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very apposite and probable expositions of texts, which scarcely admit of any other intelligible interpretation?
The consequence of the Messiah's sufferings, death, resurrection, ascension, and exaltation, as "a Priest upon his throne,” at the right hand of the Father; in respect of those, whether Jews or gentiles, who were “his people, willing in the day “ of his power ;” has already appeared, in that part of the work in which the effects of the coming of Jesus are considered. Far more might indeed be added, concerning the predictions which clearly foretold these effects, and connected them with his humiliation : and something has been adduced, on the fifty-third of Isaiah and on the twentysecond Psalm, to this effect. But I would now hasten to a close.
I have only one more subject to adduce, which must not by any means be passed over; yet I mention it with a kind of trepidation; lest I should seem, as a gentile, ' to boast over the
Jews,' or not to have suitable candour and good will towards them. But the facts are undeniable; namely, the desolations of Jerusalem and the temple in less than forty years after the crucifixion of Jesus ; with the unspeakable miseries endured by the Jews, and the incredible slaughter made of them, during the siege of Jerusalem, as recorded by their own historian Josephus ; and their despised and oppressed condition ever since, for above seventeen hundred years. These facts have exceedingly perplexed the Jews themselves; and they cannot account for it, that their sufferings,
since the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, have continued so much longer than the Babylonish captivity did; though they had not previously been guilty of any direct idolatry. It would however answer little purpose, here to assign the reasons of this most extraordinary event, from the writings of Christians, or even from those contained in the New Testament: but it is of the highest consequence to call the attention of the Jews to what their own prophets spake on this subject.
It is the design of these testimonies, to ascertain indisputably what has been the real cause of these dire and long continued judgments of God on his ancient people ; by shewing the manner in which some of the prophets connect the rejection, sufferings, and death of the Messiah, with the desolations of Jerusalem, and the dispersion of the Jews.Thus Gabriel says to Daniel : “ After “ threescore and two weeks, Messiah shall 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 to the end of the war desola“ tions are determined. 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 over“ spreading of abominations he shall make it “ desolate, even until the consummation, and that “ determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” 1
What attentive and impartial reader can help
seeing and acknowledging, in this prophecy, the connexion between the Messiah being cut off," and the predicted desolations ? Is it not here expressly foretold, that the coming of the Messiah, and his sufferings and death, would eventually occasion, at least, the desolations of Jerusalém, the termination of the temple-service, the awful miseries inflicted on the Jews by the idolatrous Romans, and the introduction of their permanent dispersion ? And did not these events follow speedily after the Jews had cut off our Lord Jesus Christ? It is in vain to criticise on single words or expressions, or to make objections to this or the other explanation : nothing but an interpretation of THE WHOLE PROPHECY, and of every clause, in another more satisfactory manner; grounded, as ours is, on known and undeniable facts; can do any thing effectual to obviate the conclusion, that Jesus is the Messiah ; and that, by rejecting and crucifying him, and cruelly persecuting his disciples, the nation of the Jews filled up that measure of iniquity, which brought upon them their past and present sufferings.—“ O Jerusalem, Jerusa“ lem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest “ them which are sent unto thee, how often would “ I have gathered thy children, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and
ye “ would not! Behold, your house is left unto you
desolate. For I say unto you, ye shall not “ see me henceforth, till ye
Blessed is “ he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” 1 These calamities therefore will last, till the “Spirit
Matt. xxiii. 34-39.
“of grace and of supplications be poured upon
them, and they shall look" with penitent sorrow “ and genuine faith on him whom they pierced,” and have crucified afresh through all succeeding generations. But then the “ fountain for sin and “ uncleanness shall be opened for them.” For in that day, when God shall restore Israel, they shall thus look unto him whom they pierced.
Another prophecy of Zechariah must here again be adduced. “ Awake, O sword, against my
Shepherd, 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
my hand upon the little ones. And it shall
come to pass, that in all the land two parts “ thereof shall be cut off and die, but the third “ shall be left therein. And I will bring the “ third part through the fire; and I will refine “ them as silver is refined, and will try them as
gold is tried; and they shall call on my name, 66 and I will hear them. I will say, It is my
people, and they shall say, The Lord is my “ God.-Behold the day of the Lord cometh, and
thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee: “ and 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 the city shall go forth into captivity; and “ the residue of the people shall not be cut off “ from the city.”
This passage begins with the death of the Messiah, the Shepherd and Fellow of Jehovah; by the
· Zech. xij. 10-14. xiji. 1.
Zech. xiii. 7-9. xiv. 1, 2.
sword of his avenging justice, yet by the wicked hands of the Jews. It proceeds to shew the terrible vengeance of God on the nation “ thirds shall die:” it points out “the remnant “ according to the election of grace ;” their trials, preservation, and sanctification.
It goes on to represent the dreadful siege and taking of Jerusalem ; and to intimate that half would be destroyed in the siege, or carried into captivity, and disposed of in different ways. Difficulties may rest on some expressions ; but this is the undeniable outline: namely, the sword of JEHOVAH shall first “ awake against his Shepherd :” and then against those who murdered his Shepherd; against the nation of the Jews, except a tried remnant; against Jerusalem, where his blood was shed; and finally, against the Roman empire, who had been the instruments, both of crucifying his Shepherd, and destroying Jerusalem and the Jews; not from regard to him, but from ambition, rapacity, revenge, and enmity to the true God and true religion. And can any reflecting and impartial man doubt, whether the past and present sufferings of the Jews were the consequences of rejecting and crucifying their Messiah, and that these events were here predicted ?
The Psalmist also concludes a doleful account of his sufferings, in which there is sufficient proof that he spake as the type of the Messiah, by saying, “ Reproach hath broken my heart, and I am “ full of heaviness : and I looked for some to “take pity, but there was none; and for com“ forters, but I found none. They gave me also
gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave