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phatically called the Prophets. THE THIRD PART will contain what appears on the same subject in the Scriptures of the New Testament.
I could wish to avoid prolixity in these inquiries; but my readers will soon perceive, that a very considerable portion of the prophetical writings must necessarily fall under our inspection: for the second advent will be found to be a subject concerning which "God hath spoken by the mouths of all his holy prophets since the world began." If, however, I may hope that my readers will be satisfied with their guide, I can make no doubt that, in the view of those who "love the appearing" of "the righteous Judge" and Saviour, the great importance of the subject, I may say, in the present situation of the church and of the world, the every day increasing importance of the subject-will amply compensate for the large demand here made upon their time and attention. As I ventured to express myself in a former publication, "I am more and more convinced that the general testimony of the prophetic Scriptures is intended to speak to our times, and the times shortly to arise: and that this is the meaning of that wonderful Providence, which has stimulated so many hearts to circulate, at this particular era, the sacred volume among them that dwell
on the earth, and to send it to
kindred, and tongue, and people.""*
every nation, and
The analytical method which I have adopted precludes the necessity, and, indeed, the propriety, of any preliminary observations, since we are to form our system of interpretation, and discover its rules, from the prophecies themselves, as they are delivered in order of time, considering each in relation to that which has gone before; and in this way only endeavouring to determine their classes and their meaning.
This, however, I would observe; that the doctrines of the second coming of Christ, and of his personal reign upon earth, in a strict and literal sense, the confirmation of which will appear to be the result of this present inquiry, will be found, as to their general outline, to be very similar to the doctrines held on these subjects by the earliest fathers of the Christian church; and also by our own reformers of the age of Edward the Sixth. Let this apologize for their seeming novelty in relation to the interpretations of later commentators, and for the departure from opinions now, perhaps, very generally received. And, may the Lord direct our
* Exposition of the Psalms, p. 34.
hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting
for Jesus Christ!"-" May HE establish our hearts unblamable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of Jesus Christ, with all his saints!"
SECOND ADVENT, &c.
PART THE FIRST.
The Prophecies concerning the Second Advent, in the earlier
CHAPTER THE FIRST.
THE PROPHECIES DELIVERED IN THE PATRIARCHAL AGE.
The Prediction recorded of the Woman's Seed,
"He shall bruise thy head,"
THE first promise of mercy to fallen man, in the third chapter of Genesis, must be considered as containing an intimation of the second advent; of the second advent, as now appears, because the events of the first did not fulfil all the prediction.
The history of the incarnation has taught us who is the woman's seed; the death and passion of our afflicted Lord has fully explained the prophecy of "the bruising of his heel;" but that part which relates to the bruising of the serpent's head, has not yet been accomplished.
For whatever victories have been obtained over the adversary,—and they are certainly great and many,-the fatal blow aimed at his head cannot, as yet, be said to have been inflicted. In this world, at least, the power of Satan is confessedly great. Accordingly St. Paul, after the era of the first advent, repeats the promise," The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly."*
So speaketh that eternal Spirit, with whom "a thousand years are as one day, and one day as a thousand years" for still, to this present hour, the church suffers "from the crafts and assaults of the devil," and can alone look for final deliverance to the day of Christ's second coming. This will illustrate a principle of interpretation to which we must frequently have recourse. Some prophecies there are which speak of the advent of the Deliverer generally, and do not distinguish that, with respect to his waiting people upon earth, his advent would be twofold. They contain not the express intimation that he would come; and, after a short residence on earth, would depart into the unseen world, with a promise of returning again. Those prophecies assign not distinctly to their respective eras the events of the first and of the second advent; but speak of them promiscuously, dwelling sometimes on what belongs to the one period, and sometimes on what belongs to the other, as though they were parts of one and the same great deliverance; as, in fact, they are. But it will be our business to distinguish between these two eras; and to select, for our more immediate consideration, as our subject requires, the events belonging to the latter. Here our task will be easy; as far, at least, as we can clearly
* Rom. xvi. 20.