Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

PROPHECY.

THERE is something in the fulfilment of a prophecy, that appears to baffle all attempts to subvert the truth of a revelation from God, and that, simply because only one gifted by the power of inspiration could foretel what would actually come to pass at some far distant period. Prophecy, indeed, is the grand link of that mighty chain, that binds together the great mass of evidence respecting all that is contained in the Gospel; and this link is so strong and adamantine, that were all other links to give way, it would be firm enough to hold together the cause, for which Divinity, in the form of Humanity, became the chief Advocate.

It is a question, whether or not converts to Christianity would have been so effectually made, had not the predictions of the prophets literally come to pass. Miracles wrought before the eyes of those, who were inclined to be incredulous, might have ineffectually passed away, or they might have been attributed to various and complicated causes; but not so with respect to Prophecy. Events were predicted centuries, and in some cases thousands of years, before they came to pass, and were fulfilled at the very time they were expected. The prophets foretold, that a great Personage should be born of a Virgin, who should die for the sins of the people:the circumstances attending his birth,—the place where he should be born, the many miracles he should perform,--his rejection by men,--his crucifixion,-his resurrection, -his ascension into heaven, ---and many other events were foretold by men of a prophetic character, inspired by Jehovah; and all these things have been fulfilled in the person of the Messiah. When the Jews unrolled their Scriptures, though they found the events to agree with the prediction, they refused to believe, that Christ was the Jesus—or the Saviour-for such is the interpretation of the name, because their expectations were disappointed. They looked for a king who would come in majesty and great glory: the Messiah came, as was predicted of him, as the meek and lowly Jesus, without show, pomp, or power. But nevertheless by their own Scriptures were the Jews convicted of disbelief and hardness of heart. Strange it is, that these very Jews are living proofs of the truth of prophecy; thus the evidence becomes the more valuable, because it is the testimony of the enemies of Christianity. They preserved the very records that foretold the coming of the Messiah, and upon those records built their expectations, and moreover looked for him at the very time He made his appearance.

Of the numerous copies of the Old Testament, no variety or difference of language affects the sense of Prophecy; in all, the purport is the same, and emphatically relates to the Messiah. No other great person ever has, or will appear, that could be the subject of these prophecies.

No argument can be stronger in favour of the truth of Prophecy, than the fact of its being of a progressive order, as general prophecies are now alluded to; and if in the aggregate they be real, those relating to the Messiah, being also verified by events, acquire a peculiar force. No other prophecies but those contained in the Old and New Testaments, are of value. Biblical prophecies have alone proved themselves the testimony of Jesus. A few out of the many of the Pagan prophecies have accidentally succeeded; and marvellous would it have been had they not; for most of them were made, when the causes had begun to produce their effects.

But not one of the sacred prophecies relating to the Messiah has disappointed the expectants; consequently their truth becomes more firmly established.

The argument now is directed to the establishment of the truth of Prophecy; and it is a point of the most vital importance; for if once established, the Jew, the Infidel, and the Socinian must at once admit the truth of Christianity. Admit the truth of Prophecy, and Christianity, as a consequence, is embraced. But why should this point be doubted ? If it was in the power of God to usher a world into existence out of a rude chaos, and to form beings as the inhabitants of his workmanship; why should it be considered at variance with reason to suppose that he should endow some, for especial purposes, with the spirit of inspiration? The latter power appears less than the creative; yet, with Omnipotence, they are the same. To believe that God is omnipotent, is an act forced upon us by our reason, and establishes the truth of that Divine inspiration, which we denominate Prophecy; and to doubt the possibility of Prophecy, is to doubt that he is Almighty. Hence the Jew who rejected Christianity, has sometimes been found to degenerate into the Atheist. It is not to be supposed, that God would form creatures, without their being the peculiar ob

[ocr errors]

jects of his Providence. Thence Prophecy, in their fallen state, was directed to be a peculiar solace, and an evidence of the Divine care. Again, if God knows all future things himself, why should it at all be considered irrationality to suppose that he would reveal a few of those future events to his creatures, especially when they told of the advent of the Messiah? The irrationality rests with the incredulous; for the very existence of man, after the Fall, would have been almost intolerable, had not the promise of redemption been made by the Creator; and this could only be effected by Prophecy, to be at all compatible to the justice of the Deity: hence were his justice and mercy commensurate.

To suppose that the predictions of the prophets were fulfilled by chance, is as foolish as to conclude that the world, and all its living objects were made by the same casual circumstance: the detachment of each prediction, and the unity of design, to be found in all the prophets, immediately and powerfully destroy this irrational supposition.

The most improbable predictions, to all human sight, were made by the prophets, without the least object of traffic or gain, but with the sure expectation of persecution, and, in some instances, murder. This fact alone argues in favour of their

« AnteriorContinuar »