« ZurückWeiter »
things, are differently held by different persons : and it is not needful for the author to be very explicit here concerning his own sentiments on these points. But the above is the outline of his views, after the constant study of the scriptures, day by day, during at least thirty-eight years.
Every promise of the Messiah, from that made to our fallen first parents, which contains, as it were in embryo, all the blessings of redemption and deliverance from sin and all its consequences; from Satan and his dominion, with victory and triumph over all enemies; and those to Abraham, and throughout the scripture; to the last prediction of the Old Testament, “Unto you that “ fear my name, shall the Sun of righteousness “ arise with healing in his beams;” i combines in shewing that spiritual blessings, primarily and especially, constitute the felicity of Messiah's reign: and I shall not weary the reader by enlarging in so plain a case.
In fact, I should feel an increasing disregard to the result of the controversy, if I could doubt that the blessings of Messiah's kingdom were spiritual and eternal. Were I a Jew, or a Jewish proselyte; and were ' an absolutely earthly kingdom,' in all possible glory and majesty established, under an earthly Messiah ; and did I occupy the highest station in this kingdom : what, at my time of life, and with the full conviction that “ shortly I must put off this
tabernacle ;” what good, I say, could such a station secure to me? But, if I am a partaker of those spiritual and eternal blessings,
which“ are the gift of God through Jesus Christ,” I have “all my salvation and all my desire;” and may say with Simeon, “ Now, Lord, dismissest “ thou thy servant in peace; for mine eyes have
seen thy salvation :” or, with dying Jacob, “I “ have waited for thy salvation, O Lord.”! And here, I cannot but lament that Mr. C., throughout his book, does not appear to be possessed with any deeply realizing and influential views of an eternal world of happiness or misery. It is not easy to discover, with exactness, what his sentiments are on these topics. There are indeed, occasionally, some intimations on this immensely momentous subject; yet in general he writes very much as if this world were our all. Probably he has the same sentiments of the superior advantages of Jews above gentiles, as to eternal salvation, which his ancestors had in the days of Christ: but they are not prominently stated, or particularly insisted on, as the grand concern; and not at all, in any connexion with the coming and kingdom of the Messiah. If I understand him, salvation is to be to the Jews by the law of Moses; and in no respect by the Messiah.
Now, as I most firmly believe that, after this vain, transient, and uncertain life, a state of endless happiness or misery will follow: and that, as all are sinners, no man can be saved from final misery, and obtain eternal happiness, but by the mercy and grace of God, in the way of his appointment,—which, I am assured is, by faith in the Messiah, promised from the fall of Adam :
Gen. xix. 18.
and as all else seems nothing to me in comparison of this; I stand amazed that a man can think it worth while to dispute about an ' absolutely ' earthly kingdom ;' which, by his own account, will not commence till he is either very far advanced in years, or has entered into the eternal world; and so can have no further concern with any of those things which “ are done under the
sun!” or in the words, which he marks in Italics, under the whole heaven.'
All the past generations of Israel, according to this, have left the earth, without the least advantage from this absolutely earthly kingdom of · the Messiah :' at any rate most of the present race will leave the earth before the earliest period now 'specified for his coming shall arrive : and, alas ! if there were any well grounded hope of its arrival, still only a few of the whole race could partake of the more splendid advantages expected; and that only for a short space. Still“ vanity “ and vexation ” would be the inventory of earthly good; still man must “eat his bread in labour “and sorrow, till he return to the ground whence “ he is taken." —Are we then to consider this writer's views as a specimen of Judaism ?-At any rate it excites my deepest commiseration.
I shall close this part by asking, whether the texts adduced, concerning the Messiah's kingdom, on the fifty-fourth page, contain no predictions or promises of spiritual blessings?
P. 55. 1. 12. In adducing the prophecy of Daniel, “ The kingdom and dominion shall be
given to the people of the saints of the most High,” Mr. C. quotes it, “ To the holy nation
“ of the most High.”] I am not fully competent to say how far the Chaldee will bear this translation : but I thought it right to note the variation. Our version seems to be literal.
P. 55. 1. 19. ' Proof from the gospel,' &c. From these quotations, it is probable that the place where the Messiah reigns, or shall reign, is principally intended by Mr. C. when he affirms, the Messiah's kingdom to be absolutely earthly:' as he has added after the quotation from Jeremiah, ““ He shall execute judgment and justice in the
earth,” ? but not in heaven.' P. 55. 1. 27. ‘A throne for the Messiah,' &c. Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; the
sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre,” &c. Will any throne 'in this world’be“ for ever and “ ever:"3 It appears evidently, that the dominion mentioned by Daniel, as given to the Son of man, is established in heaven, and not on earth. 4 This, however, is a subject, on which I shall not at present enter: many, who hold with me the general views of the Messiah's kingdom, expect a personal and visible reign of Christ on earth, during the millennium. (1. 33.)—“ Eating and “ drinking;” are terms often used figuratively, as in the place referred to: but in the Messiah's kingdom, as far as this world is concerned, men literally eat and drink, as well as in other kingdoms, though in a more holy manner. It is surprising that a proof from the New Testament, of Christ's judging Israel only, should be brought; and that judging Israel should be considered as synonymous to “ reigning over Israel ;” when the judgment spoken of must most evidently be judging in order to the condemnation of the nation in general. The same is the import of the promise to the apostles, that they shall“ judge the twelve tribes “ of Israel.”? When Mr. C. asserts, (p. 56. 1. 2.) that the Messiah will be king over Israel only,' he fixes a meaning on the words which is totally inconsistent with the whole of the New Testament: indeed it does not clearly appear in what sense he himself understands them ; for I suppose he will allow that the Messiah shall rule the nations, though it be only to punish and destroy them.
i Dan, vii, 27.
2 Jer, xxiii. 5, 6.
P. 56. l. 3. 'Law of an ambassador,' 1. 6. This ambassador,' &c. If the ambassador be commissioned and instructed to go to the government of the country to which he is sent, he certainly ought to do it: but it is not the uniform practice of kings to send ambassadors to the governors of a country; especially when those governors are usurpers, rebels, and traitors to . their prince, and tyrants over his loyal subjects. In these cases, they sometimes send ambassadors to inferior persons, who loyally adhere to their lawful king. Indeed it is by no means uncommon for princes to send ambassadors to those, who, in any country, resist the authority of the ruling powers, according as political purposes may be answered by it. But were it otherwise, surely the
xxii. 24, 36, 45.
1 Sam. ii. 25. Ezek. xx. 4. xxii. 2. xxiv. 14. Obad. 21. 1 Cor. vi. 2, 3.