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not born until Abraham was as good as dead; though, for two hundred and seventy years after, his seed were not multiplied more than seventy souls; and though for four hundred years more, they were borne down and diminished by the oppressions of their Egyptian task-masters; yet, at last, they multiplied as God had said, even as the stars of heaven. In like manner, they received the promise that Messiah should spring from the seed of Abraham, which was first confined to the line of Jacob, then to the tribe of Judah, then to the root of Jesse, and the family of David. And though the family was exposed to many reverses, and at three several periods, in the days of Jehoram, and of Athaliah, and of Hezekiah, seemed on the very verge of extinction; yet was it preserved in unbroken line to the days of Joseph and Mary, when Messiah came; not indeed, as the worldly Jews expected, arrayed in the attractions of earthly power and dominion; but, as prophecy had foretold, a root out of a dry ground, bearing the sins of his people, dying to redeem them out of the hands of their spiritual enemies, rising again from the dead in proof of his complete victory, and being exalted to the right hand of God as King in Zion, where now he reigns as a Prince and a Saviour to give repentance unto Israel, and remission of sins.
And, to name only one more, the Jews received the general promise and threatening, the one set over against the other, that they should be prospered, or punished, visited with mercy, or with judgment, according as they should keep or transgress the covenant of their God. The Law* and the Prophets concurred in uttering the same promises of temporal blessing, and the same threatening of temporal curse; and you have already seen how closely their history accords with the intimations of God's word, and that they flourished, or decayed, were established in their own land, or were carried away captives into strange lands, according as they were faithful to, or revolters
* Deut. xxviii.
from their God. The times of David and Solomon and Josiah and Hezekiah, when king and people did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, were conspicuously the times of their highest honour and prosperity; and the times of Ahab, when Elijah deemed that he was left alone-of Zedekiah, when Jeremiah wept over the broken covenant and destroying judgments—of Jesus, when, with one voice, rulers and people rejected him, who was the promised seed, the end of the Law, and the glory and salvation of Israel—these, the times of the nation's deepest guiltiness, were also the times of the nation's sorest calamity. Then they were oppressed with drought and famine—and again, with invasion and captivity; and last of all, with the overthrow of their nation, and their rejection as a people.
You cannot have failed to observe, that in the recorded prediction of these judgments, a reservation was made in their severity, and a promise of returning mercy distinctly intimated. “Yet will I not make a full end,” saith the Lord by his prophet. And hitherto he hath not made a full end. After the lapse of eighteen centuries, the Jews continue to exist a distinct and peculiar people, increasing, sinning, suffering, in wondrous accordance with all which, before the foundation of their state, Moses forewarned them should follow upon its overthrow; and in the remarkable fulfilment of the threatened desolations of Zion, may we not read the certain pledge of the timely accomplishment of her predicted or promised restoration: A recent writer* on the Jewish people relates a Rabbinical story, which affectingly embodies this argument. As two Rabbies stood on the ruins of Jerusalem, they saw a fox walk across the site of the house of God, which lay desolate. At the sight, one of them began to weep, but the other did laugh. “Why weepest thou?" said the one. “I weep to see the place of God's sanctuary become the haunt of wild beasts. But why laughest thou ?” “I laugh," said he, “because in this I see fulfilled the word of threatened desolation, that the foxes should walk over the mountain of Zion;* and from the execution of the judgment, I rely on the performance of the promise, that the Lord shall again build up Zion.” God himself has taught us the same argument, saying, by his prophet, “Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely, and they shall be my people, and I will be their God; and I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart, and my whole soul. For thus saith the Lord, Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them.”+ As sure, therefore, as Israel have abode “many days without a king, and without a priest, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim, (household gods;) so surely shall they return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and shall fear the Lord and his goodness, in the latter days."| In all this, we behold the righteous and faithful God, who keepeth truth, whose counsel shall stand, who will perform all his word, whether of judgment or of mercy, which he has spoken; and who, working marvellously for his name, will preserve his covenant unbroken with his people. We may observe the same glorious attributes of his character, as are now displayed by him toward his spiritual people—the inviolable faithfulness of his oath and promise—are engaged to ensure the immutability of his counsel in regard to the new and better covenant. And his preservation of his ancient people, amid all the changes of their history, is the type and pledge, that not one word of all that he has spoken to the heirs of this new covenant, whether Jew or gentile, shall fail; and that although, for their falls and backslidings, they shall incur his judgment, they shall all be preserved by his power, through faith, unto salvation.
* Dr. M'Caul, Dublin.
Thus have we seen God's sovereignty displayed in the election and calling of the Jewish people-his gracious power and love in their redemption from Egypt, and their establishment in Canaan; his jealous holiness in their separation from the other nations, and their subjection to a law which is holy, and just, and good; and his unchanging purpose, and his unfailing faithfulness in preserving them from their beginning until now, and dealing with them according to all his word of promise, or of threatening.
The same adorable perfections of his nature, and the same grand principles of his government, are manifested, as we have seen, in parallel events, under that more perfect economy of the Gospel, in which he reveals his name in cloudless and full-orbed glory. Thus, as a sovereign, he chooses a spiritual people. In his love and pity, and with great power, as a Saviour, he redeems them from sin, and death, and hell -leads them with miracles of grace-feeds them with the flesh of Christ-guides them by his word and Spirit-bears with them in much long-suffering and patience, amid their ignorance, and rebellions, and backslidings-provides for them, even now, a better inheritance than Canaan, even the wine and milk of gospel blessings—defends them against their foes, while they are faithful in fighting the good fight of faith—and at last, in spite of their manifold infirmities and backslidings, for the sake of Jesus, the Mediator and Surety of his covenant, preserves them unto an incorruptible and eternal inheritance in the heavens.
It is the same glory which is discovered in both dispensations. In both, it is altogether Divine-and, whether viewed in the full effulgence of gospel day, or in the veiled and shaded twilight of Judaism, we have reason, as we behold, to adore, saying, “ O Lord, who is a God like unto thee-glorious in thy holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders! Who shall not fear Thee, and GLORIFY THY NAME!”
THE CHRISTOLOGY: OR, THE DOCTRINE OF THE MESSIAH AS
UNFOLDED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES.
BY REV. MICHAEL WILLIS, D. D.,
MINISTER OF THE ASSOCIATE CONGREGATION, RENFIELD STREET, GLASGOW.
Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them, in all the Scriptures, the things concerning himself. LUKE xxiv. 27.
It might be interesting to survey the whole of that beautiful portion of Luke's narrative to which these words belong. Few parts of the New Testament exhibit more remarkably that union of simplicity and touching pathos which distinguishes a true narration of interesting occurrences, and which especially characterizes the Scripture history, whether of the New Testament or of the Old. But our principal business with these words at present, is to view them as suggesting an argument in unison with the title of this lecture; in which we propose to show that the Jewish Scriptures contain a great variety of intelligible and minute references to the Messiah ; references so frequent, that we may justly say that the Old Testament is thoroughly pervaded with them, and so clearly unfolding the character of Christ, and the nature of his salvation and his kingdom, as to leave inexcusable those who reject the claims of Jesus of Nazareth, while they profess to take these ancient writings as the rule and reason of their faith.
What is declared by Luke here, concerning the tenor of the Saviour's conversation with the two disciples on the evening of the day of his resurrection, is in perfect harmony with many other statements,