Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

ܪ

raised up about the same time to commit their prophecies to
writing Isaiah, and Amos, and Jonah, and Micah, and Nahumi,
and probably some others; and so from that time forward
God seemed to continue a succession of writing prophets.

This was a great dispensation of Providence, and a great ad
vance made in the affair of redemption, which appears, if we
consider what was said before, that the main business of the
prophets was to foreshew Christ, and his redemption. They
were all forerunners of the great prophet. The main end
why the spirit of prophecy was given them was, that they
might give testimony to Jesus Christ, the great Redeemer,
that was to come ; and therefore the testimony of Jesus; and
the spirit of prophecy, are spoken of as the same thing : Rev.
xix. 10. ^ And I fell at his feet to worship him : And' he said
unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of
thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus : Worship God:
For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.": And
therefore we find, that the great and main thing that the
most of the prophets in their written prophecies insist upon,
is Christ and his redemption, and the glorious times of the
gospel, which should be in the latter days, according to their
manner of expression. And though many other things were
spoken of in their prophecies, yet it seems to be only as intro-
ductory to their prophecy of these great things. Whatever
they prophecy of, here their prophecies commonly terminate,
as you may see by a careful perusal of their writings.

These prophets were set to writing their prophecies by the spirit of Christ that was in them, chiefly for that end, to foreshow and prepare the way for the coming of Christ, and the glory that should follow. And in what an exalted strain do they all speak of those things ; many other things they speak of in men's usual language. But when they come upon this subject, what a joyful heavenly sublimity is there in the language they use about it! Some of them are very particular and full in their predictions of these things, and above all the Prophet Isaiah, who is therefore deservedly called the evangelical prophet. He seems to teach the glorious doctrines of the gospel almost as plainly as the apostles did, who preach,

VOL. II. R

!

[ocr errors]

ed after Christ was actually come. The Apostle Paul there fore takes notice, that the Prophet Esaias is very bold, Rom, x. 20. 1. e, as the meaning of the word, as used in the New Testament, is very plain, he speaks out very plainly and fylly-1.250 being very bold” is used, 2 Cor. iii. 12, we use

great. Blajaness of speech,” or “ boldness," as it is in the Hargin. ». How plainly and fully does the prophet Isaiah describe the manies and circumstances, the nature and end of the suffer. ing and sacrifice of Christ, in the 53d chapter of his prophecy. There is scarce a chapter in the New Testament itself which is more fult on it! And how much, and in what a glorious strain, does the same prophet speak from time to time of the glorigus benefits of Christ, the unspeakable blessings which shall redeund to his church through his redemption ! Jesus Christ the person that this pxophet spoke so much of, once sepeared to Isaiah in the form of the human nature, the mar hire that he should afterwards take upon him. We have an account of it in the 6th chapter of his prophecy at the begin ning : * & saw also the Lorek sitting on a tarone, high and lift. ed ops, and his train filled the temple, &c. This was Christ that: Egajah now say, as we are expressly told in the New Tesr tament. See John xii. 39, 40, 41.

And if we consider the abundant prophecies of this and the other prophets, what a great increase is there of the light of the gospel, which had been growing from the fall of man to this day? How plentiful are the revelations and prophecies of Christ now, to what they were in the first period of the Old Testament, from Adam to Noah? Or to what they were in the second, from Noah to Abraham ? Or to what they were before Moses, or in the time of Moses, Joshua, and the Judg. es? This dispensation that we are now speaking of was also a glorious, advance of the work of redemption by the great ad ditions that were made to the canon of scripture. Great part of the Old Testament was written now, from the days of Uz. ziah to the captivity into Babylon. And how excellent are those portions of it? What a precious treasure have those prophets committed to the church of God, tending greatly to

[ocr errors]

1

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

PART VI.]

WORK OF REDEMPTION. confirm the gospel of Christ ? And which has beebi of great comfort and benefit to God's church in all ages since, era dubtless will be to the end of the world.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

I COME now. to the ldat period of the Old Testament, piz. that which begins with the Babylonish Captivity, and ex tends to the coming of Christ, being the greatest part of sit hundred years; to shew how the work of redemption was car. Fied on through this period.

But before I enter upon particulars, I would observe in three things, wherein this period is distinguished from the precech ing periods of the times of the Old Testament.

b. Though we have no account of a great part of this period in the scripture history, yet the events of this period are more the subject of scripture prophecy, than any of the preceding periods. There are two ways wherein the scriptures give ac: count of the events by which the work of redemption is carried on; one is by history, and anotheris bý prophecy: And in one or the other of these ways we have contained in the scriptures án account how the work of redemption is carried on from the be: ginning to the end. Although the scriptures do not contain a proper history of the whole, yet there is contained the whole chain of great events by which this affair hath been carried on from the foundation, soon after the fall of inan, to the finishing of it at the end of the world, either in history or prophecy. And it is to be observed, that where the scripture is wanting in one of these ways, it is made up in the other. Where scripture history fails, there prophecy takes place ; so that the account is still carried on, and the chain is not broken, tilt: we come to the very last link of it in the consummation of all things,

1

And accordingly it is observable of this period or spaco of time that we are upon, that though it is so much less the subject of scripture history, than most of the preceding peri, ods, so that there is above four hundred years of it that the iscriptures give us no history of; yet the events of this period are more the subject of scripture prophecy, than the events of all the preceding periods put together. Most of those re: markable prophecies of the book of Daniel do refer to events that were accomplished in this period: So most of those prophécies in Isaiah, and Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, against Babylon, and Tyrus, and against Egypt, and many other nations, were fulfilled in this period.

So that the reason why the scriptures give us no history of so great a part of this period, is not because the events of this period were not so important, or less worthy to be taken notice of, than the events of the foregoing periods ; for I shall hereafter show how great and distinguishedly remarkable the events of this period were. But there are several other reasons which may be given of it. One is that it was the will of God that the spirit of prophecy should cease in this period, (for reasons that may be given hereafter :) so that there were no prophets to write the history of these times ; and therefore God, designing this, took care that the great events of this period should not be without mention in his word ; and so ordered it, that the prophecies of scripture should be more full herc, than in the preceding periods. It is observable, that that set of writing prophets that God raised up in Israel, were raised up at the latter end of the foregoing period, and at the beginning of this ; which it is likely was partly for that reason, that the time was now approaching, of which the spirit of prophecy having ceased, there was to be no scripture history, and therefore no other scripture account but what was given in prophecy

And another reason that may be given why there was so great a part of this period left without an historical account in scripture, is, that God in his providence took care, that there should be authentic and full accounts of the events of this pem riod preserved in. profane history. It is remarkable, and verë

1

worthy to be taken notice of, that with respect to the events of the five preceding periods, of which the scriptures give the history, profane history gives us no account, or at least of but very

few of them. There are many fabulous and uncertain accounts of things that happened before ; but the beginning of the times of authentic profane history is judged to be but a little before Nebuchadnezzar's time, about an hundred years before. The learned men among the Greeks and Romans, used to call the ages before that; the fabulous age ; but the times after that they called, the historical age. And from about that time to the coming of Christ, we have undoubted accounts in profane history of the principal events ; accounts that wonderfully agree with the many prophecies that we have in scripture of those times.

Thus did the great God, that disposés all thing's; order it. He took care to give an historical account of things from the beginning of the world, through all those former ages which profane history does not reach, and ceased not till he came to those later ages in which profane history related things with somé certainty : And concerning those times, he gives us abundant account in prophecy, that, by comparing profane hisa tory with those prophècies, we might see the agreement:

2. This period being the last period of the Old Testament, and the next to the coming of Christ, „seems to have been remarkably distinguished from all others in the great revolutions that were among the nations of the earth, to make way for the kingdom of Christ. The time now drawing nigh, wherein Christ, the great King and Saviour of the world, was to comė, great and mighty were the changes that were brought to pass in order to it. The way had been preparing for the coming of Christ from the fall of man, through all the foregoing periods : But now the time drawing nigh, things began to ripen apace for Christ's coming ; and therefore divine Providence wrought wonderfully now. revolutions that any history whatsoever gives an account of, that ever had been from the flood, fell out in this period. Almost all the then known world, i. e. all the nations that Were round about the land of Canaan, far and near, that were

The greatest

« ÎnapoiContinuați »