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prediction in Zech. vi. which foretells the building of the temple, as relating both to the temple of his natural body, and the temple of the Church. It refers, no doubt, in the first instance, to the building of the second temple at Jerusalem, a work which Zerubbabel could never have accomplished, without aid and support from above. The chief design of the prophecy, however, was to cheer the hearts of the pious with the prospect of the erection of a still more important and glorious edifice, of which the ancient temple was a type. There is some respect, it may be admitted, to the human nature of Christ, which the temple of Jerusalem unquestionably prefigured, and which our Lord himself, in John ii, 19. expressly denominates a “temple.” The building of the New Testament Church seems, however, to be the subject chiefly intended here ; and the repetition of the words, “ He shall build the temple of the Lord, even He shall build the temple of the Lord,” may have been intended to intimate, that the building of this spiritual temple is a work of unparalleled difficulty

- that none but Christ could dare to undertake it—that He is fully equal to the arduous enterprize and that in due time he should accomplish it with signal and glorious success.

For some farther illustration of this striking prophecy, and in particular for an explanation and defence of the true meaning of its concluding part, “ the counsel of peace shall be between them both,” the reader may consult Witsius on the Covenants.*

Note IV. Page 15. That the Messiah was not only to belong to the family of David, but to appear at a season when that royal house should have exchanged its splendour for a state of indigence and obscurity, is very properly observed by the Author. The sense which he attaches to the expression, rendered by our Translators “ the stem of Jesse,” (Isaiah xi. 1.) when he represents it as denoting “a decayed trunk," truncus succisus, is quite just, and is supported by the authority of eminent crities. Though the Septuagint and Jerome somewhat improperly render it by the same term, prsa and radix, by which they translate a different Hebrew word, rendered roots, at the end of the Verse; the term truncus, or truncus succisus, or concisus, is adopted by Calvin, Tremellius and Junius, and by Vitringa. Parkhurstt Iso renders it “ the stump or stock of a tree that hath been cut own." Vitringa regards the use of the same expression in Job xiv. . and Isaiah xl. 24. as decisive in favour of this interpretation;

Book ii. chap. 2. sect. 7, 8.

+ Heb. Lex, on the word 113

and Parkhurst adds in its support, that the same word in Arabic used as a Verb, signifies to cut, cut off Bishop Lowth understands the term in precisely the same sense, and accordingly he renders the first part of the verse in question ; " But there shall spring forth a rod from the trunk of Jesse.” In his Note on the place, the Bishop clearly points out the beauty and force of the expression, as well as its connexion with the preceding context.

“ The Prophet," says this elegant Critic, " had described the destruction of the Assyrian army under the image of a mighty forest, consisting of flourishing trees, growing thick together, and of a great height; of Lebanon itself crowned with lofty cedars; but cut down, and laid level with the ground by the ax wielded by the hand of some powerful and illustrious agent: In opposition to this image, he represents the great Person who makes the subject of this Chapter, as a slender twig shooting out from the trunk of an old tree, cut down, lopped to the very root, and decayed; which tender plant, so weak in appearance, should nevertheless become fruitful and pros

per," &c.

This and other predictions, as Amos ix. 11. relative to the depressed state of the family of David at the time of the Messiah's coming, as our Author shows, were remarkably fulfilled. The treatment which he represents some near relatives of Christ as have ing experienced from Domitian the Emperor, if it really took place, was a striking illustration of the change of circumstances which that family had undergone. The story is related by Eusebius ; and the learned Mosheim, in the first Volume of his “ Commentaries on the affairs of Christians before the time of Constantine the Great," expresses his conviction that it was not at all improbable in itself that that tyrannical Emperor, knowing that Jesus of Nazareth was honoured by his followers as their Lord and King, began to suspect that his surviving Relatives in Palestine might claim a temporal sovereignty, and summoned them to appear before him to give him satisfaction with regard to their views and intentions. Perceiving that he had no cause to entertain any serious apprehensions of danger from such plain and humble individuals as he found them to be, he deemed it sufficient to gratify his arrogance and malignity, by making the indications of their poverty the subject of his mirth.

Note V. Page 18. That the Messiah was to be born of a Virgin was obscurely intimated even in the first promise, Gen. iii. 15, and plainly foretold in subsequent predictions, particularly those in Isaiah vii. 14, and Jer. xxxi. 22, to which our Author refers. Unless the birth of Jesus had corresponded in this respect to ancient prophecy, the evidence of his Messiahship would have been materially defective. Those chapters of the Gospels by Matthew and Luke, therefore, which narrate the circumstances of our Lord's conception and birth, are highly interesting and important; and nothing can be more awkward and absurd than the attempts which have been made to unsettle the faith of Christians regarding the authenticity of these portions of Scripture. The modern Socinians, in what they are pleased to style An improved Version of the New Testament, have thought proper to print the 1st chapter of Matthew from the 17th verse to the end, and the whole of the 2d chapter, and the whole of the 1st and 2d chapters of the Gospel by Luke, in Italic characters, in order to denote that the authenticity of all these passages is doubtful. In support of this strange Improvement, they can plead no higher authority than that of Ebion and Marcion, two early heretics, and avowed mutilators of the Scriptures. These Chapters are found in all the ancient Manuscripts and Versions now extant. They are referred to as a part of the inspired record by the early writers of the Church; and even several of the cavils of Celsus against the Christian faith are founded on the contents of these chapters. Their authenticity is also strongly supported by internal evidence. Dr Campbell's Notes on Mat. ii. 23.2 and Luke i. 23. and the appropriate remarks of Dr Magee on this subject.*

The miraculous conception of Christ, though questioned by some, and horribly derided by others, exhibits to the pure and enlightened mind, a display of Divine wisdom and power, in perfect accordance with all the other parts of the scheme of redemption. It was highly expedient that this extraordinary personage should come into the world in an extraordinary manner; and if it was necessary that the Saviour of sinners should himself assume their nature, and at the same time continue completely free from moral defilement, why should it seem incredible that a miracle was wrought for the pure pose of securing his exemption from that original guilt and corruption, which is inherited by all the other descendants of Adam? If “ the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters" at the beginning of the world, to produce, by his mighty influence, life, or. r and beauty, where all was darkness, confusion and inanity, what

riety can be shown in the same Spirit's “ creating a new

"ses and Dissertations on the Scriptural Doctrine of Atonement and 1. ii. pp. 441-443.

thing upon the earth" in the fulness of time? In this miraculous operation, the Deity did nothing more unworthy of his character than when he formed Adam of the dust of the ground, and Eve of a rib taken out of Adam's side. See Bishop Horsley's Sermon on the Miraculous Conception; and also some judicious remarks on this topic by Dr David Hunter of St Andrews, whose useful and well-written book on the History of Christ ought not to be consigned to oblivion.*

Note VI. Page 19. The Protevangelium of James is one of those spurious writings which, under the name of Gospels, Epistles, Acts and Revelations, have made pretensions to a place in the sacred canon of the New Testament. It coincides, in general, with a work entitled The Gospel of the Birth of Mary, and is thought to have been written in the third or perhaps the second Century by some Hellenistic Jew. In common with the other apocryphal books, it was never acknowledged as authentic by the primitive Christians; and notwithstanding the bold assertions of a late writer, it was not frequently alluded to by the ancient Fathers, nor did it gain a general reception in the Christian world. The idle and impertinent stories indeed with which this and the other spurious Gospels abound, and which render them extremely unlike the sacred details of the inspired evangelists, afford sufficient internal evidence that they have no just claims to divine inspiration.

The attempts which the enemies of Christianity have made to sap the credit of the New Testament, by confronting it with these “ silly and drivelling forgeries," could not fail to prove utterly abortive.-Dr Leland, in the 1st Volume of his View of English Deistical Writers, takes notice, in his account of Toland, of a book published by that Author 1698, entitled Amyntor, in which he strives with great zeal to invalidate by this means the authority of the New Testament;—and he refers to the satisfactory answers which Toland received from Dr Samuel Clarke, Mr Stephen Nye, and particularly recommends Mr Richardson's “ Canon of the New Testament Vindicated"—“A new and full method of settling the canonical au. thority of the New Testament," in three Volumes, by Mr Jonesand the voluminous and excellent work of Dr Lardner, entitled, " the Credibility of the Gospel History.” On this point the reader

Observations on the History of Jesus Christ, serving to illustrate the propriety of his conduct and the beauty of his character, Vol. i. ch. 1. sect. 1. - Of the mysteriousness of his Birth."

might also consult Horne's Introduction to the critical study and knowledge of the Holy Scriptures,"* and a late article in the Quarderly Review. +

Note VII. Page 28. What our Author here says respecting the consequences of Christ's being born of a Virgin may be compared with his remarks on the same topic in his Treatise on the Covenants. He justly affirms, that since our Lord was not born according to the law of nature, he was not represented in the covenant made with Adam, and consequently was not liable to the imputation of Adam's sin. It is shown also, agreeably to what was hinted in a preceding Dissertation, that the original purity of his human nature “ forms a part of that perfect righteousness of Christ, by which, in the capacity of Surety, he satisfied all the demands of the law in our place.” On this point, Witsius vindicates himself from the charge of singularity, by referring not only to the works of Gomar and Cloppenburgh, but also to the Palatine or Heidelberg Catechism, which was composed by Zachary Ursin, a celebrated Professor of Theology at Heidelberg, has been long made use of in most of the Reformed Churches, and was adopted by the Church of Scotland till it was superseded by the excellent Catechisms prepared by the venerable Assembly which met at Westminster. The same views, it may be added, are maintained by the Rev. Thomas Boston in his Treatise on the Covenant of Grace. Il

Whilst our venerated Author teaches that Christ was not liable to the imputation of Adam's sin, the expression obviously implies, that, in common with the greater part of evangelical Divines, he considered the guilt of Adam's first sin as imputed to “all mankind de scending from him by ordinary generation." It is to be regretted that this doctrine has been impugned by a late Author, no less distinguished by cordial attachment to many of the peculiar doctrines

• Vol. iv. pp. 687—704, 3d edit.

+ Vol. xxv. pp. 347–365. The Article referred to is a Review of the Apocryphal New Testament,” printed in London 1820;—which is represented

at Review, and not without probable grounds, as originating in hostility to w Testament, and an insidious design to destroy its credit. At the close Leview, too, the writer gives a sufficient specimen of these pretended Gosome ridiculous fictions they contain relative to what happened during our youth.

ii. ch. 4. sect. 10, 11. ix. sect. 28. Comp. also the Treatise on the Covenants, Book ii. ch. 8. - iii. Art. 1. Holiness of Nature.

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