« PoprzedniaDalej »
in Israel, from Malachi, till near the times of Jesus; but the scripture does not say there never would be any and, however satisfied Mr. C. may be on the subject, the scribes, and priests, and elders, in our Lord's time, confessed that they did not know whether John the Baptist was a prophet
P. 40. 1. 20. One thing,' &c.-If this proposition can be established, the business is settled: for, as Israel is not restored, if the restoration of Israel, and the coming of the Messiah be the same thing,' it is plain that the Messiah is not come! Indeed, if the Messiah is Israel and 'Israel the Messsiah,' (1. 23, 24.) then the Messiah came, when God surnamed Jacob by the name of Israel; the Messiah is now dispersed throughout the earth; the Messiah is to be restored, and not to restore others. What Mr. C. means by this, I know not: but, if he speaks the language of his nation, it proves that the Jews are apt to think of themselves as the whole world; and that nothing is of much consequence, in the dispensations of Providence, except as it tends to the aggrandisement of their nation.
P. 40. 1. 25. The next,' &c.-It has generally been thought that Elias, or Elijah, the prophet, either personally, or by one " in his spirit and
power," would precede the coming of the Messiah. This the prophets foretold; and this the - ancient Jews fully expected. 2 But, not to dwell on this, Mr. C. here allows that the Messiah will be a prophet: and we allow that, if Jesus were
'Is. xl. 3-9. Mal. iii. 1. iv. 3, 4.
2 John i. 19-28.
not the Messiah, he could not be a prophet; and, from the fulfilment of the prophecies of Jesus, we draw a most conclusive argument that he was the Messiah. With whom then does Mr. C. contend; when, assuming that Jesus was not the Messiah,' he attempts to prove, that he was not a prophet?' Not with Christians certainly. But, in truth, the fulfilment of our Lord's prophecies stands very much in the way of the Jews; and they seem sometimes to have great misgivings on the subject; and almost to say among themselves: If not the Messiah, but a deceiver, how could he be a prophet? And, if not a prophet, how could he predict the state of Jerusalem, and of the Jews, for so many hundred years to come, and with such wonderful particularity?' This obstruction Mr. C. repeatedly labours to remove; but, I must think, completely without success.-The reader must determine, whether the right interpretation of the prophecy in Joel is given by the apostles, or by Mr. C. (1. 28.)1 One thing should be noted, that, after the prediction " of the pouring out of "the Spirit," and its effects, it is added, "I will "shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth,
blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke; the sun "shall be turned into darkness, and the moon "into blood, before the great and terrible day of "the Lord come." 2 The extraordinary appearances in the heavens would be presages of the approaching destruction of Jerusalem, and of the subversion of the Jewish church and state; which
'Joel ii. 28-32. Acts ii. 16-21. Rom. x. 11-15.
Joel ii. 30, 31.
would be attended by immense bloodshed, terrible conflagrations, and "pillars of smoke," such as ascend from the flames of burning cities. Now is not this a prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and of the dissolution of the civil and ecclesiastical state of the Jews, with dreadful massacres, and miseries? Yet this is predicted as subsequent to "the pouring out of "the Spirit:" and only a remnant would be rescued from these tremendous judgments. The events predicted in the New Testament, and recorded in Josephus's History of the Wars of the Jews, confirm this interpretation. The third chapter of Joel contains a prediction of Israel's restoration, but the second predicts those events which made it necessary.
P. 41. 1. 5. Thus far,' &c. Mr. C.'s inferences, at least, are not deficient in perspicuity and decision.
P. 41. 1. 7. The gentiles' question.-Only ' one,' &c.
P. 41. 1. 10. The answer of the Jews.-Mir'acles,' &c. This and the following pages suggest a most important question-HOW FAR AND IN
WHAT CASES, MIRACLES ARE THE PROOF OF A DIVINE
MISSION? But, before we proceed to the more direct answer to it, a few particulars require a cursory notice.
P. 41. 1. 17. The wise men of Pharaoh performed also the same miracles,' &c. Indeed! The magicians imitated, or rather aped, a few of Moses's miracles; whether by Satanical aid or not, or by what power, forms no part of our present question. Their rods were turned into serpents,
as well as his: but his rod devoured their's, and their rods disappeared. When, at the word of Moses, the waters of Egypt had been turned into blood, they also turned into blood a little of the water, which the mercy of God had spared: but, to equal the miracle of God by Moses, they should have turned the rivers, and reservoirs, and streams of blood throughout the land into water. They added to the plague of frogs; but they could do nothing towards removing it. They could neither produce lice, nor remove the disgusting and mortifying plague; but were forced to confess, "This "is the finger of God." "The boil was upon the 'magicians," as well as upon the other Egyptians; and they "could not stand before Moses." 2 Thus they were driven with contempt from the field of contest, and are no more mentioned by Moses. But why did God thus display the superior power of the miracles wrought by Moses, in the sight of Pharaoh and the Egyptians, if 'mir'acles be no proof of a divine mission' Why did he work one miracle after another, in proof of this, if the miracles wrought did not prove it? Why did Moses afterwards, in the wilderness, appeal to the miracle about to be wrought, in the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram? "If "these men die the death of all men, or if they "be visited after the visitation of all men, then "the Lord hath not sent me: but if the Lord "make a new thing, 3 and the earth open her "mouth, and swallow them up, with all that ap
'Exod. viii. 19. Luke xi. 20. * Exod. ix. 11. 2 Tim. iii. 8, 9. 'See Jer. xxxi. 22.
"pertain unto them, and they go down quick "into the pit; then ye shall understand that "these men have provoked the Lord." And why did Elijah, (having put the proof of the important cause, whether JEHOVAH or Baal were God, on the answer by fire,) thus address the Lord-" Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, "let it be known this day, that thou art God in “Israel, and that I am thy servant, and have done "all these things at thy word?"2 Why, I say, did he make such an appeal, if 'miracles be no proof of a divine mission?' The miracles of Moses were wrought by the power of God; those of the magicians by their enchantments.
P. 41. 1. 22. To drive devils,' &c. Whatever credit may be attached to Josephus's narrative, no doubt exorcists among the Jews cast out devils in some instances, or induced them to go out. But, even in this respect, the miracles of Christ were so vastly superior, and so stupendous, that the people said, "It was never so seen in Israel:" and the Pharisees were compelled to allege, that he "cast out devils by Beelzebub the prince of "the devils." 3 It must be evident that evil spirits cannot be constrained to quit their hold of a man, in any way, except by a superior power. This superior power C a common man' has not: (1. 23) either God or angels must help him, or the devil must retire from motives of policy.
P. 41. 1. 25. They have even the power,' &c. I do not here presume to determine, what evil
' Num. xvi. 29, 30.
See also 1 Sam. xii. 16-18.
Matt. ix. 32-34. xii. 22-24.