
with the exact fulfilment in the person of the Messiah, as narrated
in the New Testament, of the numerous predictions recorded of him in
the Old. These were collected for her personal gratification; and as
they accumulated, it occurred, that what had been some little source
of pleasure to her own mind, might, by the blessing of God, prove
useful to some young persons, who from circumstances, are debarred
access to, or are not inclined to read, works of a more extensive

While the writer has no disposition to despise that criticism which,
if impartially administered, is the best safeguard of the press,
neither would she timidly shrink from investigation; aware that no
partiality of friends can long buoy up an unworthy production.

This is not intended as the language of indifference, but arises
from a consciousness of the purity of motive, and the desire to
do good, which have actuated her; compared with which, all other
considerations are momentary and unsatisfying.




  I will put enmity between thee and the Woman, and between
  thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and
  thou shalt bruise his heel. (Gen. iii. 15.)                1


  And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be
  blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Gen.
  xxii. 18.)                                                 4


  The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver
  from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him
  shall the gathering of the people be. (Gen. xlix. 10.)     6


  And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,
  and a branch shall grow out of his roots. And in that
  day, there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand
  for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles
  seek: and his rest shall be glorious. (Is. xi. 1. 10.)     8


  Thus saith the Lord God,--remove the diadem, and take
  off the crown, until he come whose right it is; and I
  will give it him. (Ezekiel xxi. 26, 27.)

  For the children of Israel shall abide many days without
  a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice,
  and without an image, and without an ephod, and without
  teraphim. Afterwards shall the children of Israel
  return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their
  king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the
  latter days. (Hosea iii. 4, 5.)                           10


  The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from
  the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto
  him ye shall hearken. (Deut. xviii. 15-19.)               12


  The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye
  the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a
  highway for our God. (Isaiah xl. 3.)                      18


  Therefore, the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold
  a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his
  name Immanuel. (Isaiah vii. 14.)                          22


  But 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; whose
  goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
  (Micah v. 2.)                                             27


  Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah,
  lamentation and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her
  children, refused to be comforted for her children,
  because they were not. (Jeremiah xxxi. 15.)               31


  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and
  the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his
  name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty
  God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
  (Isaiah ix. 6, 7.)                                        33


  And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven
  set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and
  the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it
  shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms,
  and it shall stand for ever. (Daniel ii. 44.)             45


  When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called
  my son out of Egypt. (Hosea xi. 1.)                       49


  Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter
  than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies,
  their polishing was of sapphire: their visage is blacker
  than a coal: they are not known in the streets: their
  skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is
  become like a stick. (Lamentations iv. 7, 8.)             51


  The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord
  hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek:
  he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim
  liberty to the captives, and the opening of the
  prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable
  year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our
  God; to comfort all that mourn. (Isaiah lxi. 1, 2, 3.)    53


  For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep
  thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their
  hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. (Psalm
  xci. 11, 12.)                                             57


  And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations
  shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith
  the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall
  be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts:
  and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of
  hosts. (Haggai ii. 7. 9.)                                 58


  And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his
  temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye
  delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of
  hosts. (Mal. iii. 1.)                                     64


  Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her
  vexation, when at first he lightly afflicted the land of
  Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali, and afterwards did
  more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond
  Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that
  walked in darkness, have seen a great light: they that
  dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them
  hath the light shined. (Isaiah ix. 1, 2.)                 66


  Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter
  of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he
  is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an
  ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. (Zech. ix. 9.)   67


  Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den
  of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it,
  saith the Lord. (Jeremiah vii. 11.)                       69


  Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained
  strength because of thine enemies; that thou
  mightest still the enemy and avenger. (Psalm viii. 2.)    72


  I have preached righteousness in the great congregation:
  I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest.
  (Psalm xl. 9.)                                            74


  I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark
  sayings of old. (Psalm lxxviii. 2.)                       76


  He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather
  the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom,
  and shall gently lead those that are with young. (Isaiah
  xl. 11.)                                                  78


  And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of
  the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his
  eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears.
  (Isaiah xi. 3.)                                           80


  Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears
  of the deaf shall be unstopped. (Isaiah xxxv. 5.)         82


  Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue
  of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters
  break out, and streams in the desert. (Is. xxxv. 6.)      88


  Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it
  is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God:
  yea, thy law is within my heart. (Psalm xl. 7, 8.)        92


  I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien
  unto my mother's children. (Psalm lxix. 8.)               99


  They also that seek after my life lay snares for me; and
  they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and
  imagine deceits all the day long. (Psalm xxxviii.)       102


  For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every
  side: while they took counsel together against me, they
  devised to take away my life. (Psalm xxxi. 13.)          104


  Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and
  see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which
  is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me
  in the day of his fierce anger. (Lamentation i. 12.)     107


  Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which
  did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against
  me. (Psalm xli. 9.)

  And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my
  price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my
  price, thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto
  me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was
  prized at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of
  silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the
  Lord. (Zechariah xi. 12, 13.)                            111


  When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came
  upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
  (Psalm xxvii. 2.)                                        115


  Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain
  thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the
  rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and
  against his anointed. (Psalm ii. 1, 2.)                  117


  False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge
  things that I knew not. (Psalm xxxv. 11.)                121


  But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb
  man that openeth not his mouth. Thus I was as a man
  that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs.
  (Psalm xxxviii. 13, 14.)                                 125


  My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and
  my kinsmen stand afar off. (Psalm xxxviii. 11.)          127


  I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them
  that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from
  shame and spitting. (Isaiah l. 6.)                       129


  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows,
  and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our
  faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed
  him not. (Isaiah liii. 3.)

  Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his
  Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom
  the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, kings shall
  see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of
  the Lord that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel,
  and he shall choose thee. (Isaiah xlix. 7.)              131


  But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and
  despised of the people. (Psalm xxii. 6.)                 134


  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not
  his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter,
  and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he
  openeth not his mouth. (Isaiah liii. 7.)                 137


  He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who
  shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out
  of the land of the living: for the transgression of my
  people was he stricken. (Isaiah liii. 8.)                139


  For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the
  wicked have enclosed me: they have pierced my hands
  and my feet. (Psalm xxii. 16.)                           141


  My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why are
  thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my
  roaring? (Psalm xxii. 1.)                                145


  Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the
  man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts, smite
  the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered; and I
  will turn mine hand upon the little ones. (Zechariah
  xiii. 7.)                                                149


  They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon
  my vesture. (Psalm xxii. 18.)                            153


  They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst
  they gave me vinegar to drink. (Psalm lxix. 21.)         155


  With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon
  me with their teeth. (Psalm xxxv. 16.)

  All they that see me, laugh me to scorn; they shoot out
  the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the
  Lord that he would deliver Him: let him deliver him,
  seeing he delighted in him. (Psalm xxii. 7, 8.)          157


  Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and
  he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he
  hath poured out his soul unto death; and he was numbered
  with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of
  many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
  (Isaiah liii. 12.)                                       159


  He keepeth all his bones, not one of them is broken.
  (Psalm xxxiv. 20.)                                       162


  And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced.
  (Zechariah xii. 10.)                                     163


  I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth
  their covering. (Isaiah 1. 3.)                           165


  And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the
  rich in his death; because he hath done no violence,
  neither was any deceit in his mouth. (Isaiah liii. 9.)   168


  The days of his youth hast thou shortened: thou hast
  covered him with shame. (Psalm lxxxix. 45.)              171


  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows,
  yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and
  afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions,
  he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of
  our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are
  healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have
  turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath
  laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah liii. 4, 5,
  6.)                                                      174


  For thou wilt not leave my soul in Hell, neither wilt
  thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (Psalm
  xvi. 9, 10.)                                             182


  Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity
  captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the
  rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell amongst
  them. (Psalm lxviii. 18.)                                190


  And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour
  out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your
  daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream
  dreams, your young men shall see visions: and
  also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those
  days will I pour out my spirit. (Joel ii. 28, 29.)       195


  And I will pour upon the House of David, and upon the
  inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of
  supplications: and they shall look upon me whom
  they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one
  mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness
  for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first
  born. (Zech. xii. 10.)                                   201


  The Lord hath sworn and will not repent, Thou art a
  priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek.
  (Psalm cx. 4.)                                           210


  Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon
  thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make
  an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity,
  and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal
  up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most
  Holy. Know, therefore, and understand, that from the
  going forth of the commandment to restore and to
  build Jerusalem, unto the Messiah, the Prince, shall
  be seven weeks, and three score and two weeks: the
  street shall be built again, and the wall, even in
  troublous times. (Daniel ix. 24, 25.)                    214


  And after three score and two weeks shall Messiah be
  cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the
  prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the
  sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood,
  and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
  (Daniel ix. 26.)                                         224


  And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one
  week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the
  sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the
  overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate,
  even until the consummation, and that determined shall
  be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel ix. 27.)            229


  For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle;
  and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled,
  and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go
  forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall
  not be cut off from the city. (Zechariah xiv. 2.)        235


  The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from
  the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a
  nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; a
  nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard
  the person of the old, nor show favour to the young.
  (Deut. xxviii. 49, 50.)

  And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and
  wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou,
  at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto
  thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For
  the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall
  cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and
  keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even
  with the ground, and thy children within thee; and
  they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another;
  because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
  (Luke xix. 41-44.)                                       240


  Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field,
  and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain
  of the house as the high places of the forest.
  (Micah iii. 12.)                                         243


  And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of
  stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses
  of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants
  of Jerusalem. (Isaiah viii. 14.)                         246


  And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be
  my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to
  restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee
  for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my
  salvation unto the end of the earth. (Isaiah xlix. 6.)   256


  The LORD said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right
  hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
  (Psalm cx. 1.)                                          260



     I will put enmity between thee and the Woman, and between thy
     seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt
     bruise his heel.--Gen. iii. 15.

This is the first intimation we meet with of the promised Messiah,
and within this one verse is contained, as in the bud, the embryo
flower, that goodly plant of renown,[1] which the Lord hath planted,
and not man; he who is the rose of Sharon and the valley's lily.[2]
It is an epitome of the whole plan of Redemption, and contains
truths of the first importance; we shall do well to consider them
in reference to Jesus of Nazareth. The prophecy declares there
shall be enmity between the seed of the woman and the serpent. The
incarnation and birth of Jesus have, by the Evangelists Matthew and
Luke, been so fully stated, that none but a strongly prejudiced
mind can deny that he was the son of Mary, then a virgin, and
that Joseph was only his supposed father, because he married his
mother.[3] The old serpent, or as he is frequently called, Satan,
discovered his enmity towards Jesus from his birth; he stirred
up the mind of Herod to destroy the holy child, Jesus, and thus
originated the massacre of the infants of Bethlehem. Though
disappointed, he personally attempted his destruction, and for forty
days and nights did he try the force of his arts to tempt Jesus
to sin.[4] And, though foiled, he again resumed the attack, and
suggested to the minds of the Scribes and Pharisees, priests and
people, to persecute the man "who spake as never man spake." It is
said he entered into, _i.e._ took full possession of, the mind of
Judas,[5] who betrayed Jesus, and also acted as guide to those who
took him. Was not Satan the ringleader of those who crucified him,
in whom his Judges declared, they could find no fault worthy of
death? Let us now behold the opposition displayed by Jesus towards
the serpent and his seed. A great part of his life appears to
have been spent in casting out and dispossessing devils from the
minds and bodies of men;[6] and in rebuking and threatening them,
he proved that he came to destroy the power and works of darkness.
His was an avowed and constant war, and the devils knew him as
their greatest foe, and the destroyer of their power.[7] Although
the heel, _i.e._ the human nature of Jesus, was bruised in the
contest, yet, by his death, (in which Satan for the moment appeared
triumphant,) he gave a mortal blow to his power and authority, by
delivering the captives of the mighty, and the prey of the terrible
one.[8] The cross, designed to display their scorn and abhorrence,
is become the praise and glory of all the children of God, to whom,
as unto their Lord and Master, the old serpent and his seed continue
to manifest the same spirit of enmity and persecution.[9] Did devils
confess Jesus to be the Son of the most high God, and shall not we
acknowledge him to be the seed promised at the fall of man, and
that he is, at the same time, Mary's son, and the Son of God?[10]
The prince of the fallen spirits, the old serpent, or Satan,
discovered his enmity to the human race in the garden of Eden; the
woman was the first whom he deceived by his arts; but it was Jesus,
her seed, who, in the after ages of the world, in the garden of
Gethsemane, bruised the serpent's head, and at his resurrection, led
captivity captive, and will eventually consign to utter darkness and
perdition, this foe to God and man.[11]

  [1] Isaiah liii. 2. Ezek. xxxiv. 29.

  [2] Cant. ii. 1.

  [3] Matthew i. 18-25. Luke i. 27. 30-35., ii. 5, 6, 7.

  [4] Matthew iv. 1-11. Mark i. 12, 13. Luke iv. 2-13.

  [5] Luke xxii. 3. John vi. 70., xiii. 2-27.

  [6] Matthew iv. 24., viii. 16, 18-23., ix. 32-34., x. 1., xii.
  24-28., xv. 22-28., xvi. 23., xvii. 14-19. Mark i. 23-27. 33, 34,
  39., iii. 22-27., v. 2-19., vii. 25-30., viii. 33. Luke iv. 36-41.,
  vi. 18., vii. 21., viii. 27-36., ix. 1, 38-42, 49. John xii. 31.,
  Acts x. 38., 1 John, iii. 8.

  [7] Mark iii. 11, 12., v. 6, 7. Luke iv. 33, 34, 41., viii. 28.

  [8] Luke xxii. 53. John xiv. 30.

  [9] 1 Peter v. 8.

  [10] Gal. iv. 4. Col. i. 15., ii. 9.

  [11] Matthew xxv. 41. Rom. xvi. 20. Col. ii. 15. Heb. ii. 14. 2
  Peter ii. 4. Jude vi. 9. Rev. xii. 7-17., xx. 1, 2, 3. 10.


     And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
     because thou hast obeyed my voice.--Gen. xxii. 18.

We now meet with a prophecy of the family from which Christ, after
the flesh, should spring. The lineal descent from Abraham to Joseph,
the husband of Mary, is given us by Matthew,[12] through forty-two
generations; and Luke[13] gives the genealogy of Jesus back to Adam,
through Abraham, in the whole seventy-four generations, showing at
once that the seed promised to Adam and Abraham, is the same, even
Jesus in whom all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.[14] The
reader will discover a difference between the names in the Old and
New Testaments, which arises from the former being translated from
the Hebrew, and the latter from the Greek language. It will also be
observed, that the genealogies given by Matthew and Luke differ,
but Matthew gives the pedigree of Joseph, and Luke that of Mary.
Although the supposed father of Jesus is said by Luke to be the
son of Heli, yet Matthew informs us Jacob begat Joseph,[15] who is
called the son of Heli, only on account of the contract for marriage
subsisting between Joseph and his daughter. This was a custom
prevalent with the Jews, and these agreements were often made by
the parents, before the parties most interested had ever seen each
other, as was the case with Isaac and Rebecca. Although Abraham's
posterity have been, as the sand on the sea shore, innumerable, and
as a nation have enjoyed exceeding great and precious privileges,
yet all the nations of the earth can never be said to be blessed in
them, unless we take the prophecy in its true light, as pointing to
Jesus "the promised blessing," whose day of "tabernacling" on earth,
Abraham by faith saw afar off, "rejoiced, and was glad."

  [12] Mat. i. 1-17.

  [13] Luke iii. 23-38.

  [14] Genesis xii. 3., xviii. 18. Psalm lxxii. 17.

  [15] Matthew i. 16. Luke iii. 23.


     The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from
     between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the
     gathering of the people be.--Gen. xlix. 10.

The Holy Ghost, by the mouth of the dying patriarch, Jacob, has
pointed to the epoch when he, of whom Moses and the prophets did
write, should appear. It is worthy our particular attention, that,
at the period of time when Jesus came, Judea was still governed by a
Jewish king. It is true the power of the royal Asmonean or Maccabean
race was destroyed, and Herod the Great had ascended the throne of
Israel, yet the sceptre was not departed from Judah. Herod was an
Idumean, which nation had, for nearly two centuries, been proselytes
to Judaism, and so incorporated and mingled with the Jews, as to be
regarded as one people. Judea bowed to the Roman power, yet Herod
exercised the regal authority, and was universally acknowledged
as the sovereign of Jewry, when Jesus, the prince of peace, the
king of Israel, appeared a babe at Bethlehem but no sooner was the
Shiloh come, than the sceptre departed from Judah. On the death
of Herod, which happened soon after the birth of Christ, Augustus
Cæsar divided the kingdom of Judea between Archelaus, Herod, and
Philip, the three sons of Herod. Archelaus succeeded to the half of
his father's dominions by the title of tetrarch, but not of king;
his tyranny and oppression were so great, that, in less than ten
years, he was deposed and banished to France by the emperor, who
then reduced Judea to a Roman province, and ruled it afterwards
by procurators or governors, who were sent thither and recalled
at pleasure; the taxes were now paid more directly to the Roman
empire, and gathered by the publicans; the power of life and death
was taken out of the hands of the Jews, and placed in those of the
Roman governors. The Lord, when he is pleased, can make the wrath
of man to praise him, and his enemies to minister to his glory.
This sentiment we have most strikingly illustrated in the conduct
of Caiaphas, who, in the moment he was plotting the destruction of
Jesus, and thirsting for his blood, delivered a very remarkable
prophecy,[16] the exact counterpart of the one we are now
considering, in which he declared Jesus to be the promised Shiloh,
who should gather together in one, all the children of God which
are scattered abroad, not the nations of the Jews only, but the
Gentiles also. Yes, Jesus will seek out and bring his people from
the mountains whence they are scattered; in the cloudy and dark day
he will bring his sons from afar, and his daughters from the ends of
the earth, and there shall be one fold under one shepherd, even the
glorious Shiloh.

  [16] John xi. 49-52.


     And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and
     a branch shall grow out of his roots. And in that day, there
     shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the
     people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be
     glorious.--Isaiah xi. 1. 10.

The Jews, from these prophecies, expected the Messiah would spring
from the family of David, the son of Jesse; and this led them to
preserve, with unusual attention, the genealogy of his descendants.
We have abundant testimony that Jesus is of "the house and
lineage of David."[17] By comparing scripture with scripture,[18]
we may venture to affirm, Jesus is the "glorious branch" Jehovah
hath made strong for himself. With regard to his human and divine
nature, he is both "David's son and David's Lord." He is the "root
and offspring of David," and the "bright and morning star." The
Gentiles shall come to "his light," and kings to the "brightness
of his rising." He is not only a "rod out of the stem of Jesse,"
but he is the "tree of life" whose "leaves are for the healing of
the nations," whose top shall "reach unto heaven," and his branches
"cover the earth." He is Jehovah's ensign of mercy displayed to a
rebel world, and both the Jewish and Gentile nations are invited to
enlist under the banners of the cross. Those who seek an inheritance
in the kingdom of the true David, if it be agreeable to the charter
of Immanuel's land, shall find his rest to be glorious.

  [17] Since the destruction of Jerusalem, the genealogy of the Jews
  is lost; the tribe or family of David cannot be distinguished from
  that of Benjamin.

  [18] Psalm cxxxii. 11. Isaiah ix. 6, 7., lv. 3, 4, 5. Jerem. xxiii.
  5, 6., xxxiii. 15. Zech. iii. 8., vi. 12, 13.


     Thus saith the Lord, remove the diadem and take off the
     crown, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it
     him.--Ezekiel xxi. 26, 27.

     For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king,
     and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an
     image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim. Afterwards
     shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their
     God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his
     goodness in the latter days.--Hosea iii. 4, 5.

The Jews themselves must confess this prophecy to be in part
fulfilled. They are wanderers from their beloved Canaan, strangers
in a strange land, scattered over all parts of the globe, and
destitute of all the local privileges which constitute a nation,
although they still retain a distinction of character; but it only
tends to make them a reproach, and their name a by-word amongst all
classes. They dwell alone, and are not now reckoned amongst the
nations of the earth. The insignia of royal dignity are useless
to them, having no king or prince on whom to bestow the crown or
diadem. They are deprived of their temple and its services, and of
all the glorious distinctions which marked it from those dedicated
to false or unknown Gods. The latter clause of this prophecy shall
as assuredly be fulfilled, for heaven and earth shall pass away,
sooner than one of the promises of God fail to be accomplished.
Yes, the children of Israel shall return, and seek the Lord their
God, and him of whom David was only a type, even King Jesus,[19]
who is of David's royal line, "and the government shall be upon
his shoulders," for he is the "wonderful counsellor, the mighty
God, the everlasting father, the prince of peace." Hasten, Lord! we
would say, the time "when the deliverer shall arise out of Zion,
and turn away ungodliness from Jacob." Assume the sceptre of thy
power, Jesus, thou king of Zion, thou "Son of the Highest! for the
Lord God has given unto thee the throne of thy father, David; thou
shalt reign over the house of Jacob for ever." "Of the increase of
thy government and peace there shall be no end; upon the throne of
David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with
judgment and with justice, from henceforth even for ever. The zeal
of the Lord of hosts will perform this."

  [19] Ezek. xxi. 26, 27.


     The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the
     midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall
     hearken.--Deut. xviii. 15-19.

This is one of the many precious promises given by God to Israel.
Moses is a character justly deserving our regard and veneration.
The Jewish nation held him in high estimation, and almost idolized
his memory. Perhaps our time may not be misemployed in searching
for proofs of the fulfilment of this prophecy, and in examining the
character of one (even Jesus) who declares himself to be not only a
prophet like unto Moses, but in every respect his superior; which,
if proved, will clearly warrant their giving unto Jesus far greater
honour than was even due to Moses. In drawing a comparison between
these illustrious personages, we observe; they both sprang from the
family of Jacob or Israel; Moses, when a child, was, for a time,
concealed by his parents from the persecuting Pharoah; the child
Jesus also, was, by command of God the Father, taken into Egypt,
to avoid the tyranny of Herod: thus both escaped the destruction
executed on all the other male children. Moses was raised up from
the midst of the people, from amongst his brethren the children
of Israel; Jesus having taken on him our nature, is not ashamed to
call us brethren. Moses was a prophet, called and taught of God;
Jesus is the sent, the sealed, the anointed of God, at whose call
he came forth. Moses saw God face to face; Jesus lay in the bosom
of the Father. Moses wrought miracles by the command and aid of
God; Jesus wrought many miracles in the days of his flesh, but
all in his own name and by his own power. Moses was an honoured
instrument in bringing Israel from the bondage of Egypt; but Jesus
delivers his people Israel from worse than Egyptian taskmasters,
even the bondage of sin and Satan. Moses fasted forty days before he
gave the law to Israel. Jesus fasted forty days before he entered
on his public ministry. When Moses wrought miracles in Egypt, the
magicians were obliged to confess the divine power by which he
acted. Jesus expelled the evil spirits, and they acknowledged his
almighty power. Moses commanded the sea to retire, and it obeyed
his voice. Jesus said to the tempestuous winds and sea, "Peace,
be still!" and instantly there was a great calm. Moses cured one
leper.[20] Jesus cured many. Moses chose and appointed seventy
elders over the people, on whom God bestowed the spirit of prophecy.
Jesus chose seventy apostles, whom he endowed with miraculous
powers, and sent forth to teach in the villages. Moses chose twelve
men, whom he sent to spy out the land the Israelites were about
to conquer. Jesus chose twelve apostles, and commanded them to go
forth and preach the gospel to all the world, and subject it to
his allegiance, by a more glorious power than that of arms. Moses
was in danger of being stoned by the rebellious and ungrateful
people, whom he had constantly laboured to benefit. The Jews also
took up stones to stone Jesus in return for his numerous favours.
The relations of Moses were greatly offended with him for marrying
an Ethiopian woman.[21] Jesus has espoused the Gentile church, to
the no small displeasure of the Jews. When Moses was the prophet of
Israel, they were fed with manna from heaven. Jesus miraculously
fed five thousand and seven thousand persons; he could say "I am
the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of
this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will
give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
When Moses, by God's command, stretched forth his hand, darkness
covered the land of Egypt, which was shortly followed by the awful
destruction of its first-born; when Jesus was crucified, darkness
covered the land, which, not many years after, was the scene of the
most dire calamities. Was Moses a prophet? and did he not speak
of the calamities that would befall the Jews? as such, see Jesus
teaching the people, and foretelling the time and circumstances of
his own decease, and also the siege and destruction of Jerusalem.
Was Moses as king in Jeshurun? Jesus is not only king in Zion, but
King of kings, and Lord of lords; by him kings rule, and princes
decree justice. Moses is described as an almost perfect character;
Jesus as wholly free from the least spot or stain of sin. Moses was
remarkable for meekness; Jesus, when led as a lamb to the slaughter,
opened not his mouth; when reviled, he reviled not again; when
persecuted, he blessed. Moses, by command of God, gave laws and
statutes, and instituted ordinances in Israel; Jesus instituted the
ordinance of the Lord's Supper, and gave laws and commandments to
his people. The law given by Moses tends only to condemnation, but
Jesus "has brought light and immortality to light by his gospel."
The law of Moses was designed "as a schoolmaster to bring us to
Christ;" the doctrine of Jesus is, "I am the way, the truth, and
the life." Moses acted as a mediator between God and Israel, at
the giving of the covenant on Sinai; Jesus is the great day's-man,
and the almighty mediator of the new covenant. Did Moses plead
for the rebellious Israelites? we also hear Jesus interceding for
transgressors, saying, "Father, forgive them, for they know not
what they do." Moses read the law in the ears of all Israel; Jesus
writes his laws upon the hearts of his people, and his truths in
their inward parts. When Moses descended from Mount Sinai, after
holding converse with God, his face shone exceeding bright; we are
told when Jesus was transfigured on Mount Tabor, his face shone as
the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. Did Moses choose
rather "to suffer affliction with the people of God, than enjoy
the pleasures of sin for a season?" Jesus preferred suffering
misery and woe for a time, rather than his people should endure
the everlasting punishment which their sins deserved. Did Moses
esteem the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of
Egypt? Jesus considers the odium affixed to his cross, as a more
honourable distinction than the possession of thousands of gold
and silver. Moses, as a servant, was faithful in all his house;
Jesus could say "Father, I have finished the work thou hast given
me to do," "I have glorified thee on the earth," and "those thou
gavest me, I have kept, and none of them is lost." (See John xvii.
12) Moses was permitted, from the heights of Pisgah, to view the
goodly land of promise; which was but a type of the heavenly rest
Jesus has prepared for those who love him. Moses, as a prophet, was
great in Israel; Jesus is the Lord God of the prophets, and unto him
shall the people hearken; he will give them the hearing ear and the
understanding heart, and make them willing in the day of his power.
"Every soul that will not hearken unto this prophet, shall be cut
off," for be it known to all people, "that there is none other name
under heaven given amongst men, whereby we can be saved," but that
of Jesus, who is of a truth "the prophet that was for to come." It
was said, by way of reproach, thou art this man's disciple, but we
are Moses' disciples. Let us not consider it a disgrace to own our
attachment to him, who is in every point of view far superior to
Moses, who was but his servant, and the creature of his power. Where
shall we find a person who so closely resembles Moses, as Christ?
Surely he was the prophet foretold! Yet the Jews rejected him, and
by that rejection prove that Jesus was he of whom Moses wrote--for
the Lord has executed the punishment he threatened should befall
them, if they refused to hearken unto this prophet; thus the Jews
are living monuments of the truth as it is in Jesus. Oh, may we take
warning from their calamities, and receive the sent, the sealed, the
anointed of the Father, as our prophet, priest, and king; even Jesus
the Messiah, the Christ of God!

  [20] Numbers xii. 15.

  [21] Numbers xii. 1.


     The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the
     way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our
     God.--Isaiah xl. 3.

The Prophets Isaiah and Malachi[22] were commissioned to inform the
church, that when the period should arrive for the coming of the
Messiah, a messenger would be sent to announce his near approach.
This promise was most strictly fulfilled: Jesus, the Son of the Most
High God, did not visit this our world, without first directing an
herald to proclaim his coming; even John, who was sent to prepare
the way before him.[23] This harbinger deserves our attention;
he was no ordinary character. An angel, even Gabriel, posted from
heaven to speak of his birth, and declare he should be filled with
the Holy Ghost from the first dawn of life. If such distinguishing
honour was paid to the messenger, how great that due to the master!
John demands our respect, on account of the sanctity of his life,
the simplicity of his manners, and the active zeal and ardent love
he manifested in the cause, and towards the person, of his Lord,
and for the integrity and faithfulness exhibited in every part of
his conduct towards man. He feared not to reprove sin in whatever
class of persons he beheld it, from the common soldier even to the
monarch on the throne. To a character so exemplary as John's, the
highest respect and veneration are due; and the testimony of such a
man deserves not to be lightly regarded. John's birth was six months
prior to his Lord's,[24] and being the first who used water-baptism
as a divine ordinance, he was surnamed the Baptist. He abode "in
the deserts" of Judea "until the day of his showing unto Israel,"
and had never seen his Lord (who resided at Nazareth, in Galilee),
until he came to Jordan for baptism. The testimony he then gave to
the person of Jesus merits observation. He publicly acknowledged him
to be the person whose way he was sent to prepare, and spoke of him
as one whose shoe's latchet he was not worthy to unloose. We see
John, when surrounded by his own disciples, point to Jesus, and say
"Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world," and
"this is he of whom I said, after me cometh a man which is preferred
before me; for he was before me." John gave the most decided
testimony to the Godhead of Jesus, for he said he would "baptise
with the Holy Ghost," which is the prerogative only of God. What
man can, by any means, redeem his brother, or give to God a ransom
for his soul? but John spake of his Lord as "the Lamb of God, which
taketh away the sin of the world." Yes, he is the "Lamb slain from
the foundation of the world." Under the Mosaic dispensation, the
lamb slain, as a morning and evening sacrifice, and on the great day
of atonement, was only a type of this Lamb of God's own providing,
who offered himself up as a sacrifice for the sins of many. When
the disciples of John appeared displeased at the growing popularity
of Jesus, their master instantly checked them by saying "he must
increase, but I must decrease; he that cometh from heaven is above
all." After John was cast into prison, we find him sending two of
his disciples to Jesus, to inquire if he were the Christ or not.[25]
Having heard the testimony John had before given to the person of
Jesus, we cannot suppose he had any doubts in his own mind as to his
being the Messiah, but rather that he was fully convinced of the
fact himself; and wishing his disciples to be firmly established
in the same faith, he, as the most effectual method, sent them to
Jesus for satisfactory proofs of a truth which he (John) had been
continually teaching through the whole course of his ministry. John
was a faithful witness in his master's cause, and to him we are much
indebted. But let us not bestow on him the honours due to Jesus, who
is deservedly preferred before him; for, as John justly observed, he
was before him. This is strictly true, for although Jesus did not
take on him our nature until six months after the birth of John,
yet, being God as well as man, his existence is from everlasting to

  [22] Mal. iii. 1., iv. 5.

  [23] Matt. iii. 3., xi. 2-15. Mark i. 2-8. Luke i. 5-26.

  [24] Luke i. 39-44.

  [25] Luke vii. 18-28.

Josephus, in his history of the Jews, speaks of John the Baptist
in the highest terms of respect and veneration: he says he had
acquired such credit and authority amongst the people by the
holiness of his life, and his disciples were so numerous, that
Herod, dreading a revolt, confined John in the castle of Macharas,
and afterwards beheaded him, for no other crime than his honest
faithfulness.[26] Herod's army was soon after totally routed by the
troops of Aretas, and the Jews considered it as a mark of Divine
vengeance for his cruel treatment of the Holy Baptist.

  [26] Matt. xiv. 3-10.


     Therefore, the Lord himself shall give you a sign, behold a
     virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name
     Immanuel.--Isaiah vii. 14.

The portion of scripture now before us is highly interesting, and
demands serious attention. About seven hundred and eight years
before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah was commissioned
to tell the church, a virgin should conceive and bear a son, and
should call his name Immanuel. For proofs of the fulfilment of
this prophecy, we would refer to Matthew and Luke,[27] and request
their testimony may be read with the serious attention the
subject demands. The unblushing infidel may treat it with scorn
and ridicule; but let not one bearing the name of Christ, venture
to speak with lightness, on this so highly momentous an article of
the christian faith. We cannot suppose the Lord, after giving this
promise, would be unmindful of its accomplishment: if the birth
of Christ had been the result of natural causes, there would have
been nothing to excite surprise, nor would it have been a sign, as
the Lord himself declared it should be. If he had been born after
the manner of the children of men, no doubt he must have partaken
of their evil nature. Or if his body had been formed of the dust,
as was Adam's, how could the promise given at the fall of man,
have been fulfilled? And what relationship would there then have
existed between Christ and his church? But now he is "bone of our
bone, and flesh of our flesh." For in the fulness of time, "God
sent forth his son, made of a woman, made under the law, that he
might redeem them which are under the law." "Lo! in the volume of
the book, it is written of him," "sacrifice and offerings for sin,
thou wouldest not; but a body hast thou prepared for him." A body
subject to all the infirmities of our nature, yet wholly free from
the sinful principles, and evil propensities of the human race. His
name shall be called "Immanuel, which, being interpreted, is, God
with us," God in our nature.[28] Yes, the uncreated word was "made
flesh and dwelt amongst us and we beheld his glory, the glory as
of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." "In
him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." The Socinian may
smile with contempt when the Deity of Jesus is attested, but is it
not written? "Behold ye despisers, and wonder and perish!" Shall
not "he that sitteth upon the circle of the heavens, laugh?--the
Lord shall have them in utter derision." We would candidly confess,
there are mysteries in this doctrine above the powers of a finite
mind fully to comprehend. But are we, for that cause, to refuse
our belief of its truth? We should indeed be reduced to a most
distressing dilemma, if we were to disbelieve every thing we cannot
fully comprehend. Who can discover or fully explain the nature,
order, and beauteous economy, displayed in the animate and inanimate
creation? They are so many problems unsolvable by man, although
by the dint of study, many of the causes and effects by which we
are encircled, have been traced up to their mighty Author, and
eagle-eyed genius has let in a world of wonders to our view; yet
much, very much, both in the heavens, the earth, and mighty deep,
remains enwrapt in clouds, or thick darkness. Even in the formation
of a blade of grass, there are operations which man cannot define.
We enjoy the genial rays of heaven's bright luminary, but who can
prove to demonstration, the sources from whence he has derived such
a constant supply of matter, as to furnish our system of worlds,
with light and heat for nearly six thousand years? In short who
can discover or fully explain the mysterious link which unites
mind to matter? But surely we do not allow ourselves to disbelieve
the reality of their existence, because we cannot enter into the
minutiæ of their nature. If there was nothing revealed, in the New
Testament, of the nature and person of Christ, but what we could
fully comprehend, we should then have some cause to refuse our
assent to its truth, and might confess it to be a cunningly devised
fable. But while great is the mystery of godliness, remember it is
God manifest in the flesh; not God putting off his Deity to take the
human nature, but it is the second person in the revealed order
of the triune Jehovah, who takes our nature into union with his
divine person, and veils his Godhead beneath the human flesh. Thus
is God and man united in the person of our glorious Immanuel; and
as if no proof should be wanting of his Deity, the angel Gabriel
when directing Mary to call his name Jesus, added: "for he shall
save his people from their sins." Thus did he give the most decided
testimony to his Godhead, for who but God, strictly speaking, can
claim a people as his own? and none but God can save them from their
sins. In regard to the Virgin Mary, we would cheerfully join in
Gabriel's salutation, "Hail! thou highly favoured of the Lord;" but,
at the same time, we would beg to observe a nice distinction with
reference to Mary, who was only one of Eve's daughters, and, though
highly honoured of the Lord in this particular instance, an honour
which never was or can be conferred on another; yet Mary's salvation
depended on the same foundation as the rest of God's children,
and it is plain Mary viewed it in the same light, for we hear her
saying, "My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit doth rejoice
in God my Saviour." Mary was only a creature, and consequently it
is sinful to offer her adoration, for it is written "thou shalt
worship the Lord thy God, and none other." As to her having any
particular interest at the court of heaven, Jesus has determined
that point, by saying, "Woman what have I to do with thee, mine hour
is not yet come." It is worthy observation, that whenever Jesus
spoke of Mary, he invariably called her "woman," as if at once to
silence all who he knew would in after ages bestow improper honours
on the virgin. When one said "Behold thy mother and thy brethren
stand without desiring to speak with thee," Jesus pointed to his
disciples, and said, "behold my mother and my brethren;" and added,
"whosoever shall do the will of my father who is in heaven, the
same is my mother, and sister, and brother." Whether Mary had, or
had not children, after the birth of Jesus, is to us a matter of no
importance; all it concerns us is to know she had none before.

  [27] Matt. i. 18-25. Luke i. 26-38.

  [28] Col. ii. 9. 1 Cor. xv. 47. Rom. ix. 5. 1 Tim. iii. 16. John i.
  1., i. 14.


     But 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; whose goings forth have been from
     of old, from everlasting.--Micah v. 2.

We find Boaz (the husband of Ruth) was of Bethlehem, a small city
belonging to the tribe of Judah, situate about five or six miles
from Jerusalem, and his posterity continued to possess it for some
time, for it was the birth-place of David, the son of Jesse the
Bethlehemite, great grandson to Boaz. This was the city from which,
according to prophecy, the Messiah should come. If we examine the
records left by the Evangelists, we shall find a decree was issued
by Augustus Cæsar, to tax all the people of the Jews, and every
family was ordered to repair to the cities belonging to their
respective tribes. This it was, which brought the Virgin Mary from
Nazareth to Bethlehem, she being of the house and lineage of David.
It is probable the whole family of David were cited to assemble for
the purpose of being taxed; it might be with a design to humble and
mortify them, for they had a rightful claim to the throne of Judah.
If this had not been the case, it is more than probable Mary, from
her situation, would have been permitted to remain at Nazareth.
Whatever were the motives of the civil authorities, we have cause
to bless our God for thus overruling events, which distinctively
considered were oppressive, but now tend to establish the truth as
it is in Jesus. What else, humanly speaking, could have brought
Mary, a female in the humblest walk of life, to Bethlehem?--If it
were not for this circumstance, we should have wanted this proof
of Jesus being the Messiah; for we are told, he should be born at
Bethlehem, a city little among the thousands of Judah.[29] Although
a manger was the best accommodation offered for the royal babe, yet
his birth was not altogether unnoticed, or passed by, as an event
of little importance; for lo! amidst the stillness of the night,
an angelic messenger is sent to announce to Jewish shepherds, the
arrival of the chief Shepherd. No sooner are the glad tidings of
great joy communicated, but a multitude of the heavenly hosts, who
had followed with joyful haste, make the air re-echo with sounds,
sweet as the music of heaven. While charmed with the delightful
melody, and breathless to catch the strain, we distinctly hear,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will towards
men." The next object which arrests our attention, is a company of
Eastern philosophers, who are come to pay their adorations to the
sovereign stranger, and to welcome his arrival. But who could have
directed them to this obscure retreat, to find the infant King?
They were led thither, by a star of peculiar motion, appointed
to direct these eastern sages (probably Chaldeans), to Israel's
King. But how ill did his appearance accord with the dignity of
his character; yet notwithstanding the poverty with which he
was surrounded, they worshipped him. For he who was a babe at
Bethlehem, by the mysterious union of the human nature with the
divine person, is the same "whose goings forth have been from of
old, from everlasting." We are told that when he went forth in the
acts of creation, "the morning stars sang together, and all the
sons of God shouted for joy." What wonder then if they tuned their
golden harps afresh, when he went forth to accomplish redemption's
work, which mystery the angels are represented as desiring to look
into. He is also described as a Ruler not only in the armies of
heaven, and amongst the inhabitants of earth; but, in a more near
and interesting sense, does he reign and rule in the hearts of his
redeemed. The symbol of his authority is not an iron rod; no, he
rules them with the sceptre of his love. We would say "Gird on thy
sword upon thy thigh, O thou most mighty; and go forth, conquering
and to conquer; until every land shall own thy power, and all the
nations of the earth shall call the Redeemer blessed." May we
imitate these eastern sages, and not feel ashamed to confess our
attachment to him, who once appeared as an infant at Bethlehem; for
it became him, in taking our nature, to assume it from its earliest
state, and in all things to be made like unto his brethren, sin only

  [29] It will be observed the chief priests and scribes, in quoting
  this passage (see Matt. ii. 6.) have not given it correctly, but
  have made it bend as much as possible to their ideas of a temporal


     Thus saith the Lord, a voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation
     and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to
     be comforted for her children, because they were not.--Jeremiah
     xxxi. 15.

It will not be difficult to discover the mourning prophet referred
to the murder of the infants of Bethlehem, when it is remembered
that Rachel the beloved wife of Jacob, was the mother of Benjamin,
which tribe, with that of Judah and the family of Levi, after the
revolt of the ten tribes, formed the kingdom of Judah. We are told
the wise men came to Jerusalem, to inquire from the Jews themselves,
at what place their long promised King should be born; and when told
Bethlehem was the honoured spot, they departed with a charge from
Herod, then king of Judah, to return and bring him tidings, that he
also might go and worship the infant King. But his hypocrisy was
soon discovered. Under pretence, that the wise men had offered him
an insult in not returning to Jerusalem, he issued an order, to
destroy all the children in Bethlehem, from two years old and under.
An order in every point of view, most cruel, unjust, and cowardly,
and which the most hardened wretch must have shuddered to execute.
The mind cannot conceive an act of greater barbarity, than the
murder of so many innocent babes, in order to be sure of one, even
the holy child Jesus. It does not appear that any of their parents
had offended the cowardly tyrant, whose heart was harder than the
nether mill-stone. What wonder if the voice of lamentation and wo
was heard, when the murderer's sword was (to use the prophet's
language) made drunk with blood, with the blood of helpless infants,
who were torn from the arms of those who would gladly have shed
their own blood in the rescue of their babes; but the armed ruffian
band, like their master, were insensible to pity, and deaf to the
cry of mercy. Well might Rachel, a mother in Israel, have wept, had
she witnessed this cruel order executed on the infants of her race!
How enviable the lot of those youthful martyrs for the cause of
Christ, compared to his, who, though seated on a throne, trembled at
the name of Jesus, even when an infant at Bethlehem.


     For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the
     government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be
     called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting
     Father, The Prince of Peace.--Isaiah ix. 6, 7.

These words, like numerous other passages in the word of God, are
far too sublime to be attached to a mere creature; at the same time,
they certainly express ideas which cannot be attributed to Deity.
"Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given," is language
improper to be applied to Godhead, while the Mighty God, the
Everlasting Father, are titles too Godlike to belong to humanity. In
what light are we to view them, if not as descriptive of the person
of the God-man, Christ Jesus? To whom but the Messiah, are we to
apply this, and the many expressions of a similar kind, which we
find so profusely scattered through the sacred volume? It is to the
wonderful person of the Messiah, God united to the man Christ Jesus,
that we direct our thoughts, as the glorious object presented to the
faith of the patriarchs and ancient Israel of God. To him give all
the prophets witness. All the types prefigure him. All the shadows
are designed to represent him, the substance. He is exhibited to
our view in a variety of characters, relations, and offices; and is
not God and man, united in one complex person, clearly revealed in
this prophecy? Let us apply it to Jesus:--Unto us a child is born,
unto us a son is given. Behold him! a babe at Bethlehem, subject
to all the wants, weakness and helplessness connected with a state
of infancy and childhood; such was the holy child Jesus. Unto us
a son is given, who is acknowledged to be of David's royal line;
yet this son of humanity, is also declared to be the only begotten
Son of God, a Son who is the brightness of his Father's glory, and
the express image of his person. But this Son is not given as a
Saviour to fallen angels, they are passed by, although possessed of
faculties and powers, far superior to the sons of earth; "God so
loved the world as to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Yes, Christ is the gift of God, and the richest, God could bestow;
he parted with the choicest jewel in the treasury of heaven; and
God has not such another son to give, even if the redemption of ten
thousand worlds required it. How amazing the love that could prompt
even God, to deliver up such a son; a son, in whom he declared
himself always well pleased; a son whom all the angels of God
are commanded to worship; yet he was given up to shame, reproach,
and sufferings; yea, his Father became the chief executioner. "It
pleased the Father to bruise him, and put him to shame." Well might
the prophet exclaim, "Wonder O heaven and be astonished O earth!"
Jesus declared that, as the son of man, all power in heaven and
earth was given to him; and surely the government ought to be on
his shoulders, for who so fit to manage all, as he who is the
Wonderful Counsellor; he who, from all eternity, knew the plans and
counsels of Jehovah, and with whom he concerted and contrived the
creation and redemption of man; and was it not between the Father
and this Son, that the council of peace was settled and established,
and is it not "a covenant well ordered in all things[30] and
sure," and does not that part of it published to us in the written
word, proclaim it the work of a Wonderful Counsellor? He indeed
is wonderful, both in his person and work: the wonders of his
love are here past finding out; the wonders of his grace are now
unsearchable, and it is reserved for an eternity to discover all
the mysteries in the Wonderful Person of the God-man, Christ Jesus,
which are here incomprehensible.

  [30] Zech. vi. 13

Are we not told that the child born, the son given, is the mighty
God? which must surely mean, that the same divine essence dwells in
the Father and the Son; that it is one true and essential Godhead,
dwelling in the person of the Father, Son, and Spirit; not that
they are three Gods, but three distinct persons, constituting one
Godhead?--(Does not the body and spirit form one man?) Is not the
Son declared equal to the Father as touching his Godhead? Are not
their names more descriptive of the relations they sustain in
the scheme of Redemption, than indicative of any superiority or
inferiority in their essence, or Godhead? Is it not the second
person in the glorious Trinity, who has taken the human nature
into union with his divine person? And are not God and man united
in the complex person of Jesus of Nazareth, Israel's long promised
and expected Messiah? His humanity is fully proved by his birth,
life, and death; and his Deity is fully attested in the strongest
language, for to whom the names, titles, attributes, works and
prerogatives of God are ascribed, and declared to belong, surely,
He must be the true God; and we have only to search the record of
truth, and we shall find ascribed to him, all the distinguishing
names and titles of God, as:--

     Jehovah, or the Lord,--Isaiah vi. 1. 9, 10. John xii. 37-41.
     Isaiah xlv. 24, 25. Rom. v. 18. 2 Cor. v. 21. Psalm lxxxiii. 18.
     Isaiah xlii. 8., xlv. 5, 6. Jeremiah xxiii. 6. 1 Cor. i. 30.
     Zech. xi. 12, 13. Math. xxvii. 9, 10.

     The true God,--John i. 2., xvii. 3. 1 John v. 20, 21.

     The Great and Mighty God,--Deut. x. 17. Jer. xxxii. 18, 19.
     Isaiah ix. 6. Titus ii. 13.

     The only God,--Rom. xiv. 9, 10, 11, 12. Deut. iv. 35. 39. Isaiah
     xlv. 5. 15. 18. 21-25.

     The only wise God,--Eph. iii. 25, 26, 27. Jude 24, 25. Rom. xvi.
     27. 1 Tim i. 17.

     God blessed for ever,--Rom. i. 25. 2 Cor. xi. 31. Rom. ix. 5.

     King of Kings, and Lord of Lords,--1 Tim. vi. 14, 15, 16. Rev.
     xvii. 14., xix. 13. 16. Deut. x. 17.

     The Lord of Hosts,--2 Sam. vi. 2., vii. 26. Psalm xxiv. 10.
     Isaiah i. 24., vi. 3., viii. 13, 14., xliv. 6. Hosea xii. 4, 5.
     Isaiah viii. 13, 14., xxviii. 16. Psalm cxviii. 22. Matt. xxi.
     42. 44. Luke xx. 17, 18. 1 Peter ii. 6, 7, 8. Hosea xii. 4, 5.
     Isaiah liv. 5. Rom. ix. 33., x. 11.

     The First and the Last,--Isaiah xli. 4., xliv. 6., xlviii. 11,
     12. Rev. i. 8. 11. 17, 18., ii. 8.

_All the attributes of God ascribed to Christ._

     Omniscience,--1 Kings viii. 39. Isaiah xli. 21, 22, 23. Jer.
     xvii. 9, 10. Matt. xii. 25. John ii. 24, 25., xxi. 17. Rev. ii.

     Omnipresence,--Psalm xxiii. 4., cxxxix. 7-10. Isaiah xli. 10.,
     xliii. 5. Jer. xxiii. 24. Matt. xviii. 20., xxviii. 20. Eph. i.

     Omnipotence,--Gen. xvii. 1., xxxv. 11., xlviii. 3. Phil. iii.
     21. Rev. i. 8.

     Eternity,--Psalm xlv. 6., xc. 2. Isaiah xliv. 6. Heb. i. 8.,
     vii. 3. Rev. i. 18., ii. 8.

     Immutability,--Mal. iii. 6. Heb. i. 12., xiii. 8., i. 8.

_Divine works ascribed to Christ._

     Creation of the world,--Gen. i. 1. Psalm cii. 25, 26, 27. Isaiah
     xliv. 24. John i. 1, 2, 3. 10. Col. i. 16, 17. Heb. i. 3. 10.,
     iii. 4.

     Final Judgment of the world,--Psalm 1. 6. Matt. xxv. 31-46. John
     v. 21, 22. 25. 27. Rom. iii. 6., xiv. 10. 2 Tim. iv. 1. 2 Cor.
     v. 10.

_The Prerogatives of God ascribed to Christ._

     To forgive sin,--Isaiah xliii. 25. Matt. ii. 5. 10. Acts vii.
     59, 60. Col. iii. 13.

     To Baptise with the Holy Ghost,--Joel ii. 28, 29. Neh. ix. 20.
     Zech. xii. 10. Matt. iii. 11. Acts i. 5., ii. 33. John vii. 39.,
     xvi. 7. Eph. iv. 8.

_The Kingdom and Honours of God ascribed to Christ_.

     An everlasting Kingdom--Psalm xxix. 10., xlv. 6, 7. Heb. i. 8.

     An universal Kingdom,--Psalm ciii. 19. John xvii. 10. Acts x.
     36. Rom. x. 12.

     Divine Worship,--Deut. vi. 13, 14, 15., x. 20. Exod. xxxiv. 14.
     Psalm xlv. 11. Matt. iv. 10. John v. 23., xiv. 1., xx. 28. Acts
     vii. 59. Rom x. 13., xiv. 11., xv. 12. Rev. v. 13.

Is not God represented in his word, as highly jealous of his honour,
and has he not solemnly declared, that he will not give his glory
to another? Then, if Christ is not equal to the Lord of Hosts,
whence is it, that the great God does allow, and sanction, his
distinguishing names, titles, attributes and works, to be ascribed
to Jesus? Can we imagine God to be unmindful of his own honour, or
so unkind to his creatures, as to permit those names so descriptive
of Deity, to be applied to any mere creature, however superior,
or exalted? Has he not pronounced an awful curse on those who
worship any but the true God? Can we suppose the blessed God so
inattentive to the happiness of his creatures, as to suffer in his
revealed word, language so strikingly calculated to lead men into
a belief of the Deity of Jesus, if in fact he was not God? No, the
God of Truth does not trifle thus with the children of men. He has
set all the great and fundamental doctrines of the gospel in the
fore-ground; all truths that are essential to be known in order
to salvation, are written as with a sunbeam; the Deity of Jesus,
foremost of the whole, is so plain, "that he who runs may read,"
and the "wayfaring man, though a fool, cannot err therein." It does
not require superior intellectual powers or attainments, to learn
that Jesus is the Christ of God; but it does require art and skill
in criticism, to give any other sense to the word of God. There are
persons, who deny the Godhead of Jesus, and yet acknowledge him
a being of exalted virtue, and a model of perfection, worthy of
imitation. But do they not, in robbing him of Deity, destroy all his
claim to our attention? in fact do they not make him an impostor and
deceiver? Do they not, with the Jews, raise the cry of blasphemy
against him? and bring him under the curse and punishment pronounced
by the eternal and unchangeable Jehovah, against every blasphemer?
Do we not hear Jesus saying--I and my Father are one, the Father
dwelleth in me, and I in him, he that hath seen me, hath seen the
Father also? And did he not demand all men, to honour the Son, even
as they honour the Father? Did he not declare himself equal to the
Father, and did not the Jews so understand him, when they took up
stones to stone him, because he being man, made himself equal with
God? Yes, Jesus proclaimed his Godhead; he allowed and encouraged
religious worship to be paid him; in truth, he claimed all the
belief and honours due to Deity. Surely then, if he is not God, he
has forfeited all claim to our regard and veneration, and appears
as a false prophet and teacher; but the mind shudders at imputing
deception there. Blessed Jesus! may I, with Thomas, acknowledge
thee, from a full conviction of thy Divinity, to be my Lord and my
God. Thou hast declared thyself to be the Son of God with power, by
thy resurrection from the dead. Hail! thou Wonderful Counsellor,
thou Mighty God, thou Everlasting Father; thou who didst from
eternity engage to be the Father and head of thy Church; thou who
art the second Adam, the Lord from heaven; thou who watchest over
thy Church with more than fatherly care; who suppliest all their
wants, healest all their diseases, and who, in love, dost "chasten
every son whom thou receivest," and wilt at the last great day,
present thyself with them to the Father, saying, "Behold I and the
children whom thou hast given me." Yes, thou art the everlasting
Father, the Prince of Peace; and who so calculated to make peace
between God and man, as he in whose person they are both united? He
has peace to make between heaven and earth. He can know and satisfy
the honour of God, for he is God; he can feel the wants and sorrows
of man, for he is "bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh." When
he entered our world, was there not a proclamation of peace on
earth, and good will to man? Yes, for the Prince of Peace was come,
to make peace and reconciliation, by the blood of his cross. He is
a successful Peace-maker; he is, in fact, the only Mediator between
God and man; nor is he yet weary of his office, but ever liveth to
make intercession for us. Hail! thou Prince of Peace. Did not this
glorious Mediator love to manifest himself in that character to the
Church, from the earliest ages of the world? Did he not honour many
of the patriarchs and prophets with a display of his person? Was it
not the Messiah, who appeared to the Old Testament saints? Has he
not ever been the only visible image of the invisible God? Are we
not told that no man hath seen the Father, save the only begotten
of the Father, who came down from heaven? Do we not find an opinion
generally prevalent amongst the ancient Jews, that no man could see
the face of God, and live? Moses, and the assembled multitude at
mount Sinai, were of this opinion. Isaiah exclaimed, "Wo is me, I
am undone, for I have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." Manoah,
Ezekiel, Daniel, Amos, and the other ancient worthies to whom God
appeared, were filled with the same awful apprehensions. Is it not
more than probable, that God, in the person of the Father, has ever
been invisible to the inhabitants of earth? Would not the true
majesty, and splendour of Godhead be more than man in his present
state could bear? Might not the sight of unclouded Deity destroy a
body of flesh? Are not all those passages where the great God is
said to appear and converse with his creatures, more applicable to
the God-man, Christ Jesus, than to the first person of the sacred
Trinity? Is it not more becoming him, who, in after ages, was to
take on him a body of flesh and blood, to appear as man, than that
God the Father, should do so? Were not the three men who appeared
to Abraham in the plains of Mamre, as he sat at his tent door, in
the heat of the day, this Messiah God-man, attended by two angels;
and were not the two angels sent forward to destroy Sodom, while
the Lord tarried behind to hear the intercession of Abraham, for
that devoted city? Was not the same glorious personage the man with
whom Jacob wrestled, when he is said to have had power with God
and to have prevailed? Was he not _that_ Angel of God's presence,
who led the children of Israel into Canaan, of whom God said,
"beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not, for he will
not pardon your transgressions; for my name is in him?" Did he not
also appear to Joshua, as Captain of the Lord's hosts? Did he not
in vision appear in the same form to Ezekiel and Daniel, as he
afterwards did to John, in the Isle of Patmos? And are not all the
other passages, of a similar kind, equally applicable to the Christ
of God? Can we not enter into the prophet's meaning, and set our
seal to the glorious truth, that "unto us a Child is born, unto us
a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and
his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the
Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace?"


     And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a
     kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall
     not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and
     consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.--Daniel
     ii. 44.

The book of Daniel contains some very striking prophecies. The
chapter from which this is selected, is not amongst the least
interesting. The interpretation given by him to the king of
Babylon's dream, demands our particular attention. He speaks of
four kingdoms, as represented by the image.[31] The first, or
head of gold, is the Chaldean monarchy; which gives way to that
figured by the arms of silver, the kingdoms of Media and Persia.
This is succeeded by the Grecian, represented by the brass. Then
follows the fourth or iron, which is the Roman power, "in the days
of whose kings, shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which
shall never be destroyed," &c. &c. We will search for proofs of its
accomplishment. Daniel was an Israelitish captive at Babylon, and
when he wrote the first part of his prophetical book, the kingdom
of Chaldea was first in the scale of nations. In earthly pomp and
grandeur it surpassed all other states. The land of Judea was then
in its possession, and her people, its captives. Its capital, the
mighty Babylon, was, from the solidity of its walls, the strength of
its fortifications, and its gates of brass, considered impregnable;
but, agreeably to scripture prophecy,[32] the city was taken by
Cyrus: he entered it by the channel of the river Euphrates, whose
waters he had directed into another course; and during a night of
riotous festivity, in which the Babylonians had forgotten to shut
their brasen gates, the city was taken by Cyrus, whom the Lord, at
least one hundred and seventy years before, named as his servant
to destroy the kingdom of Chaldea for their cruel treatment of
his captive Israel. Cyrus, the conqueror of Babylon (who issued
a proclamation for the Jews to return to their beloved Jerusalem
after seventy years captivity) was heir to the throne of Persia;
and succeeded to that of Media, by virtue of his marriage with the
daughter of Cyaxares (otherwise Darius) his uncle. The kingdoms of
Media and Persia thus united under Cyrus (after the overthrow of
Babylon) obtained the supremacy of the world, and preserved that
pre-eminence two hundred and six years, when it was subdued by
Alexander, styled the great, whose dissatisfaction amidst the shouts
of victory, and the dazzling accompaniments of power, strikingly
show the fallacy of seeking true happiness from sublunary objects.
Alexander founded the Grecian empire, which continued one hundred
and seventy seven years, when it was compelled to submit to Rome's
conquering legions, to whom all nations bowed, and, by tribute,
acknowledged as their superior. In the days of these kings, did the
God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: yes,
in the reign of Augustus, did the mighty King Jesus first openly
declare and set up his great spiritual kingdom. Its beginning,
to human appearance, was small and unpromising. Yet, this stone
which was cut out without hands, (i. e.) without human power or
worldly policy, shall become a great mountain, and fill the whole
earth. It is true, the Jewish nation expected the Messiah to come,
surrounded by all the splendours of eastern magnificence; that he
would deliver them from the Roman power, and, after a reign more
glorious than Solomon's, establish a kingdom which should remain
unshaken till time shall be no more. But, shall the unchangeable
Jehovah alter his purposes or mould his plans, to meet the idle
fancies or short-sighted schemes of the children of men? No, the
Messiah has appeared, not in the style they had anticipated, but
in the manner most agreeable to the mind of infinite Wisdom. Yet,
because he did not assume the gaudy trappings of earthly state,
the Jews reject him, and vainly look for another, although he
appeared at the time predicted. The Roman power is now laid low,
and according to all their prophecies, the period is passed when
he, of whom Moses and the prophets did write, should appear. Jesus
far exceeds in real excellence, even their own highly coloured
portrait, for the blessings of his reign extend to ages yet unborn.
They expected a temporal king, but no; the land of Canaan, although
the glory of all lands, was far too insignificant for him to accept
as the sphere of his government. He shall sway his kingly sceptre,
not only over Judea's fruitful land; but his dominions extend from
sea to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. The
mightiest monarchies are often swept away, as by the besom of
destruction, and all are compelled to submit to the iron hand of
time; yet his, is an everlasting kingdom, which cannot be moved by
the revolutions of nations, but shall continue firm and unshaken
even amidst the crash of worlds. It was expected the Messiah would
deliver them from the Roman power; but mark, it was said, his name
_shall_ be called Jesus, for he shall _save_ his people (not from
their temporal oppressor but) from their sins.[33] Surely it must
be confessed, that earth's greatest conqueror, is far below him who
delivers from the bondage of sin and satan, which is the worst of
slavery. Yes, Jesus saves his people, the true Israel of God, from
the consequences and power of sin; from the former, by bearing the
punishment himself, and from the latter, by his Spirit implanted in
their hearts. The kingdom shall not be left to other people, but he
will constantly direct and order all its affairs, and he shall reign
and rule for ever.

  [31] Dan. ii. 31-45., vii. 1-27.

  [32] Isaiah xlv. 1-4.

  [33] Matt. i. 21.


     When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out
     of Egypt.--Hosea xi. 1.

We cannot entertain a doubt that this verse alludes to the call
of the children of Israel from Egypt, yet we are not to suppose
it refers exclusively to that event, but we are to behold it
pointing to Israel's Lord. Christ is said to be the husband of his
Church, and they are both called by the name of Israel;[34] and
this verse is only one amongst the many instances which occur in
the Old Testament. The patriarch Jacob, or (as he was surnamed by
God) Israel, went with his descendants into Egypt, for shelter and
sustenance in the days of famine, but they were afterwards cruelly
entreated four hundred years; from which state of oppression and
bondage, the Lord called and delivered them. In after ages Jesus,
God's beloved son, our Israel, was taken into Egypt, to avoid the
persecution of Herod; and when that tyrant was dead, God called the
holy child Jesus from that land of heathens, by the ministration
of an angel. In Egypt, Israel was first formed into a church; and
thither did the great head of the Church also go; and the Holy
Ghost, by the evangelist Matthew, has stated, that it was on purpose
to fulfil this prediction. That Jesus was as much the beloved of
the Father, when tabernacling here below, as when he lay in the
Father's bosom, cannot be doubted;[35] indeed, all the honours of
his mediatorial kingdom, are the fruits of his humiliation and
suffering. We hear him saying, "for this cause doth my Father love
me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again."

  [34] Isaiah xliv. 21., xlix. 3.

  [35] Matt. iii. 17. xvii. 5. Mark i. 11., ix. 7.


     Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk,
     they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was
     of sapphire: Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not
     known in the streets: their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is
     withered, it is become like a stick.--Lamentations iv. 7, 8.

In the Old Testament we find a description of the order of the
Nazarites and their laws; we discover a Nazarite to be one set
apart or separated for the Lord, either for a given time, as in the
case of a vow, or for life, as Sampson, who was a Nazarite from his
birth.[36] The order was one of Israel's glories; for the Lord when
enumerating some of the many honours conferred by him on the nation,
adds; "and I raised up of your young men to be Nazarites." They were
all so many types, pointing to the one great Nazarite, even Jesus;
whom it will not be difficult to recognise, under this description.
Jesus is the true Nazarite unto God, in the eternal council of
peace; he was set apart to accomplish the Lord's great work of
redemption.[37] Of him it can truly be said, he is purer than snow,
and whiter than milk: he, and he alone, is free from the least spot
or stain of sin: being "holy, harmless, undefiled, and _separate_
from sinners. The Church describes her Lord, "as white and ruddy;"
as the "altogether lovely and the chiefest among ten thousand." Yet
when tabernacling here below "his visage was so marred more than
any man's," and his "form more than the sons of men:" when seen in
our streets he had "no form, comeliness, nor beauty, that those who
saw him should desire him." This lamentation of the prophet was
called forth, by the state of misery and wretchedness, to which the
Chaldeans had reduced the nation; yet it had a peculiar reference to
him, who in after ages was known by the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
No doubt his having resided in a town of that name, was _one_ cause
of his having so universally obtained the appellation. We find it
used by the band of armed men when they came to apprehend him, and
by the maid-servant in the hall; Pilate affixed it to the cross;
the devils used it. It was also used by blind Bartimeus; by the
apostles, both before, and after their Lord's resurrection; by the
angels at the tomb, and by Jesus himself. And by the power of the
name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, was one lame from his birth made
to leap, arise, and walk.[38] We are told the word is derived from
Natzar, which signifies a branch; and is not Jesus described as the
man whose name is "the Branch?" yes, he is the branch out of Jesse's
root, whom the Lord has made strong for himself.

  [36] Numbers vi. 2, 3. 13. 18-21. Judges xiii. 5 7., xvi. 17.

  [37] Hebrews ix. 14. 2 Tim. i. 9.

  [38] The first who appears to have called our Lord, Jesus of
  Nazareth, was the Devil in the person of the poor maniac, and is
  it not probable that Satan influenced the minds of men to give him
  that distinction with a view to deceive them as to the place of his
  birth; which was not at Nazareth, but at Bethlehem?


     The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath
     anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek: he hath sent
     me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the
     captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
     to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of
     vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.--Isaiah lxi. 1,
     2, 3.

This is one of the many descriptions we meet with of the Messiah,
who is represented as being especially anointed to his office.[39]
We cannot be at a loss for a satisfactory proof of the fulfilment of
this prophecy, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. He did not come
forth unsent or unanointed. When he publicly entered on the great
work of his mission, he was anointed to the office by the visible
outpouring of the Spirit. We are told, that immediately after his
baptism in the waters of Jordan, the heavens were opened, and the
Spirit of God, as a dove, descended and lighted upon him; and a
voice was heard from heaven, saying, "this is my beloved Son, in
whom I am well pleased." Thus we hear the Father bearing testimony
to the person of the Son, and we see the Holy Spirit descending
and resting on Jesus. Thus, did the three persons of the glorious
Trinity, at one time, distinctly manifest themselves, and that at
the entrance of Jesus on his great work. It may be proper to observe
that, as God, he needed not the anointing of the Spirit, for in
him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. It was the human
nature of the God-man, Christ Jesus, that was anointed to the great
office of mediator, which work he had before, by covenant, engaged
to perform. To him, the Spirit was not given in a limited measure;
he is the "Wonderful Counsellor;" in "him are hid all the treasures
of wisdom and knowledge." It would be a recapitulation of a great
part of the New Testament, to shew the exact method in which this
prophecy was fulfilled. When the disciples of John came to Jesus,
to inquire if he really was the Messiah, he, as one confirmation
of the fact, told them that to the poor he preached the gospel.
Yes, we find Jesus, when on earth, spending a great part of the
three years and a half of his public ministry in journeying to the
towns and villages, publishing the "glad tidings of great joy," of
which angels were once the honoured messengers, namely, "Glory to
God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men."
The common people, we are told, heard him gladly. Jesus can, with
much propriety and justice, proclaim "liberty to the captive, and
the opening of the prison to them that are bound;" he can say, with
authority, "deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a
ransom." Jesus is also King in Zion, whose mourners he will never
fail to comfort; they can celebrate their Lord's mercies in the
language of the Church of old, "Sing, O heavens, and be joyful,
O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains; for the Lord
hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted."
We cannot find an instance on record of any persons who in their
trouble fled to Jesus when on earth, but whatever was the nature of
their distress, he always removed it. We also hear him proclaiming
the "acceptable year of the Lord," saying, Come now; even to-day,
if ye will hear my voice; "now is the accepted time, now is the
day of salvation." While he proclaims "the year of his redeemed,"
he does not neglect to publish "the day of vengeance of our God."
Though he delight in words of mercy and of comfort, he does not
shun to declare the whole counsel of God. As a faithful monitor, we
repeatedly hear him urging sinners to flee from the wrath to come,
and solemnly warning them of the fearful punishment awaiting those,
who reject the counsel of God against their own souls.[40] Nor did
he fail to speak in the strongest language of the miseries which
will be the portion of those, in another world, who, in this, reject
and disobey him. When Jesus read aloud this prophecy in the Jewish
synagogue, and declared it was that day fulfilled; we are told "all
the people bear him witness, and wondered at the gracious words that
proceeded out of his mouth." Every one who reads the history of
Jesus with a candid mind, must be constrained to acknowledge that
through every part of his active and eventful life, his conduct
manifested, that the "Spirit of the Lord rested upon him;" that his
was "the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel
and of might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord."

  [39] Psalm xlv. 7.

  [40] Hebrews x. 28.


     For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in
     all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou
     dash thy foot against a stone.--Psalm xci. 11, 12.

The psalm from which this is taken, describes, in glowing language,
the blessed state of those who have God for their refuge; but we
are not to limit the entire application of these verses to the sons
of men. We find they have a reference to the God-Man, Christ Jesus.
At his first entrance on the great work of his mission, he was for
forty days and nights tempted by Satan, during which time the devil
made use of every artifice to tempt and destroy him. Amongst other
schemes, he set Jesus on a pinnacle of the temple, and desired him
to prove his Godhead, by casting himself down from the height; for
he said, it was written that the angels of God had charge concerning
him, and in their hands they were to bear him up, lest at any time
he dash his foot against a stone. Jesus gave other proof of his
Deity than Satan desired: he told him he should not tempt the
Lord his God, and he also added "Get thee hence Satan, for it is
written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt
thou serve." It is an undeniable fact that when Jesus was on earth,
the devils knew his person and publicly acknowledged his Godhead.
Yes, angels and devils own his power; and shall the sons of earth
whom he formed from the dust, be the last to confess a truth which
is acknowledged by all in heaven and hell--by the wisest and best
created intelligences, and by the fallen angels, who were expelled
the heavenly mansions, and consigned to the lake of fire and
brimstone, for rebelling against the authority of the great Mediator
between God and man,[41] who was, in after ages, known by the name
of Jesus of Nazareth.

  [41] Daniel xii. 1. Revelations xii. 7.


     And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations
     shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the
     Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater
     than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts; and in this place
     will I give peace, saith the Lord of Hosts.--Haggai ii. 7, 9.

Haggai prophesied at that period of the Church's history, when,
after the return from the Babylonish captivity, the Jews built the
second temple: on which occasion, we are told the young men shouted
for joy; but the old men wept,[42] for they had seen the glory of
the former house, in comparison with which, the second was nothing.
But the Lord commissioned Haggai to inform them, for their comfort,
that the glory of the latter house should be greater than of the
former. It appears by the descriptions given us of the temple
built by Solomon, that it surpassed in grandeur and magnificence
all other buildings, which in any age have appeared to astonish
and delight the world. It has never been equalled, either as it
respects the grandeur of the design, or the richness of its internal
decorations; a great part was overlaid with pure gold. But these
were not the most glorious distinctions of the former house. It
contained the Ark, with the mercy seat and cherubim;[43] the Urim
and Thummim,[44] the spirit of prophecy,[45] the holy fire,[46] and
the Shechinah, or Divine Presence.[47] The Jews themselves must
confess that the second temple was destitute of these five signs,
which so eminently distinguished the first house. We hear nothing
of them after the Babylonish captivity. Well might the old men weep,
for Ichabod (the glory is departed) might with much propriety, have
been written on the walls of their newly erected temple. It was
afterwards considerably injured during the wars, but was repaired
and beautified by Herod; yet none, when speaking of the splendour of
the temple, can allow it to bear any comparison with the one built
by Solomon: yet the Lord hath said, "the glory of the latter house
should be greater than of the former;" and God is not unmindful of
his promises, nor has he ever neglected to fulfil them. We will
therefore endeavour to discover if this has not been accomplished.
We observe, that the Lord would first "shake all nations; and the
desire of all nations should come;" and then "would he fill the
house with glory." This promise was made shortly after the return of
the Jews from Babylon; which kingdom had been shaken to its centre,
as were also in succession the kingdoms of Persia and Greece. The
thrones and power of their kings had been subverted, the nations
almost annihilated; and Rome was the mistress of the world, when
Jesus, the "desire of all nations," appeared. Perhaps it may be
said, that few nations had even heard of the promised Messiah,
and still fewer desired his coming. But do not the guilty sigh for
pardon, the captives for liberty, the oppressed for a deliverer?
does not the debtor need a surety; the weary and heavy laden rest;
the diseased a physician; the young a guide; the aged a support;
the distressed a comforter; the hungry food; the thirsty water; the
ignorant an instructor; and the wanderer shelter? That these things
are desired by all people and nations, none can deny; but it is in
Christ alone we can find a supply for all our spiritual wants, and
a remedy for these, and a long list of unmentioned ills. In Jesus
there is a fulness to supply all our need. He has pardon for the
guilty, "liberty for the captive;" he is the "surety" of the debtor,
and the "physician" of the sin-sick soul; he will be a guide to
youth, and "even to hoar hairs he will be with them;" he is the
"water of life," and the "bread that cometh down from heaven;" his
"flesh is meat indeed," and his "blood drink indeed:" he will teach
the ignorant wisdom, and "deliver the oppressed;" he calls to him
the "weary and heavy laden," promising to "give them rest;" he bids
the mourner be of good comfort, for he will give "the oil of joy for
mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;"
and truly he is the refuge of the destitute. In short, it is only
in him, and from him, we can find supplies for all our spiritual
wants; with him is "life," "light," "liberty," and "joy." Surely if
all nations did but know him, all nations would love him too; for
he is justly described by the Church as "the altogether lovely, and
the chiefest amongst ten thousand." The fulfilment of the latter
clause of the prophecy, was literally accomplished when Jesus (the
second person in the revealed order of the Trinity), in our nature,
entered the temple. Surely that must be acknowledged a far more
glorious distinction, than the ten thousands of gold and silver
which ornamented the former house. Yea, it was a greater honour
to have the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, personally teaching
in the temple, than the five signs which constituted the greatest
glory of the former house. They were only intended to exhibit to our
view a God in Christ. The temple and its contents were but figures
of the things signified, even the Messiah. The second temple was
honoured not with types, but the person; not with the shadows of the
good things to come, but the substance, even Jesus, the Son of the
most High. At twelve years of age, Jesus was found in the temple,
in the midst of the Doctors of the Law, both hearing and asking
them questions. Often, in the days of his flesh, did he visit the
temple, and from within its walls, did he instruct the people, and
declare his divine mission. To those who deny that Jesus was the
Messiah, this promise must for ever remain unfulfilled; for the
second temple never did, either in its buildings, or decorations,
surpass, or even equal the glory of the former. It is now seventeen
hundred years since the second temple was destroyed, and all its
stones laid level with the dust. Thus are they reduced to the
alternative of representing God as failing to fulfil his promises; a
sentiment, it might be supposed, any man would shudder to advance,
and much less maintain. To those who receive "the truth as it is in
Jesus," there appears a beautiful harmony between the promise, and
the accomplishment; they can exclaim, truly did "the glory of the
latter house exceed that of the former," for it was honoured with
the personal presence of Jesus, the "Christ of God," "the Lord of
life and glory," "the prince of peace." Of whom, it may be justly
observed, that he is the only source from which true and lasting
peace can be expected without the fear of a disappointment; and this
"peace is made through the blood of his cross."

  [42] Ezra iii. 12.

  [43] Exod. xxv. 19. 20. 21.

  [44] Exod. xxviii. 30. Deut. xxxiii. 8.

  [45] 2 Kings xix. 14-37.

  [46] 2 Chron. vii. 1. 3.

  [47] 2 Chron. vii. 2.


     And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple,
     even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold,
     he shall come saith the Lord of Hosts.--Mal. iii. 1.

The coming of the Messiah was anticipated with much impatience
and pleasure by the Jewish nation, and particularly about the
time Augustus Cæsar was Emperor of Rome, in whose reign, it will
be remembered, Jesus was born. The period according to Daniel's
Prophecy being arrived, the attention of all classes of the people
was so excited by his expected advent, that when John came, "all
men mused in their hearts, if he were the Christ or not." But he
disclaimed all pretensions to being the Messiah, and pointed to
Jesus as the illustrious person, whose coming had been so long
foretold. We find many instances recorded, which prove the Jews
to have been on the look out for their long promised deliverer.
Aged "Simeon waited for the consolation of Israel:" it had been
revealed to him, by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death,
before he had "seen the Lord's Christ:" when the child Jesus was
brought into the temple, the aged prophet took him up in his arms,
and exclaimed, with holy joy, "Lord, now let thy servant depart in
peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation &c., &c." Anna the
prophetess, also, "spake of him to all that looked for redemption in
Israel." Frequently during the life of Jesus do we hear the people
exclaim,--surely this is "the prophet that was for to come." We
find the Priests and Levites, persons, it must be supposed, best
acquainted with the writings of the Old Testament, requesting Jesus
to tell them plainly, if "he were the Christ or not." The Lord whom
they "sought, suddenly came to his temple;" yet when "he came to his
own" nation, "they received him not," for their minds were darkened
by their false notions of a temporal king. This prophecy loudly
proclaims the Godhead of Jesus, for to ascribe a temple to any but
God is idolatry; a sin most strictly forbidden throughout every part
of the word of God. Jesus is also the Messenger of the covenant.
He publicly proclaimed the nature of the covenant ratified in the
Court of Heaven, between the persons of the glorious Trinity, even
the covenant of redemption, which is "well ordered in all things and
sure," and was concluded ere the hills were made, or the mountains
brought forth; when this "earth was without form, and void, and
darkness was upon the face of the deep."[48]

  [48] Prov. viii. 22-31.


     Nevertheless, the dimness shall not be such as was in her
     vexation, when at first he lightly afflicted the land of
     Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more
     grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in
     Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness, have
     seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of
     death, upon them hath the light shined.--Isaiah ix. 1. 2.

From the days of Malachi, the last of the prophets, until the
coming of John the Baptist, a period of four hundred and thirty-six
years, the Church was in a state of great darkness and apparent
desertion. This prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus resided, or
personally preached in the towns of Galilee; then, "the land of
Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond
Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness
saw a great light; and of them which sat in the region and shadow of
death light sprung up." Jesus is "the true light, that lighteneth
every man that cometh into the world." He is given to be "a light to
lighten the Gentiles and the glory of his people Israel." To whom we
would say, "Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of
the Lord is risen upon thee." For through the tender mercy of our
God, Jesus, the day-spring from on high, hath visited us, to give
light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death, and
to guide our feet in the way of peace. "Light and immortality are
brought to light by the gospel" of Jesus, who is himself the divine
fountain, or source from whence must emanate all spiritual light. He
is the light and the life of man; he came a light into this world,
that whosoever believeth in him should not abide in "darkness."


     Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of
     Jerusalem; behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and
     having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt
     the foal of an ass.--Zechariah ix. 9.

We have so striking an accomplishment of this prophecy, that it is
scarcely possible to imagine one can be found, who is unwilling to
point to Jesus and exclaim, Zion behold your King.

Was it ever known that any other king, except Jesus, made such an
humble entry into the city of Jerusalem, or indeed any city. No,
his was altogether the reverse of such processions. Here was no
herald to proclaim his approach, no charger highly caparisoned
to convey the Monarch, no royal purple or glittering attire to
distinguish him from the throng, or dazzle the unthinking crowds.
In himself and attendants, all was, to outward appearance, mean and
contemptible. Yet the minds of this vast multitude, were for the
moment so struck with the truth of his Messiah-ship, that with one
simultaneous shout, they make the air resound with Hosannas to the
Son of David; "blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord;
Hosanna in the highest." This is not the only instance of their
wishing to make him their king.[49] His disciples were impressed
with the common error, that he would establish a temporal kingdom.
After his resurrection we hear them saying, "Lord wilt thou at this
time restore the kingdom to Israel?" But no, his kingdom is not of
this world, else would his servants have been called on to fight for
it. The weapons of their warfare, are "not carnal but spiritual,
and mighty, through God, to pulling down the strong holds of sin
and satan." We do not hear that Jesus made one visit to the court
of monarchy, but many to the temple. The Roman authorities viewed
him with a jealous eye, and passed sentence on him for avouching his
kingly authority. It is worthy of remark, that the superscription
affixed to his cross, instead of declaring him an usurper, did,
in four languages, proclaim his innocence, and acknowledge his
authority--"Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews." Yes, the meek
and lowly Jesus--Jehovah has set as king upon his holy hill of Zion;
he is "King of Kings, and Lord of Lords." He is just, for "behold a
King shall reign in righteousness." He not only has salvation, but
he is Jehovah's salvation, to the ends of the earth. To him "every
knee shall bow, and every tongue confess," that "he is Lord, to the
glory of God the Father." It was a striking display of his Godhead,
in directing his disciples where to find the colt, and in overruling
the mind of the owner, to let the animal go only on their saying,
"the Lord hath need of him." Yes, he is the Lord of the whole earth;
"the beasts of the forests are his, and so are the cattle on a
thousand hills."

  [49] John vi. 15.


     Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of
     robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the
     Lord.--Jeremiah vii. 11.

An attentive reader of the New Testament, will easily discover
the correspondence between these words, and the circumstance of
Jesus driving the buyers and sellers from the temple; which action
deserves to be carefully considered. It may appear extraordinary,
that persons should have dared to make the temple of God the seat
of commerce, for it was still used as the high place for offering
the daily sacrifice. But it is probable that, at the first, persons
were allowed to bring for sale, into some of the outer courts or
inclosures of the temple, doves, and those animals the Jews used for
sacrifices; that persons who resided at a distance, and could not,
without considerable inconvenience, bring their sacrifices with them
to Jerusalem, might always be able to purchase such animals as they
wished to offer.[50] In after years, this privilege was abused, and
instead of a sale of animals exclusively for sacrifice, it became
the busy scene of commerce; and buyers and sellers, merchants and
money-changers, used it as the great mart for business. Thus a place
set apart for the worship of the Most High God, was made the general
rendezvous of men, whose only aim, was to get money, even though
it were at the expense of their religion. Such was the disgraceful
scene exhibited at the temple in the days of Jesus, who, indignant
at the sight, would not suffer it to pass unreproved. Having made a
scourge of small cords, he went into the temple, and drove before
him, not only, the herds of cattle, but the buyers and sellers
themselves; and even overthrew the tables of the money-changers,
and poured out their money. One would imagine the Man who was able
to drive so numerous an assemblage of persons from their long
accustomed (and to many of them lucrative) seat of trade, must have
been supported by the weight of the civil and military authorities
of the state; but it was quite the contrary: yea, even the Priests
who ought to have been most anxious to preserve the sanctity of
the place, were the first to oppose this cleansing of the temple.
Surely it must be matter of wonder, how this Man of Nazareth could,
unaided by human power, so easily accomplish a change fraught with
danger and difficulty: but such was the fact, and there appears
but one way to account for the prompt submission of those buyers
and sellers; which is, that, Jesus being both God and Man in one
person, his Deity was not on this occasion so much concealed beneath
the manhood, but shone forth with such majestic dignity, that none
dared to resist or dispute his authority. All were awed into quiet
submission to the command of the God-man Christ Jesus; when he said,
"take these things hence, and make not my Father's house, an house
of merchandise;" it is written, "my house, shall be called the house
of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves." Not only his acts,
but his words, proclaim his Deity. Jesus can with propriety call
God, Father, for he is his first begotten, well beloved Son, and,
as such, he has rule over his Father's house.[51] The disciples who
were observers of the event, struck at the display of his Godhead,
applied to him the words of the psalmist; "The zeal of thine house
hath eaten me up, and the reproaches of them that reproached thee,
are fallen upon me." If we except the miracle recorded by John, of
the armed men falling to the ground on the reply of Jesus, this
certainly is one of the greatest miracles he performed in the days
of his flesh.

  [50] Deut. xiv. 23-26.

  [51] John v. 22, 23.


     Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained
     strength, because of thine enemies; that thou mightest still the
     enemy and avenger.--Psalm viii. 2.

The manner in which this prophecy was fulfilled is very
interesting. When Jesus drave out the buyers and sellers from the
temple, we are told the children shouted hosannas to the Son of
David. The Chief Priests and Scribes were filled with indignation
to hear even children confess a truth they wished buried in eternal
silence; and, coming to Jesus, they said, dost thou not hear what
these say? But he mildly answered, "Yea, have ye never read, Out of
the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?" It is
more than probable that amongst the persons he had just expelled
from the temple, were the parents of some of these children; it
would not therefore have excited our astonishment so much, to have
found them mocking and reviling the man of Nazareth, as it does to
hear them shouting hosannas to the Son of David. There were none
of those gay distinctions in the person of Jesus, which so usually
please and delight children; all was as to outward appearance mean
and unattractive; yet their youthful hearts were filled with love
and admiration for the person of the Man, so generally treated with
contempt; and they as with one voice shout the praises of this Son
of David. Ought it not for ever to have put to silence the Priests
and Scribes, and all those bitter enemies of Jesus, when he gave
such clear proofs of his being the Messiah, that even these Jewish
children, could discover him to be the very person their parents,
from the first dawn of reason, had taught them to expect, as the
long promised deliverer of Israel, who should spring from David's
royal line.


     I have preached righteousness in the great congregation; I have
     not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest.--Psalm xl. 9.

It is said, to the immortal honour of Noah, that he was a preacher
of righteousness to the Old World:[52] but as the glory of the
latter dispensation far exceeds that of the former,[53] so is its
founder greatly distinguished from all the prophets and teachers
under the Jewish economy. We find Jesus actively engaged in
preaching his own gospel, whenever opportunity offered, free from
the trammels of form, and the circumscribed rules of human order.
We see him in the temple, and the field; in the synagogue, and on
a mountain; in the crowded street, and the wilderness; in the
house, and by the sea shore: at one time to the crowded throng, and
then to the little troop of disciples; now to learned rabbies and
rulers, and then to a few fishermen of Galilee; but in every place
and company he was a preacher of righteousness. He did not refrain
his lips from fear of man. He did not hesitate to publish doctrines
necessary to be known, because they were of a kind likely to be
ungraciously received. He shunned not to proclaim the whole truth;
whether men would hear, or whether they would forbear. Again, look
at him as a preacher of righteousness. All he taught was pure and
undefiled as the light of heaven. He did not flatter one vice, or
countenance one folly. He described sin as hateful to God, whether
in the priest or people, the ruler or the ruled. He taught the Jews,
who rested in the mere letter of the law, that it is of a spiritual
nature, "extending not only to the outward actions," but to the
"thoughts and intents of the heart." He inculcated obedience, not on
the narrow principle of self love, or to gain the praise of man; but
he insisted, that it can only be acceptable to God when springing
from a principle of love to God and man. He did not instruct his
hearers to keep a fair exterior only, but he went at once to the
seat of iniquity, the human heart; and declared that the fountain
must be first cleansed before the streams can be made pure. Again,
we behold him as a preacher of righteousness, declaring that "except
our righteousness exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees, we
cannot enter the kingdom of heaven." He taught that we must be
clothed with a better righteousness than our tattered rags, ere we
can be allowed to sit down at the "marriage supper of the Lamb,"
where all the guests are arrayed in "fine linen, clean and white,"
which fine linen is the "righteousness of the saints." This wedding
garment is provided by the Lord of the feast, and is the spotless
robe of Jesus's perfect and complete righteousness.

  [52] 2 Peter ii. 5.

  [53] Heb. xii. 18-24.


     I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of
     old.--Psalm lxxviii. 2.

We hear Balaam, the son of Beor, from the heights of Moab, attended
by an idolatrous king and prince, taking up his parable on the
multitudes of Israel. We also find many of the prophets of the Lord
in the different ages of the Church, presenting their Master's
message in the dress of parable. The sweet singer of Israel is here
said to open his mouth in a parable, and utter dark sayings, which
have been kept secret since the foundation of the world. But we are
compelled to pass by this son of Jesse, to direct our attention to
one who may not unaptly be styled 'the man of parables.' Jesus so
frequently used them in his discourse to the multitude, that it is
said "that without a parable spake he not unto them;" and who can
read his parables without exclaiming, "surely never man spake like
this man." His discourses are adorned with the striking force and
luxuriant imagery of the East. He made use of the most beautiful
language and elegant ideas, to impress on the mind a knowledge of
things which are not seen and spiritual, by similies drawn from
things which are seen and temporal. Who can read the affecting
representation of the pity and forgiveness God manifests towards
the ungrateful, rebellious, but afterwards penitent sinner, so
forcibly displayed in the parable of the Prodigal Son, without being
charmed at the happy simplicity that pervades the whole. Unlike the
productions of men, the words of Jesus, like the works of creation,
display new beauties on every attentive examination. They lose
nothing by a minute inspection--they are not mere empty words: at
every perusal they are increasingly attractive, and we discover that
the most sublime truths are taught, where, perhaps, at the first
reading, we beheld nothing particularly instructive or engaging.


     He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the
     lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall
     gently lead those that are with young.--Isaiah xl. 11.

The Messiah is here, and in several other parts of the old
Testament, held forth to our view under the character of a shepherd.
He is called, "Jehovah's shepherd," and to his care is committed
the safeguard of God's flock. He is described as "seeking out and
delivering his sheep from all places where they have been scattered,
in the cloudy and dark day." He is said to "seek that which was
lost," and to "bring again that which was driven away;" "to bind up
that which was broken; to strengthen that which was sick; to gather
the lambs with his arms, and carry them in his bosom;" "to make them
lie down in green pastures, and lead them forth beside the still
waters;" in short, to him are attributed all the kind offices of a
"good shepherd." It will not be difficult to recognise Jesus under
this description. On examining the New Testament, we find in it an
exact counterpart of this character. We hear Jesus describe himself
as "the true shepherd," who "calleth his sheep by name, and leadeth
them out, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice; but
a stranger will they not follow, for they know not the voice of
strangers;" "he knoweth his sheep, and is known of them, and they go
in and out, and find pasture." His watchfulness and power are such,
that he will not suffer any, either by surprise or force, to pluck
them out of his hands;[54] nor will he forsake them in the hour of
danger; "he fleeth not, because he is not an hireling;" and he will
eventually collect both the Gentile and Jewish flocks together, that
there may "be one fold,[55] under one shepherd." Nor shall one of
the least of the flock be missing; all "his sheep must pass again
under the hands of him that telleth them;" even the "good shepherd
who has laid down his life for the sheep;" and now liveth to watch
over, defend, guide, and supply the wants of his flock, from whom he
will withhold no "manner of thing that is good."

  [54] John x. 28, 29.

  [55] John x. 16.

Certain it is, this "Chief Shepherd" will punish[56] the unfaithful
hirelings "who feed themselves, but not their flocks;" "who have not
strengthened the diseased, healed the sick, neither have bound up
that which was broken, neither brought again that which was driven
away, nor sought that which was lost; but with force and cruelty
have ruled them." Therefore, O ye shepherds! hear the word of the
Lord; thus saith the Lord God, "Behold I am against the shepherds,
and will require my flock at their hands, and cause them to cease
from feeding the flock; neither shall they feed themselves any more."

  [56] Ezek. xxxiv. 10.


     And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the
     Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes,
     neither reprove after the hearing of his ears.--Isaiah xi. 3.

The deceptions practised by the human race are many and various.
With no other clue to discover the real character of individuals
than their professions and conduct, men are often led to form the
most unjust opinions; and frequent and lamentable are the mistakes
that arise. Falsehood often lurks beneath the warmest professions;
the guise of friendship is made to conceal the perfidious spirit,
the mask of sincerity is worn by the consummate deceiver, and man
becomes the dread and fear of man. Who can look at Jesus, without
being struck at the nice discrimination of character he discovered
in his opinions of the men by whom he was surrounded. He could
espy in Nathaniel "an Israelite in whom there was no guile." He
discovered that the ardent zeal and warmth of Peter's attachment
would induce him boldly to suffer death in his Master's cause,
although the denial of that Master loudly proclaimed him a faithless
coward. He could point out the perfidious Judas, fostered by the
eleven disciples as a bosom friend. He could detect the hypocrisy
and deceit that lay hid beneath the fair profession of the Scribes
and Pharisees; he knew their public conduct was not in unison with
the hidden man of the heart. He was not blinded by the semblance
of virtue; nothing false passed with him for genuine; he instantly
discovered the counterfeit, however well executed. Nor did the
sterling pass by unknown to him, though its exterior was defaced and
unattractive. He could look into the inmost recesses of the human
heart, and discover there the seat of iniquity, he could behold the
monster in his den, however ingeniously its exterior was adorned
by art, and bring to light the hidden things of darkness. In his
opinions there was no error; in his censures, no unjust severity--he
always judged righteous judgment; "for he judged not after the sight
of his eyes, neither reproved after the hearing of his ears." With
righteousness did he "judge the poor, and reprove with equity for
the meek of the earth; righteousness was the girdle of his loins,
and faithfulness the girdle of his reins;" and why? "Because my
thoughts are not as your thoughts, neither are my ways as your ways,
saith the Lord of Hosts."


     Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the
     deaf shall be unstopped.--Isaiah xxxv. 5.

Is it not highly proper, that those who profess to be intrusted with
offices of authority, should be able to exhibit the credentials of
their appointment, in order to be accredited? The prophet Isaiah was
commissioned to proclaim many of the marks by which the Messiah
should be distinguished. Amongst other signs "the eyes of the blind
were to be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped." Jesus of
Nazareth not only declared himself to be that long-promised Messiah,
but constantly exhibited, in the most public and open manner, the
credentials of his high official character, and confirmed his
claim to our belief by his numerous miracles. Could we inquire of
Bartimeus, who, of old, sat by Israel's way-side begging, who was
the skilful oculist that restored to his long sightless eyeballs the
power of vision; joyfully would he point to Jesus the Son of David,
as the gracious benefactor whose almighty word had again caused him
to behold the gladsome light of day. Might we hold converse with
him who had never beheld the cheerful face of man, whose eyes had
rolled in gloom and darkness, deprived of the sight of nature's
beauteous works; no doubt he would, with the same undaunted courage
he displayed before the Jewish Pharisees, declare that Jesus of
Nazareth had opened the eyes of one born blind. Nor were these the
only recipients of his Divine bounty. By his almighty voice the
deaf were made to hear: the 'ephphatha' of Jesus could "clear the
obstructed paths of sound, and bid new music charm the unfolded
ear," for it was the voice of one whose biddings were enablings.
When the disciples of John came to inquire of Jesus if he were the
illustrious personage so long promised, or if they were to look for
another, we are told, "in the same hour Jesus cured many of their
infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits, and unto many that
were blind he gave sight," and requested the disciples of John "to
return, and tell the things which they had seen and heard;" how
that "the blind saw, the lame walked, the lepers were cleansed, the
deaf heard, the dead were raised, and to the poor the gospel was
preached." To one so well instructed, as we may presume John to have
been in the writings of the Old Testament, he could not wish for
more satisfactory evidence to prove that Jesus was the Messiah. John
bore witness unto the truth, but Jesus "had greater witness than
that of John, the works which the Father had given him to finish,
the same works which he did, bore witness of him that the Father had
sent him."

That Jesus wrought miracles his enemies could not deny; but how
absurd they should attribute them to satanic influence. The Devil
is not wont to be a benefactor to our race; we should not expect
to find him lending his power to destroy his own kingdom, or to
benefit the children of men. The miracles of Jesus were not an
useless display of power, wrought to gratify idle curiosity, or
for sordid or ambitious motives; they were all designed to promote
some honourable or useful purpose, and were of the most benevolent
character, not unworthy the incarnate Deity whose pity for his
creatures is commensurate with his power. His miracles were numerous
and diversified; they were wrought openly, and proclaimed publicly;
not confined to one place: Jesus went about healing all manner of
sickness and disease among the people. The disciples were not the
only witnesses to these extraordinary events. Jesus was surrounded
by great multitudes when he healed the leper. Jairus's daughter was
raised to life in the presence of her friends and the mourners.
The Pharisees beheld the devil cast out of the dumb man--the whole
congregation in the synagogue witnessed the instantaneous cure of
the withered hand--four thousand, and five thousand men not only
beheld the miraculous increase of twelve loaves and a few small
fishes, but their bodies were refreshed by the plentiful repast. All
the people of Gennesaret sent to collect the diseased, so convinced
were they of the wondrous cures effected by a touch of the hem of
his garment. When in Galilee, great multitudes came unto Jesus,
bringing the lame, blind, dumb, and maimed, and he healed them all.
When the poor father's lunatic son was cured, multitudes witnessed
the fact. Jesus was surrounded by crowds when he gave sight to the
two blind men. The Chief Priest and Scribes saw the wonderful things
he did in the temple--driving out the merchants, and healing the
lame and blind. In the synagogue he cast out an unclean spirit. When
the widow of Nain's son was raised from the dead, much people of the
city were with her. The lawyers and Pharisees watched Jesus when he
cured the man of the dropsy. Many Jews were present when he called
Lazarus from the grave. Jesus was surrounded by his persecutors
when he healed the ear of Malchus. The enemies of Jesus witnessed
his miracles; they possessed every opportunity that incredulity
itself could desire, of examining the several objects on whom he had
displayed his omnipotent power: this circumstance, together with the
diversity of time and place, precluded all possibility of deception.
Peter boldly declared to the "men of Judah, and the inhabitants of
Jerusalem," that "Jesus of Nazareth was a man approved of God among
them, by miracles and wonders and signs which God did by him, in the
midst of them, as they themselves also knew." The intrepid disciple
feared no contradiction, it was a fact too clearly established for
any of that age to deny; and what madness is it for any in a later
period to cavil against a truth they possess not a single fact to
disprove. The more minutely the New Testament of our Lord Jesus
Christ is examined, the clearer do its marks of divine authenticity
appear. The exalted character of the Man of Nazareth requires only
to be known to ensure admiration. Who, that attentively considers
the sketch given of that model of all perfection, can imagine the
history of the Evangelist to be only a cunningly devised fable? The
schools of philosophy, with all their boasted learning and virtue,
could not conceive any thing half so refined, or so far exalted
above the most elevated of the human race. From whence, then, did
the beloved physician, the tax-gatherer, and the two fishermen,
obtain that beautiful model of holiness, presented to us in their
writings? They must have copied from life--they must have witnessed
the living character--those unlearned Jews could not have invented
so correct a likeness of incarnate Deity. Even if they had taken
the united virtues of the most eminent saints in the Old Testament
for their pattern, it would not bear a comparison with the artless
grandeur and majestic simplicity discoverable in this history of
the life of Jesus of Nazareth; which, it should be remembered, was
written at a time when the religion of the Jews was little more
than superstition; for the law of God was made void by the absurd
tradition of the fathers.[57] Yet no trait of false Judaism is
discoverable in the character of Christ. In short, the history of
the four evangelists is the very reverse of what might reasonably be
expected from ignorant men, who had strongly imbibed their nation's
bigotry and superstition. The gospels carry their own evidence,
and prove the men who wrote them not only had the example of Jesus
for their guide, but that they were divinely inspired.[58] They
have mixed up none of their own corrupt notions or false ideas, but
presented us with a book which is not unfitting the God of Truth to
acknowledge as his own.

  [57] Mark vii. 9. 13.

  [58] 2 Tim. iii. 16.


     Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the
     dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and
     streams in the desert.--Isaiah xxxv. 6.

Blessed Jesus, we behold thee surrounded by the diseased and
wretched. We see thee attend that seat of misery, the pool of
Bethesda, whose cloisters oft resounded the plaintive voice of
sorrow; for within its porches were assembled many of the sons
and daughters of affliction. Amidst the group was one, who, for
thirty-eight long years, had sighed over his poor enfeebled limbs,
and who oft had heard the joyful sound of Bethesda's agitated
waters. But, alas! this Angel of Mercy brought no healing balm for
his diseased limbs. Oft had he seen a companion in misery hastily
rush into the troubled pool; and beheld their diseased bodies
healed by one plunge into those sacred waters. Yet his slow, though
anxious steps, never reached its brink, until some happier object
had possessed its healing properties. His case attracted the kind
attention of Jesus, to whom, when questioned, he tells his tale of
wo. But hark! a voice is heard, "Arise, take up thy bed, and walk."
The astonished cripple no longer needs the friendly crutch, but
treads with ease and joy his gladsome path. Yes, beneath the porches
of Bethesda's pool, the Godhead of Jesus darts forth its clear
and splendid rays. Well might the fame of this wondrous Physician
spread, and multitudes of the afflicted press to share his favours.
Behold, amidst the numbers who throng his door, a poor paralytic
cripple, borne by four. Every effort to force a passage through
the dense crowd is fruitless. Faith does not easily relinquish its
subject, and the roof is even bared to admit this subject of misery
into the immediate presence of the Healer of diseases. Nor were
their efforts unsuccessful. One word from him does more than the
united skill of all earth's physicians; and he, who, a few moments
before, required a couch to support his palsied frame, is now seen
forcing his passage through the astonished multitude, triumphantly
carrying his own bed. Surely "it was never so seen before," even "in
Israel," that land so famed for miracles. Jesus not only wrought
miracles himself, but when he sent forth his disciples to preach
the everlasting Gospel, he gave them authority to work miracles,
in order to prove their commission to be from Heaven. We behold
these fishermen of Galilee, in the name[59] of their divine Lord
and Master, Jesus of Nazareth, healing all manner of sicknesses,
diseases, and infirmities; testifying both to the friends and
enemies of the crucified Jesus, that God was with them, indeed
and of a truth, so mightily did the word of the Lord prosper. The
blessings of the Messiah's reign are frequently exhibited to our
view under the simile of water. Jehovah promises, "when the poor
and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth
for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not
forsake them; but will open rivers in high places, and fountains
in the midst of the valleys." He will make the wilderness a pool
of water, and the dry land springs of water. Rivers of water in a
thirsty wild, are not more acceptable to the fainting traveller,
than the salvation of Jesus is welcome to the convinced sinner; to
such who believe he is precious. The conditions of obtaining it are
inscribed by the finger of God; we behold them written in legible
characters: "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters,
and he that hath no money, come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy
wine and milk without money and without price." Ezekiel, in vision,
beheld this holy water issuing from the temple of God. Its sovereign
efficacy was such, that whithersoever it flowed, healing and life
attended its course. John in the Apocalypse, describes it as the
"pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of
the throne of God and of the Lamb;" its banks adorned with continual
fruitfulness, and never-fading verdure. The salvation of Jesus is
also described as a "fountain which is opened to the house of
David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and uncleanness."
May _we_ know its purifying and refreshing qualities: may _we_ drink
deep of the living waters, which are "a well of water springing up
unto everlasting life." Jesus himself personally invites "all that
are athirst, to come unto him and drink."

  [59] Acts iii. 6.

This fountain of life, is not of recent discovery; the antedeluvian
world beheld it as a small rivulet, which continued to increase
as it flowed down the patriarchal age, widened under the Mosaic
dispensation, and became broader and clearer, as it warbled along
the prophetic course, and now displays itself as the grand and
majestic fountain of living waters, whose streams make glad the city
of our God.


     Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written
     of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is
     within my heart.--Psalm xl. 7, 8.

The psalm from which these words are selected, was written by David,
king of Israel, but never can they with justice be applied to him.
We dare not venture to imagine he acted agreeably to the will
of his God, in the matter of Uriah the Hittite; nor was the law
of his God ruling in his heart, when his pride led him to number
the children of Israel. But let us no longer dwell on the crimes
and failings of this (in one sense of the word) great man; let us
endeavour to discover some other, to whom it can, with more justice,
be applied. But, alas! if we search to earth's remotest bounds,
we cannot find, on this our globe, one to whom it may be applied
without deserving the charge of flattery. If permitted to extend
our search to the upper and brighter world, and allowed to inquire
of the inhabitants of those realms of bliss, if they had ever known
one of Adam's race, when sojourning here below, of whom it could
with truth be said, his delight was to do the will of his God, yea
that the law of his God was the constant ruling principle of his
heart;[60] struck at our want of discernment, they would exclaim
with holy indignation, was He so long an inhabitant of your world,
and do ye not know him? Have ye not read of his life, of his acts,
of his words, and ways; but above all, have ye not heard the oft
told tale of his death? Do ye now need to be reminded that the
words are a true description of the man ye call Jesus of Nazareth?
Yes, angels know him, and glory in their knowledge; with joy would
they tell us, that, with all their opportunities of observing his
conduct, they could never discover in him the least imperfection
or tendency to sin.[61] Yes, it is Jesus the son of David, and not
David the son of Jesse; who is here speaking, as other parts of the
psalm clearly prove. He alone could say, without presumption, "I
delight to do thy will, O my God: yea thy law is within my heart."
Jesus came from heaven to earth, to do the will of his Father who
sent him; even to accomplish the work of redemption, which is as
much the will and pleasure of the Father, as it is the delight of
the Son. His zeal was discoverable at twelve years of age, when
he was found in the temple, and, to the gentle reproof of Mary,
answered, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business;"
which he preferred before the refreshments of the body; yea, his
meat was to do the will of him that sent him, and to finish the
work. What devotedness marked his life! days of toil in travelling
and preaching were often succeeded by whole nights spent in prayer:
the returning sun found him again employed with the same unwearied
diligence in the work he had undertaken. We should do well to bear
in mind, that all Jesus did was voluntary. There was nothing, but
his love to God and man, which led him to engage in the work. There
was no compulsion, no obligation, it was entirely an act of his
own free will; nor did he enter on the covenant, ignorant of the
difficulties and sufferings connected with the work. He was well
acquainted with their nature, and extent; he had counted the cost
and weighed the price; and with a clear view of the immense load
of sufferings before him, did he, with cheerful promptitude, go
forth to the work. We cannot have a more striking exhibition of his
zeal, than in the reply he made to Peter; Jesus had been warning
his disciples of the circumstances of the death which awaited him;
but Peter could not bear the idea of his beloved Master's exposing
himself to so much suffering, and in the warmth of his attachment,
he exclaimed, "Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto
thee:" But Jesus said unto Peter, "Get thee behind me, Satan: thou
art an offence unto me; for thou savourest not the things that be of
God, but those that be of men." Is this the language of the man,
who, when he was reviled, reviled not again, and when persecuted,
he blessed? Can this be the answer of the meek and lowly Jesus to a
beloved follower, who only spoke with an intention to prevent his
Lord from suffering? Yes, it is; but Peter was little aware of the
momentous consequences connected with that death. The advice he
gave would, if followed, have been a more dire calamity than the
world had ever known, yea, even worse than the ruin brought upon
our race, when our first parents followed the counsel of that false
reasoner Satan. Jesus, well aware of the immense benefits resulting
from his expiatory death,[62] would not allow even a beloved
disciple to use one argument against his voluntary sufferings. How
different the conduct of Jesus, when Peter denied him! there was no
reproof, no upbraidings; but all was love and pity for the weeping
servant, to whom, after his resurrection, he gave many kind tokens
of his forgiveness. We are told, when the time approached that
Jesus should be offered up, he steadfastly set his face to go up
to Jerusalem, well known as the destined place of his sorrows. We
hear him saying, "I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I
straitened until it be accomplished." When Judas was about to betray
him, Jesus said, "what thou doest do quickly." His delight to do the
will of his God, was most conspicuous when the band of armed men
came to apprehend him, in the garden. He did not attempt to flee, or
endeavour to conceal himself from their pursuit. He did not shrink
from the danger even when so near; for it is said, Jesus knowing
all things that should come upon him, went forth to meet them; and
said, "whom seek ye," and when told Jesus of Nazareth, he said, "I
am _he_." There was no evasion, no reluctance, but he cheerfully and
freely delivered himself into their hands, and met with promptitude
the adversaries he had to encounter. When Peter, indignant at the
insults offered his Master, and anxious for his rescue, drew his
sword in the garden, and wounded the High Priest's servant, Jesus
mildly reproved him, adding, "the cup which my Father hath given me,
shall I not drink it?" Jesus could have commanded twelve legions of
angels to his rescue, yet he allowed himself to be bound, scourged,
and crucified as a malefactor. Not all the powers of earth and hell
combined, could have destroyed the body of Jesus, had he not given
himself up a voluntary sacrifice.[63] He had power to lay down his
life, but no man had power to take it from him. The human nature
of Jesus, when united to his divine person, became in a manner
omnipotent: unless he had freely consented, he could not have been
made the subject of their cruelty, but for that "cause came he into
this world." The active and passive obedience of Jesus has reflected
more honour upon God, than the unsinning obedience of men and angels
could have done to all eternity. The free and voluntary nature of
that obedience adds a beauty and lustre to the whole. "Then said I,
lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me." Moses
wrote of Christ: the whole of the Old Testament (if we except some
of the prophetical parts which relate to the then kingdoms of the
earth,) have a reference to the person, work, or church of Christ.
The ceremonies, institutions, and many of the characters, of the Old
Testament, are shadows, types, and figures of Jesus the Messiah.
Even the preceptive parts are not exempt. The great apostle of
the Gentiles speaking of the law, says it is a "schoolmaster, to
bring us to Christ." When from comparing our heart and conduct by
the perfect standard of God's law, we discover our short comings,
the law thus becomes a teacher, and shows us the necessity of an
interest in the salvation of Jesus. He could truly say, "I delight
to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart: How I
love thy law, it is my meditation all the day;" in fact, the law,
which is holy, just, and true, is merely a transcript of his divine

  [60] Psalm xiv. 1. Eccles. vii. 20. Rom. iii. 12.

  [61] John xiv. 30.

  [62] John xiv. 5.

  [63] John x. 18.


     I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my
     mother's children.--Psalm lxix. 8.

Ah, my Lord, I know this to be thy voice of lamentation, at the
unfeeling conduct of those, from whom thou oughtest to have received
the kindest attentions. Thou wast as "a stranger unto thy brethren,
and as an alien unto thy mother's children;" "for even thy brethren,
and the house of thy father, even they dealt treacherously with
thee." They cried "depart hence, and go into Judea, that thy
disciples also may see the works that thou doest, for there is no
man that doest any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be
known openly. If thou do these things, show thyself to the world."
"For neither did his brethren believe in him." No sooner did he
show himself unto the world, and multitudes thronged to behold his
miracles, but they cry, thou art beside thyself. From his chosen
friends, the disciples, he also experienced much unkindness and
ingratitude. During his unparalleled agony in the Garden, instead
of endeavouring to mitigate, and sooth his sorrows, they slept, as
if careless of his woes. He marked their conduct, and exclaimed,
"What! could ye not watch with me one hour?" In the time of danger,
"all the disciples forsook him and fled." When in Pilate's hall,
and surrounded by men who thirsted for his blood, Peter, with oaths
and curses, thrice denied his Lord and Master, who heard, and
cast a look of reproof, mingled with love, towards his faithless
disciple. Blessed Jesus, how few of the tender charities of life
were exercised towards thee, though thy heart, cast in nature's
purest mould, was not insensible to the kindlier feelings of that
nature. Jesus particularly testified his affection towards John,
that beloved disciple, who laid in his bosom. He also discovered the
tenderness of his regard towards the three highly favoured subjects
of his friendship at Bethany. The sight of the sorrowing sisters
at the tomb of their only and dearly beloved brother, his friend
Lazarus, excited the tenderest sympathies of his soul, and drew
tears from the eyes, and groans from the heart of Jesus. "Behold
how he loved him," exclaimed the by-standers. Let us not think it
beneath the dignity of the eternal Son of God, to have shared in the
sorrows of such a scene; rather let us rejoice, that we have an High
Priest, "who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and
that in all our afflictions he was afflicted." Was not this event
recorded to encourage us to present all our cares and trials before
him. The cry, "Lord, he whom thou lovest is sick;" will not, cannot,
be unnoticed by him who wept at the grave of Lazarus; for, though
he has changed his place, he has not changed his nature. As Man,
he can still sympathise with his people in all their sorrows and
afflictions. As God, he is ever able to extend his all-powerful arm,
and give the wished-for aid.


     They also that seek after my life lay snares for me; and they
     that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits
     all the day long.--Psalm xxxviii. 12.

Where shall we find the person to whom these words are so
applicable, as to Jesus. From the manger to the cross, he was
constantly encircled by men who were plotting his destruction. If we
trace the line from Herod, the Tetrarch of Galilee, to Pilate, the
Governor of Judea, we find that the enemies of Jesus were neither
few nor weak. We see marshalled against him, kings, priests, and
governors; Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees; the learned and the
wealthy; the noble and the peasant; the Jewish nation and the Roman
soldiery. No scheme that malice, iniquity, or falsehood could devise
or suggest, was suffered to escape; all were pressed into their
service, and made to bear against him. Every stratagem was resorted
to, that they might entangle him in his discourse, to form an excuse
for seizing his person. At one time, the Herodians are sent with
the question, "Is it lawful to give tribute to Cæsar, or not?" and
though they preface their inquiry with "Master, we know that thou
art true, and carest for no man, for thou regardest not the person
of men, but teachest the way of God in truth," yet he discovered
their hypocrisy; and who but must admire the Godlike wisdom that
sparkles in his bold reply? We next behold the Pharisees approach
with cautious step and flattering tongue, to ask his opinion of
the laws enacted by Moses for divorcement. On the other side, the
Sadducees appear to present their queries touching the resurrection
of the dead. However artfully their plans were laid, they could
not surprise or deceive Infinite Wisdom. Their next scheme is to
present before him a woman guilty of adultery, hoping, from the
known kindness of his character, that he would pronounce her pardon,
and then they could accuse him as a violator of the commands of
their great lawgiver, Moses, who ordered all persons guilty of
such offences to be stoned to death; but he, who knew what was in
man, could foil his adversaries, whilst he pardoned the trembling
penitent. "Let him that is without sin, first cast a stone at her,"
sent home to their conscience, proved the wisdom and Almighty power
of him with whom they were contending. Yet still his enemies spake
against him, and they that laid wait for his soul, took counsel


     For I have heard the slander of many; fear was on every side;
     while they took counsel together against me, they devised to
     take away my life.--Psalm xxxi. 13.

It is not infrequent that the envious and the profligate are found
speaking in terms of reproach of characters whose public and
domestic conduct are a beautiful portrait of all that is honourable,
amiable, and truly worthy of commendation. Yet persons will never be
wanting who can truly appreciate and highly esteem the fair edifice
of moral excellence, and bestow the just tribute of respect it
deserves. It is possible for men to be so far deceived by personal
prejudice, or swayed by the false opinions of others, that they
not only view with indifference, but even treat with contempt and
scorn, persons, to whom the Searcher of hearts will one day say,
"Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy
of thy Lord." Examples of these facts are not wanting, but we no
where behold so striking an illustration of this truth as in the
reception the Holy Jesus met with from the men amongst whom he
tabernacled. It must be confessed, that in the most perfect of the
human race there are defects and blemishes, to which even the eye
of friendship cannot be blind, yet in Jesus there was a freedom
from all evil either in principle or practice. He could be weighed
"in the balance of the sanctuary," and not found wanting either
to God or man. His actions, when measured by the just standard of
God's law, are pronounced perfect. Yet he, who was purity itself,
was not exempt from slander, but was called a gluttonous man, and
a wine bibber; a friend of publicans and sinners, an hypocrite, a
man of sedition and strife, a Sabbath breaker, and a violator of
all the laws of Moses. In scorn, they say, this fellow, and that
deceiver, thou art a Samaritan; a race of men held by the Jews in
the most sovereign contempt and hatred. By some, he is accused of
disloyal and traitorous conduct toward the rulers of Jewry; others
pronounced him guilty of blasphemy; and, to crown the whole, they
declare him to be a devil; yea, Belzebub, the chief of devils.
Blessed Jesus, thou didst, indeed, hear the slander of many. Every
action was viewed through a false medium. Thy acts of mercy became
an occasion of offence, and called forth the hatred of these
self-deceived men, and thy whole conduct was vilified and spoken of
in the harshest terms of disapprobation and scorn. Yet those ancient
slanderers and persecutors of Jesus, were not without their fears.
At one time, lest, from his growing popularity, the Romans should
take away their place and nation; at another time, the purity of
his doctrine becomes the source of disquietude. They all secretly
dreaded his power. Fear was on every side, while they took counsel
and devised to take away the life of Jesus. Pilate's wife could not
forbear expressing her fears; and Pilate himself illy concealed the
perturbation of his troubled conscience. How insufficient was water
to cleanse the polluted hands of that wretched governor, so deeply
stained with the blood of an innocent victim, sacrificed to his tame
compliance; and, to seal his awful doom, he soon after impiously
dared imbrue his hands in his own blood, and rush uncalled into the
presence of his offended Judge. How tremendous the situation of
Pilate when standing before the Judge of all the earth, even _that_
Jesus, he had unjustly condemned and crucified. How different the
scene from that when Jesus appeared as the despised Nazarene in
Pilate's hall. The mind shudders at contemplating the awful fate of
those who dare to lift their puny arms in rebellion against Zion's
King, and the language of whose hearts till death is, "we will not
have this man to reign over us."


     Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if
     there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me,
     wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the days of his fierce
     anger.--Lamentation i. 12.

These words are in some degree applicable to the mournful prophet
Jeremiah, but it will do no violence to consider them as referring
to Jesus, and to him they apply with tenfold force. Let us not
pass him by unnoticed, but let us "behold, and see if there be
any sorrow like unto his sorrow," who, by way of distinction, is
called "the Man of Sorrows." We see Jesus, attended by three of his
disciples, enter the garden of Gethsemane; we behold him withdraw
from them about a stone's-throw, and, kneeling down, pour out his
soul in prayer to God. Let us draw nigh to witness the scene, but
let us approach with awe and reverence, for methinks we are about
to tread on hallowed ground. Let the frame of our minds be solemn
and attentive, whilst we view a scene so mysterious and sublime. We
observe Jesus on his knees, begin to be sore amazed and very heavy:
yea, his soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death; and in the
bitterness of his spirit, we hear him cry out, "Father, if thou be
willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will, but
thine, be done." Being in an agony, he prays the more earnestly.
Thrice we hear him present the same petition. His agony becomes so
extreme, that he sweats great drops of blood, and so profusely,
that it even falls upon the ground. Struck at a sight so mysterious
and solemn, we turn towards the disciples for an explanation; but
lo, they are fallen into a deep sleep, although requested by their
Master to watch and pray. Desirous to ascertain the cause, we survey
the wondrous scene, but find no external marks of punishment. True,
the sufferings of the cross he viewed as near, but they were not
yet commenced; nor can we discover any one afflicting him. The
only visible object we perceive is an angel from heaven; but his
was an errand of love, for he strengthened him. It is therefore
quite clear, that it was from sorrow of soul, and not pains of
body, Jesus then suffered. We eagerly inquire what powers could
have had such influence over him, as to occasion so great anguish
of spirit? We are told, the powers of heaven and hell;[64] and we
immediately request to be informed, why the holy, harmless, and
undefiled Jesus, is thus the object of God's displeasure, and the
sport of Satan. We are directed to consult the records of truth for
an explanation of the scene. We examine, and find that Jesus had
voluntarily come forth, and offered himself as the surety of his
people, having placed himself in their room, and the curses of the
law taken hold upon him, his soul endured all the horrors of the
tremendous load of our guilt imputed to him. Would you behold the
awful consequences of sin; then go, visit Gethsemane, and see Jesus
prostrate in the garden. Mark the extreme anguish of his spirit.
What language is sufficiently strong to express the agonies of
his soul in that awful hour, when the conflict of his mind forced
through all the pores of his sacred body a bloody sweat; not merely
a drop or two, but so copiously as to fall upon the ground, and
that in the open air, in a night of such extreme cold, that, in the
crowded hall of the High Priest's palace, the servants found it
necessary to make a fire to warm themselves. We may well tremble and
stand amazed at a sight so awful and mysterious as the soul-agonies
of the God-Man Christ Jesus. "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass
by? Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto his sorrow,
which was done unto him, wherewith the Lord afflicted him in the
day of his fierce anger." Yes, the hand of Jehovah was in it, he
then stood up to punish the sins of his people, in the person of
their surety. It was also the hour and power of darkness, and
Satan then poured forth all his malice, and exerted all his fury,
to worry and destroy this Lamb of God; although Jesus declared,
the prince of this world had nothing in him, (_i. e._) no corrupt
principles or evil passions as materials on which to work; yet was
the soul of Jesus assaulted by all the malicious artifices of hell.
It is more than probable, that the great adversary overpowered the
three disciples with drowsiness, and caused them to fall into a
deep sleep, in order to keep every source of creature-comfort from
Jesus during this season of conflict and sorrow. In the garden of
Eden, did Satan gain his first triumph over apostate man; but in
Gethsemane's garden, did Jesus, as the representative and surety of
man, give that decisive overthrow to the power of sin and Satan,
which shook to its centre the throne of that arch-fiend.

  [64] Luke xxii. 53.


     Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat
     of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.--Psalm xli. 9.

     And I said unto them, if ye think good, give me my price; and
     if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price, thirty pieces of
     silver. And the Lord said unto me, cast it unto the potter: a
     goodly price that I was prized at of them. And I took the thirty
     pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the House of
     the Lord.--Zechariah xi. 12, 13.

Surely every one acquainted with the history of Jesus, as connected
with that of Judas, must acknowledge these remarkable verses to be
prophetical of the traitorous conduct of that betrayer of Christ.
They describe the base deeds of one of his followers. It was his own
familiar friend, which did eat of his bread, that lifted up his heel
against him. It was not an open enemy that did him this dishonour;
it was one with whom, for near three years and a half, he had daily
intercourse; during which period he had constant opportunities of
witnessing the miracles of Jesus. He heard his divine discourses, he
saw him display his power, and, in common with the other disciples,
did he receive the kindest treatment from his Master, to whose
person Judas publicly professed himself faithfully attached: yea,
"he was numbered with the apostles, and obtained a part in their
ministry;" but such was his hypocrisy, that the disciples were not
conscious of his real character. To his care they intrusted the
slender stock of money--Judas kept the bag. Though under the mask
of friendship he artfully concealed his perfidious spirit from the
eye of man, yet he could not deceive his Lord and Master. Jesus well
knew, amongst the twelve whom he had chosen to be his apostles, one
was a devil.[65] He knew this serpent, fostered in his bosom, would
betray him. Yet we behold the meek and lowly Jesus condescending to
wash those feet which were so shortly to run on an errand of the
basest ingratitude. Judas was unmoved by this act of unparalleled
humility; no kindness could soften his heart, by sin made hard as
adamant; for it appears he instantly arose and, though night (a
time best suited for such deeds of darkness), went to the Chief
Priests, and said unto them, if ye think good, give me my price;
so they weighed him thirty pieces of silver. For that paltry sum
did this perfidious monster sell his Lord and Master, and engage
to deliver him into the hands of his bitterest enemies; and then,
to conceal his base and treacherous conduct, he mingled with his
Master's family, and even dared to partake with them, not only of
the paschal feast, but of the Lord's Supper, which was instituted
immediately after the celebration of the feast of the passover. So
callous was the wretch to every feeling of remorse and pity, that
he could, unmoved and unrelentingly, even receive from the hands
of the innocent victim of his treachery, the symbols of the Lord's
bruised body, and blood-shedding. When Jesus mildly declared that
one of them would betray him, the faithful disciples, filled with
astonishment and grief at the bare intimation of such an act of
perfidy, each eagerly exclaimed, "Lord, is it I? is it I?" The
hardened Judas could join in the cry, and with all the effrontery
of a child of satan, appeal for a confirmation of his innocence;
but Jesus knew his treachery, though hid beneath the garb of
friendship. Alas, wretched Judas! how little didst thou enjoy thy
ill-gotten wealth! Thou hadst scarcely grasped the price of blood,
ere thou didst cast it from thee; before even the victim of thy
treachery was crucified, thou didst cut short thy race on earth, and
madly rush on the thick bosses of Jehovah's buckler; thou didst
terminate thy wretched course of sin here, to enter on thine awful
state of everlasting wo. Matthew the Evangelist informs us that
Judas hung himself, but in the Acts of the Apostles we read, that
he fell head-long, and all his bowels gushed out. These seeming
contradictions are easily reconciled, if we suppose, which is not
improbable, that he fell from the place whence he hung himself;
and thus a double mark of infamy was affixed to his body. What a
remarkable fulfilment of prophecy, in the purchase of Aceldama, that
potter's field of blood. Indeed, these verses of Zechariah look more
like the descriptions of a contemporary, than the predictions of one
who lived at least five hundred and eighty years before the events
narrated actually took place.

  [65] John vi. 70.

By the Mosaic law, if a servant was goaded by an ox, the owner
of the ox was to pay the master of that servant thirty pieces of
silver:[66] and for that trifling sum it was the blessed Jesus was
basely sold; he, whose price is far above rubies, and to whom all
the good things thou canst desire are not to be compared. But,
while we detest the treachery of Judas, let us be careful that
we do not commit the like act. Let us not salute Jesus with the
kiss of profession, while we are secretly in league with his worst
enemy, sin: which, of old, nailed Jesus to the cross. No wounds are
considered by him so severe, as those wherewith he is wounded in the
house of his friends.[67]

  [66] Exodus xxi. 34.

  [67] Psalm lv. 12.


     When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to
     eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.--Psalm xxvii. 2.

The Psalm from which this verse is selected, was written by David
king of Israel, when under the teachings of the Holy Spirit.
David unquestionably proved himself a mighty man of valour; and
by the help of his God did he overcome troops of foes; indeed, as
a warrior, he is surpassed by none. But still these words are not
strictly applicable to David; though he slew many by the sword; yet
we never hear that any of his unwounded enemies fell before him:
and we find but one solitary instance on record, of a body of armed
men falling to the ground, only on a single word spoken by their
adversary. The instance to which we allude, was an event which
occurred in the garden of Gethsemane, when a company of men went
to apprehend Jesus. We find a band of Roman soldiers, armed as for
war, (sent by the Chief Priest,) attended by their officers, and a
large concourse of persons, who were also provided with weapons,
lanterns, and torches, that they might secure Jesus, whom we see
coming forth to meet them, unarmed, and accompanied only by the
disciples. With all the dignity of conscious innocence, we hear
him inquiring whom they seek; when told, Jesus of Nazareth, he
mildly answered, _I am_;[68] but instead of instantly seizing their
prey, they go backwards, and fall prostrate on the ground. Is this
the conduct of Roman warriors? What was it which so soon relaxed
the nerves, and damped the bravery of a soldiery, famed for their
discipline and valour? It was not threats nor menaces; it was not
promises nor bribes; nor was it the sight of a company more numerous
than themselves. It was none of those causes which usually paralyze
the exertions of soldiers. Surely then there was an almighty power
accompanying the word spoken, for we find all this dismay and
consternation was occasioned only at the simple word of Jesus. Then
was that prophecy of Isaiah accomplished, who, when speaking of the
Branch out of Jesse's Root, said, "He should smite the earth with
the Rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips should he
slay the wicked." Truly they had cause for dismay; for they were
contending with none other than the glorious personage, the Great
I AM, who appeared to Moses at the bush; and the same power which
smote them to the earth, could, if he had pleased, deprive them of
life. Surely this must be acknowledged to be one of the greatest
miracles performed by Jesus in the days of his flesh, as it was
produced by apparently the slightest exertion of his power.

  [68] _I am._ The reader will observe the word _He_ is written in
  italics, to denote that it was not in the original, but added by the


     Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain
     thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers
     take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his
     anointed.--Psalm ii. 1, 2.

The whole of this Psalm is descriptive of the Messiah, and we are
not destitute of strong proofs to warrant our applying it to Jesus.
We find persons of different denominations and rank in society,
even kings, priests, scribes and pharisees, Jews and Gentiles, in
league to persecute and destroy an innocent individual. Of the Jews
we see Caiaphas the High Priest, at the head of the Sanhedrim, from
day to day in consultation on the best and most effectual methods
to secure and destroy the victim of their displeasure. Of the
Gentile party are Herod and Pilate, deputy kings or governors under
Cæsar, assisted by the Roman soldiers, seconding and consenting to
the plans of the Jewish rulers and people. We see these men forget
their national and personal animosities, to join in the scheme.
Yea Herod and Pilate, although at enmity before, on this occasion
lay aside their resentments, become friends, and act in unison.
But why "do these heathens rage, and against whom do these kings
of the earth set themselves," and wherefore all this consultation
and contrivance? Is it to secure a powerful tyrant, the scourge of
an oppressed nation? Is it to subdue an usurper who has arisen to
trample on and overthrow the existing authorities of the state;
or is it to bring to justice a wretch who has violated her laws,
and by his crimes and enormities become the dread and fear of his
race? No--but it is against the meek and lowly Jesus, who had never
refused to pay tribute to whom tribute was due, who had never
attempted to establish a kingdom amongst the princes of the earth;
but when solicited to do so, had ever checked the proposition, as
his kingdom was not of this world; he could challenge his bitterest
enemies to prove against him any violation of the laws, either of
Moses or Cæsar; nor did Jesus attempt to escape from them, but
was daily to be found either in the temple, or about the city or
its suburbs, attended by a handful of unarmed followers. There is
one circumstance which deserves particular attention, as it tends
to show the extreme warmth and rage of his persecutors. The night
Jesus was apprehended, was the very night the Jews celebrated the
passover: after which ordinance, the whole of the people were
forbidden to go abroad, or leave their houses until the morning.[69]
But so eager were these infuriated people to accomplish their plans,
that in opposition to this Jewish command, they go out to seize
Jesus, whom they take to the palace of the High Priest, where the
scribes and the elders of the people also assemble, to contrive
measures to get Jesus crucified. It appears more than probable that
they sat in council the whole night, as we leave them late in the
evening thus employed, and very early in the morning we find them
still engaged on the same subject. So soon as it is day, they lead
Jesus to the hall of Pilate. "But why do the heathen rage, and the
people imagine a vain thing? Against whom do the kings of the earth
set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together?" How sad their
mistake, if they imagined they were only planning the destruction
of a poor Jewish carpenter's son, when, in fact, their schemes were
against the Lord, and against his anointed. It was not from any
lack of evidence, that they denied Jesus to be the Christ of God.
The language he used on another occasion, is strictly applicable
to them, and to all those who do not acknowledge Jesus as the God
Messiah. "Many good works have I showed you from the Father; for
which of those works do you stone me? if I do not the works of my
Father, believe me not; but if I do, though ye believe not me,
believe the works, that ye may know and believe that the Father is
in me, and I in him." The plea of ignorance when the means of better
information are in our power, will only increase our condemnation.
We may all peruse the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make us
wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus, for
"all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly
furnished unto all good works."

  [69] Exodus xii. 22.


     False witnesses did rise up: they laid to my charge things that
     I knew not.--Psalm xxxv. 11.

Where shall we find one more unjustly accused, than Jesus. They
falsely declare him to be a blasphemer and seducer of the people.
His enemies, in order to give an appearance of justice to their
proceedings, (for they were determined to destroy him) proceeded
to call witnesses against him; a mock trial ensues before Caiaphas
the High Priest; but, though the witnesses are perjured, their
testimony agrees not together. They indeed _accuse_ him of having
threatened to destroy their temple and build it again in three
days; but they can _prove_ nothing. It is true, that Jesus, when
speaking of his death and resurrection, said, destroy _this_ temple,
and after three days I will raise it up again. But this he spake
of his body, of which their temple was a type.[70] It was the
honoured spot, in which the Lord met with and blessed his people,
and the body of Jesus was honoured as the dwelling place or temple
of the Lord of Glory. God did indeed dwell in an house of clay
which, agreeably to his own prediction, was laid low, even to the
ground, and, after three days, he raised it up again, without human
aid or art. These words are made the subject of their accusation;
but, the charge is so childish and ridiculous, that it deserves to
be treated with contempt. It is a little extraordinary, that they
did not bring against him the prophecy he had delivered of the
utter ruin which, before that generation should have passed away,
he had declared the Romans would bring upon their devoted city and
temple. But they cautiously refrain from speaking on that subject,
and proceed to accuse him of blasphemy, but here again they can
prove nothing. Caiaphas artfully enough, adjures the condemned, by
the living God, to tell him plainly, if he were the Christ, the Son
of God. To which question Jesus replies, by boldly declaring his
Godhead,[71] and saying, that hereafter they should see him coming
in the clouds of Heaven, as their Judge. The High Priest then rent
his mantle, and they pronounced him worthy of death. By the law of
Moses, persons guilty of blasphemy, were to be stoned to death.
The Jews being a conquered people, had not the power to inflict so
severe a punishment, they, therefore, take Jesus before the Roman
Governor, and vehemently accuse him of perverting the nation,
forbidding to give tribute to Cæsar, saying, that, he himself was
Christ a King, and that he stirred up the people, beginning from
Galilee to Jerusalem. But how false and unjust the accusation.
Cæsar, throughout his vast dominions, had not a more honourable or
obedient subject, nor one who by example or precept, better taught
the true interest of the king and nation. He, indeed, preached from
Galilee to Jerusalem, but not with words of sedition and strife,
for he stirred up the people to practise such a refined and exalted
system of ethics, that those of the far-famed heathen moralists
sink into insignificance and contempt, when their sentiments are
compared with the doctrines of morality as taught by Jesus and his
Apostles.--"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, and whatsoever ye would that men should do unto
you, do ye even so to them." He taught the people throughout all
Jewry, to "render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, and unto
God the things that are God's." He even wrought a miracle to furnish
the means of paying his own and disciples' tribute money. But we
cannot find an instance of his working a miracle to supply his own
necessities, although so poor that he had not where to lay his head.
He ever taught the Jewish nation and his Apostles, and through them
the world, to render unto all men their due, whether of tribute,
custom, or honour. He enjoined them to submit themselves to the
Powers that be, and, to obey the laws of their Sovereigns and civil
Magistrates so far as they might be in unison with the commands
of God. Although he spoke so freely of the duties of the subject,
he treated the great ones of the earth as men accountable to God,
for the talents entrusted to their charge. His Apostles, taught
by their divine Lord and Master, neither flattered the vices, nor
courted the favours of kings or nobles, for they were no sycophants.
Although the doctrine of Jesus was so pure and Godlike, and his life
displayed every virtue, (for in his spirit there was no guile) and,
is the only one amongst Adam's race, who was free from sin, yet
against him was the tongue of the slanderer busy, and calumny dared
to raise her voice. Yea "false witnesses did rise up and lay to his
charge things that he knew not."

  [70] John ii. 19-21.

  [71] Col. ii. 9.


     But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that
     openeth not his mouth. Thus, I was as a man that heareth not,
     and in whose mouth are no reproofs. Psalm xxxviii. 13, 14.

Does not the perusal of these words lead the mind back to the palace
of Caiaphas, and the hall of Pilate, when Jesus appeared there,
surrounded by his blood-thirsty persecutors, who, in the bitterness
of their malice, vehemently and unjustly accuse him of crimes his
soul abhorred. But, the meek and lowly Jesus heard their falsehoods
with silent composure. Their calumnies aroused no angry passions
in his spotless soul. Though conscious of the injustice of their
proceedings, he made no remonstrance. Even Pilate marvelled at his
silence, and exclaimed, hearest thou not how many things these
witness against thee? But Jesus answered not a word. He was "as a
deaf man who heard not, or as one that is dumb so he opened not his
mouth." Yet his silence was not the effect of sullenness, and,
though innocent of crimes alleged against him, he deigned not to
vindicate his character, nor did his noble spirit stoop to load with
reproach even his bitterest enemies. "Though reviled, he reviled not
again; in his mouth there were no reproofs." Jesus, aware of the
situation in which he stood as the sinner's surety, looked beyond
the bar of Pilate, to the Tribunal of God's Justice: for though no
sin was _in_ him, yet, by imputation, he was loaded _with_ sin.[72]
Though he was unjustly condemned to death by the Roman Governor, he
viewed the sentence gone forth against him in the Court of Heaven,
and, seeing the hand of the Lord in this matter, he was dumb, and
opened not his mouth, "because thou, O God, didst it." This is
discovered in the reply he made to Pilate's imperious question,
"Knowest thou not, that I have power to crucify thee, and have power
to release thee?" Jesus answered, "thou couldest have no power at
all against me, except it were given thee from above." Although
innocent of the crimes preferred against him, at Pilate's bar, yet,
Jesus knew that he stood charged before God, with the imputed mass
of his people's sins for which he had made himself responsible.
Is it not to this, we must attribute the otherwise extraordinary
silence Jesus manifested at the injustice of Pilate's sentence?

  [72] Isaiah liii. 6.


     My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore, and my
     kinsmen stand afar off.--Psalm xxxviii. 11.

How forcible and just the remark of the wisest of men, "that every
man is a friend to him that giveth gifts." But, in the day of
adversity, how few are treated with kindness and attention by their
former acquaintance and professed friends. At one time we see five
thousand, and at another four thousand persons, partaking of the
bounty of Jesus. Afterwards we behold a multitude following him;
but, he who knew their motives declared it was "for the sake of the
loaves and fishes." When he was so actively engaged in healing the
sick and diseased, from all parts they crowd around, and call him
Lord and Master; but, no sooner does the black cloud of adversity
lower over the head of this Benefactor of our race, than the
cringing throng depart; even his immediate disciples, who had shared
his friendship, forsook him, and fled at the very first appearance
of danger. So precipitate were they that they stayed not to inquire
or consider if mischief was likely to befal them, by their adherence
to their Master. Only anxious for their own safety, they leave him
alone and unprotected, to struggle with dangers and difficulties.
But one disciple is found in the hall of Judgment, and even he, with
oaths and curses, denies any knowledge of the despised Nazarene.
But, were none found to espouse his cause? Did not the recipients
of his bounty appear for his rescue? Were not those tongues whose
powers of articulation Jesus had restored, heard to plead for mercy?
Did not those eyes he had blessed with vision, with tears supplicate
compassion for their benefactor? Were not those withered arms he had
healed, upraised to shield from insult the giver of their strength?
Did not those he had delivered from the power of the grave, boldly
shed their hearts' blood to rescue, from the arm of cruelty and
oppression, the restorer of their life? No! Silent as the grave was
every tongue in his defence; no advocate was heard to plead his
cause; no friendly arm was outstretched to succour or support the
oppressed Saviour; "Lover and friends stood aloof from his sore, and
his kinsmen stood afar off."


     I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that
     plucked off the hair; I hid not my face from shame and
     spitting.--Isaiah l. 6.

For the fulfilment of this prophecy, we have only to go back to
the hall Prætorium, where we behold the blessed Jesus surrounded
by a band of Roman soldiers, who treat him with every species of
indignity. Not content with having scourged him, (a punishment
considered too ignoble to be inflicted on a free born Roman)[73]
they proceed to insult his Kingly Office. The purple robe, the reedy
sceptre, the crown of thorns, the bended knee, and the salutation,
"Hail, King of the Jews," are all used in mockery. What cruelty,
mixed with insult, was here; had sport only been intended, a crown
of reeds had sufficed. But no, it must be a crown of thorns, and
that not gently placed on his head, but its sharp points were
forcibly struck in. His Prophetical Office is next profaned, by
blindfolding and smiting him on the face, crying, prophesy who it
was that smote thee. They even dare to spit in his face, which by
every people is considered the greatest indignity that can be
offered, but especially so by the Jewish nation, amongst whom, if
a father did but spit in his daughter's face, she was treated as
unclean seven days.[74] The Romans were accustomed to present a
civic crown, composed of oak leaves, to him who had saved the life
of a fellow citizen, but when Jesus literally laid down his life to
save from everlasting death a countless multitude, whom no man can
number, of the citizens of earth, no such civic honours were awarded
him. When our first parents apostatized from God, the earth was
cursed for their sake, and made to bring forth briars and thorns,
but Jesus only, of Adam's race, was ever crowned with thorns. What
a spectacle for the angels of light to witness! The God of glory
insulted and mocked by worms of the earth! To behold that sacred
face, before which they were wont to bow with adoration and love,
covered with shame and spitting. But the season of sorrow and of
suffering is now past, and Jesus, the Son of the Most High, is
receiving the just reward of his sufferings and humiliation.[75]
That head, torn and lacerated by the rugged thorn, is now adorned
with many crowns, and that face, once obscured by shame and
spitting, now shines with refulgent brightness.

  [73] Romans xvi. 37.

  [74] Numbers xii. 14.

  [75] Isaiah xl. 10.


     He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and
     acquainted with grief; and we hid, as it were, our faces from
     him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.--Isaiah liii. 3.

     Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One,
     to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to
     a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also
     shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful, and the
     Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.--Isaiah xlix. 7.

Here again, we are called upon, to behold Jesus, exposed to shame,
reproach, and sorrow. "He was in the world, and the world was made
by him, yet the world knew him not." "He came unto his own, and his
own received him not." Though his visit was an errand of mercy, yet
he was treated as the offscouring of all things. "He was despised
and rejected of men, himself a man of sorrows, and acquainted with
grief; and we hid, as it were, our faces from him; he was despised,
and we esteemed him not." "Away with him; crucify him," was the
public cry. And to Pilate's question, whether of the twain will ye
that I release unto you, Barabbas or Jesus? they all, as with one
voice, instantly exclaim, "not this man, but Barabbas." Thus, he who
had been cast into prison for sedition and murder, was released,
and Jesus rejected. Yet it was "Jehovah's Holy One, the Redeemer
of Israel, the Mighty God of Jacob, whom man despised, whom the
nation abhorred, who was as a servant to Rulers." We may shudder at
the indignities offered to the Son of God when he tabernacled on
earth, and the thought may cross the mind, had I been present, I
would not have joined in opposing and insulting the meek and lowly
Jesus. Good, my friend, but allow me affectionately to remind you,
that if you are still at enmity to God by wicked works; if you have
not submitted your heart unreservedly to the Lord, nor accepted his
free offers of pardon and reconciliation, through the blood and
righteousness of Jesus; if you are not simply resting by faith on
the vicarious sacrifice of Christ, as the only propitiation for sin,
and trusting solely to his perfect, yet imputed, righteousness, as
the ground of your acceptance with God, you are, to all intents and
purposes, acting the like part, or even worse, than did the ancient
rejecters of Jesus, for you despise and reject the Redeemer of
Israel, amidst the full blaze of gospel light. "If he that despised
Moses' law, died without mercy, of how much sorer punishment,
suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under
foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant,
wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite
unto the Spirit of grace?" We know him that hath said, "Vengeance
belongeth unto me; I will recompense, saith the Lord."[76]

  [76] Heb. x. 28-30.

But let us not forsake our own mercies, nor longer despise and
reject the Christ of God, nor lightly esteem that salvation, to
purchase which, he was content to suffer ignominy and sorrow. Let us
bow with humility and reverence "before the Redeemer of Israel." Let
us bend the willing knee in adoration and gratitude before Jehovah's
Holy One, of whom thus saith the Lord, "Kings shall see and arise;
Princes also shall worship before him; the Gentiles shall come to
his light, and Kings to the brightness of his rising." "Nations, the
learned and the rude," shall bow before the Mighty One of Jacob,
fall prostrate to his all conquering grace, and call the Redeemer


     But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of
     the people.--Psalm xxii. 6.

Do we not here instantly recognise the language of the despised
Nazarene? And is not the whole Psalm a striking description of
his unparalleled sufferings, of his unprecedented degradation
and humility? He whose will formed the universal law of nature;
he who marshalled the stars, and called them all by name; who
bid the planets roll, and the sun to shine; who gave the orb of
day his splendid rays, and lent the moon her silvery light; he
whose word the congregated waters of the ocean felt and owned,
when he said, "hitherto shalt thou come, but no further, and here
shall thy proud waves be stayed"--he who shared the throne of
Deity,[77] and received the adorations of glorified saints, of
Cherubim and Seraphim, and before whose footstool even Gabriel
bowed and worshipped.[78] He whose right it was to reign in Heaven,
condescended to visit this, his distant kingdom, and tabernacle
here for a season in the garb of humanity. Surely, if the Lord of
Heaven and Earth deigned, for great and wise purposes, to enter this
lower world, it was undoubtedly his just right to have appeared in
all the majesty and splendour becoming his rank, and thus to have
displayed himself as the glorious God. Was it not a condescension in
the second person of the glorious Trinity to assume the character
and office of Mediator? But, how unspeakably great his condescension
in taking our nature into union with his Divine Person, even if it
had always retained the splendours exhibited to the three disciples
on the mount of transfiguration. Is there not just reason to believe
the human nature to which Deity was united, as far exceeded in its
native powers and faculties the rest of mankind[79]; as that the
intellectual powers of the justly celebrated Newton exceeded the
mental capacities of an idiot? We behold the God-man, Christ Jesus,
voluntarily waiving his just claim to glory, and appearing, as the
Prophet described, "without form or comeliness;" for in the eyes
of those who saw him "there was no beauty that they should desire
him." He was exposed to every species of scorn and contempt, his
name a reproach, himself an outcast, the sport and ridicule of the
Jewish nation. We discover Jesus, as the surety of man, cheerfully
lay aside for a season all his visible and personal glory[80], to
recompense the injury God's manifested glory had sustained by the
creature's sin. And as Adam the creature, sinned in aspiring to
be as God[81], so Christ, the Son of God, in making restitution,
condescended to assume the creature. The satisfaction of Jesus did
not consist merely in his obedience and sufferings, but also in his
abasement and humiliation. He emptied himself, as it were, of all
personal glory[82] to honour God, who, in the person of God the
Father, covenanted to maintain and demand the honour and dignity due
to Godhead.[83] The apostasy and disobedience of man had reflected
dishonour on God, therefore Jesus submitted to shame and reproach,
and to have his personal glory debased to make reparation. The lower
he humbled himself, the greater honour did he reflect upon God, and
the greater was the display of his love to man. When we consider the
character of him with whom it is no "robbery to be equal with God,"
and contrast the true dignity of his person, with his appearance
and reception on earth, we are overwhelmed at the extent of his
zeal for his Father's honour, and his love for the fallen race of
Adam, which prompted him to descend from the heights of glory and
blessedness to take the lowest rank, and most humbled situation[84],
in society, to raise and exalt his enemies to a participation and
share in the glories of his Heavenly Kingdom. Surely "this was
compassion like a God."

  [77] Psalm cx. 1. Zech. xiii. 7.

  [78] Heb. i. 6.

  [79] John vii. 46.

  [80] John xvii. 5.

  [81] Gen. iii. 5.

  [82] Phil. ii. 7.

  [83] Matt. v. 18.

  [84] Luke xxii. 27.


     He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his
     mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep
     before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.--Isaiah
     liii. 7.

It is scarcely possible not to see that it is Jesus who is here
held forth to our view. Who so oppressed and afflicted as he? Who
so patient under insult and tyrannical cruelty? Who so silent
under the voice of calumny? What lamb so patient under the hand of
the destroyer? He did not resist, he did not oppose; yea, he did
not even attempt to vindicate his conduct; but, with meekness,
gentleness, and cheerfulness did he hear, bear, and suffer, all
that malice could devise, or cruelty inflict. Although he bore
their unjust treatment without murmuring, yet his was not the
tame submission of one insensible of wrong, or incapable of

  [85] Matthew xxvi. 53.

Under the law, the lamb intended as a sacrifice was first taken
to the door of the tabernacle, that the priest might have any
opportunity to discover if it was free from blemish;[86] and Jesus
the Lamb of God was not offered as a sacrifice without being first
brought bound before the High Priest. But he, blinded by prejudice
and passion, neglected to perform this part of his office. Yet this
spotless lamb was not led forth for slaughter, before his purity
had been attested; and, though the Priest refused to do it, Herod
and Pilate gave their testimony to the fact, that in him they could
find no fault. He was perfectly free from spot or blemish. He alone
is the Lamb whose sacrifice can benefit either Jew or Gentile. It
would be easy to shew, that all other sacrifices were but typical of
this Lamb, viewed as slain from the foundation of the world; but, as
it is more connected with type than prophecy, it would be improper

  [86] Leviticus ix. 3. 5.


     He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall
     declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land
     of the living, for the transgression of my people was he
     stricken.--Isaiah liii. 8.

Here the Prophet presents us with another sketch, which so exactly
corresponds with many features in the sufferings of Jesus, that we
cannot well mistake, if we consider him as the person intended.
What supinness do we behold in the cause of truth, how faint are
the exertions to promote the Glory of God, to whom are we indebted
for all spiritual and temporal blessings. Surely, the disciples of
Christ, in every age, must blush to compare their want of zeal for
their Master's Glory, with the ardour and unwearied perseverance
displayed by the adversaries of the Lord. What exertion and
determination of purpose, is discoverable in the persecutors of
Jesus. If they cannot accomplish their object in one way, they
attempt it in another. If Annas or Caiaphas have not the power
(Judea being under the Roman yoke) to execute Jesus, his enemies,
nothing daunted, try Pilate and Herod, from whose tribunal, the
innocent sufferer is again conveyed back to the Judgment Hall of
Pilate, and eventually to Calvary. Thus was the blessed Jesus
led bound by his insulting persecutors, from place to place, and
compelled to walk many a wearisome mile, surrounded by an incensed
rabble, who thirsted for his blood. He was, indeed, taken from
prison and from judgment, but, who shall declare his generation.
We may trace his journeys and count the number of his years on
earth; but, we cannot name the period of time, when he first
began his existence; for he existed as God, from everlasting to
everlasting.[87] We hear the Jews saying "As for this fellow, we
know not whence he is." As man, we see him cut off out of the land
of the living. And the Prophets and Apostles, all join in stating,
that it was "for the transgressions of his people, he was stricken."
They again and again repeat the same sentiment. We are not left
with a solitary proof or two, on a subject of so much importance;
but it is written as with a sunbeam, throughout the whole canon
of scripture. We should never view the sufferings of Jesus,
but in connexion with the precious truth, that it was "for the
transgression of his people he was stricken."

  [87] Romans xix. 5. Hebrews xiii. 8.


     For dogs have compassed me; the assembly of the wicked have
     enclosed me; they have pierced my hands and my feet.--Psalm
     xxii. 16.

We cannot with any degree of consistency, apply these words to
David. It is true he was often surrounded by foes, and encompassed
by adversaries; but, never were his sorrows and sufferings of the
kind here described. By the spirit of Prophecy, he spoke of the
sufferings of Jesus, and to him alone can we with truth apply these
words, or indeed, the whole Psalm.

We see Jesus surrounded by men, who, for their ungovernable rage,
are not unaptly compared to dogs; and the assemblies before whom he
was brought, proved by their conduct towards him, that they were
unjust Rulers. What they called the Hall of Judgment, was, in this
case, the seat of injustice and oppression. On every side, did the
assemblies of the wicked enclose him; yea, they crucified him, by
which act they pierced his hands and his feet. Crucifixion was not a
Jewish punishment, but one used by the Romans, and they considered
it so disgraceful that it was not allowed to be executed on a
Roman, however heinous his crimes. It was only slaves, and persons
belonging to the conquered territories of the Roman Government,
who were sentenced to a death alike ignominious,[88] painful, and
lingering. It was shameful, as the condemned always suffered naked;
it was extremely painful, for they placed the sufferer on the cross
when on the ground, the feet and outstretched arms, were then nailed
to the wood, which being upraised, and one end fixed in a hole in
the ground, the sudden jirk occasioned the most excruciating pains
to the whole body. And when we consider that the nails were driven
through the palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet, the most
nervous parts of the body, the mind sickens at the thought, and is
unwilling to dwell longer on so distressing an object; humanity
sends forth a wish that death may speedily relieve the sufferer.
But, as no wound is inflicted on any part of the body absolutely
necessary to existence, the unfortunate sufferer often lingers many
an hour in this extreme agony, before the powers of nature are
exhausted and death closes the scene.

  [88] Hebrews xii. 2.

This is but a faint outline of the sufferings of crucifixion, to
which the Priests and Rulers sentenced the blessed Jesus, whom we
see going forth to the place of execution, carrying his own cross,
and fainting beneath the load. His unfeeling persecutors, fearing,
lest he should expire by the road, and thus disappoint them in their
cruel design, lay hold of a Cyrenian, named Simon, whom they compel
to bear the cross to Calvary, a spot, rendered sacred to memory by
the sufferings of Jesus, who humbled himself unto death, even the
death of the cross. Yes, he who could command a legion of angels to
his rescue, here submitted to a painful and ignominious death. Do we
hear the Prophet inquire "Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel,
and thy garments like him that treadeth the wine-vat?" Jesus
replies, I have trodden the wine-press alone; and of the people
there was none with me; and "I looked and there was none to help;
and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore, mine own
arm brought salvation." Whenever we look to the cross of Jesus, we
should eye him as "the surety of his people," as the "just suffering
for the unjust, to bring sinners unto God." It was for them he
wept, bled, groaned, agonized, and died. But while Christ crucified
is to the "Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness,
it is unto them that are called, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ the
power of God, and the wisdom of God." Jesus, that he might sanctify
the people with his own blood, "suffered without the gate." "Let us
therefore go forth unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach."
Jesus suffered a painful, shameful, and ignominious death, to
deliver his people from the bitter pains of eternal death. His
crucifixion is the procuring cause of their salvation; for he died
that they might live. Ought we not to admire and adore the wisdom of
our God, who could cause such invaluable good to spring out of what,
distinctly considered, was an act of such injustice and cruelty. We
see the persecutors of Jesus full of fury and indignation, executing
their cruelties on the innocent object of their abhorrence. But,
at the same time, we discover, that by their instrumentality, the
designs of God are accomplished. Not that their crime is in the
least degree lessened. No, the hatred, malice, envy, injustice,
rage, and cruelty, was all their own act and deed, and the sin and
guilt, consequent on the foul transgression, is with justice laid
to their charge. The moral evil of the act, is in nowise diminished
by the Lord's overruling it to accomplish his purposes and making it
minister to his glory. He can make "the wrath of man praise him, but
the remainder of that wrath he will restrain."


     My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far
     from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?--Psalm xxii.

If we would know whose language this is, we must by faith ascend the
hill of Calvary; there, taking our stand at the foot of the cross
of Jesus, we hear him utter the dolorous cry, "My God, my God, why
hast thou forsaken me." We do not find a word of complaint of the
pains and sufferings of his mangled body escape his lips. They are
borne in patient silence, the cruelties inflicted by the puny arm
of flesh, cannot extort a groan or a murmur from the holy sufferer.
This mournful exclamation, was not occasioned by the agonies of his
body. He was not incapable of feeling them in their highest extent,
(for his human nature was left to its infirmities, that he might
fully suffer) but he was so entirely swallowed up with the weight of
his Father's wrath; that it overwhelmed the sense of bodily pain.
Here again we are constrained to eye Jesus in the character of a
surety. He had become a surety for rebel man, and he truly smarted
for it. He felt the awful extent of the tremendous debt he had
engaged to cancel, he found the wrath of God "as an overwhelming
flood," as "deep waters in which there was no standing." At that
soul-appalling season, the phials of divine vengeance were poured
out, and he drank of the cup of trembling from the hand of the
Lord; not a sip merely, but he drank of it to the very dregs. He
felt by bitter experience that God's wrath is a consuming fire; for
by it, his "heart was melted like wax, in the midst of his body."
The sorrows of his soul, were occasioned by the sins of the world
imputed to, and charged upon, him, and for which he then endured
the wrath of God. Yes, in the six hours Jesus hung upon the cross,
he had to struggle with the sorrows of death and with the fierce
anger of God; he was forsaken by his Father, and suffered his
divine wrath, which indeed constitutes the tremendous curse. If the
thought should arise in the mind, how that Infinite Being who is
emphatically described as a God of Love, could find in his heart
to use such severity toward him, whom he styles "his only-begotten,
well-beloved Son, he in whom the Father is always well pleased,"
it should be remembered, that God sustains two relations towards
Christ; the love of a Father to him as a Son, and the claim of a
Judge toward him as a surety. Although God never expressed so much
anger toward Christ,[89] as when he hung upon the cross, yet in
fact, he was never so well pleased with him as then.[90] Yea, he
was more pleased with him, than he had been displeased by all the
sins that creatures have committed or can commit. It is true, mercy
is God's delight, but justice is his sceptre, whereby he rules,
governs, and judges the world. His attribute of wisdom, gives to
both their fullest demonstration and accomplishment. The plan
of reconciliation, the scheme of redemption, by Jesus; is God's
masterpiece: in which all his attributes meet, and harmonise.[91]
If we would know the abhorrence God bears toward sin, then we must
look at the cross of Jesus. There it is God has exhibited the
greatest manifestation of his hatred toward it, by his treatment of
him who became the sinner's surety. The drowning of the old world,
the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, together with the eternal
punishment of the miserable inhabitants of the bottomless pit; never
can display God's detestation of sin so forcibly, as the astonishing
events which once transpired at Gethsemane and Calvary. If Jesus
could not endure to be deprived of the light of God's countenance
for a few short hours; then how wretched the state of those who are
banished his presence for ever! Jesus well knew the blessedness of
God's favour; he could bear with composure, the utmost torments that
wanton cruelty could inflict; but he could not behold in silence,
the angry countenance of his Father, or endure to be deprived of the
refreshing presence of the Lord. Does not this display the love and
compassion of our Jesus, in a most endearing point of view, when we
behold him voluntarily submitting, not only to corporeal punishment,
but also to the curse and wrath of God for us, and for our salvation?

  [89] Zechariah xiii. 7.

  [90] John x. 17.

  [91] Psalm lxxxv. 10.


     Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that
     is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and
     the sheep shall be scattered; and I will turn mine hand upon the
     little ones.--Zechariah xiii. 7.

This verse, at the first reading, may appear involved in difficulty,
but a little attention will enable us to discover to whom it refers.
We hear a solemn call for a sword to awake. What sword? Surely it
can be none other than the sword of divine justice, which had so
long delayed to execute the punishment due to the violators of God's
righteous law. But against whom is it directed? Against fallen and
rebellious man? No, but against "my shepherd, and against the man
that is my fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts." The next interesting
question which arises, is, Who is this Shepherd? We answer, Jesus.
In the Old Testament, the Messiah is often discovered to us, in the
character of a shepherd, and in the New, we find every description
fully realised in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, who is the true
Shepherd of Israel. But why is the sword called upon to awake
against him? This may require a little history, but is easily
answered from the records of divine truth. Mankind in the person of
Adam their federal head, and since, each individual, distinctively,
has broken God's righteous law, not only the decalogue delivered
to Moses, but the law of nature; man owing all to his bountiful
Creator and Preserver, was, in point of common justice, bound to
render to his Lord the tribute of his love and gratitude. But who,
amongst the human race, can venture to stand forth, and appealing
to Omniscience itself, affirm, that he has "loved the Lord his God,
with all his mind, with all his soul, and with all his strength;
and his neighbour as himself?" No, it is in vain to endeavour to
conceal a truth God has declared so publicly; that by "the deeds of
the law, no flesh living shall be justified." Man having rendered
himself amenable to God's holy law, stands exposed to all its
awful consequences. But "be astonished, O heavens, and wonder, O
earth," to behold this great, this good shepherd, stand forth as the
voluntary surety of his flock, engaging to take all their guilt,
and its punishment, upon himself. Thus becoming responsible, for
all their mighty debt, having placed himself in their law room, the
sword of divine justice was called upon to execute its tremendous
punishment, (the punishment due to the whole flock) on the person of
their surety shepherd.

We would next direct our attention to the words, "The man that is
my fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts:" and trace their application
to Jesus. For proofs of his humanity, see him a babe at Bethlehem;
view him labouring in the occupation of a carpenter; trace the
innumerable instances given in the records of the Evangelists, of
his humanity; behold him exposed to all the infirmities of our
nature; see him enduring hunger, thirst, weariness, reproach,
privations, pain, sorrow, and suffering; yes, as man he wept,
groaned, bled, agonised, and died. As God, behold him giving sight
to the blind, making the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak, and the
lame to walk; cleansing the lepers, healing the sick, and all by
a word or touch; yea, at his command, the dead again sprang into
life, and devils themselves fled, or cried out for mercy at his
approach. When he issued his mandate, be it observed, there was no
exertion of physical power; and if he ever used outward means, they
were such as carried conviction to the mind of every beholder, that
the cure was not the effect of their application, but an exercise
of his power, who is truly "fellow to the Lord of Hosts." All the
essential attributes of God belong to Jesus: mark his omniscience in
the instance of Nathaniel,[92] "when thou wast under the fig-tree,
I saw thee." See him exercise his omnipotence at the lakes of
Tiberias and Gennesaret, in the two miraculous draughts of fish;
the one before, the other after his resurrection. In directing the
fish to bring the piece of money; in walking on the sea: and the
instances also, of his feeding five thousand persons from five
loaves, and seven thousand from four loaves and a few small fishes,
and it would appear that the fragments left, exceeded the slender
stock at the commencement of the repast. Behold his omnipresence
in the case of Lazarus, whom he declared to be dead although none
brought the tidings. Indeed the instances are numberless, in which
the unprejudiced mind may discover the deity of Jesus. It was
often manifested in his declaring the thoughts and motives, not
only of his immediate disciples, but of many who, under the guise
of friendship, were secretly endeavouring to draw from his lips
something which might give them a plea for seizing his person.
Yes, Jesus discovered himself to be the omniscient, omnipotent,
omnipresent, heart-searching God. Although his humanity and deity
are so closely united, yet they are easily to be discovered. See
the humanity sleeping, but behold the God arising and rebuking
the tempestuous winds and sea, which knew his voice and instantly
obeyed. Above all, behold his body carried from the cross to the
sepulchre, after having paid a debt, which the whole human race,
through the countless ages of eternity, were unable to discharge:
but it was fully cancelled by the man who is "fellow to the Lord of
Hosts," and as such see him bursting the bars of death asunder, and
arising, the triumphant Conqueror of death, hell, and the grave.

  [92] John i. 47-50.

The latter clause of this prophecy was fulfilled, when Jesus was
seized and hurried before his unjust judges; then the shepherd was
smitten, and the sheep scattered, as those who have no keeper; for
all his disciples forsook him, and fled.

The mighty conflict is now past; for the sword of divine justice,
which had long slumbered, awoke; and, guided by the arm of
Omnipotence, was dipped in the heart's blood of Israel's chief
Shepherd: the man who is "fellow to the Lord of Hosts."


     They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my
     vesture.--Psalm xxii. 18.

The circumstances attending the disposal of the garments of the
crucified Jesus, are in themselves trifling and insignificant,
but when viewed in connexion with this prophecy, it is no longer
a matter of little importance. It is equally necessary that the
small, as well as the great and conspicuous parts of prophecy
should be fulfilled; and it is highly satisfactory to trace, amid
the more minute events connected with the life and death of Jesus,
so striking a correspondence with the Old Testament prophecies
of the Messiah. In fact, if these were wanting, the whole, as an
evidence, would be incomplete. How satisfactory is it to find, in
this instance, the very raiment of Jesus become a witness for the
truth that he is the Messiah. It was not the disciples, or friends
of Jesus, who parted his garments among them, and cast lots upon his
vesture: but it was the Roman soldiers, who, ignorant of the Jewish
prophecies, could not be supposed to have divided the garments among
them in that particular way, for the express purpose of fulfilling
this prophecy; which might have been imagined, had it been the
disciples instead of the soldiers. These men, alike ignorant and
unconcerned about the fulfilment of prophecy, could not even be
anxious to possess the garments of Jesus from their intrinsic worth;
no, it was only the humble dress of a poor jew: nor were they led
to attach any particular value to the clothes, from love to its
late wearer, for whom they felt neither affection or respect. It is
probable they were severally desirous to possess some part of the
apparel, that they might exhibit it as a trophy that they shared in
the destruction of the King of the Jews.


     They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave
     me vinegar to drink.--Psalm lxix. 21.

It was not unfrequent that cordials or opiates were given the
unhappy objects sentenced to crucifixion, to blunt the severity of
their agonies, and shorten the period of their sufferings. But, at
the crucifixion of Jesus, no friendly hand presented the soothing
draught. When faint from loss of blood, and parched by burning
fever occasioned by excessive pain, the dying sufferer exclaimed "I
thirst;" a sponge is conveyed on a reed to his parched lips; but,
alas! it is absorbed in a liquid too nauseous, even for one in his
famished state, to drink. Unfeeling wretches! thus to sport with
the sufferings of such a distressed object; thus to mock the wishes
of one in the last agonies of death!

When the son of Jesse, in the cave of Adullam, longed, and said,
"O that one would give me to drink of the water of the well of
Bethlehem, that is by the gate," three of the mightiest heroes in
his valiant little band broke through the opposing ranks of the
Philistine's army, to fetch the wished-for draught; but when the
Son of God required the refreshment of a little water; when his
tongue, from very thirst, clave to the roof of his mouth, and his
strength was dried up as a potsherd, he was insulted with a mixture
of vinegar and gall. But little did the thoughtless multitudes who
surrounded the cross of Jesus imagine, that he was then drinking
to the very dregs, the wormwood, and the gall, of Jehovah's wrath,
which was far more bitter to his soul, than their offensive present
to his taste. He was then redeeming his church from hell, that black
abode of wo, whose wretched inhabitants are deprived of a drop of
water, to assuage their tormenting thirst: and the horrors of the
crucifixion were greatly augmented by the darkness that shrouded the
scene, when the meridian sun was enveloped in the gloom of night.
Blessed Jesus, though Lord of all, thou wast treated worse than
earth's meanest slave.


     With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with
     their teeth.--Psalm xxxv. 16.

     All they that see me, laugh me to scorn; they shoot out the lip,
     they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he
     would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in
     him.--Psalm xxii. 7, 8.

This prophecy is so exactly in accordance with the event, that one
could readily believe the royal psalmist had stood on Calvary's
mount, and literally recorded the insulting taunts and ironical
reproaches used by the despisers of the suffering Jesus. The men,
their actions, and the time, are exactly described, and even their
insulting language noticed, with a minuteness that precludes a
possibility of mistake. This disgraceful scene occurred at the
passover; at that feast, when Israel was commanded to remember
her Lord's mercies, in delivering her from Egyptian bondage; when
he slew the strength of Egypt's land, even from the first-born of
Pharoah that sat on the throne, to the first-born of the captive
in the dungeon. At that solemn festival, did those merciless
hypocrites discover (beneath the cloak of pharisaical sanctity)
the rancorous enmity they cherished in their hearts towards virtue
in its purest, loveliest form. But how void of every spark of
magnanimity must be the wretch who can sport with the feelings
of one writhing in all the agonies of death. How lost to all the
kindlier feelings of our nature, thus to exult over suffering
humanity. Surely the Chief Priests and scribes strangely forgot
their station and their pride, when they could stoop to join the
railing throng, and mingle their voice of mockery and insult with
the Jewish rabble. How little did they intend to honour Jesus when
they insultingly exclaimed, "he saved others, himself he cannot
save." But we admit the fact, and glory in the truth. He indeed had
then cured many a dire disease, and released some from the very
jaws of death: and in those very hours of sorrow, he was saving "a
countless multitude, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people,
and nation," who must inevitably have perished for ever, had he not
been content to suffer for them. But though he saved others, himself
he would not, yea, he could not, save. His honour was pledged in
the council of peace; he must fulfil the covenants he had engaged
to perform. God is not "a man, that he should lie; neither the son
of man, that he should repent:" "hath he said, and shall he not do
it?" or "hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" "Sing, O
ye Heavens, for the Lord hath done it; and shout, ye lower parts of
the earth, for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob and glorified himself in


     Therefore, will I divide him a portion with the great, and
     he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath
     poured out his soul unto death; and he was numbered with
     the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made
     intercession for the transgressors.--Isaiah liii. 12.

To whom but Jesus can we apply this. Do we not find him reckoned
with Barabbas, a traitor and murderer, and were not two thieves
crucified with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst?
Thus we behold him numbered with the transgressors, and bearing the
sin of many. All the Prophets, Evangelists, Apostles, Martyrs, with
the Church Militant, and the Church Triumphant, proclaim, as with
one voice, his death as the expiatory sacrifice, his blood as the
propitiation for the sins of his Church, and that he suffered, the
just for the unjust, to bring sinners unto God. He died to redeem
a countless multitude of the children of earth, who, freed from
sin and sorrow, will for ever shout victory, through the blood of
the Lamb. This is the great leading doctrine of the everlasting
Gospel. This is the sum and substance of the Old and New Testaments.
Thanks be unto God, for having given us line upon line, and precept
upon precept, on this momentous article of the Christian Faith. We
hear the blessed Jesus interceding for transgressors. Even when on
the cross he was not unmindful of his priestly office, but amid
all his personal sorrows and agonies, he did, as with his dying
breath, send in a petition to the Heavenly Court, for the pardon
of his murderers: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what
they do." This Great High Priest is now sitting at the right hand
of the throne of the Majesty in the Heavens, where "He is able to
save them to the uttermost who come unto God by him; seeing he ever
liveth to make intercession for them." The God-man Christ Jesus, is
now exalted to high and distinguished honours, on account of his
humiliation and sufferings, and his voluntarily pouring out his
soul unto death.[93] He had power to lay down his life, and power
to take it again, but no man had power to take it from him. He laid
it down of himself. Therefore, God will "Divide him a portion with
the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong." The Man
Jesus, now sits on the throne of Deity, and humanity participates in
all the honours paid to the second Person in the Glorious Trinity.
As he was openly put to shame on earth, is it not right that he
should here also be publicly rewarded? Satan, who so long had
reigned prince of this world, is now a conquered tyrant, his empire
is weakened, for Jesus has spoiled the principalities and powers of
darkness; and he will for one thousand years confine this destroyer
of our race, a captive in the bottomless pit.[94] In that bright day
of millennial glory, all shall know the Lord, and every tongue shall
call our Emmanuel blessed; and he shall reign a triumphant King over
earth's remotest bounds.

  [93] Ephesians i. 20-22.

  [94] Revelations xx. 2, 3.


     He keepeth all his bones, not one of them is broken.--Psalm
     xxxiv. 20.

The soldiers (at the request of the Jews, and the command of Pilate)
go forth to execute their last act of cruelty on Jesus and his
companions, having broken the legs of the two malefactors, they
approach the body of Jesus, but here they pause, hesitate, retire,
and leave his bones unbroken. Whence this mark of respect, toward
the object of their scorn and abhorrence? Why did not those voices,
which a few hours before rent the air with cries of "Crucify him,
crucify him," now urge the soldiers to commit the same act of
violence on the body of the dead, though despised Nazarene. To
what cause must we attribute this act of forbearance, on the part
of the by-standers as well as soldiers? Surely, to none other than
the over-ruling Providence of God. He who has the hearts of all men
at his disposal, watched over the body of Jesus, and preserved it
from that act of violence, "He kept all his bones, not one of them
was broken." How exactly was the prophecy fulfilled! How striking
a resemblance does the original bear to the portrait! The Lamb
slain at the Passover, was intended to exhibit to ancient Israel
a crucified Saviour. Of that typical Lamb, Jehovah expressly
commanded, "A bone should not be broken." Though the whole of the
flesh was to be consumed, yet not a bone was to be injured.[95] Does
not that solemn Jewish sacrifice, point us to Jesus, the "Lamb of
God, whose blood is able to cleanse from all sin;"[96] and applied
by the Spirit, will "purge the conscience from dead works, to serve
the living and true God."

  [95] Exodus xii. 46.

  [96] John i. 29.


     And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced.--Zechariah
     xii. 10.

One of the soldiers, with a spear, pierced the side of Jesus, and
forthwith came thereout blood and water. "He that saw it bare
record, and his record is true".[97] And we know that he saith
true, that ye might believe, that it is Jesus of whom the scripture
saith, they "Shall look on him whom they have pierced." There is
another and higher use to be made of this circumstance. Simple as
the fact at first sight may appear, yet it is the strongest proof
of the death of Jesus. If only blood had issued from the wound,
it would prove comparatively little. But, water was also seen to
flow from the side; which was either the small quantity of water
inclosed in the pericardium, in which the heart swims, or else
the cruor was almost coagulated and separated from the serum. If
it is to be attributed to the latter cause, it confirms what the
evangelist relates; that Jesus had been some time dead. But, if we
place it to the former, it is utterly impossible Jesus could have
survived the wound, even if given in perfect health. In either
case, it effectually proves his death. Not a reasonable doubt can
remain to suppose he was taken alive from the cross. May the act
of the soldier, (wanton and cruel as it certainly was,) convince
the infidel, that Jesus was not taken from the cross before life
was quite extinct; and may he be led to look on him "whom he has
pierced, and mourn." Blessed Jesus, may we often meditate on those
awful scenes, when the rugged thorn pierced thy sacred temples,
the nails thy hands and feet, the spear thy side, and the wrath of
God thy soul. And, while we eye thee as the just suffering for the
unjust, may we learn to abhor sin, which is so hateful in the sight
of a pure and Holy God, that the blood of his own well-beloved Son
was shed ere it could be pardoned. Is not the view of a suffering
Redeemer calculated to raise the Christian's confidence, even in
seasons of the deepest affliction?[98] May he not fearlessly resign
his spiritual and temporal concerns, his fondest hopes and most
anxious cares, to the guidance and wisdom of him, who so loved him
as to die for him? For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled
to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we
shall be saved by his life."

  [97] John xix. 34, 35. 1 John v. 8.

  [98] Romans viii. 32.


     I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their
     covering.--Isaiah l. 3.

Isaiah, or, as he is generally called, the Evangelical Prophet,
(from his writings referring more frequently to the person and
offices of Christ, than those of the other prophets,) when speaking
of his sufferings declares, that "The heavens shall become black
as sackcloth of hair." This figurative description was realised at
the crucifixion of Jesus. The sun at mid-day was eclipsed, darkness
covered the land, from the sixth to the ninth hour, which, by our
mode of computing time, was from twelve to three o'clock in the
afternoon. The Jews begin their day at six o'clock in the morning.
Perhaps it may be thought superstitious weakness, to imagine an
eclipse portended some great event? We reply, _this_ was not the
result of natural causes. It took place on the day the Jews killed
the Passover, which festival they were commanded, and always did
observe at the full of the moon;[99] therefore, it is evident, the
moon's shadow could not _then_ fall on the sun, for then they were
in opposition, or one hundred and eighty degrees apart; besides, a
total eclipse of the sun never lasts ten minutes, yet, this was a
total eclipse from the sixth to the ninth hour, so that darkness
covered, at least the whole land of Judea, for three hours, which
is contrary to the laws given by heaven's great architect, to these
his works. This extraordinary eclipse is noticed in profane history;
Dionysius, at Heliopolis, in Egypt, said of this darkness, "Aut
Deus naturæ patitur, aut mundi machina dissolvitur."--Either the
God of nature is suffering, or the machine of the world tumbling
into ruin. It was a supernatural event, and designed to show, that
when Jesus stood forth as the surety of his people, he felt all the
dread punishment due to them. Man, by his rebellion, has not only
forfeited all spiritual blessings; but to temporal mercies also
he has no claim. When Jesus, as our Head and Representative, bore
the curse due to our sins, he was deprived of the cheering rays of
heaven's great luminary, which was but a faint resemblance of the
withdrawing of the light of God's countenance.[100] Behold the awful
effects of sin, although it was only _sin imputed_ to the Son of
God. Yet, the lamp of day withdraws his shining, as if sickening
at the sight. Unable to behold the astonishing event, he hides his
head, and shrinks back, as if unwilling to shed his beams over a
scene so tremendously awful. The event might also be designed to
show the darkness of the Mosaic dispensation, which was then for
ever to be done away. It was but a shadow of good things to come;
but light and immortality are brought to light by the gospel. Jesus,
the Son of Righteousness is arisen, with healing in his wings; and
darkness, and its attendant superstition, shall flee away as the
shadows upon the mountain's brow, on the appearance of the majesty
of day in the rosy east. As the sun in the natural world is the
source of light and heat, such is Jesus to the spiritual world; he
is the Light of Life, and there is not a ray of hope or light to
cheer the rugged path of sorrow, but what must emanate from this
Fountain of Light; even amidst seasons of health and prosperity, all
is darkness and gloom within, unless the soul is enlightened by his
all-gladdening beams.

  [99] Exodus xii. 2. 6. 18.

  [100] Mark xv. 34.


     And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his
     death; because he hath done no violence, neither was any deceit
     in his mouth.--Isaiah liii. 9.

It is usual, amongst many nations, for the bodies of those who
fall by the hand of the public executioner, not only to be denied
the rites of burial, but to be exposed to marked contempt. Though
Jesus made his grave with the wicked, yet it was also with the rich
in his death. Crucified at Golgotha amidst two thieves, he shall
receive an honourable burial. All the Evangelists have recorded the
circumstances of his interment, and nobly distinguished the name of
Joseph of Arimathea, for the marked respect with which he treated
the body of the despised Nazarene. Timidity kept him from before
publicly acknowledging his attachment to Jesus; yet it is remarked,
though a member of the Sanhedrim he consented[101] not to the deed
and counsel of those who condemned the Lord of life and glory.
Fully aware of the contempt and scorn affixed to the followers of
the crucified Jesus, his noble, disinterested spirit now led him
resolutely to face it all; to rescue, if possible, the body from
further abuse and dishonour. He went boldly unto Pilate, and begged
the body. His request is granted, Pilate having ascertained from the
centurion, that Jesus had been some time dead. Joseph is now joined
by Nicodemus, (who at first came to Jesus by night,) and these two,
high in rank and office, the one an honourable counsellor, the other
a ruler of the Jews, are busily engaged in paying the last sad
tribute of respect to the remains of their dear departed Lord. One
having provided an hundred pounds weight of spices to embalm the
body after the custom of the Jews, and the other supplying the fine
linen, they proceed to deposit the body in the sacred chamber of the
tomb. The receptacle of this mighty dead was not the royal mausoleum
of Judah's kings, but a new sepulchre, hewn out of a rock, in Joseph
of Arimathea's garden. There laid they Jesus, where never man before
was laid. No funeral pomp or pageantry of state, that solemn mockery
of wo, adorned his funeral procession. Though its attendants were
few, yet the tears of affection and love bedewed his mangled body,
and the voice of lamentation and sorrow reverberate through this
solemn vault of death. How was the mighty fallen! That arm, then
motionless in death, ne'er did a deed of violence; that tongue,
whose universal law was kindness, was then silent as the grave;
and that mouth, in which deceit ne'er found a place, was closed by
the iron hand of death. Behold here "an Israelite indeed, in whose
spirit was no guile." Surely the grave never before contained such
a prisoner. Its triumphs were complete, when Jesus was brought into
the dust of death.

  [101] Luke xxiii. 50, 51.


     The days of his youth hast thou shortened: thou hast covered him
     with shame. Selah.--Psalm lxxxix. 45.

Blessed Jesus! we behold thee cut off in the prime of thy days, in
the meridian of thy strength, and in the vigour of manhood. Thy
body was not worn by disease, nor decrepit by age; but thy bones
were full of marrow, and thy bow abode in strength, when, little
more than thirty-three years old, thou didst cheerfully resign thy
body to the cold arms of death! The periods of the incarnation and
crucifixion of Jesus, are very particularly marked by the sacred
historians. His birth was in the year that Augustus Cæsar, Emperor
of Rome, issued his decree for taxing the Jewish people; after
which event, he reigned nearly fifteen years, and was succeeded
by Tiberius, his adopted son. It was in the fifteenth year of his
reign, that Jesus, who was then about thirty years of age, entered
on his public ministry. By the Mosaic law, none were allowed to
minister in the priest's office, until thirty, nor after fifty
years old.[102] Jesus was not of the tribe of Levi, but Judah; yet,
as the priesthood centred in him, it became him, when fulfilling
all righteousness, to submit to this Jewish command. From the
writings of the Apostle John, we can pretty clearly determine the
public ministry of Jesus to have been three years and a half, that
Evangelist having marked in the period four Passovers (annual Jewish
festivals); one was celebrated not long after the baptism of Jesus,
and two others are also recorded before the one at which Jesus was
crucified; that memorable one when "the days of his youth were
shortened, and he was covered with shame." A noble mind is far more
sensible of shame, and feels it more acutely, than the body can any
corporeal punishment, however severe. Yet Jesus, who possessed true
nobility of spirit, was exposed to shame in all its varied forms.
His companions were unlearned fishermen, publicans, and sinners;
his character was vilified--he was accused of vices and crimes of
the most odious nature, and his very name was a stigma of reproach.
At his trial, he endured shameful indignities. The Jewish nation
even preferred having a traitor and murderer restored to liberty,
rather than Jesus. He was publicly scourged, spit upon, buffeted,
and crucified as a malefactor. The only type of his crucifixion was
the brazen serpent, and amidst all the irrational creation of God,
the serpent only is pronounced accursed.[103] The circumstances
attending the crucifixion, were of the most degrading and
humiliating nature. Jesus suffered naked--his companions were two
thieves. The spot was Golgotha, a place strewed with the unburied
sculls of criminals. Nor were these things done in a corner, but at
Jerusalem, the chief city of Jewry. The time chosen was the feast
of the Passover, when all the Israelitish males[104] were wont to
repair to the royal city, and thus became spectators of the shame
and dishonour cast upon this despised man of Nazareth, "who for the
joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despised the shame,
and is for ever set down at the right hand of the Majesty on High."

  [102] Numbers iv. 3.

  [103] Gen. iii. 14. John iii. 14.

  [104] Exod. xxiii. 17. Deut. xvi. 16.


     Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet
     we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But
     he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our
     iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with
     his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray;
     we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid
     on him the iniquity of us all.--Isaiah liii. 4, 5, 6.

"I pray thee, of whom did the Prophet speak these words?" was the
inquiry of an Eunuch of great authority under Candace, Queen of the
Ethiopians, when reading this chapter. Philip replied by beginning
at the same scripture, and preaching unto him Jesus. To him alone
can we apply the whole chapter. In every part it bears so striking
a resemblance, that it appears more like a history written by a
contemporary, than the prediction of a Prophet who lived at least
seven hundred years before the character described. These verses are
more valuable than fine gold--they are the key of knowledge--they
open to our view a work of immense wisdom and benefit--they make
us acquainted with the counsel and plans of Jehovah.--By them, a
circumstance in the moral government of God, which was before dark
and mysterious, is now bright and attractive.--They shed a glorious
light on the person of Jesus.--By them we understand why he who was
"holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners," was treated
with such contempt and cruelty. We no longer see this part of God's
moral government, as "through a glass darkly." The veil which is
cast around his designs is withdrawn, and the glorious scheme of
redemption bursts forth to our astonished senses, sparkling with
wisdom, justice, mercy, and love. By them, we are taught that
Jesus suffered, not for any sin of his own, but for the sins of
his people. The prophet is particular on this point. The life and
conduct of Jesus proved him exempt from all the corrupt principles
and evil passions of the children of men. He alone is free from
imperfection, and his character forms the most perfect model of all
that is lovely, amiable, and exalted. In him was no sin, and even
the unjust judge who delivered him for crucifixion, was compelled
to declare he could find nothing worthy of death against him; no,
nor yet Herod, for he had sent Jesus to him. No doubt both Herod
and Pilate examined his conduct with eagle-eyes, and gladly would
have discovered, if possible, something which might give them a plea
for condemning a man who so publicly declared himself the Messiah.
The Jews had looked forward to his coming with much pleasure, for
they considered he would deliver them from the Roman yoke, under
which they then groaned. The slightest shadow of guilt would have
been sufficient for the purpose of these partial Governors, and
it deserves observation, that Jesus was brought before them on a
charge of perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to
Cæsar, saying that he was Christ, a King. But they can prove nothing
against him, for the more his character is examined, the brighter it
shines; and they are compelled to confess, "they can find nothing
worthy of death against him." Pilate, from a clear conviction that
Jesus was innocent, proposes to release him; but finding that he
would draw on himself the malice and hatred of the priests, like
a time-serving judge, he gave sentence as they desired, and in
the same moment in which he declared he could find no fault in
Jesus, did he deliver him over for crucifixion. Yet Pilate could
not conceal the horrors of an accusing conscience; sensible of the
black injustice of his conduct he took water and washed his hands
before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this
just person, see ye to it." The people said, "his blood be on us,
and on our children." In what court of judicature shall we find such
another instance? We believe, in none. Never did any one suffer
more unjustly than Jesus, if viewed as a private person; but these
verses teach us to look upon him as the sinner's surety. Man, from
his original corruption and actual transgression, is justly exposed
to the condemnation of the law he has so much dishonoured. "All we
like sheep have gone astray, we have forsaken the Lord's ways, and
turned every one to his own ways." "We have all done that which we
ought not to have done, and have left undone that which we ought
to have done, and there is no health in us." We have no just plea
why the sentence, "let the wicked be turned into hell, and all the
nations who forget God," be not executed on us. We must lay our
hand upon our mouth before the tribunal of God, who is an impartial
and righteous Judge, for we justly deserve the curses of the broken
law to fall on us. The Divine Being (be it spoken with reverence)
cannot, without injustice to himself, and dishonour to his law,
(which is holy, just, and good,) allow the guilty to go free. Man
must suffer the punishment consequent on his offences, or God must
lay aside his justice, which is impossible, for it is an attribute
essential to his existence. The debtor must suffer, unless some one
be found to discharge the debt for him.

    Die he, or justice must; unless for him
    Some other able, and as willing, pay
    The rigid satisfaction, death for death.

    PARADISE LOST, b. iii.

But where shall we find the man who can, by any means, "redeem
his brother, or give to God a ransom for his soul?" Nowhere; it
is quite impossible for any mere man to deliver his own soul, and
much more the soul of another. An angel, or all the mighty hosts of
angels, cannot do it; they are the creatures of God's power, and
consequently finite; and therefore cannot satisfy the justice of
God, which is infinite. The mind of man could never have discovered
a proper person. Human intellect is utterly unable to the task; it
is incapable of soaring to such a height. But though man cannot find
a surety, God has pointed one out, even Jesus, his own well-beloved
son, who is the second person in the revealed order of the trinity;
with him it is "no robbery to be equal with God;" for he is one with
the Father, as touching his Godhead. Yet this great and glorious
Personage voluntarily engaged to become the surety of his people;
to expiate their guilt by suffering all the punishment due to
them for sin.[105] In the fulness of time, this great head of his
church left the joys of Heaven, and the praises of adoring saints
and angels, to tabernacle on earth. Having veiled his glory beneath
the human nature, which he took into union with his divine person,
he came forth to accomplish the work he had, from the foundation of
the world, covenanted to perform. As the surety, representative, and
head of his people, he submitted to endure all the curses of the
moral law they had broken. The Lord having accepted him in their
place, and laid (by imputation) their iniquities on him, he also on
him laid their punishment. Nor was it a mitigated punishment; he
bore the whole weight of wo due to them. It is true, he did not go
into hell, which was a part of the sentence denounced on guilty man;
but he was not exempt from the buffeting of Satan. He was exposed to
his malice in the garden; and when on the cross, he might be said
to be in Satan's territories; for he is declared to be "the Prince
of the power of the air," and having shot forth his most fiery
darts, he appears to leave the scene of conflict like a triumphant
conqueror, for his adversary is beheld breathless on the field of
battle. Jesus needed not to descend into those abodes of wo to feel
their sorrows, for he is heard to exclaim, that the pains of hell
had got hold upon him. It is not the place, but the extent, and the
kind of suffering, which constitutes misery; and Jesus felt it in
a much greater degree, than even the miserable inhabitants of that
wretched place, where hope never enters. They suffer for themselves
as individuals, but he endured the weight of wo for a multitude so
great, that no man can number them. Theirs are the sufferings of
creatures, his was the sufferings of the infinite Creator; and this
it is which gives such value, efficacy, and dignity, to all he did
and suffered. His were the actions of one of Adam's race, for it was
the children of earth who had rebelled, and whom he came to redeem;
but what renders it beneficial to man, is that he is both God and
man in one person. This union stamps a value upon his work: Jesus,
by the dignity of his person, has made full satisfaction; yea, his
sufferings have more than compensated for the indignity offered to
God by sin. It has given a greater honour to God's holy law, than
could have been done by the unsinning obedience of men and angels
through time and eternity, for Jesus perfectly fulfilled all the
commands of the moral law, and by that obedience he exalted, and
made it honourable, and then suffered the penalty it denounced on
the violators of its precepts. All his active and passive obedience
was performed as the head of his people, and for their benefit.
"Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we
did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was
wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes
we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned
every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity
of us all." We must look beyond the Roman governors, soldiers, and
the Jewish priests and people, to behold sin, as the great cause of
all the buffetings, wounds, bruises, pains, and sorrows, of Jesus.
This was the fruitful source of all his wo. Would you behold the
justice of God? then look at the suffering Jesus, and remember that
it was not _his own_, but _imputed_, guilt. Would you know the mercy
of God, and see a display of his love to man? then look at Jesus.
Let it sink deep into your heart, and may your soul be influenced
by the truth, that "God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life." "For God can be just, and yet the
justifier of him that believeth in Jesus." "He that believeth in him
is not condemned; but he that believeth not, is condemned already;
because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son
of God." "For there is none other name under heaven given amongst
men, whereby we must be saved." "He that believeth on the Son,
hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son, shall
not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." In the work
of redemption by Jesus, we behold "mercy and truth meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other."

  [105] John x. 18.


     For thou wilt not leave my soul in Hell, neither wilt thou
     suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.--Psalm xvi. 9, 10.

These words are not applicable to David, for after he had served
his generation, he fell asleep, and his body, interred in the royal
sepulchre of the kings of Judah, which was in the city of David,
saw corruption. The sentence "dust thou art, and unto dust shalt
thou return," has, for many a generation, been accomplished on
Jesse's Royal Son. The remains of this mighty monarch cannot now be
distinguished from those of earth's meanest slave. They are alike
mingled in the dust of death, and must remain hid from the eye of
man until the archangel's trump shall sound, and the command be
given, Arise, ye dead, and come to judgment. The hell (in Hebrew,
scheol) here alluded to, cannot be that place of torment, prepared
for the devil and his angels, from which a soul never did or
will escape. When once consigned to that abode of wo, there is a
great gulf fixed, even the unchangeable decree of Omnipotence; a
barrier stronger than walls of brass, and cannot be surmounted, or
destroyed.[106] The word here rendered hell, (in the Greek, hades,)
is the same as the Jews, before the Babylonish captivity, used for
the grave, and is the sense in which it must be here understood.
This verse is prophetic of the resurrection of the Messiah; which
doctrine is taught in many parts of the Old Testament, by type,
figure, and prophecy; in the New, we behold it clearly confirmed
by the resurrection of Jesus. The circumstances attending this
great event are repeatedly described, and the evidence clear and
conclusive. The witnesses to this important fact are not few; both
enemies and friends unite in giving their testimony to his death
and resurrection. The soldiers having taken the dead body of Jesus
from the cross, his friends deposit it in the tomb. We cannot but
stop here, and admire the overruling hand of Providence in the more
minute circumstances connected with the interment of the body of the
Redeemer. The sepulchre was hewn out of the solid rock. No access
could be gained to it but by one opening, on which a ponderous stone
was placed, a seal set thereon, and the entrance strictly guarded
by Roman soldiers. But wherefore all this care and attention over
the dead body of one crucified at Golgotha? It is by order of the
High Priest and Pharisees, who had requested Pilate to allow them to
make the grave sure, as Jesus had declared he would rise again after
three days. They, fully convinced of his death, and disbelieving
his divinity, fear that the disciples should steal the dead body of
their Master, and declare that he had risen; and thus the last error
would be worse than the first. But we have cause to rejoice that
they used so much caution, for it tends to establish the truth, and
confirm the testimony, of the disciples. It fully proves the death
and burial of Jesus, and that the body did not remain in the grave.
On the first day of the week, certain women of the company hasted
early to the sepulchre, to embalm, after the custom of the east,
the body of their beloved Master; but lo, to their astonishment and
grief, it is gone! They indeed see the place where the Lord had
lain; for an angel, by an earthquake, had rolled away the stone; at
whose appearance the keepers became as dead men; but to the women,
filled with sorrow and surprise on not finding the body of their
Lord, this heavenly messenger proclaimed the resurrection of that
Jesus whom they sought. And as they run to tell the disciples, Jesus
himself met them, saying, All hail! and they held him by the feet,
and worshipped him. Some of the watch, also, went into the city,
and told the Chief Priests all that was done; who, having assembled
a council, give large sums of money to the soldiers to say, that
the disciples came by night, and stole him away, whilst they slept.
This report, though commonly believed amongst the Jews until this
day, will not bear examination. The more we consider this tale,
the clearer will the fact of the resurrection of Jesus appear. If
the body was _indeed_ stolen, why are the soldiers allowed to go
unpunished for their neglect, as they say it was stolen whilst they
slept. We should not expect to find a Roman sentinel asleep at his
post of duty, for their military discipline was the most severe in
the world. Even if the soldiers had fallen asleep whilst watching
the entrance of the sepulchre, it appears impossible for a number
of persons to remove so ponderous a stone without considerable
noise and bustle, or to pass among the guards without awaking some
of them. But even allowing the body to have been gone whilst they
slept, how could they possibly know, that it was the disciples who
had taken it? But is it at all probable, that a few timid disciples,
who had fled from their Master on his first apprehension, should now
dare to go, in the face of a guard of Roman soldiers, justly famed
for their courage, and attempt to steal, and much more to carry off,
the body! Let it be observed, that though the disciples had hoped
Jesus "had been he who would have redeemed Israel;" yet, when they
saw him laid in the grave, all their hopes that he was the Messiah
fled, for the minds of the disciples were strongly tainted by the
Jewish prejudice, that the Messiah's would be a temporal kingdom.
Their dreams of earthly splendour now vanished, and they were about
to return to their occupations in common life; in fact, some had
done so. Is it reasonable to imagine that the others would engage
in a plan fraught with danger, for the sake of obtaining the body
of one, in whom they began to imagine themselves deceived? Besides,
what advantage could they hope to gain by such a scheme? What end
was it designed to answer? They could not expect to keep the act
concealed; and if discovered, they were fully convinced it would
bring upon them the severest punishment. But if, as the soldiers
proclaimed, the disciples did steal him away, why are these handful
of fishermen allowed to retain possession? Why did not the Chief
Priest, at the head of the Jewish Sanhedrim, supported by the Roman
authority, instantly compel them to surrender the body? Why are
not these men of Galilee brought to a judicial tribunal, examined,
and openly punished, that the truth of the soldiers' tale may
bear even the _appearance of_ fact? Surely this neglect is most
extraordinary in men who had shown such vigilant care over the body
when in the tomb. The more we examine the conduct of the parties,
the more inconsistent does the Jewish tale appear. It is evident,
the disciples were as ignorant as the rest of the nation, as to what
the resurrection from the dead should mean. Jesus had again and
again preached the doctrine, yet they were at the first as backward
as his enemies to believe the fact, and discovered much unbelief
on the first tidings of the great event. The incredulity of all of
them is a strong presumption, that as they did not expect Jesus to
rise from the grave, so neither did they steal the body, and falsely
proclaim their Master risen. We have a still further confirmation
of the fact from the events that followed. In the interval of forty
days, between his resurrection and ascension, Jesus appeared to
many of his disciples, and showed himself alive by many infallible
proofs; the women who went early to their Lord's sepulchre, were
first honoured with the sight of the risen Redeemer. He afterwards
appeared to the two sorrowing disciples as they walked to Emmaus,
then to the eleven as they sat at meat with the doors closed, and,
eight days after, he again appeared to them, when the incredulous
Thomas exclaimed, "My Lord and my God!" He also showed himself to
the seven disciples who were fishing at the sea of Tiberius; after
that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; and,
though some had fallen asleep, yet, when the Apostle wrote, the
greater part were then alive, and could testify to the truth of
these things. How "vain the watch, the stone, the seal!" the grave
could not contain the prisoner. Jesus burst the bands of death,
and arose the triumphant victor. It was necessary that he, as the
Head and Representative of his church, should conquer death and the
grave for them. He died "that through death he might destroy him
that had the power of death, that is, the devil." He laid in the
grave that he might subdue the power of the grave. He, as a surety,
became subject unto death as a part of the curse; but, having paid
the full ransom, justice demanded his release. Having satisfied
the demands of the law, it was right that he should be honourably
acquitted. Though "delivered for our offences, he must be raised
again for our justification." The resurrection proves his atonement
was accepted by God as fully adequate to all the requirements of
justice, and declares him to be the Son of God with power. It is
by reason of the incapacity of the damned in hell, to take in the
full measure of God's wrath due to them for their sins, that their
punishment, though it be eternal, yet never satisfies; because they
can never endure all as Christ could, and did; theirs is truly less
than what Christ underwent; and, therefore, his punishment ought
not in justice to be eternal, as theirs, because he could more
fully satisfy God's wrath in a few hours than they could to all
eternity. By his complete satisfaction, the costly, inestimable
price of redemption is paid, and the sinner's surety released from
all the claims of the Law and justice. "Christ is risen from the
dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept." Do we not
hear him exclaim, "Thy dead men shall live together; with my dead
body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust."
"I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them
from death. O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy
destruction." May we not join in happy chorus, "O death, where is
thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin;
and the strength of sin is the law. But, thanks be to God, which
giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

  [106] Luke xvi. 26.


     Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive;
     thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also,
     that the Lord God might dwell amongst them.--Psalm lxviii. 18.

We find amid the records of the Old Testament, very distinguished
honour was conferred by God on two illustrious personages, whom
he was pleased to exempt from the common lot of humanity, and
admit into the Celestial City, by a new, and, till then, untrodden
path. Their way led not across the dark valley of the shadow of
death; they entered Canaan without passing the banks of Jordan's
stormy waters. God was pleased to translate the bodies of Enoch and
Elijah to heaven, without an execution of the sentence "dust thou
art, and unto dust shalt thou return." This was assuredly a high
mark of favour; but we are in this verse presented with an event,
in comparison with which, the cases of Enoch and Elijah sink into
insignificance. It is a description of the return of a great and
mighty conqueror, who, surrounded by the trophies of his victories,
appears at court to receive the thanks and rewards his services so
well deserve. And who is this mighty conqueror? It is Jesus! See
him surrounded by the little band of faithful followers, on whom he
bestows his parting blessing; having bidden them an affectionate
farewell, he, with conscious majesty, mounts the air, and soars
beyond the eagle's path, through the vast extent of space. Though he
goes forth unattended, it is not long a secret that the victorious
Saviour is on his way to the heavenly kingdom; for the myriads
of spirits, who are anxiously watching his motions, no sooner
observe that he bends his course toward the Celestial City, but they
instantly proclaim the joyful news to its inhabitants; who, with
holy impatience, are all anxious to fly on the wings of love and
adoration to meet and welcome this illustrious Conqueror back to
the realms of bliss. Wide are thrown the golden gates, and as they
open, ten thousand voices are heard chaunting in chorus; "Lift up
your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty; the Lord, mighty in battle. Lift up
your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of Hosts, he is the King of glory." Forth from heaven's
portals there issued a goodly band, singing as they advance to meet
and welcome their victorious King, whom they convey in celestial
triumph to the presence of the eternal Father; seated on his throne
of glory, he receives, with ineffable delight and joy, this, his
only-begotten, always well-beloved, but now still more endeared Son,
the Glorious Deliverer of the children of men. Great was the joy of
that illustrious day, when the eternal Son of God, entered the city
of the new Jerusalem, as the victorious Conqueror of sin, death, and
hell, whom he led as captives to adorn his triumph, for, "having
spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly,
triumphing over them, and ascended on high, leading captivity
captive." Then the eternal hills resounded to the melodious sound of
ten thousand times ten thousand voices, who sing aloud, "Worthy is
the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom,
and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing." Then all in
heaven said, "Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto
him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever,
and ever." The spirits of the redeemed vie with elect angels, in
testifying their love, reverence, and gratitude to the God of their
salvation. They knew, if the eternal Son of God had not become their
surety, not one of Adam's race could ever have entered the realms of
bliss.[107] But in the eternal council of peace, he did covenant and
promise, in the fulness of time, to become a sacrifice, and God who
knew him to be faithful, did, on the credit of that promise, save
all the Old Testament saints.[108] Jesus had now fulfilled that
engagement; paid the full price of their redemption; "blotted out
the hand-writing of ordinances that was against them, taking it away
by nailing it to his cross." What wonder, if his return was hailed
with rapturous delight; his presence could not fail of adding fresh
joy to the happy spirits of the redeemed in glory. Yes! Jesus has
"ascended on high, he has led captivity captive, and received gifts
for men." It is as the God-Man, it is in his human nature, that he
is said to receive gifts; for, as God, all is his in common with
the Father. It is in the office of Mediator, that he has "all power
given him in heaven and on earth." It is as God-Man, that the Father
set him "at his right hand, in the heavenly places; far above all
principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name
that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to
come; and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the
head over all things to the church." He is made the great Almoner of
heaven, and he disposes of his gifts to the children of earth. He
has received freely, and he gives freely,--witness the showers of
ascension gifts, on the day of Pentecost. He then, as the apostle
quotes the words, "gave gifts to men, yea, to the rebellious also,
that the Lord God might dwell among them." But while we view Christ
as glorified, let us not fail to connect the scenes of Gethsemane
and Calvary. The new song in heaven, to which their golden harps are
ever tuned, is to the praise of him "who was slain, and has redeemed
us to God by his blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and
people, and nation; and has made us unto our God kings and priests
for ever."

  [107] John xiv. 6.

  [108] Psalm xl. 7, 8.


     And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my
     spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall
     prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men
     shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the
     handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.--Joel ii. 28,

That part of the prophet Joel from which this verse is selected,
is highly interesting; and although not strictly prophetical of
the person of the Messiah, yet it is so closely connected that it
cannot be severed without injury to the whole. In fact, it serves
as a test, whereby we may prove if Jesus be in truth that Messiah,
of whom "Moses and the prophets did write." The "afterward" here
noticed, alludes to the coming of the Messiah, after which great
day of the Lord, the promise here made, of a glorious outpouring
of the spirit, was to be fulfilled. It will be alike easy and
delightful, to trace its accomplishment. The Holy Spirit, from the
earliest ages of the world, has shed his sacred influences over the
church; but no visible or open display of that divine person, God
the Holy Ghost, had ever been made. That great event was reserved
until after the Messiah's appearance; and, when that illustrious
person had publicly manifested himself to the world, then was this
promise to be fulfilled. Jesus declared himself to be the second
person, in the revealed order of the Holy Trinity--the eternal Son
of God--Christ the Messiah; and in such character he promised, when
returned to glory, to send down the Holy Spirit. Again and again
did Jesus direct his disciples to expect that event. On the last
great day of the feast, he publicly proclaimed in the temple its
near approach, and promised its fulfilment; "for the Holy Ghost
was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified." When
the faithful disciples were overwhelmed with grief, on learning
from their beloved Master that he was shortly to leave them,
Jesus cheered their drooping spirits with the promise of another
Comforter, even the Spirit of truth; whom he would send from the
Father. To reconcile them still more to his departure, he told them
"it was expedient for them that he should go away," for, "if he went
not away the Comforter would not come; but if he departed, he would
send him unto them." After his resurrection, Jesus again taught the
disciples to expect this great event, and on the morning of his
ascension he repeated his promise, adding, as it would not be many
days hence, they should tarry at Jerusalem until its accomplishment.
After the ascension of Jesus, the disciples were so fully persuaded
that he was the Christ of God, that they continued daily assembled
together, waiting for the fulfilment of the great promise made to
them by their risen Lord.

It will be remembered, that all the Israelitish males were commanded
to appear, three times in the year, before the Lord at Jerusalem,
at the feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. The feast of
Pentecost or weeks, was celebrated fifty days after the Passover.
It was at the first great Jewish festival, the Passover, that Jesus
was crucified. He arose from the dead on the third day, and as
forty days intervened between his resurrection and return to glory,
there could be only seven days from his ascension until the feast
of Pentecost. It was on the morning of the ever-memorable day of
Pentecost, the disciples being all of one accord, in one place; that
"suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty
wind, and filled all the house, where they were assembled; and
there appeared cloven tongues, like as of fire, and sat upon each
of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to
speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." Such
a miraculous event was soon noised abroad, and multitudes crowd to
learn the fact. As the Holy Spirit was graciously pleased to make
this open display of his person and godhead, at one of the great
Jewish festivals, the number of strangers who usually resorted to
Jerusalem at that season, either for the purposes of worship or
trade, became witnesses of the miraculous gifts bestowed on those
hitherto unlearned, and many of them unlettered, Galilean fishermen.
The inhabitants of Galilee were proverbial for their dulness and
stupidity;[109] yet these men were taught, in an instant of time,
to speak, with ease and fluency, languages whose very names, it is
more than probable, they were an hour before unable to pronounce
correctly. An opportunity was instantly offered for the apostles
openly to display their extraordinary gifts. Amidst the assembled
throng were men of sixteen different nations, to whom these poor
fishermen publicly proclaimed, in their several languages, or
dialects, the wonderful works of God. They needed no interpreter,
in addressing this motley crowd. How preposterous to accuse the
apostles of drunkenness! Truly, we should not imagine a state of
inebriety the best calculated for acquiring a knowledge of any of
the learned languages. We seldom know men, (however well their
heads are furnished,) in a state of intoxication, speak any thing
except it be the language of foolishness. Beside, it was only the
third hour of the day, (nine o'clock) the time of offering the
daily morning sacrifice in the temple, before which hour the Jews
were forbidden to take any refreshment; and, as this was a solemn
festival, no doubt the command was then more strictly observed. How
mild, yet energetic, the reply of Peter, who declared the event to
be a fulfilment of the prophecy of Joel, accomplished on the return
of Jesus to glory; "when being by the right hand of God exalted,
and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he
had shed forth that which they then saw and heard." The appearance
of the Holy Spirit was sufficient to prove his personality. Might
not the sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, be designed
to show that the operations of God the Holy Spirit, are like the
unknown and unexplored sources of the air. "The wind bloweth where
it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof; but canst not tell
whence it cometh, or whither it goeth: so is every one that is born
of the Spirit." This was a lesson taught Nicodemus by Jesus, the
wisdom and word of God.

  [109] John vii. 52. Acts ii. 7.

On Shinar's plains, the Lord, to testify his divine displeasure,
confounded the language of mankind. It was a curse pronounced on
Babel's tower; but at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was pleased to
use the diversity of language as a witness of his almighty power
and Godhead; when he publicly and solemnly ordained the apostles
ministers of the everlasting Gospel, and endowed them with
extraordinary gifts, as the first ambassadors of Christ, sent forth
to publish unto all nations the glad tidings of great joy.

Might we not be tempted, when viewing the immoral and profane
amusements of Whitsuntide, to imagine it an annual feast holden
to Venus or Bacchus; instead of (as at first designed) a solemn
festival, intended to commemorate the visible descent of the
Spirit of Purity? Certainly the general character of the public
assemblies, at that season, bears a much nearer resemblance to the
sports holden in honour of the deified heroes in heathen mythology,
than to the pure and spiritual nature of the Divine Person, whose
first public appearance in our world it was wished annually to
celebrate. What would the early disciples of Christ feel, could they
behold the sad perversion of this sacred festival!


     And I will pour upon the House of David, and upon the
     inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of
     supplications; and they shall look upon me whom they have
     pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his
     only son, and shall be in bitterness for him as one that is in
     bitterness for his first born.--Zech. xii. 10.

The Prophet Zechariah here presents to our view one of the richest
jewels in the treasury of God's promises. It sparkles clear and
bright amid the records of divine truth. All earth's richest
treasures cannot offer an adequate remuneration for the withdrawment
of this precious promise. The words deserve our most careful
examination. We will therefore consider the person here promising;
the persons to whom the promise is made; the thing promised; and
search for proofs of its fulfilment.

The person here promising is the God-Man, Christ Jesus, for the
words are, "I will pour, &c. &c., and they shall look upon me, whom
they have pierced, and mourn." We never find God the Father using
such language as this when speaking of his disobedient creatures.
God is justly displeased at man's apostasy. His law is dishonoured,
his works defaced and injured by sin. Yet God, as God, cannot be
the subject of pain and sorrow, he is beyond their reach. But if we
look at the God-Man, Christ Jesus, we behold his sacred head pierced
with a thorny crown, his hands and feet with nails of iron, his side
with the soldier's spear, and his soul with the wrath of God. He who
suffered thus on earth, did, as God, make this gracious promise.

The persons to whom this promise literally applies, are the Jews,
whose restoration as a nation to the divine favour, will form a
prominent feature in the latter-day glories of the Church. The Lord
has promised to gather together the dispersed in Judah, and the
outcasts of Israel. "The deliverer shall arise out of Zion, and
turn away ungodliness from Jacob." This nation, who once refused
and crucified the Messiah, shall, when partakers of this promised
blessing, "look upon him whom they have pierced, and mourn." This
promise is not confined to the Jews, but extends to the fallen race
of Adam, whom our spiritual David will make inhabitants of the new
Jerusalem, which is above, without regard to their being of Jewish
or Gentile extraction.[110] He will not consider the trifling
distinctions of colour, language, or nation, a barrier of such
importance as to preclude their participating in his blessings.

  [110] Matt. xxviii. 19. Acts xi. 18., xiii. 46, 47., xv. 3.

The thing promised is an abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Adam, by his apostasy, lost the image of God stamped upon his soul
at his creation. The sentence, "in the day thou eatest thereof
thou shalt surely die," was not suffered to go unexecuted. From
that hapless hour, his soul, the most noble part, was dead to all
spiritual life, and became the abode of corroding passions and
depraved principles. He immediately shrank from holding intercourse
with God, and tried to hide himself from the presence of his
benefactor. As Adam begat a son in his own fallen likeness, all
his race partake of the same corrupt nature. We are ignorant of
God and his ways. We need divine teaching; we cannot naturally
understand the things of God, which are spiritual, the eye of our
understanding being darkened; God is not in all our thoughts; we
are averse to communion with the Father of Spirits. We despise
his offers of free grace--we prefer to be saved by our own rather
than God's method--we see no beauty in Jesus that we should desire
him--we dislike to renounce our own, and trust in his complete
righteousness--we consider his commands grievous, and the language
of our soul is, "we will not have this man to reign over us." But we
are here told of a sovereign antidote for these deep-seated moral
disorders of the soul. Here is a gracious promise of an abundant
outpouring of the Holy Spirit, whose office it is to "convince of
sin, of righteousness, and of judgment." He convinces the soul,
into which he enters, of the exceeding sinfulness of sin--that it
is the evil thing which God hates; and shows the divine law is
spiritual, extending to the thoughts and intents of the heart.[111]
He puts a cry for mercy into the soul, destroys the natural enmity
of the mind against God's plan of salvation, and makes the object of
his divine teaching willing and anxious to partake of the Lord's
bounty, and be a debtor to mercy alone. The Holy Spirit teaches of
righteousness by convincing that a better righteousness than our
own tattered rags is absolutely necessary, ere we can see the face
of God with peace. He makes the soul willing to be clothed with the
wedding garment of Jesus' righteousness, which is the fine linen
of the saints. It is indispensable that we be clothed with this
livery of the court of Heaven, or we shall be denied admission into
the mansions of the King of Glory. Would we behold the fulfilment
of this prophetic promise, then let us direct our minds back to a
survey of the glorious scenes exhibited on the ever memorable day
of Pentecost, when the Spirit was, in so free and copious a manner,
poured out from on high. Attend to the sermon Peter preached on the
day of his ordination; mark its effects on the three thousand of the
House of David, inhabitants of Jerusalem's much-famed city. Listen
to their cry, "Men and brethren, what must we do?" Surely these were
none of the stout hearts who dared even to crucify the Lord of life
and glory? The same! yet how different their tone--how altered their
conduct! To what cause can we attribute this astonishing change in
the minds of three thousand persons in the same instant of time?
Surely it was none other than the almighty work of God the Holy
Ghost. It was his influence on the minds of these men which produced
the Spirit of grace and supplication, and taught them to direct the
anxious cry and supplicating look unto him whom they had pierced.
Was not the anguish of their souls, under a sense of their sins,
equal to the exquisite sorrow of those who bitterly bewail the death
of their first-born? However skilfully Peter might wield the sword
of the Spirit, (the word of God,) it was none other than the God of
all grace, who directed and sent it home with saving power to the
hearts and consciences of these Jerusalem sinners. Are not the other
triumphs of the Spirit worthy of regard, when five thousand are made
willing cordially to embrace Christ crucified? May we not, by the
way, observe, that the reception of the Gospel by such numbers so
immediately after the ascension of Jesus, proved the truth of the
facts recorded by the apostles, of the life, death, resurrection,
and ascension of Christ? Many, no doubt, of these early converts
of Christianity, had been eye-witnesses of several of the events,
and _all_ had an opportunity of discovering the deception, if there
had existed any, in the apostles' narrative. But no sooner are
they persuaded to compare the Old Testament prophecies concerning
the Messiah, with all the circumstances in the history of Jesus
of Nazareth, than they anxiously desire to be enlisted under the
banners of the cross. Unable to resist the force of truth, they join
the persecuted adherents of the crucified Jesus, and cast in their
lot with his despised followers, although "a sect every where spoken
against." When were converts to Christianity most numerous? Was it
not when there existed the best possible opportunity of detecting
the least imposition or falsehood, on the part of the writers
of the New Testament? Let it not be forgotten that those early
converts were neither won by the arm of worldly power, nor bribed
by proffered gold. On the contrary, no sooner did they embrace
the Gospel, but they were met at the very threshold by ignominy
and persecution in every varied and frightful form, sufficiently
terrific to deter all but men really convinced of the truth, and
swayed by its sacred influence.

  [111] John xvi. 7-14.

But we must not confine the accomplishment of this promise entirely
to the days of Pentecost, although it then assumed a more splendid
and attractive appearance, than it has done in these latter times.
Yet through each succeeding age, the Lord the Spirit has not been
unmindful of his covenant engagements. Could we draw aside the
veil that separates between us and the holy of holies--could we
obtain a glimpse of the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem which is
above, and inquire of the goodly number that surround the throne
of God and the Lamb, Who was the faithful instructor and guide,
that taught them to walk in the way that led to everlasting life?
they would direct us to the Lord the Spirit, as the almighty
guide who pointed out the road, and taught their wandering feet
to tread the strait, the narrow way, the only path, that leads
to Zion's hill. In the Bible, that chart of life, the road is
shown with clearness, and described with accuracy. It is called
faith in the finished salvation of Christ, and obedience to his
commands. The hand which drew this path to glory, is the very same
that painted the splendid canopy of heaven. By this good old way,
all the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, and reformers,
entered the city of the Lord of Hosts. Their guide and comforter,
through this waste howling wilderness, was the third person of the
Triune-Jehovah. What countless myriads has this almighty guide led
to the mount of God, from the antediluvian worthies, down to the
happy spirit just entered into the joy of its Lord! Like them, led
by the same unerring teacher, we shall not fail of arriving safely
at the mansion of everlasting joy, for he is the only faithful
conductor[112]to the heavenly Jerusalem; untaught by him, none
can find the path of life, but will assuredly stumble on the dark
mountains of sin and error, and run the downward road that leads to

  [112] Psalm cxliii. 10.

Eternal life is the gift of God. Christ is "the way, the truth,
and the life: none can come unto God, but by him." The office of
the Holy Spirit is to instruct the ignorant, comfort the mourners
in Zion, and make us meet to be "partakers of the inheritance of
the saints in light." "If ye, being evil, know how to give good
gifts unto your children, how much more will your heavenly Father
give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him." May we be partakers
of that inestimable blessing, for without _his_ influence on our
hearts, vain will be even the electing love of God the Father--vain
the vicarious sacrifice and imputed righteousness of Christ the
Son--vain to us the plan of salvation; and vain, all the promises
of the Gospel. As well for us, if those glad tidings of great joy,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will toward
men," had not reached our ears. Unapplied, the most sovereign remedy
is useless, for then not even Gilead's balm, can heal the dire
disease.[113] Christ will prove no Saviour to us, unless applied to
our individual case. It is the office of the Holy Spirit, to take
of the things of Christ and show them unto us. Faith is the hand
by which we grasp Christ crucified. That saving faith, by which we
apprehend the finished salvation of Jesus, and make it our own,
is a grace wrought in the heart by the operation of the Spirit of
God. Far better would it be for the children of men, if the sun
were turned into darkness, the moon into blood, and all the stars
of heaven withdraw their shining; than that this glorious promise
of the outpouring of the Spirit, should be blotted from the book of
God's remembrance!

  [113] Jeremiah viii. 22.

May that blessed morning shortly dawn, "when all shall know the
Lord!" Hasten, glorious Immanuel, that bright day, when "the whole
earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters
cover the sea."


     The Lord hath sworn and will not repent, thou art a priest for
     ever, after the order of Melchizedek.--Psalm cx. 4.

In the Old Testament, we find but little recorded of Melchizedek,
that venerable priest of the most High God, who met and blessed
the patriarch Abraham as he returned victorious from the slaughter
of Chedorlaomer and the confederate kings. But from that little, we
are led to regard him as a person of distinction. To him, the great
father of the faithful and friend of God presented the tithes or
tenths of the spoil. It is from the prophetical word of the royal
Psalmist, "the Lord hath sworn and will not repent, thou art a
Priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek," that we are taught
to view this ancient priest of God as a type: and of whom, if not
of Christ? Paul, in his epistle to the Hebrews,[114] speaks largely
on the subject; he proves the fulfilment of the prophecy, and
declares, that Christ's priestly office was prefigured in the person
of Melchizedek, to Abraham the father of the Israelitish race. In
the same epistle, we find blended the priesthood of Aaron, in order
to show the vast superiority of that of Christ over the other two,
though both instituted by God himself. But as we find no prophecy
respecting the Aaronic priesthood, we make no further reference to
that subject, in order to attend more immediately to the words, "The
Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, thou art a priest for ever,
after the order of Melchizedek." Was this priest of the most High
God honoured with the title of King of Salem--by interpretation,
King of Righteousness, and King of Peace? Is not Jesus proclaimed
King of Zion; the Lord our Righteousness, and the Prince of Peace?
Nor are these mere empty titles, but real characters, and offices,
sustained by Him, who "abideth a priest upon his throne for ever."
We have no historical account of the parentage or descendants of
Melchizedek; he is presented to us as "without father, without
mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor
end of life;" but being made like unto the Son of God, abideth a
priest continually.[115] And Christ's priesthood was not derived
by genealogy, or succession, he had neither father or mother of
the family of Aaron, from whom his priesthood could descend. It is
evident our Lord sprang "out of Judah, of which tribe no man gave
attendance at the altar;"[116] neither did Christ die and leave it
to others, by way of descent, but was constituted a single priest,
without predecessor or successor. "He abideth a priest for ever,
after the order of Melchizedek." It is impossible for a finite mind
to comprehend the eternal sonship of the Son of God, whom the
Father, before the foundation of the world, constituted a priest for
ever; and therefore, the priesthood of Melchizedek was instituted to
prefigure to us the nature of Christ's eternal priesthood. "The Lord
hath sworn and will not repent, thou art a priest for ever, after
the order of Melchizedek." These words deserve particular attention.
It is God the Father who swears to Christ; no oath of allegiance is
required from him who is constituted our Priest. Jehovah, whose eye
pierces through futurity, knew he would be faithful in his office,
and he freely and unreservedly trusted him to maintain his divine
honour and justice, and accomplish the salvation of sinners. The
high-priestly office, though honourable, could not add to Christ's
dignity; but his glorious person did confer honour and dignity
upon the sacred office, for he who is constituted our High Priest,
"is fellow to the Lord of Hosts." "Every high priest is ordained,
to offer both gifts and sacrifices," and great was the sacrifice
offered by Christ: he offered up himself; he would borrow nothing,
but was both priest, sacrifice, altar, and temple: and "by that
offering, he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." "And
because he continueth ever, he hath an unchangeable priesthood;"
"wherefore he _is_ able to save them to the uttermost, that come
unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for
them." Blessed Jesus! thou priest of Melchizedek's order, while
we would not withhold from thee a portion of all that thou givest
us, let us not rest satisfied, till we are enabled to present "our
bodies and souls a reasonable sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto

  [114] Hebrews v. 5-11., vii. 1-28.

  [115] Hebrews vii. 3.

  [116] Hebrews vi. 20.


     Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy
     holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of
     sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring
     in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and
     prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know, therefore, and
     understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to
     restore and to build Jerusalem, unto the Messiah, the Prince,
     shall be seven weeks, and three score and two weeks: the
     street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous
     times.--Daniel ix. 24, 25.

The harps of Judah were silent--the disconsolate Israelites hung
them on the willows of Babylon--no songs of Zion were heard in that
land of captivity, where, for seventy long years, they wore the
galling yoke of bondage, bereft of home and all its blessings--the
land of their forefathers in the possession of strangers--Jerusalem
in ruins--her palaces consumed--the Temple destroyed--the spot
trodden down by the Heathen--themselves exposed to the taunts of
their conquerors, and compelled to bow before the idolatrous image
of Chaldean superstition.[117] Well might Judah's sons weep by the
waters of Babylon, whose murmurings recalled to their recollection
the stream which gushed from Horeb's mount.[118] The remembrance of
past blessings increases the weight of present misery. How changed
their state, and changed to punish their awful rebellions against
the Lord of Sabaoth! Yet the God of Israel was not unmindful of
his promise--he cheered their drooping spirits with the assurance
of speedy deliverance from their captive state. The prayer of
Daniel entered into the ears of the Lord of Hosts--the command was
given--swiftly the angel, even Gabriel, flew to reveal his Lord's
decrees unto the mourning prophet--that "man greatly beloved" of
his God. Daniel was commissioned to foretel the deliverance of
the Jews from Babylon--the building of Jerusalem and its walls in
troublous times; and to him, Jehovah was graciously pleased to
renew the promise of the Prince, Messiah, whose appearance all
the patriarchs and prophets had foretold. The nearer that glorious
epoch approached, the more minutely was it described. The Lord
gave Daniel to "know and understand, that from the going forth of
the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem unto the Messiah,
the Prince, should be seven weeks, and three score and two weeks."
The period here styled weeks, is generally allowed to be sabbaths
of years. This appears to be the sense of the passage, for the
Jews were accustomed to reckon their time and feasts by weeks or
sabbaths. The week of days was from one seventh or sabbath day to
another. The week of years was from one seventh or sabbatical year
to another; in the seventh, or sabbatical year, they neither sowed
their fields nor pruned their vineyards; it was a sabbath of rest
unto the land.[119] In the regulation of the year of Jubilee, they
were commanded to number "seven sabbaths of years, seven times seven
years, and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be to thee
forty and nine years."[120] We therefore only follow the Mosaic
rule, (to which Moses' disciples cannot object,) if we consider
these seven weeks, and three score and two weeks, as seven times
sixty-nine, or four hundred and eighty-three years, which should be
between "the going forth of the commandment to restore and build
Jerusalem unto the Messiah, the Prince." There were four distinct
decrees or commandments granted by the kings of Persia, in favour of
the Jews, who came under the dominion of that empire by its conquest
of Babylon. This was the epoch of Daniel's vision. No sooner had
Cyrus obtained possession of Chaldea, than he issued a decree
allowing the Jews to quit the land of their captivity, and repair to
Judea to build the temple of the Lord. He also restored to them the
vessels and treasures which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple
built by Solomon. On the grant of this decree,[121] five hundred
and thirty-six years before Christ, many of the Jews returned to
their own land, and laid the foundation of the temple; but they
were hindered in the building of it by their several enemies, who
were supported in their opposition by Artaxerxes, the successor of
Cyrus. But when Darius Hystaspes ascended the throne of Persia, he
issued a decree[122] five hundred and nineteen years before Christ,
forbidding the enemies of the Jews to interrupt the building of
the temple, and further commanded that materials requisite for the
work, and the animals, oil, and wine for the sacrifices, should be
supplied at his (the king's) cost. The third decree was granted
to Ezra, the scribe, four hundred and sixty-seven years before
Christ, by Artaxerxes Longimanus, in the seventh year of his reign,
by which he bestowed great favours upon the Jews,[123] appointing
Ezra Governor of Judea. He permitted all the Jews to return to
Jerusalem, and commanded his treasurers beyond the river, to supply
Ezra with such things as he needed for the house of his God, even
to an hundred talents of silver, an hundred measures of wheat, an
hundred baths of wine, and an hundred baths of oil. The king and
his princes presented much silver and gold, and many vessels, and
ordered that what else might be required for the house of God,
should be supplied from the king's treasury. This is not the same
Artaxerxes who listened to the slanderous reports of the enemies of
the Jews, and stopped the building of their temple; but Artaxerxes,
surnamed Longimanus, supposed to be the person styled Ahasuerus, in
the book of Esther, whose attachment to his Israelitish consort
may account for the distinguished favours he conferred on the
people of her nation. We find the queen was present when Nehemiah
presented his petition, which was the second decree granted by this
monarch, and was the fourth and last decree, being granted in the
twentieth year of his reign, and four hundred and fifty-four years
before Christ.[124] This was the most efficient decree, for by it
Jerusalem and its walls were built. The high resolves of the court
of Heaven were revealed; Daniel was made "to know and understand
that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build
Jerusalem, _unto_ the Messiah, the prince, shall be seven weeks, and
three score and two weeks, being sixty nine weeks, or four hundred
and eighty-three years. From the last, or fourth, decree to the
birth of Christ, (vide Rollin, volume 8, page 265,) is four hundred
and fifty-four years, to which we add twenty-nine years (the age
at about which Christ entered on his public ministry);[125] these
united, make the exact period of sixty-nine weeks, or four hundred
and eighty-three years. Daniel also declares that "seventy weeks (or
four hundred and ninety years) are determined upon thy people and
upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end
of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in
everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy,
and to anoint the most Holy." We find between the seventy weeks, or
four hundred and ninety years, and the sixty-nine weeks, or four
hundred and eighty-three years, a difference of one week, or seven
years, which is the week evidently alluded to in the twenty-seventh
verse of this chapter, in which "he shall confirm the covenant
with many for one week, &c." From the period of Christ's first
entry into the ministry, and the calling of his apostles, until his
crucifixion, were three and a half years, and, for three and a half
years after that event, his apostles continued to minister amongst
the Jews. This makes a period of seven years, (or one prophetic
week,) in the midst of which the Messiah was cut off, and "the
sacrifice and oblation" virtually ceased. The correspondence is
exact: Jesus, the Messiah, not only entered on his public ministry
at the very period pointed out ages before, but was actually cut
off in the midst of the week, as was expressly foretold. These
predictions of the Prince Messiah are peculiarly striking. The
time for his appearance is marked, and the particular objects he
should effect on his coming, are described with such minuteness,
as scarcely to admit of the possibility of mistaking his person.
The grand features of his mission were so strongly exhibited, that
it was morally impossible the Messiah should appear and not be
recognised. Prejudice must have blinded the eye of that mind which
does not, on comparing the whole of the New Testament with this
prophecy, acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messiah. It bears
the stamp of divine prescience: none but the omniscient God could
have given his features with such clearness so many ages before.
This portrait of the Messiah, which bears so exact a resemblance
to Jesus, was in the possession of the Jews, at least five hundred
years before that glorious person was exhibited to the world, a God

  [117] Dan. iii. 4-15.

  [118] Numbers xx. 11.

  [119] Lev. xxiii. 3., xxv. 3, 4.

  [120] Lev. xxv. 8. 10.

  [121] 2 Chron. xxxvi. 22, 23.

  [122] Ezra vi. 7-12.

  [123] Ezra vii. 11-23.

  [124] Neh. ii. 1-8.

  [125] Luke iii. 23.

Jesus declares himself to be the long promised Messiah--his claim
rests on no slight or doubtful evidence--he came at the very precise
time it was foretold the Messiah should appear to the people and the
holy city. Christ's ministry was among the people of the Jews--Judea
was the land of his nativity--the scene of his labours--the witness
of his miracles--he was born at Bethlehem, near Jerusalem, and
crucified just "without the gate" of the holy city. On Calvary
"he finished the transgressions, and made an end of sin, and make
reconciliation for iniquity." There the God-man, Christ Jesus,
offered up his life a ransom for the guilty--there the surety of
the Church paid the full price for her redemption, and made peace
by the blood of his cross--there "he suffered the just for the
unjust to bring sinners unto God." He took away "the hand-writing
of ordinances that was against us, taking them out of the way by
nailing them to the cross"--there he removed the iniquity of the
land in one day, and so completely "finished the transgression,"
by suffering the punishment due for his people's sins, that when
they are "sought for they shall not be found"--there he paid the
full price of their redemption, he cancelled the bond, and made
peace and reconciliation with offended justice. He "brought in an
everlasting righteousness, and not only suffered the penalty due for
their transgressions of God's law, 'which is holy, just, and good,'
but, as the head of the Church, he obeyed all the precepts of the
moral law; which he exalted and made honourable. Perfect was the
obedience wrought out--complete was the righteousness brought in
by the incarnate Deity, the Lord our righteousness, which is from
everlasting to everlasting "unto all and upon all that believe,
for there is no difference." Amidst the awful gloom on Calvary's
mount, was heard the cry "it is finished!" It was the conqueror's
shout--victory was achieved--Satan was vanquished--the sting of
death was taken away--the power of the grave destroyed--the conflict
was over--the ransom paid--the captives of the mighty delivered--the
law was honoured--justice satisfied--God glorified--Heaven
opened--man redeemed--and hell vanquished. That was the glorious
event which types were intended to exhibit, and prophets were
commissioned to proclaim. The appointed time of the vision was
arrived--it had long tarried, but it was accomplished. The chain
of prophecy was complete--the vision was sealed[126]--and the most
holy anointed. The God-man, Christ Jesus, anointed by his Father
king and priest of Zion, then exchanged his thorny crown for the
royal diadem--then left the sorrows of earth for the glories of his
mediatorial throne, which no enemy can touch--their opposition is
vain--he that sitteth upon the circle of the heavens, will laugh
them to scorn. Happy are they who have for their king and priest,
_him_ whose kingdom is eternal, and priesthood unchangeable--who
look to the Redeemer of Israel as the rock of their salvation, and
crown the most holy, Lord of all. "Happy are the people that are in
such a case, yea, blessed are the people whose God is the Lord."

  [126] Rev. xxii. 18, 19.


     And after three score and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off,
     but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall
     come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end
     thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war
     desolations are determined.--Daniel ix. 26.

This vision of Daniel appears involved in considerable obscurity,
by the diversity of time alluded to in the several parts of
the prophecy, and renders it difficult to prove its exact
accomplishment. But we hope we have shown in the preceding part,
that it does not militate against "the truth as it is in Jesus,"
it rather tends to strengthen the testimony, by affording an
additional opportunity of proving, from sacred and profane history,
the fulfilment of the great event. The proof of its accomplishment
does not rest on the insulated fact, but is established by a chain
of evidence, derived from the annals of nations. For, whichever of
the decrees we take, it is clear from ancient chronology, that the
period alluded to is passed, and the Messiah did appear not far
from the time named by any decree. As we have attempted to prove the
fulfilment of the first part of the prophetic vision, it may not be
improper if we now endeavour to show that the remaining part of this
interesting prophecy has also been accomplished.

"After threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not
for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall
destroy the city and the sanctuary." "Secret things belong unto God;
but things that are revealed, to you and your children." We cannot
ascertain to a certainty when the seventy-two weeks commence, but
it is evident they terminate at the cutting off of the Messiah.
From the words "And the end thereof shall be with a flood, and
unto the end of the war desolations are determined," it appears,
also, to allude to the destruction of the city, previous to which
event the Messiah should be cut off. We hope we shall not offer
any violence to the words, if we give them this interpretation.
The destruction of Jerusalem is not the only event alluded to in
this interesting prophecy; there is one of paramount importance
to the ruin of Salem's palaces, though that involved the fate
of Judah's sons. On the other momentous fact hang the highest
interests of Jew and Gentile, bond and free, past, present, and
future generations; not only the happiness of earth, but much of
the glory of heaven, depends on its accomplishment. Without it no
sweet song of "Salvation to God and the Lamb," would have echoed
amidst the heavenly hills, none of the race of Adam would be seen
worshipping before the presence of Jehovah with the angels of light;
those melodious hymns of redemption, now chaunted by ten thousand
times ten thousand glorified Saints, had not been heard but for the
vicarious sacrifice of the Son of God,[127] who not only covenanted,
but did actually lay down his life a ransom for sinners. When
Jesus, the Christ of God, the Prince Messiah, appeared on earth,
it was not simply to set the children of men an example of piety
and virtue; we ardently admire his glorious example, and consider
his followers bound to imitate the bright pattern he has left them;
yet we dare not believe that _that_ was the only object he designed
to accomplish when he visited our world.[128] No, he came as the
federal Head, the Representative and Surety of his people.[129] He
was "cut off from the land of the living," by a violent and cruel
death; yet not for himself, not for any sin of his own,[130] nor
purposely to set us a pattern of patience and resignation; but to
discharge the debt of sin, he had covenanted to cancel on man's
account. Jehovah executed towards him the severest justice, and
permitted his crucifiers to exercise the blackest ingratitude, and
most inhuman cruelty. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou who killest
the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often
would the Lord have gathered thee under his protecting care as a
hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but ye would not." Thy
awful doom was sealed when thou didst reject the authority, and
persecute unto death Jesus the Messiah, thy prophet and benefactor,
thy God and King. The thought of thy approaching misery drew tears
from the eyes, and groans from the heart, of Incarnate Deity; yet
thy children beheld, with feelings of triumphant scorn, the sorrows
and sufferings their wanton cruelty inflicted on the Holy Jesus.
But heaven marked the impious deed.[131] The blood of Jesus, of
prophets, of apostles, and of martyrs, called for vengeance on
thy guilty land; the cry was heard, justice remembered thy black
catalogue of crimes, the King of heaven beheld the insult offered
to his beloved Son, and Jehovah arose to punish thy rejection of
Jesus the Messiah, whom "ye would not have to reign over you." The
crimes of Jerusalem were of the blackest and most awful character,
and her punishment was tremendously dreadful.[132] The Israelites,
once the peculiar favourites of Heaven[133]--nursed in the lap of
plenty, instructed in the oracles of God--blessed with the temple
of Jehovah--taught to adore the God of truth whom their forefathers
worshipped; this people, who once had the Lord for their Law-giver
and King,[134] were compelled to bow beneath the oppressive power of
arbitrary despots--the law of truth was exchanged for the tyrant's
mandate--equity and justice were banished the walls of Salem, and
despotism, oppression, blasphemy, and pride, reigned within that
devoted, miserable, city. Anarchy and confusion ruled that senate
and sanctuary, once as gloriously "distinguished from the rest of
the world by the purity of its government, as by the richness and
elegance of its buildings. Jerusalem was devoted to destruction,
and she sunk beneath the accumulated horrors of war, famine, fire,
and pestilence. Internal faction and a foreign foe reduced that
beauteous city and magnificent sanctuary, to a heap of ruins. The
temple fell--not all the commands, promises, or threats of Titus,
could save that splendid edifice from destruction; the people of the
prince, regardless of their general's orders, helped to complete
the work of desolation;--but prophecy was fulfilled, Jerusalem was
overwhelmed with the flood of divine vengeance, and desolation
prevailed even unto the end of the war.

  [127] John xiv. 6.

  [128] John xii, 27.

  [129] 1 Corinthians xv. 22. Romans v. 17-19.

  [130] Luke xxiii. 4. Isaiah liii. 5, 10.

  [131] Matthew xxiii. 35-37.

  [132] Matthew xxiv. 21.

  [133] Deuteronomy iv. 7.

  [134] Deuteronomy iv. 5, 8.


     And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and
     in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the
     oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he
     shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that
     determined shall be poured upon the desolate.--Daniel ix. 27.

Some writers consider this verse prophetical of the desolate state
of Jerusalem under Antiochus Epiphanes, that sacrilegious monarch
who impiously profaned the sanctuary of the God of Israel. By him
the temple was ransacked and despoiled of its holy vessels; its
golden ornaments pulled off; its hidden treasures seized; and
an unclean animal offered on the altar of burnt-offerings. Thus
did this impious Syrian king dare profane the altar and temple
dedicated to Jehovah. Neither was this all; Jerusalem again felt
the force of his horrid cruelty and profaneness; men, women, and
children, were either slain or taken captive; and the houses and
city walls were destroyed. The Jews were not allowed to offer burnt
offerings or sacrifices to the God of Israel--circumcision was
forbidden--they were required to profane the Sabbath, and eat the
flesh of swine, and other beasts forbidden by their law[135]--the
sanctuary dedicated to Jehovah was called the temple of Jupiter
Olympius, and his image set up on the altar--idol temples and altars
were erected throughout all their cities--and the Holy Scriptures
destroyed whenever they were met with--and death was the fate of
those who read the word of the Lord. The most horrid and brutal
cruelties were inflicted on such as chose to obey God, rather than
this Syrian monster. Jerusalem was overspread by his abominations;
desolation was indeed poured out "upon the desolate" when Antiochus
Epiphanes held the blood stained sceptre, emblem of satanic power.
Yet, closely as these circumstances resemble the description given
by the prophet's vision, we cannot think it is the event alluded to
in this prophecy. Daniel, in the three preceding verses, speaks of
the Messiah, and the final destruction of the city and sanctuary: by
Antiochus the temple certainly was _not_ destroyed. In the eleventh
chapter there appears a striking prophecy of the events which
happened in Jerusalem during the dominion of the Syrian tyrant, but
we cannot think he is alluded to in any part of the ninth chapter.
The first clause of this verse, "He shall confirm the covenant with
many," cannot refer to Antiochus, but alludes to the same glorious
person mentioned in the preceding verses. The latter part of this
verse may with propriety be considered as a continuance of the
prophecy of Jerusalem's final destruction, as it occurred under
Titus. To Jesus the Messiah we direct our eyes. The one week, or the
midst of the week, (seven years half expired,) alludes to the time
of his Public Ministry, which was three years and a half; during
which period he declared, the design of his mission was to confirm
the well-ordered covenant of redemption and peace, which was drawn
up in the counsels of eternity--sealed on earth with the blood of
the Incarnate God--signed in the presence of Jehovah, angels,
men, and devils--registered in the court of Heaven--and proclaimed
good and valid by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, and the
outpouring of the Holy Spirit.[136] It is true, the sacrifices and
oblations of the temple service did not cease immediately on the
death of Christ, they were continued some little time after that
event; but they became unnecessary, they had lost their value,
and were but idle ceremonies and useless rights, when the thing
signified was accomplished. At best, they were only types of the
Lamb of God, the blood of that one great sacrifice, which alone
"cleanseth from all sin." "It is not possible for the blood of
bulls or goats to take away sin." No, the sacrifices and ceremonies
of the Mosaic economy were only efficacious so far as Christ, the
substance, was viewed through the shadow.[137] In less than forty
years after the death of Christ, the sacrifices and oblations
ceased, for the temple was demolished. A spot so deeply stained
with crime, needed the fire of divine vengeance to consume it from
the face of the earth: it was erected for the worship of the God of
Israel, but was turned into the seat of iniquity and profaneness.
The horrid enormities observed in the temple of Juggernaut scarcely
surpassed the impious practices exercised within the Jewish
sanctuary. When Titus, the Roman general, approached the walls of
the city, it more resembled the court of Mars and Bacchus, than the
temple of Jehovah; the drunkard's voice--the clash of arms--the
shouts of the victor--the cries of the vanquished--and the groans of
the dying, echoed through that magnificent pile; human blood flowed
in its courts, and sprinkled its altars and its walls. Jerusalem was
a scene of slaughter; but it was not a war to support the glorious
cause of freedom; nor were they fighting to repel the foreign foe,
or shedding their blood to defend their beloved homes, and the still
dearer objects of affection, around which the warm heart clings with
fondest thought amidst the scene of danger and of death, and for
whose preservation the weakest arm grows desperate, and the feeblest
mind resolves to conquer or to die. But theirs was no such glorious
contest; no--civil war had reared her hydra head; the horrid yell
of intestine discord rang through Salem's courts, and echoed round
her walls; that infernal power bursts the bands of brotherhood,
severs the closest ties, dissolves the strongest link of union, and
makes the man a monster. The sword of her own sons deluged Jerusalem
with Jewish blood; the fire which destroyed her houses was kindled
by her own children; death and destruction reigned through all her
palaces; the city groaned beneath a three-fold faction, when the
Roman legions approached her walls to complete the horrid scene
of slaughter. The temple was the head-quarters of Eleazar and the
Zealots; they had in their possession the stores of first fruits
and offerings, and were frequently in a state of intoxication; but
when not drunken with wine, they thirsted for the blood of their
countrymen, and issued from their strong hold, to assault John and
his party, who lay intrenched in the out-works of the temple. The
ruin of Jerusalem is attributed to the horrid enormities of the
Zealot faction: surely that was the summit of wickedness, when the
priests sold themselves to work iniquity, and the temple of the
Lord was the seat of their crimes. That was "the overspreading of
abomination," and it continued until the sanctuary was consumed,
and "ruin was poured upon the desolators." It was the iniquitous
practices of the Jews, rather than the Roman eagle, which profaned
the courts of the Lord's House: the conquerors did not plant their
standard to insult, but with a wish to preserve, the temple from
total ruin and destruction.

  [135] Leviticus xi. 2, 7, 8.

  [136] 1 Timothy iii. 16. Acts ii. 24, 33.

  [137] Hebrews iv. 2. x. 1-10, 20.


     For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and
     the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women
     ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity,
     and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the
     city.--Zechariah xiv. 2.

Imperial Rome, to whom the world once bowed, and whose power
could command armies from "all nations," had conquered Judea, and
received from her the yearly tribute of her subjection:[138] but,
through the oppression of the Roman governors, and the madness
of the people, the standard of revolt was planted, and the Jews
attempted to break their yoke of bondage. The Roman legions, inured
to war, and accustomed to the shout of victory, hastened to subdue
the rebellious Israelites: they passed from city to city, and from
province to province; slaughter and death marked their course; the
strife was desperate; the conflict bloody; the Jews fought like
men determined to conquer or to die: two hundred and forty-seven
thousand seven hundred were slain before their provinces were
subjugated, and an immense number made prisoners: amongst whom was
Josephus, the historian of the war, who was governor of the two
Galilees, and who defended them with skill and bravery. The Romans,
having conquered the provinces, approached to assault Jerusalem,
which was then a dreadful scene. The sound of war was heard through
all her gates; regardless of the approaching foe, the Jews had
turned their arms against each other; three several factions were
busily engaged in the work of slaughter and destruction. Eleazar and
the Zealots seized the temple; John of Gischala and his followers
occupied its out-works; and Simon, the son of Gorias, possessed the
whole of the lower, and a great part of the upper, town. Jerusalem
was built on two hills; the highest, on which stood the temple, was
called the upper town, and the other the lower: between these lay a
valley covered with houses; the suburbs of the city were extensive,
and encircled by a wall; two other walls also surrounded Jerusalem,
the interior one of remarkable strength. Neither of the three
factious parties had any just claim to supremacy or power, though
all contended for dominion, and fought for plunder. The Zealots
were the smallest party, but, from their situation, possessed the
advantage: they sallied from their strong holds to attack John, who
seized every opportunity of assaulting Simon; thus John maintained
a double war, and was often obliged to divide his forces, being
attacked by Eleazar and Simon at the same time. In these furious
contests, no age or sex was spared; the slaughter was dreadful.
When either party was repelled, the other set fire to the building,
without any distinction. Regardless of their contents, they consumed
granaries and store-houses, which contained a stock of corn and
other necessaries of life, sufficient to maintain the inhabitants
during a siege of many years; but nearly the whole was burnt, and
this circumstance made way for a calamity more horrid than even war
itself. Famine soon showed her meagre form, and all classes felt
the dreadful effects of a scarcity of food. Such was the miserable
state of Jerusalem when the Roman general Titus (son of the reigning
emperor, Vespasian,) prepared to attack the city. The sight of a
powerful foreign foe at their gates, with all the artillery of
war, could not quell the factions within; it is true, when closely
pressed by the Romans, the three parties joined to repel the common
enemy, but no sooner had they breathing time, than the spirit of
contention arose, and they resumed the slaughter of each other:
thus they maintained a fierce contest with the besiegers, and, at
the same time, seized every opportunity of destroying each other.
The misery of the city was soon beyond precedent, from the dreadful
effects of famine, the price of provisions became exorbitant,
and, when no longer offered for sale, the houses were entered and
searched, and the wretched owners tortured till they confessed where
the slender pittance was concealed; at length the distress became
so great, that persons parted with the whole of their property
to obtain a bushel of wheat, which they eat before it could be
baked, or even ground; and happy was he who could catch a morsel
of meat, half roasted, half raw, from the fire. No kind of cruelty
was omitted in search of food: at length their sufferings were so
severe, that the wretched inhabitants were necessitated to search
the vaults and sinks for sustenance, and even fed on articles
too offensive to be named. The ties of nature and humanity were
forgotten, the wife seized the food from her husband, the child
from the parent, and even the mother from her infant.[139] The
excruciating pain of famine so far overpowered the tenderest and
finest affections in nature, that a woman, descended from a rich and
respectable family, even killed, boiled, and ate, her own child, a
son in all the artless and endearing simplicity of infancy! Well
may the British mother tremble at the horrid sound, and pity the
wretched Israelitish female, thus sunk below the brute. Pestilence
now stalked abroad, for the air was tainted by the dead: though
no less than six hundred thousand dead bodies were carried out
of the city during the time Titus encamped before the walls, yet
there was an incredible number who had no friends to bury them, and
their bodies were enclosed in large buildings, or laid in heaps in
the open air. "O Jerusalem, thou didst drink at the hand of the
Lord the cup of his fury, thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup
of trembling, and wrung them out" even desolation, destruction,
famine and sword, "thy houses rifled, thy women ravished" by Jewish
ruffians, and the city at length taken by the Roman general.
Titus had again and again offered the Jews honourable terms of
capitulation; but they rejected all his overtures with proud
disdain, and when his soldiers took the city, exasperated at the
hardships they had endured, they spared neither sex, age, or rank.
Sword and fire destroyed Jerusalem and her children, and closed
this horrid war, in which one million one hundred thousand Jews were
slain, and ninety-seven thousand made prisoners.

  [138] Luke ii. 1. Matthew xxii. 17.

  [139] Deut. xxviii. 48-59.


     The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from
     the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation
     whose tongue thou shalt not understand; a nation of fierce
     countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor
     show favour to the young.--Deut. xxviii. 49, 50.

     And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
     saying, if thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy
     day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are
     hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that
     thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee
     round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even
     with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall
     not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest
     not the time of thy visitation.--Luke xix. 41-44.

Judea was not conquered by the neighbouring Asiatic states, but by
the Roman, Europeans of a "fierce and warlike countenance," who knew
not the Jewish language, and regarded not "the persons of the old,
nor showed favour to the young." It will not be difficult to trace
the Roman soldiers in this eloquently descriptive character. No
nation excelled them in their military prowess, or in the rapidity
of their conquests. In comparatively a very short period of time,
they extended their empire over all the then civilised part of the
globe. The insignia of their legions was not more descriptive of
their valour, than of the unexampled rapidity of their movements.
The celebrated motto of Cæsar, "I came, I saw, I conquered," was
neither of a doubtful, or boasting, character. Their career was
indeed "as swift as the eagle flieth." No nation or people did
long withstand the fierceness of their attacks, or the persevering
energy of their generals. In their triumphs over their enemies, they
frequently displayed a ferocity happily unknown in modern warfare.
The most distinguished of their captives, without regard to age or
sex, were dragged in triumph, amidst the shouts of the conquerors,
and the insults of the rabble. Often, when exasperated by the
protracted defence of a brave people struggling for their existence,
instead of respecting such patriotic efforts, they inflicted the
most horrid barbarities upon the unresisting and unhappy objects of
their vengeance; and a slaughter, indiscriminating in its fury, and
dreadful in its results, marked the blood-stained progress of the
licentious soldiery, who "regarded not the person of the old, nor
showed favour to the young." History informs us, that the Romans,
under Titus and Vespasian, after a protracted siege, unparalleled
in horror, and sanguinary beyond example, at length became masters
of this once-favoured spot; and if we compare the predictions of
Christ with the events which occurred, and followed at the taking of
this devoted city, we shall be struck with the coincidence of the
declaration, and its awful fulfilment.

His foreknowledge of the dreadful calamities which should precede
and accompany the destruction of Jerusalem, caused our blessed
Saviour, when he beheld the city, to weep over it: and, surely, if
this once-favoured race had then known the day of its visitation,
the Lord would have turned from his fierce anger: but these things
"were hid from their eyes." Having rejected the Lord of Glory, they
were given over to judicial blindness, and the Lord brought upon
them "a nation from afar" to execute his vengeance. Jerusalem was
"trodden down by the Gentiles," and there was "great distress upon
the land, and wrath upon the people." The sword and the spear from
without, and famine and pestilence and civil discord within, were
indeed unto them "the beginning of sorrows." The predicted day
was now come, when their "enemies should cast a trench about them,
and compass them round, and keep them in on every side." Their
walls of strength, their beautiful palaces, and their magnificent
temple, were laid "even with the ground." Not "one stone was left
upon another" that was not thrown down; and all the princes and the
nobles, the ruler and the ruled, the priest and the people, and
"the children within thee," either "fell by the edge of the sword,"
or were "led away captive into all nations," for there was "great
distress in the land, and wrath upon the people."


     Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and
     Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as
     the high places of the forest.--Micah iii. 12.

"Walk about Zion, and go round about her, tell the towers thereof,
mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces," are they still
"beautiful for situation?" Is Jerusalem yet the "joy of the whole
earth?" Within "her walls peace once reigned, and prosperity within
her palaces." But how changed the spot! desolation and dismay reign
in undisturbed possession, where elegance and art displayed their
richest and most curious productions. Jerusalem is fallen--war
destroyed her palaces, and levelled her temple--the fire which
consumed that magnificent city was kindled by the hand of civil
discord--the desolating element that blazed with awful glare,
amidst the splendid sanctuary, was first lit by Jewish hands--and
the enfuriated Roman soldiers applied the torch, which ultimately
destroyed the temple of Jehovah. The Jews having burnt the greater
part of the galleries around the temple, and the Roman soldiers set
fire to the remainder, Titus commanded his troops to extinguish
the flames; but no sooner were his orders executed than a Roman
soldier threw a fire-brand into the temple, and the interior was
instantly in a blaze; the flames spread with rapidity, and not all
the commands, threatenings, or entreaties, of the Roman general,
and his officers, were effectual to preserve the building. Whilst
some were endeavouring to check the furious element, others set
fire to several of the door-posts; the scene was dreadful; the Jews
were filled with astonishment and horror, and their conquerors with
fury. Amidst the crackling of the fire were heard the shouts of
the victors, and the cries of the vanquished; the shrieks of the
wounded, and the groans of the dying. The ground on every side was
strewed with dead; while the courts flowed with Jewish blood, the
fire raged above; the conflagration was awful, and the massacre
dreadful.[140] Jerusalem and its walls were destroyed, the temple
levelled, and the Jews conquered, in the second year of the reign
of Vespasian, on the same month and day as Nebuchadnezzar destroyed
the former city and temple. The last temple, once celebrated for its
magnificence, is now no more. That building which, by the solidity
of its construction, seemed to defy the mouldering hand of time,
soon became a heap of ruins, and "the mountain of the house as the
high places of the forest."[141] Titus, before he withdrew his
troops, commanded them to reduce the city and temple to a level
with the ground, and they left not "one stone upon another," to
mark the spot where the temple stood. So strictly was this order
executed, that the demolished city scarcely appeared to have
been the residence of human creatures. Only three strong towers
remained of the once magnificent Jerusalem, and they were left to
exhibit to future times the skill and power of the Roman troops, in
becoming possessed of a place so strongly fortified by nature and
art. Josephus and other Jews attribute the unparalleled calamities
of their country-men, and the destruction of the temple, to the
signal vengeance of heaven, inflicted to punish that deluded people
for their cruelty and injustice to James the just, the brother of
Jesus, who is called Christ: but a believer of the New Testament
_must_ consider that _they_ were punished for their rejection and
crucifixion of Jesus Christ himself, the Messiah of Israel, and
Son of God; it was for _that_ cause "Zion was plowed as a field;
Jerusalem became a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the house as
the high places of the forest."

  [140] Matt. xxiv. 21, 22.

  [141] The walls were composed of the most durable kind of white
  stone, of massive size, each stone being twelve feet high, eighteen
  broad, and thirty-seven and a half in length.


     And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling
     and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a
     gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.--Isaiah
     viii. 14.

These words are not prophetical of the person of the Messiah, yet
they describe, in striking language, the effects that would follow
his appearance and ministry upon earth. They foretel the opposition
and enmity that would arise, in the minds of the Jewish nation,
to the Christ of God. If the whole Israelitish race had gladly
hailed Jesus as their Messiah, and if all, to whom the Gospel has
been proclaimed, from its first promulgation down to the present
hour; if all these countless multitudes, had cordially embraced
the faith of Christ, it could not have proved a more decisive
evidence of "the truth as it is in Jesus," than is afforded by
the Jews in their rejection of Christ as the Messiah. Thereby the
prophecies of God are fulfilled concerning _him_, who, though set
for a sanctuary, became "a stumbling block, and rock of offence,"
to the house of Israel, "and a gin and a snare to the inhabitants
of Jerusalem." The Jews were not a little vain of the glorious
pre-eminence their nation once sustained amidst the kingdoms of
the world, on account of the wondrous works, which the Lord of
Hosts had wrought for them, by "his mighty hand, and outstretched
arm." Their religious distinctions and ceremonies had also tended
to feed their pride, and nourish their haughty contempt, for the
other nations of the earth. Their long promised Messiah was not
forgotten by them. In his reign, their lively imaginations had
blended all the splendid conquests and dazzling magnificence of
regal power. Theirs was a tone of mind but ill-suited to bow before
the despised Man of Nazareth; to embrace the commands, and follow
as a master, one so poor, that "he had not where to lay his head."
When we consider the natural pride of the human heart, as joined
with the national pride of the Jewish people, we may cease to wonder
at their rejection of Jesus. They could not stoop to acknowledge
even the Son of God as their ruler, when offered to them void of
the purple robe and golden sceptre. They could not swear allegiance
to Zion's King, when they saw neither his royal pavilion, nor
marshalled troops. They could not bow before one born in a stable,
though Angels had descended to proclaim his glorious advent. What
wonder, if the eye by gazing so long and frequently on the dazzling
splendour they were wont to attach to the Messiah's reign, could
not perceive the fainter rays of glory that glimmered around the
retired path of the Man of Nazareth; they were offended at the
absence of all temporal splendour in his person; the Cross of Christ
proved a stumbling block and rock of offence. The Jews rejected,
as unfit for their-building, "the precious corner stone, which
the Lord God had lain in Zion, as a sure foundation." They could
not admit the Carpenter's Son to be the head of God's Church, nor
acknowledge the Man, untaught in the schools of worldly science,
to be the prophet of God's people. Neither "has the offence of
the cross yet ceased;" multitudes still despise and reject the
Christ of God; they are ashamed to own allegiance to Jesus of
Nazareth; they blush to acknowledge, as their Lord and Master, him
who died upon the accursed tree; they dislike to be thought one
of his real followers, and hate the humiliating and self-denying
commands he enjoins on his disciples. They prefer building their
hopes for eternity on the sandy foundation of human merit, rather
than on the blood and righteousness of Jesus. But if we refuse to
rest on Christ, that "sure foundation God has laid in Zion," all
other grounds of hope will prove a treacherous rest, from which
the floods of divine justice will sweep us to the dark abyss of
wo. God has declared that "other foundation can no man lay, than
is laid, which is Christ Jesus." Yet how little anxiety is evinced
on a subject of such immense importance! How few are concerned to
build their hopes for eternity, on Christ, the Rock of Ages, that
precious corner stone; that tried stone; tried by countless myriads
of happy saints, now in glory, who found him faithful to save from
the overwhelming surge. Must not he, who paid the full price of a
soul, know its worth? and has he not declared, that it will profit
us little "to gain the whole world and lose our own soul?" One soul
is of more real value than this world, with all its boasted riches
and glories. The day is coming when "the heavens shall depart as a
scroll, the elements melt with fervent heat," and this world, so
loved and caressed by its votaries will be utterly consumed by the
fire of divine vengeance. But the soul of every individual must
exist for ever, either in eternal happiness or misery. Yet how is
the method of man's reconciliation with God slighted? How is that
glorious scheme of redemption, by the death of Christ, despised by
the great majority of those to whom it is published. Do angels turn
from the lofty pursuits and glories of the heavenly world, to pry
into the mysteries of the cross; and shall man, for whose benefit
it was contrived and accomplished, remain stupidly insensible to
its excellence and glory, carelessly indifferent whether or not he
partake of the blessing?

Are we not taught in the case of our first parents, the absolute
necessity there is for our knowing and receiving Christ? Was it
not on the evening of the same day, in which they brake through the
fence of God's command, that he was graciously pleased to discover
to them his plan of reconciliation in the promised seed? And why so
soon after their transgression? but that the knowledge of it was
necessary to their salvation. Shall that scheme of Redemption, which
required the depths of divine wisdom to contrive, and the extent of
divine love to execute, be despised and rejected by man, as unworthy
his acceptance? By man, that worm of the earth, that creature of a
day, so insignificant amidst the stupendous works of God, that if
he were annihilated, he would scarcely be missed amid the boundless
immensity of space. Awful is the state of the Gentile or the Jew who
"hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and counted the blood of
the covenant an unholy thing."

The Jews, where are they? or rather, where are they not? To what
part of the world can we turn, without beholding some of the tribe
of Israel. They dwell in every land, but have none they can call
their own? They have lost their power, but preserved their national
features and manners. Wanderers on the face of the globe for nearly
eighteen hundred years, they are not assimilated with any people.
What other nation has so long preserved a distinction? Where are
the Britons, Romans, Saxons, Normans, ancient inhabitants of our
Isle? They are all blended in the English. The Jews, though dwelling
in every country, are still an unmixed people, yet that very
distinction exposes them to persecution and scorn. The dispersion of
the Jews is but a small part of their calamities. The Hebrews are a
despised and persecuted race, compelled to endure, without the hope
of redress, indignities the most revolting--barbarities the most
cruel--insults the most degrading--losses the most severe. And this
not merely from one nation, but nearly the whole world has wreaked
its vengeance on this unhappy people. Even the most civilised and
polished nations have stooped to load the Jews with obloquy and
scorn; many and grievous are the disabilities to which they are
subject. Yes, Jehovah has executed his threatened punishment upon
this unhappy people, for their rejection of the Messiah. "He has
scattered them among all people from one end of the earth even unto
the other." "Their plagues have been wonderful, even great plagues,
and of long continuance." They are become "an astonishment, a
proverb, and by-word among all nations."

All the prophecies of the Messiah which we possess, were handed
down to us from the Jews. The Hebrew and Greek versions of the Old
Testament were in their possession long before the gospel era. Its
latest prophecy was at least four hundred and thirty years before
the angel's shout was heard, "Glory to God in the highest, and on
earth peace, good will toward men." Nor do the Jews attempt to
deny that Jesus of Nazareth appeared at the time related by the
Evangelists. Josephus, the Jewish historian, in his antiquities
of that nation, (book the 18th,) relates:--"About this period,
(referring to the reign of Tiberius Cæsar,) there arose to notice
one Jesus, a man of consummate wisdom, _if, indeed, he may be
deemed a man_. He was eminently celebrated for his power of working
miracles; and they who were curious and desirous to learn the truth,
flocked to him in abundance. He was followed by immense numbers of
people, as well Jews as Gentiles. This was that Christ, whom the
princes and great men of our nation accused. He was delivered up
to the cross by Pontius Pilate; notwithstanding which, those who
originally adhered to him, never forsook him. On the third day after
his crucifixion he was seen alive, agreeably to the predictions of
several prophets: he wrought a great number of marvellous acts;
and there remain, even to this day, a sect of people who bear the
name of Christians, who acknowledge this Christ for their head."
This honourable testimony is from an enemy--a Jew, whose writings
were held in high estimation by his nation. Christ "came into his
own nation, but they received him not." No evidence, however bright
or clear, was sufficient to convince men so blinded by prejudice.
Warned, invited, and threatened, still they persisted in rejecting
the Messiah, because he did not assume the warrior's sword, or
mount the throne of Judah. Should we not feel more disposed to
pity and reclaim, that insult and oppress, this deluded people?
Have they no claim to our gratitude? To "them were committed the
Oracles of God," which we now enjoy. The prophets and apostles were
all Jews; and from them, "according to the flesh, Christ came,
who is over all, God blessed for evermore." It is recorded, by
ecclesiastical writers, that several of Christ's own disciples and
apostles--Simon Peter, Simon Zelotes, James the son of Zebedee,
Joseph of Arimathea, Aristobulus, and St. Paul himself, preached the
gospel to this nation. If this, indeed, be correct, their nation has
peculiar claims to our regard, for the services of their ancestors.
Certainly, the Romans were instructed in Christianity by Paul and
other Jews; and, in the first century, the Roman legions, and the
standard of the gospel of Christ, were planted on Albion's coast.

The Jews, though scattered and persecuted, are not destroyed; they
are preserved monuments of the divine veracity. O, may we take
warning from their awful fate! "Because of unbelief _they_ were
broken off, and _we_ stand by faith." "Let us not be highminded,
but fear; for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed,
lest he spare not us. Behold, therefore, the goodness and severity
of God; on them which fell, severity; but, towards us, goodness, if
we continue in his goodness: otherwise, we also shall be cut off."
It will avail us little to confess Jesus as the Messiah, if we are
unconcerned to know and practise the doctrines he has taught. But
may we "serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling."
"Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when
his wrath is kindled but a little." "Blessed are all they that put
their trust in him," for his word is fate; immutability seals, and
eternity executes, whatever he decrees.


     And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my
     servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the
     preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the
     Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the
     earth.--Isaiah xlix. 6.

The descendants of Abraham, the friend of God, were treated as
the Lord's peculiar people; singled out from other nations as the
favourites of heaven, the Lord was their lawgiver and king. No other
nation had God "so nigh unto them in all things that they called
upon him for," as the people of Israel. To benefit them, the laws
of nature were reversed, and nations destroyed. They were employed
by Jehovah to punish the idolatrous people for their crimes.[142]
They were selected to maintain the knowledge and worship of the
true God,[143] and to convey his pure and holy law to remote
generations. Thus favoured and blessed, the Jews were accustomed
contemptuously to regard all other nations, as common and unclean;
they could not endure to have one stone thrown down of the partition
wall, which had so long separated them from the Gentiles.[144]
They proudly enough appropriated to themselves all the blessings
connected with the appearance of the Messiah. But it would be a
light thing that Christ should become Jehovah's servant, endure pain
and scorn, merely to "raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore
the preserved of Israel;" that nation which he knew would so long
despise and reject him. But Messiah was given for "a light to the
Gentiles," and Jehovah's "salvation unto the ends of the earth." He
has asked, and received "the heathen for his inheritance, and the
uttermost parts of the earth for his possession." "Yea, all nations
shall be blessed in him;" for the root of Jesse shall stand for "an
ensign of the people, and to him shall the Gentiles seek:" to his
glorious rest shall all nations flow. He shall have "dominion from
sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth." "They
that dwell in the wilderness, shall bow before him; and his enemies
lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of the Isles shall bring
presents; the kings of Sheba and Seba, shall offer gifts: yea, all
kings shall fall down before him, all nations shall serve him. For
he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him
that hath no helper. He shall redeem their soul from violence:
and precious shall their blood be in his sight. He shall live,
and to him shall be given of the gold of Seba: prayer also shall
be made for him continually; and daily shall he be praised. His
name shall endure for ever, his name shall be continued as long as
the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call
him blessed. Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only
doeth wondrous things." Yes, Christ is Jehovah's servant, in whom
his soul delights; he has "put his spirit upon him, he shall bring
forth judgment to the Gentiles;" "he has given him for a covenant
of the people, for a light of the Gentiles." Numerous are the
prophecies which refer to the call of the heathen world, and Jesus
who declares himself the Messiah, is described in the New Testament
as "a light to lighten the Gentiles," as well as "the glory of his
people Israel." He preached himself in the borders of Zabulon and
Nephthalim,[145] and Samaria:[146] the parting command he gave his
disciples was, that they should "go forth into all the world, and
preach the gospel to every creature." He endowed them with the
gift of tongues, to enable them to preach the unsearchable riches
of Christ to the Gentiles. And they went forth and preached every
where, "the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with
signs following." "The word of the Lord went forth from Jerusalem;"
it rapidly spread through Jewry, Samaria, and Galilee. Distant
cities soon heard the glad tidings. Within thirty years after their
Lord's ascension, the faithful disciples had preached the doctrines
of the gospel at Cæsarea, Damascus, Joppa, Antioch, Phrygia,
Galatia, Derbe, Corinth, Iconium, Ephesus, Macedonia, Cyprus, Syria,
Cilicia, Athens, Alexandria, at Rome, and numerous other places.

  [142] Deuteronomy xviii. 9, 12.

  [143] Isaiah xliii. 20, 21.

  [144] John iv. 9.

  [145] Matthew iv. 12, 13, 15, 16.

  [146] John iv. 4.

The Christian faith was contrary to all existing opinions,
religions, and habits; and decidedly opposed to the natural
propensities of the human heart. Its teachers were Jewish fishermen,
tent-makers, and tax-gatherers, poor and illiterate men,[147]
unskilled in artifice. They preached not merely amongst men as
simple as themselves, they taught at Athens and Rome, the very
seats of learning and philosophy; they had to contend with men
skilled in science, and were opposed by long-established customs
and habits. The disciples had no eloquence to convince, no power to
awe, no wealth to bribe; they were opposed by Jewish pride, Grecian
philosophy, and worldly power; yet the gospel flourished rapidly
over all opposition and persecution: ancient prejudice fell before
the religion of Jesus; though it offered no worldly recompense to
its followers, yet it spread, notwithstanding the kings and nobles
of the earth set themselves in array against it. "The stone cut out
without hands is become a great mountain, and shall fill the whole
earth." The standard of the cross has been planted on every land.
Nations, barbarous and learned, have bowed before it; may it go on
"conquering and to conquer," till all nations and people call our
Immanuel blessed.

  [147] Acts iv, 13.


     The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I
     make thine enemies thy footstool.--Psalm cx. 1.

We here find Jehovah, _the_ LORD, in the person of God the Father,
addressing the Adonai, my Lord, in the person of God the Son, Christ
Jesus _our_ Lord.[148] It is he, and he only, who shares the throne
of Deity.[149] He who tabernacled on earth, "a man of sorrows and
acquainted with griefs," is now seated "on the right hand of the
Majesty on high. Far above all principality, and power, and might,
and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world,
but in that which is to come." "To which of the angels said he at
any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy
footstool?" "But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for
ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness, is the sceptre of thy
kingdom." "This is he that liveth, and was dead, and behold he is
alive for evermore; and hath the keys of hell and of death. He is
Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord,
which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty;"
"whom the heaven must receive, until the times of restitution of
all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy
prophets since the world began." "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit
thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool."
"For he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world
in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he
hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from
the dead." "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all
judgment unto the Son; that all men should honour the Son, even as
they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth
not the Father which hath sent him." "But who may abide the day
of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth?" Wo unto
them who now dare to raise their puny arm in rebellion against the
Majesty of heaven; who madly rush on the "thick bosses of Jehovah's
buckler;" "trample under foot the blood of the Son of God;" and
"heap unto themselves wrath, against the day of wrath." Christ
will not always extend the golden sceptre of mercy, that sinners
"may touch and live." The day is coming, when he will grasp the
sword of justice, and arise to "judge the world in righteousness."
"Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and
they also which pierced him; and all kindreds of the earth shall
wail because of him." O that men "did but know in this their day,
the things that belong unto their peace, before they are for ever
hid from their eyes;" for "some shall awake to everlasting life,
and some to shame and everlasting contempt, but they that be wise
shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that
turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever." Ye
watchmen on Zion's walls, ye ministers of the everlasting gospel,
O "heal not the wound of the daughter of God's people slightly;"
say not, "Peace, peace, when there is no peace." "Cry aloud, spare
not; lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show the people their
transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins." Shrink not back,
like Jonah of old, from delivering your Master's awful message.
Be ye faithful to your God, to your conscience, and to souls. Let
the sweet accents of mercy be heard, while ye boldly unfurl the
blood-stained banners of the cross. Tell of the love and pity of
him, who died that we might live: "Who suffered, the just for the
unjust; to bring sinners unto God." "Pray them, in Christ's stead,
to be reconciled unto God;" and accept of mercy while it may be
found. Invite, exhort, entreat them to flee from the wrath to come,
to lay down the weapons of their rebellion, and join your royal
Master's cause; to quit the enemy's camp, those strong holds of sin
and Satan, and rally round our Immanuel's standard. "Proclaim the
unsearchable riches of Christ," tell them "his yoke is easy, and
his burden light," that "his ways are ways of pleasantness, and that
all his paths are peace?" Tell them "he now waits to be gracious,
but that, ere long, the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven,
with his mighty angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them
that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus
Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the
presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall
come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them
that believe." "He will swallow up death in victory; the Lord God
will wipe away tears from of all faces; and the rebuke of his people
shall be taken away from off all the earth," for the Lord hath
spoken it. "It shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we
have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have
waited for him; we will be glad, and rejoice in his salvation."

  [148] In whatever part of the Bible the name of the LORD is
  written in capital letters, it means Jehovah; and the name of the
  Lord in small letters, signifies Adonai. The translators intended
  to show, by this method, that in the original there is a very
  material difference in the word. By the glorious incommunicable
  name of Jehovah (translated LORD in capital letters,) is meant the
  Self-existent, Independent, and Eternal Being, the promising and
  performing God. The word Adonai (translated Lord in small letters)
  conveys the idea of Lord or Ruler, an Almighty Helper or Supporter,
  and is particularly descriptive of the Mediatorial character of the
  Lord Jesus.

  [149] Zechariah xiii. 7.


Mills, Jowett, and Mills, Bolt-court, Fleet-street.

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Transcriber's note:

Page 125: The transcriber has inserted a missing anchor for footnote
71: Col. ii. 9.

Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note.
Irregularities and inconsistencies in the text have been retained as

Mismatched quotes are not fixed if it's not sufficiently clear where
the missing quote should be placed.

The cover for the eBook version of this book was created by the
transcriber and is placed in the public domain.

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