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Thus much may be said with regard to the remote preparation of the world for the reception of Christianity.
What immediately preceded its institution, as it was born in Judaism, concerns the Jewish race alone, and is comprised in the teaching and miracles of Christ, His death and resurrection, and the mission of the Holy Spirit.
Whether due ultimately to the Old Testament predictions or to the fragments of the original revelation handed down amongst the Gentile, a certain vague expectation of the coming of a great conqueror seems to have existed in the East and to a certain extent in the Roman worlds, in the midst of which the new religion had its birth.
On the marvel of the Resurrection is based in the counsels of God the faith of Christianity.Besides maintaining those pure conceptions of Deity, the prophets from time to time, and with ever increasing distinctness until we come to the direct and personal testimony of the Baptist, foreshadowed a fuller and more universal revelation — a time when, and a Man through Whom, God should bless all the nations of the earth.We need not here trace the Messianic predictions in detail; their clearness and cogency are such that St.In that nation alone, the great truths of the existence and unity of God, His providential ruling of His creatures and their responsibility towards Him, were preserved unimpaired amidst general corruption.The ancient world was given to Pantheism and creature-worship ; Israel only, not because of its "monotheistic instinct " (Renan), but because of the periodic interposition of God through His prophets, resisted in the main the general tendency to idolatry.
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All peoples alike retained some more or less vague recollection of a Paradise lost, a remote Golden Age, but only the spirit of Israel kept alive the definite hope of a world-wide empire of justice, wherein the Fall of Man should be repaired.