Page images
PDF
EPUB

was never yet fulfilled. The Scripture tells us no such thing, history tells us no such thing, experience shows us no such matter, as that peoples and strong nations did ever join with the Jews in prayer to God, &c. and that at Jerusalem. As for those Parthians, Medes, Elamites, &c. mentioned Acts ii, 911, they were not nations ; neither were they Gentiles, but Jews, born in those forenamed countries ; as Luke tells us, (v. 5,) and Peter afterwards calls them, “Ye men of Israel." (v. 22.) And that none put this off with the imagination that they were proselytes, or Gentiles converted to Judaism, let them heed, that proselytes are named distinctly from Jews, and Jews from them:

the strangers of Rome,' were Jews and proselytes. (v. 10.) The truth is, that Cornelius was the first Gentile that was converted to the christian faith ; as plainly evinced by Acts x. And by the time that a few more Gentiles began to hearken to the Gospel, the Jews in general began to reject it, and so to give it a pass to go freely to the Gentiles.n

Chapter x, 3-12.

Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, &c. and I punished the goats: for the Lord of hosts hath visited his “ flock, the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly " horse in the battle.” The word for shows, that the period of this wrath against the shepherds was at the late return of Judah from captivity. The Chaldee and Septuagint have it," he shall visit them," " he shall make them as is goodly horse," making thereby the visitation in mercy then begun extend to a vast longitude of future times, being but the type, or first fruits, of their future, final, full deliverance. The fourth verse is indefinite in the Hebrew, being without tense or verb; “ Out of him the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor, for exactor of taxes, w213.)” That is, the house of Judah being built on Christ the corner stone, and thus incorporated into the Church, they shall fasten the nail of union with Israel, and together with them, and the rest of the Church, they shall be the battle bow to wound and the goodly war-horse to trample down their enemies ;

n Acts xiii.

so that from the Church shall proceed the exactor of tribute, (instead of paying tribute,) to signify the dominion of the Church over the world. The rest of the chapter is so plain for our point, touching the visible glorious state of the Church yet to come, that a bare repetition of the words will suffice. And they “shall be as mighty men, which tread down their enemies in the " mire of the streets, in the battle ; and they shall fight, because

the Lord is with them, and the riders on horses ( their enemies') shall be confounded. And I will strengthen the house “ of Judah, and will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them ; for I have mercy upon them, and they " shall be as though I had not cast them off, &c.* And they of

Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, &c. Yea their children shall see and be glad, &c. I will hiss for them and gather them, for I have redeemed them, and they shall increase, as

they have increased. And I will sow them among the people, "and they shall remember me in far countries, and they shall live “ with their children, and return again. I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria,

and I will bring them into the land of Gilead, and Lebanon.

And he shall pass through the sea (not " with affliction" but as “ Jerome, Arias, and the Septuagint render it) by a strait

of the sea; and shall smite the waves of the sea, and all the

deeps of the river shall dry up; and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre shall depart away, &c.”+

Now in the first place consider who they are, that are here mentioned, and that must share in the fulfilling of this prophecy; viz. the kingdoms of Judah and Israel, all twelve tribes, clearly expressed by Joseph and Ephraim, by which names they are frequently referred to; and they are to be united, as two walls joined in a quoin or corner-juncture, or as two pieces of timber nailed or pinned together. Next observe what they must enjoy or attain to; viz. the conquest of their enemies in battle, their domination over them in a way of government, and the possession of their own land. Notice further, that the main things insisted upon are corporal, dressed forth in such language, and circumstanced with such particulars, as suit not well to spirituals : e.g. "Battlebow; treading down in the mire; the riders on horses shall be confounded, &c.” And when there is a touch here and there of spirituals, it is always distinct from the corporals, with an inference from the cause to the effect; as if rather intended to ascertain the other to be corporals, than to draw them unto and drown them in a spiritual notion : e.g. " They shall tread down

* Compare Hosea i, 10, 11.

+ On all which, see the prophecy of Nahum.

their enemies in the mire of the street, and fight, because the Lord is with them."-" I will bring them again to place them; " for I have mercy on them; and they shall be as though I had “ not cast them off; for I am the Lord their God, and will hear "them, c.Moreover, this latter place parallels their future state in outward things to the pattern of their former prosperity in the time of David, Solomon, &c.-" They shall be as though I had not cast them off;" and, “they shall increase, as they have increased.” And finally there are some passages which the Holy Ghost elsewhere applies to a sensible, visible, material performance; as the return of the Jews from Egypt and Assyria, over the sea and the deep of the river, which is applied by St. John, (Rev. xvi, 12,) in the pouring out of the sixth vial, to the kings of the east,—that is, the Jews returning from Assyria over the river Euphrates ;* which river Zechariah must needs mean, when he speaks of their return from Assyria, by the metropolis whereof Euphrates flows. The Jews go further, and speak of a miraculous drying up of waters that shall lie as a hindrance in their way, as formerly at the Red Sea and Jordan ; which opinion, though I assert it not, is not so gross as some conceive.

Now let the wise-hearted lay all together and find out if they can, when, and where, and how this entire prophecy, as it is here woven together, was ever yet fulfilled ; and let them show how, if they can, the last resurrection and ultimate judgement may be a meet time to fulfil it? If they will hazard the dispute upon the transforming all into an allegory, and make their reliance upon a spiritual sense, there they are gone, and we are confirmed. In that way several of the learned have stumbled and fallen ; that is, have contradicted and perplexed themselves; and could not fairly rise and come off, but by taking hold (more or less, either expressly or implicitly) of our opinion.

* So Grotius in loco applies it, “ Flumen cum simpliciter appellatur, intelligendus Euphrates. Ex hoc loco desumitur et ille qui est Apoc. xvi, 12. viz. szexeɛ rnv plażnv, &c."—When the river only is named, the Euphrates is to be understood. From this place also is taken that in Rev. xvi, 12.

Ecolampadius is very much for a spiritual sense, understanding by the war-horse, the corner, the nail, the battle-bow, and the strong men, &c. the apostles, evangelists, and pastors of the New Testament. And at every verse almost he hath, “ Nos illa spiritualiter intelligimus,”—We understand these things spiritually. But if he did so understand them, why does he upon the sixth verse tell us “ That the naming there of the house of Judah,

, and the house of Joseph, is a plain demonstration, that the speech of this prophecy is directed to all the “ Israelites ?" And why on the seventh verse, “ That the tribe of Ephraim, whose

captivity was greater, shall be more greatly strengthened; and "made like to a giant, refreshed with wine, as the country of

Ephraim abounded therewith ?" And again, why does he interpret the eleventh verse in a literal sense, (" he shall pass through a strait of the sea,") and tell us this strait is Propontis ? Many other like inconsistencies may be pointed out.

As for Calvin, though upon the fifth verse he gives for the most part a mere spiritual sense, yet, before and after, he launches forth into a further sense; yea, and into times, beyond any

that have yet come to pass.

For upon the fourth verse he hath these words; From

among

the Jews shall be the corner ; that " is, those in that people that shall bear the public government. " And the battle-bow, that is, they shall be sufficient to conquer " their enemies, And the exactor ; that is, they shall enjoy “ the empire, or rule over their neighbours, and require tribute

of them, instead of paying it to them. If any ask, When this shall be fulfilled ?-I answer, There were some preludes of

this, when God exalted the Maccabees : but it is certain, that “the prophet comprises the whole course of redemption." And in that clause, “ I will bring them again and place them,” (which Calvin reads “ I will bring them back, and cause them to dwell,”) he says “ That God will not only brink back again the ten tribes, but will give them a fixed seat in their own country :” which words are full to our sense.

Chapter xii.

This chapter is so full for a future glorious and visible state of the Church on earth, that I shall but little more then name the particulars.

First, it seems very clear, that this prophecy is intended as well for Israel as for Judah. And therefore, as with Judah is often mentioned Jerusalem ; (vv. 2, 5, &c.) so with Israel, expressed in the first verse, are mentioned the families of Levi, and of Simeon, &c. which were of the ten tribes. (vv. 13, 14.) Now till any one show us, that these prophecies have been fulfilled, both to Judah and Israel since their captivity, we must conclude that they are yet unfulfilled : and the rather, because although at this time the people of Judah had been returned from Babylon near twenty years, yet in the sixth verse the Prophet points at another returning, to a re-inhabiting of Jerusalem,

in her own place, even in Jerusalem ;” and this to be done at a notable day.

And when did God ever yet make Jerusalem a cup of trembling to all that besieged her ?" (v. 2.) When Alexander with his army, about one hundred and eighty years after Zechariah, came to Jerusalem, though he came as a conqueror, yet he entered and was received in all peaceable manner, with reciprocal respect between him and the high-priest. When after him, about one hundred and forty three years, Antiochus Epiphanes came against Jerusalem with his army, he prevailed against it, and miserably spoiled both it and the temple, and slaughtered the people.a When, about seven years after him Antiochus Eupator came up against Judea and Jerusalem, he prevailed against both, partly by power, and partly by policy, and threw down the walls of Zion.b About ninety-eight years after him the Roman Pompey took Jerusalem and the temple, sending Aristobulus the king of the Jews bound to Rome, and subduing the Jews to the Roman power.c About six years after, according to Josephus, Gabinius the Roman, invading Syria and then Judea, conquered there Alexander King of the Jews, (son of

a 1 Mac, i, 20--24. b Ibid. vi, 17, 48, &c.

c Buchol, Jud. Chron. A.M. 3939.

« PreviousContinue »