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We have innumerable instances of this sort SERMON

V. in the Jewish prophets ; but few, more remarkable than that of Isaiah's prophecy, ad. dressed to Ahaz, king of Judah, concerning his deliverance from the two kings of Samaria and Damascus. In the primary, but lower sense of this prophecy, the sign given was to assure Abaz, that the land of Judaa should speedily be delivered from its two Royal invaders. But it had likewise another, and more important purpose. The introduction of the prophecy, the singular stress laid upon it, and the exact sense of the terms in which it is expressed, make it probable, in a high degree, that it had some such purpose: and the event hath clearly proved, that the sign given had a respect to the miraculous birth of Christ, and to a deliverance much more momentous than that of Ahaz from his present distressful situation-Hear ye now, O House of David-The Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah, vii. 13, 14. Admit that these words are capable of being explained, in some sort, of the child now given to be a sign, to the King of Judæa, of his deliverance within two or three years, as expressed in the following verses ; still, who sees not that terms so emphatical

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Sermon and energetic are more properly understood of

another child, to whose birth and character they are found, in the event, to be exactly suited ? And, if more properly, who can doubt that these terms are naturally, that is, reasonably understood of that other child, when we consider with what ideas the mind of the prophet was stored, and what the ultimate end and object was, by supposition, of the prophet's inspiration? The child promised was a sign to Ahaz of his deliverance; yet a sign too, that is, a type, to the house of David, of another deliverance, which they expected, which their prophets had frequently foretold, and which we have here announced in the name of this miraculous child, IMMANUEL, or eminently, The Deliverer.


There is nothing in this signd, thus interpreted, but what is easy and unforced; I mean,

d The Lord himself shall give you a sign, Isai. vii. 14.This sign (and the extraordinary introduction of it, in the words quoted, indicates no less) had plainly a recondite and even complicated meaning!

1. As addressed to Ahaz, it was simply an ASSURÀNCE, that his deliverance from his two great enemies was now at hand. 2. As addressed to the house of David

Hear ye nort', O house of David -- it was a TYPE of Christ.


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if we bear in mind the genius and character of SERMON the Jewish prophecies. The former event, signified in the prophecy, was merely civil: the latter, concerned the spiritual kingdom of Christ. They were both predicted together : and the preceding event, when it came to pass, was, further, to induce an expectation, that the other event would, in due time, follow. For

2. Secondly, it appears, that, to excite attention to these SPIRITUAL predictions, more obscure than the other, and regarding events more remote, care was taken to secure the authority of the prophet, by the completion of his civil predictions in events, distinctly described, and near at hand. Thus, Moses might

3. It was, farther, a Tokex, or pledge, that the remote deliverance of the house of David by Immanuel, should hereafter take place, just as the approaching deliverance of Ahaz, by the prophet's Son, would be seen to do.

4. This sign, when fulfilled in the near event, would, thenceforward, become a PROOT, or evidence, that it would be fulfilled in the remote one.

5. Lastly, in the Antitype, the sign was a MIRACLE, properly so called.

So eminently was this Child, a sign! A sign, in all the senses of the word, as employed by the Jewish prophets ; and to all the purposes, for which signs were given.


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SERMON be believed by the Jews in what he said, of a prophet to be raised up, in a future age, like

, to himself; when they saw his prophetic blessings and curses upon them, according to their deserts in the land of Canaan, so speedily and so punctually executed. Thus, too, their

prophet, Isaiah, might reasonably expect to find credit with them, for the glorious things predicted by him of the great deliverer, the Messiah; when their deliverance from the Babylonish captivity was seen so certainly to verify his prediction of that event. The prophet himself exults in this argument, as decisive and unanswerable. Behold, says he, in the text, the former things are come to pass, i. e. the prophecies, I have delivered to you concerning your redemption from the Assyrian bondage, will soon be só exactly completed, that I régard them as things past; and therefore new things clo I declare; hence I claim your belief of other prophecies, concerning a much greater redemption, to take place hereafter, though there be no appearance, as yet, of any causés tending to produce it, for before they spring forth, I tell you of them. And this appears to be the general method of all God's prophets.




3. With these new things, these Spiritual "Sermon prophecies concerning the first coming of the Messiah, were likewise intermixed other prophecies, which ran out beyond that term, and prefigured the great events of his SECOND coming: and the warrant for admitting these, would be the 'completion of those other prophecies, in the person and sufferings of Christ. That there are such prophecies in the Old Testament, will be shewn hereafter. In the mean time, it will not be thought incredible, that, if Jesus be indeed the end of the prophetic scheme, the revolutions of his government should be foretold, as well as the circumstances of his personal appearance; in other words, that the consummation of that design, which Providence was carrying on, would not be overlooked, when the steps and gradations of it were so distinctly noted. For, in any reasonable design whatsoever, the end is first and principally in view, though the means engage, and may seem to engross, the attention of its author. It will then, I say, be no surprise to

I us to find, that prophecy set out with announc

1 Επειδή τοίνυν τα γενόμενα ήδη πάντα αποδείκνυμεν, πριν και γενέσθαι, προκεκηρύχθαι δια των προφητών, ανάγκη και σερί των ομοίως στροφηθευθένων, μελλόντων δε γίνεσθαι, πίσιν έχειν ως πάντως γενησομένων.

JUSTIN MARTYR, Apol. i. c. 87.

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