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Respecting the coincidence of prophecies and facts, in regard t$ the advent of the Messiah to his people, the Jews; his treatment ef them while conversant among them, and the conclusions which are to be drawn from this treatment.
WE have now come down to the appearance of that extraordinary person, whom the types, predictions, history, and ritual law of the Old Testament, J Principally respected. The types, history,' and ritual aw, held forth a general, and uninterrupted testimony, in regard to him.' The predictions ascertained particulars. They informed of his descent, of the time, and place, and manner of his appearing, his characterr the nature of the work he would accomplish; the station he would publicly take and retain, as Lord over his own house; and theeffects, which would follow the fulfilment of his mediatorial offices. We can take notice pf these prophecies, and their fulfilment, no farther than they stand in connexion with the main design of this Trea^ tise. Several predictions have been already introduced, which need not here be repeated, determining the unfailing stability, and pepetuity of Israel, as a holy society. We will now attend to a few others, which determine, that the Messiah should arise in the midst of them as such j and what he was actually to do, in his public ministry, in varying, or dissolving, or perpetuating this society. The first prediction to this effect, to which we shall attend, is that of Jacob, respecting Judah. Geneses xlix. 8—12. "Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise; thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy lathers children shall bow down before thee; Judah is a Lion's whelp; from the prey my son, thou art gone up; lie stooped down, he couched as a Lion, and as an old Lion: Who shall rouse him up ? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah; nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come, and unto him shall the gathering oj the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine; and his asses colt unto the choice vine, he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes. His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk." This whole prediction is of one character. It bespeaks the preeminent station which the tribe of Judah should hold; its strength, perpetuity, and the spiritual blessings, with which it should be remarkably distinguished.— By Shiloh, it is conceded on all hands, is meant the Messiah.* The prophecy then determines, that this tribe should continue in its preeminence of spiritual glory, till he should come; that he should appear m the midst of it; that he should take a conspicuous station among the descendants of Jacob, now remaining; in this tribe; and be united to them, as their visible head and king.f .
* Le Clerk is a solitary exception. But hi* rendering is too tautologut to b* admitted.
t Very different, and generally unsatisfactory, have been the interpretation*, .which commentators have given to this famous prophecy; particularly this clause. "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between fiis feet, until Shiloh come." Tne sceptre and lawgiver, have been interpreted, as having respect to temporal and civil authority. This interpretation makes it necessary, that the tribe of Judah should have and retain, till the appearance of Chiist, a civil dominion, not over itself, for that would bean absurdity, nor would it be in agreement with the terms of the prophecy; but over the whole of Israel: And that there should be a succession of individuals in this tribe, an princes, by whom, as the fountain of authority, this dominion should be exercised. .
The captivities and degraded state to which the Jews, called so from Judah, the head of the tribe, were subjected, by the Babylonian, and Mediopersian monarchs, Antiochus, and the Roman Caesars, seem to be entirely in contradiction to the prophecy, in this sense of it. The great body of Israel, had besides, tor ages, been entirely disconnected from them; and in no respect, subject to their government. It is beyond all the efforts of ingenuity therefore,to shew how the prophecy has been fulfilled upon this construction of it. The cause of the embarrassment, in attemping to shew its fulfilment, is obvious. A system of political ascendancy is supposed, which was not intended. Upon the principle of this Treatise, which is, that a spiritual or religious, society only was projected by God, the interpretation of the prophecy is easy, and the fulfilment of it, evident "In Judah God was known. He chose the Mount Zion which he loved." Here was always found the remnant, according to the election of grace; the society, consisting of the seed. Here the law was preserved and had its inluence, For, " from Zion went forth the ku and the word of the Lord from
Another prophecy, in agreement with this, andtotht same purpose, is presented in the 89th Psalm. Here is recorded God's absolute covenant with David, which has already been quoted at large. We will only introduce two or three verses, which ensure the coming of the Messiah, as the offspring (jf David, his elevation to his throne, and the perpetual dominion he should maintain. "Once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun, before me; it shall be established forever, as the moon; and as a faithful witness, in heaven." This prediction could not have had respect to a temporal dominion. The seed of David did not enjoy it. It respected the Messiah, his descent through the line of David, his appearance in the particular family of David, and the spiritual government he should assume, and maintain over his own people.
Another prophecy, to this purpose, is in Isaiah, ix. 6. *' For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace. Of the increase of his government, and peace, there shalLbe no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his ningdom, to order it, and to establish it, with judgment, and justice, from henceforth, even forever."— Here the Messiah is undoubtedly designed. His peculiar character, as God manifest in the flesh, is described. He was to appear in the midst of the Jews, his people, in the humble form of a child. He was to
Jerusalem." Here the true religion was maintained. Here the public worship of God, was kept up, in its spirituality, and glory; here the holy oracles were secured, and transmitted, as a sacred deposit; here the types were perpetuated; bere the light of truth continued to shine ;and here is to be traced the genealogical descent of Jesus, the son of Maty. This was the natureof the preeminence, to which the tribe of Judah was destined. A preeminence like this, it continued to enjoy, uninterruptedly, till the Savior came. External depressions were not inconsistent with it. Bishop Newton, who mainly follows Sherlock, in the interpretation of this prophecy, does indeed, endeavor to reconcile it with fact} upon the plan of making it mean no more, than that the tribe of Judah should continue at a tribe, ani be governed by judges, or princes, from within itself. But this is irreconcilable with the general tenor of the prophecy, and with fart. This implies no ascendancy above the other tribes; whereas, snch an ascendancy is plainly declared. And the very first king over Judah, was from the tribeof Beujamin.
ascend the throne of David his father, not as a temporal prince, but as the king of saints., He was to take into his hands; the management, and ordering of that very kingdom, over which David, as a type.of him, had presided. Instead of terminating that kingdom, and 6etting up an entirely new one, he was to establish it; he was to establish it, with judgment, and with justice, even forever. If, therefore, this kingdom has failed ; if it has been prostrated, by his own hand, or by any agency whatever? and another, of a different character, has been formed, over which he has placed himself as king; he has not executed his mission; and the word of God has become of none effect; Haggai ii. 6, 7, 8, 9. "For thus saith the Lord of Hosts j yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come; and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house, shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts ; and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts." By the desire of all nations, is unquestionably meant the Messiah. His appearance was to be attended with great changes in the exfernal state of the Jewish people, and among the heathen nations. But notwithstanding these changes, which for the most part would be calamitous, he was to come in full gratification of the expectations of all who waited for redemption in Israel. He was to come to the temple in which they worshipped, and fill it with the
§' lory of his personal presence, and of his mighty works. lalachi, iii. 1. "And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple; even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in t Behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide" the day of his coming; and who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap. And he shall sit, as a refiner, and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi; and purge them as gold, and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord, an offering in righteousness. Thert shall the offering of Judah,and Jerusalem, be pleasant to the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years. And I will come near to you to judgment, and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts." Here we are told, not only of the coming of the Messiah to his temple, but of the effects which should attend his public ministry. He would purify, and purge his people. He would detect, and extirpate the impenitent, and flagitious part of them. To them, the day of his coming* was to be the great, and dreadful day of the Lord; a day of vengeance; a day which should burn as an oven; in which the irreclaimable should be burnt, so that, there should not be left ofthem, either root or branch. Unto those who feared his name, he was to arise. as the sun of righteousness, with healing in his wings. They were to be the remnant; and were to go forth, and grow up, as calves of the stall. In agreement with which, was the prophecy of Simeon. Luke ii. 34* 35. "And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, behold, this child is set for the fall, and rising again, of many in Israel; and for a sign, which shall be spoken against. (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thine own soul also) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." In coincidence with which, was the declaration of John. Matthew iii. 10,11,12. "And now also, the axe is laid unto the root of the trees; therefore, every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down, and cast into the fire: I indeed, baptize you with water, unto repentance; bul he that cometh after me, is mightier than I; whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. Whose fan is in his hand; and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into tht