« AnteriorContinuar »
THEIR CONNECTION BY MEANS OF PRO
PROPHECIES, WHICH DEFINE THÉ FAMILY
OF THE MESSIAH. I. PROPHECY OF THE MESSIAH DELIVERED TO EVE. 2. PROPHECY OF NOAH. 3. PROPHECY DÉLIVERED TO ABRAHAM. 4. TO ISAAC. 5. TO JACOB. 6. TO ÁUDAIT. 7. TO DAVID.
THE kingdom of the Messiah is not only represented under the types and ceremonies of the Law, but it is likewise foretold by the fure word of Prophecy. It has frequently been observed of this strongest evidence of the truth both of Judaism and Chriftianity, that the first predictions contained in the Old Testament, relative to the advent of the promised Redeemer, are the most obscure and general; afterwards they gradually become more express and particular in describing, 1. The family, VOL. II. 0
2 . The
sect. 2. The office, and 3. The universal king111. dom of our Saviour.
mily of the
Prophecies, The honour of giving birth to Christ is fine the fa- in the earlier prophecies left open to the Melliah.“ whole race of mankind; but in the later
ones, it is more and more contracted, till at length it is limited to one particular family. This continual accession of light, from the beginning of the world to the manifestation of the Messiah, is very commonly, though very beautifully, compared to the gradual opening of the morning. The first faint glimmerings of twilight serve only to render the retiring darkness yet more visible; soon, however, the gloom disperses, and the vivid tints of red diffused over the East announce the near approach of the orb of day ; till, at length, every object gleams with the full lustre of the
morning... , ji in back 1. The earliest promise of the Meffiah of the Mer-is made at the earliest period, when a Revered to deemer was necessary. As soon as our first
parents had transgressed the commandment of God, and by their disobedience brought sin and death into the world, in the midst of just severity, the Almighty did not for
get mercy ; but infused the balm of com- CHAP. fort into their souls, even in the denun- I. ' ciation of punishment. A difference is diftinctly marked between the feduced and the seducer. While the former have the sentence of death passed upon them, the latter is cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field. This curse too is not mitigated by any softening circumstances; it is absolute and unconditional. But the other party is comforted by a promise, that the feed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent, though it might bruise his heel.
The absurdity of interpreting the Prophecy literally is manifest from this consideration. The promise is designed to comfort our first parents under their affliction, by shewing them, that sooner or later their enemy should meet with the punishment due to his malice, from the hand of one, peculiarly styled the seed of the woman. But it is not very easy to conceive, what great comfort there is for the loss of Paradise, in being told, that there should be constant enmity between the posterity of the woman, and the whole race of serpents; and that; although such reptiles
- 02 ' . would
SECT. would be apt to bite men upon the heel, 111. yet that men would not fail to avenge
themselves by bruising their heads.
We must, therefore, adopt the Christian explanation, as the most and indeed the only rational one, which the passage will admit. Though the machinations of the infernal serpent may bruise this mortal part, our bodies; yet hereafter shall an illustrious character be born of woman alone, without the co-operation of man; who shall attack not merely the extremities of the serpent's kingdom, but shall completely destroy his power ; a circumstance expressed by the natural metaphor of bruismg his head,
This Prophecy being made to the first parents of mankind, is of courfe left open to the whole human race. As no partiçular time is mentioned for its completion, the eager expectation of Eve seems to have imagined, that it was fulfilled upon the birth of the first manchild; never confidering, that fuch offspring could not be called her feed alone. “ Adam knew Eve “ his wife, and the conceived, and bare “ Cain; and faid, I have gotten a man, cven Jehovah himself.” Such is the li- CHAP. teral translation of 1717' 0&; and, if it be 1. admitted, it shews that Eve entertained proper notions of the peculiar character and nature of our Saviour. The mistake would certainly not be unnatural, when we consider the indefiniteness of the time, and the anxiety with which Eve, the original offender, would look for the promised Redeemer. ;..
2. As the first prophecy, which relates 2. to the Messiah, opens at the beginning of of Noah? the old world, so is the second delivered immediately after the flood, and in the infancy of the new world. This is the first limitation to a particular family; for hitherto, the honour of being the mother of God incarnate was left equally open to all the daughters of Eve. “ Blessed be Je“ hovah, the God of Shem-God shall en “ large Japhet, and shall dwell in the tents “ of Shema.” This prophecy was accomplished, partly by the visible manifestation of God in the Shechinab between the cherubim in the tabernacle b; and partly, by the ministry of the second Person of the