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"comeliness" and "desirableness" in the eyes of his countrymen, and his rejection by them, are explicitly stated-" He was despised, and we esteemed him not." He is further described as "a man of sorrows and acquainted with griefs;" yet his sufferings were considered by the Jews as judicial,-a legal punishment, as they contend to this day, for his endeavouring to seduce men from the law, and for which they had the warrant of God himself in his commands by Moses, that such seducers should be put to death. With what exactness are these sentiments of the Jews marked in the prophecy! We quote from the translation of Bishop Lowth.

"Yet we thought him JUDICIALLY stricken,
SMITTEN OF GOD, and afflicted."

Christ himself and his Apostles uniformly represented his death as vicarious and propitiatory; and this is predicted and confirmed, so to speak, by the evidence of this prophecy.

"But he was wounded for our transgressions,

Was smitten for our iniquities;

The chastisement by which our peace is effected, was laid upon him;
And by his bruises we are healed.

We all of us like sheep have strayed;

We have turned aside, every one to his own way;

And Jehovah hath made to light upon him the iniquity of us all.

It was exacted and he was made answerable."

Who can read the next passage without thinking of Jesus before the Council of the Jews, and the judgment-seat of Pilate?

The

very

"As a lamb that is led to the slaughter,

And as a sheep before her shearers
Is dumb; so he opened not his mouth.
By an oppressive judgment he was taken off."

circumstances of his burial are given:

"And his grave was appointed with the wicked,
But with the rich man was his tomb."

Yet though thus laid in the grave, the eye of the prophet beholds his resurrection, "the joy set before him," and into which he entered; the distribution of spiritual blessings to his people, and his spiritual conquest of the nations of the earth, notwithstanding the opposition of "the mighty ;" and he enumerates these particulars with a plainness so wonderful, that, by merely an alteration of VOL. I.

P

the tenses of the verbs, the whole might be converted into an abridged view of what has occurred, and is now occurring, under the Christian Dispensation, in the furtherance of human salvation :

"If his soul shall make a propitiatory sacrifice

He shall see a seed, which shall prolong their days,

And the gracious purpose of Jehovah shall prosper in his hands.
Of the travail of his soul he shall see (the fruit) and be satisfied;
By the knowledge of him shall my servant justify many;

For the punishment of their iniquities he shall bear.
Therefore will I distribute to him the many for his portion;
And the mighty people shall he share for his spoil;
Because he poured his soul out unto death;
And was numbered with the transgressors;
And he bore the sin of many,

And made intercession for the transgressors."

To all these predictions the words of a modern writer are applicable: "Let now the infidel, or the sceptical reader, meditate thoroughly and soberly upon these predictions. The priority of the records to the events, admits of no question. The completion is obvious to every competent enquirer. Here then are facts. We are called upon to account for those facts on rational and adequate principles. Is human foresight equal to the task? Enthusiasm ? Conjecture? Chance? Political contrivance ? If none of these, neither any other principle that may be devised by man's sagacity, can account for the facts; then true philosophy, as well as true religion, will ascribe them to the inspiration of the Almighty. Every effect must

have a cause." (4)

(4) SIMPSON'S Key to the Prophecies. See also a large collection of Prophecies with their fulfilment in the Appendix to Vol. 1. of HORNE'S Introduction to the Scriptures.

CHAPTER XVIII.

Objections to the Evidence from Prophecy considered.

BESIDES the objections which have been anticipated and answered in the last Chapter, others have been made to the argument from Prophecy, which, though exceedingly futile, ought to receive a cursory notice, lest any should think them of greater importance.

It has been objected, as to some of the prophecies, that they were written after the event; as for instance, the prophecy of Isaiah in which the name of Cyrus is found, and the prophecies of Daniel. This allegation, standing as it does upon no evidence whatever, and being indeed in opposition to contrary proof, shews the hopelessness of the cause of infidelity, and affords a lofty triumph to the evidence of prophecy. For the objector does in fact acknowledge, that these predictions are not obscure; that the event exactly corresponded with them; and that they were beyond human conjecture. Without entering into those questions respecting the date of the books of Isaiah and Daniel, which properly belong to works on the canon of Scripture, we may observe, that the authors of this objection assert, but without giving the least proof, that Isaiah wrote his prophecies in order to flatter Cyrus, and that the Book of Daniel was composed about the reign of ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES. It is therefore admitted that both were extant, and in their present form, before the time of the Christian era; but if so, what end, we ask, is answered by the objection? The Scriptures, as received by the Jews, were verified by the sentence of our Lord and his Apostles; and unless their inspiration can be disproved, the objection in question is a mere cavil. Before it can have any weight, the whole mass of evidence which supports the mission and Divine authority of our Saviour and the Apostles, must be overthrown; and not till then, can it in strictness of reasoning be maintained. But, not to insist on this, the assertion respecting Isaiah is opposed to positive testimony. The testimony of the prophet himself, who states that he lived" in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah ;" and the testimony of an independent wit

ness, the author of the Second Book of Kings, in the 20th chapter of which book Isaiah is brought forward in connection with a public event of the Jewish History-the dangerous sickness and recovery of the King Hezekiah. The proof is then as decisive as the public records of a kingdom can make it, that Isaiah wrote more than a hundred years before the birth of Cyrus. (5)

The time when Daniel lived and wrote is bound up in like manner with public history,-and that not only of the Jews, but of the Babylonians and Persians; and could not be ante-dated so as to impose upon the Jews, who received the book which bears his name into their canon, as the production of the same Daniel who had filled exalted stations in the courts of Nebuchadnezzar and his successors. In favour of a later date being assigned to the Book of Daniel, it has been said, that it has many Greek terms, and that it was not translated by the LXX, the translation now inserted in the Septuagint being by THEODOTIAN. With respect to the Greek terms, they are chiefly found in the names of the musical instruments; and the Greeks acknowledge, that they derived their music from the eastern nations. With respect to the second objection, it is unfounded. The authors of the Septuagint did translate the Book of Daniel, and their version is cited by CLEMENS ROMANUS, JUSTIN MARTYR, and many of the Ancient Fathers; it occupied a column of the Hexapla of Origen, and is quoted by JEROME. The present Greek version by Theodotian inserted in the Septuagint, was made in the second century, and preferred as being more conformable to the Original. The repudiated version was published some years ago from an ancient MS. discovered at Rome. (6)

(5) "But if you will persevere in believing that the prophecy concerning Cyrus was written after the event, peruse the burden of Babylon; was that also written after the event? Were the Medes then stirred up against Babylon? Was Babylon, the glory of the kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees, then overthrown, and become as Sodom and Gomorrah? Was it then uninhabited? Was it then neither fit for the Arabian's tent nor the Shepherd's fold? Did the wild beasts of the desart then lie there? Did the wild beasts of the islands then cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant places? Were Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar, the son and the grandson, then cat off? Was Babylon then become a possession of the bittern and pools of water? Was it then swept with the besom of destruction, so swept, that the world knows not now where to find it?"-Bishop WATSON's Apology.

(6) PORPHYRY, in his books against the Christian Religion, was the first to attack the prophecies of Daniel; and in modern times, COLLINS, in his " Scheme of Literal Prophecy," bent all his force against a book so pregnant with proofs of the truth of Christianity, and the inspiration of ancient prophecy. By two learned opponents his eleven objections were most satisfactorily refuted, and

The opponents of Scripture are fond of the attempt to lower the dignity and authority of the sacred prophecies by comparing them to the Heathen Oracles. The absolute contrast between them has already been pointed out; (7) but a few additional observations may not be useless.

Of the innumerable Oracles which were established and consulted by the ancient heathen, the most celebrated was the Delphic; and we may, therefore, for the purpose of exhibiting the contrast more perfectly between the Pythian Oracle and the prophecies of Scripture, confine our remarks to that.

The first great distinction lies in this, that none of the predictions ever uttered by the Delphic Oracle went deep into futurity. They relate to events on the eve of taking place, and whose preparatory circumstances were known. There was not even the pretence of foresight to the distance of a few years; though had it been a hundred years, even that were a very limited period to the eye of inspired prophets, who looked through the course of succeeding ages, and gave proof by the very sweep and compass of their predictions, that they were under the inspirations of Him to whom " a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”

A second contrast lies in the ambiguity of the responses. The prophecies of Scripture are sometimes obscure, though this does not apply to the most eminent of those which have been most signally fulfilled, as we have already seen; but they never equivocate. For this the Pythian Oracle was notorious. Historians relate, that CREESUS, who had expended large sums upon the agents of this delusion, was tricked by an equivocation; through which, interpreting the response most favourably for himself, he was induced to make an unsuccessful war on Cyrus. In his subsequent captivity he repeatedly reproached the Oracle, and charged it with falsehood. The response delivered to PYRRHUS was of the same kind; and was so expressed as to be true, whether Pyrrhus conquered the Romans or the Romans Pyrrhus. Many other instances of the same kind are given; not to mention the trifling, and even bantering and jocose oracles, which were sometimes pronounced. (8)

The venality, wealth, and servility of the Delphic Oracle, present another contrast to the poverty and disinterestedness of

shewn to be mere cavils-by Bishop CHANDLER in his "Vindication" of his "Defence of Christianity," and by Dr. SAM. CHANDLER in his " Vindication of Daniel's Prophecies." (7) Vide Chapter xvi.

(8) Eusebius has preserved some fragments of a philosopher, called Œnomaus ; who, out of resentment for his having been so often fooled by the oracles, wrote

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