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self, or did others tell it thee of me?" Being pressed, again, by the question in a more general form, “ Art thou a king then ?” he answered in the affirmative, “ Thou sayest that I am a king.” A king he was: though for a season veiled in voluntary humiliation, for the attainment of a great ulterior purpose.
So far, then, we find the prophecy in our text obviously, and without any violence to the language, applicable to Jesus of Nazareth. But we have some other particulars to examine. 4. The person, predicted in our text, was to reign prosperously; which, as I observed, according to the common meaning of language, signifies that he should have victory over his enemies, and enjoy the satisfaction of seeing his subjects in peace, and plenty, and happiness. To this particular, Jesus of Nazareth certainly did not correspond. Instead of reigning prosperously as a king, he was in disguise as a servant, and living so, he was despised, and rejected, and insulted, and put to death. Instead of having the victory over his enemies, his enemies had the victory over him; and although because of his personal dignity, (for he was a king,) his enemies, and even death itself, could not hold him, yet still he did not effectually throw off his disguise and confound his adversaries ; on the contrary, he retired from their observation under the charge and apparent ignominy of a defeat, and left them in the exercise of a mysterious and fearful liberty to continue, if they will, in their rebellion. Instead of seeing his faithful subjects in the enjoyment of peace and prosperity, he told them distinctly that his object, at that time, was not to send peace upon the earth, but a sword ; that they would be persecuted; that their foes would be they of their own households; that they would be cast out of the synagogues; and that the time was at hand, when whosoever killed them, would think he was doing God service. It is true he left them a legacy of peace, as it is written, John xiv.; but it was a peace of endurance in the midst of suffering : it was a peace, whose foundation is patience, and its superstructure hope: it was the peace of a faithful martyr, rather than of a prosperous king. In this particular, therefore, the individual predicted by Jeremiah certainly does not correspond with the past history of Jesus of Nazareth upon the earth. 5. The person predicted in our text, was to execute judgment and justice in the earth. Now this, again, does not correspond with Jesus of Nazareth. He was in his own character, as we have said, just and righteous, but he did not establish an ascendancy of righteousness; he did not execute judgment in the earth: on the contrary, injustice, oppression, and violence have the ascendancy unto this day. If it be said that his kingdom is spiritual, that he did establish an ascendancy of righteousness in the bosoms of his saints, and that this is the true meaning of the prophecy; I
answer, that granting to the fullest extent the righteous character of the disciples of Jesus ; granting it to a degree that none of themselves will grant it: for they all feel and acknowledge themselves vile and carnal : yet still this unearthly righteousness, existing in the hearts of a remnant of mankind, (scoffed and reviled by the world,) cannot with any show of fairness or impartiality in the interpretation of language, be appealed to, as the fulfilment of a prophecy which speaks in such words of majesty as these, “ he shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.” 6. Again, the king, predicted in our text, was to have this remarkable and important event to characterize his reign,“ in his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely.” To this particular, the past history of Jesus of Nazareth does in no wise correspond. On the contrary, Israel continued outcast, and Judah was trodden down and degraded in his days; the sceptre had departed from Judah ; their tribute money was due to Cæsar; they declared they had no king but Cæsar ; their iniquities were at the full ; and a very few years afterwards they were utterly ruined in both church and state ; and dispersed abroad in disgrace among the nations, as we have seen, unto this day. If it be alleged, that the Judah and Israel of the prophecy mean the Christian church; I answer, that this objection has been fairly met, and, as I think, satisfactorily refuted in our examination of the
thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh chapters of Ezekiel; and I cannot now diverge from my main argument, to contend with those who persevere in asserting, that when the inspired prophets of Jehovah wrote Jews, they intended their readers to understand Gentiles. This characteristic, therefore, of the reign of the king, predicted by Jeremiah, does in no wise correspond with the history of the days of Jesus of Nazareth. Our text contains yet one particular more. 7. The name by which the king, predicted by Jeremiah, would be called and known, is Jehovah our Righteousness. To this particular we find, by the New Testament, that Jesus of Nazareth corresponds in a certain sense. He is declared to be made of God unto his people righteousness, to be the end of the law for righteousness; and the desire and prayer of his true followers is to be found in him not having their own righteousness, but his. But as yet, this is stated only to the ear and heart of faith. The disciples of Jesus cannot manifest it in the earth, cannot prove it to the world, cannot show, so as to convince gainsayers, what Master they serve, and in what righteousness they are clothed. This royal name is not fully proclaimed even in the Christian church; nor is the sublime doctrine contained in it, admitted or believed in its simplicity and fulness, by one in a thousand of those who call Jesus master. Besides, let us attend to the prophecy. The speaker is a Jew; the subjects of the king, just mentioned
in the preceding words, are Jews; and the plain construction of the passage requires that the pronoun our be referred to the Jews : so that the prophecy declares the name by which the king shall be called amongst his Jewish subjects in those days, to be Jehovah our Righteousness. Now, have the Jews acknowledged Jesus of Nazareth as Jehovah their Righteousness ? Surely not.
Upon the whole, then, we see that Jesus of Nazareth did not completely fulfil this prophecy. Need I even suggest the inquiry, Has it been fulfilled since his time? No. Many monarchs have indeed reigned and prospered since, Constantine and Justinian of Rome, Charles of Germany, Henry of France, our own Henrys and Edwards of England ; but none of these were of the stock of David, none of these were righteous, none of them gave peace and safety to Israel ; and to apply to any of these the royal name of the king in the prophecy, would be blasphemy itself.
We have arrived, then, at a most important conclusion, important in itself, and important in its bearing upon other arguments : to wit, that this prophecy by Jeremiah has never yet, up to this moment, found a complete fulfilment.
Will it ever be completely fulfilled ? Let the sacred text itself make answer-Behold, thus saith the Lord! The Lord who cannot lie hath spoken it, and it must be fulfilled.
When ? and in whom? These are questions of interest, both to Jew and Gentile.