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LV. MESSIAH.

We have found the Messias ; which is, being interpreted, the Christ.

John i. 41.

This title is found in three other instances in our common version : Dan. ix. 25, 26. John iv. 25. A very excellent critic says, that 'the word translated anointed in 1 Sam. xxiv. 6. is, as in other places, in Hebrew, Messiah, and in the Greek of the Seventy, Christ.' 'It deserves to be remarked,' he adds, 'that in the English translation of the Old Testament, the word is always rendered anointed, to whomsoever applied, except in the two verses of Daniel. In the New Testament, the corresponding Greek word is always rendered Christ, and commonly without the article. But the most eminent use and application of the word is when it is employed as the title of that sublime Personage typified and predicted from the beginning, who was to prove, in the most exalted sense, the Redeemer and Lord of God's people. Those of the prophets who seem more especially to have appropriated this title, formerly more common, to the Mediator of the New Covenant, were the royal prophet David, Psa. ii. 2; Isaiah, chap. lxi. 1; and Daniel, chap. ix. 25, 26. The first represents him as anointed of God King of God's heritage; the second, as set apart and consecrated to be the messenger of good tidings to the inhabitants of the earth; the third,

as appointed to make expiation for the sins of the people.'*

Long before the Messiah appeared, there was a general expectation of such a personage, as appears evident from the testimonies of Tacitus,t Suetonius, and Josephus.s

The first great object of the Son of God in his ministry was to prove that he was the true Messiah. It was the first great truth presented to those who were desirous of becoming his disciples, and a reception of this truth was sufficient in the primitive age to constitute one a believer in the Messiah.|| True, other points were urged by the Messiah, but this was the first and most prominent in his teachings. For

* The Four Gospels. By GEORGE CAMPBELL. Vol. i. dis. v. part iv.

t‘The generality had a strong persuasion, that it was contained in the ancient writings of the priests, that AT THAT VERY TIME the East should prevail; and that some who should come out of Judea should obtain the empire of the world.'-Tacitus, History, chap. xiii.

** There had been for a long time all over the East a constant persuasion, that it was (recorded) in the Fates (books of the Fates, decrees, or foretellings) that at THAT TIME some who should come out of Judea should obtain universal dominion.'-SUETONIUS, Vespasian, chap. iv.

$ That which chiefly excited them (the Jews) to war, was an ambiguous prophecy, which was also found in the sacred books, that at that time some one within their country should arise, that should obtain the empire of the whole world. For this they had received (by tradition,) that it was spoken of one of their nation; and many wise men (or Chachams) were deceived with the interpretation. But in truth Vespasian's empire was designed in this prophecy; who was created emperor (of Rome) in Judea.'—JOSEPH. de Bello, lib. vii, cap. 31.

|| See the account of the conversion of the Eunuch, Acts viii. 20, and the strong declaration of Peter, in reply to the question of his Master, 'Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am?' Matt. xvi. 13-16.

the benefit of the reader, we will sum up the various tests presented by our Lord to prove his Messiahship; for he did not attempt to establish this by mere declaration. Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.'* Such was the way Jesus proved himself to be the Messiah. How different from the dogmatizing spirit of many of his professed followers! The following were the principal points urged by the Messiah to establish his claims :

I. The testimony of Moses, John v. 45–47.
II. The prediction of the prophets, Luke xxiv. 27.
III. The testimony of John, John v. 33.
IV. His own works, John v. 36. x. 37, 38.
V. His doctrine, ib. vii. 16.
VI. That he sought not his own glory, ib. vii. 18.

VII. That a trial of his doctrine would prove whether he came from God, or whether he spake of himself, ib. 17.

VIII. The testimony of the Father, Matt. iii. 17.

What a mass of evidence is here presented! To make the least attempt to enlarge on either of these statements would fill volumes. In viewing these infallible proofs, it seems as if there could not be an infidel or an unbelieving Jew on the face of the whole

* Matt. xi. 2-5. See Works of WILLIAM PALEY, vol. v. ser. XV.

earth. One would think every heart and voice would exclaim, 'We have found the Messias !' But no. The Messiah ‘is despised and rejected of men.' His gospel is trodden under foot. "They crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.' "But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness.'* To the believer he is indeed 'precious,' 'the head of the corner.'

But why did the Jews reject the Messiah ? It appears very evident that at first they had right views of his coming and reign, but these views became gradually corrupted, and when the Messiah appeared, they were expecting a temporal monarch and conqueror, who would remove the Roman yoke and subject the whole world to them.f Hence, they lost sight of his real character; of the nature of his kingdom; the object of his mission, and the results of his reign. After the voice of prophecy had been silent for four hundred years, the Messiah appeared, according to the predictions of the prophets. But neither his doctrine nor his character met their worldly views.

* 1 Cor. i. 23.

+ That the Jews expected a temporal Messiah, is very evident from many incidents that happened during his ministry. See, for instance, the request of the mother of Zebedee's children: 'Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom,' Matt. xx. 20—23. Look also at the conversation of the disciples even after the resurrection of the Messiah, when they supposed they were in conversation with a stranger: “We trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel.' * * * Luke xxiv. 21. See also Acts i. 6. In this opinion the disciples continued till the very day of Pentecost, when the mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit taught them the spiritual nature of the Messiah's kingdom.

He was too spiritual for the age in which he appeared. The Jews could not endure the thought of owning for a Messiah one who was born in a manger, and who was humble and meek; one who would associate with those whom, in their pride, they chose to denominate (sinners,' 'common people, and by several other epithets which were, in their view, equally degrading. The Messiah presented himself as the Saviour of the world. Nothing to the mind of a Jew could be more abhorrent. He could not believe that those nations whom he had despised, would be fellow-heirs with him in the new kingdom now about to be established upon the earth. It was too humiliating. In proportion, therefore, as the mission and character of the Messiah were unfolded, in the same proportion did his opposition increase; till at last, unable to bring his feelings into harmony with those of his Messiah, he cried out, 'Away with him ! away with him! crucify him!' And even to this day, the poor, deluded, and despised Jew, as he wanders in the earth, looks out for another Messiah. But he looks in vain : his expectations can never be realized. Again and again has he been deceived, yet he clings to his hope with a tenacity and fondness unequalled by any sect or by any class of men upon the globe. It is really worthy of remark, however, that his very rejection proves the truth of his own Scriptures, and Jesus to be the true Messiah: for the one was as clearly predicted as the other! The words of a distinguished theologian seem to come in very appropriately in this place: All those circumstances and things, which were to take place at the coming of the true Messiah, have been literally accom

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