« AnteriorContinuar »
Israel, Judah, Jacob, Zion, Jerusalem, are introduced.1 But Christian expositors by no means consider these prophecies as predicting the political subjugation of all other people to the one nation of Israel. Daniel says, " I saw in the night visions, "and behold one like the Son of man came with "the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient "of days, and they brought him near before him; "and there was given to him dominion, and glory, "and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and "languages should serve him."—And again, " Un"til the Ancient of days came, and judgment was "given to the saints of the Most High, and the "time came that the saints possessed the king"dom." And again, " And the kingdom anddo"minion, and the greatness of the kingdom, shall "be given to the people of the saints of the Most "High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, "and all dominions shall serve and obey him." 2 In this prophecy nothing is said of Israel as a nation: and " the little horn which made war on "the saints," 3 we consider as the principal enemy and persecutor of the Christian church. But, when the Messiah shall destroy this power, "the king"doms of the earth shall become his kingdom," and that of all true believers, whether of Jewish or gentile extraction; they being one with him. Thus all nations will become subject to these "saints of the Most High." Many of us consider this as the clew to all the other prophecies on this subject in the Old Testament: and, being fully
'Is.xlix. 13—26. lx. lxvi. 10—24. Mic. vii. 12—20. Zech. xiv. 'Dan! vii. 13,14, 22, 27. 'Dan. vii. 21.
convinced that the New Testament is "the word "of God," wc interpret them in connexion with the doctrine and the prophecies contained in it. Especially the words of the Apostle, "The prc"mise, that he should be the heir of the world, "was not to Abraham and his seed through the "law, but through the righteousness of faith."' We do not suppose that Israel as a nation will be excluded: but that being in the first instance brought to submit to the Messiah in penitent faith and love, they will form a preeminent part of this company: that, when God shall restore Israel to their own land, many nations will oppose them violently; as others will struggle hard against the general cause of Christianity: that in both respects terrible vengeance will come on vast multitudes: that the survivors, convinced that "God fighteth for Israel" and his church, will, at first perhaps with terror and reluctancy, submit to a power which they cannot resist: but after some farther interpositions of mercy and judgment, all nations will become willing subjects to Christ; and thus the saints as one with him shall possess the kingdom. We do not, however, expect that, so long as the Lord Jesus, and the New Testament, are rejected by the Jews, they will be satisfied with this interpretation : and, as it is not essential to the argument, concerning Jesus being the true Messiah, I shall not further insist on it. If I could conceive that the Messiah was not come ; or that when he shall come his kingdom would be an earthly kingdom; I should feel no further interest in the concern. Like other contests about temporal dominion, I should consider it wholly out of my line. The Lord who " doeth all things well," who once gave the kingdoms of the earth to Nebuchadnezzar, and at other times even to still viler lords, will give it to whom he sees good: and if he see good to give it to Israel as a nation, " his will be done."
1 Rom. iv. 11—14.
Even with my present views of the subject, I feel little concern about it. I have no objection to Israel's having any degree of political dominion over other nations, which can be desirable, or even practicable. But an universal political empire, over all the four continents and the isles of the sea, exercised by one nation, in a small country in Asia, seems ill to accord to many prophecies ; and in its own nature it is not at all probable, or indeed conceivable.1 This, ho%vever, which forms so large and prominent a part of Mr. C.'s book, seems to me an object of no consequence, where the great concerns of eternal salvation, or its awful alternative, are under consideration.
Indeed, the grand subject of debate should be brought back, from all conjectures of what shall be, to a simple and accurate consideration of what hath been: for we are far more in danger of erring, in respect of unaccomplished prophecies, than in respect of those events which have evidently occured on earth. The fulfilment of the prophecies, concerning the Messiah and his kingdom, in Jesus Christ and the success of Christianity, may be clearly made out: but both Jews and Christians have to encounter many difficulties in explaining
1 Is. xlix. 2a, lx. 10. 16.
unfulfilled prophecies; and will probably all of them in the event discover how greatly they were mistaken. P. 129. l. 17. “The life of Israel,’ &c.—Does this mean the life of every individual Israelite, or the continuance of Israel's dominion over the nations? The duration of the church's prosperity, and of Israel, will be at least a thousand years. P. 129. l. 21. “Days of the tree of life.”—The words of life are not found in the passage in Isaiah. An oak from its first planting till its final decay by old age, is supposed in some instances to last a thousand years. This seems referred to ; but it is not clear what can be meant by “the days of “ the tree of life;’ or what tree of life is intended." P. 129.1. 27. “The UNITY of God Established.” P. 130. 1, 24. ‘Because he is not worshipped, &c.—It seems, then, that the Lord will reign and be worshipped, as the only God, all over the earth: and, if so, “all the gentiles,” as well as Israel, will thus obey and worship him. P. 131. l. 1. “Joash king of Judah, was the * second,’ &c.—There is no scriptural record concerning Joash making ‘ himself a god.” P. 131. l. 6. “Hiram, king of Tyrus,’ &c.—It is generally supposed that the name of this king of Tyre was Ithobalus, or Ethbaal. The name Hiram, however, does not occur.” . P.131.1.12. “Everyman,’ &c.—Nebuchadnezzar lived some time after his extraordinary madness,
* Gen. ii. 9. iii. 22–24. Prov. iii. 18. xi. 30. xiii. 12. xv. 4. Rev. ii. 7. xxii. 2. 14. *2 Kings xii. 18–21. 2 Chron. xxiv. 17–25. * Ezek. xxviii. 1–19.
died a natural death, and was evidently a humble penitent worshipper of Jehovah. It is not indeed said that Nebuchadnezzar ' made himself a god;' though his arrogant language seemed to imply it.1 The language ascribed to the king of Babylon by Isaiah was intended chiefly for Belshazzar.2—It is also meant that the crucifixion of Jesus was the punishment of his claim; but " he was declared "to be the Son of God with power, by the resur"rection from the dead. "3 Herod, who put James to death, and, because it pleased the Jews, purposed to kill Peter also, should have been added to the list;4 if not from the New Testament, yet from Josephus.
P. 131.1. 24. 'If he will still say,' kc—Balaam is the antecedent: but the writer means, ' If any 'one will say, Man is a God, tell him he is a liar.' That is, if a Christian will say this of Jesus, Balaam is directed to ' call him a liar.' It is not clear how Mr. C. makes out this meaning from Balaam's words ;5 but the interpretation is so little plausible, that it may be safely left.
P. 131.1. 25. 'They that make them:'—that is, images. Mr. C. in this and the following quotations and reasonings, (p. 131, 132J endeavours to disprove the deity of Christ, or rather to set his seal to the sentence of the Jewish Sanhedrin, that he deserved to die, " because he, being a man, "made himself God."6 But certainly texts proving that images of gold and silver, wood or stone, are
1 Dan. iii. 15. iv. 30. v. 19, 20. 'Is. xiv. 12—14.
3 Rom. i. 4. 'Acts xii. 1—4, 21—24.
3 Numb, xxiii. 19. * John x. 33.