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ENTERED according to Act of Congress, in the year 1836, by
EDWARD C. BIDDLE, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvanla.
OF THE SECOND VOLUME.
LECTURES ON THEOLOGY.
ON THE MESSIAH.
Predictions of the Messiah prior to the Appearance of Christ—Their Import-Evidence that
Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah.
We have seen that Jesus Christ is the Surety and Mediator of the New Covenant; and, in speaking of him in these characters, it was impossible to avoid references to the mysterious constitution of his person. This, however, is a subject so important, as to be entitled to distinct consideration, both because it is the foundation upon which the whole scheme of redemption depends, and because some men of corrupt minds have, in all ages, and in various forms, exerted themselves to overthrow it. But, before we enter upon it, it will be proper to attend to the notices which were given of the Saviour to the church prior to his manifestation in the flesh, and then to show that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah.
As God was not pleased to send his Son into the world immediately after the fall of our first parents, but to defer his mission till the fulness of time, it seemed good to his wisdom to give before-hand such information respecting him, as would support the faith and hope of his people, and enable them to know him when he should actually appear. It could not have been supposed that, in the ancient Scriptures, which record the divine dispensations to the descendants of the patriarchs, and the other nations of the world, there would be no mention of an event more wonderful and interesting than the rise and fall of kingdoms and empires. We find, accordingly, that, as he is brought forward to view almost at the commencement of the sacred volume of the Jews, so it closes with a renewed prediction of his approach, and a delightful picture of the happiness which awaited our race, when the Sun of righteousness should arise upon them with healing in his wings.'
The first notice of the Saviour was given on the afternoon of the day on which our first parents transgressed, and before they were expelled from paradise. It was included in the sentence pronounced upon their seducer; and while it foretold his destruction, implied a promise of their deliverance from his power. “ 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.”+ It is plain, that the person here announced was to be the adversary and the conqueror of the serpent, or the devil, who, by the instrumentality of that animal, successfully tempted our first parents, and that he was to be a partaker of their nature. It would be absurd to consider the passage as relating to the enmity which literally subsists between the serpentine race and ours : nor is there any reason to understand it generally of a hostility which would afterwards arise between them and the devil, with whom they had now joined in a confederacy against God. The seed of the woman denotes an individual, namely, our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom this designation is peculiarly applicable, because he has descended from her in a different manner from all her other posterity. In reference to him, an equivalent expression is used, when it is said, that, “In the fulness of the time, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.”* To be made of a woman, and to be the seed of the woman, evidently signify the same thing; and hence, we may conclude this to be the import of the prediction, that the future antagonist of the serpent would be conceived and born in a miraculous manner. He is not called the seed of the man, although he was as much a descendant of Adam as of Eve, and his genealogy is traced up to him in the third chapter of Luke, because he was not derived from him in the ordinary way. He is the seed of the woman in an exclusive sense, because his mother was a virgin.
• Mal. iy. 2.
tGen ül. 16.
The next notice of the Messiah was given to Abraham, when God said to him, “ In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.”+ It may be supposed that this promise may be understood in a lower sense, as foretelling the benefit which mankind would derive from his posterity, who were destined to be the original depositories of divine revelation, and from whom it was to be afterwards diffused over the various regions of the earth. But an apostle has shown us that it should be applied principally or solely to the Messiah. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." By this second notice, the people of God obtained some new information. It not only repeated what was already known, that the Messiah would be a man, a partaker of the same nature with the patriarch, but it farther taught, that he should be a Jew; because it was expressly said, that “in Isaac this seed should be called,” or that he should spring from Abraham, not by Ishmael, but by Isaac. The nation was specified, in which he should appear; and as they were thus excited to look for him, his relation to them was the ground on which that system of typical services was established, which was afterwards introduced by the ministry of Moses,
The next prediction to which I shall direct your attention, is contained in the following words: “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be."'S Although it is agreed among Christians, that the Messiah is the person to whom this prophecy refers, yet there is a difference of opinion with respect to the import of the name or title by which he is described. Some suppose that asoo, Schiloh, is derived from nso, which signifies to send, the final n, heth, being changed into n, he, and, consequently, that now, signifies He that is sent. In the Vulgate, it is translated Qui mittendus est, he who is to be sent. Our Saviour is elsewhere termed the angel or messenger of Jehovah, and often speaks of his mission in the New Testament: “Say ye of him whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God ?”'ll Others are of opinion, that it is a derivative of nbv, which signifies to be quiet or tranquil; and that mbog, Schiloh, is the peaceable one, or the giver of peace; a character which is, with the greatest propriety, given to our Saviour, on account not only of the gentle virtues by which he was distinguished, but of the peace which he has happily effected between God and man by his mediation. It may be added, that, as his religion inculcates brotherly love, so it actually creates it in the
Gal. iv 4.
+ Gen. xxii, 18.
# Gal, iii, 16,
$ Gen. xlix, 10.
| John X. 36.