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PART We have hitherto considered the preference
and to those which he wrought by his apo-
runner foretold by the prophets, and
ner he was, is the Messiah.
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
even the messenger of the covenant, whom
Malach. iii. I,
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.
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
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
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.
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
Zacharias answered the angel, “ Whereby
wife well stricken in years of. And
to speak unto thee, and to thew thee these
dumb, and not able to speak, until the day
to them; and they perceived that he had “ seen a vision in the temple: for he beckned “ unto them, and remained speechless.”
* Malach. iv. to the end.