« AnteriorContinuar »
events justified, we should rather say demanded, the most obviously literal interpretation of the prophecy: and no interpretation, other than the literal, will bear comparison with the facts of the case. The natural and truly important inference is, that other prophecies, conveyed in similar language, shall, in their respective times, find a similar, that is, a literal fulfilment.
We now conclude for the present, merely observing, that up to this period of the history of the Jewish nation, their predicted characteristic of separation from all other nations, was evidently
authenticate the scriptural prophecies; and it is not, at least, on this stronghold of faith that the standard of infidelity can be erected. Every fact related by Volney is a witness against all his speculations; and out of his own mouth is he condemned. Can any purposed deception be more glaring or great, than to overlook all these prophecies, and to raise an argument against the truth of Christianity from the very facts by which they have been fulfilled? Or can any evidence of divine inspiration be more convincing and clear, than to view, in conjunction, all these marvellous predictions, and their exact completion?"
"It matters not by what means these prophecies have been verified; for the means were as inscrutable, and as impossible to have been foreseen by man, as the event. The fact is beyond a doubt, that they have been literally fulfilled, and therefore the Prophecies Are True. They may be overlooked, but no ingenuity can pervert them. No facts could have been more unlikely or striking, and no predictions-respecting them could be more clear.
maintained to the letter of the prediction. That it has continued so up to this day, and shall so continue till the end of this dispensation, are the topics next in order before us.
Numb, xxiii. 9. "Lo! the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.'3
From these words, we have already considered the separation of the Jewish people from all the surrounding nations, during the early periods of their history. We observed the literal fulfilment of some of the prophecies given to Abraham; of the celebrated prophecy of Nathan addressed to David; and of some of the prophecies of Jeremiah, respecting the captivity of Judah in Babylon, for seventy years, and their restoration to Judea at the close of that period. From all this we inferred, that other prophecies, conveyed in similar language, would, in their respective times, find a similar, that is, a literal fulfilment; and we concluded, leaving the people re-established in their own land, under Ezra and Nehemiah, in consequence of the predicted decree of Cyrus, king of Persia.
So far, the application of the language of Balaam is clear and undeniable: "the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations." It is equally obvious, and equally admitted, that this language applies to them, during the following four centuries of their history. The flattering privileges, conferred upon them by Alexander of Maceclon, could not seduce them into any amalgamating compliance with the habits of the heathen. The blood-thirsty persecutions of Antiochus of Syria, could not extirpate the heaven-protected race; although repeated by the tyrant avowedly for that purpose. After a brilliant, but short-lived struggle for their independence, under the Maccabees, they sunk into comparative insignificance in the political world, and were soon added to the conquests of the then victorious Romans. But, though tributary, they continued separate, maintaining their distinguishing peculiarities, without the smallest relaxation, till the time when Jesus of Nazareth was bom among them.
Here we reach a period of their history, at which an important difference of opinion concerning them has existed, and does exist, in the Christian church. It is alleged by some, that the peculiarities of the Jews, as a separate people, terminated with the promulgation of the Gospel; since which, they have been in no sense the peculiar people of God, but are totally cast off, in a national point of view; to be called, indeed, as individuals in common with the heathen, to the true knowledge of Jesus Christ; but no longer recognized as a separate nation, to be distinguished from the Christian church. This is a common opinion. It has been handed down among us Gentiles, from generation to generation; and although some of the most learned expositors of prophecy, in every age of Christianity, have opposed it on Scriptural grounds, and demonstrated its falsehood, yet still it maintains its hold, firmly rooted in Gentile prejudice ; from a misapplication, it would seem, of the language of the apostles, respecting the unity of the church in Christ. It is adopted without examination, referred to as a matter of course, and asserted without proof.
Now, in opposition to this we think that the Scriptures assert a perpetuity of separation. We maintain that the language of our text, put by the Divine Spirit into the mouth of Balaam, describes the state of the Jewish people, as a nation, kept separate by the hand of God, not merely till the time of Christ, but absolutely, without limitation or interruption, till the end of the world. This is of vital importance, in its connexion with other themes of prophecy, afterwards to be considered. I now, therefore, proceed to give such reasons, and advance such arguments