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PART We have hitherto considered the preference
IV. which Christ fhews to his own miracles,

and to those which he wrought by his apo-
stles, above the testimony of John the Baptist;
but it is just, that after having considered Christ,
we return to his fore-runner, and make a better
use of that burning and thining light than the
Jews did, who admired his light in the be-
ginning, but did not embrace the Meffiah
whom it discovered.

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ARTICLE I.
John the Baptist is certainly the fore-

runner foretold by the prophets, and
consequently Christ, whose fore-run-

ner he was, is the Messiah.
IT

T must be particularly remembered, that

God foretold by his prophets, that when the times were accomplished, the Messiah hould be preceded by an angel ; that is to say, by an ambaffador or fore-runner of eminent virtue, who should

prepare the way and dispose the people to receive him.

« Behold, « faith he by the prophet Malachy, I will “ send my messenger, and he shall prepare the

way before me : and the Lord, whom ye
“ seek, shall suddenly come to his temple ;

even the messenger of the covenant, whom
ye delight in,

This

Malach. iii. I,

pro

This temple is certainly that which the Ii-CHAP, raelites rebuilt after they were delivered from V. the Babylonish captivity, as appears by the phet Haggai ||, who was cotemporary with Malachy, and who comforted the Jews in the meanness and simplicity of the temple, which was much inferior in magnificence to Solomon's, by assuring them, that the Messiah would come in person and proclaim peace in it; an honour which would render this temple, tho'void of ornaments much more glorious than the first, notwithstanding it was most sumptuously decorated.: Thus faith the Lord “ of hosts, Yet once, it is a little while; and I “ will shake the heavens, and the earth: I “ will shake all nations, and the desire of all “ nations shall come, and I will fill this house “ with glory, faith the Lord of hosts. The "silver is mine, faith the Lord of hosts. The « glory of this latter house shall be greater than « the former, faith the Lord of hosts : and in " this place will I give peace, faith the Lord " of hosts.”

This temple has been destroyed for many ages. It follows then, either that the

prophecy is false, if the Messiah is not come, or that the Messiah is come, if the prophecy be true. The proof could not be more evident with regard to Christ, nor more pressing against the Jews, and those who refused to believe in him. This proof we have given in another place in its full extent and force, and I cursorilyrepeat it here, because it is as conclusive

with #Haggai ii. 7.

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Part with respect to the fore-runner of the Messiah, IV. as to the Messiah himfelf, since he must pre

cede him before the second temple can be destroyed; and because Jesus is equally distinguithable by what the prophets say of him, as by what they say of the mefsenger who should prepare the way: for it is equally certain, that Christ must have come before the destruction of the temple, and after his fore-runner : and as there was no one who assumed the quality of a fore-runner of the Messiah, before the destruction of the temple, except Saint John the Baptist; and as Saint John the Baptist ftiled himself the fore-runner of Christ only, it follows evidently, that Christ is the Messiah.

ARTICLE II. Authority of the testimony of Fon the

Baptift, by the union and concurrence of many circumstances, which demonftrate the

truth thereof. Predi&tion made by Zacharias, who was struck

Speechless.
TE

HIS proof is of great weight, if we

consider it only as it has been above proposed; but it is much stronger, when we inspect it in its utmost extent, and join all the circumstances which the divine wisdom thought proper to unite with it, in order to render the testimony of the fore-runner worthy the Mer

fjah,

fiah, and to gain him an authority capable ofCHAP. convincing all understandings, and removing V. all doubts.

In examining these circumstances, I do not presume to offer any thing new; yet I desire that they be looked upon for a while as new, and by transferring ourselves to the times in which the things happened, the same reflections be made, as would arise to a serious man, who was determined to investigate the truth.

We know that when the temple sublisted, the priests and Levites being divided into fundry families, officiated by turn, and that the different functions were distributed to them by lot, to avoid jealousy and preference. One of these functions, and even the most important, was that of offering up incense upon the golden altar in the interior temple, where the priests alone entered, and where the priest charged with this august function had no one else to accompany him. Zacharias, who was of the lineage of Aaron by Abia, chief of one of the twenty-four sacerdotal families, executed the priest's office in the order of his course, and as he was officiating an angel appeared to him, who seeing him full of fear, said unto him, of “ Fear not, Zacharias ; for thy prayer “ is heard, and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear " thee a son, and thou shalt call his name

John. For he shall be great in the fight of “ the Lord; and he shall be filled with the “ Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. “ And many of the children of Israel shall he

H 3 t Luke i. 13.

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PART * turn to the Lord their God. And he shall

IV. go before him in the spirit and power of wa Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the

“ children, and the disobedient to the wisdom
of the just, to make ready a people prepared
“ for the Lord.” These words of the angel are
the same with those of the prophet Malachy *
excepting that the prophet seemed to understand
them of the very person of Elias, whereas the
angel applied them to the fore-runner, who
was endued with his efficacy and spirit.

Zacharias answered the angel, “ Whereby
or shall I know this? for I am an old man,

my

wife well stricken in years of. And
“ the angel said unto him, I am Gabriel, that
“ stand in the presence of God; and am fent

to speak unto thee, and to thew thee these
glad tidings. And behold thou shalt be

dumb, and not able to speak, until the day
“ that these things shall be performed, be-
“ cause thou believest not my words which
« shall be fulfilled in their season. And the
“ people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled
" that he tarried so long in the temple. And
“ when he came out, he could not speak un-

to them; and they perceived that he had “ seen a vision in the temple: for he beckned “ unto them, and remained speechless.”

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* Malach. iv. to the end.
+ Beside this, she was naturally barten. Ver. 7.

ARTICLE

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