« ForrigeFortsett »
know somewhat of the worth of these things, whose excellency they are so well acquainted with, and whose enjoyment they so much desire. And yet, can any man be so stupidly sottish as to think, that in the days of the Messiah hills shall leap, and trees clap their hands, and waste places sing, and sheep of Kedar, and rams of Nebaioth, be made ministers, and Jews suck milk from the breasts of kings, and little children play with cockatrices, literally and properly? And yet those things, with innumerable of the like kind, are promised. Do they not openly proclaim to the meanest comprehension, that the expressions of them are metaphorical, and that some other thing is to be sought for in them?
4. By the seed of Abraham, by Jacob and Israel, in many places of the prophets, not their carnal seed, at least not all their carnal seed, is intended; but the children of the faith of Abraham, who are the inheritors of the promise. And this we have proved before, in our dissertation about the Oneness of the Church of the Old and New Testament.
5. By all people, all nations, the Gentiles, all the Gentiles, or the like; not all absolutely, especially at any one time, or season, are to be understood; but either the most eminent and most famous of them, or else those in whom the church, by reason of their vicinity, is more especially concerned. God oftentimes chargeth the Jews of old, that they had worshipped the gods of all the nations; whereby not all nations absolutely, but only those that were about them, with whom · they had commerce and communication, were intended. And those which, in an especial manner, seem to be designed in those prophetical expressions, are that collection of nations, whereof the Roman empire was constituted, which obtained the common appellation
of the whole world, being, for the main of them, the posterity of Japhet, who were to be persuaded to dwell in the tents of Shem.
6. It must be observed, that whatever is to be effected by the spirit, grace, or power of the Messiah, during the continuance of his kingdom in the world, is mentioned in the promises, às that which was to be accomplished, at, or by his coming. But here, as we before observed, lieth the mistake of the Jews; whatever is spoken about his work and kingdom, they expect to have fulfilled, as it were, in a day, which, neither the nature of the things themselves will bear, nor is it any way suited to the glory of God, or the duration of this kingdom in the world. Indeed, all the things that are foretold about the kingdom of the Messiah, are referred to his coming, because before that they were not wrought, and they are produced by his spirit and grace, and the foundation of them all was perfectly and unchangeably laid in what he did and effected upon his first coming.
7. It is granted, that there shall be a time, during the continuance of the Messiah's kingdom in this world, wherein the generality of the nation of the Jews all the world over shall be called and effectually brought to the knowledge of the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ, with which mercy they shall receive deliverance from their captivity, restoration into their own land, with a blessed, flourishing, and happy condition therein. But by whom shall these things be wrought for them? By their Messiah, say they, at his coming. But shall he do all these things for them, whether they believe him or no; whether they obey him or reject him, love him or curse him? Is there no more required to this delivery, but that he should come to them? Is it not also required, that they should
come to him? Here then lies the only difference between us. They are in expectation that the Messiah will come to them; we, that they will come to the Messiah.
8. Suppose that there should be any particular promise or promises relating to the times and kingdom of the Messiah, either accomplished, or not yet accomplished, the full, clear, and perfect sense and intendment of which we are not able to discover; shall we therefore reject that faith and persuasion which is built on so many clear, certain, undoubted testimonies of the scripture itself, and manifest in the event, as if it were with the beams of the sun? For as such a proceeding could arise from nothing but a foolish conceited pride, that we are able to find out God to perfection, and to discover all the depths of wisdom that are in his word; so, being applied to other affairs, it would overthrow all assurance and certainty in the world. What then we understand of the mind of God, we faithfully adhere to; and what we cannot comprehend, we humbly leave the farther revelation of it to his divine Majesty.
$3. (II.) We shall shew the perfect consistency of the promises referred to by the Jews, with the Christian religion.
First, then, they insist upon that UNIVERSAL PEACE in the whole world, which they take to be promised in the days of the Messiah. To this purpose they urge, Isa. ii, 24; “And it shall come to pass in the last "days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be “established in the top of the mountains,” &c. We agree with the Jews, that this is a prophecy of the Messiah, and of his kingdom in this world; but we differ from them in the exposition of the “mountain of “the house of the Lord;" they take it to be mount Moriah, we, the worship of God itself. And whereas both of us are necessitated to depart from the letter, and allow a metaphor in the words, for they will not contend that the hill Moriah shall be plucked up by the roots, and taken and set on the tops of other mountains they know not where, nor can they tell to what purpose; so, our interpretation of the words, which admits only of the most usual figurative expression, the place being taken for the worship performed in it, on the account whereof alone it was ever of any esteem, is far more easy and natural than any thing they can make of the remainder of the words, supposing mount Moriah to bc literally understood. And in this sense we affirm the first part of the prophecy to be long since accomplished, really and to the full. For,
1. The temporal outward peace of the world, (if any such thing be here intended) is not the principal part. or subject of the promise; but rather the spiritual worship of God, which is evidently and openly fulfilled. That which is temporal, as to the times and seasons of it, is left to the sovereign will and wisdom of God for its accomplishment. Neither is it necessary that it should be fulfilled amongst all nations at once, but only amongst them who at any time, or in any place, effectually receive the laws of God from the Messiah.
2. That the words are not to be understood absolutely, according to the strictness of the letter, is evident from that part of the prediction in Micah, “Every "one shall sit down under his own vine, and under his “fig-tree,” there being many, not only persons but great nations in the world, that have neither the one nor the other.
3. The Jews themselves do not expect such peace upon the coming of the Messiah. War, great and terrible, with Gog and Magog, they look for. But I say,
4. That Christ at his coming wrought perfect peace between God and man, slaying the enmity and difference which, by reason of sin, was between them. This alone absolutely and properly is peace. And where this is, no wars and tumults can hinder, but that the persons enjoying it shall be preserved in perfect peace.
5. He hath also wrought true spiritual peace and love between all that sincerely believe in him, all his elect; which, although it frees them not from outward troubles, persecutions, oppressions, and afflictions in the earth, and that from some also that may make profession of his name; yet, they having peace with God, and among themselves, they enjoy the promise to the full satisfaction of their souls. And this peace of the elect with God, and among themselves, is the real intent of this prediction; though expressed in terms of outward peace in the world.
6. The Lord Christ by his doctrine hath not only proclaimed and offered peace with God to all nations, but also given precepts of peace and self-denial, directing and guiding all the sons of men to live in
peace among themselves; whereas the Jews of old had express command for war, and destroying the nations among whom they were to inbabit, which gives a great foundation to the promises of peace in the days of the Messiah.
7. Let it be supposed (though not granted) that it is general outward peace, prosperity, and tranquillity that is here promised; yet, even then, the precise time of its accomplishment is not here determined. If it be effected during the kingdom and reign of the Messiah