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pkecy of a prince and a Saviour, in the Old Testament, wers different from what they are, and delivered in the precise and intelligible terms of an actual history, then every accomplishment which could be brought about by the agency of those who understood the prophecy, and were anxious for its verification, is lost to the argument. It would be instantly said, that the agents in the transaction took their clue from the prophecy before them. It is the way, in fact, in which infidels have attempted to evade the argument as it actually stands. In the New Testament, an event is sometimes said to happen, that it might be fulfilled what was spoken by some of the old prophets. If every event which enters into the gospel had been under the controul of agents merely human, and friends to Christianity, then we might have had reason to pronounce the whole history to be one continued process of artsul and designed accommodation to the Old Testament prophecies. But the truth is, that many of the events pointed at in the Old Testament, so far from being brought about by the agency of Christians, were brought about in opposition to their most anxious wishes. Some of them were brought about by the agency of their most decided enemies; and some of them, such as the dissolution of the Jewish state, and the dispersion of its people amongst all countries, were quite beyond the controul of the apostles and their followers, and were effected by the intervention of a neutral party, which at the time took no interest in the question, and which was a stranger to the prophecy, though the unconscious instrument of its fulfilment.
131. Lord Boling broke has carried the objection so far, that he asserts Jesus Christ to have brought on his own death, by a series of wilful and preconcerted measures, merely to give the disciples who came after him the triumph of an appeal to the old prophecies. This is ridiculous enough; but it serves to shew with what facility an infidel might have evaded the whole argument, had these prophecies been free of all that obscurity which is now so loudly complained of.
132. The best form for the purposes of argument in which a prophecy can be delivered, is to be so obscure, as to leave the event, or rather its main circumstances, unintelligible before the fulfilment, and so clear as to be intelligible after it. It is easy to conceive that this may be an attainable object; and it is saying much for the argument as it stands, that this happiest illustra
tion of the clearness on the one hand, and this obscurity on the other, are to be gathered from the actual prophecies of the Old Testament.
133. It is not, however, by this part of the argument, that we expect to reclaim the enemy of our religion from his infidelity ;, not that the examination would not satisfy him, but that the examination will not be given. What a violence would it be offering to all his antipathies, were we to land him, at the outset of our discussions, among the chapters of Daniel or Isaiah! He has too inveterate a contempt for the Bible. He nauseates the whole subject too strongly to be prevailed upon to accompany us to such an exercise. On such a subject as this, there is no contrast, no approximation betwixt us; and we leave him with an assertion (an assertion which he has no title to pronounce upon, till after he has finished the very examination which we are most anxious to engage him in,) that in the numerous prophecies of the Old Testament, there is such a multitude of allus sions to the events of the New, as will give a strong impression to the mind of every enquirer, that the whole forms one magnificent series of communications betwixt the visible and the invisible world; a great plan, over which the unseen God presides in wisdom, and which, beginning with the first ages of the world, is still receiving new developements from every great step in the history of the species.
134. It is impossible to give a complete exposition of this argument without an actual reference to the prophecies themselves; and this would lead us far beyond the limits of our article. But it can be conceived, that a prophecy, when first announced, may be so obscure, as to be unintelligible in many of its circumstances; and yet may so far explain itself by its accomplishment, as to carry along with it the most decisive evi. dence of its being a prophecy. And the argument may be so far strengthened by the number, and distance, and independence, of the different prophecies, all bearing an application to the same individual and the same history, as to leave no doubt on the mind of the observer, that the events in question were in the actual contemplation of those who uttered the prediction. If the terms of the prophecy were not comprehended, it at least takes off the suspicion of the event being brought about by the controul or agency of men who were interested in the accomplishment. If the prophecies of the Old Testament are just in.
vested in such a degree of obscurity, as is enough to disguise many of the leading circumstances from those who lived before the fulfilment,—while they derive from the event an explanation satisfying to all who live after it, then, we say, the argument for the divinity of the whole is stronger, than if no such obscurity had existed. In the history of the New Testament, we see a natural and consistent account of the delusion respecting the Messiah, in which this obscurity had left the Jewish people-of the strong prejudices, even of the first disciples--of the manner in which these prejudices were dissipated, only by the accomplishment-and of their final conviction in the import of these prophecies being at last so strong, that it often forms their main argument for the divinity of that new religion which they were commissioned to publish to the world. Now, assuming what we still persist in asserting, and ask to be tried upon, that an actual comparison of the prophecies in the Old Testament, with their alleged fulfilment in the New, will leave a conviction behind it, that there is a real correspondence betwixt them ; we see in the great events of the new dispensation brought about by the blind instrumentality of prejudice and opposition, far more unambiguous characters of the finger of God, than if every thing had happened with the full concurrence and anticipation of the different actors in this history.
(To be continued.)
MEMOIR OF THE REV. JOHN ELLIOT.
(Continued from page 334.) A few years before his dissolution, being left without an assistant in his ministry, he pressed his congregation to furnish themselves with a another pastor : and in his application to them, he said, “It is possible you may think the burden of maintaining two ministers may be too heavy for you ; but I will deliver you from that fear; I do here give back my salary to the Lord Jesus Christ; and now, brethren, you may fix upon any man that God shall make a pastor for you." But his church, in a handsome
reply, assured him, that they would count his very presence worth a salary, when he should be so superannuated as to do them no further service.
His liberality to pious uses, both public and private, much exceeded the proportions of his comparatively little estate. He freely bestowed
the poor many hundreds of pounds; and often did he press his neighbours, with forcible importunity, to join him in acts of beneficence. Never did a man of the world, whose heart was set upon wealth, embrace with more alacrity every opportunity of increasing his riches, than Mr. Elliot embraced every occasion that offered of relieving the miserable. He taught the good people of Roxbury, by precept, as well as example, to be charitable; and often did he, in their religious assemblies, use the most powerful arguments, to obtain collections for the relief of such necessitous persons, as had fallen under his observation. He felt all the meaning of that saying of the Lord Jesus, It is more blessed to give than to receive. The poor counted him their father; and in their necessities, repaired to him with filial confidence. He did not put off his charity to be put in his last will, but was his own executor. It has been remarked, that liberal men are often long-lived ; and surely the great age of Mr. Elliot was agreeable to that remark. When his age had rendered him unfit for most of the employments which he had long attended to with vigour and delight, he was wont to say, on being asked, how he did ? " Alas! I have lost every thing; my understanding leaves me, my memory fails me, my utterance fails me; but I thank God my charity holds out still, I find that rather grows than fails."
When any of his neighbours were in distress, he was like a brother born for adversity, and would visit and comfort them with a most fraternal sympathy: and many whole days of prayer and fasting did he prevail upon his pious neighbours to hold with him, in behalf of those whose calamitics he deplored. It afforded him inexpressible pleasure that his wife had attained considerable skill in physic and surgery, by which she was enabled to dispense many safe and good medicines to the poor. In this work of charity, the worthy wife of Mr. Elliot did not labour in vain; for hundreds of sick, weak, and maimed persons had abundan: cause to praise God for the benefit they received under her care. The good old gentleman, her husband, greatly encouraged her in that work of charity, and urged her to be serviceable to his greatest enemies. Never perhaps, had any man fewer than he! A man, from whom he had received the most abusive and irritating language, on account of something which he delivered from the pulpit, having received a dangerous wound shortly after, Mr. Elliot immediately sent his wife to cure him. Some time after his recovery, he went to Mr. Elliot's house, in order to express his gratitude to Mrs. Elliot for the successful method with which she had treated his complaint: and upon this occasion, the apostolic Elliot, who had well learned to overcome evil with good, instead of taking the least notice of the calumnies with which he had been loaded by that man, treated him with such kindness and hospitality, as greatly softened his resentment.
Mr. Elliot was a great enemy to all contention, and used every method which wisdom, grace, and prudence suggested, to extinguish the fires of animosity. When he heard any ministers complain, that certain individuals in their flocks were ungovernable, the strain of his answer was, “ Brother, compass them! Brother, learn the meaning of these three little words, bear, forbear, forgive.” When there was laid before an assembly of ministers, a bundle of papers which contained matters of difference and contention between some people whom Mr. Elliot wished to unite, by a mutual forgiveness of each other; he hastily threw the papers into the fire before them all, and with a burning zeal for peace, said, “ Brethren, wonder not at what I have done ; I did it on my knees this morning before I came among you." Such an excess, (if it was one,) flowed from the charitable inclinations of a man who stood in the first rank of peace-makers, of whom the Prince of Peace hath said, They shall be called the children of God. In short, wherever he came, he was like another old John, with solemn and earnest persuasives to love; and when he could say little else, he would give that charge, My little children, lote one another,
It will not surprise the pious reader to be informed, that a man of Mr. Elliot's eminent and exemplary holiness, walked continually in the light of God's countenance. By an abiding sense of his acceptance, he was completely delivered from the fear of death. When labouring once under a fever and ague, a visitant asked him, how he did ? he replied, “Very well, but anon, I expect a paroxism." Said the visitant, “Sir, fear not;" to which he answered, “ Fear! no, no, I am not afraid, I thank God, I am not afraid to die!"