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prejudice of the country on their side to begin with. They were alleged by one party against another, by the Jansenists against the Jesuits. These were of course opposed and examined by their adversaries. The consequence of which examination was, that many falsehoods were detected, that with something really extraordinary much fraud appeared to be mixed. And if some of the cases upon which designed misrepresentation could not be charged, were not at the time satisface torily accounted for, it was because the efficacy of strong spasmodic affections was not then sufficiently known. Finally, the cause of Jansenism did not rise by the miracles, but sunk, although the miracles had the anterior persuasion of all the numerous adherents of that cause to set out with.
These, let us remember, are the strongest examples, which the history of ages supplies. In none of them was the miracle unequivocal; by none of them, were established prejudices and persuasions overthrown; of none of them, did the credit make its way, in opposition to authority and power; by none of them, were many induced to commit themselves, and that in contradiction to prior opinions, to a life of mortification, danger, and sufferings; none were called upon to attest them, at the expense of their fortunes and safety.*
* It may be thought that the historian of the Parisian miracles, M. Montgeron, forms an exception to this last assertion. He presented' his book (with a suspicion, as it should seem, of the danger of what he was doing) to the king; and was shortly afterward committed to prison, from which he never came out. Had the miracles been unequivocal, and had M. Montgeron been originally convinced by them, I should have allowed this exception. It would have stood, I think, alone, in the argument of our adversaries. But, beside what has been observed of the dubious nature of the miracles, the account which M. Montgeron has himself left of his conversion, shews both the state of his mind, and that his persuasion was not built upon external miracles.-“ Scarcely had he entered the churchyard, when he was struck (he tells us) with awe and reverence, having never before heard prayers pronounced with so much ardour and transport as he observed amongst the supplicants at the tomb. Upon this, throwing himself on bis knees, resting his elbows on the tomb-stone, and covering his face with his hands, he spake the following prayer :-0 thou, by whose intercession so many miracles are said to be performed, if it be true that a part of thee surviveth the grave, and that thou hast influence with the Almighty,
OF THE AUXILIARY EVIDENCES OF CHRISTIANITY.
ISAIAH lii. 13. liii. Behold, my Servant shall deal prudently; he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonished at thee (his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men); so shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him : for that which had not been told them, shall they see; and that which they had not heard, shall they consider.Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid, as it were, our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows : yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chashave pity on the darkness of my understanding, and through his mercy obtain the removal of it.” Having prayed thus,“ many thoughts (as he saith) began to open themselves to his mind; and so profound was his attention, that he continued on his knees four hours, not in the least disturbed by the vast crowd of surrounding supplicants. During this time, all the arguments which he ever heard or read in favour of Christianity, occurred to him with so much force, and seemed so strong and convincing, that he went home fully satisfied of the truth of religion in general, and of the holiness and power of that person, who (as he supposed) had engaged the Divine Goodness to enlighten his understanding so suddenly,” Douglas's Crit. of Mir. tisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth : he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment; and who shall declare his generation ? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people, was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death ; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief. When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied : by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death : and he was numbered with the transgressors, and be bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
These words are extant in a book, purporting to contain the predictions of a writer who lived seven centuries before the Christian era.
That material part of every argument from prophecy, namely, that the words alleged were actually spoken or written before the fact to which they are applied took place, or could by any natural means be foreseen is, in the present instance, incontestable. The record comes out of the custody of adversaries. The Jews, as an ancient father well observed, are our librarians. The passage is in their copies, as well as in ours. With many attempts to explain it away, none has ever been made by them to discredit its authenticity.
And, what adds to the force of the quotation is, that it is taken from a writing declaredly prophetic; a writing, professing to describe such future transactions
and changes in the world, as were connected with the fate and interests of the Jewish nation. It is not a passage in an historical or devotional composition, which, because it turns out to be applicable to some future events, or to some future situation of affairs, is presumed to have been oracular. The words of Isaiah were delivered by him in a prophetic character, with the solemnity belonging to that character: and what he so delivered, was all along understood by the Jewish reader to refer to something that was to take place after the time of the author. The public sentiments of the Jews concerning the design of Isaiah's writings, are set forth in the book of Ecclesiasticus : * " He saw by an excellent spirit, what should come to pass at the last, and he comforted them that mourned in Sion. He shewed what should come to pass for ever, and secret things or ever they came."
It is also an advantage which this prophecy possesses, that it is intermixed with no other subject. It is entire, separate, and uninterruptedly directed to one scene of things.
The application of the prophecy to the evangelic history is plain and appropriate. Here is no double sense ; no figurative language, but what is sufficiently intelligible to every reader of every country. The obscurities (by which I mean the expressions that require a knowledge of local diction, and of local aliusion) are few, and not of great importance. Nor bave I found that varieties of reading, or a different construing of the original, produce any material alteration in the sense of the prophecy. Compare the common translation with that of bishop Lowth, and the difference is not considerable. So far as they do differ, bishop Lowth's corrections, which are the faithful result of an accurate examination, bring the description nearer to the New Testament history than it was before. In the fourth verse of the fifty-third chapter, what our Bible renders “stricken,” he translates “judicially stricken :" and in the eighth verse, the clause," he was taken from prison and from judgment,” the bishop
Chap. xlviii. ver. 24.
gives, “ by an oppressive judgment he was taken off,” The next words to these, “who shall declare his generation ?” are much cleared up in their meaning by the bishop's version ; “his manner of life who would declare?” i. e. who would stand forth in his defence ? The former part of the ninth verse, “ and he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death," which inverts the circumstances of Christ's passion, the bishop brings out in an order perfectly agreeable to the event; "and his grave was appointed with the wicked, but with the rich man was his tomb." The words in the eleventh verse, “by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many,” are, in the bishop's version, 'by the knowledge of him shall my righteous servant justify many."
It is natural to inquire what turn the Jews themselves give to this prophecy.* There is good proof that the ancient Rabbins explained it of their expected Messiah ;t but their modern expositors concur, I think, in representing it as a description of the calamitous state and intended restoration of the Jewish people, who are here, as they say, exhibited under the character of a single person. I have not discovered that their exposition rests upon any critical arguments, or upon these in any other than a very minute degree. The clause in the ninth verse, which we render “for the transgression of my people was he stricken,” and in the margin, “ was the stroke upon him," the Jews read, "for the transgression of my people was the stroke upon them.” And what they allege in support of the alteration amounts only to this, that the Hebrew pronoun is capable of a plural as well as of a singular signification ; that is to say, is capable of their construction as well as ours.' And this is all the variation
* « Vaticinium hoc Esaiæ est carnificina Rabbinorum, de quo aliqui Judæi mihi confessi sunt, Rabbinos suos ex propheticis scripturis facilè se extricare potuisse, modò Esaias tacuisset.” Hulse, Theol. Jud. p. 318, quoted by Poole, in loc. + Hulse, Theol. Jud. p. 430.
Bishop Lowth adopts in this place the reading of the Seventy, which gives smitten to death, " for the transgression of my people was he smitten to death." The addition of the words to death," makes an end of the Jewish inter