« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
determination to find every authority on his own side of the argument.
The part he took was certainly favourable to his interests for it proved the means of his advancement, first to the deanry of Exeter, and next, to the bifhoprick of Lincoln, in Which situation he displayed his eloquence and acuteness in'beljalf of the ill-advised prosecution of Dr. Sacheverel.
On the death of archbishop Tenison, he was removed to the highest station in the church; in which he displayed the same zeal and vigilance which had uniformly marked his character in the preceding parts of his public life.
When the Gallican Church seemed disposed to break off its connection with Rome, the archbishop endeavoured to encourage the design, and to that end maintained .a correspondence with some of the best and molt learned doctors of the Sorbonne, relative to a project of union between the Church of England and that of France. The whole narrative of this affair, with the correspondence, may be seen in the last editions of Maclaine's translation of Mosheirri's Ecclesiastical History, and a summary ot the same with a complete vindication of the archbishop, in Dr. -Glocefter Ridley's first Letter to the authorof the Confessional; from both which publications it appears that the bigoted and shallow author of that insidious publication, was grossly in errour, to fay the least of it, when he charged his grace with "making concessions in favour of the superstition and idolatry of the Church of Rome."
-About the same time that^the archbishop was engaged in this correspondence, which, in spite of his miserable calumniators redounds immortal honour to hi* memory; he had another with the learned protestor Turretinof Geneva, in which also appear conspicuoully, his" great liberality, and his zeal for the interests of truth. Yet, because in one of his letters to the professor, he thought proper to speak of the famous political Bishop Hoadley, and his doctrines, as became a Christian prelate, he was exposed to the rancorous 'invectives of the Dissenters and Inhdejs at home. Among others who attacked the archbilhop on this account, was the noted Thomas Gordon, author of the " Independent Whig," and other publications of a like kind; whole object was not only to bring the Church ol England, but the Christian Religion itself into contempt. The archbishop, however, regarded these libels with a becoming silence, conscious of the rectitude of his own motives. Yet most unaccount
3 F 2 ably
ably it is, he hath been accused of a want of consistency, and of having in fact receded from the principles which he professed before his elevation to the metropolitical chair. Nothing can be more unjust than this charge; for as he set out in the reign of James II. with a manly and open spirit in defence of the Church of England, so he continued to display the same zeal to the last, anxious to preserve our ecclesiastical establishment upon its true and constitutional foundation, against the encroachments of sectaries, and the treachery of pretended friends.
Besides the works already mentioned, the archbishop published several sermons and charges: an excellent Exposition of the Church Catechism, which has been frequently reprinted in octavo and duodecimo, and a very accurate translation of "The Genuine Epistles of the Apostolical Fathers St. Barnabas, St. Ignatius, St. Clemens, St. Polycarp, the Shepherd of Hermas, and the Martyrdoms of St. Ignatius and Polycarp, with a large preliminary discourse relating thereto;" the second edition of which was published in 1710 in one volume octavo.
He died at Lambeth, January 24, 1736-7, and left several daughters.
fOR THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN's MAGAZINE.
An Essay on a Prophecy in Malachi concerning Out Blessed Saviour. By the late Dr. Comber.
Malachi iii. i—4.
"Behold, I will fend my Messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: even the Messenger of the Covenant, whom ye delight in; behold, he shall come, faith the Lord of Hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? And who (hall stand wheo he appeareth? For he is like a Refiner's fire, and like Fuller's soap. And he shall sit as a Refiner and Purifier of Silver: and he shall purify the Sons of Levi, and purge them as Gold and Silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness."
THE above words contain a very large and particular prophecy of some very great personage delegated by God: and that the whole of the description may be more easily and fully comprehended, a sentence has been omitted in the first verse, viz. The Lord whom ye seek Jhall suddenly come to his temple. These words are very plainly descriptive of Christ, and of him only, and deserve very well to be considered by themselves in a separate dissertation; but the others seem to be descriptive in whole or in part, of John the Baptist, or of Christ, or of them both. It is a subject well worth our inquiry, which of the above sentences are descriptive of the Baptist, and which of Christ, and how far
they they are so. Secondly, how ill-founded the objections of infidels are to the completion of this prophecy. And thirdly, a few appropriate reflections may be added as a pious offering to God.
With regard to the first article of our inquiry, how far some of the sentences of the text are to be understood of the Baptist, some of Christ, and some of them both; it is very clear that some of them are to be understood of the Baptist, from the circumstance of au application of this prophecy being made to him by the Evangelists St. Matt. xi. 10. St. Mark, i. 2. St. Luke, i. 76. vii. 27.
The smallest part of this prophecy which can be applied to the Baptist, is in the first words—" Behold, I fend my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me:" that is, when I come in the person of my Son the promised Messiah. The words which immediately follow, viz. "The Lord whom ye seek lhall suddenly come to his temple," cannot be at all understood of the Baptist, but of Jesus Christ alone. The next immediately following words, viz. "Even the Messenger of the Covenant whom ye delight in," •are certainly to be understood of Christ in the ultimate and fullest fense, as he was the Messenger, or Envoy, or Mediator of the great Covenant between God the father and mankind; the Saviour and King of Israel, whom the Jews ivere taught to delight in the expectation of, as the promised Messiah. Yet these words may also be applied to the Baptist in a primary and less perfect fense; as he was sent to prepare the way of the Messiah by the preaching osrepentance.and by baptism, as a rite or ceremony expressive thereof. The whole description contained in the third and fourth verses ot a Refiner, and Purifier, and Fuller, is applicable ultimately and fully only to Chiist; and yet in a primary and less perfect fense is applicable only to ihe Baptist; for he preached repentance to all classes ot the Jews, and especially to the tribe of Levi, from which tribe our Saviour sprung, and prescribed baptism as the Fuller ufesjoap, to cleanse and purify witha!. The concluding part of this remarkable prophetic description, viz. that the person predicted of should teach Juddh and Jerusalem to offer up to the Lord aplea/ant offering, such as was offered to the Lord in the days of old, in the former years: viz. an offering oj right eou/he/s,, is true ultimately only of Christ ; who by making an offering of perfetl righteousness of himself to God the father, obtained an acceptance of man's imperjeel offering of righteousness; yet
surely surely it may with truth and.propriety be said, that John the Baptist, by inculcating both in his precepts and example, the duty of offering up to God an heart pierced by repentance, and a life of righteousness, purity, and abstinence, taught Judah and Jerusalem, although in a less perfect way, to offer to the Lord a pleasant sacrifice, such as was offered to him by the patriarchs of old; in'fliort an offering oj righteousness.
Let us now consider how very ill-grounded are the ob* jections of infidels to the completion of this prophecy by the Gospel dispensation.
They observe Jir/i, that the person or persons here prophesied of by Malachi, was to be a refiner of the people of Judah, and particularly of the city of Jerusalem. They then secondly assert, that Judah and Jerusalem are predicted of as offering up to God sacrifices more acceptable than those of times past: and thirdly assert, that this prediction could not be completed in the times of Christianity, because although we should allow that the Christian sacrifices are more rational, and therefore more acceptable to God, than the bloody Jewish sacrifices abolished soon after the time of Christ; yet it cannot be true, say they, that these were offered to God by Judah and Jerusalem, since it is notorious that very few of the Jews were converted to Christianity, in comparison of the whole body of the nation; insomuch that Judah and Jerusalem could not, with tolerable propriety, be said to offer their figurative and spiritual sacrifices to God; in short, that Judah and Jerusalem were not actually refined by the Gospel, as is asserted by the Christian writers, and supposed to be predicted in this place.
Thus we find that the whole of the objections of infidels to. the Christian account ot the famous prophecy of Malachi being completed, arises from the consideration of the converts from Judaism to Christianity being too inconsiderable. to authorize any impartial judge of history to call them Judah and Jerusalem. On this point then we will join issue with our adversaries, and maintain, that the numbers whieh have been converted from Judaism to Christianity have been so amazingly great, that we cannot with any tolerable propriety deny them the glorious title of Judah, according to the Spirit of God, and the New Jerusalem, of which such glorious things are here predicted. To evince this truth, it, is only necessary to look into the Acts of the Apostles, which is confirmed by a subsequent authentic history. The simpjei