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a plain evidence that the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus.

The ten tribes, which were carried away by the king of Assyria, never returned to their own country: the tribe of Judah, after seventy years captivity, came back to Canaan, erected a new temple, and continued a tribe and a people till the last destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. Can this have been by chance? And if the hand of God be visible in it, why this partial regard to the tribe of Judah ? There was nothing in them to justify it: they were as bad as their neighbors; but they had one advantage; they had a promise which none of the ten tribes had, that the sceptre should not depart from Judah till Shiloh came. Observations on the forfeited privileges and destitute condition of this people in the land of their forefathers, to account more clearly for the ceasing of prophecy some ages before the coming of Christ.

That the prophecies relating to the second and better covenant produced a suitable effect on the righteous among the Israelites, may be collected from some few allusions in the books of the prophets : see Amos v. 18. Isa. v. 18. 19. lxvi. 5. and Ecclus x, 4.

That the prophecy given at the time of the fall was understood in the ancient Jewish church to relate to the times of the Messias, may with great probability be inferred from many passages, but especially from one in Isaiah, lxv. 25.; where after a full description of Christ's kingdom, and the happiness of the seed of the blessed of the Lord, the state of the wicked in the time of that kingdom is thus described in few words, and dust shall be the serpent's meat. This allusion commented on.

These prophecies relating to the kingdom of the Messias have still a larger and more extensive use. They were given to the Jews of old for the support of their faith, and are ä standing reproof to those of this age for their unbelief: they are a support and evidence to the gospel, and furnish every true,

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believer with an answer,' to him who asketh the reason of the hope that is in him.

They who are educated in the belief of Christianity, and taught to receive the books of both Testaments with equal reverence, are not apt to distinguish between the evidence for their faith, arising from the one and from the other. This distinction pointed out, and exemplified by the different method of St. Paul's preaching to the Jews at Antioch, Acts xiii. and to the Athenians, Acts xvii. In the former case he argues professedly with Jews, to whom were committed the oracles of God, and who by them were well instructed in the great marks and characters of the expected Messiah. It had been highly absurd then to reason with them on other arguments, till he had first convinced them by their prophets; and having so convinced them, it would have been impertinent. To them therefore he urges and applies the authority of prophecy only. But to the Athenians, who knew not, or if they knew, reverenced not the prophets, it had been ridiculous to offer proofs from prophecies: the appeal therefore before them is made to the sound and clear principles of natural religion, and to the miracles of the gospel, the truth of which, as they were matters of fact, was capable of undeniable evidence and demonstration.

It is observable that St. Paul calls the Athenians only to repentance, and to faith in Christ as appointed by God to judge the world, having natural religion with him for all his doctrine, except' this latter point; and for that he appeals to the evidence of the resurrection. But to the Jews he speaks of a Saviour, of remission of sins, of justification beyond the law of Moses. Whence this difference, unless that the Jews were from their scriptures acquainted with the lost condition of man, and knew that a 'redemption was to be expected ? But the Gentiles had lost this knowlege, and were first to be taught the condition of the world, &c., before they could have any just notion of its redemption. From the state of the case farther displayed, it is shown that to the Jew prophecy was the first proof, to the Gentile. it was the last. The Jew believed in Christ because foretold by the prophets; the Gentile because they had so exactly foretold Jesus Christ. Both became firm believers ; having, each in his way, a full view of all the dispensations of Providence towards mankind.

This account will enable us to clear the argument from prophecy of many misrepresentations; but we must proceed to observe another use of prophecy with regard to the Jews, for which the Gentiles seem not to have had the like occasion.

The Jews lived under a divine law, established in signs and wonders, founded in great promises and terrible threats, as far as the blessings and terrors of this world go. They are warned over and over not to forsake their law, or to suffer any strange customs to grow up among them. These cautions, intended to preserve them from the corruptions of surrounding nations, might easily, as eventually they have done, grow into prejudices against any future revelation, though made on the authority of God himself. Hence it was but reasonable to give them early and frequent notice of the change intended, &c. There are many prophecies of this sort in the Old Testament; many declarations on God's part that he had no pleasure in sacrifices, &c.; strange declarations, considering that they were of his own appointment! but not so, considering the many prophecies of a new and better covenant. Instance given from Isaiah i. 11. 14. But the most remarkable one is the prophecy of Moses himself, Deut. xviii. 15. The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me, unto him ye shall hearken. And the same is repeated at ver. 18. with this addition; And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words, which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. Here now is a plain declaration on God's part, at the very time the law was established, of another prophet, like unto Moses, to be raised in time, as a new lawgiver, to whom all were to yield obedience. The interpretation of those who refer this to a succession of prophets, refuted, from the letter of the text, and from the great difference that existed between the other prophets and Moses, who is distinguished from them by the Jews themselves in four particulars : 1. Moses had no dreams nor visions : 2. he had light from God immediately without the interposition of angels : 3. his mind was never disturbed or dismayed by the prophetic influence ; for God spake to him as a man speaks to his friend : 4. he could prophecy at all times whenever he would; whereas others prophesied only at such times when the word came to them. But another chief dignity belonging to Moses, and not unto them, is, that he was a lawgiver; and the prophet foretold was evidently to resemble Moses in this particular : this point enlarged on.

Now if we inquire, from historical evidence, after the completion of this prophecy, we shall find that it did most punctually agree with the character of our blessed Saviour, and not with any other prophet either before or after him : this fully shown. But, moreover, the execution of the threat annexed to this prophecy has been literally fulfilled on the whole Jewish nation : who can deny that this part of the prophecy at least has been punctually verified ?

This prophecy and many others seem intended for the Jews principally to prepare them betimes for the reception of a new lawgiver, and to intimate that the Mosaic covenant was not to be perpetual.

The above exposition of the several periods of prophecy under the Old Testament may show the main design and use of it, opening a way to a fair and impartial consideration of the particular prophecies relating to each period.


The prophecies of the Old Testament, generally considered, relate either to the temporal state and condition of the Jews, and were, in order to the administration and execution on God's part of the temporal covenant, given to Abrahram and his natural descendants; or they relate to that great and universal blessing promised to Abraham and to his seed, though not limited to them, but expressly designed and extended, in the words of the original covenant, “to all the nations of the world. Of these we have already considered the first kind, and endeavored to show the purport and design of Providence in the many oracles reducible to this head.

It remains now that we consider the prophecies of the second kind in the same method; not inquiring into the express meaning and accomplishment of every single prophecy applicable to this subject, but into the general use and design of these prophecies; which being discovered, we shall be able, with better success, to apply ourselves to the examination of each divine oracle. The prophecies of the several periods already considered, have been found to correspond to the state of religion in the world at the time of giving the prophecy; a great presumption that the case is the same under the Jewish dispensation. We must therefore, in order to our present inquiry, consider the state of religion under the Mosaic dispensation, and examine how far and to what purposes prophecy was requisite, and whether in fact these purposes were served by the prophecies under the law.'

As to the state of religion under the law of Moses, to save your time and my own, I shall refer myself to the books of the law in every man's hand. But two questions there are necessary to be considered at present; and first, the promise to Abraham consisting of two distinct parts, or including two distinct covenants, the one relating to the temporal state and

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