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the prophetic character of the lamb-like bridegroom, when the true christian church, his wife,* shall have made herself ready. .
It is the more necessary to point out to public notice the real meaning of this prediction, because, whilst the well-known, too literal completion must convince us of the divine authority of the prophet, the very recording this and similar prophecies, of the same import, by the Apostles and first Disciples of Jesus Christ, affords the most striking and satisfactory proof that can be conceived, of their own disinterested sincerity in embracing and preaching to the world the religion of the Gospel; for, the spirit of prophecy being expressly declared to be the testimony of Jesus, and of every authentic messenger of heaven, the truth of their master's mission, and even their own veracity, depended upon the accomplishment of these predictions in their own persons, and those of their fellow christians. From their writings it appears, that they were well aware of this; and accordingly expected, and were prepared, as the certain consequence of the religious profession they embraced, and to which they zealously invited others, not only to abandon all hopes of temporal emolument and prosperity, but also to undergo the contempt and hatred of the rest of the world, and all the most injurious or painful inflictions of unrelenting persecution. Unless, therefore, we suppose them to have been the grossest fools and madmen, which no person, who enjoys his own senses, and has read the genuine writings of Luke and Paul, can suppose, it is absolutely impossible that any thing less than the most satisfactory conviction of the actual resurrection of their illustrious Master to an immortal life, and the firmest confidence that, their present life ended, they, like him, should be amply recompensed for all their sufferings for the Gospel's sake, could have induced them to profess, much less to propagate, the religion of Jesus Christ.
i inos Apoc.-xix.7... - i.sino
The orthodox church, indeed, established by the Emperor Constantine, hath experienced none of these prophetic marks of the true disciples of Christ. She very early placed herself under the protection, and prostituted herself to the will, of the Princes of the present world ; and, instead of suffering humiliation or afflictions of any kind, by her influence over them, she hath amply shared the authority of her royal paramours, and even
wantoned in the continual enjoyment of temporal honours, opulence, and power. But though, for this, amongst many other reasons, she herself cannot be justly allowed the title of the true Church of Christ,* yet, from the first moment of her establishment to the present hour, she hath been the chief means of accomplishing these prophecies upon the conscientious disciples of Jesus and his apostles, by the confiscation of their property, the imprisonment and punishment of their bodies, the deprivation, in numberless cases, of their lives, and, in all, of their natural rights, as men and denizens of their native countries. And it must be matter of no small consolation to those faithful Christians, who are able to discern the signs of the times, that the predicted period of her presumptuous, cruel triumph, and of their own state of degradation and oppression, hastens fast to its conclusion.
In the ninth chapter, verse 21, &c. Luke informs us, that our Lord checked his disciples, for calling him the Christ of God; that is, the predicted anointed King of the Jews; and forbad them to call him so to any man ; telling them (without doubt, both to remove from their minds all expectation of present emolument to themselves, from the idea, so prevalent amongst the Jews, that the pro"mised Messiah was to reign over them in all the worldly pomp and splendour of a temporal prince; and to prevent their furnishing the Rulers of the Jews, with the very pretence they sought for, of accusing him to the Romans, as one who proclaimed himself their · King ;) that before he, whose only character at present was that of the Son of Man, or an human prophet, could appear in the glorious character of the Christ, or anointed sovereign of the Jews, promised by their prophets, he “ must suffer much, be rejected of the elders, 6 chief priests, and scribes," as it is repeated in the 44th verse of this chapter, and still more circumstantially, c. xviii. 31–344“ be “ delivered into the hands of men, of the “ Gentiles, and be slain, and rise again the “ third day.”. Nay, he even described unto them, the particular mode of his suffering death, by adding, that if they were resolved to be his followers, they must learn self-de
* It is obvious that, by parity of reason, her elder Sister, the Church of Arius, is also barred of all claim to the same title ; for though the contest ended at last in favour of the orthodox Church, they were long rivals in the affections of the same worldły potentates, and, during several reigns, enjoyed alternately the same imperial protection, the same honours and emoluments, and displayed the very same spirit of intolerant persecution.
nial, and imitate him, by being daily pre pared to undergo the death of the cross. To these clear and explicit prophecies of his own death and resurrection, the vision of angels, recorded in the 24th chapter,' referred the women, who came to embalm his body on the third day after his deaths and though, being prophecies penned by the historian after the event, they afford us no satisfactory evidence in themselves, yet to his disciples, who well recollected the words of these predictions, though they did not, at the time, comprehend their meaning, and who then saw them so literally and won. derfully accomplished, they must have afforded the most convincing as well as astonishing proof of the divine authority of their master's mission, that can be imagined.
In the conclusion of the same discourse with his disciples, in which he assures them, that after being put to death he should appear in the glorious character of the predicted Christ, or King, and be invested with heavenly power and authority, he adds, “ I tell you of “ a truth, there be some standing here which “ shall not taste of death till they see the “ kingdom of God.” In order to understand our Lord's meanịng in this prediction, that