Imagens das páginas
PDF

The day cometh that shall burn them up, and leave them neither root nor branch.' He then foretels the days of refreshing which shall succeed. “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings, and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet, in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of Hosts.'

Now, Sir, he before whose face Jehovah's messenger, John the Baptist, was sent, and before whom he cried, “ Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight :' He who suddenly comes to his Temple, and, appearing in it as the desire of all nations, gives it a glory, such as even Solomon's temple had not, though besides the splendour and magnificence of the wonderful fabric, overlaid with silver and gold, it had five signs of the divine presence, as the Jews themselves have acknowledged, which were wanting in this secoud temple ; viz., the Urim and Thummim, by which the High-Priest was miraculously instructed in the will of God; the Ark of the Covenant,' coultaining the two tables of the law written with the finger of God; the fire upon the altar,' which came down from heaven; the 'Shekinah,' or visible display of the divine glory, and the “Spirit of Prophecy :'--He, who · is like refiner's fire and fuller's soap, and who sits upon the souls of men, as a refiner and purifier of silver, purifying them from all pollution of flesh and spirit: He who comes near, hy his spiritual presence, as a swift witness against sinners of every description, while as the Sun of Righteousness' he rises upon those that fear the name of the Lord, with healing in his wings ; so that they go forth and grow up as calves of the stall: He surely must be more than a mere man. Leaving you to reflect, Sir, on the contrariety of your doctrine, to that of the Prophets,

I remain, &c.

LETTER VI.

The Testimony borne by the Prophets to the God-head

of Christ.

REV. Sir,

How could you assert that none of the Prophets gave the Jews any other idea of the Messiah, than that of a man like themselves, when Isaiah had given him vames which are above every name, that at the names of our Saviour every knee should bow, and every believing Jew should confess that the Messiah is Lord God omnipotent? Had you forgotten this prophetic exultation, 'Unto us the Child is born, unto us the Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders: And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace ?' (Isa. ix. 6.)

Your assertion is so much the more astonishing, as Isaiah in other places speaks of the Messiah, in terms as magnificent. Take two or three instances. That Prophet describes the Messiah's humanity, as a branch growing out of the roots of Jesse, as a holy Prince which shall judge with righteousness, reprove with equity, smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, slay the wicked with the breath of his lips, and so perfectly restore peace in the earth, that they shall not hurt nor destroy in all his holy mountain, or happy dominions, where even the Gentiles shall enjoy a glorious rest:

For the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off, and Ephraim shall not envy Judah, por shall Judah vex Ephraim ; and the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea. (Isa. xi. 1, &c.) After this description of the Messiah, the Son of God manifested as Son of David and Jesse, to destroy the works of

the devil, and to reign with his ancients gloriously, the Prophet, in the name of the church, sings, before hand, a song of thanksgiving to God our Saviour, for these mighty achievements. In that day (says he) thou shalt say, The work of redemption is finished : * Behold God is my salvation, the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. Sing unto the Lord, for he hath done excellent things. Cry out, and shout, thou inhabitaut of Sion, for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.' (Isa. xii. 1, &c.) It was impossible for a spiritual Jew to read this description of the Mes. siah's peaceful kingdom, without seeing that this root of Jesse, this Holy one of Israel, so great in the midst of Zion, was the same wonderful person, whom the Prophet had just before called the “Son given,' and the mighty God.' And our Lord gave the Jews an assurance of it, when he cried, on the great day of the feast, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and driuk :' And this he did, when they had just been singing (as they did at that feast) those words of Isaiah, “You shall draw with joy water out of the wells of salvation :' Plainly intimating to them, as he had done to the woman of Samaria, that he was the Divine Spring of our joy, the Holy One of Israel in the midst of us, and the Jehovah become our salvation, and sung by Isaiah.

The same Prophet, personating John the Baptist, and foretelling the coming of the Messiah, says, “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, [the way of Jehovah ;] make straight in the desert a high way for our God.' Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain shall be made low, and the rough places plain ; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed.-0 Zion, that bringest good tidings, [or, as the Bishop of London reads it, O thou that bringest good tidings to Zion, O thou that publishest the gospel,] lift up thy voice with strength lift it up, be not afraid : Say to the cities of Judah

[graphic]

Behold your God ! Behold the Lord God will come with a strong hand, his reward is with him, and his work before him :' (Isa. xl. 3, 10.) This pompous description of the Messiah is again and again applied to our Lord in the New Testament. If Isaiah says to the cities of Judah, Behold your God,' John the Baptist crieth to them, Behold the Lamb of God !' If the Lord God says (by his Prophet)' Behold the Lord will come, his reward is with him, &c. Thus saith the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of Hosts, I am the First and the Last, and besides me there is no God,' (Isa. xl. 10, and xliv. 6 ;) our Lord applying to himself these lofty expressions of Isaiah saith, Behold I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be: I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.' (Rev. xxii. 12, 18.)

And if the Jews had not the New Testament, they had a number of prophecies which confirmed and explained each other. Thus, suppose pious Jews would know who that God was, for whom they were to make the bighways straight, and the rough places plain, (Isa. xi. 3,) they needed only read on to the eleventh verse, where we find this additional description of him: 'He shall feed his flock like a shepherd, he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are big with young.' And if they had not the Gospel of St. John, where our Lord says, “I am the good Shepherd,' they had the prophecy of Zechariah, where this Divine Shepherd is thus described : “ Awake, O sword, against my Shep. berd, against the man who is my fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts, smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall le scattered.' (Zech. xiji. 7; and Matt. xxvi. 31.) And they saw in Isaiah how it pleased the Lord to anise this Shepherd, when he made his soul an offer. ing for sin; how he was wounded for our transgrestions, and bruised for our iniquities; how all we like sheep have gone astray, and how the Lord laid on him Se iniquity of us all. (Isa. liii. 5, 6, 10.) They had

the prophecy of Ezekiel, where this great Shepherd is thus described : 'I will save my flock, I will set one Shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David, he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd, I the Lord have spoken it. And they shall no more be prey to the Heathen, neither shall the beasts of the land devour them, but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid.' (Ezek. xxxiv. 22, &c.) They had this prediction of Hosea : "The children of Israel shall abide many days without a King, and without a Priuce, and without a sacrifice and without an ephod : Afterwards they shall return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their King, and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.' (Hosea iii. 4.)

From these consentaneous prophecies the spiritual Jews saw, that the Messiah, their King, would appeai both as the wonderful child promised to David, and as the mighty God' called sometimes the Lord o Hosts,' and sometimes the Fellow of the Lord of Hosts,' according to the description which St. Johi gave afterwards of him : 'In the beginning he wa with God, and he was God, and we have seen his glory which is the glory of the only begotten of the Father [made flesh, and dwelling among us,] full of grace an truth.'

The Jews met some of these shining descriptions the Messiah, as ofteri as they searched the Oracles God; the Holy Ghost having taken care to multip them, that the unbelieving in all ages might be witho excuse.

Moses saith, “The sceptre shall not depart fro Judah until Shiloh come, unto him shall the gatherii of the people be. (Gen. xlix. 10.) Now the spiritu Jews, wanting to know who this Shiloh should be, d not fail to read over the other Prophets sent to enlar upon this promise recorded by Moses, and they fou this parallel description of the days of the Messiah," that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which sh stand for an ensign of the people : To it shall the G

« AnteriorContinuar »