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hath believed our report ?" We might, my brethren, press further upon you this awakening and soul-stirring inquiry; but we leave it for your deep consideration; it is one, that demands it; it is one, that should be ever uppermost in your minds. And may God of his infinite love, assist you in believing the report or message, which his Son brought into the world! And may he be with you always, in this world, and in the world to come-for ever. Grant this, O Lord, for Jesus Christ's sake, thy Son, our Saviour and Redeemer.
ZECH. ix. 12.
"Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope; even to-day do I declare, that I will render double unto thee."
THE prophecies of the Old Testament may be considered as the strongest bulwark of the truth of the Christian religion; not only, because they may in fact be considered as the evidence of an adversary, but because the greater part of them have received their actual fulfilment. They are an adversary's evidence, inasmuch as they were preserved and handed down to us by the Jews, who are opposed to Christianity: and many of them have been fulfilled, because the Saviour of the world has appeared
-died for the sins of mankind-and ascended to his Father in majesty and great glory.
There is something in the fulfilment of a prophecy, that appears to baffle all attempts to disprove it, as a revelation from God; and that simply, because only one gifted by the power of inspiration could have foretold, what would actually occur at some far distant period. Prophecy indeed is the grand link of that mighty chain, that holds together the mass of evidence of all, that we deliver unto you; and this link is so strong and adamantine, that were all the other links to give way, this would be sufficient to hold together the cause, for which the Divinity assumed the form of humanity. That the prophecies themselves are true, the Jews are our witnesses; and it is not likely, that they would have preserved records, which they knew to be false, and which, they also must have known, would establish Christianity. That many of the prophecies are actually fulfilled, the Evangelists satisfactorily testify. We almost question too, whether, had it not been for
prophecy, a conviction of the veracity of the Gospel would have burst upon the minds of men, by ordinary means. Miracles performed before the eyes of those, who were inclined to be incredulous, might have passed away; or they might have been attributed to various and complicated causes; but not so with respect to prophecy. Here is a man—take the prophet Isaiah for instance -foretelling events seven hundred years before they actually occurred. He recorded, that a great personage should be born of a virgin, who should die for the sins of the world-that he should appease the wrath of heaven, and restore man to the favour of the Deity. This, and very many such like circumstances were recorded by the prophet, who was immediately inspired by God, and have actually come to pass. There is no enthusiasm in the belief of this-it is a testimony, that no human power can gainsay, or enemy subvert. was prophesied, that Christ should come upon the earth: the circumstances attending his birth-the place, in which he should be born-the obscurity of his early years
the time, when he should enter upon his public ministry-the many miracles, that he should perform-his rejection by men -his crucifixion-his resurrection, and his ascension into heaven, were events, which, with many others, were both foretold and fulfilled. The Son of God has been crucified, has risen again, and ascended into glory. The events have corresponded with the predictions. All has been fulfilled, which was spoken concerning the advent of the Son of God, and the truth has been thoroughly established.
But let us hasten to an examination of
our text. The prophet Zechariah foretold the coming of a Saviour into the world. In the sixth chapter, we read, "Behold the man, whose name is the Branch! and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord. Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne; and the counsel of peace shall be between them both." This passage, like our text, evidently alludes to the Messiah,