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personal demeanour, and form of expression, still retain much of the primeval simplicity.
Natural history also, in its most extensive sense, must be studied by him who would fully understand the Prophecies. The animals and their different instincts supply frequent illustrations, and sometimes give a time of fulfilment to the prophecy, which we could not otherwise ascertain. In Isa. xxi. 8, “he cried as a lion :" this alone marks no time; but ver. 9, “ Babylon is fallen;" and ver. 10, “O my threshing, and the corn of my floor;" which connect the roaring of the lion with the fall of Babylon and with the time of harvest, giving the full meaning to Jer. xlix. 19, 1. 44, where the destroyer of Babylon comes up
like a lion from the swellings of Jordan:” for “Jordan overfloweth his banks all the time of harvest” (Jos. iii. 15, 1 Chron. xii. 15), which drove the lions, from their dens in its banks, up to the higher country with continual roarings. The seasons of the
year and the products of the earth are still more extensively applicable to a discovery of the time of fulfilment; for there is scarcely a prophecy in which some reference to agriculture does not occur ; which reference is at once a link connecting it with some other prophecy, and a chronological mark which fixes its place in the stream of time. Thus, the burning of chaff and stubble is associated with the day of the Lord's vengeance, Mal. iv. 1, and therefore follows close upon the threshing of Babylon (Isa. xxi. 10); and the vintage in Joel iii. 13, Rev. xix. 15, is in like manner linked to the day of vengeance (Isa. lxiii. 3), which ushers in the year of the redeemed (ver. 4).
Closely connected with the seasons, by which in fact they were regulated, are the great festivals of the Jewish year, so frequently alluded to in the Prophecies. These are all demonstrably typical ; and, taken singly, foreshew each some future act; taken in connection, foreshew the order in which these acts shall take place. “ Christ our passover is sacrificed for (1 Cor. v. 7).
“ Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept” (1 Cor. xv. 20). “ But into the second tabernacle went the high priest alone, once every year” (Heb. ix. 7): “Christ entered in once into the holy place" (ver. 12), “heaven itself” (ver. 24); “ And unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation" (ver. 28). Here the three great acts of Christ's death, resurrection, and ascension, are linked to the solemnities of the Passover, First-fruits, and Day of Atonement. The only remaining solemnity in the Jewish year is the Feast of Tabernacles, which we know does not take place till after the rending of the veil, when he shall appear the second time” (Heb.ix. 28);
“.and his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives." (Zech. xiv. 4.) “Every one that is left, of all the nations which came against Jerusalem, shall even go up from year to year to worship the King the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles." (ver. 16.) And contemporaneous therewith is the manifestation of the countless multitude of redeemed ones, “ having palms in their hands.” (Rev. vi. 9.) Seeing, therefore, that a correct knowledge of the Jewish feasts is so important, we shall take an early opportunity of explaining them.
Not less important is the Tabernacle and its contents; of all which, together with the various sacrifices and legal ordinances, it may be said, that they were, not mere temporary provisions for the wilderness, but a great body of types shadowing forth good things to come; and it therefore became necessary to exhibit them in all their detail to Moses in the mount, and so strictly to enjoin him to conform them in all respects to what he had there seen : “See that thou make all things according to the pattern shewn thee in the mount.” (Heb. viii. 7.) The necessity for understanding all these is evident from the whole Epistle to the Hebrews.
In this enumeration of the various means by which we may expect to understand the Prophecies, and the several departments of study they comprehend, we have not yet adverted to one, which is to a certain extent presupposed and included in them all, but which is so important, and so frequently misapplied, that we must not pass it over: we mean, the application of the New Testament to the prophecies of the Old. There is no branch of our inquiry in which correct judgment, and independence of mind almost amounting to hardihood, are so necessary as in this. It involves theology at every step, as well as interpretation; it has to encounter established prejudices as often as to claim their support; and must not only shew what is the right application, but refute that which is
No mistake in this is solitary, but draws with it many more, affecting both the Testaments; and a combination of error is often brought forward as an established principle, and error thus propagated far and wide. Under this head no general rules can be given; but our own method of applying the New Testament to the Old will be exemplified in almost every article. To these things we only refer, in order to shew that we are aware of the extent and requirements of our undertaking, and to guard our readers against expecting too much at once, or all the necessary qualifications in any one man; but we hope by subdivision of labour, to combine in one work what no single person could do.
These several means all respect the Word of Prophecy; but the Prophet himself and his auditors must not be disregarded :
VOL. 1.--NO. I.
for we cannot fully understand his message, unless we take into consideration the station of the messenger and the people he addressed. The princely Isaiah, prophesying to princes, pours forth strains of the loftiest and most polished verse. Amos, “ the herdsman of Tekoa,” has a plain, brief, but strong, pithy style. While the Royal Psalmist, who had known every variety of station, runs through the whole compass of the prophetic harp, from the simple melody of the shepherd song to the refined and varied harmony of the palace, leads the full chorus of praise to Jehovah, or clangs his loud cymbal to the battlefield shout. He had also passed through every variety of spiritual experience; whence every man, however situated, can find something there to which his own experience responds : and this universality of character has made the Psalms of David to be ever regarded as the richest treasure of the church. All these various characters were under the direction of the same Spirit, who, without destroying their characteristic distinctions, led them all to testify, each in his own way, to the same grand truths,--the oneness of God, his electing love, and the certain completion of his purpose ; and, on the other hand, man's fall, his insufficiency in himself, his all-sufficiency when trusting in God, and his lofty destination in future ages.
Nor is it to man alone that prophecy is confined ; nor is the intelligent creation its only theme. It strikes a note which fills the whole range of existence; and every thing that hath a being echoes back a song to the glory of God. The creature, now subject to vanity not willingly (Rom. viii. 20), is waiting in earnest expectation of its deliverance from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. Then shall be exhibited “ the restitution of all things," and the whole creation in one chorus take up the “ new song : The Lord reigneth : let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad ; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord...... Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the Lord our God is Holy.". And the triumphant song of that creation, at whose foundation “ the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job xxxviii. 7); and whose redemption-mystery "angels have desired to look into (1 Pet. i. 12): this triumphant song, which bursts from the redeemed creation, shall the angelic hosts take up and prolong, and with ten thousand times ten thousand voices shall exclaim, “ Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and
glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever.” (Rev. v. 11-13.) ED.
INTERPRETATIONS OF ALL THOSE PASSAGES OF PROPHECY
QUOTED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.
No. I. The great question which, after fourteen hundred years, is again brought into public and open issue before the whole church, concerning the literal accomplishment of every jot and tittle of the Law and the Prophets, is a question of such vast importance-touching, as it doth, the veracity of God, the integrity of faith, the object of hope, and almost every other subject of intercourse between God and man—that I have meditated very much in my own mind, how the merits of such a question might best be brought before the eyes of men, and an impartial judgment obtained it. It is a question purely of interpretation, resolving itself into this simple issue, Whether God's word is to be interpreted after the same manner and by the same rules as the word of any man; whether the holy Scriptures are to be understood according to the way of understanding another book, by the natural meaning of the words, similitudes, metaphors, and other figures which are employed therein. We, who stand up for literal interpretation, hold that it ought to be so interpreted and understood; and only with the more diligent and exact study of the language, because it is the word of God. Therefore we would examine every jot and tittle, because we know that “one jot or tittle shall not pass from the Prophets, till all be fulfilled.” A figure of speech, we hold, should be treated as a figure of speech is elsewhere treated ; an emblem, as an emblem ; a symbol, as a symbol ; all in order to come at the real thing which the word seeketh to express. That real thing may be a truth concerning God's own being, which is not visible; concerning our own spirit, which likewise is not visible; or it may be concerning God's Image in flesh--that is, Christwhich is visible; or concerning our own body, which is visible; or concerning the destinies of nations upon the earth, and of the earth itself, which are likewise visible. But of whatever kind it is, the only way, we maintain, by which the real thing intended to be made known can be known, is through the exact, honest, and common-sense interpretation of the words in which it is made known. We do not mean to say, that when the real truth of the words hath been arrived at we are then arrived at the ultimate end of God; which, to an intelligent and
responsible creature, cannot be in the mere understanding of a fact, but must rise into the apprehension of the purpose God hath in communicating the same unto men ;-a purpose originating with himself, and terminating with men; or rather embracing men, and through men returning again into himself. It is therefore an error to impute unto us, who stand for the literal interpretation of God's word, the fault of stopping short when we have arrived at the knowledge of the visible or historical thing therein conveyed : which indeed we prize only as the ground upon which to stand, and from which to demonstrate the being and the purpose of God to his fallen and responsible and redeemed creatures. Far be it from us to object to the raising of every good doctrine, and the enforcing of every spiritual truth, upon the basis of every historical revelation of God. Nay, we are zealous for understanding the thing declared concerning men, and nations, and the church, for this very reason, that, being firmly persuaded of the truth thereof, we would use them for “ doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. It must surely be some mistake, concerning our purpose and design in literal interpretation, which moveth any honest-hearted believer in God's word to quarrel with us, to discountenance us, or to mistrust us, in our well-meant endeavours to arrive at the real thing which God intendeth to declare, and to use it for the end for which he hath declared that he caused it to be written.
To suppose, with Origen and his followers, that there are subtle and recondite senses in the text of Holy Writ, is not only to degrade the understanding of man, as we see it degraded in the Rabbinical writers, and to introduce those Gnostic aberrations which misled the Christian church in the primitive ages; but it is really to strike at a higher mark, even at God himself; and to suppose, that in revealing his mind to man he adopted a cipher which a few might attain unto by erudition, or obtain the secret of by revelation, but from which the many should be for ever hidden, or, at least, until some of the illuminated ones should disclose to them the matter. This is the very basis of the Papal tenet, most hateful to God and pernicious to man, that the Scriptures are not to be interpreted by the people for themselves, but only through the medium of the church. For if it be true that there are other principles of interpretation than those which the common good sense of men would by natural sagacity and ingenuity guide them to, then those methods must be attained by some uncommon means; and those only who have attained them can be allowed to interpret the writing unto the rest. Call those initiated ones the Church, or the assembled Councils of the learned of the church, and you have the Papal tenet in its perfection. But if, as all we Protestants believe, and I trust