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Here then we have, both the times of the Messiah accurately defined, and a direct assertion that the second dispensation should give way to a third as the first had already given way to the second. By other prophets, the badge of the third is stated to be a general admission of the Gentiles into covenant with God; a badge, which the very constitution of the second renders it incapable of bearing. The third therefore, like the first, is to be marked by universality : and the dissolution of the second, which in many predictions is only implied, is by Daniel unreservedly foretold.
2. We have now only to inquire, how far the Christian dispensation tallies both with the general design and with the standing declarations of its two predecessors.
To tally with them in these particulars, we may even a priori maintain it to be necessary, that Christianity should acknowledge as its God the same Angel of Jehovah, who was wont corporeally to manifest himself under the two first dispensations; that this anthropomorphic Angel should again appear under the third ; that under the third however he should be born of a woman; and that, as the third is the consummating dispensation, he should under the third also submit to have his mortal frame bruised by the serpent in order that he might thus (as Daniel speaks) make atonement for iniquity.
Unless sugh be the characteristics of the third, it is plain, from the view which we have taken of the two first, that the concinnity of the whole scheme will be entirely destroyed : for, without such characteristics, the third can never be made to harmonize with its predecessors. Abstract them; and what becomes of that Angel of Jehovah, who was confessedly the God of Patriarchism and of the Law, and who is solemnly announced as coming to his own temple preceded by an extraordinary herald mystically denominated Elijah ? In that case, the Angel of Jehovah will have suddenly laid down his peculiar office of God's Messenger : in that case, he will have vanished from our eyes, as though he had never been : in that case, the two more ancient dispensations are superior in dignity to the last; for under them the divine Angel repeatedly displayed himself, but under the third his place is supplied by a mere man like any other child of Adam. Thus necessary is it to the general harmony of the whole system of grace, that the Angel of Jehovah should appear, at all events not less prominently, under the consummating dispensation, than under its two predecessors : for, without such a manifestation of the presiding Word, it is utterly impossible to establish any satisfactory connection between the three component parts of the system.
We have however most abundant proof, that the Angel of Jehovah, manifested in the human form, is the special God and King of the third dispensation, no less than of the first and of the second. This proofshall now be stated, that so the concinnityof the whole scheme may the more completely appear.
(1.) In the beginning of two of the Gospels, we read an account of the miraculous conception and birth of the Messiah : for we are told, that he had no mortal father, but that he was produced from the womb of a pure virgin by the immediate operation of the Holy Ghost. This happened, we learn, in accordance with an ancient prophecy, which foretold, that a virgin should bear a son, and should call his name Emmanuel.
Now by the title Emmanuel Christ was never literally designated : it was not the familiar appellation, by which he was known among men. How then are we to understand the assertion of the oracle? The answer is easy.
In the Hebrew idiom, when a person is said to be called by a significant name which literally he never bore, the import is, that the name in question merely describes his character and office. Hence, as EmManuel denotes God with us, and as this is said to be the name of the virgin-born Messiah ; the meaning is, that, in point of character, the Messiah should be what the name actually signifies. The Messiah therefore, agreeably to his descriptive title, was God with us or God visibly dwelling among us in a human form. But this is a perfect definition of the Angel of Jehovah, as he was wont to appear under the two first dispensations. He also was Emmanuel or God with us : he also was God visibly manifested in a human form. The only difference is in the commencement and duration of the appearances.
Heretofore he at once assumed the figure of a perfect man, and each display of
himself was but temporary: but now he was born an infant, and this consummating manifestation was permanent. Yet such an appearance was to be expected, long before it actually occurred. The promised Deliverer, whom Eve acknowledged to be very Jehovah, was nevertheless to be the Seed of the woman : and the offspring of the virgin was, in a similar manner, to be God with us.
When these various matters are put together, we are compelled, so far as I can judge, to identify Christ with the Angel of Jehovah. No man hath seen God the Father at any time. But Christ and the Angel, both have been repeatedly seen under a human form, and are repeatedly declared to be God. Therefore, while they plainly cannot be the invisible Paternal Godhead, they must as plainly be one and the same divine person. The conclusion is decidedly established by the very peculiar mode, in which Isaiah uses the name Emmanuel, almost immediately after his prophecy, that the child, so to be denominated, should be born from the womb of a virgin. He styles the region of Palestine the land of Emmanuel.' Now that region is always spoken of as the peculium of Jehovah, in his special character of the national God and King of Israel. But Jehovah, the national God of Israel, as both Jacob and Hosea positively declare, is that Angel of Jehovah, who so frequently revealed himself in the form of a man.
Palestine therefore is the peculium of the Angel. But,
! Isaiah viii. 8.
according to Isaiah, it is also the land of the virginborn Emmanuel. The Angel consequently and Emmanuel must be the same person : and that person niust be the national God of Israel.
(2.) With this result the exordium of St. John's Gospel, according to its plain and natural acceptation, fully and perfectly harmonizes.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him ; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.'
Afterwards the apostle goes on to state, that this divine Word or Light was in the world, and that the world knew him not though it was made by bim; that he came unto his own, and his own received him not; and that he was inade flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth, while we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father. He then subjoins the text, which I have so frequently had occasion to make the basis of an argument. No man hath seen God at any time: the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
That Christ is meant by the Word, is universally and indeed necessarily acknowledged; though some have idly fancied, that the title has been borrowed from the Platonic school. With whatever sem