« AnteriorContinuar »
his servants and obey his laws, see the denunciations it pronounces against those who oppose, or despise, or neglect him; and we can then form a judgment if it be matter of indifference whether we be believers or not, and whether we act up to or disregard the duties Christianity requires. Lastly the denunciations against the Israelites, the prophecies of the destruction of Jerusalem, the intimations of their future conversion and restoration to God's favour, the efforts God promises to make for advancing it, the vengeance he threatens upon those who should obstruct it, and the retaliation he menaces upon those who should oppress them, whilst they furnish fresh proofs of the attention God pays to the success of Christianity, and supply a reason for their being still continued a distinct and marked and peculiar people, are calculated to make them more the objects of our attention and regard, to direct our thoughts to the singular manner in which God has dealt with them, and to put us upon our guard as to our conduct towards them. If there is to be some extraordinary interposition of Providence to bring about their conversion, if we as Gentiles are to co-operate, if they are to be distinguished by signal marks of God's favour, if any oppression towards them is to meet with its return, any obstruction to their belief to be followed by a heavy portion of divine vengeance, and if they are to take them captives whose captives they have been, we can no longer look upon them with indifference, we are constrained to consider them as objects of the highest interest.
Let it not be surmised, that the Scriptures might have been written, or the prophecies inserted, after our Saviour's time. The Old Testament is in the keeping of the Jews, and their copies contain the same prophecies as ours. Their copies too were translated into Greek near 300 years before the birth of Christ, and that translation is still in existence and in use.=The Samaritans also, the ancient rivals of the Jews, have their copy of the five books of Moses=and that copy corresponds substantially with ours. That the Gospels of Matthew Mark and Luke were written before the destruction of Jerusalem, is a point upon which no doubt ever has been cast. They are referred to by the earliest Christian writers, and it would have been impossible to have imposed them upon the Christian Church at a later period.=Addison's and Chalmers' Evidences of Christianity will satisfy any reasonable mind upon these particulars, and the continuance of Christianity to the present time, (which is a fulfilment of some of the prophecies those Gospels contain,) makes any lengthened discussion upon the question unnecessary.
In the summaries in Italics under the several numbers, the object has been to give the passage its true application, and to furnish a short abstract
of its contents: but the reader must be upon his guard, particularly as to the application of the passage, because with the most anxious wish to be correct, misapprehension may occasionally have occurred.
May this attempt draw the attention of abler men to the important parts of Scripture it sets forth, that mistakes may be corrected, and clearer lights given, that this vital part of Christianity may be better understood, and mankind strengthened in their faith, and improved in their conduct. And may He, from whom alone all light and wisdom come, prosper every work which has for its objects the improvement and happiness of man, and the glory of God.