[ocr errors]

for the pious sufferer, and the accession of a new race or description of men in consequence thereof_“I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation * will I praise thee .... All the ends of the world sball remember themselves, and be turned unto the Lord : and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before him .... My seed shall serve him: they shall be counted unto the Lord for a generationt. They shall come; and the heavens shall declare his righteousness unto A PEOPLE THAT SHALL BE BORN, WHOM THE LORD HATH MADE (Ib. 22, &c.).

In another Psalm we shall find the preexisting Son or Word begin as it may be with a triumphant note, and continue the same throughout, e. g. “Give the king thy judgment, O God; and thy judgments unto the king's son He shall come down like the rain into a fleece of wool, even as the drops that water the earth. In his time shall the righteous flourish; yea, and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. His dominion shall be also from the one sea to the other; and from the flood unto the world's end .... ALL KINGS SHALL FALL DOWN BEFORE HIM; ALL NATIONS SHALL DO HIM HOMAGE .... His name shall endure for ever; his name shall remain under the sun among the posterities which shall be blessed through him; and ALL THE HEATHEN SHALL PRAISE HIM. Blessed be the Lord God, even the God of Israel, which only doeth wondrous things; and blessed be the name of his majesty for ever: and all the earth shall be filled with his majesty. Amen, Amen” (Ps. lxxii. 1, &c.). While in another Psalm, the note shall be not only triumphant perhaps, but even indignant on account of the opposition subdued; as for example, " Why do the heathen so furiously rage together, and why do the people imagine a vain thing” &c. (Ib. ii. 1, &c.) And as for this Psalm;

* Compare Matt. xviii. 20. + According to Matt. xii. 50: John I. iii. 1, &c.

the expressions are all so pointed and apposite throughout, that they really defy selection; there is not a word in the Psalm, but clearly applies to the Subject, Jesus, the Christ or Messiah : and all together will apply to no other, but to him and to the parties concerned with him in either, that is in either a friendly or hostile, relation; as not to Solomon for example; nor to any other king, or king's son upon earth. And other Psalms might still be added, which it is not necessary even to enumerate. For should one continue selecting Psalms for this purpose, the most apposite might still escape one's notice-SO PREGNANT IS THE WHOLE COLLECTION WITH EVIDENCES OF THE SUBJECT. “O Lord, our Governor, how excellent is thy name in all the world: thou that hast set thy glory above the heavens !” (Ps. viii. 1.)

-10, The same that has here been observed of the Psalms might be observed likewise of the rest of the prophets : of one of which a sample must be given not only because he has not been brought forward yet according to his merit and importance, but because the intrinsic importance of the passage selected for such sample, intitles it likewise to a particular consideration. It is that divine chapter the thirty-fourth of Ezekiel: a chapter in which the divinity and identity of the Subject are most clearly predicted; particularly from verse the eleventh ; and again more particularly at the twentieth,“ Therefore, thus saith THE LORD God, Behold I, EVEN I, will judge between the fat cattle, and between the lean cattle,” &c. (Ezek. xxxiv. 20), corresponding with that expression of David's as the royal representative of Israel, “ The LORD HIMSELF is my Shepherd: therefore can I lack nothing” (Ps. xxiii. 1). But the dependence of the shepherd mentioned in v. 23 of the forecited 34th of Ezekiel on the Shepherd mentioned in the preceding verses from “My sheep,” &c., v. 6, down to this, which clearly imply the union or assimilation of two Persons in one office and authority, both being only One in the relation of a Shepherd self appointed and the same appointed by the same in the line of David,-is the nearest trait of identity that can be imagined for the Subject with his Head or divine Principal, and also the plainest version of that seeming paradox, which the Subject proposes to Philip,

“ He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John xiv. 9), and another to the Jews, “ I and my Father are One” (Ib. x. 30): it is also in the same spirit with the psalm just cited throughout. And a man must be more than spiritually blind, he must be deficient in common understanding, if he cannot only in these two or three quotations, to say nothing of those which have preceded them, discover the catholic doctrine of the Subject's distinct divinity and humanity with their respective circumstances. It would be attributing too much to the resources of the last mentioned human nature, or to David, Ezekiel, or any other prophet,-for others are with them in this case, to imagine that such a mystery could ever be their invention; being as it is, enough for men to comprehend without inventing it,--whether they be Jews or Greeks,-half believers, or downright infidels; as St. Paul observes, “ The Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified; unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness" (Cor, I. i. 22, 23). The question is, Who will be able to comprehend such a mystery as this amid the spiritual imperception that still prevails even in Christendom? And what would heaping on evidence in this case be for many, if not like choaking a fire with much fuel, or heaping on fuel, when the fire was gone out ?

-11, Yet should some consider, that single chapters and single psalms are still but odds and ends, and not whole tissues of prophecy, one has not far to look for the example of a whole tissue, an undeniable tissue, a long tissue also, and a broad; in which there is hardly any thing, a few national prejudices only excepted, that does not point directly to Messiah, and with sufficient circumstance to identify him in the humble Jesus. The argument alluded to will nearly extend through the whole of the ten or twelve last chapters of Isaiah, and not through these only but others occasionally preceding them. Indeed he must be very deficient in feeling and apprehension even for an infidel; he must want for his intellectual sight a little of that excitation of which every sense is highly susceptible, who can read this prophet throughout; where a mysterious person is so continually, and from the fortyeighth chapter to the end almost incessantly, alluded to, without a lively sensation and asking himself at every turn like Candace's treasurer,“ Of whom speaketh the prophet this?” (Acts viii. 34.) Who can this be from first to last, and still going on, of whom so many, so great, and so contrary facts and circumstances are antenarrated ? But supposing the reader to be one who believes like Philip, will it be possible for him to read the prophet without burning and believing more and more as he proceeds; till, passing finally under the meridian heat of the last eighteen or twenty chapters, his heart is all on fire ? For here the effect of combination will be heightened again by that of contrast or opposition: as, if having two or three particulars included in one prediction be a way to render it more palpable, the including in itself of not only several but opposite and seemingly incompatible particulars is the way to render it more palpable again or twice as palpable. Opposite natures or qualities will produce opposite stations in life; and therefore generally it would be no great matter to predict the attendance of one with the other: but predicting opposite natures and stations combined, as appearing in this case, is a novelty that could never have been anticipated. For here extremes meet in every shape; divinity and humanity with the highest circumstances of the one and the lowest of the other were literally predicted of this one Subject,—and happening as they were predicted, have been similarly recorded.

-12, It may also be worth remarking, how this indirect evidence, or matter of record affords a secondary evidence in its own accidents, as in its keeping or preservation, for example; which is clearly the result of a special Providence. And, that every possible confirmation may be given to the Word of prophecy in so important a case, the same Word is preserved by a party most inimical to the Subject, or rather by two; but by the orthodox Jews especially. Neither is that all: for by the same orthodox of every sort the Word is also applied or imputed as well as preserved—they say, by some of the most learned, as well as most bigotted among the orthodox Jews, in their Targums or catholic commentaries: and it is no secret, what has been done by others. Yet still this is but half; as it seems that not only the Word of prophecy, but likewise the Word of record, which is its verification, has been providentially confided to the enemies of truth: both parties being suffered, like asses in panniers, to be the porters only, and not the enjoyers of this immortal food; “ because that unto them were committed the oracles of God” (Rom. iii. 2); which however they do not believe: and such is the advantage of the orthodox of either sort over inquirers. But leaving them all to the enjoyment of a name, if they prefer it to the enjoyment of truth; let us study to improve ourselves by the light, and to stay ourselves upon the evidence so wonderfully preserved and transmitted to us : that will be the way to advance in the final, and of all sorts most satisfactory proof, or rather, consummation;

-13, Our own experience: whereby feeling and observing THE EMPIRE OF THE CROSS, as we may more sensibly than the empire of either reason or nature, we gradually come to discover the Subject's identity. This is perhaps of every sort of evidence the most complete and express that God has afforded to mankind of his Son Jesus Christ; being direct by his Word and Spirit, and indirect by the attestation of human knowledge and experience in those who are regenerated by the same Word and Spirit, the Head of their intellectual and spiritual existence.

We can now see why many things should be as they

« VorigeDoorgaan »