« הקודםהמשך »
his second advent, He will restore and convert the Jewish nation.
Which of these opinions accords best with the Hebrew Scriptures, must be proved by a fair and full examination of the Scriptures themselves; and it is obvious that neither of the parties is entitled to assume that their own opinion is the right one.
This seems to be the precise error into which Levi has run. He has collected many prophecies from the Hebrew. Scriptures, which relate to the excellent and glorious effects of the Messiah's kingdom upon earth, and which are equally received and believed by the Christian and the Jew. In interpreting these prophecies, he first takes it for granted, without proof, that they are all to be fulfilled immediately after the first coming of the Messiah ; and as they were not thus fulfilled by Jesus, he thence argues that Jesus was not the Messiah. To this the Christian may answer, by demanding Levi to produce one clear and unequivocal prophecy from the Old Testament, which declares that
the establishment of the glorious kingdom of the Messiah on earth, is to happen immediately after his first advent. If the Jew cannot produce such proof from the Scriptures, then his whole argument from prophecy falls to the ground, as being founded on a petitio principii ; and it remains, for aught that has been advanced by David Levi, that Jesus may be the Messiah, in and by whom all things that are written in the prophets shall still receive their accomplishment.
DAVID LEVI'S FIRST PRINCIPLE CONTRARY TO THE
ANALOGY OF THE DIVINE GOVERNMENT.
By the Analogy of the Divine Government, we mean that unity and siinilarity of plan which is observable in all the different works of God; whether in the animal or vegetable kingdoms, or in his moral creation. This analogy discovers itself to the attentive observer in every part of the works of God: - in the generation of animals and vegetables ; in their progress from infancy to maturity; and in their final dissolution. It is no less discoverable in his government of the rational and moral world.
It is a conspicuous part of this analogy, that no animal or vegetable is brought to the perfec
tion of its nature at once. Every thing arises from small beginnings : the vegetable productions from seed deposited in the earth; and animals from the semen infused into the uterus.
The progress, both of animals and vegetables, from infancy to maturity, is gradual and slow; and it seems to be a general rule, that the nobler and more durable any production is, the longer is the period of its reaching perfection. Thus, among animals, the elephant, whose faculties approach most nearly to those of man, is slowest of growth, as is, in the vegetable kingdom, the oak, the monarch of the forest.
We discover the same analogy in the original creation of the world. —God might, by that Almighty power which first produced the matter of the world, have commanded into existence the globe which we inhabit, and the planetary system to which it belongs, in all that beauty and perfection with which he gradually cloathed them during the six days of creation. But we learn from the first chapter of Genesis, that He, in his infinite wisdom, saw fit to adopt a dif
ferent plan ; one which precisely corresponds with the analogy of his procedure in the providential governinent and preservation of the natural world.
With respect to the creation of man, who was destined to replenish the earth, and to subdue it, and to be in this terrestrial world the image of the invisible God, it might be said by a profane caviller, Why all this loss of time? Why was only one pair of the human species created, instead of such a number as might have been sufficient, if not fully to people the earth, yet, at least, accelerate the time, when, in the course of nature, it would be replenished with intellectual beings ? To such a caviller, the pious Israelite might answer, in the sublime language of inspiration, · Who hath directed the Spirit of ' the Lord, or, being His counsellor, hath taught · Him? With whom took He counsel, and who instructed Him in the path of judgment, and taught Him knowledge, and showed Him the way of understanding ?' He might justly add, that the procedure of God in creating only one