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in history is of a double meaning *. But an unchronological prophecy, that is to say, a prophecy which only predicts certain future events without specifying the precise time when those events will come to pass and without so connecting them with any preceding series as to compel us to assign them to some one particular era exclusively, is not restricted in the same manner that a chronological prophecy must necessarily be. Instead of being incapable of a double accomplishment, we perpetually find predictions of this nature evidently constructed with the express design of receiving a double accomplishment. They are first fulfilled in an inchoate manner, and afterwards will be fulfilled more samply at a period to which they ultimately and principally refer. This is remarkably the case with prophecies, which treat of the restoration of the Jews, and the advent of the Messiah : insomuch that I believe Bp. Horsley not to have been guilty of the least exaggeration, in asserting, ... that a far greater proportion of the prophecies, “ even of the Old Testament, than is generally “ imagined, relate to the second advent of our “ Lord; that few comparatively relate to the first “ advent by itself, without reference to the second; " and that of those, that have been supposed to “ be accomplished in the first, many had in that
* See this point discussed in the Preface to my Dissert. on the 1260 years.
66 only “ only an inchoate accomplishment, and have yet " to receive their full completion *.” Such a mode of foretelling future events seems to have arisen from, or perhaps rather to be a part of the grand scriptural system of types and antitypes. The first advent is a type of the second advent : hence they are both styled the great day of the Lord; and hence they are frequently predicted conjointly, certain matters which received their full accomplishinent at the first advent being inserted (parenthetically as it were) in a prophecy which strictly and principally relates to the second advent. In a similar manner, the Babylonian captivity of the Jews is a type of their subsequent dispersion by the Romans : hence many of those predictions, which from the elevation of their style and from other circumstances connected with them must ultimately and indeed chiefly be referred to the yet future restoration of the Jews, probably received a sort of inchoate accomplishment in their return from Babylon f. Some however there are,
* Letter on Isaiah xviii. P. 3. of " It has been concluded by judicious divines,” says Archdeacon Woodhouse, “ that those partial prophecies and par“ ticular instances of the divine vengeance, whose accom" plishment we know to have taken place, are presented to s us as types, certain tokens and forerunners, of some greater t" events which are also disclosed in them. To the dreadful “ time of universal vengeance they all appear to look forward, “ beyond their first and more immediate object. Little in.
which must be exclusively applied to the return from Babylon; because they are connected with a specific number of years, and therefore become chronological prophecies incapable of any further completion * And others again there are, and these constitute. by far the greatest proportion, which must be exclusively applied to the yet future restoration of Israel; because they are connected with such circumstances as prevent the possibility of any other application.
This typical mode of foretelling future events very materially affects the phraseology of prophecy.
66 deed can we doubt that such is to be considered the use " and application of these prophecies, since we see them " thus applied by our Lord and his apostles. See Matt. i. 66 22. 23. xxvii. 9.-John xv. 25. xix/ 36, 37.--Acts ii. 20, “ 27. iii. 19, 22, 24.--Heb. iv. 7, 8. X. 27., 37.-Rom. ii. 5. " Gal. iv. 24.-Eph. v. 14.-2 Thess. ii. 3, &c.--2 Pet. üi. 6 2–14; where the prophecies of the Old Testament are “ applied in a more extended and spiritual sense, than in " their first and primary designation.” Apocalypse translated.. p. 172, 173.
For observations on the double sense of divine prophecy, the Archdeacon refers us to Bp. Lowth. Prælect. xi. and note on Isaiah xl; Mr. Lowth on Isaiah vii. 15; Jortin's remarks on Eccles. Hist. p. 188--228; Serm. v. 1, 124; Sir Isaac Newton on prophecy, p. 251; Bp. Hurd's sermons on prophecy, 111. IV. V; Bp. Sherlock on prophecy, Disc. II; Bp. Warburton's Divine Legation, Book vi. 8; Bp. Horn's Preface to the Psalms; Jones on the figurative language of Scrip"ture, Lect. viri; and Archdeacon Nares's serinons at the Warburtonian lecture, 1805. * See Jerem. xxv. 11, 12. xxix. 10. Dan. ix, 2.
At the era of the restoration of Judah, some great confederacy of God's enemies will be destroyed. Such is the general voice of prophecy; while Daniel and St. John not only teach us that a confederacy of that nature will be destroyed, but intimate very unequivocally of what persons it will be composed. At least, recent events have rendered their predictions, relative to this confederacy, far less equivocal and difficult to be understood, than they once necessarily were; and I doubt not, that every day will throw an increasing light upon them. The confederacy in question is by the other prophets variously pointed out under the mystic names of various ancient enemies and oppressors of the house of Israel. Sometimes, as in the parallel language of the Apocalypse, it is styled Babylon, sometimes Nineveh, sometimes Tyre, but most frequently Edom *. In prophecies of this nature, it is obr. vious, that, where Babylon occurs, the destruction of the literal Babylon at the era of the first restoration of the Jews is primarily intended : but the same remark cannot be applied to the other types of the Antichristian confederacy. Neither
* It is excellently observed by Bp. Lowth, that, “ by a *6 figure very common in the prophetical writings, any city or “ people, remarkably distinguished as enemies of the people and “ kingdom of God, is put for those enemies in general. This « seems to be the case with Edom and Bozrah.” Translat. of Isaiah. Notes on Chap. xxxiv. XXXV. See also his Prælect. Poet. P. 274..
Nineveh, nor Tyre, nor Edom, were overthrown at the era of the first restoration; and yet, since they have all long since been overthrown, it is ma. nifest, that none of them can literally experience the vengeance of heaven at the yet future era of the sevond restoration. Nevertheless it is repeatedly declared, that they shall experience, the vengeance of heaven at that very period: hence it is plain, that some mystical Nineveh, Tyre, and Edom, can only be intended. Such accordingly, as we shall find in the sequel, at least in the case of Edom, is the interpretation given by the Jews themselves. With one consent their Rabbies de clare, that Edom, when so described, can only mean the fourth beast of Daniel, or the Roman empire : and we, who are Christians, can add, on the authority of St. John, that it must mean the Roman empire in its very last state; that is to say, the Roman empire when organized into the grand confederacy of Antichrist, now become the last. head of the beast. The close connection of the overthrow of Nineveh, Tyre, and Edom, with the restoration of the Jews will sufficiently guard a commentator from the illusions of fancy. This single circumstance will be enough to teach him, whether in any particular prophecy he ought to understand those powers only literally, or whether he is warranted in looking beyond their literal to their mystical import.