« ZurückWeiter »
The sceptre and the land are not precisely the same thing: had God seen good, he might have continued the Jews in Canaan, and kept them in hard and oppressive bondage under the Romans, the Saracens, and the Turks, to this day, without sceptre and lawgiver ; yet they might have lived in the promised land. It cannot be properly said, 'the sceptre is the land, and the land is the
sceptre;' (p. 72. 1. 34.) for a nation may have a country as their own to inhabit, and may yet be the abject slaves of a foreign despot in that land. Israel, however, for seventeen hundred years has neither had the land nor the sceptre. P. 73. 1. 13. ' The true explanation of the
pro'pheey As long as Israel shall obey the ‘law.' (1. 17.) Jacob did not speak one word about Israel obeying the law: how, indeed, should he? for the law was not yet given.-The possession of Canaan was conditional, and the sceptre also; but the coming of Shiloh was not.
P. 73. 1. 29. “The kingdom shall be restored to Israel.' Then certainly the kingdom has departed from Israel ; else how could it be restored? Therefore Shiloh is come.
P. 74. 1. 11. The argument of the gentiles, ' that the sceptre has departed from Judah.'(L. 13.) “Take notice,' &e. This paragraph states the fact, according to our interpretation of the prophecy. When Jesus, the Son of David, came, he took the kingdom over Israel, and over all nations; whether they “would have him to ‘ reign over them," or not. 1 But Israel, as a
"Is. ix. 6, 7. Luke xix. 11--27.
nation, crucified their King, and still “ crucify “ him to themselves afresh.” The sceptre then departed from Judah, as a people, that it might be swayed by Judah's most illustrious Descendent. And, when Israel shall welcome their long rejected King, they shall share the blessings of his kingdom prëeminently; but never till that time.—“ Thus “ saith the Lord God, I will also take of the
highest branch of the high cedar, and will set “it; I will crop off from the top of his young.
twigs a tender one; and will plant it upon a high mountain and eminent. In the mountain “ of the height of Israel will I plant it; and it “shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be
a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all “ fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the “ branches thereof shall they dwell. And all the “ trees of the field shall know that I have brought “ down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, “ have dried up the green tree, and made the dry “ tree to flourish. I the Lord have spoken and “ have done it.” 1
The sceptre and the lawgiver were departing from Judah, as a nation, when Shiloh came, whose right they were. As his kingdom more and more attained establishment, the sceptre and lawgiver disappeared more and more from Judah: and at length, his spiritual rule being fully confirmed, the whole political as well as ecclesiastical state of the Jews was subverted, and continues so to this very day. “ He shall be called the Son of
· Ezek. xvii. 22-24. See also Ezek. xxi. 26, 27. Dan. vii. 14. Amos ix. 11, 12,
“ the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto “ him the throne of his father David ; and he “ shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; “and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” 1
P. 75. 1. 27. · The four empires were shewn to * Abraham' P. 76. 1. 1. 'In the shape,' &c.It was revealed to Abraham, that his seed should be in bondage in a strange land, till four hundred years were expired; and then God would bring them forth : and, respecting this, God made a covenant with him ; and ordered him to prepare the animals here mentioned as a sacrifice, that the covenant might be ratified, with the customary rites and observances. Further than this Moses testifies nothing. The four kingdoms in Daniel were represented by a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a fourth beast, far more dreadful than any of them.2 In a subsequent vision, a ram was the emblem of the Medo-Persian kingdom, and a he-goat of the Grecian: yet this he-goat is described as very powerful and formidable. But in the dream of the four empires here given, a young heifer (not an ox or bull,) is the emblem of the first kingdom ; a she-goat of the Persian ; a ram of the Grecian; and a gentle, loving, harmless turtledove, of the tremendous Roman power! • In the shape of a bird he saw the family of
Israel.' (p. 76. 1. 6.) I suppose it is meant, that a young pigeon was an emblem of the Messiah's kingdom : but, according to the view of it given in this publication, it is scarcely more apposite than that of a turtle-dove, for the Roman victories
i Luke i. 31-33.
? Dan. vii. 447.
* Dan. viii, 1-8.
and domination! Do men, who amuse themselves and others with fancies of this kind, really believe them? However that may be, I cannot think they require any answer.
P. 77. 1. 11. Although God made a covenant,' &c.--I am not disposed to object to Israel's primogeniture, or prëeminence among the nations: but fathers in general have some affection, and make some provision, for other children, besides the first-born ; nay, they sometimes disinherit the first-born for ill behaviour, and give the inheritance to their other children. This passage, however, concerning the unalienable right of the first-born, not only to the inheritance, but to the subjection of the other children as bis servants, always to remain so, (p. 77, 78;) comes with rather an ill grace from a Jew. Not only was Ishmael older than Isaac; but Esau was Jacob's elder brother, by the same mother; and, by God's express appointment, “ the elder was to be the « servant of the younger.” Judah was younger than Reuben, and Simeon, and Levi; yet Jacob made him lord over all his brethren.' David was Jesse's youngest son; yet God chose him to be king over Israel. Solomon was not David's eldest surviving son: and,“ of all my sons," says David, “ God hath chosen Solomon to sit upon “ the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over “ Israel.”] The general rule, therefore, admits of so many, and such important exceptions, that every argument grounded on it must be wholly inconclusive.
11 Chr. xxviii. 5.
P. 78. I. 4. ' Question.'-L. 6. ' His birth made him lord,' &c.-I suspect, that Mr. Ç.'s political sentiments, which suppose subjects not born for themselves, but to be servants to the king, and to obey the orders of their king, (1. 10–14;) will not be much approved in this land of liberty; in which most men reasonably think, that kings and rulers are born, or advanced to authority, not for themselves, but for the benefit of the people; and will have a terrible account to render to God at least, if they neglect the welfare of their subjects, in order to please, and gratify, and aggrandize themselves. In respect of the kingdom of our God, who is infinite in wisdom, justice, truth, and goodness, the statement, though improperly expressed, might be admitted; and so in respect of the Messiah's kingdom, which yet is established wholly for the benefit, not only of subjects, but of rebels who submit to him ; the glory alone of his manifested wisdom, righteousness, truth, and love being reserved to himself. But, that God should appoint one nation so to rule over other nations, as that all others should be considered as born to obey the orders, just or unjust, wise or foolish, of this favoured people, gives such a view of the divine conduct, as is wholly unscriptural, irrational, and intolerable ; and makes the heart recoil at the very thoughts of it.
P. 78. 1. 20. ‘His great seal, that is circumcision.'-As by God's express command, Ishmael, and the men of Abraham's household, and the sons of Keturah and Esau were circumcised; this great seal has been given to many others, besides