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sages in the New, that there was a general Expectation amongst the Jews, that the Messiah was about that Time to appear.
THE Jews fent Priests to yohn the Baptist, to inquire whether he was the Prophet foretold by Moses : He confessing that he was not the Christ the Messiah ; they ask him why he baptized, if he were not the Christ, nor Elias, neither That Prophet?
THIS is also evident from many of the Discourses which our Saviour had with the Jews. Besides, both the Jewish and Roman Historians, relate the general Expectation that then prevailed, of the Birth of a Great Prince in the East; so that the Flatterers of Herod and the Emperor Vespatian, gave them the Title of the MESSIAH.
TO this may be added, that about the time of our Saviour's Birth, the Heathen Oracles, which had so long deluded the World, became filent ; of which Mr. J. Mead gives the following Account out of Eufebius and Porphyry.
“ It is reported of Augustus, who consulted " the Oracle of Apollo, who Mould reign after
him, received this Answer:
The Meaning whereof is this: “ The Hebrew Child, which rules the bles" sed Gods, bids me leave this House, and pre
sently go to Hell. From henceforth depart " thou with Silence from our Altars.
Whereupon it is said that Augustus reared an Altar in the Capitol, with this Inscrip
ARA PRIMO GENITI DEI.
“ The Altar of the First-begotten of God.
“ Porphyry, though an Enemy of Christians,
reports three farewel Oracles of Apollo. And “ to the Priest who last confulted him, his “ Demand being, Which was the true Religion? " He answered in this Manner:
“ THOU unhappiest of the Priests, Oh " that thou wouldīt not have asked me (being
now at my last) of the Divine Father, and of the dear Begotten of that famous
King, nor of the Spirit which coinprehend" eth and surroundeth all Things. For wo is
me! He it is, that whether I will or not, “ will expel' me from these Temples; and full “ foon shall this Divining-Seat become a Place " of Desolation.
See Mr. J. Mead's Works, pag. 193.
THE History recorded by the Evangelists, inanifesting the exact Accomplishment of the Prophecies relating to the Messiah's first coming
THE REFERENCES are set in the opposite Column; that the Prophecies and their Accomplishment might be seen in one view.
THO'the Evangelists agree in the relation of many of the Facts and Discourses, yet as some Circumstances are more fully set forth in one, than in another of the Gospels, I have taken notice where they differ, by distinguishing the several Evangelists by the Letters [M.] for Matthew; [Mr.] for Mark; [L.] for Luke; and (7.) for John.
THESE Differences are a great Confirmation of the Sincerity of the Evangelists, that every one of them wrote what they certainly knew : from whence it is evident, that this History was not compiled by any Combination or Contrivance, to impose Fables upon the World.
THE Matters of Fact next to be confidered, are the many MIRACLES wrought by our Saviour; in the Relation of which, the Evangelists have set down the most minute Circumstances with respect to Time, Places, Things, and Persons.
IN composing this Essay, I have not observed the Method commonly taken by those that have writ the Harmonies of the Gospels ; who have inserted the Facts according to the several Passovers and Times in which they suppose they were transacted ; and wherein they often differ: But have rather chose to put down all the Miracles of the fame Nature under diftinct Heads.
IT begins with those that relate to many Dispossessions of Unclean Spirits from the BoDIES and Souls of Men. The Demons acknowledging that DIVINE -and ALMIGHTY Power with which our Saviour was endued.
FROM whence may be justly inferred, That the PROMISE made to Adam, that the Seed of the Woman should break the Serpent's Head, and thereby free Mankind from the Tyranny of the Prince of Darkness, was herein ACCOMPLISHED; as appears by the References annexed.
MOST of the other Miracles wrought by our Saviour, were the Cure of Diseases or Defects in Nature: which, as they were Acts of the greatest Mercy and Compassion, so they most fully manifest the Divine Power by which they were effected; some by a Word, some only by the touch of his Garment.
THE Fame of these Miracles was spread through the Land of Yudea, Syria, and the adjacent Countries; from whence came Multitudes of Persons afflicted with various Diseases and Infirmities, who were all healed.
THE Pharisees charging our Saviour with the Violation of the SABBATH, by the Cure he did on that Day, he thereupon avows his DeiTY in these Words, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also, that God was his FaTHER, making himself EQUAL with God.
WHEN our Saviour had in a miraculous Manner fed five thousand, He tells them, that they should not LABOUR for the Meat which perisheth, but for that GRACE which should endure to EVERLASTING LIFE ; and that wholo eateth his FLESH, and drinketh his Blood, bath ETERNAL LIFE; and he would raise them up at the last Day.
WHEN he gave Sight to the Man that was born Blind, he tells the Jews, that he was the Light of the World; that whosoever BELIEVED in him should not walk in DARKNESS, but should have the Light of ETERNAL Life. And when the proud Pharisees contemned this Doctrine, he tells them, That they who were so elated with a vain Conceit of their own Knowledge, should for ever continue in their BLINDNESS; but those who were humbly fenGble of their Want of this DIVINE LIGHT, Thould receive it.
WHEN he raised Lazarus from the Grave, He professes himself to be the RESURRECTION and the LIFE; that whosoever BELIEVETH in him, though he were DEAD, yet shall he LIVE ; which relates to that DEATH of Sin, which came upon the Soul by Adam's Fall; as is clearly represented in the Epistle to the Romans, and other Epistles: For as in Adam all DIE, even so in Christ Mall all be made ALIVE.
OUR Saviour took occasion from the Miracles wrought upon the Bodies of Men, to instruct his Disciples of much greater Miracles that should be effected upon the Souls of those that BELIEVE in him.
IT may here be observed, that most of these Miracles were wrought in the light of Multitudes of People ; and many of them at JeruJalem, at the Time of their great Festivals, where the Jews from all Parts resorted.
MOST of the Persons that were miraculously fed, healed, and rais'd from the Dead, lived
many Years after our Saviour's Ascension; to attest the Truth of what is recorded by the