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269 when he had by himself purged.,our, Sins, sat down on the right, hand of the Majesty on high ; being made so much better than the Angels, as he hath, by inheritance, obtained A MORE EXCELLENT name than they.
With respect to the duration of the Christian Dispensation, the same Writer, having quoted a Prophecy from the Old Testament, of a new Covenant which was afterwards to be established, meaning thereby the Christian Covenant, draws this conclusion from the abrogation of the former, chap. viii. 17. In that he saith A NEW COVENANT, he hath made the first old. Now that which decAYETH and waxeth old, is ready to vanish away ; plainly intimating, by this reasoning, that the New Covenant was not soon to vanish away. And this language perfe&tly harmonizes with that which is contained in Antient Prophecy; which constantly describes, either in express words--or in words to that effect, the kingdom of the Messiah, as an everlasting kingdom, and as that which shall not be destroyed—but be productive of the happiest effects upon the moral and religious condition of mankind.
But it may be observed farther that, if the passage in the Hebrews, quoted by Bishop Pearce, be examined with attention ; it will of itself furnish no slight proof, that the end of the world-or age, can be understood only of the first coming of Jesus as the Messiah-or to speak more properly, to the end of the Jewish dispensation ; for the appearance of Jesus to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, no one can doubt, can only mean, his first coming—as the Messiah, and his dying upon the Cross, and is most clearly and accurately distinguished, by this circumstance, from his second coming, which was to be without sin unto salvation, and that at the day of Judgment. This sacrifice, the Writer to the Hebrews says, was not like the Sacrisces which were under the law, to be repeated frequently-it was sufficient that it was made once. Now once, in the END OF THE WORLDor in THE END OF THE AGE hath hè, the Messiah, appeared to put away sin, by the sacrifice of himself. And, as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the Judgment-s0 Christ--or the Messiah, was once offered to bear the sins of many, and, in consequence of that one sin offering to them that look for him, as he has taught all Christians to do, shall he appear, the second time, without sin unto salvation...
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in the other passage, i Cor. x. 11. to which Bishop Pearce refers the Apostle Paul asserts, that the Mosaic dispensation had; a 'manifest reference to the Christian, Verse 1. All oui Fathers, says he, were under a cloud, and all passed through the sea and were all baptized unto Moses, in'the cloud and in the sea. And did all tat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiri. "fual rock that followed them, and that yock was Christ. But, say's the Apostle, with many of them, God was not well pleased; for they were overthrown for their disobedience, in the Wilder'ness. . Now, 'says he, these things were our examples-or beacons 21-to the intent that we should not lust after evil things, as they alsó lusted.
In the 8th and following verses, the Apostle 'enumerate's several instances of this disobedience, and then again repeats what he had before 'said in the 6th verse. Now these thing's 'happened unto them for examples, and they are written for our admonition, upon whom THE ENDS OF THE WORLD are come. As if he liad said. If the Jews, under the Mosaic and more imperfect dispensation, did not escape the punishment due to their disobediencestill less reason could they have to "expect to escape, who were under a more perfect one,
From these instances, it appears, that the phrase the end of "the Jewish dispensation or rather, perhaps, the last dis'pensation in which God should reveal himself to mankind, and as such, should not be neglected or misim proved-but thankfully and cordially received, and be productive of a conduct becoming it's superior excellence. : It must indeed be owned that the same phrase is used in Matthew xiii. 39, 40, 49. and can hardly be applied to any other event'than to the end of the world, in the strictest sense of the word; but it is submitted to the judicious Reader, whether the instances produced from the Epistles will not justify the interpreting it differently in Matt. xxiv. 3. If it will 'hot-the only alternative is, that the Apostles may have thought, when they put the question, What shall be the sign of the end of the world ? that their Temple would not be destroyed but with the world itself. But our Lord, in his answer, confirms the prediction whîch gave rise to their questions, and tells them, thắt it would be destroyed in that generation!
APPENDIX, No II.
Of the Meaning of the word GENERATION. IT was observed in page 122, that the only possible objec.
tion to the reasoning which was adopted in endeavouring to ascertain the meaning of the xxivth of Matthew, and the parallel chapters was, that the 'word Generation is capable of a very different meaning, and it is here proposed minutely to enquire, whether there is any solid foundation for abandoning the commun acceptation of that word. This will be the more necessary, as Dr. Lightfoot appears, very properly to have termed it, “ The Gnomon,” or Index to those chapters, and as, till this matter is ascertained with some degree of precision, some doubt may still be entertained of the true meaning of those 'chapters.
Mr. Mede, in his reply to Mr. Hayn's fourth Letter, has observed, that the Greek word translated Generation « signifies, not only Ætas, but Gens, Natio, Progenies, and so ** ought to be taken ; viz. Gens Judæorum non interibit, .66 usque dum omnia hæc implentur. The Nation of the Jewis 56 should not perish, till all these things were fulfilled.” And a little farther on he says, “ No one can deny, but this is one of *6 the native notions of the Greek word translated Generation, $6 yea, and so taken in the Gospels, as in the foregoing " chapter, Matt, xxiii. 36. Verily I say unto you, all these 5 things shall come upon this Nation. So Beza renders it is twice in 'the parallel place, Luke xi. 50, 51, and seven 16 times in this Gospel. Again, Luke xvii. 25. The Son of 36 Man must be first rejected Beza à gente ista.” : :
A learned Writer, in a private letter to the Author, has" observed, that the Greek word translated Generation cannot *** signify Age or the people of a particular Age, (in Matt. 166 xxiv. and the parallel chapters)--but a Nation, Race, Fa“ mily,--or a certain description of people. Thus Psalm 66 xiv. 5. xxii. 30. xxiv. 6. Ixxiii. 15. cxii. 2. So in the 36 New Testament, Matt. iii. 7. xii. 34. xxiii. 33. it is not 66. age of vipers--but a nest, a brood, a family, a nation of “ vipers. In Phil. ii. 15. it is.properly rendered Nation, as 16 I think it should, in several other places, or by some
. 66 similar word, as people, &c. Among others, Matt. xi. 16. “ xvü. 17. Acts ii. 40.”
This Writer having adduced these instances, says, “ Now
it being admitted that the word Generation here, in our " Lord's discourse, (Matt. xxiv.), may mean the Jewish “ Nation-or people almost every difficulty vanishes. This, “ Sir, I think, deserves your very attentive consideration." • It will, perhaps, very much contribute to throw light upon our Lord's meaning in the use of the word Generation in the xxivth of Matthew and the parallel chapters—first to attend to the nature of the prediction which gave rise to this discourse ;-Secondly, to some particulars, in our Lord's answer to the questions of the Disciples ;-And thirdly, to the use of the terin Generation, in other parts of the Sacred Writings, and particularly in the New Testament; together with the design which Jesus appears to have had in view, in the fre. quent use of this term...
ist. With respect to the nature of the prediction which gave rise to this discourse—whatever ambiguity there may appear to be in the questions of the Disciples, in consequence of that prediction-there certainly can be none in the prediction itself. No one can possibly doubt that it related to the destruction of Jerusalem, and to the destruction of Jeru. salem_only. This event, it is well known, took place in the age in which this prediction was delivered—or in that Generation, in the common acceptation of the word, and consequently there arises, from hence, a strong presumption, that our Lord made use of the word Generation in that sense,
If again, zdly, The question of the Disciples~When shall these things be? be considered in connection with our Lord's answer to it-the presumption that this was his meaning, will be rendered still stronger for the rising of Nation against Nation—the preaching of the Gospelmor good news of the Kingdom, i. e. of the Kingdom of the Messiah, and the seeing of the abomination of desolation-are mentioned as particular signs of the near approach of the destruction of Ferusalem, and upon the last of these signs being mentioned--the direction to the Disciples is given in the following unambiguous terms ;-Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. And having in the 29th and following verses, described the awful and desolating effects of these calami. ties, he, in the 33d verse, says, “When ye shall see all these
APPENDIX, No. II. things, viz. all the things which he had before been describing-know that it—or as it is in St. Luke, that the kingdom of God-or of the Messiah, is near, even at the doors. This, it must be particularly observed, is an explicit answer to the question of the Disciples-What shall be the sign of thy coming, i. e, of the coming of the Messiahor of the coming of the kingdom of God ? Then follows the solemn asseveration in question, which clearly appears to be a direct and explicit answer to their other question-When shall these things be-Verily I say unto you~This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled. Here it seems to be evident, that these things, in the question of the Disciples, have a direct and exclusive reference to their Master's prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem—the seeing all these things, in the 33d verse, appears to have as direct a reference to the question of the Disciples-When shall these things be ? and consequently. all these things, having a distinct and unambiguous reference to the things which had before been described the term Generation must necessarily have been used to signify—the people of that age.
But there is still farther evidence that our Lord used the term Generation in the common acceptation ; for when he says, ver. 37. As the days of Noah were,&c.-is there not the strongest reasoni for thinking that he referred to this important piece of History, to point out to them, that the destruction of Jerusalem would be equally sudden and unexpected with the destruction of Sodom. * The ablest Commentators appear
* The learned person last referred to, as well as Mr. Mede, intimates " that the coming of Christ, and of the kingdom of God, sometimes signify “ Christ's appearing in the way of providential judgments on the Jews, " and the establishment of the Christian dispensation, cannot be doubted, " and in this sense, Jesus Christ did.come more 1700 years ago---but this
his coming is not,” he says, “ what is more eminently meant by this,
phrase in general; and that order of things, or age, or dispensation, which “ we still look for, is, in Scripture, more especially, called the kingdom of “ God---of Christ---and of the Saints. And this is that coming of the Son of " Man which Daniel saw and prophesied of, and not his coming 1700 years " ago. The coming of the Son of Man, which Daniel prophesies of, is to « destroy the beast---the little horn, &c. and which is to be in the latter 66 days, when the kingdom of the Saints is to commence. Of the same “ coming our Lord appears here to speak, in his prophetic discourse, when “ he borrows the language of Prophecy to represent that event.
In the preceding pages, this opinion has been controverted, (see p. 114, &c.) and it is unnecessary to make any additions to what was there advanced, ex
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