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kind, public and private ; the most affectionate expostulations, the most inviting promises, and the warmest concern for the public good. And besides all this, they contain a series of predictions relating to our blessed Lord, in which all the remarkable circumstances of his birth, life, ministry, miracles, doctrines, sufferings, and death, are foretold in so minute and exact a manner (more particularly in the prophecy of Isaiah) that you would almost think they were describing all these things after they had happened, if you did not know that these prophecies were confessedly written many hundred years before Christ came into the world, and were all that time in the possession of the Jews, who were the mortal enemies of Christianity, and thereforewould never go about to forge prophecies, which most evidently prove him to be what he professed to be, and what they denied him to be, the Messiah and the Son of God. It is to this part of Scripture that our Lord particularly directs our attention, when he says, “ Search “Search the Scriptures; for they are they that testify of me *.” The testimony he alludes to is that of the prophets; than which no evidence can be more satisfactory and convincing to any one that reads them with care and impartiality, and compares their predictions concerning our Saviour with the history of his life, given us by those who constantly lived and conversed with him. This history we have in the New Testament, in that part of it which goes by the name of

The Gos PELs. It is these that recount those wonderful and important events, with which the Christian religion and the divine Author of it were introduced into the world, and which have produced so great a change in the principles, the manners, the morals, and the temporal as well as the spiritual condition of mankind. They relate the first appearance of Christ upon earth ; his extraordinary and miraculous birth; the testimony borne to him by his forerunner - John * John v. 39. John the Baptist; his temptation in the wilderness; the opening of his divine commission ; the pure, the perfect, the sublime morality which he taught, especially in his inimitable Sermon from the Mount; the infinite superiority which he showed to every other moral teacher, both in the matter and manner of his discourses: more particularly by crushing vice in its very cradle, in the first risings of wicked desires and propensities in the heart; by giving a decided preference of the mild, gentle, passive, conciliating virtues, to that violent, vindictive, high-spirited, unforgiving temper, which has been always too much the favourite character of the world; by requiring us to forgive our very enemies, and to do good to them that hate us; by excluding from our devotions, our alms, and all our other virtues, all regard to fame, reputation, and applause ; by laying down two great general principles of morality, love to God snd love to mankind, and deducing from thence every other human duty ; by conveying his instructions under the easy, familiar, and impressive form of parables, by expressing himself in a tone of dignity and authority unknown before; by exemplifying every virtue that he taught in his own unblemished and perfect life and conversation; and, above all, by adding those awful sanctions, which he alone, of all moral instructors, had the power to hold out, eternal rewards to the virtuous, and eternal punishments to the wicked. The sacred narrative then represents to us the high character he assumed; the claim he made to a divine original; the wonderful miracles he wrought in proof of his divinity; the various prophecies which plainly marked him out as the Messiah, the great deliverer of the Jews; the declarations he made, that he came to offer himself a sacrifice for the sins of all mankind; the cruel indignities, sufferings, and persecutions, to which, in consequence of this great design, he was exposed; the accomplishment of it by the painful and ignominious death to which he submitted ; by his resurrection after three days from the grave; by his ascension into Heaven; by his sitting there at the right hand of God, and performing the office of a Mediator and an Intercessor for the sinful sons of men, till he comes a second time in his glory to sit in judgment on all mankind, and decide their final doom of happiness or misery for ever. These are the momentous, the interesting truths, on which the Gos PELs principally dwell. The Acts of THE Apost LEs continue the history of our religion after our Lord's ascension; the astonishing and rapid propagation of it by a few illiterate tentmakers and fishermen, through almost every part of the world, “ by demonstration of the Spirit and of power;” without the aid of eloquence or of force, and in opposition to all the authority, all the power, and all the influence of the opulent and the great. THE EPISTLEs, that is, the letters addressed by the Apostles and their associates • to

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