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and seek me some other religion to fix my soul upon. Not as if my reason told me, that all the prophecies that I have mentioned here were false in themselves, but only that they appear so to this sort of professors; for, for my own part, I cannot shake off my faith in this law, which they profess to believe in; especially now I have so seriously perused it, and so deliberately weighed and considered of it. Neither can I believe, that ever any Mahometan or Indian that did, without prejudice, set himself to read it through, and to examine every particular by the light of unbiassed reason, could say it was ever hatched in a human brain; but that it is indeed of a heavenly stamp, and divine authority. And therefore, though I am forced by the strength of reason to shake hands with this religion, yet the same reason will not suffer me to lay aside that law which they do profess, but only their profession of it. So that whatsoever religion I settle upon, my natural conscience still commands me to stick close to this book of the Jewish law, and to receive and entertain it as the word of the glorious Jehovah, the Being of all beings.
Well, there is but one religion more, generally professed in the world, that I am to search into; which if upon good grounds I cannot fix upon, I shall be the most miserable of all creatures; and that is, the Christian religion, so named from Jesus Christ, whose doctrine, life, and death, is recorded by four several persons, in a book which they call the Gospel: and this book appears to me to be of undoubted authority, as to the truth and certainty of those things that are therein recorded. For, if they had been false, both the persons that wrote them, and he of whom they wrote, had so many malicious enemies ready, upon all occasions, to accuse them, that they had long ago been condemned for lies and forgeries. But now, these writings having been extant for above 1600 years, and never so much as suspected, but even by the worst of enemies acknowledged to be a true relation of what passed in the world
about that time; my reason will not permit me to be their first accuser, but enjoins me to receive them under that notion, in which they have been brought down to me through so many generations, without any interruption whatsoever. For this general reception on all hands is a sufficient ground for me to build my faith upon as to the truth of the relation, though not a sufficient ground to believe every thing contained in the book to be the word of God himself: for, in this particular, it is not the testimony of others that I am to build upon, but its own: I may read its verity in man's testimony, but its divinity only in its own doctrines.
This book, therefore, I have also diligently perused, and find it expressly asserts, that Jesus Christ, whose life and death it records, was indeed that person who was long ago promised by God, and expected by the Jews and that all the prophecies under the old law concerning that Messiah, God-Man, were actually fulfilled in this person; which if, upon diligent search, I can find to be true, I shall presently subscribe, both with hand and heart, to this religion. It is a comfort to me, that it acknowledgeth the Jewish law to be sent from God; for truly, if it did not, my conscience would scarce permit me to give any credit to it; being so fully convinced that that book is indeed of a higher extract than human invention, and of greater authority than human institution. And therefore it is that I cannot, I dare not believe, but that every particular prophecy contained in it either is, or shall be, certainly fulfilled, according to every circumstance of time and place mentioned therein; and, by consequence, that this prophecy in particular, concerning the Messiah's coming, is already past the time wherein it was foretold he should come, being so long ago expired. So that I do not now doubt whether the Messiah be come or no, but whether this Jesus Christ, whom this book of the Gospel speaks of, was indeed the person. And this I shall best find out, by comparing the Christian's Gospel with the Jewish
Law; or the histories of Christ under the one, with the prophecies of the Messiah under the other; still concluding, that if whatsoever was foretold concerning the Messiah was fulfilled in this Jesus Christ, then he was indeed the Messiah that was to come into the world. And, to make this comparison the more exact, I shall run through the several circumstances that attended his birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, and shew how punctually the prophecies were fulfilled in every particular.
And first, for the birth of the Messiah, the Law saith, he was to be born of the seed of Abraham, Gen. xxii. 18. and David, 2 Sam. vii. 12. and of the stem of Jesse, Isa. xi. 1. From whence he is frequently called by the Jews, The Son of David. The Gospel saith, Jesus Christ was the son of David, the son of Abraham, Matt. i. 2. The Law, that he was to be born of a virgin, Isa. vii. 14. The Gospel, that Mary, a virgin, brought forth this Jesus, Matt. i. 18. Luke i. 17, 31, 35. chap. ii. 5, 6, 7. The Law, that he was to be born at Bethlehem Ephrata, Mic. v. 2. The Gospel, that this Jesus was born there, Matt. ii. 1. Luke iv. 5, 6.
The Law says, that he was to be brought out of Egypt, Hos. xi. 1. The Gospel, that Jesus was called thence, Matt. ii. 19, 20. The Law saith, that one should go before the Messiah, Mal. iii. 5. and should cry in the wilderness, Isa. xl. 3. The Gospel, that John Baptist did so before Christ, Matt. iii. 1, 3. Mark i. 2, 3. The Law, that the Messiah should preach the doctrine of salvation in Galilee, who, sitting before in darkness, should see great light, Isa. ix. 1, 2. The Gospel, that Jesus did so, Matt. iv. 12, 23. The Law, that in the Messiah's days, the eyes of the blind should be opened, and the ears of the deaf should be unstopped, and the lame leap, and the tongue of the dumb sing, Isa. xxxv. 5, 6. The Gospel, that it was so in the days of Jesus Christ, Matt. iv. 23.
chap. xi. 5. But for all these wonders and miracles, the Law saith, they should hear, but not understand; and see, yet not perceive, Isa. vi. 9. and the Gospel, that seeing they did not see, and hearing they did not hear, neither did they understand, Matt. xiii. 13. Mark iv. 12. The Law, that he should be despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, Isa. liii. 3. The Gospel, that Jesus Christ had no where to lay his head, Matt. viii. 20. His soul was
exceeding sorrowful even unto death, Matt. xxvi, 38. yea, he was in an agony, and his sweat was as drops of blood, Luke xxii. 24. so well was he acquainted with grief. The Law says, that he should ride into Jerusalem upon an ass, and upon a colt the fole of an ass, Zech. ix. 9. And the Gospel, that Jesus Christ, as he was going to Jerusalem, having found an ass, sate thereon, John xii. 14. Matt. xxi. 6. At which time, the Law saith, the people should cry, Hosannah, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, Psal. cxviii. 26. The Gospel, that the multitude did so to Christ, Matt. xxi. 9. The Law, that one of his own familiar friends, in whom he trusted, which did eat of his bread, should lift up his heel against him, Psalm xli. 9. The Gospel, that Judas, who was one of Christ's disciples, and so ate of his bread, did betray him into the hands of the Jews, Matt. xxvi. 47. Luke xxii. 46. The Law, that he should be prized at, and sold for, thirty pieces of silver, with which should be bought the potters field, Zech. xi. 12, 13. The Gospel, that they covenanted with Judas to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, Matt. xxvi. 15. with which they afterwards bought the potters' field, chap. xxvii. 7. The Law, that he should be numbered amongst transgressors, Isa. liii. 12. The Gospel, that Jesus was crucified betwixt two thieves, Mark xv. 27. Matt. xxvii. 38. The Law, that he should be wounded and bruised, Isa. liii. 5. The Gospel, that they scourged Jesus, Matt. xxvii. 20. and smote him, Mark xv. 19. The Law saith, they
should pierce his hands and feet, Psal. xxii. 16. Zech. xii. 10. The Gospel, that they crucified Jesus, Matt. xxvii. 35. Luke xxiii. which was a death, wherein they used to pierce the hands and feet of those that were put to death, and nailed them to the cross. But though they should pierce his flesh, yet the Law saith, they should not break his bones, no not one of them, Exod. xii. 46. Numb. ix. 12. Psal. xxxiv. 20. The Gospel, that they brake not the legs of Christ, John xix. 33, 36. The Law, that they that should see him should laugh him to scorn, shoot out their lips, and shake their heads, saying, He trusted in the Lord that he would deliver him, let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him, Psal. xxii, 8, The Gospel, that the Scribes and Elders did so to Christ, Matt. xxvii. 42, 43. The Law saith, they should give him gall for meat, and vinegar to drink, Psal. Ixix. 21. And the Gospel, that they gave Christ vinegar to drink, mingled with gall, Matt. xxvii. 34, 48. The Law, that they should part his garments amongst them, and cast lots upon his vesture, Psal. xxii. 19. The Gospel, that they parted Jesus's garments, casting lots, Matt. xxvii. 35. John xix. 23. Mark xv, 24.
And as for the time of this Jesus's coming into the world, it is certain that this Jesus came before the second temple was demolished; for it is said, that he went into it, Matt. xix. 45. yea, himself taught daily in it, ver. 47. by which means the glory of the second temple was greater than the glory of the first, according to the prophecy, Hag. ii. 9. And as for Jacob's prophecy, that the sceptre should not depart from Judah, nor the lawgiver, till Shiloh, or the Messiah, come, Gen. xlix. 10. it is certain that it did not depart from Judah, till Herod, by the senate of Rome, was made king of Judea, in whose days this Jesus was born, Matt. ii. 1. Luke i. 5. And so did Daniel's 70 weeks, or 490 years, exactly reach unto, and were determined in, the days of this Jesus, as might easily be demonstrated. So that all