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prediction. Were the ass and the colt the objects of an eternal prescience? And was it not possible for the prophecy to have been fulfilled by the actual employment of some other beast ? Was every garment, and every palm, branch employed on that occasion, the object of an eternal prescience? And was it not possible for some other garments, or other branches, to have been employed for that purpose ? And was the person of every child that lifted up his hosannas, and every syllable, and every exclamation that was uttered on that occasion, the object of a certain, and infallible, and personal, and eternal prescience ?

“ And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.” Matt. xxvii. 35. In comparing the above prediction with its fulfilment, as recorded by the evangelists, one cannot but distinguish between the event predicted, and the agents, and the persons by which the predicted actions were afterwards performed. The prophecy is confined to the event, but the history connects the events with the personal agency of those individuals who actually fulfilled the prediction. The prediction says, that the garments of Jesus would be so disposed of; but it does not say by whom they would be so disposed of: the garments of Jesus being so disposed of, was matter of Divine determination; but the persons by whom they were so disposed of, were not so: the disposal of the garments of our Lord by lot, was matter of a certain prescience; but the persons by whom they were so disposed of, were not so : the disposal of the garments of our Lord by lot, was matter of prophetical necessity, and consequently of prophetical certainty ; but the persons by whom the garments of our Lord were so disposed of, were not matter of either the one or the other.

“For these things were done, that the Scriptures should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken ; and again, another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they have pierced.” John xix. 36, 37. These predictions, as far as our Lord was concerned, must be certainly regarded as direct and personal prophecy, but they cannot be regarded as being either direct or proper predictions of those individuals by whom the things predicted were actually done

to the person of our blessed Redeemer. Such a supposition would be inconsistent with the moral character of God, and the moral freedom of men; it would convert all scripture prophecy into a mere juggle upon human ignorance and popular credulity: nor can any thing of the kind be fairly deduced from the delivery and fulfilment of scripture prophecy.

Several different passages of the Old Testament Scriptures are applied to the betraying of our blessed Lord ; and some of them, I have no doubt, are direct predictions of that event, particularly the 25th verse of the 69th Psalm ; which the apostle has rendered, “Let his habitation be desolate, and his bishoprick let another take.” Acts i. 20. As far as the event is a subject of a direct prophecy, it must have been a subject of Divine prescience; and therefore it must devolve the certainty of its fulfilment upon the character and agency of God. And therefore the apostle says, “ This scripture must needs have been fulfilled.” Acts i. 16. But here is no mention made of Judas Iscariot, as the name of Cyrus was pledged by the prophet in his prediction of the restoration of the Jews from their captivity in Babylon. The New Testament predictions on this subject, are of a very different character; as they relate to the betraying of our Lord by Judas the son of Simon. This subject, therefore, we shall have to notice in a subsequent chapter.

“But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him; that the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, Lord, who hath believed our report, and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?” John xii. 37, 38. Now the foregoing prediction is founded upon the Divine knowledge of the human heart, and it anticipates the reception which the Gospel would meet with from the Jewish people in the days of the Messiah, and it is evidently founded on the known character of their ancestors in the time of the prophet Isaiah. The prediction contains no personal allusion; and therefore the apostle Paul applies the same prediction to the conduct of the Jews in his own day; Rom. x. 16. And in the same chapter, the apostle applies several other predictions of the same character, with as wide a latitude of interpretation.

I am happy in an opportunity of rescuing the following

prophecy from the perverse and erroneous construction which has generally been given to it, by those persons who have explained the prediction for the purpose

of accommodating a creed. “When the even was come, they brought forth unto him many that were possessed with devils; and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” Matt. viii. 16, 17. Now, hereafter, let no person who may read this prediction, “ He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows,” suppose that these words do allude to the endurance of the penalty of sin upon the cross; because we have the authority of Divine inspiration, to apply this prediction to the miraculous cures which our blessed Redeemer performed on bodies of the people.

" And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing, ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing, ye shall see, and shall not perceive : for this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest, at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their hearts, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” Matt. xiii. 14, 15. If the reader will only consult the 6th chapter of Isaiah, he will perceive at once, that the prophecy, in its original application, contained a prediction of the effects of the prophet's own mission to the Jewish people : and he will discover, that it is adverted to by the evangelist for the purpose of recognising a similar conduct in the reception of our blessed Redeemer by their descendants. And while this particular passage of holy writ is under our consideration, it may be well to notice another peculiarity which appears in the particular form of this same prediction. A perverse consequence, in the phraseology of the Scriptures, is usually expressed, as though it were a Divine intention. “ Make the hearts of this people gross,” &c. The reason, I apprehend to be this ; the visitation was judicial : that is to say, although the message, which must have been in. tended by the Deity to produce an apposite effect, was unsuccessful, by reason of their own wilful obstinacy and malevolence; and yet it was actually made to operáte, as its

own natural and legitimate punishment. Their obstinacy and malevolence were such, that our Lord could not speak to them with safety to his person, except by concealing the truth under the pleasing veil of a parable; and even when his parables bore directly and obviously upon their wicked practices, “ they took up stones to stone him," and employed every means in their power to take away his life. << Therefore speak I unto them in parables; because they seeing, see not; and hearing, they hear not.” But although he did, in this merciful manner, condescend to their prejudices and their malevolence, it availed not: they perceived the truth ; but they refused to yield obedience to their own convictions.

“ But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.” John xv. 25; Ps. lxix. 4. “ And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.” John ii. 17; Ps. Ixix. 9. “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were accomplished, that the Scriptures might be fulfilled, he saith, I thirst.” John xix. 28; Ps. Ixix. 21. 6 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value, and gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me." Matt. xxvii. 9.

Now, in relation to most of the foregoing predictions, it is highly probable that they were direct prophecies, and therefore they must have been the objects of a certain prediction, and consequently of an infallible prescience. But although the events predicted were the subjects of direct prophecy, and therefore the means by which they were to be accomplished must, of consequence, have been equally secure, yet it would not follow from thence that those means were the objects of a personal prediction, or that they were the objects of a personal anticipation.

A prediction of an event, and a proper and personal prediction, must of necessity be widely different from each other: the former of them, in every case of scripture prophecy, must be perfectly compatible with both the moral government of God, and the freedom of human actions ; but the hypothesis of a personal prediction, would, in many

of the cases before alluded to, be perfectly irreconcilable with both the one and the other. In the distribution of rewards and punishments, he doeth as it pleaseth him in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth. He setteth up one person, and putteth down another; and this he can do without interfering with the moral freedom of any human being. And if the Lord is able to bring about any event which he may


in the distribution of rewards and punishments, and in the fulfilment of his promises, and the execution of his threatenings, without doing violence to the moral freedom of any of his creatures, then the administration of his government may be matter of promise and of previous denunciation, and consequently it may be matter of certain prediction, and consequently, also, it may be an object of a certain prescience.

It may be argued, that the fulfilment of a promise or a prediction must, of necessity, imply the means of its fulfilment. But I answer, the fulfilment of a promise must, indeed, imply a means of its fulfilment, but not the means of its fulfilment. Otherwise, the particular means by which it is eventually fulfilled, must be as inevitable as the end itself, and no other means could have been possibly employed; and in such a case, no room would be left for the exercise of the Divine discretion, nor any possibility of the exercise of human freedom.

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