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generation should be directed to the Son of Mary, the poor and humble Virgin, of the family of David. All the ancient proofs of his peculiar superintendence of the race of Abraham were accumulated at this period. The vision of angels was granted to Zacharias in the temple, the age of miraculous interference returned, and all the priests in the temple, the dwellers at Jerusalem, and consequently the whole nation, who were accustomed to visit Jerusalem every year, must have been acquainted with these events. When his miraculous dumbness ceased, the spirit of prophecy came upon him, and he predicted the glory of his own son, as the forerunner of the Messiah; together with the approaching blessings of the Messiah's kingdom. The superhuman dream, another mode by which God imparted his will to mankind, was revived in the vision of Joseph. The descent of the spirit of prophecy upon women, was renewed in the salutation of Elisabeth, and the prediction of Anna. The same spirit of prophecy returned also in the speech of the aged Simeon. The astonishing answers of our Lord in the temple, when he was twelve years of age, must have convinced the learned and aged rabbis then assembled, that the Child thus marked out by these supernatural interpositions, was superior to all they had either known or heard of. The public declaration also of the inspired Baptist, and the wonderful manifestation of the divine presence at the baptism of Christ, must of themselves have convinced the Jews, that their expected Messiah was among them; if they had not perverted their prophecies, and anticipated a temporal deliverer from the Roman domi

nion.

I have endeavoured at some length to shew the difference between the conceptual Logos of the ancients, and the personal Logos of Scripture; and to prove that the Logos of St. John, the Angel Jehovah of the Old Testament, "the Word" of the Targumists, and the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah of the New Testament, the Founder and only Head of the Christian Church, was the one only manifested Je

hovah, the Creator and Preserver of the world. The miraculous conception, and the mystery of the incarnation, demonstrate the divinity, which was united with the assumed humanity of the condescending Incarnate; and his temptation demonstrates him to be the second Adam, who should retrace the steps of the first, and restore us by his sinless obedience to the Paradise which our primal ancestor had lost. The mysteries with which this sublime system of man's redemption commences, will be the subjects of our inquiry when our faculties are enlarged in a future state: and, I believe, upon the undeniable evidences which confirm the truth of Christianity, doctrines which I do not comprehend -that the Creator of the world, the Guide of mankind from Paradise to the judgment, was manifested in the flesh, as an infant, a child, and a patient, suffering man.

II. The dispensations of God always blend with each other; distinct, and yet inseparable, as the rays of light, and the colours of the rainbow. Though the way had now been prepared for the public manifestation of Christ to the Jewish nation; he did not openly and publicly declare his claims to the Messiahship of Israel, till the Baptist, the founder of the intermediate dispensation into which men had been baptized, was put into prison. I have placed therefore, as a separate chapter, the events between the temptation of Christ, and the public assertion of his mission after the imprisonment of John. The reply of the Baptist to the deputation from the authorities at Jerusalem, positively affirming the Messiahship of Him, whom a miraculous descent of the Holy Spirit, and the voice, the Bath Col, had marked as a superhuman being, in the midst of the assembled thousands from Judæa-the uninvited attachment of the disciples of the Baptist to our Lord, when St. John pointed him out as the Lamb of God-the unostentatious miracle at Cana, when the silent operation of our Lord's power began to manifest his still concealed glory-his return to Capernaum with his family, as the preaching of the Baptist continued-his

cleansing the temple, by miraculously overawing the mercenary intruders-his still refusing to commit himself-above all these, his annunciation to Nicodemus, that even the sons of Abraham were to be born again into his kingdom-and the final testimony of John, prove the very gradual manner in which our Lord proceeded to attract the attention of his people, and to appeal to their judgment-before he would offend the prejudices of those who expected a temporal Messiah. The first miracle of Christ induced me to draw a parallel between the miraculous evidences which confirm the truth of the Christian Religion, with those which demonstrate the divine legation of Moses.

III. Though the ejecting the buyers and sellers from the Temple may be considered as a public manifestation of our Lord's Messiahship, He did not verbally assert his claims, till the time when John the Baptist was prevented from appealing to the people. He then returned to his own province, and his own town, where he had been known from his infancy; and there openly declared that the time of the Messiah was at hand. I consider this more public declaration of his mission till the time when the twelve apostles were sent forth to preach, as another stage in our Lord's ministry. On his way to Galilee he conversed with the woman of Samaria, and convinced her, and many of her countrymen, by his conversation and miracles, that he was the expected Messiah; though he would not deviate from his design of first publicly asserting that fact in his own town. After another miracle at Cana, he at length came to Nazareth. It was the custom of the Jews to invite any eminent teacher who might come into their synagogues, to speak to the people. Here, then, having received the book from the reader, he applied to himself a prophecy which predicted the appearance of Christ. He stopped before he came to that clause which denounced threatening and vengeance to the Jews; and confined himself to the beautiful description of the benevolent character of the Messiah. Having applied the

prophecy to himself, he sate down. He refused to work a miracle among the people of Nazareth; he appeared to desire to shew to the world, that his usefulness must be founded on holiness, as well as on his preaching and miracles. They had known him thirty years. Of his manner of life, of his character and conversation during that period, the Evangelists are silent. The appeal of our Lord to the people of Nazareth, after living among them thirty years as a man, may account for their silence. No imperfection, no taint of sin, of weakness, or of folly, could be found through that whole period, to enable those among whom he would be in the least esteem, to invalidate his lofty claim to the rank of the divine Being, whom their prophets had announced. Their only exclamation arose from their ignorance or forgetfulness of the miraculous conception; or perhaps their murmur “is not this the carpenter's son ?" might proceed from the suppressed indignation, which made them secretly refuse to acknowledge the infinite superiority of one, who had lived among them as an equal.

Galilee was wisely chosen as the scene of our Lord's ministry. It abounded with strangers, Phoenicians, Arabians, and Egyptians. I have endeavoured to shew, in a note to the first section of this chapter, the advantages of this intermixture to the future progress of the Gospel. I am confirmed in my opinion, that our Lord's more public ministry began with his application to himself of the prophecy of Isaiah in Nazareth, from the manner in which he then proceeds to announce the ultimate object of his coming. He declared, for the first time, that as Elijah had been sent to the Gentile of Sarepta, so also was he sent to those who would accept him, and who were not of his own country. Though they could not confute him, they could endeavour to destroy him. The first persecution of our Lord began upon his hinting to his proud and jealous countrymen, that he had "other sheep which were not of this fold." The service of the synagogue was interrupted, and the peace of the town disturbed.

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This circumstance, as I have shewn, explains that part of our Lord's conduct, which many have considered inexplicable. He would not revive on other and similar occasions, the same scenes of tumult and exasperation. He proceeded, therefore, with the utmost caution-refusing to call himself the Messiah-charging the persons who were healed to tell no man-and keeping back many things, even from the Apostles.

The various sections of this Chapter fully display the wisdom which continued thus gradually to impress the people with the conviction that their Messiah had arrived. The disciples who forsook John to follow Christ, and who had returned to their occupation as fishermen, were now commanded to attach themselves permanently to his service; with the prophetic annunciation, that they were in future to become "fishers of men." The healing of the demoniac appears to prove his power over a world of invisible spirits. The cure of diseases demonstrated to the Jews that he possessed the power to forgive the sin, which they believed to be the cause of physical evil. By healing the leprosy, a disease which was considered incurable, except by God alone, and by referring the leper who was cured to the priest, he communicated to the priests the secret of his divine character. Soon after this message had been sent to the priests, he openly asserted the power to forgive, which he had already demonstrated by his silent and eloquent miracles. Having attached to him St. Matthew, who was more learned, and better educated than the fishermen of Galilee, and whose presence therefore might be of more weight with the Jews, he publicly wrought a miracle at Jerusalem, and assured the Jews that he was appointed of the Father to judge the world. By dispensing with the enactments of their traditional law, he declared himself the Lord of the Sabbath. By healing the withered hand, he condemned the superstition which preferred the useless observances of a supposed piety, to active and useful benevolence-and having now.

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