of far later date than the reign of Augustus orTiberius, and composed when the worship of thecross and the other superstitions of the middleages, had already made considerable progress. Butthat books were in existence, under the name of the Sibylline Oracles and the Prophecies of Hy-daspes, which spoke many strange and many truethings of Christ and of His kingdom, is proved, bythe testimony of the most ancient apologists forChristianity, as allowed by the heathen themselvesto be ancient and inspired documents, and yet infavour of the Christians. It is in part confirmedby Cicero, who, when, for a political purpose, de-preciating the authority of the Sibylline books, ob-serves as a reason why they were not to be fol-lowed, that they contained doctrines contrary tothe estabhshed systems of idolatry and polytheism \ And it is still more confirmed by that well knownand remarkable Eclogue of Virgil, which sostrangely corresponds with the leading chapters of Isaiah, and which, whatever its immediate occasionmay have been, and however the flattery of thepoet may have led him to apply to one of the Cs-' Cic. de Div. lib. ii, s. 54.PREACHING OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST. 37sarean family expressions of a nobler import, hasavowedly borrowed its ornaments and metaphorsfrom traditions or prophecies then actually currentamong his countrjinen ^The subject is one not easily exhausted, and itis one to which I may hereafter recur. It is im-portant in many respects, not only as, so far as itextends, a confirmation of Christianity, but as pre-sumptive evidence, (when coupled with the pro-phecy of Balaam, the Epiphany of the PersianMagi, and the many circumstances in the Brahmi-nical creed, which strangely border on our own,)that the coming of Christ was more widely madeknown, and the manifestation of the Spirit lesslimited in ancient times than Jews and Christiansare apt to believe, and that the mercies of Godthrough His Son, as they were intended for all, sothey were made effectual to many, for whom, in themidst of their heathen darkness, our human wis-dom would be at a loss to provide security.But my present reason for mentioning the fact,is to point out the advantages with which the sonof Zacharias began his mission, and the facihtieswhich he possessed (had he thought fit to employthose facihties) for assuming any title or characterwhich the wildest ambition might have dictated.