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reference to the prediction of Moses, • They glorified God, saying, that a great prophet is risen up among us 3.' These admissions are so unqualified, that it would appear as if the convictions on which they were founded could not have again yielded to the persuasions of scepticism or prejudice. But it unfortunately happens, that one of the most painful, and, at the same time, one of the most undeniable internal evidences of the corruption of human nature, is to be found in the inconsistencies and contradictions which the conduct of mankind exhibits. Were we to open the Bible for the first time, and to read the decisive testimony borne in these passages to the prophetical character of our Lord, we should scarcely admit that it could proceed from the same people who so soon cried out against the same individual, Crucify him, crucify him.' What, we should ask, with something of the same astonishment which seems to have filled the mind of Pilate when he presided in judgement against him, would they crucify their prophet?
3 John, vi. 14; vii, 40; Matt. xxi. 11; Luke, vii. 16.
Such, however, is the certain, though humiliating conclusion to which Scripture leads
Christ came unto his own, and his own received him not.'
That a whole generation of Jews should have remained insensible to the force of a series of predictions successively delivered by prophets of their own religion and country, preserved among their own records, and implanted in their minds from childhood, as one of the points of their habitual belief-predictions, finally, which were all explicitly and satisfactorily fulfilled in the person of Jesus-is so extraordinary an instance of national delusion, that not even the previous course of disobedience which the whole of their history exhibits could have prepared us to expect it. Moses had truly said, ' in the bitterness of his disappointment, after forty years experience of their manners,
Ye have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you;'-and the fifteen centuries which intervened before our Lord's death, proved that the reproach which the fathers had deserved continued to be applicable to the children of the latest generation“. Unhappily the tạint of unbelief seems to remain hereditary and inveterate in the Israelitish character; and did we not know from Scripture, that God, who has broken off the branches, is able to graff them in again, and that be who is faithful has held out to the church a promise of their ultimate salvations, we might be led to conclude that the measure of their iniquities was full, and that Jehovah had finally cast them away from his favour for ever.
Again, when we consider the number and clearness of the texts referring to the subject, it appears not a little remarkable, that there should have been no general expectation among the Jews, that our Lord would come in the character of a prophet and teacher. They looked for him as a king, as a conqueror, as a deliverer from captivity, as a judge—but not as the prophet like unto Moseso. They looked for some one to appear under that form previously to Christ's advent; but there was no distinct understanding that he himself would sustain the prophetical office. The Samaritans, who admitted only the Pentateuch into the canon of their sacred books, and who consequently had only one prediction relating to our Lord under that character, yet had more correct notions of his commission, than those who had not only Moses, but the prophets, to enlighten them. I know,' said the woman of that nation to Jesus, that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come he will tell us all things. And in her subsequent description of him to the men of her city, she styles him the man which told her all things that ever she did, whence she inferred that he must be the Christ 7. Yet although it was kuown unto God from the beginning, that his own people would afford an awful specimen of the hardness of heart which accompanies apostacy from the truth, the scope of our Lord's personal ministry was confined exclusively to the Jews. “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.' His apostles were expressly enjoined to proclaim the approach of the kingdom of heaven amongst their countrymen only; and lest their zeal for the salvation of others should surmount the persuasion, which they shared in common with the rest of their brethren, that the children of Abraham alone were heirs of the promise, the limits of their commission were strictly confined to the boundaries of Judea by a special order. 'Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye noto St. Paul accordingly styles our Lord 'a minister of the circumcision, and declares to the unbelieving Jews at Antioch, that it was necessary that the Gospel should first bave been preached unto them '.'
4 Deut. ix. 24.
5 Rom. xi. 17-27. 6 Benson (Life of Christ, p. 288.) says, that both Jews
and Samaritans expected the Messiah under the character of an extraordinary prophet, as well as of a great king; and in support of his assertion, quotes John, iv. 25, 26, 29, 42; and vi. 14, 15; and xii. 13; Matt. xxi. 11; Luke xxiv. 19, 21. But it will be seen, on reference to the passages, that not one of these texts affords any foundation for his opinion. There is no doubt that the Jews expected a prophet; but it does not appear from any thing in Scripture that they expected that prophet would be the Christ.
7 John, iv. 25-29.