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1-11.) And on the other hand, the neglect of this wisdom, put within their reach, is every where made the ground of condemnation to the unbelievers.“ O ye hypocrites,” saith our Lord, “ can ye not discern the signs of the times?” (Matt. xvi. 3.) wise, O ye kings; be instructed, ye judges of the earth” (Ps. ii. 10). “ There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming ?” (2 Pet. iii. 3.) “The Lord cometh.... to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly....of all their .... hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. These are murmurers....and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage” (Jude 14–16). "Many shall be purified and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand : but the wise shall understand” (Dan. xii. 10). “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed....and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see. Behold, I stand at the door and knock : if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Rev. iii. 18-20).
The purpose of the Father has been one from the beginning, to manifest his own glory in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. v. 6). For this purpose, He, who at first commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath now shined in the hearts of his people; and he shall be their everlasting light in the ages to come, when the days of their mourning shall be ended (Isai. lx. 1, 19, 20), in that city of the living God (Heb. xii. 22) which had no need of the sun, “ for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is
, the light thereof” (Rev. xxi. 23). For this purposed manifestation all things were created and are now governed; but the most glorious part of the scheme remains yet unaccomplished, is yet to be realized.
The suffering Messiah and his suffering church do neither of them manifest that glory with which the Father hath purposed to invest them; for which joy, set before him, Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb. xii. 2); the participation of which he earnestly desired and faithfully expected for his elect people, saying, “ Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me; for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John xvii. 24). Nor shall the present dispersion and oppression of Judah and Israel continue always. At present the Lord hath called them “as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and as a wife of youth refused" (Isai. liv. 6):
but it is also written, “ For Zion's sake I will not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth : and the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name : thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God : thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken, neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate; but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah ; for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee; and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee. I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, and give him no rest, till he stablish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (Isai.lxii. 1-7). Then shall "all the ends of the world remember and turn to the Lord, and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee: for the kingdom is the Lord's, and he is the governor among the nations” (Ps. xxii. 27). Then shall the song be sung, “ Lift up
, your heads, O ye gates ; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory” (Ps. xxiv. 7-10). “ And his name is called the Word of God; and he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords.” “And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” (Rev. xix. xx.)
The purpose of the Father having been one from the beginning, every revelation of it must include the whole, either specifically or by inference; for it must contain Christ, who is the Alpha and the Omega of the revelation of God, the foundation and chief corner-stone of the habitation of God (Eph. ii. 22), and in whom dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Col. ï. 9). Each revelation, therefore, however short, includes the end—the finishing of the mystery of God, which he hath declared to his servants the prophets--the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began (Acts iii. 21). Since, then, it cannot be denied that the glorious consummation of all prophecy is contained in every revelation of God's unaccomplished purpose contained in Scripture, let it be our endeavour to ascertain how far each distinct prophecy concerning Christ has been
already fulfilled ; that we may, by the knowledge of what is past, be prepared to recognise the signs preceding the dawn of that most glorious day in the progress of which every jot and tittle of the word of God shall be accomplished : of which the Root and Offspring of David, the bright and morning Star (Rev. xxii. 16), is the harbinger; when the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing on his wings (Mal. iv. 2); when the Father shall bring again his First-begotten into the world, and all the angels of God shall worship him (Heb. i. 6; Deut. xxxii. 43, in Septuagint); and when his body the church shall become the fulness of Him that filleth all in all (Eph. i. 23).
Each prophecy of Scripture may be considered either as the germ and fountain-head of a class and stream of prophecy, which is expanded and filled up in succeeding portions of Scripture ; or as running parallel with such a stream, till they all gather into one in the dispensation of the fulness of the times (Eph. i. 10). The first prophecy, implied in the curse upon the serpent (“I will put enmity betwen thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel,” Gen. iii. 15), is the fountain-head of that class or stream by which the recovery of the species or nature or seed of fallen man is traced out; the perpetual enmity of the serpent and his seed towards the true Seed, shewn in the children of the wicked one (Matt. xiii. 38)," the children of the devil ” (John viii. 44, 1 John iii. 10, &c.); and the successive triumphs of the true Seed, when Satan fell like lightning from heaven (Luke x. 18), when the prince of this world was cast out (John xii. 31); foreshadowing the times when the God of peace shall bruise Satan under his feet (Rom. xvi. 20), when that old serpent, called the devil and Satan, shall be cast out of beaven (Rev. xii. 9), when he shall be bound for a thousand years (Rev. xx. 2), and when he shall be finally cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever (Rev. xx. 10). To this stream of prophecy rightly belong all those portions wherein the enemies of Christ are represented under the similitude of dragons and serpents conveying the ideas of malicious craft or lurking poison; and by the wings of the dragon, symbolizing the prince of the power of the air, the spiritual wickedness in heavenly places. Pharaoh is often called " the dragon,” as the enemy and oppressor and persecutor of the chosen seed ; and his destruction at the Red Sea is made the type of the still future destruction of the old dragon, the adversary of the Seed of the woman. “ Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon ?” (Isai. li. 9; Psalm lxxiv. 13; 1xxix. 10.) Which typical act shall have its antitypical fulfilment, when the Lord shall come out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity :” for “ In that day the Lord shall punish leviathan, the piercing serpent, even leviathan, that crooked serpent : and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea (Isai. xxvii. 1); him who hath been the woe of “ the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea” (Rev. xii. 12): and when there shall be no more sea (Rev. xxi. 1).
Satan too, as the head of spiritual wickedness, whether in the church or its enemies, shall be abolished in the fulfilment of this prophecy of Gen. iii. 15; and it has a progressive accomplishment in spiritual things, as the former in visible things. For though our Lord when on earth gave manifest proof of having Satan under his controul, and declared, “ I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven” (Luke x. 18); yet it was not till our Lord rose from the dead that he himself triumphed completely over the powers of darkness, leading captivity captive (Eph. iv. 3 ; Psalm lxviii. 18). And this glory he hath not yet given to his people ; but he shall bruise Satan under their feet shortly (Rom. xvi. 20); and then shall this prophecy be to them completely fulfilled ; as it shall be to the universe when the head of all evil shall be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. xx. 10).
Enoch's prophecy, as recorded by Jude, bas nearly the same largeness with that of the Seed of the woman; but it has a different character, since it refers not so much to the principles of evil, as to its consequences; and it is the fountain-head of those many prophecies which respect the church as one body, under its Head, triumphing over the various combinations of wickedness and apostasy, of whatever kind. And into this stream we may gather all the prophecies which regard the church as a living body politic; many yet one, like men in a camp; and finally brought forth triumphing over all their enemies." To this head might also be referred all those prophecies which take the figure of a city; though they generally, of necessity, take rather the negative than the positive form, because we have here no continuing city, but seek one to come,-even the new Jerusalem, which is above, and is the mother of us all, but which cometh down from heaven in the latter times. At the head of the prophecies which shew out the negative, in the earthly city, the rival of the heavenly, the building of Babel may be placed.
The evils of unbelief and disobedience are first experienced, and their punishment denounced; and then come the exemplification of faithfulness and obedience, and the blessedness promised as the consequence in the ages to come. This blessedness comes to mankind through the Seed of the faithful Abraham: and under this head of the promises to Abraham, those blessings to all mankind which form so large a portion of the Scriptures, may be ranged. And like as sin had been developed and its punishment denounced, at the Fall, by Enoch, at the Flood,
and at Babel, before the promises to Abraham were given; so, under these promises, the evil in the heart of man and its attendant misery, the wickedness of the world and its consequent judgments, are first manifested, in order that the deliverance and the blessedness may be more highly prized. Ishmael precedes Isaac: Esau has the birth-right, Jacob obtains the blessing : Christ came first to suffer, he shall come to reign : Antichrist and Babylon yet hold sway, but the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High : the covenant of the Lord with the house of Israel and the house of Judah they brake; but “After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts, and I will be their God and they shall be my people” (Jer. xxxi. 33).
With the promises made to Abraham, the person of the Deliverer first comes into manifestation : “Abraham rejoiced to see the day of Christ, and he saw it afar off, and was glad ” (John viii. 56). “ Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made : he saith not to seeds, as of many, but as of one, And to thy Seed, which is Christ” (Gal. ii. 16). From this time forward, the person and offices and condition of the Saviour áre enwoven as a constituent part of the work of salvation : and in each of these succeeding portions of revelation we find a complete whole included, as in the preceding portions; each prophecy, however short, having regard to the completion and end of the whole purpose of God, “ that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in the heavens and which are on earth” (Eph. i. 10); “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us, through Christ Jesus” (Eph. ii. 7): and thus might be known by the church the mystery of the manifold wisdom of God (Eph. iii. 9, 10). A seed was promised to Abraham in whom “ all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. xii. 3): a promise which the many families not yet blessed proves to be yet future in its literal accomplishment. “Jacob foretold that Shiloh should come, and “to him shall the gathering of the people” of Israel “be” (Gen. xlix. 10): the scattered tribes shall therefore yet be gathered under the sceptre of the Lion of the tribe of Iudah. "To David the Lord spake, saying, “I will set up thy Seed after thee, and I will stablish the throne of His kingdom for ever” (2 Sam. vii. 13): “ therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his loins according to the flesh he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he, seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption " (Acts i. 29, 30). Therefore the Lord
” ii. .