« EelmineJätka »
diverse from all the rest, with a mouth speaking great things—apostatizing from the church of Christ, though remaining within it-persecuting the saints of God and prevailing against them ?--has he humbled and brought down three of the ten kingdoms? has this little horn thought to change times and laws? and in this latter day of the fourth government, has he began to decline, so that he is now without power or influence-driven from his seat of government, and fast hastening to his appointed end, and that by means of the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, which has ever since the protestant succession, been rolling against the legs and feet of the image and breaking them in pieces, and which stone, according to divine prediction, shall soon become a great mountain ?
Has not a government with a fierce countenance, lately risen up, publicly professing atheism as a system, and denouncing all divine and religious worship of the Father and the Son ?
Has not his power been mighty-has he not destroyed wonderfully-has not craft prospered in his hand-has he not magnified himself in his heart, and by peace destroyed many ?- This is an epithet wholly peculiar to himself, different from all who have gone
before him. If these things cannot be denied, may we not safe. ly trust that the Almighty God has verily instructed his servants the prophets in all these things, and in
those others also, which by the like predictions are shortly to come to pass ?
Is not all this confirmed by the command to seal the book until towards the end ; that is, these prophecies should not be fully understood, till they were made manifest towards the end of the fourth government, by the fulfilment of so many of them, that the wise and careful observer, could not help taking notice of their particular application ?
This conduces greatly to the faith of the people of God, for not being earlier understood in their proper extent, it cannot be suspected or feared, that either friends or enemies could accomplish or bring about, the things foretold, by design or fraud. But now that their fulfilment becomes so striking and powerful, the wise, that is, the fearer of God, and one who is watching the footsteps of his providence in faith and patience-he who believes the divine predictions, and is satisfied with knowing the mind and will of God, without bringing the divine conduct to the test of the weak capacity of finite and sinful dust and ashes; and who carefully and with a zeal founded in knowledge, compares the prophecies with the events that have taken place he shall understand, and by that knowledge hide himself till the indignation be over-passed, which will assuredly overtake the presumptuous, vain pretender to philosophy, valuing himself on his fancied wisdom--the careless and the unbeliever.
This reasoning is justified by that light of the world, the famous Sir Isaac Newton, who, though a real and experimental philosopher, and most profound reasoner, did not think the subject beneath his notice; but gave much time to the consideration of the prophetic denunciations of the scriptures, as one of the greatest objects that could engage the christian philosopher. He
says, “ It is a part of this prophecy, that it should not be understood before the last age of the world (meaning the Roman world) and therefore it makes for the credit of the prophecy, that it is not yet understood. The folly of interpreters has been to foretel times and things by this prophecy, as if God designed to make them prophets--The design of God was much otherwise-he gave them not to gratify men's curiosity, by enabling them to foreknow things; but that after they were fulfilled, they might be interpreted by the events; and his own providence, not the interpreter's, be then manifested thereby to the world-and there is already so much of prophecy fulfilled, that as many, as will take pains in this study may see sufficient instances of God's providence.”
If this was the opinion of this great man, almost one hundred years ago, what would he have said at this day, when the fulfilments are so much more evident and numerous ?
HAVING thus taken a cursory view of the general declarations and predictions of the old Testament, with the detailed events foretold therein; and having given the promises, the types, the figures and the shadows of the first coming in the flesh of our divine Redeemer, when the fulness of time should come, fully held up therein, it is time to proceed further, in order to see how far those ideas are corroborated and fulfilled in the new.
Agreeably to the divine predictions, when the appointed time came, and the sixty-second week of Daniel's prophecy drew near, Jesus Christ the great end and anti-type, was born a babe at Bethlehem, an inconsiderable city in the tribe of Judah.
Before his birth, he was announced by an angel to his virgin mother, and in a dream to his reputed father Joseph. At his birth, the angelic host appeared in glory to the shepherds, and revealed to them the stupendous event.--A star in the east, and the destruction of the children by Herod, both, in opposite ways, declared the fulfilment of the ancient
prophecies. True it is, that this mighty Prince and Saviour appeared in a state of the lowest humilia. tion and contrary to the universal expectation of the men of the world, who believing the predictions relating to the time of his appearance to be near their end, were in hopes of a temporal prince and conqueror, who should raise their dejected nation, now prostrate under the Roman yoke, to the height of opulence and power.
But if this had not been his state and circumstances, what would have become of the hopes and confidence of the true Israelite, who was like Simeon looking for the consolation of Israel, in the fulfilment of the divine predictions ?-How could the babe of Bethlehem have otherwise grown up before Him, as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground ?
How could he have answered the prophetic predictions of having no form or comeliness; and that they who saw him, should not perceive any beauty to make him desirable ?-How could he otherwise have been despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief? How in any other circumstances could he have borne our griefs and carried our sorrows? or been esteemed stricken of God and afflicted ?
It was only in this state of humiliation, that he could possibly have been wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, or the chastisement by which our peace was effected, been laid upon him; or that by his stripes we could have been healed.