« AnteriorContinuar »
“ among mankind. If so, the gate or city of " their enemies, which Abraham's spiritual seed “is to possess, stript of the metaphor, is the “state and felicity from which the evil angels “ fell. This city is mentioned, Heb. xii. 22., “ under the name of the heavenly Jerusalem: and “ by the description there given of it, we learn “ that believers, after the judgment, shall all be “joined in one society or community with “ the angels, called a city which hath foundations “ because it is a community which is never to “ be dissolved.” The passage alluded to by Macknight in Ch. xii. 22., we shall have to notice hereafter. But here it may be asked, Why hath he, in the words just quoted, for “ the city,” which he rightly exhibits in his translation, substituted “a city ?”—for our present inquiry is not, Why the community of “ believers, after the “ judgment,” is called a city which hath foundations, but Why, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, it is called “the city having the foundations?”
Everyone who has paid even the smallest degree of attention to the prophetic style, must be aware that with the prophets it was common to predict the stability and glory of the kingdom of the Messiah under the figure of a great and glorious city in which happiness and eternal peace were to be secured for the inhabitants; and all are agreed that the numerous blessings
promised to Jerusalem in the future age of which the prophets spoke, had reference to the good things which God hath provided for the family of which Christ is the elder brother. There is therefore nothing singular in the circumstance of the Christian church being described in the New Testament under the same figure; and but for the peculiar structure of Heb. xi, 10., the mere mention of a city in that passage would not call for any particular attention. But in the Prophets there is no passage to be found from which the mode of expression there employed could have been derived ;-and that it had a prototype will be admitted by all who are acquainted with the laws which regulate the use of the Greek article. The only passage in the prophets that exhibits terms at all similar to the one under consideration is in Isaiah liv. 11, 12. “ I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay thy “ foundations with sapphires: and I will make thy “ windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, “ and all thy borders of pleasant stones ;”—but the whole structure of these verses excludes the idea of the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews having hence borrowed the terms he employs.
As has been already remarked, the expression in Heb. ix, 10. is very singular-Thy Tous Beuenious é your av rów—“The city having the
“ foundations,"-a mode of speech which serves to intimate, very plainly, that the terms employed were familiar to those here addressed. In fact they are a quotation from the Apocalypse as close as the use to which they are applied in the passage before us could possibly admit of. The writer alludes directly to the holy city, new Jerusalem (Rev. xxi. 2),—to “ the wall rñs ró“News xov Jelenious dcdexa of the CITY HAVING “FOUNDATIONs twelve” (v. 14). They must, therefore, have had the Apocalypse in their hands, and been well acquainted with its general topics, at the time when this epistle was written ;-So well acquainted with it, that the writer contents himself with a very brief quotation, but quite sufficient to serve as a general reference to the fuller description in the Apocalypse.
In this Epistle there is yet another passage which has every appearance of allusion to matters recorded in the Apocalypse. In Ch. xii. 22, 23. the writer tells the believing Hebrews, “ Ye are come to Mount Sion, to THE CITY OF " THE LIVING GOD, THE HEAVENLY JERUSALEM, “ and to an INNUMERABLE COMPANY OF ANGELS, " to THE GENERAL assembly and CHURCH OF THE “FIRST-BORN,WHICH ARE WRITTEN IN HEAVEN," &c.—Have not these expressions direct reference to the Lamb standing on Mount Sion, with one hundred and forty-four thousand having his father's name written on their foreheads, Rev. xiv, 1—to the great and high MOUNTAIN ....... the GREAT CITY, THE HOLY JERUSALEM DESCENDING OUT OF HEAVEN FROM GOD, Rev. xxi, 10—to the BOOK OF Life in WHICH ARE WRITTEN the names of the redeemed, Rev. jii, 5: xx, 12: xxi, 27, &c—to the MYRIADS OF MYRIADS OF ANGELS which surround the throne, Rev. v, 11-and to the INNUMERABLE MULTITUDE, which have come out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, Rev. vii, 9, 14. ? Comparing the terms employed in the passage that has been quoted from the Epistle to the Hebrews with the passages just referred to in the Apocalypse I cannot entertain the slightest doubt, that the former were taken from the latter.
§ 2. Of Allusions to the Apocalypse found in the
Epistles of Peter.
From Sir Isaac Newton I also copy the principal contents of the present section.-" In the “ first Epistle of Peter occur these allusions to " the Apocalypse: The Revelation of Jesus “ Christ,' twice or thrice repeated; the blood of
"1 Pet. i. 7, 13. iy. 13. and v. 1.
“ Christ as of a lamb ; fore-ordained before the “ foundation of the world;' the spiritual building “ in heaven," i Pet. ii. 5. an inheritance incorrup“ tible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, “ reserved in heaven for us who are kept unto the “ saloation ready to be revealed in the last time, “ 1 Pet. i. 4, 5. the Royal Priesthood, the holy “ Priesthood, the judgment beginning at the “ house of God, and the church at Babylon. — “ These are indeed obscurer allusions, but the “ second Epistle, from the 19th verse of the “ first chapter to the end, seems to be a contin“ ued commentary upon the Apocalypse. There, “ in writing to the Churches in Asia, to whom “ John was commanded to send this prophecy, “ he tells them, they have a more sure word of “ prophecy to be beeded by them, as a light that “ shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the “ day-star arise in their hearts, that is, until they “ begin to understand it: for no prophecy, saith " he, is of any private interpretation ; the Prophecy “ came not in old time by the will of man, but holy “men of God spake as they were moved by the “ Holy Ghost. Daniel himself professes, that he “ understood not his own prophecies;' and, there“ fore, the churches were not to expect the inter
1 Rev. xii. 8. ? Rev. xxi. 3 Rev. i. 6. and v. 10. * Rev. xx. 6. S Rev. xx. 4, 12. 6 Rev. xvii. ; Dan. viii. 15, 16, 27. and xii. 8, 9.