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Church-State Relations and the Book of Revelation
An Introduction to The Parousia: A Careful Look at the New Testament Doctrine of the Lord's Second Coming
by James Stuart Russell (1878) // Written by
Todd Dennis, Curator




Portrait of Patrick Fairbairn
Patrick Fairbairn

Patirck Fairbairn

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070: Clement: First Epistle of Clement

075: Baruch: Apocalypse Of Baruch

075: Barnabus: Epistle of Barnabus

090: Esdras 2 / 4 Ezra

100: Odes of Solomon

150: Justin: Dialogue with Trypho

150: Melito: Homily of the Pascha

175: Irenaeus: Against Heresies

175: Clement of Alexandria: Stromata

198: Tertullian: Answer to the Jews

230: Origen: The Principles | Commentary on Matthew | Commentary on John | Against Celsus

248: Cyprian: Against the Jews

260: Victorinus: Commentary on the Apocalypse "Alcasar, a Spanish Jesuit, taking a hint from Victorinus, seems to have been the first (AD 1614) to have suggested that the Apocalyptic prophecies did not extend further than to the overthrow of Paganism by Constantine."

310: Peter of Alexandria

310: Eusebius: Divine Manifestation of our Lord

312: Eusebius: Proof of the Gospel

319: Athanasius: On the Incarnation

320: Eusebius: History of the Martyrs

325: Eusebius: Ecclesiastical History

345: Aphrahat: Demonstrations

367: Athanasius: The Festal Letters

370: Hegesippus: The Ruin of Jerusalem

386: Chrysostom: Matthew and Mark

387: Chrysostom: Against the Jews

408: Jerome: Commentary on Daniel

417: Augustine: On Pelagius

426: Augustine: The City of God

428: Augustine: Harmony

420: Cassian: Conferences

600: Veronica Legend

800: Aquinas: Eternity of the World




1265: Aquinas: Catena Aurea

1543: Luther: On the Jews

1555: Calvin: Harmony on Evangelists

1556: Jewel: Scripture

1586: Douay-Rheims Bible

1598: Jerusalem's Misery ; The dolefull destruction of faire Ierusalem by Tytus, the Sonne of Vaspasian

1603: Nero : A New Tragedy

1613: Carey: The Fair Queen of Jewry

1614: Alcasar: Vestigatio arcani sensus in Apocalypsi

1654: Ussher: The Annals of the World

1658: Lightfoot: Commentary from Hebraica

1677: Crowne - The Destruction of Jerusalem

1764: Lardner: Fulfilment of our Saviour's Predictions

1776: Edwards: History of Redemption

1785: Churton: Prophecies Respecting the Destruction of Jerusalem

1801: Porteus: Our Lord's Prophecies

1802: Nisbett: The Coming of the Messiah

1805: Jortin: Remarks on Ecclesiastical History

1810: Clarke: Commentary On the Whole Bible

1816: Wilkins: Destruction of Jerusalem Related to Prophecies

1824: Galt: The Bachelor's Wife

1840: Smith: The Destruction of Jerusalem

1841: Currier: The Second Coming of Christ

1842: Bastow : A (Preterist) Bible Dictionary

1842: Stuart: Interpretation of Prophecy

1843: Lee: Dissertations on Eusebius

1845: Stuart: Commentary on Apocalypse

1849: Lee: Inquiry into Prophecy

1851: Lee: Visions of Daniel and St. John

1853: Newcombe: Observations on our Lord's Conduct as Divine Instructor

1854: Chamberlain: Restoration of Israel

1854: Fairbairn: The Typology of Scripture

1859: "Lee of Boston": Eschatology

1861: Maurice: Lectures on the Apocalypse

1863: Thomas Lewin : The Siege of Jerusalem

1865: Desprez: Daniel (Renounced Full Preterism)

1870: Fall of Jerusalem and the Roman Conquest

1871: Dale: Jewish Temple and Christian Church (PDF)

1879: Warren: The Parousia

1882: Farrar: The Early Days of Christianity

1883: Milton S. Terry: Biblical Hermeneutics

1888: Henty: For The Temple

1891: Farrar: Scenes in the days of Nero

1896: Lee : A Scholar of a Past Generation

1902: Church: Story of the Last Days of Jerusalem

1917: Morris: Christ's Second Coming Fulfilled

1985: Lee: Jerusalem; Rome; Revelation (PDF)

1987: Chilton: The Days of Vengeance

2001: Fowler: Jesus - The Better Everything

2006: M. Gwyn Morgan - AD69 - The Year of Four Emperors

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Prophecy Viewed in Respect to its Distinctive Character; its Special Function and its Proper Interpretation

Patrick Fairbairn




"The predictions of Christ, to this effect, were, no doubt, uttered not very long before the event, and it has sometimes been surmised, that the publication of the Gospels, which contain the prophecy, may have been subsequent to the occurrence of the event. But the surmise is so destitute of all probability, that no candid and serious adversary can think of urging it."



We have hitherto confined our attention to the prophecies of the Old Testament, and to that portion of these which had scarcely, or not at all, entered on their fulfilment at the close of the Babylonish captivity; because it is in regard to such, that the conditions formerly specified as necessary to be borne in mind for handling successfully the argument from prophecy, most distinctly and obviously hold. It is only from the difficulty of rendering manifest, to a distrustful and doubting mind, the existence of those conditions in the case of some other prophecies, of some, especially in the writings of Daniel, where the particulars are most full, and the fulfilment in various parts the most striking, that we omit them in a consideration of the apologetic use of prophecy. Their use will be found rather in directing the views, and establishing the faith of those who already believe in the Divine authority and inspiration of Scripture, than in overcoming the scruples of such as may still be lingering in the regions of unbelief. And from the close connection in form, partly also in substance, between the prophecies of Daniel, and the Revelation of St John, it is scarcely possible to enter on a particular examination of the one, without going first into a pretty full consideration of the other.

There is no reason, however, why the argument from prophecy should be altogether conducted with a reference to the predictions of the Old Testament. For, while New Testament Scripture, in perfect accordance with the dispensation to which it belongs, deals much less in specific announcements respecting the future, than the Old; it is yet by no means absolutely devoid of such. There is one, in particular, which has also a point of contact with some of the Old Testament prophecies, and is but a detailed exhibition of what they more generally indicate—namely, our Lord's prediction regarding the destruction of Jerusalem. The prophecies of Isaiah (chap. vi.), and Daniel (chap. ix.), already referred to, gave no doubtful indication of troubles and desolations, which the spirit of apostacy was yet to bring upon Judah and Jerusalem, even after the people had regained a considerable degree of power and prosperity, nay, after the Messiah himself had come. Various prophecies also in Zechariah, especially those in chap. v., xii., xiii., evidently pointed in the same direction; in them the promise of Messiah and the prospect of good that was to be the characteristic of His times, was coupled with the mention of fearful calamities and floods of tribulation on account of sin. But it was our Lord who first clearly announced the coming retribution, and described it as one that was to bring along with it the most sweeping desolation, and as so near at hand, that the existing generation was to see it accomplished. The predictions of Christ, to this effect, were, no doubt, uttered not very long before the event, and it has sometimes been surmised, that the publication of the Gospels, which contain the prophecy, may have been subsequent to the occurrence of the event. But the surmise is so destitute of all probability, that no candid and serious adversary can think of urging it. The very form of the prediction, in its most specific announcement, is against the supposition; since it is so much occupied with directions and warnings to the disciples how to conduct themselves in anticipation of the event; while the testimony of antiquity is quite uniform as to the priority of the prophecy. Uttered, then, at the time it purports to have been, that is, not less than forty years before the calamities it depicts—at a time when, in the political horizon, there was no appearance of any impending storm, and on simply natural grounds, there was no reason to apprehend extreme measures of any kind, it can be ascribed to nothing but Divine foresight on the part of Christ, that He should have so clearly descried, not only the approaching danger, but the overwhelming nature of the catastrophe in which it was to terminate:—first, a strait siege of the city, then its surrender into the hands of the enemy, followed by its merciless destruction—its very temple laid in ruins, and its people scattered abroad, trodden down by the Gentiles; while, on the other hand, the gospel of His salvation, which they had despised and rejected, should spread far and wide, and everywhere take root in the earth (Matt . xriv. 2, 15, 21, Luke xxi. 6, 20-24). To foresee such results—results in many respects opposed to the intentions, and the general policy of the Romans, who were the chief instruments in effecting it—and with such a tone of assurance announce them so long beforehand, was not to speak in the manner of men ; and no one, who looks calmly into the circumstances, can ever find an explanation that will be satisfactory to his own mind, by the help merely of some unusual degree of shrewdness on the part of Jesus, or of a certain fortuitous combination of circumstances in Providence.

We refrain from entering farther into the details of the subject, which would carry us beside our present purpose. In another connection, the circumstances of Jerusalem's destruction will come again to be noticed in a subsequent chapter. And though the argument from New Testament prophecy admits of being strengthened by the consideration of what is written of Antichrist, and the great apostacy, yet we refrain also from taking up this topic in the present connection. The diversities of opinion now current even among Protestant and Evangelical divines on the precise import of the predictions bearing on that subject, have in great measure destroyed its apologetic value, and require for it in a work like the present, a separate treatment. Meanwhile, we trust, there is enough in the line of

argument indicated, to show, that a most important and conclusive branch of evidence is yielded by prophecy in support of the great facts and doctrines of the Bible. We must say, however, in conclusion, that for a just appreciation of this evidence, and the capacity either of using or profiting by it aright, the careful study of the prophetic Scriptures on sound principles of interpretation, is indispensabla Here also it is the patient and continued search, to which the choicest treasures are revealed. Could we only persuade those who have placed themselves in an antagonistic position, and contemplate the subject from a distance, to take up in a spirit of candid and earnest inquiry, so much as one or two portions of the prophetical Scriptures, and consider them attentively on every side, we would expect more from the exercise, than from all argumentations of a more general kind; for though the circle embraced might be of limited extent, yet the deeper and more delicate lines of agreement it contains with the realities of the gospel, would be perceived, as well as those which are of a more palpable description. And in regard to those who would pursue the study, not for conviction, but for farther enlightenment in the knowledge, and a firmer establishment in the faith of the gospel, resort should be had, less to works devoted to an exposition of the argument from prophecy, than to the word of prophecy itself, and its correct interpretation. They should make themselves conversant more with exegetical, than with apologetical sources. And in proportion as their acquaintance with the divine word becomes more discriminating and comprehensive, they will also become more thoroughly satisfied respecting the coherence of its several parts, and be more sensible of the numberless points of coincidence that exist between its predictions of things to come and the subsequent events and issues of Providence.



The predictions noticed in the preceding chapter respecting the natural seed of Israel had respect only to the past fortunes of the people, and their existing condition. So far, there is a general agreement, both among Jews themselves, and among Christian interpreters, as to the import and fulfilment of the prophecies. But the matter assumes another aspect, when we turn from the past or present to the future. Here the greatest diversity prevails—not between Jews and Christians merely, but between one class of Christian interpreters and another. The Jews hold, and on their principles, indeed, consistently hold, that according to the prophecies of Old Testament Scripture, they shall, as a people, be gathered from their dispersions by the Messiah, and restored to their ancient territory—that there the temple shall again be built, and its worship set up anew, after the handwriting of Moses—and that, as thus established and presided over, they shall stand politically at the head of all the nations of the earth. Such, generally, is the Jewish expectation; and there are not wanting, especially in the present day, evangelical Christians, who entirely concur with the Jews in their interpretation of the prophecies, and confidently anticipate, not only a restoration of the Jewish people to the land of Palestine, but also a re-institution of the rites and services of the law, to be performed in a Christian spirit, and frequented by Christian worshippers from every region of the earth. A much larger portion, however, concur only in so far as the national restoration to Palestine is concerned, along with a certain pre-eminence in honour and Christian influence beyond what shall be possessed by any other people in Christendom. And another portion of Christian interpreters—also a very large one—deeming it impossible to divide, in the work of interpretation, between the national restoration of the Jewish people, and the re-establishment of their ancient polity and worship, reject the one as well as the other, and hold, that the proper meaning of the prophecies, in so far as they bear on the future of Israel, is to be made good simply by the conversion of the people to the Christian faith, and their participation in the privileges and hopes of the church of Christ.

Such, omitting all minor shades of difference, is the threefold view that prevails upon the subject, and which may be designated from the modes of interpretation on which they are respectively based, as the Jewish, the semi-Jewish, and the spiritualistic. In the Jewish, we, of course, include the first class of opinions maintained by Christian writers, not as intending thereby to disparage the Christianity of those who hold it, but because the view itself coincides in all its ostensible features with the distinctively Jewish one, and proceeds entirely upon the Jewish principle of prophetical interpretation. That principle is the strictly literal sense of prophecy, the principle which insists on reading prophecy simply as history written beforehand; and whatever has been urged in previous portions of this work against that style of interpretation, is applicable in its full force to this particular branch of the subject.1 The principle of literalism is not espoused in this extreme form by those who hold what we have called the semi- Jewish opinion; they are prepared to apply to Christ and the church of the New Testament every prophecy that is so applied by the sacred writers, or may admit, on similar grounds, of such an application. They think, that in the language of prophecy, what is said of Zion and Jerusalem, or of David's throne and kingdom, has to a large extent already received its fulfilment in Christ, or is in the course of doing so; and that every prediction couched in the terms of the Old Testament shadows, must be regarded, in accordance with the spirit of the New Testament dispensation, as capable of receiving fulfilment only in a non-literal, or spiritual sense. But, at the same time, they are of opinion that many prophecies respecting the Jewish people neither require nor admit of any such modified application — prophecies which speak in so distinct, specific, and circumstantial a manner of the gathering of that people out of all their dispersions, and settling them again in their former haunts, with even more than their former glory, that it seems difficult, if not impossible to understand them otherwise than in the most obvious and natural import of the language. There are collateral considerations which appear in their judgment to strengthen the position which they occupy; but this aspect of the prophecies forms the proper basis of the view they entertain. So far, therefore, it also rests on the principle of literalism, though restrained within comparatively narrow limits, confined chiefly to what respects the land and people of the Jews. And the main point to be determined respecting it is, whether in the prophecies themselves, or in the mode of applying them in New Testament Scripture, there is ground for maintaining such a distinction as it draws between this particular subject and the others, with which it stands, in the prophetic volume, so intimately connected.

1 See particularly iu Part I., Chap. v., Sec. L and iii.

The class of interpreters, who adopt the spiritualistic view, conceive that there is no valid ground for the distinction referred to. Taking up their position on distinctively gospel principles, and contemplating all that is written in Old Testament Scripture of gospel times primarily in a New Testament light, they apply uniformly one and the same rule of interpretation to the prophecies which bear on the future of the covenant-people. What it obliges them to hold in respect to the religion and the more distinguishing peculiarities of Israel, they feel constrained to hold also in respect to their land and polity. And in support of this view they are wont to adduce a number of particular passages, which in their plain and obvious aspect seem to abolish, along with other distinctions, those also of land and people, and to leave no room for any name or commonwealth in the kingdom of Christ, but that of the one body, formed out of all people and tribes and tongues, which is knit together by the bond of a living faith and a common participation in the blessings of Christ's redemption. It is not enough, however, to produce a series of passages possessing this import; for they are met by a counter-set of passages on the other side, and in looking at the subject as so presented, the mind is apt to be perplexed and bewildered by what seems so many cross lights and contradictory statements. The question can never be satisfactorily determined, by being viewed and discussed in so isolated a manner. It must be seen in the light, not of this particular Scripture or that, but of great fundamental principles—principles which may enable us to distinguish between Scripture and Scripture—between those parts of Scripture which relate to the foundations of God's kingdom, which fix and determine the form as well as the substance of things belonging to it, and those which, from being of a subsidiary nature, relate only to what may be fit or practicable within the settled landmarks. Unless some distinctions of this kind can be made good, there may be no end to the controversy on the field of argument; and it is with a view mainly to the establishment of such a result, that we propose now to conduct the investigation. Several incidental topics will be left unnoticed, in order the more fully to concentrate attention on what we deem to be the great and determining elements of the question.

I. With this end in view, we naturally turn our eye, in the first instance, to the direct teaching of our Lord and His apostles; for there, beyond all question, it is that we find the revelations, which are in the strictest sense fundamental as to all that is to distinguish the kingdom of God in New Testament times. What Moses was to the Old Testament church, Christ is to the New, though Himself as much higher than Moses, as the New is above the Old. And if the prophets under the Old Testament, from being in their position altogether inferior to Moses, and having only revelations by vision while he had them by direct and open intercourse, could introduce no alterations in the principles or even farms of things settled by him,—if the last of them wound up the whole prophetic testimony in its direct bearing upon those to whom it was delivered, by charging them to "remember the law of Moses, God's servant, which he commanded to him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments" (Mai. iv. 4):1 —if the prophets of the Old Testament stood in this subordinate relationship to Moses, how much more must they have done so to Christ? They were charged with no commission to interfere with any thing which the Mediator of the old covenant had ordained—to bring in no new rite, to establish no new relation—for even the kingly form of government was prospectively indicated and authorised by Moses; how much less, therefore, could any word have been given them, which was to have the effect of countervailing the principles, or modifying the constitution brought in by the unspeakably greater Mediator of the new covenant ? Indeed, the consideration reaches farther than this; the conclusion derived from it holds, not merely as between the prophets of the Old Testament and Christ, but also between those prophets, and the apostles of Christ; for the least of the apostles was greater than John the Baptist, who again was greater than any of the prophets; and the communications by the apostles (for the most part) were also open and direct, not by vision. Here, therefore, in the teaching of Christ and His apostles, must be sought all the essential principles which go to determine the nature, the constitution, and form of Christ's kingdom; or, to use the words of a canon formerly enunciated, " Every thing which affects the condition and destiny of the New Testament church has its clearest determination in New Testament Scripture."2 So that, where there is any doubt or uncertainty, it is by this later Scripture we are to interpret the prophecies of former times, not by the prophecies that we are to explicate or resolve the later and higher revelations.

1 See Part I., Chap. i. ' See p. 158.

What, then, is the bearing and import of this teaching of our Lord and His apostles on the special subject before us ? Is it such as to give us reason to expect a future restoration of the Jewish people, or a re-establishment of their old economy, as if something of importance for the church depended on it? Unquestionably, there is no explicit announcement to this effect in the whole range of the historical and epistolary writings of the New Testament. The infliction of divine judgment upon the mass of the Jewish people, was very distinctly proclaimed by our Lord Himself, with the destruction of their city and temple, and the scattering of the community at once from the kingdom of (rod, and from the land of their fathers. But in not so much as one passage does he unequivocally indicate for them a re-gathering to their paternal home, or a reinvestment with their former relative distinctions and privileges ; far less is there any statement to imply, that the temple- worship should be again set up as the common religious centre and resort of Christendom. And in these respects the disciples are of one mind with their Master; they are equally silent upon the topics referred to.

It is true, there are a few passages which are sometimes represented as by implication teaching those things; but still at the most it is only by implication; and a very slight consideration of them is enough to show, not necessarily or certainly even that. When our Lord, for example, spake of a coming time, when the twelve apostles should sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt. xix. 28), there is nothing whatever to indicate (even taking it quite literally) in what region it should be—under what form of religious worship— or even whether as collected into one body, or distributed through several localities. Nothing on such points is either affirmed or denied in the statement. Nor, again, when foretelling the coming overthrow and the long-continued degradation that was to follow, in the memorable wordst" Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled" (Luke xxi. 24), was any thing said of a return to the ancient home of Israel, and its ritual worship, not even of a restitution of the old nationality. Jerusalem is obviously to be understood not alone as a city, but as a city identified with, and representative of the Jewish people; and the word simply announces, that a bound was to be set to its down-treading on the part of the Gentiles—the ascendency on the one side, and the degradation on the other, were to terminate; but in what manner, or to what extent, was left entirely undecided. Manifestly, the treading down might cease by the simple abolition of the outstanding distinctions between Jew and Gentile, and the coalescing of the two on a footing of fraternal love and equality, without any collective national re-union of all the seed of Israel (which but partially existed, indeed, when Jerusalem actually was trodden down), or any restoration of the old religious ascendency and temple-worship. Nor yet, again, when in answer to the question of the disciples, " Wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" our Lord said, " It is not for you to know the times and the seasons which the Father hath put in His own power," was any thing determined as to the points now under consideration. For supposing it to imply, that the kingdom was somehow and at some period to be restored, the question still remains, in what sense? To Israel in their natural relation merely to Abraham, or, as a spiritual seed? separate and alone, or merged with believers generally into the Church of God? in the land of Palestine, or diffused throughout the earth? On these points nothing whatever is indicated, while yet they involve the whole questions now at issue. It is nothing to say, that the disciples must have meant by Israel the natural seed and its political resuscitation; for through the whole of his earthly ministry, Jesus was ever using language, and language often far more explicit and direct than this, which they did not at the time understand. We have no more reason to affirm, that the sense in which they understood the words of Christ here was that also in which he employed them, than it was so when He spake of destroying the temple and raising it up in three days (John ii. 19); or, when pointing to his crucifixion, he said, "And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me" (John xii. 32). It was the descent of the Spirit alone, which fitted them for entering properly into the meaning of any of our Lord's sayings; and the utter disappearance from their thoughts and language, after that event, of all reference to a national kingdom of Israel, separate from the Church of Christ, is quite sufficient to show how great a change their sentiments had undergone upon the subject.

This, however, is not all . It is not merely that in these fundamental teachings respecting the character and prospects of the Messiah's kingdom, there is the want of any formal and explicit announcement of either the national restoration of Israel to Palestine, or the re-establishment there, as in a religious centre, of a Jewish polity and worship; but that the want exists in connection with much that bore immediately upon the subject, and was fitted to call forth, or even to demand, some definite announcement regarding it, if such could have been made. Beside the careful reserve maintained by our Lord respecting it, on the occasions already referred to, when we turn to His parables, in which he indicated more concerning the future of His church and kingdom than He could do in His direct discourses, we find Him presenting almost every possible aspect of its coming fortunes and destiny, yet without once conveying an intimation that any of them were to turn upon the separate nationality or distinctive privileges of the natural Israel. In some of the parables He spoke plainly enough of their opposition to the spirit of His kingdom, and of the certainty of their losing their place in it, notwithstanding that they might be called the children of the kingdom (Matt, xxi. 28^6, xxii. 1-14; Luke xiii. 6-9, xv. 11-32, etc.); and in others He pointed to the corruptions which, in the course of time, should creep into the church, the troubles and difficulties

it should have to contend with, the sure progress and enlargement it should continue to make, and the final issues of reward and condemnation, blessing and cursing, in which it should close (Matt. xiii. 24-50, xxv.; Luke xvi, xviii., etc.) But in not one of them is the least hint given of the prospective return of the Jewish people to a separate place and position in the kingdom; nor is the distinction ever drawn as one destined to exist and work for good, as between people and people, land and land, .church and church. The kingdom always presents itself as a unity, alike in nature, privilege, and destiny for its real members, with the world at large for the field of its operations— divided only in so far as it was to be composed for a time of the false and the true, and to have its issues at last in evil as well as good. After Christ, the apostles touch the disputed territory on every side, but still with the same studied reserve. The Apostle Paul, who had every inducement, from his official calling and circumstances, to speak in the most conciliatory tone of his countrymen, and who does, in one of his epistles, treat at considerable length both of their general fall aud of their future recovery (Rom. ix.-xi.), still utters not a word concerning their separate position, their local habitation, or their distinctive worship, as if in such respects they were to differ, when converted, from the other members of God's kingdom. On the contrary, he represents their return simply as a reconciliation with the one spiritual body, from which they are for a time cut off—an admission into the community, which, he plainly testifies, admits of no distinction between Jew and Gentile. With him the church in the future, as well as in the present—the church, through all its coming stages on to its consummation in glory, precisely as in the parables of Christ— is an organic unity, marred only by the false admixtures and the antichristian apostacy which were for a time to corrupt its simplicity. Nay, the Apostle Peter, the apostle pre-eminently of the circumcision, in all his discourses and epistles after the day of Pentecost, seems equally unconscious of any distinction awaiting the race of Israel in God's kingdom—none excepting

that of being by privilege the first to receive, and by calling the most imperatively bound to spread abroad its blessings. This may be said to be the one theme of his first epistle, as addressed, more immediately, to believing Israelites scattered throughout the cities of Asia Minor. And in his recorded speeches on the day of Pentecost, and after it, how entirely does Christ's present reign, and his one kingdom of converted and saved men, take the place of what previously held such firm possession of his thoughts, the kingdom of Israel? The change is most remarkable. He appears, in the last interview with Jesus, along with the other disciples, making earnest inquiry about the restoration of the kingdom to Israel. But presently afterwards, when the Spirit has descended with his enlightening and elevating influences, he proclaims Christ as already " exalted to sit on the throne of David " (Acts ii. 30); or, as it is again expressed, anointed by God, according to the terms of the second Psalm, and now meeting the opposition of ungodly men, which was there predicted respecting the Lord's anointed King (chap. iv. 24-28). And when he points (as he does in chap. iii. 19-21) to the brighter future of the kingdom, he represents it as a future which Israel, indeed, by their conversion and forgiveness, might do much to help forward, but which was by no means to be peculiarly connected with them—which, in its progress and consummation, was to bring not " the restoration of the kingdom to Israel," in the sense formerly imagined, but " the restitution of all things spoken of by all God's holy prophets since the world began," the one grand universal restoration to order and blessedness. The sphere of the apostle's vision has now immeasurably widened, and though in no respect to the prejudice of the natural Israel, yet to the indefinite expansion of their peculiar privileges, and the enlargement of the kingdom so as to embrace men of every nation, and the round circumference of the globe itself.1

Nor in the Apocalypse is there anything that can fairly be regarded as bearing a different import. It is true that in one passage there, in the sealing vision of chap. vii., the Israelites are mentioned, and twelve thousand from each tribe are represented as being marked with the seal of God. There is a class of interpreters who understand this of the literal Israel (including even Bengel in former times, and now Auberlen), and who regard the 144,000 thus made up as constituting the elect church from among the Jews, and the multitude without number, from every nation, tribe, and tongue, in ver. 9, as the elect from among the Gentiles. This, however, is so utterly at variance with the whole style of the Apocalypse, and with the connection of this passage itself with what precedes and follows, that the opinion is rejected by many who in other respects adhere to the literal style of interpretation. If the natural Israel were really meant, then this portion of the book would form an exception to the general character of the Apocalypse, which ever represents New Testament relations and prospects under the imagery of those of Old Testament times. The temple and its courts afterwards mentioned, the city where our Lord was crucified, Sodom and Egypt, Jerusalem and Babylon, Mount Zion and Megiddo, the woman and the whore, are all used symbolically to indicate things and parties corresponding to what bore those names in earlier times; and it would be to mar the consistency of the apocalyptic style, and introduce the greatest arbitrariness into its interpretation, if the tribes of Israel were here to be taken in their natural sense. Nor would it accord with the symbolical import evidently attached to these 144,000. It is against all probability to suppose, on the hypothesis of the literal reading of the passage, that precisely 12,000 of elect ones were to be found in each of the tribes specified. And if that improbability could anyhow be got rid of, why should only twelve tribes have been specified, and not thirteen, the actual number of the tribes? Is it to be conceived that, while each one of those twelve should furnish 12,000, Dan, the tribe omitted, should furnish none ? The very omission of this tribe, so as to leave the historical number, twelve, and the precise squaring of this number, so as to make the twelve times twelve, multiplied by a thousand, shows that it is not the meaning of the letter we have to deal with, but the symbolical representation of a perfect and complete totality. This appears, also, from the object of the sealing, which was to stamp, with the sure impress of Heaven, "the servants of the living God," the Lord's people generally, as being through the Divine protection safe from the desolations that were to sweep over " the earth and the sea." The sealed are manifestly the representatives of all whom Divine grace saves from the world-wide judgments contemplated in the vision; and hence quite naturally appear, during the process of the sealing, as made up of so many thousands taken from the tribes that historically composed the professing church. Not less naturally at the close of the process, when the act is completed, they present the aspect of a numberless multitude gathered from all lands. These reasons, drawn from the vision itself, which treats of the sealed company of Israelites, are still farther confirmed, and rendered altogether conclusive, by the subsequent reference that is made to the subject. In chap. xiv. the Lamb is seen standing on Mount Zion with 144,000, the same sealed company "having His name, and the name of His Father (so it should be read) written on their foreheads." These are described in terms that can only be understood of the elect generally, not of a mere fraction of the elect. It is said of them that they alone could sing the new song, and that they were virgins, faithful followers of the Lamb, redeemed from among men. They are, therefore, the saved; and appearing as representatives, forming an ideal number, and in a state of ideal perfection, they are also fitly called the first fruits unto God and the Lamb.

1 See Appendix I.

On every account, the conclusion seems inevitable, that the Israelites, in the sealing vision, must be understood symbolically, like all similar terms in the Apocalypse. And as this is the only occasion on which they are formally introduced into the vision of things to come, it remains certain, that the revelations given to St John, are in perfect accordance on this jioint with what appears generally in New Testament ScripI

ture. As for the view of Hofraann, whom Ebrard, and some British writers, follow, that the woman in chap. xii. is simply the Jewish Church, and her seed that was to be driven into the wilderness, the Jewish people in their unbelieving and scattered condition, it is so palpably opposed to the whole spirit of the Book, and the general object of its prophetic revelations, that it needs no special consideration.

It thus appears, that in the teaching of our Lord and his apostles, there is nothing to favour either the Jewish, or the semi-Jewish view of the prophetical future. Amid much incidentally bearing on the subject of Jewish prospects, there is still no distinct announcement of the national restoration and settlement of the Jewish people in Canaan, or of the re-institution of their temple-worship. There is nothing whatever said to indicate, that such events may be expected in the history of the Christian Church, or that any thing depends on them for the advancement and welfare of Christ's cause in the world. Christianity as exhibited and defined for all coming time by its divine founder and his servants, acknowledges no such distinctions, and is silent as to any such prospects. And as the revelations that came by them, were for the church of the New Testament of a primal and fundamental character, it were to invert the natural order of things, and unsettle the foundations of sound scriptural exposition, if Scriptures of an older, and from the first only of a subsidiary kind, should be alleged in support of an opposite conclusion. From the nature of things, they cannot be rightfully alleged. And the feeling of this, we have no doubt—however vaguely defined and imperfectly understood as to the principles on which it rested—the feeling, that the fundamental teaching of the New Testament was of the nature now described, and ought mainly to be regarded, was what led the Fathers with one voice (not excepting such as held the personal, millennial reign of Christ in Jerusalem), and all Christian writers, down to the seventeenth century, to reject as chimerical, the Jewish expectations both of a territorial restoration and of a revived Judaism. The feeling

itself was sound, though it could seldom, perhaps, have given a satisfactory explanation of the grounds out of which it sprung, or made an enlightened defence of them.1

It is true, that Christianity itself sprung out of Judaism, and that certain things belonging to it, may be, not explicitly stated and announced, but presumed, on account of the place they had in former revelations, and it has been alleged, that the obligation to observe the weekly Sabbath is of this description, as also the right to administer baptism to infants. These both rest chiefly upon grounds and principles definitely settled in the Old Testament Scriptures; and are, it is held, substantially on a footing with the supposed distinctions in the prophetic future between Jew and Gentile, or the return to a ceremonial worship. Our answer to this is very short. If the points now under discussion were really on a footing with the things referred to, they must have been presumed as continuously subsisting; they must have been held to be integral parts of Christianity as well as of Judaism, and opportunity must have been afforded to maintain them, at least in substance. But so far from this, they were authoritatively set aside, and an insuperable bar laid by God's providence in the way, even of their formal observance. If anything could mark them as merely superficial and temporary distinctions, it was surely this. We hold it to be otherwise with the Sabbatical Institution, and the

1 Jerome, in his note on Isa. xi. 10-16, brings out what was undoubtedly the prevailing view among Patristic writers. He refers, in doing so, to certain Christians, whom he calls " our Judaizers," meaning the ancient Millenarians, who connected the things spoken of in the passage with the second coming of Christ, not as he thought should have been done with the first, and also understood them too carnally, while still they made no distinction in regard to them betwixt Jew and Gentile. And he winds up the whole with this canon of criticism, " Let the wise and Christian reader take this rule for prophetical promises, that those things, which the Jews and ours, not ours [but] Judaizers, hold to be going to take place carnally, we should teach to have already taken place spiritually, lest by occasion of fables and inexplicable questions of that sort (as the apostle calls them), we should be compelled to Judaize."

admission of children to a covenant-standing. These are no Jewish peculiarities or temperory expedients; they rest on primeval grounds of truth and duty, and enshrine principles which are interwoven with the constitution of man, and were inwrought into the very foundations of the world's history.

II. This latter point, however, touches closely upon another, to which we now proceed. We refer to the typical character of the Levitical dispensation. And our position respecting it is, that as the Israelitish people, with their land and their religious institutions, were, in what distinctively belonged to them under the old covenant, of a typical nature, the whole together, in that particular aspect, has passed away—it has become merged in Christ and the Gospel dispensation.

That this holds good in respect to the religious institutions, distinctively and peculiarly belonging to the old covenant, was, till quite recently, admitted by, at least, all Evangelical Christians. The only party known in history to have disputed it, were the small and obscure Ebionite section of the early heretics, whom all credible historians represent as much more Jewish than Christian in their views. That men of evangelical sentiments, in other respects, should, in these latter times, have come to the same belief, maintaining the absolute perpetuity of the temple worship, and the certainty of its being again established for the benefit of all Christendom, we can only regard as one of those strange and bewildering meteors, that occasionally appear for a little in the theological heavens, and then pass away with the occasion that has produced them. The belief, we are persuaded, has gradually forced itself upon them, as an untoward, but necessary result of the false principle of prophetical literalism, to winch the writers of this school had eagerly committed themselves, before they distinctly saw to what lengths it would conduct them. The anomalous position, which they now occupy, cannot possibly last. Consistency will oblige them, either to abandon their Judaism, or renounce their evangelism; for, as we said before, that the evidence for the historical Messiah cannot stand with their principle of prophetical literalism, so we say now, that the fair and grammatical exegesis of New Testament Scripture, can as little stand with the Judaistic hypothesis that has sprung from it. By the one result, the prophetical testimony to the Messiahship of Jesus is destroyed, and by the other the foundation is subverted of the true relation between type and antitype.

The full proof of this can only be had by the establishment of a sound typological system, based on a close and comprehensive examination of the writings of both the Old and the New Testament. And as we have endeavoured to do that elsewhere (in the "Typology of Scripture"), it is the less necessary to say much upon the subject here. Indeed, with plain and unprejudiced minds, the matter admits of a very simple and direct solution. We might put it to any one perfectly free to express his convictions, if, holding the Judaistic views now under consideration, he could have taken the part, which the Apostle Paul did, in respect to circumcision and the law? Could he have resisted the introduction of these into the church as a matter of life and death ? Could he have said, as Paul did to the Galatians, when he heard, not that they abused, but simply, that they used them —heard merely, that they " observed days, and months, and times, and years "—" 0 foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth ? I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain; Behold I, Paul, say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing?" Or, could he have declared the proper subjects of the law, to have been placed by it in a state of bondage, or under a schoolmaster, from which, now that faith has come, they were set free? It is impossible—and a glance into the writings of those, whose views we are now discussing, brings us acquainted with quite another language. Hear, for example, Mr Birks, " They (the legal sacrifices and services connected with them), were taken away, from constituting any part of the true atonement for sin, which our Lord was coming to effect by the offering of his own body on the tree. As symbols or sacraments, pointing to something beyond, and far higher than themselves, and as adapted for an earthly stage of man's being, they were always acceptable, when offered in obedience to God's revealed will. But when adopted by others, to whom no such command had been given, or viewed as having inherent efficacy, they were denounced by the prophets as dishonourable to God, and unavailing to man; and the refusal to impose them upon Gentile converts, when the gospel was sent to them, was only a further and plainer testimony against the Jewish perversion of them, as in the days of Isaiah and Jeremiah, by pride and self- righteousness."1 Must not this sound in the ears of a plain reader of Scripture somewhat like a travesty of its meaning ? It was certainly not thus that Luther understood the matter. How differently did he write of the Judaizing spirit of the Galatians and apostles of Judaism? And Paul himself, did he simply refuse to impose the Jewish ritual of worship upon the Gentile converts? Or, when introduced, did he merely tell them, that it was only when coupled with pride and self-righteousness, the services became unavailing? but that as symbols or sacraments they were always acceptable? By no means. It is the services themselves he condemns—because, in the very observance of them, where there was no bond of custom rendering it difficult to break them off, he descried the clear sign of an antichristian spirit; and the teaching which persuaded the Galatians to enter on their observance, he affirms to be " another gospel." The very existence of them anywhere, he considered a badge of servitude, and the things themselves are stigmatised as " beggarly elements." During the period appointed for them, they held the place only of temporary expedients—" shadows," but with Christ's coming, the "body" is present, and the shadows, as a matter of course, disappear. The whole system of carnal ordinances, he tells us in Hebrews, was abolished, not because of men's abuse of it, but because of its own weakness and unprofitableness; and he shows that they belonged to a priesthood and a covenant, which, according to Old Testament Scripture itself, were destined to be displaced, and now, he expressly declares, were displaced by the higher priesthood and the new covenant of Christ. In short, the question, as treated by the apostle, and as it should still be treated by us, is not, whether those cardinal ordinances might not be observed by certain individuals under the gospel in a Christian spirit? But whether they were in themselves altogether good? And especially, whether they were adapted to the genius of Christianity, and properly fitted to nourish the Christian spirit? To this, the whole tenor of his remarks gives a decided negative, and we may say, an unqualified rejection.

1 " Outlines of Unfulfilled Prophecy," p. 323.

Such are the plain and broad features of the subject, as presented by the apostle to the Gentiles, which it is impossible to explain away, without subverting the very principles of a right interpretation of Scripture. But they by no means stand alone. Our Lord's declaration to the woman of Samaria, in which he said, " The hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father; but the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipper shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship Him;" may be said to involve the principle of the Whole matter. For it intimates, that the distinction of places as to religion was on the eve of abolition, and that worship rendered at Jerusalem would be no more acceptable to God than that given in the most distant regions. But to say this, was to ring the knell of the ceremonial law, which necessarily fell with the exclusive honours of the one temple and the one altar at Jerusalem. It thenceforth ceased to be either binding or proper, though still it did not strictly die—but rather, like the chrysalis breaking its horny crust, and emerging into a higher form of life and beauty, was transfigured into Christ's form of doctrine, the new law of a spiritual Christianity. The same change was involved in the instructive fact connected with our Lord's death, when the veil of the temple was rent in twain; for this declared, as by an impressive sign from heaven, that the formal distinctions of the old economy were abolished at the very centre, and must thenceforth cease, even to the farthest extremities. From that moment, there was no longer, in the old sense, a sanctuary, and a holy of holies; the handwriting which had established such divisions till the time of reformation, was blotted out; the reformation itself had come, and the entire sacrificial system founded on it necessarily gave way. The change was still farther indicated in Christ's declaring, at His last passover, that He had greatly desired to eat it with his disciples, because now it was to be fulfilled in the kingdom of God (Luke xxii. 16): that is, the typical act it commemorated, was to be substantiated by the great redemption, whose commemorative rite must henceforth take the place of the former. Hence, in still farther explanation, the apostle Paul says, in 1 Cor. v. 7, " For even Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us" (or, more exactly, For also our Passover, Christ, has been sacrificed), let us, therefore, keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." The meaning obviously is, that the Christian church now possesses, through participation in the death and grace of Christ, in the real and proper sense, what was only symbolically represented in the ancient passover and its accompanying feast. In another epistle also (Col. iL), he expressly affirms, that the other most distinctive ordinance of the Old Testament, circumcision, has passed into Christian baptism; so that those who through the Spirit have been baptised into the spiritual body of Christ, are the circumcised in heart. And if, as the apostle in the same place announces, the handwriting of ordinances was in one mass, as in Christ's body, nailed to the cross and taken out of the way, there can be room for but one conclusion; namely, that for as many as look to that cross for salvation, the old ritual has for ever gone; and we may justly say of it with Luther, "Like Moses, it is dead and buried, and let no man know where its place is."

But what is thus said of the religion of the old covenant, as to its external form, is also said of the people on whom, in their

elect and separate condition, it was imposed; they also in that condition possessed a typical character. As a chosen people, saved from outward bondage and corruption, and placed in covenant-relationship to God, they represented those who, when the true redemption came, should be delivered from all evil, and constituted members of God's everlasting kingdom. So long as that typical relation stood, the national distinction between Jew and Gentile necessarily continued—although, as the time for its abolition drew near, a certain approximation was made to its removal, by the dispersion of the Jews through the Roman empire, and the constant accessions made to them by proselytes from the Gentiles. The way was thus prepared, by Divine Providence, for the change from a typical to an anti-typical election—that is, from an elect seed to an elect society; which began to take full effect as soon as the Christian church assumed an outstanding existence in the world. From that time we hear only of a precedence on the part of the Jew in the order of time—he stood nearest to the kingdom of God, and fitly had the first offer of its blessings; but he had no superiority in rank, privilege, or destiny. Again and again the apostle testifies, that in these respects, there was no difference; as in Rom. x. 12, " For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; for the same Lord over all, is rich unto all that call upon Him;" Gal . iii. 28, " There is. neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female (these outward distinctions do not indeed cease, but they are nothing in a religious point of view), for ye are all one in Christ Jesus;" Col. iii. 11, " Where (i.e., in Christ) there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all, and in all." And in Eph. ii. 14, sq., where he speaks more formally of the constitution of the Christian church, " He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace." Here, plainly, the ground of separation or enmity, the law of ordinances, is declared to have been removed by Christ, for Jew as well as Gentile; it was, henceforth, no more obligatory nipon the one than upon the other; and should have ceased as soon as possible to be even observed, in order that the intended oneness of the Church might be effected, and converted Gentiles might feel that they were " no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God." Hence, in token of this complete fusion of races, and the consequent merging of the type in the anti-type, believers in Christ, generally, are called Abraham's seed (Gal. iii. 29), Israelites (chap. vi. 16; Eph. ii. 12), comers unto Mount Zion (Heb. xii. 22), citizens of the free or heavenly Jerusalem (Gal . iv. 26), the circumcision (Phil . iii. 3).

It is to be added, that here also our Lord himself took the lead. He began to do so at a comparatively early period in his ministry, when on the occasion of the Centurion's remarkable faith, he exclaimed, "Verily, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel . And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness" (Matt. viii. 11, 12). So again, when He was told of His mother and brethren desiring to speak with Him, " He answered and said unto him that told Him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And He stretched forth His hand toward His disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of My Father that is in heaven (or, as in Luke, hear the word of God, and do it), the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." Here, precisely as in the rending of the veil for the ceremonials of Judaism, the exclusive bond for the people was broken at the centre: Christ's very mother and brothers were to have no precedence over others, nor any distinctive position in His kingdom ; spiritual relations alone should prevail there, and the one bond of connection with it for all alike, was to be the believing reception of the gospel and obedience to it. Finally, the command given the apostles to teach and baptise all nations, with no further difference than that they should begin at Jerusalem and the Jews, though they were not to rest till they had reached the uttermost part of the earth, and preached the gospel to every creature—evidently implied the cessation of all outward national distinctions as having any recognised place in the kingdom of Christ. So that the apostle Paul, in the explicit declarations we have quoted from his epistles, only carried out, and in a more concrete form expressed, the principle already embodied in our Lord's announcements.

So far, therefore, as regards Israel's typical character, their removed and isolated position is plainly at an end: all tribes and nations are on a footing as to the kingdom of God—members and fellow-citizens if they are believers in Christ, aliens if they are not. But admitting this, may not the natural Israel in some other respect have the prospect of a separate and peculiar standing in the church! It was not simply to be a type of the future election, that they were anciently separated from the nations, but also that they might possess the reality of a present interest in God's love and blessing, and do special service for Him in the world. Why may it not be so again? It may, certainly, and, we have no doubt it will, in some sense, and in so far as may consist with the fundamental principles and relations of God's spiritual kingdom. But it should be well considered how far, in respect to that, the history of the past itself may warrant us to carry our expectations. Beside the typical character of Israel, the only ground of distinction that belonged to them, at least as recognised by God, was their religious position; they were the nation that held the truth, and, as such, stood apart from the idolatrous nations of heathendom. But when that distinction virtually ceased to exist by the mass of the people abandoning the truth, and espousing the corruptions of heathenism, the Lord held the ground of separation to be abolished, and addressed and treated them as heathen (Isa. i. 1-10; Amos ix. 7, 8; Ezek. xvi., xxiii.) Or when it ceased on the other side by heathens renouncing their abominations, and entering into the bond of the covenant, the same abolition, though in a happier sense, took place as to any formal distinction. Never, indeed, was there anything properly distinctive and peculiar to Israel as a people, apart from their standing in the knowledge and faith of God; whenever this ground of separation was removed on the one side or the other, the distinction itself disappeared; the natural seed of Israel no longer dwelt alone. And justly so. For their election of God to a separate place, viewed in respect to the time then present, was no act of favouritism; it was simply the appointed means to a great moral end; and when they were either no longer capable of reaching this, or no longer needed for doing it, it fell into abeyance.

Such was the state of matters viewed in respect to the past: And would it not be an anomaly of the strangest description, if now under the new dispensation, pre-eminent, especially for the freedom it has brought from outward restraints and adventitious distinctions, a kind of division were to be introduced, which had no existence even under the old? In the church itself of the Old Testament there was no recognised division; members of the stock of Israel formed its main trunk, and those who joined it from other tribes became merged in the common body; the separation was simply between this body and the heathen world. Shall it be otherwise now ? In Christian times alone shall there be a recognised and abiding distinction within the church, between one portion of it and another? Even when the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our God and of His Christ, shall the Jewish nation stand out and apart from the rest ? Were it actually to do so, it would not be a continuation or a renewal of the past, but the introduction of an entirely new principle into the Church of God. When the kingdoms shall have attained to the condition mentioned, they will be relatively in the very position occupied of old by Israel itself—they will be one and all kingdoms holding the truth; and if converted Israelites were still to stand apart from and above them, it would not be the same thing that existed under the law, but something essentially different—something foreign even to Judaism; how much more, then, to Christianity? The only just expectation respecting the position of the Jewish people in their converted state—that alone which is warranted by the .history of the past, or seems in accordance with the great principles of Christianity, is not that their singular and isolated place after they have entered the church, but that their entrance itself there shall enliven and refresh her condition. The receiving of them, says the apostle, shall be " life from the dead." Cut off, as they have been and continue to be, for their impenitence and unbelief, they are, so to speak, in the condition of an amputated limb—lying in the bonds of death. And when animated anew by the breath of the Spirit, so as to become re-united with the living body of Christ, what else can the effect be, than that of sending a fresh impulse through every part and member of the body? How far this effect may be produced simultaneously or by successive stages, cannot be determined with certainty, and is of no moment as regards the general question. The apostle's language, in the eleventh chapter of the Romans, has been thought to imply, that the return of the Jews shall be in a kind of national capacity. And such may be its import, although it does not materially differ from our Lord's language respecting the calling of the Gentiles, when he says in Matt. xxi. 43, " Therefore I say unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." He spoke of the general result, in the comprehensive style of prophecy, as if the transference were to be begun and completed at once; while yet, we know from the history, it took place in a quite gradual and successive manner. For anything we can tell, the reception of the Jews into the bosom of the church may also take place gradually, though it is spoken of as a single event. At the same time, from the close interconnection that subsists among them, it is likely to be accomplished in a much briefer period, after the work of conversion has somewhat generally commenced, than in the case of the Gentiles. And

if the present scattered, yet separately preserved condition of the Jews shall be found, as we may well conceive, to hasten forward the blessed consummation, shall there not be discovered a sufficient reason for the providence that has so kept them apart? Their preservation certainly has been wonderful, and we can scarcely doubt is destined in the issue to work out more signally God's great purpose of mercy for the world. Their very scattered and peeled condition, bringing them into contact with so many nations, and making them familiar with so much suffering, may but render them the more thoroughly prepared, when the time to favour Zion has come, to do the part of the great Evangelizers of the world. For through them the tongues of all nations would be hallowed to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ, and, speaking from the bosoms of such converts, and the depths of such a manifold experience, they would assuredly be tongues of fire. Were Jerusalem but effectually reached by the power of the gospel, every nation under heaven would be stirred; and then indeed " the remnant of Jacob would be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men."

But now, what we have affirmed first of the religion of the old covenant, then of the people, we must also affirm of the inheritance. This, not less than the other two, as formerly stated,1 possessed a typical character in relation to gospel times: like them, it passed, when these entered, into something higher and better. And in tracing the connection between the new and the old things, Christ and his apostles make no difference between this and the two former particulars. Christ himself came into the world as the heir of an inheritance, but it was the inheritance of the earth, as given up to Him to be delivered from the bondage of evil, and ultimately glorified (Psalm ii.) Accordingly, one of the first benedictions he pronounced in his sermon on the Mount, was an assurance to His people of an interest in this large inheritance, " Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." So, again, in the words he uttered in connection with the faith of the Centurion, the converts from every land are represented as sitting down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God—sharing ultimately in their inheritance, as they had already entered into their faith. In like manner, the apostle Paul speaks of believers in Christ, not only as children of Abraham, but also as heirs with him according to the promise (Gal. iii. 29)—having a joint-heritage, as well as a common standing with Abraham. He even designates Abraham " the heir of the world " (Rom. iv. 13)— which can only be explained by his identifying Canaan with what it typically represented, in the same way that Christ is called Abraham's seed (Gal. iii. 16), since in the immediate offspring the eye of faith contemplated the ultimate child of promise. In Hebrews xi. the patriarchs themselves are identified in their prospects of a future inheritance with believers in Christ; they are described as in their expectations overshooting the nearer possessions literally contained in the word of promise, and looking for the everlasting inheritance. And this inheritance, described by the apostle Peter as the destined portion alike of converted Jews and Gentiles (1 Peter L 4), is also by him identified with the new heavens and the new earth, which the prophet Isaiah had held out in prospect to the church of the Old Testament, as the final resting-place from all their troubles (2 Peter iii. 13).

1 See Part I., Chap. vi.

It appears, therefore, that the typical character which attached to the people and the religion of the old covenant, attached also to the inheritance—the land of Canaan; and that the transition to gospel times is represented as effecting the same relative change in respect to this as to the others. It is true here, as of the people and of the religion, that the typical bearing was not the only one; immediate ends of an important kind were connected with the possession of the land, though they were never more than partially accomplished. But the typical bearing is the relation in which it stands to gospel times—a relation which it holds equally with the people whose heritage it was, and the ceremonial worship they observed. How, indeed, could it have been otherwise? The land was, in a manner, the common basis of the people and the worship—the platform on which both stood, and in connection with which the whole of their religious observances, and their national history, might be said to move. To except this, therefore, from the typical territory, and withdraw it from the temporary things which were to pass to something higher and better in Christ, were to suppose an incongruity in the circumstances of ancient Israel, which we cannot conceive to have existed, and could only have led to inextricable confusion. Viewed in the light in which we have presented it, all is of a piece; a common principle pervades the relations of Old Testament times. The seed of Israel, as an elect people, placed under covenant with God, represented the company of an elect church, redeemed from the curse of sin, that they might live for ever in the favour and blessing of Heaven: and when the redemption came, the representation passed into the reality. In like manner, the religion of symbolical feasts and ordinances, which was imposed upon the people of the covenant, shadowed forth under various aspects the realities and consolations of the gospel; and when these were introduced, the other, as a matter of course, passed away—the type became merged in the antitype. So, once again, the inheritance which was given for a possession to the typical seed, and was to be a visible pledge of God's favour, so long as they fulfilled the obligations of the typical calling and worship, served for the time to image the final portion and destiny of the redeemed, but now it also through the gospel has been supplanted by the earnest and expectation of a world where all is pure and blessed. Here, as in other respects, the past links itself with the future, as the germ of a great and abiding reality, that was in due time to be developed. And precisely as the seed of Abraham was seen by inspired men perpetuating itself in the flock of Christ, and David in Christ Himself, so are Abraham's inheritance and David's kingdom to be regarded as having a prolonged and expanded existence in those of Christ and his people. There is the same principle in both. And, as a necessary result, the former relation of the Israelites to the land of Canaan affords no ground for expecting its re-occupation by them after their conversion to the faith of Christ, no more than for expecting that the handwriting of ordinances shall then be restored, or the relations of the ancient world, generally, shall return to their old channels.

However viewed, therefore, the expectations of which we have been treating seem destitute of any solid foundation. They are to some extent at variance with the fundamental principles of the divine administration in general, and especially at variance with the spirit and genius of Christianity. The fulfilment of them would constitute, not an advance to a more perfect state of things, but a retrogression to what was essentially imperfect. The local temple, which formed the centre of the old religion, with its holy persons, and places, and seasons, bespoke in its very nature imperfection; since it implied, in respect to other persons, and places, and seasons, a relative commonness or pollution; so that the prophets themselves anticipated a time when it would be supplanted by something higher and better (Jer. iii . 17). The same kind of imperfection was inseparably connected with the idea of an elect people and a holy land; all lying beyond the hallowed circle being necessarily regarded as either absolutely or relatively impure. Perfection can come only as this circle widens, and embraces the field of humanity in its compass. It began, in a measure, with the believing Jews of the dispersion, carrying with them into heathen lands the lamp of Divine truth, and preparing the way far and wide for the day of gospel light. More properly, however, it began with the incarnation of Christ, the one complete, living temple of Godhead ; and it grows as the Holy Spirit that is in Him finds for itself a home in the bosoms of believing men. Wherever such are, there also are living temples, surpassing in real glory the magnificent but lifeless fabric that stood upon the heights of Zion. And it is the grand aim of Christianity to increase and multiply these living temples of the Spirit, so that they may be found in every part of the habitable globe. Its tendency is not to centralise, but to difluse abroad; not externally to communicate an impression of sanctity, by the mere touch of particular localities, and the observance of stated forms, but internally to sanctify men by the Spirit of holiness, and through them, as vessels of the Spirit, to sanctify all places and all times. The true ideal of Christianity is realised only in proportion as this regenerative process is accomplished; and it were obviously a retrograde movement, if its free and expansive energies should be repressed by the local restraints of some particular region, or by having its more select agencies drawn from but a fragmentary section of the human family.

In what has hitherto been said, we have confined our attention, in the first instance, to the essential nature of Christianity, then to the typical character of Judaism, with scarcely any direct reference to the prophetical portions of Old Testament Scripture, beyond the terms of the Abrahamic covenant. It is to this, more especially, that the apostle Paul refers, when he treats of the future of the Jewish people in the epistle to the Romans. But neither in what he says regarding it, nor in the covenant itself, when rightly understood, is there anything to imply the restoration of the seed of Israel to a future and permanent possession of the land of Canaan. In reality it was never meant to secure, in any sense, the possession of Canaan to more than a select portion of Abraham's seed; as the successive limitations made among his immediate offspring to the more peculiar blessings of the covenant clearly shewed. It settled at length upon the children of Jacob, but only on the supposition (never more than partially verified) of their being collectively children of faith—for otherwise they could not have been entitled to any blessing.1 And, as thus ultimately defined and fixed, it was in respect to the possession, no doubt, as well as other things, everlasting ; not, however, as regards the form, but simply as

1 See Part I, Chap. iii

regards the substance of its provisions. The form necessarily underwent a change with the coming of Christ, from whom everything in the future connected with God's kingdom takes its shape and character. He was Himself pre-eminently the Seed promised in the covenant; but, at the same time, unspeakably more than the seed primarily designated; it was now a seed embracing alike the Divine and human, and including as many as partake of the life of God. In correspondence with this, the possession becomes also unspeakably more than the old land of Canaan—it embraces the whole extent of a recovered and renovated world. And wherever there is found a soul linked in vital union with Christ, there also are found the essential characteristics of Abraham's seed, and a title to Abraham's inheritance.

III. But we come now to glance at what are more strictly the prophetical parts of Scripture, and we here advance the proposition that they contain nothing which, taken according to the real nature and intent of prophecy, is at variance with the conclusions already arrived at. That they contain many passages which formally announce the re-establishment and perpetual existence of everything distinctively Jewish, admits of no doubt . But when read in accordance with the fundamental principles of prophetical interpretation, the true import is in perfect conformity with the views we have unfolded.

1. For, in the first place, by one of the most essential of these principles, the predictions of the future continually took the form and image of the present or the past.1 Partly from the mode of revelation by vision, and partly from the necessary laws of the human mind, which the Spirit in His supernatural communications does not overbear, but leaves in free and unfettered exercise, there was no possibility of avoiding such a leaning upon history in the anticipations of prophecy. The new can only be conceived of under the aspect of the old; and by the aid of known relations the mind is obliged to feel its way to such as may belong to other states and conditions of existence. Of necessity, therefore, the form in such cases is always defective, and an accomplishment that should answer the description according to the letter would, in the nature of things, be impracticable. This holds as well of the New Testament delineations of our still undeveloped future, as of the Old Testament delineations of what has now become our present or past. Take, for example, some of our Lord's descriptions of the coming bliss and glory of His people. Luke xii. 37, " Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord, when He cometh, shall find watching; verily I say unto you, that He shall gird Himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth to serve them;" xxii. 29, " And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel;" Rev. iii. 21, " To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne," etc. Of these and all similar descriptions of what is to come, no one needs to be told that they present only a shadowy representation drawn from known objects and relations upon earth, not the very form and image of the things hereafter to be realised. Understood otherwise, they would neither give assurance of the kind of felicity that is fitted to satisfy the desires of believers, nor would they be properly consistent with each other. And if such be the case with the prospective delineations of the gospel, how much more must it have been so with those which were given in the very age of shadows and symbols? Relatively, the people of those times were in the condition of children with respect to the better things to come, and these must either have been wrapt in absolute darkness to their view, or unfolded to them in a childish manner. In this form alone could they have formed any distinct idea of the coming future; and whatever imperfections may have cleaved to the form, it still was what alone could enable persons in their circumstances to obtain some apprehension of the reality.

1 See pp. 142, 154, sq.

Hence as the dispensations of God toward His people varied, and assumed in successive periods new aspects and relations, prophecy also changed the form of its representations. Instances have already been given of this (Part First, chap. iv.), and we glance here only at some of the general features. The patriarchal age was distinguished by the Lord's condescending to select, for the world's good, certain more peculiar instruments and channels of blessing, and prophecy then spake only of the general relations amid which the purpose to bless should be carried into effect. In the times of David and Solomon, when the kingdom, after many struggles, attained to a united and flourishing condition, the prophetic future assumed the aspect of a king contending and conquering—a kingdom in Israel bearing down all opposition, and gathering people of every name under its sway—and a blessed people, having their interests inseparably bound up with the person and fortunes of Him whom God had set upon the throne. But after the kingdom lost its unity, and the royal house of David was shorn of its glory, and the people themselves became peeled and scattered, then the spirit of prophecy, sighing amidst the mournful desolations, yet confident of the grace and glory still to be revealed, spake of this under the image of the removal of existing evils—of the reunion of Ephraim and Judah—of a reviving of the splendour of David's house—of the resuscitation even of David himself, to wield again the sceptre, in God's name, over a blessed heritage —and of the re-gathering of the scattered flock, to share in the peace and glory of His reign. How else could they have formed definite notions of the nature of the good in prospect? The existing evils must appear to be supplanted by the opposite good. Even the sorest of all their calamities, that which befel them at the overthrow of their beautiful city and temple, only served, in the hands of Ezekiel, for materials to picture out a restored community more perfect and glorious than the past, under the image of a temple and city, manifestly ideal in their whole structure and arrangements, yet admirably contrived to give assurance of a coming future that should totally eclipse the brightest era of the past. In Daniel a still further stage was reached in the development of the prophetic future, and, in accordance with his peculiar position, an altogether different form was given to it. Placed by Providence at a heathen court, it is from the midst of the worldly interest, not from that of the covenant-people, that his prophetic outline of the future is given. It unfolds the relations between the kingdoms of this world and the kingdom of God, but contains nothing of the more internal relations growing out of the times of Abraham, or Jacob, or even David. And when he comes to designate the members of the Divine kingdom, the characteristics are drawn from the broadest ground. They are simply " the saints of the Most High ;" and the kingdom itself, so far from being confined within the little bounds of Canaan, comprehends all people, and nations, and languages, under the whole Heaven.1

Taking, thus, the hue and aspect of the past—foretelling things to come, under the form and image of things which have already appeared—prophecy becomes comparatively simple as to its mode of interpretation and its leading results, if only (for there lies the chief difficulty) we can throw ourselves back to the position of those who disclosed it, and conceive of their relation to the future of the gospel dispensation, as we must do of our own relation to the still future dispensation of glory. Situated as the prophets generally were, it was quite natural, and, in a sense, necessary, that they should speak of the better things to come in language and imagery derived from such as were known and familiar to their minds, and especially that when disorder and confusion entered into the state of things previously settled, they should announce the recovery of what was lost, and the re-establishment on surer foundations of what had given way. This principle, in fact, pervades all their representations, and must be applied to one part as well as to another of the materials of which their representations are composed. The prophets themselves make no difference. They speak as distinctly, in some places, of a separate nationality for the covenant people, as in others of the healing of what was internally disordered; of the erection of the temple, a«d the joyful celebration of its worship, as of a restoration to the land of Canaan, and a re-built Jerusalem. It must ever appear arbitrary to separate between representations which are manifestly one in kind, and, if either intelligible or consistent, can only be found so by being based on a common principle. To hold by the form in one part, and let it go in another, is to introduce absolute confusion, and surrender the prophetic field to the caprice of individual feeling or the shifting currents of popular opinion. Indeed, on any other principle than that we have laid down, the prophetic testimony respecting the future of Israel would be of the most contradictory and discordant nature; for sometimes this future is exhibited under the form of a removal merely of the disorders that had crept into the old constitution of things, and at other times of the removal of this itself, on account of its inherent imperfections, in order that something better may take its place (Jer. xxxi. 31; Isa. Ixv. 17; IxvL 1-4; Haggai ii. 7). In one class of representations the nations are spoken of as going to Jerusalem to join in the restored feasts and ritual of Judaism (Isa. Ixvi. 23; Zech. xiv.); in another, the distinctive peculiarities of Judaism and the temple service are described as no longer distinctive but everywhere diffused, as when Egypt and Assyria are placed on a footing as to covenant privileges with Israel (Isa. xix. 21-25); or, when the sacredness of the ark of the Lord is said to be shared in common by all Jerusalem (Jer. iii. 16,17);1 or, when the most peculiar rites of the temple, such as the altar service, or the offering of incense, is connected with other countries, and even every region of the earth (Isa. xix. 19;

1 See Appendix K.

1 The explanation by the Rabbinical interpreter Jarchi of this passage is striking, and shows how far even he had obtained an insight into its real meaning; " For your whole community shall be holy, and I will dwell .imong you as if yon were yourselves the ark of the covenant"—a spiritual and godly people now taking the place of the temple and the most sacred part of its furniture!

Mai. i. 11). Ezekiel, writing when the heart of faith was prostrated by the fall of the house of God, seeks to re-animate it with the hope of a temple and a city incomparably more glorious and perfect than what had been lost; while John, living when the temple and all its forms were superseded, perceives no temple in the consummate glory of the New Jerusalem, with which his visions terminate. All, indeed, perfectly natural and intelligible, if they are understood to be merely the varying and imperfect forms under which men, guided by the Spirit of God, endeavoured to body forth, from their several points of view, the better future; but full only of discord and confusion, if their delineations are to be ruled by a prosaic literalism.

In this also, we have a satisfactory answer to the demand, that is often made for the same kind of events in the prophetic future of Israel, as have appeared in their past history. Both, it is alleged, must be on the same level, equally outward and palpable in the one case, as in the other. If so, then the future in God's kingdom must itself be on the same level with the past; there must be no rise, no progressive development; Christianity must move in the same sphere with Judaism; the history of Providence, instead of ever advancing forward, must turn back to its old channels, and its movements in that direction must even have been more clearly descried by ancient seers, in the dusky twilight, than by apostles and prophets in the bright noon-day of the gospel. To affirm such conclusions, is to place the word of God in antagonism to nature and reason, and to set one part of its revelations in antithesis to another. For the prophecies that were to have their fulfilment in the gospel history itself, dying, so to speak, on the boundary- line between the old and the new in God's dispensations—for such prophecies, a considerable degree of correspondence in the very form, might justly be expected between the terms of the prediction and the manner of its accomplishment—as is often, though not uniformly found to be the case in the recorded fulfilments of the gospels. But when the work of Christ was finished, a higher class of relations entered; the Divine administration rose greatly beyond its former level; and, in so far as prophecy pointed to what should thereafter take place, we should no more expect to see it fulfilled after the precise letter of its announcements, than we should expect the fruit of genius in mature years to retain the exact type of its early promise.

2. Another essential principle in prophetical interpretation, is the primary and pre-eminent regard that is ever had in it to the moral element. This appears particularly in two ways. It appears, first, in those predictions which refer to different nations and people, by pointing more especially to the persons or communities composing them, the real subjects of moral treatment, rather than to the territories they occupied. It appears, again, in the conditional character of those predictions which contain promises of good things to come—these always implying a corresponding spiritual condition on the part of those in whom they are to be fulfilled, and a failure or modification, according to the nature of that condition.1 Now, it is absolutely impossible to carry out this principle in the interpretation of many of those prophecies, which refer to the future of the Jewish people. For, in these prophecies, Israel does not stand alone, but in connection with the surrounding nations, who represented, in different degrees, the ungodliness and enmity of the world, as Israel was called to represent the truth and holiness of God. But in the light in which those nations were contemplated in prophecy, they are gone; as distinct and separate communities, maintaining an ambitious rivalry with the covenant-people, they are utterly extinguished; their very existence is numbered among the things that were. How, then, can the prophecies, which speak of either Israel's restoration to the land of Canaan, or their forming in that land the religious centre of a blessed world, be fulfilled according to the letter ? It is not the naked fact respecting Israel, of which the prophecies speak, but of this as imbedded amid relations derived from their old historical position. Their return, for example, to their ancient possessions, is described as being made, sometimes with the help, and sometimes to the confusion and overthrow of those, who formerly afflicted them: "They shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together; they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab, and the children of Ammon shall obey them" (Isa. xi. 14); "And this man (Messiah) shall be our peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when He shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against Him seven shepherds and eight principal men" (Micah v. 5; " In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom" (Amos ix. 11, 12). To the same class belong also such passages as Zech. xiv. 16-19, and Isa. xix. 23-25, referred to under the last head; for the Egypt and Assyria spoken of as one with Israel, is manifestly not the mere territories, but the people or kingdoms that had their seat of empire there; these it is who are represented as undergoing, at last, an entire change of relationship toward Israel, laying aside their hostility and joining her in brotherly communion. But the people mentioned in all these passages have disappeared from the stage of history; and neither the restoration itself of Israel, nor the events growing out of it, can be understood according to the letter of the description; in that sense, considerable portions of the prophetic Scriptures can have no proper fulfilment. And why, then, should the others be supposed to have ? Why not understand them generally in the sense of prophetic delineations written in the language and imagery supplied by history? It is undeniable, as we have already shown,1 that prophecies were sometimes written thus, even such as found their fulfilment under the old dispensation; and it is in accordance with the nature of things to suppose, that what was occasionally done in predictions relating to Old Testament times, would be, constantly done in those which foretold the better things of the New. For, in the one case, it might have been dispensed with, but in the other, it could not; here there was no alternative—the prophets were obliged to avail themselves of the former things to depict those that were to come.

1 See Part I., Chap. iv.

1 See p. 165.

The prominence given in prophecy to the moral element in the other respect mentioned, confirms, still farther, this result. For, the prophecies now under consideration are all of the nature of promises of good things to Israel; and these God invariably hung, to a certain extent, upon the spiritual condition of the subjects of them; and the determinate thing in them was not the precise mode and measure of the accomplishment, but rather, the purpose of God to do good to His people, and to what extent they might look for His blessing. But the proper result was continually marred by their shortcomings and sins; and some, even of the most explicit prophecies of this description, referring to the return of Israel from their first dispersion, and their future prosperity in the land— prophecies that should have been fulfilled before the coming of Christ, had never more than a very partial accomplishment. The prediction in Jer. xxiv. 5-7, may be specified as an example, since the Lord there says of the portion of the Jews that had been carried captive to Babylon, as contradistinguished from the other portion that still remained in Judea, that he would " bring them back to their land, and would build them, and not pull them down, and plant them, and not pluck them up." There are various prophecies of a 1'ke nature in Zechariah—as at chap. i. 16, ii. 4, where, after the captivity had in part returned, the Lord declared, that he had " returned to Jerusalem with mercies," that it should be " inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein," that He would Himself bj " a wall of fire round about, and the glory in the midst." So again, in chap. viii. he renews the declaration, that he " was returned unto Zion, and would dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; and Jerusalem should be called a city of truth, and the mountain of the Lord of Hosts, the holy mountain." That these and other predictions of a like kind, intimated what the Lord was ready to do for the people, and what should have been found in the immediate future, seems quite plain; but the want of a proper sanctification on their part rendered the full accomplishment impossible; as in other cases, so also here, the natural had to bend to the moral—the promised good could only be so far realized as the people were prepared and fitted to receive it. In other words, it was not the natural Israel merely as such, but these as the seed of God, the church, to whom the promises were made; and the natural element in the thing promised, necessarily had its amount as well as form determined by Israel's relation to the church, and God's dispensations toward her. Even in legal times, it never was more than a secondary point, whether Canaan was to be the home of the seed of Jacob; what alone gave it importance, was its selection as the chosen theatre of the one acceptable wo.rship, the religious centre of the world. And when no longer needed for this, what should we expect, but that the natural element in the prophecies referred to, should fall yet more into abeyance, and the moral, which has to do with spiritual realities and abiding relations, alone become prominent?

We may say, therefore, in regard to the entire class of prophecies, to which the above examples belong, that from their very nature their fulfilment, according to the letter and form, could not be expected to be more than partial; but as to the substance it becomes complete, though only when the form has passed away. During the time that the temple and Jerusalem stood, and formed the centre of the divine kingdom and worship, the predictions, which were of the nature of promises, received a measure of fulfilment in the case of the true covenant- people to whom alone they properly referred. But from the moment that Christ was glorified, as the temple and Jerusalem lost their original character—as the Jerusalem and the temple, which thenceforth constituted the real habitation of God and the seat of worship, rose heavenwards with its Divine Head (Gal. iv. 26, Rev. xxi. 2), it is in connection with that higher

region that we are to look for what yet remains to be fulfilled of the predictions. So long as God's dwelling-place needed to have an outward and local position upon earth, it continued, according to the word of promise, to have it. He did, as he said, encamp round about it, drew towards it from every quarter his sincere and faithful worshippers, and rendered it a fountain of holiness and peace to the children of the covenant. And when Christ personally appeared, and brought in redemption, not for the sins of Israel alone, but for those of the whole world, while he did not take from his people a centre-place of meeting and fellowship with God, -he yet shifted its position; he raised it from earth to heaven; and instead of saying, " You shall find me here," or " Go to meet me there," he said, " Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world, and to the uttermost bounds of the earth." So that Zion, considered in its higher and moral sense, as the seat of the divine government, is always a holy mountain, and Jerusalem, viewed as the centre of true worship and hallowed influences, abides still, and in higher perfection than before. Beyond the reach of violence or corruption, it cannot be removed or pluckt up for ever; and the word stands fast, which assured the covenant-people of a perpetual residence of God in the midst of them, a home of safety and a fountain of blessing.

3. Another, and quite essential principle of prophetical interpretation, as of every species of writing which is accordant with truth, is that the mode of understanding its declarations must involve nothing absolutely incredible, or contrary to the nature of things. Under the terms now indicated we do not mean what may be designated natural impossibilities; for the whole work of grace, like the birth of Isaac and of Christ, is of that sort; it is above nature, and in such a sense contrary to it, that if the laws and forces of nature alone were to operate, it might justly be pronounced impossible. To the heart of faith such things are not incredible, because it takes into account the supernatural grace of God, which does what nature is alike incompetent and unwilling to do, by bringing to its aid a truly divine energy. But there are limits even to the operations of grace, and of the power of God generally. There are things of a providential kind, which we may say God cannot do, as we say, in respect to his moral character, that he cannot lie. And no interpretation of the prophecies can be sound, which, when fairly and consistently applied, would involve the belief of such things being brought to pass.

Now some things of this description, in our opinion, have already been specified in the course of our remarks, as flowing from that style of interpreting the prophecies, against which we contend. Such are the self-contradictory statements, which on this literal style are found in them (noticed at p. 9-t, sq.), since both parts cannot be literally verified; and such, also those, which presuppose the existence of states and communities that have altogether ceased to exist. These are spoken of, not in the general sense of lands or countries, but of corporate societies and distinct races, standing in a known and definite relation to the covenant-people. In this respect the old condition of things referred to in the prophecies is gone; and gone irretrievably. But there are other things of the same nature mentioned of the covenant-people themselves. Thus the prophecy in Zech. xii., which is commonly pressed as one of the clearest proofs of the permanently separate condition and restoration of the Jews in the latter days, implies the existence of the old organization also as to families; the family of David is represented as mourning apart, and the families of Nathan, of Levi, and of Shimei. In other prophecies of a like nature, the priests and Levites are mentioned apart, even the children of Zadok, as contradistinguished from the other priestly families, and every tribe in its own order (Isa. Ixvi. 21; Mai. iii. 3; Ezek. xliv. 15, xlviii.) But all such internal distinctions have long since perished; the course of divine providence has been such as to sweep them entirely away. And from the very nature of the case, such distinctions, when once lost, can never be recalled; the revival of them would involve, not the resuscitation of an old, but the creation of a new state of things. So long as any prophecies were depending for their fulfilment on the separate existence of tribes and families in Israel, the distinction betwixt them was preserved; and so also were the genealogical records which were needed to attest the fulfilment. These prophecies terminated in the Son of Mary, the branch of the house of David, and the lion of the tribe of Judah; but with him this, and all other old things ceased—a new era, independent of such outward and formal differences, began. Hence, we find the apostle discharging all from giving heed to endless genealogies, as no longer of any avail in the Church of God; and the providence of God shortly after sealed the word by scattering their genealogies to the winds, and fusing together in one undistinguishable, inextricable mass, the surviving remnants of the Jewish family. Now, prophecy is not to be verified by halves; it is either wholly true, in the sense in which it ought to be understood, or it is a failure. And since God's providence has rendered the fulfilment of the parts referred to manifestly impossible on the literal principle of interpretation, it affords conclusive evidence, that on this principle such prophecies are misread. In what it calls men to believe, it does violence to their reason; and it commits the word of God to expectations which never can be properly realized.

The ground on which these remarks are made, holds also in regard to other predictions; for example, to that of Zech. xiv. 16, which speaks of all nations going up to worship every year at Jerusalem, and to keep the feast of tabernacles; to that of Isa. Ixvi . 23, which affirms the same respecting the new moons and even the Sabbaths; to that of Ezekiel, chap. xl.-xlviii., which sketches a temple and city and a new distribution of the land, which by no conceivable adjustments can be brought within the bounds of the possible. It was never intended to be so; its aim was to unfold by means of the old external symbols and relations, freshly arranged and expanded, certain great truths and elevating prospects (as we have shewn in our Commentary on that part of Ezekiel); and similar ends were aimed at in all the other prophecies of a like description. By being so viewed, it is true, they are rendered less specific in their meaning, and we can derive little information from them regarding the precise arrangements and forms of things in the latter periods of the Christian dispensation. But then, it never was the design of prophecy to give us such information; this is the province of history, not of prophecy. It is the part of the latter to inculcate great principles, to lay open the springs of God's moral government, to awaken earnest longings and expectations regarding the good in prospect for the people of God, and indicate the greater lines and more marked characteristics of those spiritual movements on which the destinies of the church and the world are to turn. These are its leading objects; but for subordinate details of providential arrangements, we have no warrant to look to it, unless it be in exceptional cases, such as times of peculiar darkness or great emergency, to which they have usually been confined.

4. We shall refer only further—not to an additional principle of prophetical interpretation, strictly so called—but to a particular prophecy—for the purpose of giving what we conceive its true interpretation. We have already done so, indeed, in another place (the "Typology of Scripture," vol. i., p. 416), but must present it anew here, on account of the bearing of the passage on the subject before us. It is the prophecy in Isa. lix. 20, 21, which, as applied in the eleventh chapter of the epistle to the Romans, has been supposed incapable of explanation, excepting on grounds that necessarily involve at least the restoration of the Jewish people. "And so," says the apostle —that is, after the fulness of the Gentiles has come in, and the blindness is again removed from Israel, " all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." One not of the least difficulties connected with this passage is the change which the apostle makes on the words of the original. In the prophet, it is to Zion that the Redeemer was to come, not out of it; and He was to come, not to turn away ungodliness from Jacob, but " to those that turn from transgression in Jacob." Such deviations from the words and scope of the original have appeared to some so material, that they regard the apostle here, not so properly interpreting an old prediction, as uttering a prediction of his own, clothed as nearly as possible in the familiar language of an ancient 'prophecy. A manifestly untenable view; for how could we, in that case, have vindicated the apostle from the want of godly simplicity, using, as he must then have done, his accustomed formula for prophetical quotations (" As it is written ") only to disguise and recommend an announcement properly his own ?

We repudiate any such solution of the difficulty, which would represent the apostle as sailing under false colours. Nor can we regard the alterations as the result of accident or forgetfulness. They can only have sprung from design; and we take the right explanation to be this:—The apostle gives the substantial import of the prophecy in Isaiah, but in accordance with his design gives it also a more special direction, and one that pointed to the kind of fulfilment it must now be expected in that direction to receive. According to the prophet, the Redeemer was to come to or for Zion—somehow in its behalf, and in the behalf also of penitent souls in it—those turning from transgression. So, indeed, he had clone already, in the most literal and exact manner; and the small remnant who turned from transgression, recognised him, and hailed his coming. But the apostle is here looking beyond these; he is looking to the posterity of Jacob, generally, for whom, in this and other similar predictions, he descries a purpose of mercy still in reserve. For, while he strenuously contends, that the promise of a seed of blessing to Abraham, through the line of Jacob, was not confined to the natural offspring, he explicitly declares this to have been always included —not the whole, certainly, yet an elect portion out of it. At that very time, when so many were rejected, there was, he tells us, such an elect portion; and there must still continue to be so, "for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance;"

that is, God having connected a blessing with Abraham and his seed in perpetuity, he could never recal it again; there should never cease to be some in whom that blessing was realised. But, besides, there must here also be a fulness: the first fruits of blessing gave assurance of a coming harvest. The fulness of the Gentiles itself is a pledge of it; for if there was to be a fulness of these coming in to inherit the blessing, because of the purpose of God to bless the families of the earth in Abraham and his seed, how much more must there be such a fulness in the seed itself? The overflowings of the stream could not possibly reach farther than the direct channel. But then, this fulness, in the case of the natural Israel, was not to be (as they themselves imagined, and as many along with them still imagine) separate and apart; as if by providing some dispensation of grace or external position for them individually. Of this, the apostle gives no intimation whatever. Nay, on purpose, we believe, to exclude that very idea, he gives the more special turn to the prophecy, so as to make it out of Zion that the Redeemer was to come, and with the view of turning away ungodliness from those in Jacob. For, the old literal Zion, in the apostle's view, was now gone. Its whole framework was presently to be laid in ruins; and the only Zion, in connection with which the Redeemer could henceforth come, was that Zion in which he now dwells, which is the same with the heavenly Jerusalem, the church of the New Testament. He must come out of it, at the same time that He comes to or for it, in behalf of the natural seed of Jacob. And this is all one with saying, that these could now only attain to blessing in connection with the Christian church; or, as the apostle himself puts it, could only obtain mercy through their mercy— namely, by the reflux of that mercy which, issuing from Israel, has gone forth upon the Gentiles, and has been bearing in their fulness. It is one salvation, one blessing for both parties alike, which Israel had the honour to bring in, and was the first to receive; but which they shall be among the last to receive fully.

Thus explained, both the prophecy itself, and the apostle's use of it, are in perfect accordance with his principles of interpretation elsewhere, and with those we have endeavoured to establish. And it holds out the amplest encouragement in respect to the good yet in store for the natural Israel. It holds out none, indeed, in respect to the fond hope of a literal re- establishment of their ancient polity. It rather tends to discourage any such expectation; for the Zion, in connection with which it tells us the Messiah is to come, is the one in which He at present dwells—the Zion of the New Testament church; to which he can no longer come, except at the same time by coming out of it. Let those, therefore, who already dwell with him in this Zion, go forth in his name, and deal in faith and love with these members of the stock of Israel . Let them feel that in such evangelistic work, the presence and power of the Lord are pledged to be with them; and let them do it in the sure conviction and hope that the conversion of Jew and Gentile shall happily react on each other, till the promised fulness on both sides is attained For this important work, and the animating prospects connected with it, they have sure ground to go upon; but for local changes and external relationships, they have none; and it is no part of the design of prophecy to lead the Christian church either to wait for such, or to work for them.




Under this general head may be comprised all that requires to be said, in an elementary treatise like the present, on what the prophecies unfold respecting other topics connected with the Christian dispensation. These topics all stand related in some manner to the condition and destinies of Christ's church and kingdom. They are presented, however, under different aspects and relations; and it is impossible to arrive at any satisfactory knowledge of the general purport of what is written, without either going through the prophecies in order and giving a regular exposition of their contents, or endeavouring to exhibit, in connection with a few leading points, the light they collectively throw on the tendencies and results of gospel times. Either way it were scarcely possible to avoid a certain degree of complexity and repetition, as both the prophecies themselves, and the subjects of which they treat, frequently run into each other. But by being viewed in a definite order and connection, there will be found less of repetition than might otherwise be possible, and there will also be secured a more distinct continuity and progression of thought. We, therefore, adopt this latter method, and, in following it, shall take the latitude that is indispensable to a proper investigation of the subject—not confming our survey to what may still with some confidence be reckoned the prophetical future of the gospel dispensation, but embracing also what might be regarded as future from the era of its commencement.





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Date: 19 Dec 2006
Time: 21:58:16


Our home church spent a year studying OT typology using this book- it was a life changing experience.

...mdh, Cloudcroft, NM

Date: 30 Jan 2007
Time: 10:30:13


I was not able to download the book to read it. I do have this difficulty with some PDF files, although not all of them. Some come up immediately. I hope that I will be able to look at it in some other format if possible please. thank you

Date: 13 May 2007
Time: 16:41:38


Patrick Fairbairn was my great great grandfather so I am pleased that his work is still available and applicable to a modern audience.
(the Word of the Lord stands forever)

Date: 24 Apr 2009
Time: 15:03:53

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