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OF THE FIRST PROPAGATION
AND THE LIVES
MOST EMINENT PERSONS
MENTIONED IN THE
PRINTED, 87 3. BRIGHTLY, FOR HIMSELF AND T. KINNERSLEY.
LIFE OF CHRIST.
RETROSPECT OF THE EVENTS WHICH PRECEDED THE INCARNATION OF OUR LORD.
The wonderful union of divine and human nature in Jesus Christ--this doctrine stated by John, in the beginning of his gospel---the Logos, the word or wisdom of God---how understood by Jews and Heathens---was in the beginning---was God, yet distinct from the Father---the Creator of all things---dwelt in the person of Jesus Christ-the light of the world--if Christ be not properly God, the apostles have been the means, by their teaching, of leading mankind to the practice of idolatry---the doctrine credible, but to be discussed with modesty---the hypothesis of Milton, compared with the Mosaic account of the fall, and with different passages of scripture---consequences of the fall--are mitigated or removed by Jesus Christ-why the interval of four thousand years elapsed between the fall of the first Adam, and the incarnation of the second---the seed of the woman---the antediluvians were probably favoured with a traditional revelation, which prescribed rules of life, and indicated the coming of the Messiah---how Christ preached, in the days of Noah, to the spirits in prison---the Lord God of Shem--the causes, progress, and consequences of idolatry---the call of Abraham---Melchisedec---whether one of the three angels, that visited Abraham, was the Logos---Lot---the faith and covenant of Abraham---Isaac---Jacob---Shiloh---remarks on the character of Job, and on the book which bears his name---his faith in the Redeemer---the children of Israel go down into Egypt---wisdom and goodness displayed in this dispensation of divine providence---character of Moses, as a lawgiver, an historian, and a poet---his prediction concerning Christ---Balaam---the age of the Judges---the schools of the prophets---David---the Psalms---different states of the chosen people, from the times of Abraham to those of Solomon---the commerce and wealth of the Jews under Solomon--his temple---Proverbs---Ecclesiastes---the Song of Songs---the four prophetic periods--the prophets of the age of David---Nathan---Gad---Ahijah---Shemaiah--Iddo, &c.--the age of Jehosaphat---Elijah---Elisha---Micaiah---Jonah--age of Isaiah-Isaiah-- Hoxca---Joel--- Amos---Micah---Nahum, &c.---age of the captivity--Jeremiah---Lamentotions---Obadiah---Habakkuk---Zephaniah--Ezekiel---Daniel-Haggai Zechariah-and
Malachi--nature and style of the prophetic writings---the reformation in the days of Ezra---Jeshua murdered in the temple---visit of Alexander to Jerusalem--Jerusalem taken by Ptolemy---persecution under Ptolemy Philopator---Antiochus the Great favours Jerusalem quarrel between Omas and Simon the high-priest--usurpation of Jason, and general apostacy---Menelaus turns Pagan, plunders the temple, and murders Onias---Antiochus Epiphanes takes Jerusalem, and murders forty thousand of the inhabitants---Apollonius plunders Jerusalem, massacres many of the inhabitants, and carries an hundred thousand into captivity---the temple service abandoned---the worship of Jupiter set up in Jerusalem--Mattathias has recourse to arms---is very successful--Judas Maccabeus restores the temple worship---death of Antiochus Epiphanes---Judas Maccabeus slain---Jonathan and Simon the brothers of Judas---Hyrcan---Aristobulus--Alexander--Janneus--civil war between Hyrcanus and Aristobulus-the two brothers apply to Pompey, who besieges and takes Jerusalem---Judea divided into five districts--Herod the Great---his cruel tyranny---conclusion.
Of all the events of which man has received information, there is none more astonishing
than the incation of Jesus Christ. The birth of the most celebrated poet, historian,
legislator, or conqueror, is no otherwise interesting, than as beginning a life, which succeeding conduct rendered afterwards worthy of attention.. But the nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ is remarkable in itself, as displaying such an union of divine and human nature, as never took place on any other occasion. Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; the government is laid upon his shoulders, and he is fitly called the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father (or Father of eternal life,) the Prince of Peace.
The beginning of the gospel according to John, when carefully read and examined, casts as much light upon this subject, as, perhaps, it is capable of receiving. John i. 1..18. In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all men, through him, might believe. He was not that light, but was sent to bear witness of that light. That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth. John bare witness to him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake; he that cometh after me is preferred before me; for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
On this passage it may be proper to make a few remarks.
1. The name here translated the word, is, in the Greek original, Logos, and signifies,