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nishing an unbeliever the least opportunity of escape from the evidence of prophecy. What then is the conclusion to which, by the considerations presented in this lecture, we are authorized to come?

First, that in the Bible there is a great variety of prophecy relative to the Messiah, which has been so remarkably fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and so entirely {unfulfilled in any other individual of whom we have any history, that the correspondence necessarily proves the predictions to have been given by inspiration of God, and Jesus Christ to be the person to whom that inspiration, in the uttering of those predictions, referred.

Secondly, that the Bible, in thus containing genuine prophecies scattered through its several books, contains a revelation from God, and exhibits numerous and wide-spread impressions of the seal of divine authority.

Lastly, that Jesus Christ, being thus pointed out and honored by the Spirit of God breathing on the lips of holy men, who, in various centuries before his coming, concurred in rendering him their testimony as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, was and is to come, no other than what he said, the Son of God; the Saviour of sinners; "King of kings, and Lord of lords."

"Behold,” saith He, "I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book." “He that confesseth me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven." But "how shall we escape, if we neglect so great

salvation?"

LECTURE VIII.

PROPHECY-CONTINUED.

OUR blessed Lord was a prophet, as well as the grand subject of prophecy. Not only did he possess omnipotence to call up the dead from the sepulchre, but omniscience also to bring forth from the darkness of the future what to uninspired man lies as secret as the mysteries of death. By prophecy, as well as miracles, he established the divinity of his mission. In the latter, his appeal was to the senses of eye-witnesses: "The works that I do they bear witness of me." In the former, it was to the testimony of subsequent history: "Now I tell you before it come to pass, that when it is come to pass ye may believe that I am he." He predicted not only his own sufferings and death and resurrection, but the manner and circumstances attending them; the treachery of Judas; the denial of Peter; the particulars of his ignominious treatment in the council of the Jews, and under the hands of Pilate and his soldiers. He foretold the rapid spread of the gospel, the persecutions of his disciples, the precise manner of Peter's martyrdom, the continuance of John till after the destruction of Jerusalem, the rejection of the Jews, and the bringing of the Gentiles into the church of God

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But none of our Saviour's prophecies are more impressive than those concerning THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM, contained in the gospels of Mark and Luke, but most at large in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew. These we select as the subject of our consideration at present, believing we shall be enabled to show, by most impressive evidence, that Jesus did indeed possess the spirit of prophecy, and consequently was divinely commissioned in setting up the faith of the gospel.

There is but one preliminary question to be answered at the commencement of this investigation, Is it well ascertained that these prophecies were published before the destruction of Jerusalem?

This has been already settled in our lecture on the subject of authenticity; in which it was shown that the several books of the New Testament were written in the age to which they are referred, and by the men whose names they bear. It will be sufficient to state in this place, that of the three evangelists who have related these prophecies, Matthew and Mark are well ascertained to have died, and there is good reason to suppose that Luke also was dead, before the destruction of Jerusalem.

The gospel of Matthew, which contains the most complete account of the predictions in question, is commonly acknowledged to have been written first. Its date is about the eighth year after the death of Christ. The destruction of Jerusalem being in the seventieth year of the Christian era, the prophecies in relation to it were published by Matthew about thirty

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years, and were declared by our Saviour about thirtyseven years before their fulfilment. Several years elapsed also between the publication of the same prophecies by Mark and Luke, and the events to which they relate. John, the only one of the four evangelists that lived and wrote subsequently to the ruin of the holy city, is the only one that omits an account of the predictions concerning it. But we have the most satisfactory evidence that no suspicion of an ex post facto origin can justly attach to these prophecies, in the important fact, that although familiarly quoted by the early Christian writers as striking evidence of the prophetic character of Jesus, we read of no writer against Christianity in the primitive centuries having attempted to paralyze the argument by maintaining that they were not published till Jerusalem was destroyed. If enemies so near the events predicted had nothing to say, will any deny us the privilege of proceeding in our present investigation unembarrassed by any question on this head?*

There is a history of the destruction of Jerusalem, which, if it had been composed for the express purpose of attesting the complete accomplishment of our Lord's predictions, could have hardly been made more appropriate to our present object. It was written by an eye-witness of the tragedy, a learned witness-a witness who, having been first an eminent leader among the troops of Judea, and then a prisoner to the Roman commander, and continually kept about his

* On this subject, see some excellent remarks in Paley's Evidences, part 2, ch. 1.

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person for the sake of his services, cannot be accused of having written without accurate information. His book was composed at Rome; and having been presented by the author to the emperor Vespasian, and to his son Titus, who had commanded at the siege of Jerusalem, the latter not only desired its publication, but subscribed his own hand in confirmation of its correctness. It was also presented to and approved by several Jews who had been present at the scenes described. We could not desire a more complete attestation of the fulfilment of our Saviour's prophecies than this book affords. And yet the writer was a Jew to the day of his death, and consequently an enemy of Christianity, and could have had no design in favor of the prophetic spirit of its founder. I speak ' of Josephus. It is remarkable that one of the most minute prophecies in the Bible should have from an enemy the most minute of histories to show its fulfilment. No great event in profane history is related with so much attention to all the particulars connected with it, as is the destruction of Jerusalem by this Jewish writer. When we consider these things, and remember the extraordinary manner in which Josephus was several times protected from almost inev itable death, we may clearly discern the hand of a wise Providence preparing the way of the gospel. A witness was preserved and chosen of God, to write an account of the divine judgments upon Jerusalem, whose testimony neither Jews nor heathens could

* Josephus' Life, sec. 65, p. 23. Contr. Apion. book 1,

sec. 9.

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