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to have been spent in casting out and dispossessing devils from the minds and bodies of men ;* and in rebuking and threatening them, he proved that he came to destroy the power and works of darkness. His was an avowed and constant war, and the devils knew him as their greatest foe, and the destroyer of their power.t Although the heel, i.e. the human nature of Jesus, was bruised in the contest, yet, by his death, (in which Satan for the moment appeared triumphant,) he gave a mortal blow to his power and authority, by delivering the captives of the mighty, and the prey of the terrible one.f The cross, designed to display their scorn and abhorrence, is become the praise and glory of all the children of God, to whom, as unto their Lord and Master, the old serpent and his seed continue to manifest the same spirit of enmity and persecution. Did devils confess Jesus to be the Son of the most high God, and shall not we acknowledge him to be the seed promised at the
* Matthew iv. 24., viii. 16. 18—23., ix. 32–34., X. 1., xii. 24–28., xv. 22-28., xvi. 23., xvii. 14–19. Mark i. 23—27. 33, 34. 39., iii. 22–27., v. 2—19., vii. 25—30., viii. 33. Luke iv. 36-41., vi. 18., vii. 21., viii. 27-36., ix. 1.38—42. 49. John xii. 31., Acts x. 38., 1 John, iii. 8. + Mark iii. 11, 12., v. 6,7. Luke iv. 33, 34. 41., viii. 28.
Luke xxii. 53. John xiv. 30. § 1 Peter v. 8.
fall of man, and that he is, at the same time, Mary's son, and the Son of God ?* The prince of the fallen spirits, the old serpent, or Satan, discovered his enmity to the human race in the garden of Eden; the woman was the first whom he deceived by his arts ; but it was Jesus, her seed, who, in the after ages of the world, in the garden of Gethsemane, bruised the serpent's head, and at his resurrection, led captivity captive, and will eventually consign to utter darkness and perdition, this foe to God and man.t
And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.-Gen. xxii. 18.
We now meet with a prophecy of the family from which Christ, after the flesh, should spring. The lineal descent from Abraham to Joseph, the husband of Mary, is given us by Matthew, I through forty-two generations; and Luke e gives the genealogy of Jesus back to Adam, through Abraham, in the whole seventy-four gene
* Gal. iv. 4. Col. i. 15., ii. 9.
+ Matthew xxv. 41. Rom. xvi. 20. Col. ii. 15. Heb. ii. 14. 2 Peter ii. 4. Jude vi. 9. Rev. xii. 7-17., XX. 1,2,3.10.
$ Mat. i. 1-17. Luke iii. 23–38.
rations, showing at once that the seed promised to Adam and Abraham, is the same, even Jesus in whom all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.* The reader will discover a difference between the names in the Old and New Testaments, which arises from the former being translated from the Hebrew, and the latter from the Greek language. It will also be observed, that the genealogies given by Matthew and Luke differ, but Matthew gives the pedigree of Joseph, and Luke that of Mary. Although the supposed father of Jesus is said by Luke to be the son of Heli, yet Matthew informs us Jacob begat Joseph,t who is called the son of Heli, only on account of the contract for marriage subsisting between Joseph and his daughter. This was a custom prevalent with the Jews, and these agreements were often made by the parents, before the parties most interested had ever seen each other, as was the case with Isaac and Rebecca. Although Abraham's posterity have been, as the sand on the sea shore, innumerable, and as a nation have enjoyed exceeding great and precious privileges, yet all the nations of the earth can never
Genesis xii. 3., xviii. 18. Psalm lxxii. 17. + Matthew i. 16. Luke iii. 23.
be said to be blessed in them, unless we take the prophecy in its true light, as pointing to Jesus “ the promised blessing,” whose day of “ tabernacling" on earth, Abraham by faith -saw afar off, “ rejoiced, and was glad.”
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.—Gen. xlix. 10.
The Holy Ghost, by the mouth of the dying patriarch, Jacob, has pointed to the epoch when he, of whom Moses and the prophets did write, should appear. It is worthy our particular attention, that, at the period of time when Jesus came, Judea was still governed by a Jewish king. It is true the power of the royal Asmonean or Maccabean race was destroyed, and Herod the Great had ascended the throne of Israel, yet the sceptre was not departed from Judah. Herod was an Idumean, which nation had, for nearly two centuries, been proselytes to Judaism, and so incorporated and mingled with the Jews, as to be regarded as one people. Judea bowed to the Roman power, yet Herod exercised the regal
authority, and was universally acknowledged as the sovereign of Jewry, when Jesus, the prince of peace, the king of Israel, appeared a babe at Bethlehem but no sooner was the Shiloh come, than the sceptre departed from Judah. On the death of Herod, which happened soon after the birth of Christ, Augustus Cæsar divided the kingdom of Judea between Archelaus, Herod, and Philip, the three sons of Herod. Archelaus succeeded to the half of his father's dominions by the title of tetrarch, but not of king; his tyranny and oppression were so great, that, in less than ten years, he was deposed and banished to France by the emperor,
who then reduced Judea to a Roman province, and ruled it afterwards by procurators or governors, who were sent thither and recalled at pleasure; the taxes were now paid more directly to the Roman empire, and gathered by the publicans ; the power
of life and death was taken out of the hands of the Jews, and placed in those of the Roman governors. The Lord, when he is pleased, can make the wrath of man to praise him, and his enemies to minister to his glory. This sentiment we have most strikingly illustrated in the conduct of Caiaphas, who, in the moment he was plotting the destruction of Jesus, and thirsting for his blood, delivered a very remarkable