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a promise. A warning to the rebellious - a promise to the obedient.
To illustrate these points. The voice of prophecy proclaimed to Noah, and through him to the apostate antediluvians, God's purpose to destroy all flesh from off the face of the earth by the flood. The same voice of prophecy pointed out the overthrow of the five rebellious cities of the plain in the time of Abraham and Lot. Also, of the 430 years " sojourning” of the Israelites in Egypt, and of their bondage during this period to that people. Also, of the 70 years captivity of Judah,* &c.
We now ask, were all those interested in the events set forth in these predictions, subjected to the annoyance and perplexity of vague conjecture either as to the time or circumstances of their accomplishment ? In other words, were they totally ignorant of their import till verified by the fulfilment of the events of which they spake? Nay, verily, the warning voice of 120 years,' reiterated the approaching judgments of God on the “old world,” 6 the inhabitants of which unheeding, “perished;"? while, “by faith” in the promised preservation of himself and family, "Noah, being warned of God of things not yet seen, moved with fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his house, by which he condemned the world, and became heir
1. Gen. vi. 17.
2. Gen. xvii.
of the righteousness which is by faith.”ı Respecting the destruction of the cities of the plain, saith God "Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do."?? So far from this, the voice of warning is proclaimed also in the ears of Lot, the only righteous inhabitant within the walls of Sodom ; ; and, warned thus himself, he flees in haste “to his sons-in-law, which married his daughters, and said, up, get ye out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city! But he seemed as one that mocked his sons-in-law." With the predicted affliction of the Israelites in Egypt was connected the threatened judgment of God upon the nation whom they should serve not cnly, but the period of its endurance was specified —430 years. The parents of Moses (who were of the tribe of Levi, which tribe was devoted to the services of the temple, and who “ were not afraid of the king's commandment,” 7 that "every (Hebrew) son that was born should be cast into the river," 8) having "hid him three months, because they saw he was a proper child," (i. e. "goodly”._ "fair to God.” 10) And God having meted out to them the due reward of their faith by the restoration of their infant son from the brink of a watery grave at the hands of the king's daughter; as he advanced to manhood, imparted to him that instruction respect
1. Heb. xi., 7.
2. Gen. xviii 17–21..
in the predicted bondage of his brethren, and their promised deliverance from the hand of their oppressors, which they had sedulously preserved in their own remembrance. As evidence of this fact, and that Moses had a perfect understanding of this prophecy before it was fulfilled, and of the part that he was to act as God's agent in its accomplishment, appears from the lesson which he supposed his brethren would have inferred from this avenging the wrongs of an injured brother, by slaying its author : and that was, that "by his hand God would deliver them. But they understood not.” i So of the 70 years' predicted captivity of Judah. It commenced in judgment : it ended in mercy. The apostacy of Judah, against which they had long been warned by the prophetic voice, had ultimated in a long and painful exile from their own land and kingdom, in which exile many of the pious and faithful were participants. Of this number Daniel was one. But, while judgment was executing its work on the apostate, mercy supported the otherwise sinking spirits of the faithful, by holding up to their view the heart-cheering promise of their restoration at a limited period. “When 70 years are accomplished, saith the Lord, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations." ? Accordingly it is written, "In the first year of Darius, I Daniel, understood by books the number of years whereof the word of the Lord came to
1. Acts vii., 25.
2. Jer. XXV.,
Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish 70 years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” 1
And now, Daniel, thus faithful in watching for the consummation of the 70 years captivity, is himself endowed with the prophetic Spirit. Then too, more ample scope is given to his discernment of the future, and the 70 years of Jeremiah is succeeded by another and a distinct revelation to Daniel, stretching through the longer period of 70 weeks of years. This period, as shown in our former Lecture, was divided into three unequal parts, the last division of which, consisting of one or the last of the 70 prophetic weeks, was to be signalized by the confirmation of the covenant with many, and in the midst of which, “ Messiah” was to be “cut off.”
Of one event, however, and that a most prominentone, as comprehended in the prophetic scries of Daniel's 70 weeks, the student of prophecy was left to stand on uncertain ground as to tim”. I now speak of the period of the Nativity. The pious Jew, casting his eye over the prophetic word, could tell when the Messiah that was to come, should be “cut off," &c., commencing his reckoning of the whole period of the 70 weeks from the command to restore and build Jerusalem. But the specific age of the Immaculate sufferer at the time of his crucifixion was not revealed. The time of Christ's Nativity therefore was left to conjecture. Still there was one circumstance upon which the patient-waiting and praying expectants of the First
1. Dan. ix., 2.
advent of the Redeemer could rely with no small degree of safety. That was, the period of life at which commenced the exercise of the sacerdotal functions by the Aaronic priesthood, which varied from 25 to 30 years. By deducting, say, the 30 years therefore, from the middle of the last prophetic week, it was sufficient to place them on the watch-tower, in their expectations of the appearance of Him whom they knew was to be "a High-PRIEST of good things to come,” ? on the ground that, as “every High-Priest” under the law was “ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices, it was of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.">
In order therefore to inscribe this sentiment the more indelibly upon the mind, and keeping in view the great, the all-pervading principle of Analogy by way of a further illustration of the last named prophecy, and of the principle for which we are contending, allow me once more to remark, that, in the dispensations of God to man both in the natural and moral world, portentous events have been and are, ordinarily accompanied with corresponding premonitory signs of their approach. The noiseless collecting together of the lowering clouds and the blackness of the heavens, awaken within the breast the dread apprehension of some fearful convulsion of nature. The experienced mariner looks upon the temporary repose of sleeping billows as an unfailing
1. Compare Num. iv., 3, with viii., 24. 2. Heb. ix., 11.
3. Heb. viii., 3.