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mercy; the stipulated blessings of obedience, (which I may call the Mosaic beatitudes); and a terrific insight into the future plagues of his apostate people. Of the majesty of the book, and the impressiveness of it in these particulars, a calm and deliberate perusal can alone convey any just idea. Nor are the signatures of authentic truth and inspiration less stampt upon it. But here also may be traced the progressive scheme of Scripture. For this very book, if I mistake not, might, in its doctrinal character and use, be set above the simpler and earlier promulgation of the law as recorded in Exodus. And next, though in sublimity it be inferior to nothing in the Prophets, it may be ranked as only approaching to the practical standard of faith and personal obedience, exhibited in the doctrines, promises, and precepts of the prophet Isaiah. The considerate reader will judge whether this account of the expansion of the di. vine law by the later prophets be not a just one. If it be admitted, one use and intent of their mission will be better understood ; and the remote members of revelation will be seen to compose à consistent whole, not by uniformity, but progression, every part of it silently advancing toward the spirit and perfection of the Gospel.'
The collateral character of Prophecy, to which we have before adverted, is strongly illustrated in the Promise made to Abraham. The verification of that portion which related to the possession of Canaan, was a pledge of the more ample fulfilment of that which foretold the ultimate extension of the blessings first given to his seed, to all the nations of the earth. And this character is maintained throughout the prophecies of the Old Testament. On the one hand, they refer to the Jews and their immediate connexions; on the other, they point steadily to the Gospel dispensation.
We cannot say that we are entirely satisfied with Mr. Davison's exposition of the Mosaic Law. The discussion is conducted with his wonted ability, but it appears to us somewhat deficient in distinctness and definition. He affirms the temporality of the Mosaic sanctions; and contends that to the Israelites, the import of the types was latent-it was a Sense not • disclosed to the Hebrew worshipper.' There can be no question respecting the comparative clearness, to us as Christians, of their intent and object. The great Antitype has been manifested, and in his personal character, as well as in the circumstances of his appearance, He has given an ample and glorious illustration of that which was before obscure and uncertain. But, the comparative view of the subject being put aside, we cannot give an entire assent to the hypothesis of Mr. D. There is the same distinction between latency and the common-parlance meaning of obscurity as between twilight and absolute darkness. Now, if the types were specifically • latent' or concealed,' the Jews were left, not in uncertainty,
but in starless midnight. It should seem, (and on sacred ground we would tread reverently,) that, on Mr. Davison's supposition, though the very spirit of their institutions warned them from idolatry, they were left without defence against the encroachments of superstition. Take away from the expressive ritual of Judaism the meaning and object which gave it reality, and made it effective to the instruction and edification of its observers, and you reduce it, so far as they were concerned, to a mere splendid ceremonial. But invest it with its peculiar character, and give to the temple worshippers some apprehension, however imperfect, of its continual reference to a parallel, though infinitely higher series of transactions, and you place them on different ground; they become at once the responsible agents in a “ reasonable service." There is, indeed, one strong fact, which, taken alone, might give plausibility to Mr. Davison's position; we allude to that remarkable proneness to idolatry, which for so long a period was the disgrace and scourge of the Jewish nation. It may be speciously urged, that if this consciousness of a higher meaning and loftier direction were possessed by the Jews, it would have been a most effectual preservative against idolatrous error. We grant that it would, had these great truths been constantly kept in view, and their influence been cherished, by the great body of the nation. But we are not pleading for this universal knowledge; at least, not for its actual and honest reception by the negligent multitude. We contend only for such means of acquiring illumination as would leave them “ without excuse,” and these, we think, were to be found in the very nature of the temple service. There was a marked contrasť between what may be called the moral and the material divisions of their system. Though Jehuvah was pleased to reveal himself by awful symbols, his spiritual nature was clearly indicated, by the very media through which the skirts of the divine glory were dimly seen. But the ceremonies of the temple were tangible and circumstantial, and though accordant, in one sense, with the general scheme of the theocracy, yet, in another, were at variance with the spirituality and abstraction of the divine nature. Hence, an obvious necessity for assigning a specific and referential character to the ritual of the Jews; and such necessity could only be overlooked by the resolutely ignorant, the contentedly superstitious, or by those whose pride and bigotry had become identified with the externals of the system. These views might be supported by a reference to the history of the Old Testament, and to the doctrinal declarations both of the Old and the New ; but we must hasten on to notice the various important topics which lie before us.
Mr. Davison, however, seems to admit that the Israelite had, in some degree, access to the great significations of his
sacrificial and ritual worship,' but maintains that he obtained it only by the insinuation of prophecy. We are not disposed to question the advantages which were derived from this source ;
but we cannot allow that there was not in the general system something of which the specific tendency was to indicate the connexion between the shadow and the substance.
It would be quite impossible for us to follow Mr. Davison through his comments on the chain of Prophecy from Moses, or rather from Samuel, to Malachi. They are conducted with singular ability, and though the amount of decided novelty may not be great, yet the varied illustration, the light thrown on general arrangement, and the incidental annotations, are both interesting and valuable.
Throughout nearly the whole of the Prophets, the Evangelical strain of prediction and reference, is too marked for evasion or misconception. There are, however, three, among those who are usually termed the Minor Prophets, in whom the reference to the Messiah is of a different and less direct kind, The prophetic warnings of Jonah and Nahum regarded Nineveh; those of Habbakuk related to the invasion of the Chaldeans. But Jonah was himself a prophetic sign, a type of the Redeemer. His typical death and burial during three days, with his miraculous deliverance, are expressly claimed by our Saviour as the lively images of his own death and résurrection. While the menacing predictions of Jonali were arrested in their course towards fulfilment, by the repentance of Nineveh, the subsequent denunciations of Nahum against the same mighty city, hardened in iniquity, were followed by its awful destruction. These two books may be considered as forming
connected parts of one moral history: the remission of God's judgment being illustrated in the one, the execution of it in the other.............Of
Christian prophecy, either direct or typical, perhaps the book of Nahum must be set down as affording no instance.'.
Habbakuk bears distinct marks of Evangelical character, His clear reference to faith as the principle of the religious life, and his annunciation of the great Vision that was for an suppointed time, are unequivocal indications; and the conclusion of his book « contains a confession of his own faith, and that faith separated
from all earthly and temporal hopes. As such, it is of a pure Evan- . gelical character. The conclusion of Habbakuk is in fact a beginning of Christ's proper doctrine, and whoever will read it, and then pass to the beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount, will see in both, the sanctions of Canaan recede, and the vision of the better kingdom opened.
On the whole, then, in the earlier and larger portion of his volume, it has been Mr. Davison's object to shew, that Prophecy is of a complex character, as well as variable in its light. İts principal age includes the period from Samuel to its last glorious emanation in the predictions of Malachi. Previously to the call of Abraham, the intimations of the great Deliverer, though emphatic, had been few. In the age of the Patriarchs, the outpouring of the prophetic spirit was more abundant. During the Egyptian exile, it was suspended, but, under the dispensation of the Law, was renewed. A silence of four • hundred years follows the Law, and a pause of the like dura* tion precedes the Gospel.'
• The subjects of Prophecy varied. Whilst it was all directed to one general design, in the evidence and support of religion, there was a diversity in the administration of the Spirit in respect of that design. In Paradise, it gave the first hope of a Redeemer. After the Deluge, it established the peace of the Natural world. In Abraham, it founded the double covenant of Canaan and the Gospel. In the age of the Law, it spoke of the Second Prophet, and fore-shadowed, in Types, the Christian doctrine, but foretold most largely the future fate of the selected People, who were placed under that preparatory dispensation. In the time of David, it revealed the Gospel Kingdom, with the promise of the Temporal. In the days of the later Prophets, it pre-signified the changes of the Mosaic Covenant, embraced the history of the chief Pagan kingdoms, and completed the annunciation of the Messiah and his work of Redemption. After the Captivity, it gave a last and more urgent information of the approaching Advent of the Gospel.
Thus, ancient Prophecy ended as it had begun. The first discovery of it in Paradise, and the conclusion of it in the book of Malachi, are directed to one point. In its course it had multiplied its disclosures, and furnished various succours to religion, and created an authentic record of God's Providence and Moral Government to be committed to the world. But its earliest, and its latest use, was in the preparatory revelation of Christianity. It remains, as the general inference to be deduced from the whole, that the Holy Jesus and his religion, are the one principal object of Prophecy, the beginning and end of the elder revelation of God.'
As a preliminary step to the consideration of prophetic inspiration, Mr. Davison devotes an entire discourse to the grand question concerning the reconcilableness of the continVOL. XXV. N.S.
gency of human actions with the Divine fore-knowledge and pre-ordination. He has taken a clear and common-sense view of this knotty point, but we cannot congratulate him on having facilitated our progress through its intricacies and obscurities. For any thing he has said on the subject, its difficulties remain as they were; and we believe that this may be, without much hazard, affirmed of almost every writer who has taken up the thesis. He does not, however, appear to have avoided the great error which has been mixed up with the speculations of so many among those who have assailed the theological question--the confounding of free-will with free-agency. Whenever Calvinism is referred to, the distinction ought never to be lost sight of, since while, on the broad ground of Scripture and of fact, it denies the first, it does not impeach the second. On the general inquiry, whether the Divine Prescience be compatible with the freedom of human action, many and most fantastical have been the vagaries of man's intellect. One bright scheme, while it admits the attribute of foreknowledge, puts it to sleep, only to be awakened on special occasions. A Dr. Pearson has recently gone more decisively to work, and, unappalled by the startling consequences of his hypothesis, affirms at once the inability of the Divine Prescience to command cognizance of the free actions of men. This is laying the axe to the root, it is, unquestionably, thorough-going theology: All the metaphysical difficulties connected with the question are, to be sure, very completely got rid of; but it may be worth consideration, whether, to say nothing of the unhallowed infringement on the Divine attributes, the point is worth gaining at the expense of one entire and most important branch of Christian evidence, the proof from Prophecy. In fact, the Doctor rests his hypothesis, in part, on the absolute nullification of a large portion of the Scripture prophecies, since he assumes that they contain no distinct predictions of free and responsible agencies. This is not worth answering; we cannot, however, but express our admiration at the way in which some men read their Bibles. If it were necessary to make choice between the two difficulties, we would rather side with Hobbes and Bayle, and, maintaining the Divine prescience, argue from it against man's freedom, than question, with Dr. Pearson and the earlier • writers of the Socinian school,' the possibility of God's absolute fore-knowledge in the case of contingent things.
Lord Bacon, in one of his Meditationes Sacra, had some very acute but, withal, very singular observations on the sources of Heresy, part of which bear very strongly on the question just referred to. That great man expresses himself