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"me vinegar to drink." He then proceeds, in this awful manner: "Let their table become a "snare before them; and that which should have "been for their welfare, let it become a trap. "Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; "and make their loins continually to shake. "Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let "thy wrathful anger take hold of them. Let "their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell "in their tents. For they persecute him whom "thou hast smitten," (the Messiah;) "and they "talk to the grief of those whom thou hast "wounded" (his disciples). "Add iniquity to "their iniquity; and let them not come into thy "righteousness. Let them be blotted out of the "book of the living, and not be written with the "righteous." 1
Many of the passages in the Psalms, which appear as imprecations, may perhaps more properly be rendered as prophecies: yet in either way they should not be understood as pertaining to the personal enemies of the Psalmist, but to those of the Lord and his Messiah, of whom David was an eminent type. But the passage here quoted is strictly an imprecation; several of the verbs being in the imperative: and there is scarcely room for a doubt, but that they denounce sentence against the Jewish nation for rejecting and crucifying their Messiah, and persecuting his apostles and disciples. If, indeed, these words stood alone in this argument, some doubt might be entertained; and an immense difficulty must remain, concerning the speaker, (supposing him inspired by the Holy Spirit;) and the persons intended, and the manner in which the prediction has been fulfilled. Certainly David, according to the history, was, during Absalom's rebellion, by no means disposed thus to curse his opponents; and, after its termination, no special judgments fell upon Israel, answerable to such language: and when, on his numbering the people, wrath was upon them, he considered it as the punishment of his own sin, and prayed, "Lo, I have sinned, and "done wickedly: but these sheep, what have "they done? Let thine hand be against me, "and against my father's house."* But, when we view the words of the Psalm, in connexion with the clear and express predictions, before considered; their import and fulfilment are evi dent; and the application of them in the New Testament is fully satisfactory.2
1 Ps. Ixix. 20—28.
Several other prophetical indications to the same effect might be adduced: 3 but these are the most clear and decisive; and they are quite sufficient. I shall however adduce again the words of God by Moses. "I will raise them up a Pro- "phet from among their brethren, like unto "thee; and will put my words in his mouth; "and he shall speak unto them all that I shall "command him: and it shall come to pass, that "whosoever will not hearken unto my words "which he shall speak in my name, I will require "it of him."4 If the Messiah be meant, and if Jesus were the Messiah; there can be no longer any doubt concerning the consequences of the Messiah's coming, and his rejection by the Jews; or concerning the real cause of the long continued calamities of the nation. "Do not think that I "will accuse you to the Father: there is one "that accuseth you; even Moses, in whom ye "trust. For, had ye believed Moses, ye would "have believed me; for he wrote of me. But, "if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye be"lieve my words ?"1
1 2 Sam. xxiv. 17. * Acts i. 20—22. Rom. xi. 7—11.'
'Mai. iii. 1—4. iv. 1, 4, 5. 4 Deut. xviii. 18, 19.
Comp. Acts iii. 22, 23. vii. 35—37. 51—53.
Thus, I trust, it has been shewn, that the prophecies of the Old Testament, if read attentively and repeatedly, and carefully compared with each other, by any competent person, who could (if that may be supposed possible,) consider himself wholly unconcerned in the result; would appear to him to predict a Messiah, who would meet with a contemptuous and hostile reception from his own nation; who would, notwithstanding his wisdom, holiness, meekness, and numerous miracles of love and mercy, lead an afflicted and suffering life, and this closed by a violent and ignominious death; by that kind of punishment, which the law pronounced accursed;2 as a malefactor, in man's estimation, as an atoning sacrifice for sin, in the judgment of God: that, while he died with malefactors, he would be buried in the tomb of a rich man: that, according to the prophets, he would arise from the dead, before his body "began to see corruption:" that " he would "ascend into heaven" as a triumphant conqueror, to be seated " at the right hand of God:" that in his high exaltation as "a Priest upon his throne,'' he would establish a glorious, extensive, permanent, and increasing kingdom: and that the immediate effect to the Jewish nation (a remnant excepted,) would be, their rejection for a season from being the peculiar people of God, who would leave "their name as a curse to his chosen; for "the Lord God would slay them, and call his peo"pie by another name," 1 together with the desolation of Jerusalem and the temple; the termination or, at least, the long-continued interruption of almost the whole ceremonial of Moses; and the dispersion of the wretched remains of the Jews through the nations of the earth.
1 John v. 45—47. See also Matt. xxiii. 34—37. Luke xi. 49—51. xiii. 33—37. 1 Thess. ii. 15, 16. * Gal. iii. 13.
I have already so often shewn it, that I have not in this part particularly stated what, I firmly believe, such a student of prophecy would conclude from the Old Testament concerning 'the 'restoration of Israel,' through their receiving, in penitent faith and love, their long rejected Messiah ; and their subsequent honour and distinction of love and gratitude from all other nations, (now converted to Jehovah and his Christ,) as the channels through which all the blessings of true religion and eternal salvation, have flowed to them.
And now, after this whole argument, I can most confidently adopt the apostle's words, "Brethren, "my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, "that they might be saved."—The argument can1 Is. Ixv. 15.
not be done justice to, without bringing forward many things which strongly imply blame, to the former and the present generations of the Jews: but God knoweth that this is not done in any self-preference, or disposition to glory over them. There is one thing peculiarly pleasing to me in stating my views to them; that I am not constrained to say with Jeremiah, "I have not de"sired the woful day, OLord, thou knowest." I trust "the woful day" with Israel is nearly terminated, and that blessed and glorious times, to that nation especially, though not exclusively, are at hand. It is not likely that I should live to witness them: but it seems to my feeling, as if the knowing of them would add extacy to joy even in heaven; and I should count it one of the greatest honours and pleasures of my life, if any thing I have written should, in the smallest degree, contribute to it. I have not, that I know of, written one line but in the spirit of love; and, in transcribing my rough copy, I have been continually reminded of the words of Pope,
'Poets lose half the praise they would have got,
In the eagerness of my natural spirit, many things were put down in the sketch, which they who love controversy would probably have better approved than what I have sent to the press: and I am aware, as in other instances, that the popularity of the work will suffer by the suppressions; but not the usefulness, which is of infinitely greater importance: and, unless we can defend Christianity and its doctrines in the Christian spirit of meekness and love, We may obtain the