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in Abraham. The same is the case now. The Jews have generally given up the covenanted mercies of God; they have gone about to establish a new religion founded on their own merits and righteousness; and so far, therefore, just as in the days of Elias, they are not his people; and because they recognise not his sovereignty. But still there is, even at this time a remnant according to the election of grace,* according to the covenant made with Abraham, the end of which had respect to Christ. There is, even now, in the rising church, a very considerable number, a remnant of Israel, full as large as the seven thousand was in the days of Elias; and of these I am one. Israel then (ver. 7) generally has not attained to this privilege; but a part of Israel, and that which constitutes the true elected church, has; and the rest have become blind through unbelief. And, I ask, has not all this been foreseen and foretold; and foretold too as resulting from the same cause,—namely, unbelief? (ver. 8, 9, 10). But, further (ver. 11), this blindness will not for ever separate them from God. Mercy is still to be had; God is still a God that pardoneth iniquity, transgression, and sin; only let it be remembered, mercy must be sought in his appointed way; that is, by faith in Jesus. The consequence of their rejecting this faith, however, has been, our turning to the Gentiles; and the conversion of the Gentiles has accordingly become a source of considerable vexation to the Jews. But, granting this, and putting the case, that the Gentiles have thus been made believers, and the world in general thus far benefited, I say, will not their return be an event of the greatest moment and blessedness?+ Who will
* So Eusebius, Demonst. Evang. lib. ii. cap. iv. § xl. Où póvov ægoñator (Μαθηταὶ καὶ Απόστολοι τοῦ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν) τῆς ἑαυτῶν χώρας, ἀλλὰ κατώρθωσαν τὸ προστεθείμενον. τοῦτο δὲ αὐτὸ πάλιν τὸ καταλειφθὲν οἱονεὶ τὸ σπέρμα τῆς ἀποπτώσεως τοῦ Ιακὼβ γέγονε, πεποιθὸς ἐπὶ Θεὸν ἰσχύοντα. (Is.x. 21). See also ib. § 1. and liii. Ver. 12. Theodoret interprets this as referring to past time, thus: If, the greater part of them remaining unbelievers, and the smaller number of believers carried the riches of the knowledge of God to the Gentiles, it is evident that if all had believed, they would have been the means of far greater good to mankind generally. For more easily would others have believed, had not they contradicted, but had with us preached the truth. His words are— Εἰ γὰρ τῶν πλειόνων ἀπιστησάντων, οἱ ἐξ αὐτῶν πεπιστευκότες τοῖς ἔθνησι τῆς θεωγνωσίας τὸν πλοῦτον προσήνεγκαν, δηλονότι πάντες πιστεύσαντες μειζόνων ἀγαθῶν ἀνθρώποις ἐγίνοντο ἂν πρόξενοι· ρᾶον γὰρ ἐπίστευον πάντες, οὐκέτι τούτων ἀντιλεγόντων, ἀλλὰ μεθ ̓ ἡμῶν τὴν ἀλήθειαν κηρυττόντων· And Jerome: Si pauci eorum credentes,
not rejoice when the Jew, who now blindly resigns his birthright, shall come back to the means of grace and the hope of glory, of which it never was God's intention he should be deprived; but rather that he should be the first both to receive and to enjoy? This is the question I daily labour to bring before them, these are the privileges to which it is my object to raise their ambition, being as I am the Apostle of the Gentiles, yet a Jew in the full sense of that term. Now let me ask: If by their fall the nations have thus been blessed, will not their rising again be as life from the dead ?* Will it not be something like the return of the prodigal in the Gospel, a theme in which the whole family on earth and in heaven will rejoice? Will it not be said, This my son was lost and is found, was dead and is alive? Will not the believing church throughout the world acknowledge this, and make it a subject for gratitude and praise to Almighty God? Nor let the Gentile believer boast, for he stands only by faith; but let him rather learn, that the Jew fell through unbelief; and, that if God spared not his first adopted, who thus sinned against him, neither will he spare his second. Besides, as already stated, if they abide not in unbelief, they shall be brought in again, which, however, will not take place before Christ's kingdom is established among the nations :† and (ver. 26) so shall all Israel be saved; as it is written, The deliverer shall come from Zion, the true church, and shall yet turn away ungodliness from Jacob. O the depth of the riches of God! who never systematically exIcluded from his favours either the Jew or the Gentile. The one lost his privileges by refusing to retain God in all his thoughts; the other, by endeavouring to establish his own righteousness yet to both is proposed the means of a return, -namely, faith in the atonement of Christ and for each is likewise reserved the just judgment of God, if he refuse to attend to this proposal.
omnes vos ad salutem vocârunt: quanto magis si omnes crediderunt, prodesse poterant vobis per doctrinam.”
* So Jerome:"Item hac dicit; quoniam sicut gentes per fidem assumptæ sunt, ita etiam Judæi si crediderint, ex mortuis ad vitam transibunt." Theodoret says, that upon their believing, nothing further would remain to take place but the general resurrection.
+ Cited from Luke, xxi. 24.
We have nothing here, therefore, in any case intimating a return of the Jews to Palestine; nor which places them, in any sense, in a situation different from that of the Gentile. All here rests solely on the mercy of God, as first revealed in the promise of the Redeemer, in whom all the nations of the earth were to be blessed, and to be realised by faith, which had been equally proposed to the Jew and the Gentile. In this respect, therefore, there is clearly no difference.
But, to return to our investigations of the Old Testament. Another passage chosen is Ps. cii. 13, &c." Thou shalt arise and have mercy upon Zion; for the time to favour her, yea, the set time is come." My remark is: Nothing can be more likely than that this Psalm alludes to the return from Babylon; and that it was written there about the close of the times of the captivity. The set time of that captivity, we know, was seventy years; and we also know, that this is the only limited captivity to which this Scripture can be referred. The parallel passage is to be found in Zech. i. 12-17, which affords an ample comment on it; and one upon which the reader may safely rely. If any argument be urged from ver. 15, where it is said, "So the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth* thy glory." My reply is The utmost period to which this can be extended must be the Apostolic age, when the knowledge of Christ's power was brought even to all the kings of the earth; if, indeed, it be at all necessary to carry it any farther forward than the times of the delivery from the captivity and the rebuilding of Jerusalem, which I doubt. The Persian kings, beginning with Cyrus, and ending with Artaxerxes, granted to this people great and important privileges, and to these the viceroys and others their enemies were compelled to give way, and to contribute. After these, Alexander also granted them certain favours; and his successors felt their power. I do not see any necessity, therefore, here to look forward to any indefinite period for the fulfilment of this prophecy.
* So in the second Psalm, ver. 2: “ The kings of the earth," as abp. cii. 16, . In the first case, the reguli surrounding Judea seem to have resisted David's claim; in the second, the Persian kings, with their servants, assisted the Jews.
As I know of no instances occurring in the Prophets more difficult of application than those above noticed, I do not think it necessary to offer any thing more on this subject. Proceed we now, therefore, to other matter connected with the interpretation of prophecy.
ON THE DOUBLE sense of proPHECY, &c.
FROM allusions made in the New Testament to the typical or symbolical character of a considerable part of the Old, it has been supposed by some, that not only has prophecy of every sort a double sense, but also, that the the very histories of the Old Testament will admit of a double interpretation. Let us consider how far these notions are justifiable and let us begin with prophecy. Those predictions, to which we have given the general title of particular prophecy, cannot, in the nature of things, admit of more than one fulfilment.*
* In Mr. Forster's book, noticed above, we have a direct appeal to the "double accomplishment" of prophecy, as it is sometimes termed: and, as Mr. Forster's hypothesis rests very much on this as a principle, it may be worth while to see what he has to advance in favour of it. "In each progeny," says be, (p. 71, first vol.), "the promise of Jehovah has, in point of fact, had a double accomplishment, a temporal and a spiritual," &c. Again, at p. 88, "The promise to Isaac had, in point of fact, first a temporal fulfilment in the establishment of his race in Canaan; and, secondly, a spiritual fulfilment in the advent of the Messiah....In the promise to Ishmael....there seems to be just reason to look for an analogous double fulfilment.... a full and exact parallel is presented in the appearance of Mahomet." Let us see how this will hold. In the first place, then, a promise is certainly made to Abraham, that in his seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. See Gen. xii. 3; xviii. 18; xxii. 18. Acts, iii. 25. Gal. iii. 8. We may therefore conclude at once, that a spiritual blessing was here intended. Turn now to Gen. xiii. 14-17, and there we shall find the temporal blessing, or the promise made, that the land of Canaan shall be given to him and to his seed for ever. See also chap. xii. 7; xv. 18; xvii. 8. We have then for these two events two distinct promises, and these given on more occasions than one. There can be no necessity here, consequently, to give a double interpretation or to suppose a double accomplishment, to belong to any one of these promises; both things are distinctly promised, and both have been distinctly fulfilled. In the second place, as there is no necessity whatever here for a double interpretation, neither can there, on Mr. Forster's own shewing, in the case of the temporal promise made to Ishmael, (no spiritual one being at all mentioned).
Take, for example, the predictions respecting our blessed Lord, that he was to be born of a virgin,-to be of the seed of Abraham, of the house and lineage of David, -to be born at Bethlehem, to be despised and rejected of men,— to suffer for the sins of many,—and by his vicarious suffering to justify many. These predictions, I think, all will allow will admit of only one application and sense. The same may be said of the prediction of delivery from Egypt,—of the possession of Canaan,—of the captivity to Babylon,of the general delivery by Cyrus from this, of the final dissolution of the Jewish polity, the opening of the Church to the Gentiles, and innumerable others.
The typical part of the ceremonial law involved, not general, but particular, prophecy. It all shadowed forth Christ: its acts were equivalent in bearing to verbal declarations enouncing the same things; and, as these can admit of but one interpretation, the symbols which were their equivalents can admit of no more.† A most admir
But, Mr. Forster finds certain resemblances in the cases of these two persons (Isaac and Ishmael), which he terms analogy or parallelism; and, he then argues, that as these remarkable coincidences appear as facts, it is also probable, that as Isaac's promise included a spiritual dominion, so must that also given to Ishmael; and, by way of confirmation of this, he offers the consideration, that Ishmael was circumcised just as Isaac was, i. e. both received the patriarchal religion. My remark is: If we are to argue from resemblances only, then may we conclude, that a counterfeit and a genuine coin have equally received the stamp of authority, or, that an impostor, no less than a true prophet-the wolf in wool, just as much as the true member of Christ's sheepfold, bears about him the mark of the heavenly Shepherd. But I leave this inatter. In other places (pp. 130-31, &c.) we are told that we must compare the promises with the events, &c., which is unobjectionable when accompanied with the other considerations necessary for the interpretation of prophecy; but, when standing alone, it will constitute nothing more than mere resemblances, which may occur again and again, and so leave promises and predictions as vague and pliable as any theorist on earth can wish. Many and overwhelming objections may be opposed even to Mr. Forster's resemblances, of which, however, he seems not to be aware; but these I leave to others: my only concern is with Mr. Forster's principles, and these I believe are fallacious.
* Col. ii. 17; Heb. x. 1.
+ We meet, however, with instances of apparently double interpretation in the Scripture itself. See 1 Cor. ix. 9, 10; 1 Tim. v. 18, cited from Deut. xxv. 4; Gal. iv. 22—26, taken from Gen. xviii. 10, &c. I will only say, with regard to these and similar passages, that if they were originally given