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Jehovah saith, 5. Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of Jehovah.
This prophecy is universally applied to St. John, which decisively proves that the Evangelist thought that Christ was the JEHOVAH, whose great and terrible day St. John came to announce. Nay, our Saviour himself says that St. John" is Elias which was for to come" on this awful occasion.
I hope I have succeeded in my design of proving that the diversity of persons in the Godhead is established, by showing the consistent use which the writers of the Old Testament make of the various appellations appropriated to each, and that the awful Elohim is the Holy, Blessed, and Glorious Trinity, designated in the Litany.
My next peculiar aim has been to show, that our Blessed Saviour was promised to mankind from the earliest times, in prophecies which were not pronounced to feed human curiosity, but which were intended to teach faith in the promises of God, and to excite desires suitable to the expected blessing, and therefore they were always adapted to the exigencies of the times in which they were promulgated.
Thus this awful promise—this august prophecy of the future appearance of our Blessed Saviour on earth -was at first declared obscurely, for as his Advent was to be at a very distant period, it was then unnecessary to particularize minutely the signs that were to precede his coming
But as the time drew nigh for the incarnation of our Blessed Redeemer, God multiplied his promises, the prophecies became more numerous and explicit, till, as will be seen in the New Testament, the full light of the Gospel shone with meridian splendour, when, at the birth of Christ, the angels sang glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will to men.
The Prophecies, Psalms, and other Jewish Scriptures all refer to the books of Moses as to a common centre-they all rest upon them as an edifice upon its foundation; and thus the Old Testament forms one beautiful body of evidence, for the several books of which it is composed all support and confirm each other.
We shall find the same design and the same dependence on the same foundation, as we proceed in our examination of the Christian Scriptures.
The Old Testament announces and prophesies the events which the New will be found to verify and accomplish.
In the Bible, therefore, we have, as it were, all the proofs, records, facts, and motives congregated together, to convince our reason that the whole was written by divine inspiration; and surely we are bound not only to believe its contents, but also to obey implicitly whatever commands or precepts it may enforce.
V. 23.—-Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name IMMANUEL, which, being interpreted, is God with us.
Isa. Ch. vii. V. 14.-Aponi himself will give you a sign, Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name In
Is not this a corroborative fulfilment of the denunciation which JEHOVAH Elohim pronounced against the serpent, when he said
Gen. iii. V. 15.—I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed. It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
The wise men came from the east, saying, V. 2. Where is he that is born king of the Jews ? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
Numb. Ch. xxiv. V. 17.-There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.
And Herod was troubled, and demanded where Christ should be born. 5. And they said unto him, in Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet.
MICAH, Ch. v. V. 2.-But thou, Bethlehem Ephrata, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto me, that is to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
This prophecy of Micah ought to have taught the Jews to see the Ruler, or King, of the Jews in the infant Jesus, that was then born in Bethlehem.
Herod was extremely wroth, and he sent forth and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, in all the coasts, and then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet: 18. In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning; Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they were not.
Jer. Ch. xxxi. V. 15.—Thus saith Jehovah, A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping: Rachel weeping for her children, refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.
It is remarkable that the prophecies relating to the birth of this infant should have been sufficiently believed to incite Herod to command the murder of the Innocents, and yet that they should have been of no avail, when the conduct of our Blessed Saviour, and the events passing before his eyes, gave such ample testimony to the truth of the divine mission of JESUS CHRIST.
V. 23.–And Joseph came and dwelt in Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, " He shall be called a Nazarene.”
Judges, Ch. xiii. V. 5.-For the child shall be a Nazarite unto Elohim from the womb, and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.
The frequent references that are made to the books of the Old Testament by the Evangelists teach us what use we ought to make of that invaluable book; and our Saviour says elsewhere, that the law and the prophets testify of him.
John, preaching in the wilderness, saith, 2. Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make his paths straight.
Isa. Ch. xl. V. 3.The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Jehovah, make straight in the desert a high way for our God.
There is no possibility of doubting whether St. Matthew believed our Saviour to be the JEHOVAH, whose path St. John was pre-ordained to prepare ; and this circumstance being, in this instance, so well authenticated, let us gladly bear it always in mind, when reading the prophecies of the Old, and the histories of the New Testament.
V. 11.-1, John, baptize you with water to repentance, but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire, whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor.
MALACHI, Ch.iii. V.1.-And Jehovah whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant whom ye delight in. 2. But who may abide the day of his coming, and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap. 3. He shall purify the sons of Levi, that they may offer unto Jehovah an offering in righteousness.
St. John's application of Malachi's metaphors to Jesus Christ, proves that he and the prophet refer to the same Divine Being, viz., JEHOVAH, who was come to his temple; and thus we have ascertained that St. Matthew and St. John thought that CHRIST was the JEHOVAH.
V. 16.-And when Jesus was baptized, he went up straightway out of the water, and lo! the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him. 17. And lo! a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Isa. Ch. 11. V. 2.-The Spirit of Jehovah shall rest on him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of Jehovah.