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66 is near.
two questions, and to have answered them separately and distinctly, Ver. 4–35. he answers the first question, viz. “ When shall these
things be? i. e. When shall the temple be destroyed, so that « one Itone shall not be left upon another? When shall such “ desolation come?" To that our Lord anfwers, by setting before them several of the signs and tokens of its approach ; and by defcriblng the desolation itself. And then adds,“ This generation s shall not pass away, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven " and earth shall sooner pass away, than any of my words fail of " being accomplihed.” But what answer to that question would it be to say, “The Jews shall continue a distinct people down to " the day of judgement, or to the end of the world?" Or, according to Mr. Mede, “ The nation of the Jews shall not perish “ till all these things be fulfilled ?" What answer (I say) would that be to the question put by the disciples ? or how would such a declaration connect with the preceding or following context?
Ver. 32, &c. Our Saviour intimates, that some of his disciples should live to see the signs and forerunners of that desolation, which was coming upon the Jews. And accordingly he says,
Now learn a parable from the fig-tree. When its branch is yet tender, and it putteth forth leaves, then you know that summer
So also ye, when ye shall see all these things, know ye is that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto vou, This “ generation shall not pass away, till all these things be fulfilled. “ Heaven and earth shall pass away; but my words shall not pass “ away.”
Now, what connection has the Jews continuing a distinct people throughout all ages with the signs and forerunners of that amazing desolation? or with the rest of our Saviour's discourse in that place?
Ver. 36, &c. Our Saviour proceeds to answer their other question, viz. “ What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the “ world ?” And his answer, with respect to the time of his second coming, and of the world, is, “ But of that day, and hour, know“ eth no person, no not the angels, but my father only." Dr. Clarke's note upon this 36th verse is, “ It is an extraordinary
ingenious conjecture of Grotius, to make [mpépz éxsiva, that day] “ here opposed to [Tæūtu w łytą, all these things), ver. 34. So that “ the sense may be, txitx ukur@, the destruction of Jerusalem shall “ be presently. But sépa ixsívn, the lasi day of judgement, is known
Indeed, I would propose it as a much more just division, that the 25th chapter of St. Matthew's gospel should begin at what is now the 36th verse of the 24th chapter. For tlat would preserve a proper connection with what is at present the beginning of the 25th chapter ; in which it is said, tóti, " Then shall the kingdom of hea
ven be likened unto ten virgins, &c.” And yet no period of time is assigned when that all be. Whereas, if, from Matth. xxiv. 36, &c. our Lord is freaking of the day of judgement, and of
the end of the world, it may very properly be said, “ Then shall the " kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, &c."
Upon the whole : our Saviour's discourse (Matth. xxiv. 1-35:) relates to what was to come to pass, “ during that generation. And, therefore, must relate to "the destruction of Jerusalem" only, and cannot relate to "the day of judgement, and to the end of the “ world.” In the former sense, it was fully accomplished, and does not now remain to be accomdlished.
(6.) By raising Lazarus fo publicly from the dead, Jesus increased the number of his disciples [John xi. 46, &c.). This alarmed the chief priests and Pharisees, who thereupon held a council, and deliberated what they should do. “ For (said they) if we let him go. " on thus, all the nation will believe on him; and, taking him for " the Meffiah, they will set him up for their king. Upon which " the Romans will come and take from us our country; and that “ fhare of power and government which still remains among us." And yet, on the other hand, if they had rafhly apprehended Jesus, and put him to death; and it had, after all, appeared that he was an innocent person, that also might have proved of dan. gerous consequence.
Upon hearing them debate thus, and obferving that they seemed at a lofs to know what to resolve upon, Caiaphas, who was one of the council, and also high priest that year, standing up, said, “ You " know nothing at all; nor consider, that it is expedient for us, " that one man lhould die for the people ; and that the whole naution perish not.”
Concerning which speech of Caiaphas, the evangelist adds, « This fpake he, not of himself; but, being high priest that year, " he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation. And not “ for that nation only; but that he should also gather together into
one the children of God who were scattered abroad. Then, from " that day forward, they took counsel together to put him to
Now this speech is alledged as a passage which contains a double fenfe, and requires a twofold interpretation. But in whose defign were the words intended to convey a double meaning? If we regard the intention of Caiaphas, it is plain he defigned to say, “that
one man had better suffer death, whether he was innocent or no, " than that the whole nation of the Jews fhould perih.”—The Holy Spirit prophesied by the mouth of wicked Balaam, and by the mouth of the false prophet, who deceived Jadon, and led him to transgrefs the divine command, which occafioned his being fain by a lion. And the fame spirit of truth and power could easily cause Caiaphas to pronounce a prophecy in words whofe juft meaning and propriet;, and full extent and comprehension, he did not understand. Accordingly, the Spirit of God had but one fingle meaning to the words, viz. " that Jesus should die as a sacrifice for " the people; i. e. for the nation of the Jews; and not for that “ nation only, but for all mankind. And that he might gather
together, out of all the nations of the earth, the dispersed fervants
of God, into one holy church, united under one bead, which is " Christ Jesus ; and joined together in one holy communion and
fellowship; in the profession and practice of one faith and worn " Thip.”-So tliat, in Caiaphas's intention, the words had but one fignification. And, in the intention of the Holy Spirit, they had but one fignification. And the intention of the Spirit is mentioned by the evangelift; otherwise we should not have known that that meaning was to be affixed to the words.
(7.) I will mention another passage ; which, though not a prophecy, yet has bøen thought to contain a double fente. The pafsage is, Deut. xxv. 4. “ Thou shalt not muzzle the ox, when he streadeth out the corn." Which St. Paul applies thus (1 Cor. ix. 8, &c.] to prove that ministers ought to be supported by those to whom they preach the gospel. "Say I these things as a man?
(Do I argue thụs, from the principles of mere natural reason
only?] Doth not the law fay these things also ? [ Yes, it doth, “ in effect, fay fo]. For, in the law of Mofes, it is written, “ • Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox, that treadeth out “ the corn.' Now, doth it not say this chiefly for our fakes ? For
our fakes it was certainly written, that he, who plougheth, “ should plough in hope ; and that he, who thresheth in hope, " should be partaker of his hope.” From hence it has been inferred that this, which the apostle hath mentioned, was the allegorical sense of what Moses had faid. And that, besides giving a law aboat oxen, Moses intended thereby to intimate " that they, who
preach the gospel, should live by the gospel.” But what occasion is there for that, when the apostle's argument is good without it? 5. If the ox, which treadeth out the corn, is ordered to be unmuzzled, " that he may eat of that, about which he labours; a fortiore, the “ ministers of the gospel of Christ Thould not be denied a support • from that about which they lahour.” Thus the law of Moses afforded St. Paul an argument to his presest purpose. And it is a yery good one. But it does not appear, that Moses, in that law, had any regard to the securing a maintenance for those who preachi the gospel of Chrift.
(8.) Gal. iv. 21, &c. St. Paul, having related the history of Abralıam's having Ishmael, by Hagar ; and Isaac, by Sarah ; adds, as in our tịanslation, ver. 24. f“ Which things are an allegory"]. Mr. Locke's paraphrase of these words, is, “ These things have an ^ allegorical meaning.” Whereby it is intimated, that, besides • the literal sense, the Mosaic history of Abraham and his family
had also a spiritual, mystical, or allegorical merning; or that, : in the intention of Moses, or of the Spirit of God which inspired • Alotes, the same passage in that history had gwo meanings, the
one, a plain, obvious, and literal meaning; the other, an hidden,
obscure, myftical, or allegorical meaning that God originally • intended, that, by these two women, Sarah and Hagar, should be pretigured the two covenants; viz, that of the law of Mofes, and
that of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Chrift; and that, in the
secret meaning of the Mosaic history, he had intimated as much.' · Whereas St. Paul was far from saying or intending any such thing; as the learned author of the Differtation, annexed to Mr. Pierce's paraphrase and notes on Philippians, has made abundantly appear. The fum and substance of what is there faid is, “ The proper
translation of the words, ver. 24. "Ativa ésiy aranyopójeva, is, ' which things are allegorized ;' that is, the history of Moses, "" concerning Abraham and his family, is . allegorized by the pro"phet [lsa. liv. 1.]. And, in the prophet's allegorical dicourse, " the two women, Sarali and Hagar, represent the two covenants, or " the two dispensations, of the law of Mofes, and the gospel of our " Lord Jesus Chrift."
Now, what occafion is there to suppose a double sense in that part of the Mofaic history? We may take a passage out of Rapin's History of England ; and allegorize that, if we pleafe. But that would not by any means prove that Rapin himfelf, besides the literal, historical sense of such a passage, intended also that allegorical meaning; or, belides the literal sense, comprehended the use and fignification to which we apply his words.
In the book of Mofes, called Genfis, the historical, literal sense, of the account of Abraham and his family, is the one, true sense. In Ilaiah's allegory, the one true sense is the allegorical sense. That allegorical sense las St. Paul quoted froin the prophet. And, therefore, the one true sense of the words, as used by St. Paul, is not the historical or literal, but the allegorical sense.
Objections, with their Airfwers.
Oječi. I. “HAVE not divines, and other writers, in all ages of “ the church, used the words of Scripture by way of allusion or ac“commodation ; turned history into allegory; and often used texts " at their pleasure in a very different sense from that of their primary
finification? And would you condemn so general a practice ? have “ authors keep rigidly to the one true sense? take away
all the orna“ments of style, and spoil fo much fine writing? How soon would " the orator be ftruck dumb? What a poor figure would the man " of elocution make, if your one, true sense niuft always be found
out, and strictly kept to, throughout the whole discourse, founded on any particular text of Scripture?
Answer. ] Gould be forry to offend the orator, or strike the man of eloquence dumb. but I ain considering what is required in a commentator. And it seems to be his business to find out the one, true fenfe of Holy Scripture; and to set it before his reader in as clear a light 'as he cail. However, it inight not be amiss for preachers to attend a litile more to the one, true sense of Holy Scripure than is frequently done, And that it would not spoji
their eloquence, but increase and exalt it, was the opinion of one who will be allowed to be a very good judge. [See the archbishop of Cambray's Dialogues on Eloquence, English edition, p. 158.j • It mạngles the Scripture to thew it to Christians only in separate
passages. And, however great the beauty of such passages may
be, it can never be fully perceived, unless one knows the con• nection of them. For every thing in Scripture is connected. . And this coherence is the most great and wonderful to be seen in
the sacred writings. For want of a due knowledge of it, preachers mistake those beautiful passages, and put upon them what sense they please. They content themselves with some ingenious interpretation ; which, being arbitrary, has no force to persuade men,
and to reform their manners.' P. 159. ' I would have them at least not think it enough to join • together a few passages of Scripture that have no real connection. • I would have them explain the principles and the series of the • Chriftian doctrine; and take the spirit, the style, and the figures, * of it: that all their discourses may ferve to give the people a
right understanding and true relish of God's word, there needs no more to make preachers eloquent.' For, by doing this, they would imitate the best models of antient eloquence.'
And again, p. 161. . It is here that our preachers are most de• fective. Most of their fine sermons contain only philosophical * reasonings. Sometimes they preposterously quote the Scripture,
only for the sake of decency or ornament. And it is not re' garded as the word of God, but as the invention of man.' Thus far the eloquent Monsieur Fenelon, archbishop of Cambray.
Let me further add, that the true eloquence of a preacher is to make the people wise unto salvation ; that the one, true sense of Holy Scripture will do more towards this, than all the eloquence of Tully or Demonsthenes without it; and that, however fine allufions, accommodations, allegories, and figures of rhetoric, may be, yet they can only serve to embellish and illustrate the truth. They cannot prove any thing. That must be done by the one, true sense of the various texts alledged. And can be done no other way. And, when they have done that, I have no objection to their making use of allusions, accommodations, or allegories, in order to embellish their discourses, or illustrate the truth, provided they do not infilt upon them as the original and true meaning of such passages of sacred Scripture. Object
. II. “ Several texts of Scripture are difficult; and it is “ dubious which is the true sense: must you not there allow of to double ferses?"
Answer. When a difficult text is considered, and the person, who attempts to explain it, is dubious which is the true interpretation, he may very rationally give all the senses which carry any appearance of probability, with the reasons for each interpretation, and leave it ro his readers, or hearers, to judge which is the true fenfe.' But, in that case, there is but one true fenfe. And his not being able to