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phemous derision of the priests and people, the spectators of his death, "All that see me, laugh me to scorn; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted in the Lord that he would deliver him : let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him :" his words spoken in the height of his distress,
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" The prophet Isaiah represents the ignominy and torments of his passion, Isa. 1. lii. liii. "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:" and by the eyes of his mind saw him crucified between two thieves, "He was numbered with transgressors:" and as present at his most affectionate dying prayer for his enemies, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do;" observes, "that he made intercession for transgressors." Thus as several painters that would draw divers copies from the same excellent original, are intent to view its various aspects, some directly, some on this and the other side: so the prophets, as if they had been the spectators of his cruel sufferings, copied from the life, every one that part which the . Holy Spirit assigned to them. Now, how was it possible, if not instructed by Omniscience, that being so distant in time and place, and so long before the accomplishment, they should concur in such an exact description of what should befal the Messiah? Men are not prophets by the light of reason: as nature is not subjected to their power to work miracles, neither is futurity open to their view, to compose a history of things to come. The death of Christ depended on several causes: men, devils, and God
himself concurred for divers ends in the same event. The two prime conspirators against his life, Lucifer and Caiaphas, were moved both from reasons of state to secure their own. The devil, to maintain his cruel empire, which for so many ages he had usurped in the world. For our Saviour having, with authority, cast out legions of his evil spirits from those who were miserably possessed by them, he was in fear of losing his power. Besides, he foresaw that if Christ were the Son of God, the killing of him would bring such a crimson guilt upon the Jews, that no less punishment than their rejection would follow; and so God should lose his peculiar people. Caiaphas excited the council to devote him as a sacrifice to preserve their nation from ruin; for their safety depending on their homage to the Romans, to prevent the jealousies that might arise by the fame of his mighty works, and by the people's attendance on him, that were fed by his miracles, they concluded on it as a necessary expedient, that Christ should die, and all suspicions be removed with him. Thus men and devils were the instruments, but God appointed that great event. The storm fell from heaven upon him for our sins. It is, therefore, expressly said," he was delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God;" who overruled the train of disorders, the work of their cruel malice, for contrary ends than were designed by them; for the devils were cast out of their kingdom, the Jews deprived of their liberty, and the kingdom of Christ established for ever. Now, who could read in the mind of God his free decrees? Even the angels of light, that always see his face, cannot, without a re
velation of them. None" but the Spirit, that searches the deep things of God," could make the discovery? And who could foresee that the Messiah, so often promised to the Jews, so impatiently expected, and ardently desired, should be so fiercely rejected by them? That his death should be the effect of his own love, so of their hatred? None but God, to whom all the periods of time are equally present, and who is more intimate with the counsels and passions of men than their own souls are, could predict it. He communicated some rays of his prescience to holy men, who foretold that obscurest contingency. From hence it follows, that the clear testimonies of the prophets, exactly fulfilled in Jesus Christ, are an unanswerable demonstration, that he was the expected Deliverer to restore the world.
2. The universal and irreparable destruction of the state of the Jews, foretold as the just punishment of their rejecting the Messiah, is another illustrious proof of the divinity of his person and doctrine.
The first desolation by the Chaldeans, so compassionately recorded by Jeremiah, was not comparable, in the degrees and continuance, to this second by the Romans, of which Christ himself was the chief mourner, and made lamentation. Then they were transported together, and not to a very rigorous nor perpetual servitude in Babylon. After seventy years they recovered their liberty, and were restored to their native land. But in the last, the captives were dispersed among divers people; a sad prognostic that they should never be joined again in one society. The ruins of the nation were so
great, that the pieces of it are scattered all over the world. Wherever a Jew is found, there is a stone of ruined Jerusalem never to be rebuilt. In short, that wretched nation is rent into innumerable parts, and exposed to the contempt and hatred of all. As the body of a traitor is quartered, and the parts hung up in several places of public view, to signify the horror of his crimes in the severity of his punishment, God has taken away all the marks of his alliance with them. No distinction of their tribes remain, no observance of their legal ceremonies, no priests, no altars, no sacrifices, no prophets nor miracles; in short, there is no true worship among them, no God but an angry God, revenging their bloody impieties. And which is most worthy of consideration, the Romans that conquered them have lost their empire, and the nations which were subdued by their arms, have recovered their liberty; but the Jews, after sixteen hundred years, are still miserable. Now, is not this judgment of God upon them, a dreadful proof of the extremity of their wickedness in crucifying Jesus Christ, and that consequently he was, as he declared himself to be, the Son of God, and that his office and doctrine were from heaNever before did the wrath of God break forth in such a fierce manner against a sinful nation. Therefore it is represented under the image of the final doom, when justice, armed with flames, “shall devour the ungodly," and the whole world become a theatre of terrors. And never was any other nation guilty of such provocation; for the Son of God descended but once among men to be personally crucified. The singularity of the punishment is a
visible instructive sign of their transcendent crime. Immediately upon their pronouncing the capital sentence against him on earth, their utter ruin was pronounced in heaven. And the execution of the sentence was deferred no longer, but till the elect of that people were brought in, and by the preaching and excellent miracles of the apostles, the resurrection of Christ, and the truth of the Gospel were confirmed, and thereby a beginning and form given to the new Christian church. Now they have written on their foreheads, in very legible characters, the fatal curse which their fathers pronounced concerning Jesus Christ, "His blood be on us, and our children." When Moses, with indignation for their idolatry, broke the tables of the law, God reestablished them, but when, for a greater guilt, God himself broke them, there is no possible redintegration.
If it be said, That it is not necessary to attribute this ruin of the Jews to the particular vengeance of God, but only to the instability of human things, wherein such disastrous revolutions sometimes happen.
I answer, that although divine justice was so visible in their astonishing destruction, that Titus himself refused a triumphal crown after his complete victory, declaring that he was but the instrument of God's anger, who was the invisible emperor in that bloody expedition; yet, to force an acknowledgment of it from all that are not wilfully blind, it was foretold when the Jews were in peace; and their killing the Messiah is specified, as the meritorious cause wherein that terrible effect was included: thus our