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a lake without losing the color and characteristic marks of its own current, but that a mighty river, having plunged from a mountain-height into the depth of the ocean, and been separated into its component drops, and thus scattered to the ends of the world, and blown about by all winds during almost eighteen centuries, is still capable of being disunited from the waters of the ocean; its minutest drops, having never been assimilated to any other, are still distinct, unchanged, and ready to be gathered, waiting the voice that shall call again the outcasts of Israel and the dispersed of Judah. Meanwhile, where are the nations among whom the Jews were scattered? Has not the Lord, according to his word, made a full end of them?* While Israel has stood unconsumed in the fiery furnace, where are the nations that kindled its flames? Where are the Assyrians and Chaldeans? Their name is almost forgotten. Their existence is known only to history. Where is the empire of the Egyptians? The Macedonians destroyed it, and a descendant of its ancient race cannot be distinguished among the strangers that have ever since possessed its territory. Where are they of Macedon? The Roman sword subdued their kingdom, and their posterity are mingled inseparably among the confused population of Greece and Turkey. Where is the nation of ancient Rome, the last conquerors of the Jews, and the proud destroyers of Jerusalem? The Goths rolled their flood over its pride. Another nation inhabits the ancient city.
* Jeremiah 46: 28.
Even the language of her former people is dead. The Goths, where are they? The Jews, where are they not? They witnessed the glory of Egypt and of Babylon and of Nineveh; they were in mature age at the birth of Macedon and of Rome; mighty kingdoms have risen and perished since they began to be scattered and enslaved; and now they traverse the ruins of all, the same people as when they left Judea, preserving in themselves a nonument of the days of Moses and the Pharaohs, as unchanged as the pyramids of Memphis which they are reputed to have built. You may call upon the ends of the earth, and will call in vain for one living representative of those powerful nations of antiquity by whom the people of Israel were successively oppressed; but should the voice to gather that people out of all lands, be now heard from mount Zion, calling for the children of Abraham, no less than four millions would instantly answer to the name, each bearing in himself unquestionable proofs of that noble lineage.
What is this but miracle? Connected with the prophecy which it fulfils, it is a double miracle. Whether testimony can ever establish the credibility of a miracle, is of no importance here. This one is obvious to every man's senses. All nations are its eye-witnesses.
Among the most striking and comprehensive, and yet particular prophecies, are those of Daniel. The history of the four great empires of Chaldea, Persia, Macedon, and Rome, is embraced in his predictions.
We mention these, not that we intend to trace out their fulfilment, but merely, in passing, to insert a remarkable testimony concerning them from one of the most learned expositors of the prophetic Scriptures, and another from the most learned and acute of the ancient opposers of Christianity. Bishop Newton, speaking of that portion of Daniel's prophecies which relates to the kingdoms of Egypt and Syria, from the death of Alexander the Great to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, a period of one hundred and forty-eight years, remarks, "There is not so complete and regular a series of their kings, there is not so concise and comprehensive an account of their affairs, to be found in any author of those times. The prophecy is really more perfect than any history. No one historian hath related so many circumstances, and in such exact order of time, as the prophet hath foretold them; so that it was necessary to have recourse to several authors, Greek and Roman, Jewish and Christian, and to collect here something from one, and to collect there something from another, for the better explaining and illustrating the great variety of particulars contained in this prophecy." Thus far, the testimony of a learned friend of Christianity. The corresponding testimony of a learned enemy we have in the celebrated Porphyry of the third century, to whom the exact correspondence between the predictions and the events was so convincing, that he could not pretend to deny it. He rather labored to confirm it; and from the very exactness of the fulfilment Newton on Prophecy, ch. 2, p. 149.
forged his only weapon of defence, in the assertion that the prophecy could not have been written by Daniel, but must have been written by some one in Judea, in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. Others after him have asserted the same thing, not only without any proof, but contrary to all the proofs which can be had in cases of this nature. They preferred the denial of the plainest historical evidence of the time when the prophecy was written, to the acknowledgment that its author must have written "by inspiration of God." Paine, however, whose willingness to escape the argument from prophecy cannot be questioned, and who was probably ignorant of what Porphyry had acknowledged as to the correspondence between the words of this prophet and those of subsequent history, confessed the authenticity of the book of Daniel. Here, then, we have one famous infidel acknowledging that the prophecy was written at the time and by the man to whom it is ascribed, and another verifying the exactness of its fulfilment in the history of a subsequent age. Paine denied the fulfilment; Porphyry, the authenticity. Porphyry acknowledged the fulfilment; Paine, the authenticity. "He taketh the wise in their own craftiness."
I now call your attention to the prophecies concerning our Lord Jesus Christ. They are scattered everywhere throughout the prophetic portions of the Bible. "To him bear all the prophets witness." None of them could lay down the pen of inspiration till they had written something, directly or indirectly, of Jesus. 'Lardner, ch. 4, p. 215.
1. The first class of these predictions consists of those which relate to the time and circumstances of the advent of Christ. Daniel, B. C. 556, determined the year of his coming, when four hundred and ninety years should be accomplished from the going forth of the command to rebuild Jerusalem. Jacob, more than a thousand years before Daniel, had said it would be when the sceptre was departing from Judah, and a lawgiver from between his feet.* Haggai and Isaiah declared that it would be before the destruction of Jerusalem, and during the existence of the second temple. Micah designated Bethlehem Ephratah as his birthplace. Many prophecies predicted that he should come, not only of the stock of Judah, but of the stem of Jesse.' Isaiah and Malachi spoke of the messenger who should go before him, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to prepare his way."
2. The next class of predictions concerning our Lord contains those which speak of his life, sufferings, death, resurrection, and the increase of his kingdom. These are so numerous and particular, and so familiar to most readers of the Bible, that we shall content ourselves with a rapid summary. They predicted that Christ, or Messiah, would be born of a virgin; that he should enter Jerusalem on the foal of an ass; ;** that in his manner of teaching he should be characterized by special gentleness and compassion; that he would be distinguished as wise "to Isa. 40:3; Mal. 3:1; 4:5.
* Gen. 49:10.
† Isa. 40:9; 41:27; Hag. 2: 6-8. ¶ Isa. 7:14.
+ Micah 5:2.
** Zech. 9:9.
§ Isa. 11:1.
tt Isa. 42: 1-3.