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Religion from the Jewislı to the Christian Dispensation, Is it not yet a very little while," and Lebanon [the “ isles of the Gentiles, shall be turned into a fruitful f field, and the fruitful field [the land of Judea] shall “ be esteemed as a forest *?". To make it yet more clear, I observe farther, that the Prophet goes on to declare the change of the SANCTION ; and this was a necessary consequence of the change of the Dispensation.--There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his duys : For the child shall die an hundred years old, but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed t; i. e. the SANCTION OF TEMPORAL REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS shall be no longer administered in an extraordinary manner; for we must remember, that long-lise for obedience, and sudden and untimely death for transgressions, bore an eminent part in the Sanction of the Jewish Law. Now these are expressly said to be abrogated in the Dispensation promised, it being declared that the Virtuous, though dying înmaturely, should be as if they had lived an hundred years; and sinners, though living to an hundred years, as if they had died immaturely..
The very same prophecy in Jeremiah, delivered in less figurative terms, supports this interpretation beyond all possibility of cavil: “Behold the days come, saith the “ Lord, that I will make a NEW COVENANT with the “ house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; not .“ according to the Covenant that I made with their fa
thers, in the day that I took them by the hand, to bring " them out of the land of Egypt.-- But this shall be the m Covenant that I will make .with the house of Israel, . After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my Law “ in their INWARD PARTS, and write it in their “ HEARTSI."
What Isaiah figuratively names a new Heaven and A nemo Ecarth, Jeremiah simply and literally calls a new • Ch. xxix, ver, 17. + Ch.lxv, ver. 20 Ch. xxxi. ver. 31.
Corinant, Covenant. And what kind of Covenant? Not such an one as was made with their Fathers. This was declarațive enough of its nature; yet, to prevent mistakes, he gives as well a positive as a negative description of it: This shall be the Covenant, I will put my Law in their inward parts, &c. i; e. this. Law shall be spiritual, as the other given to their Fathers was carnal: For the Ceremonial Law did not scrutinize the heart, but rested in ex ternal obedience and observances,
Lastly, to crown the whole, we may observe, that Jeremiah too, like Isaiah, fixes the true nature of the Dispensation by declaring the CHANGE of the SANCTION; “ In those days they shall say no more, the fathers have “ eaten a sour grape, and the childrens' teeth are set on “ edge. But every one shall die for ķis own iniquity;
every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be
set on edge *.” For it was part of the Sanction of the Jewish Law, that children should bear the iniquity of their fathers, &c. a mode of punishing which hath been already explained and justified. Yet all these Prophecies of the Gospel being delivered in terms appropriate to the Law, the Jews of that time would naturally, as they in fact did, understand them as speaking of the extension and completion of the old Dispensation, rather than the perfection of it by the introduction of a NEW. And thus their reverence for the present System, under which they were yet to continue, was preserved. The necessity of this proceeding, for the present time;--the effects it would afterwards produce through the perversity of the superstitious followers of the Law;-and the divine goodness as well as wisdom manifested in this proceeding, are, all finely touched in the following passage of Isaiaht“Whorn shall he teach knowledge and whom shall he *** make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned “ from the milk, and drawn from the breasts For
+ Chap. xxviii. 9, & seq. I i. e. Those who were most free from the prejudices of the Eternity of the Lasv.
* Ver. 29.
precept must be (or hath been) upon precept, precept * upon recept, line upon line, line upon line *, here a a little and there a little. For with stammering lips and
another tongue will he speak to this People f. To wiiom he said, This is the rest, and this is the refresto
ingt, yet they would not hear. But the word of the 6 Lord was unto them, preceri opon precept, precept
upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, bere á *6 little and there a little; that they might go and fall * backward, and be broken and snared and taken 3."
Notwithstanding all this, if you will belière, our Adversary.
The books of the Old Testament seem the MOST PLAIN of all ancient writings, and wherein there appear's NOT THE
TRACE OF TYPICAL OR ALLEGORICAL INTENTION in the Authors, or in any other Jews of their times it. He that answers a Freethinker will find employment enough.-Not the least. trace of a typical or allegorical intention! He might as well have said there is not the least trace of poetry in Viryil, or of eloquence in Cicero. But there is none, he says, either in the Aulhors, or in any other Jews of their times. Of both which Assertions, this single Text of Ezekiel will be an abundant confutation-Ah, Lord, THEY SAY OF ME, DOTII HE NOT SPEAK PÁRABLES I ? The Prophet complains that his ineffectual Mission proceeiled from bis speaking, and from the People's conceiving him to speak, of things mysteriously, and in a mode of delivery not understood by them. The Author
* This reduplication of the phrase was to add force and energy to the sense.
i.e. Gospel trathis selivered in the language of the Law.
i.e. The glad tidings of the Gospel. şi.e. This gradual yet repeated instruction, which was given with so much mercy and indulgence, to lead them by slow gentle blejs from the Law to the Gospel, being abused so as to defeat the eud, God in punishment made it the occasion of blinding their eyes and hardening their hearts. # Grounds, &c. p. 82.
Chap. xx. ver. 49.
of the book of Ecclesiasticus, who is reasonably supposed to have been contemporary with Antiochus Epiphanes, represents holy Seripture as fully fraught with typical and allegoric wisdom : “ He that giveth his mind to the “ Law of the Most High, and is occupied in the medita“tion thereof, will seek out the wisdom of the Ancients,
AND BE OCCUPIED IN PROPukcies. He will keep " the sayings of the renowned men; and where 'SUBTILE
PARABLES are, he will be there also. He will seek out the SECRETS OF GRAVE SENTENCES, and be conversant in DARK PARABLES *.
Hence it appears that the Jewish Prophceies were izot so plain as out Adversary represents them; and that their obscurity arose from their having Typical or Allegorical intentions : which figures too related not to the present, but to a future Dispensation, as is farther seen from what Ezekiel says in another place ---Son of man, behold they of the house of Israel say, THE VISION THAT HE SEETH 18 FOR MANY DAYS TO COME, AND HE PROPHESIETH OF THE TIIES THAT ARE FAR OFFt. So that these People to whom the Prophecies were se plain, and who understood them to respect their own times only, without any Typical or Allegoric meaning, complain of obscurities in them, and consider them as referring to very remote times. But I am ashained of being longer serious with so idle a Caviller. The English Bible lies open to every FREETHINKER of Great Britain ; Where they may read it that will, and understand it that can.
As for such 'Writers as the Author of the Grounds and Reasons, To say the truth, one would never wish to see thsın otherwise employed : But when so great and so good a man as GROTIUS hath unwarily cor.tributed to support the dotages of Infidelity, this is such a misadventure as one cannot but lament.
εν προφήβείαις ασχοληθήσέlαι-ιν τροφαϊς παραβολών συνισιλίνο σέλαι-ιν αινίγμασι παραβολών αναγραφήσέlαι. Ch. Xxxix. ver. 1, 2, 3# Chap. xii, yer, 27.
This cxcellent Person (for it is not to be disguised) hath made it his constant endeavour throughout his whole Comment on the Prophets, to find a double şense even in those direct Prophecies which relate to JESUS; and to Jurn the primary sense upon the affairs of the Jewish Dispensation ; only permitting them to relate to JESUS in a secondary : and by that affected strain of interpretation, hath done almost as much harın to Revelation as his other writivgs have done it service: not from any strength there is in his Criticisms (for this, and his Comment on the Apocalypse, are the opprobrium of his great learning), but only from the name they carry with them.
The Principle which Grotius went upon, in coin: menting the Bible, was, that it should be interpreted on the same rules of Criticism that men use in the study of all other ancient Writings. Nothing could be more reasonable than his Principle: but unluckily he deceived himself in the application of it. These rules teach uş phat the GENIUS, PURPOSE, and AUTHORITY of the Writer should be carefully studied. Under the head of his authority, it is to be considered, whether he be a aere human or an inspired Writer. Thus far Grotius went right: he examined that authority; and pronounced the Writers to be inspired, and the Prophecies divine: But when he came to apply these premisses, he utterly forgot his conclusion; and interpreted the Prophecies by rules very different from what the confession of their divine original required: for seeing them pronounced by Jewish Prophets, occupied in Jewish Affairs, he concluded their sale Object was Jewish; and consequently that the proper sense of the Prophecies refcrred to these only. But this was falling back from one of the grounds he went upon, That the Writers were inspired : for his interpretation was only reasonable on the supposition that these Writers prophesied in the very manner which the Pagans understood their Prophets sometimes to have 6