Obrazy na stronie

refemblance of character; and when the character described is complex, he calls it fometimes by one name, fometimes by another. Thus Rome is called Babylon, for her oppreffion of the people of God; Sodom for her impurity; Egypt for her idolatry; and by the Old Teftament prophets, Tyre for her traffic, Idumea or Edom for her carnal relation to Chriftians, by profeffing their religion. By this rule, it appears, that the fong of triumph for the fall of the king of Babylon, (Ifa. xiv.) refers wholly to the head of mystical Babylon; the deftruc tion of Idumea, (Ifa. xxxiv.) to papal Rome; and the deftruction of Pharaoh and his allies, recorded, Ezekiel xxxii. 17.-32. to Antichrist and his adherents, in the battle of Armageddon."

The prophet fometimes changes the name in the fame discouse, to hint, I fuppofe, that we are not to take it literally Thus, what is faid of the king of Babylon, Ifa. xiv. 4.—23. is with the fame breath faid of the Affyrian, ver. 23.-27. to fhew that neither a Babylonian nor Affyrian is literally intended, but one in whom the characters of both unite. At other times, the prophet repeats the fame expreffions, in two differcnt fections of prophecy, but varies the name of the perfon to whom they are applied. Thus the fame expreffions applied to the King of Edom, Jer. xlix. 19. are repeated, Jer. 1. 44. and ap

plied to the King of Babylon, with a defign to shew that the name is a disguise, and that the two paffages refer to the fame perfons, and the fame times.

Another reafon by which the prophets seem to be led to the choice of a name, in defcribing the latter enemies of the church, is, to point out the country they inhabit when the prophecy is accomplished. Thus in the description of Gog and his forces, Ezekiel xxxviii. the names of the fons of Noah, among whom the earth was first divided, are introduced, to fhew that these enemies fhall come from the countries which the perfons mentioned originally poffeffed. The prophet Daniel is directed by this

afon, in describing the subjects of the blafphemous King, Dan. xi. 43. And the prophet Ezekiel feems to be influenced by the fame reafon in enumerating the allies of the fame power, Ezekiel xxxii. 22.-30.

VII. THE prophets describe the spiritual worfhip enjoined by the Gospel, in terms borrowed from the Mosaic Economy. This is obvious from the use of these terms in the New Testament. The Temple of God is put for the Church'; devout affections are called spiritual facrifices;

(1) 1 Cor. iii. 16, 17. Eph, ii. 20, 21. 2 Theff, ii, 4.

facrifices'; vials of odours or incenfe, fignify prayer'; The use of these terms, therefore, in any particular prophecy, muft not prevent our applying it to the Gospel times, if there are other reasons which direct us fo to apply it.

Upon the fame principles, the terms in which gross outward idolatry is described, may be used to denote any false religion, or even wicked defires. So the apoftle calls "Covetoufnefs "idolatry'."

[blocks in formation]







Obfervations on their Dates.

HRONOLOGY is juftly reckoned one of the eyes of hiftory. Prophecy is the hiftory of events, previous to their accomplishment; and therefore has its chronological calendar annexed. The time of the most remarkable events is fixed; and this has a twofold effect, in establishing the faith and patience of the people of God.


God. Before the accomplishment, they are not to doubt of the completion, nor be impatient in waiting for it, because the time appointed is not yet come. Of every fcripture-prophecy it may be faid, "The vifion is for an appointed time, "at the end it shall speak, and not lie." After the accomplishment, the time being found to coincide with the circumftances foretold, will afford additional evidence to the rational mind of the divine original of the prophecy.

But though prophecy has its calendar, difficulties will occur in the application of it. Numbers are used fometimes in a mystic sense, sometimes in their ordinary meaning. The circumftances of any event predicted may go a great way to discover in what sense they are to be received; but the event itself, when accomplished, can alone determine their meaning with abfolute certainty. If we did know with abfolute certainty the precise meaning, whether myftic or literal, of each number used in prophetic defcription, fuch knowledge would enable us to discover the relative fituation of events; that is, the difference of time betwixt one event and another; yet still it would be difficult to adjust them to the ordinary computation of time; that is, to thew in what particular year of the Chrif tian æra, this or that event fhall be accom


« PoprzedniaDalej »