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FUTURE BLESSEDNESS OF THE CHURCH.

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love of God-it will afford so unequivocal a confirmation of the truth of prophecy, and of the wonderful dealings of Providence towards this remarkable people; that all men, as if with one common voice, shall exclaim, that the Lord he is God, and bow down in praise and adoration before him.

An impulse shall be given to the world beyond what it hath ever experienced before; while the Jews, the distinguished monuments of saving truth and mercy, and acquainted, as they are, with the manners, languages, and habits of every country, shall be eminently qualified as missionaries for the propagation of the Gospel throughout the world.

The holiness and blessedness of the Church, resulting from the conversion of the Jews.

“ Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.”

“ The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.”

• Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.”

Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.”*

* Isaiah lx. 18-21.

LECTURE II.

ON THE PRINCIPLES OF PROPHETIC

INTERPRETATION.

BY THE REV. T. R. BIRKS, A.M.,

FELLOW OF TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE.

HABAKKUK II. 2. 66 And the Lord answered and said unto me, Write

the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he

may run that readeth it.""

It is a solemn and instructive emblem, by which the Apostle St. Peter describes the word of prophecy, as “a light that shineth in a dark place.” The present world, we are thus taught, and experience confirms the truth, is like a troubled and trackless ocean.

It is a place which sin has filled with confusion, and buried in gloom. history is one perpetual round of strife, and war, and tumultuous violence. Empires may rise and perish; generations may come and pass away; but

Its

the confusion is still the same; the children of the world walk on still in darkness; the mystery and the gloom are as deep as ever; and while the Christian gazes thoughtfully on the scene, the inquiry of the prophet rises to his lips, “O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things ?”

But the word of prophecy is a bright and cheering lamp, amid the world's darkness. There, in those sacred pages, we behold a scheme of redemption, which is from everlasting to everlasting, but which is daily unfolding itself in the history of our fallen world. There we learn, that however the counsels of man may fail, though empires may perish, and generations may pass away, there is a counsel that shall stand for ever, and a kingdom that cannot be destroyed,

-the counsel of God, and the kingdom of the Most High. The mist and darkness are rolled away from the landscape of Divine Providence, and we can trace, from age to age, the unveiling of God's infinite goodness, in the recovery of our guilty race to the presence of his holiness, and the enjoyment of his love. The dispensations of his grace present themselves in succession to our view, and still, as they advance, increase in their clearness and beauty, till at length the triumph of a Saviour's mercy is complete, and “ the kingdoms of this world, become the kingdoms of our Lord.”

Thus the word of prophecy, when received in simple faith, fulfils its appointed office as a beaconlight, and leads our thoughts onward, through all the changes of time, to that “rest which remaineth for the people of God.”

Light, then, and not darkness, is the true character of all the inspired prophecies. But the description applies most fully to those which predict the past desolation and future glory of Israel. The visions of Daniel and St. John retain an air of mystery that accords well with their reference to the Gentile dispensation, that time which is called by emphasis, the mystery of God. But the prophecies which relate to the Jews are free from this symbolical veil. They are clothed in simple language; they stoop to our earthly estate; they are imbedded in the facts of history, and confirmed by visible earnests of their truth. To the spiritual and sanctifying power which they share with all the Divine promises, they add the intense reality of persons, and scenes, and places, which are within our reach, or even before our eyes. The stronghold of man's unbelief lies in the things which are seen and temporal. But these prophecies assail it even here. They reveal to us a counsel of God plainly fulfilling itself on the face of the earth. They show us a country marked off-a people separated, as the visible

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