Page images


Fulfilment. Betrayal. Matt. xx. 18. Matt. xxvi. 14-16. Forsaking of his disciples. John Matt. xxvi. 56.

xvi. 32. Denial of Peter. John xiii. 33. Luke xxii. 60—62. His resurrection. John ii. 19—Luke xxiv. 5, 6.

21. His ascension. John xx. 17. Acts i. 9, 10. Descent of Holy Spirit. Luke Acts ii. 1–13.

xxiv. 49. His coming: the manner, the Works of Josephus. Book in

object, and the time. Matt. xvi. 27, 28. And the destruction of the Holy City. xxiv. and xxv.

et seq.


1. The place, Jerusalem. | Acts xiii. 27–29.

Matt. xx. 18. 2. The persons by whom he Matt. xxvi. 3, 4. Acts iv. 27.

would suffer. Matt. xvi. 21. 3. The manner in which he Matt. xxvi. 67, 68. Mark xv.

should suffer. Luke xviii. 32. 29–32.

Whoever looks even at this limited view of the prophecies of Jesus, must exclaim, "This is of a truth that Prophet that should come into the world.' Those who saw his works while on earth could not help saying, 'A great Prophet is risen up among us; and God hath visited his people.'*

Three of these prophecies, we think, deserve particular remark.

1. His death.
2. His second coming.
3. The destruction of Jerusalem.

1. His death. In regard to this, we may say, there was nothing very singular in that fact alone, but then there was something wonderful in prophesying every circumstance connected with the event;

* Luke vii. 16.

not only the betrayal, but the denial, and the place where it should happen, the persons, and even the very conduct of the soldiers upon the occasion. All is related with as much minuteness as if the very transaction was at that moment taking place before him. Not only was he well aware that an infamous and cruel death would be the reward of his labors, but he openly taught that it was necessary to secure the triumph of his doctrine. Now, was it possible that such a prediction could enter into the views and system of an impostor? Would an impostor have proposed to himself the most excruciating punishment as the ultimate object of his ambition ?

2. His second coming. "There be some standing here,' said the great Prophet, 'that shall not taste of death till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.' So that the very persons who heard the prediction were to live to see the fulfilment! An impostor would not have taken such a course. But it is remarkable that though the Prophet has so carefully fixed the time of his second coming, yet nearly the whole christian world is yet looking for this event to take place. The consequence is, that a large portion of the New Testament is misunderstood, and the opposition of the Jew increased; for how can he believe Jesus to be the true Messiah, when Christians themselves have labored to prove that his own predictions in relation to his coming have failed? But as well attempt to prove that Jerusalem has never been destroyed, as that Jesus did not come during the generation in which he lived. The history that proves the one, establishes the other.

3. The destruction of Jerusalem. The Prophet foretold every single circumstance in relation to this

event, even while Jerusalem stood before his eye in all its magnificence and glory. He pointed out all the fearful signs and wonders that should precede that event; the time when it should take place, and the very nation by whom it should be destroyed, and even that one stone should not be left


another of the Temple. Even the foundations were ploughed up. It is remarkable that Titus endeavored to preserve it, for it was a building of such strength and grandeur, of such splendor and beauty, that he undoubtedly wished it for a monument of the victory and glory of the Roman empire. But Josephus says, One of the soldiers, without staying for any orders, and without any concern or dread upon him at so great an undertaking, and being hurried only by a certain divine fury, snatched somewhat out of the materials that were on fire, and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, through which there was a passage to the rooms that were round about the holy house on the north side of it.' "Then did Cæsar, both by calling to the soldiers that were fighting with a loud voice, and by giving a signal to them with his right hand, order them to quench the fire. 'And thus was the holy house burnt down without Cæsar's approbation.' On viewing the splendid ruins of the holy city and Temple, Titus was heard to say, “We have certainly had God for our assistant in this war, and it was no other than God who ejected the Jews out of these fortifications: for what could the hands of men or any machines do towards overthrowing these towers?' On viewing all these things, we are constrained to say, 'This is of a truth that Prophet that should come into the world.'


And he shall sit as a Refiner and Purifier of silver: and he shall

purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.'

Mal. iii. 3.

This passage is the only instance where these titles are found as substantives. That there is an allusion to the Redeemer, is evident from the very opening of the chapter. Maimonides understands the passage as relating to him: 'In the days of the king Messiah, when his kingdom is restored, and Israel shall be gathered to him, all will have their genealogies set right by his mouth, through the Holy Spirit that rests upon him, as it is said, he shall sit a refiner and purifier.'

These titles may be considered as among the most beautiful in all the Scriptures. They bring the Saviour at once before the mind in an exceedingly interesting light, and lead us to consider,

I. The nature of the mind.

II. The process by which it will be refined or purified.

III. The certainty of the work.

1. The nature of the mind. The very fact that the Redeemer of the world is presented before us as a Refiner and Purifier, shows the original purity of the mind, or that there is an intrinsic value in its very nature. If man were entirely depraved, there would be no substance to refine or purify. And the appellations equally disprove the sentiment of endless suffering or that of annihilation. For in what sense could we consider Jesus as a Refiner and Purifier, if man should be annihilated or remain forever impure ? The soul was created in the image of God.

God. It is a type of his own pure and exalted nature. It is very appropriately compared to gold, the most precious of all metals; the great standard of value by which all earthly things are tried. But man has become corrupt by wicked works. Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.'* “But how is the gold become dim! How is the most fine gold changed !'t The soul seems like gold thrown back into its native mine, and intermixed with the basest material. Hence all need the refiner's fire and the fuller's soap.

II. The manner in which the mind is to be refined or purified. And here the comparison between the precious metal and the soul may still be carried on. "Gold, in its native state, having much of earthy and stony material mixed with it, is first of all broken in pieces, even to powder; then placed in a crucible, with some foreign substance as a solvent, and melted in a fire of intense heat. Gold requires a greater heat for its fusion than any other metal. The refiner stands or sits beside the fire, to superintend the pro

* Eccles. vii. 29.

Lam. iv. 1.

« PreviousContinue »