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Such parts of the law, whether first instituted by Moses, or adopted from the patriarchs, as were intended merely to direct the attention of a gross and carnal minded people, to the coming of the long promised Messiah, and to the means by which he was to render all the families of the earth blessed, were not abrogated but fuifilled by our Lord. "Think not" says he, (a)" that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." When all should be fulfilled, then surely something of the law was to pass away; so that the sense of the passage is, that as soon might heaven and earth be supposed to pass away, as one jot or one tittle of the law before it should be fulfilled or have answered its end; but all the legal sacrifices and other types, which were intended merely to prefigure the events of our Lord's life and death, were surely fulfilled when he had completed our redemption; and accordingly they soon afterwards passed away for ever. Before his advent they in some sense supplied his place, by directing the attention of the people towards their future redemption; and, even during the few years that he sojourned upon earth, by obtaining through their relation to that all-sufficient sacrifice which he was so soon to offer of himself. pardon of sin to the devout worshippers; but when that sacrifice was actually offered, the words IT IS FINISHED pronounced, and the vail of the temple rent from the top to the bottom, they were fulfilled, and ceased of themselves; though heaven and earth might as soon have passed away, as the obligation to observe them could have ceased before these awful events. Before the coming of Christ, their importance to the Jews may be compared to the importance of the stars in a clear sky, and of the aurora borealis, to the inhabitants of very northern regions, during their long night of winter. These things, in some measure, supply the place of the sun, and are of great importance to the Icelander and native of Greenland; but on the reappearance of the sun, they become useless, and though the stars are certainly not destroyed, nor probably the matter of the aurora, both cease to be visible, and seem to have passed away.

The ritual laws that were instituted merely to preserve the descendants of Israel from the contagion of the surrounding idolatry, are repeatedly declared, even by God himself, to have had no intrinsic value (b). When the Jews were completely cured of their propensity to polytheism,-to worship, together with JEHOVAH, Baal, and Chemosh, and all the abominations of the heathen, those laws ceased therefore to be of any importance, and were ready to vanish away of themselves. Now it is a fact, that, after their return from their captivity in Babylon to the final destruction of their church and state, they display not in a single instance the smallest tendency to those aposta cies which so frequently disgraced their forefathers, and which were the occasion of their being at last subjected to that long and severe punishment. They brought indeed from the East many strange notions, which laid the foundation for those corrupt traditions, by which the Scribes and Pharisees, contrived in so many instances to make the law of God of none effect; but so far were they from falling into polytheism and idolatry, that we find numbers of them of all ages and both sexes, in the times of the Maccabees, suffering death for their adherence to the law with all that heroism which afterwards so distinguished the Christian martyrs. The laws of separation therefore, if I may so call them, were now useless; and as it was an important part of the Messiah's office to break down the middle wall of partition between the Jews and Gentiles, and to admit them as one people into the new covenant by which all the nations of the earth were to be blessed, when "the mountain of the Lord's house was to be established on the top of the mountains, and all nations to flow unto it," (c) those laws were of course necessarily abrogated.

As in Israel and Judah the church and state were not, as they have been everywhere

(a) St Matth. v. 17, 18.

(b) Ezek. xx. 25, &c.

(c) Isaiah ii. 2

else, distinct societies, but one society under the immediate government of God, the laws, which are in other nations called municipal, were among that people enforced by the sanctions of religion; as, on the other hand, the duties of religion were enjoined by the laws of the state. Some of these laws therefore were applicable only to the state of Judea under a theocratic government, and the punishments decreed against the breach of them were such as no other government could with equity inflict. It has been shewn elsewhere (a), that the children of idolaters might, with perfect equity, be punished under that government for the iniquities of their fathers; but it is obvious, that this could not be done by any government administered by uninspired men. Such punishments therefore were necessarily to be abolished, when all distinction between Jews and Gentiles were to be done away; but so far is this change from furnishing an objection to the Christian dispensation, that it is nothing more than what the Jews were, by their own prophets, taught to expect under the reign of their Messiah. Before the Babylonish captivity, obscure intimations had been given by the prophets, of a future state of existence, in which all the inequalities of the present are to be made straight; the kings of Judah, who were in general very wicked, had ceased to be directed, in their judgments of persons accused of crimes, as were the judges, and earliest monarchs, by the Spirit of God; and the penalty denounced against a breach of the second commandment of the decalogue, was either not inflicted at all, or inflicted in a manner that appeared not to the people consistent with those notions of justice which are engraved on every unsophisticated mind. Hence the Jews seem to have complained of this part of their law; for we find the prophets thus addressing them :-"Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, (b) that I will sow the house of Israel, and the house of Judah, with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast.In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the childrens teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity; every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel," &c. as already quoted, p. 7. In perfect harmony with this, the prophet, Ezekiel says, (c) " What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the children of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the childrens teeth are set on edge? As I live, saith the Lord God, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul* that sinneth, it shall die.--The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel, Is not my way equal? Are not your ways unequal "

Nothing therefore can be more evident than that this part of the judicial law of the Jews was to cease under the reign of the Messiah. It is absurd to say, though I believe it has often been said, that the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel referred in these texts to a future state, for no man ever admitted a future state of retribution, and seriously believed that the child should, in that state, be punished for the iniquities of his father. We often see, in this world, very virtuous children struggling under poverty and disease brought on them by the iniquities of their fathers-not as punishments, but as the effects of the general laws of nature, which could not be suspended in their favour

(a) Volume i. p. 520, note *.
(6) Jerem. xxxi. 27–31.
(c) Ch. xviii. 2, 3, 4, 20, 25.

The word rendered soul in this passage often signifies life and person; and such is its meaning here; for it is nowhere said in the Old Testament that the souls of children are in the next world to suffer eterVOL. III.

nal death for the sins of their parents. The meaning of the passage seems to be this; "Behold the lives of all are mine; as the life of the father, so also the life of the son is mine: The person that sinneth, he shall die," &c. See Parkhurst's Hebrew Lexicon and Taylor's Concordance on the word w).


without introducing perhaps great confusion into the works of God; but one of the best arguments which the light of reason can discover for a future state of retribution, is the necessity of such a state to do justice to those virtuous persons, who have suffered so much in the present state for no iniquities of their own. To a future state, therefore, we cannot suppose that these two illustrious prophets refer, when they say-" Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when they shall no more say, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the childrens teeth are set on edge;" for in no days, since the beginning of the world, hath it been said that this will be the case in a future state. Besides, Jeremiah expressly refers this change in the administration of the law to the days, in which God was to make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, different from that, which he made with their fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt; but no Jew nor Christian ever supposed that any new covenant was to be made with the houses of Israel and Judah until the coming of the Messiah.

The Mesiah came, at the precise period in which it was foretold (a) that he should come, in the person of JESUS OF NAZARETH; and of the terms of the NEW COVENANT, as well as of the means by which he established it, we have a full and perspicuous account in the books of the New Testament, which amount to the number of twentyseven tracts, of which the four first are memoirs of the life and doctrine of the person claiming to himself the character and prerogatives of the Messiah promised to the Jews; the third is the history of the most eminent of his immediate followers; twenty-one are letters or epistles written either to particular churches, the governors of particular ehurches, or to the Christians at large; and the last is a prophetic description of the progress of the Christian church from its foundation to the end of the world. These tracts have, among Christians, equal authority with that which the books of Moses and the prophets had among the ancient Jews, and are believed to have been dictated, as they were, by the Spirit of God.

That in the reign of Tiberius, there lived such a person as JESUS CHRIST, who suffered death under Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, is what Christians of all countries profess; what the Jews of all ages since have acknowledged; and what several heathen authors (b) have recorded. That this Jesus had, from the first, a succession of men to publish his doctrines, and to testify to the world the history of his life, and actions, and death; and that, in a short space of time, four approved historians recorded them in four separate and distinct memoirs-generally called Gospels, is related by the earliest writers in the Christian church, and implied in our present possession of those Gospels themselves. That the Gospels and other books of the New Testament, which have descended to us, are the very same which those historians and other inspired men wrote, the authors of the very next age, and of every age since, have asserted; both Jews and heathens, in their tracts against Christianity, have allowed; and the numerous passages cited from them, and in the names of their respective authors, down even to this day, evince. To the authenticity of any ancient writings no human testimony greater than this can be brought or even conceived; but the claims of our Lord to the character of the Son of God, who came into the world to abrogate the Mosaic covenant, and to introduce among mankind a new and more perfect dispensation of religion, must be supported by more than human testimony. The Mosaic covenant was undoubtedly given to the Israelites by God; and it could not be superseded by another which had not at least equal evidence of its Divine origin; but the four Gospels, together with the Acts of the Apostles, carry within themselves the same evidence of the Divine mission of their authors, which, it hath been shewn elsewhere (c), characterize the Pentateuch of Moses, and the book of Joshua.

(a) Gen. xlix. 10. Dan. ix. 20, &c.

(c) Introduction to the History of the Old Testament.

(b) Suetonius, Tacitus, and the Younger Pliny.

The miracles of Christ were as public as the miracles of Moses, and they were performed among a people who were inveterate enemies to his name. Could he have persuaded five thousand of such enemies at one time, and four thousand at another (a), that he had fed them with a few small fishes and barley loaves, if such had not been the case; and that the fragments which remained, on each occasion, over and above to them who had eaten, amounted to a greater quantity than the bread and fishes which were originally set before the multitude? Could he have persuaded a great number of Jews, in defiance of the testimony of their own senses, that, in their presence, he had, at one time (b), called out of his grave a man who had been four days dead, and at another (c), that he had restored to life a young man, the only son of a widow, merely by pronouncing the words-" Young man, I say unto thee arise"? Could he have persuaded the chief priests and scribes that he had healed in their presence (d) multitudes of the blind and lame in the temple, immediately after he had driven out of it them that bought and sold in the temple, and overthrown the tables of the money-changers, if he had not really performed these cures? Impossible! In miracles so public and so far transcending all human ingenuity, and such were all the miracles of our Lord, no deception could have been practised on the senses of those who are said to have witnessed them. A forgery therefore of the books in which these miracles are recorded could not be practised in the age in which Christ is said to have appeared on the earth; and had the Gospels, with the Acts of the Apostles, been forged at any subsequent period, they could not have been received as authentic by any people under heaven.


The authors of these books speak of themselves as having been the companions of Christ; that which we have seen and heard," says one of them (e), " declare we unto you." They give accounts of vast multitudes of Jews following him from place to place to hear his doctrine and behold his miracles; they speak in the most artless manner of the chief priests and scribes stirring up the people against him, and of his suffering death by an unjust sentence extorted from the Roman governor of Judea. They affirm, with the careless confidence of truth, that he rose from the dead on the third day; and they conceal not the account given by the unbelieving Jews of the removal of his body from the grave in which it had been buried. They represent him as, after his resurrection, commanding his apostles to go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature, baptizing their converts in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;" as promising to be with them " always, even unto the end of the world;" but commanding them in the mean time to remain as private persons in the city of Jerusalem till they should be "endued with power from on high." They inform us, that he then led them out as far as Bethany, where, as he was blessing them," he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven;" that they then returned to Jerusalem in obedience to his command, and "were continually in the temple blessing and praising God;" and that, "when the day of Pentecost was fully come, as they were all with one accord in one place, waiting for the promise of the Father, which they had so lately heard from their glorified Master, suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, which filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them, continues the historian, cloven tongues like as of fire, and it set upon each of them; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (ƒ).” In events so public and so signal as this, there was no room for mistake or deception. Of all the miracles recorded in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, there is not one, of which the evidence is so multiplied as that of the descent of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost; for it rests not on the testimony of those, whether many or

(a) St Mat. xiv. 21. xv. 38. (d) St Mat. xxi. 12—17.

(e) St John.

(b) St John xi. 43.
(c) St Luke vii. 1—17.
(f) St Mark xvi. St Luke xxiv. Acts i. and ii.

few, who were all with one accord in one place. It is testified by all Jerusalem, and by the natives of regions far distant from Jerusalem; for there were then, says the historian," dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven; and when the inspiration of the disciples was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were all confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and the parts of Lybia about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians,. we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God."

It hath been objected by infidelity to the resurrection of Christ, that he ought to have appeared publicly, wherever he had appeared before his crucifixion: but here is a miracle displayed much farther than the resurrection of Christ could have been by his preaching openly and working miracles for forty days in the temple and synagogues of Jerusalem, as he had done formerly; and this miracle is so connected with the resurrection, that if the apostles speaking a variety of tongues be admitted, the resurrection of Jesus cannot be denied. In reply to those (probably natives of Jerusalem) who, imagining that the apostles uttered gibberish, charged them with being full of new wine, St Peter said, "Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words; for these men are not drunken as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.-Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you, by miracles, and signs, and wonders, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know. Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.— This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. (a)”

Thus, by the miraculous effusion of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, were the resurrection and ascension of Christ proved to a variety of nations of Asia, Africa, and Europe-all the quarters of the globe which were then known-as completely as if he had actually appeared among that mixed multitude in Jerusalem, reproved the high priest and council of the Jews for their unbelief and hardness of heart, and then. ascended in their presence to heaven. They had such evidence as was incontrovertible, that St Peter and the other apostles were inspired by the Spirit of God; they could not but know, as every Theist admits, that the Spirit of God never was, nor ever will be, shed abroad to enable any order of men to propagate falshood with success; one of those, who by this inspiration were speaking correctly a variety of tongues, assured them that Jesus of Nazareth, whom they had slain, was raised from the dead, and exalted to the right hand of God; and that the same Jesus had, according to his promise, shed abroad on the apostles, that which they both saw and heard. The consequence of all this, we are told, was, that three thousand of his audience were instantly converted. to the faith, and the same day incorporated into the church by baptism.

Would any man in his senses have written a narrative of such events as these at the very time when they are said to have happened, and in any one of those countries, to the inhabitants of which he appeals as witnesses of their truth, if he had not been aware that their truth could not be called in question: Would any forger of such a book as the Acts of the Apostles, at a period near to that in which he relates that such astonishing events had happened, have needlessly appealed for the truth of his narrative to the people of all nations, and thus gone out of his way to furnish his readers with in

(a) Acts ii.

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