Изображения страниц

the World than suffer him to be a disgrace to his profession. Yet few men had more humbling and self-abasing views of themselves than Mr. Austin, as must have been obvious to every one who listened attentively to his prayers; but amidst all his short-comings his great consolation was, that he had "a High-priest to bear the iniquity of his holy things." Indeed his public prayers partook of all the originality of his preaching: they were not long, loose, declamatory harangues of half an hour's duration; but concise and pointed addresses at the throne of grace, characterised by simplicity and the rich influences of the Spirit of grace and supplication: and so impressed was he with the importance of what we have now adverted to, that he would sometimes, in preaching, animadvert in most pointed terms on prayers of an opposite description, terming them no better than " idle chatteri»g."

But we are extending this article to an immeasurable length, and though much be yet untold,we must hasten to a conclusion. Of the circumstances connected with his decease, we have spoken upon a former occasion (See Vol. II. p. 255—6.) and shall not therefore here recapitulate them. But hav. iug been privileged with an opportunity of witnessing his deportment during his declining months, we deem it a duty which we owe to his memory to record a few interesting particulars that perhaps escaped the notice of some others even of his own friends. His health began visibly, though gradually, to decline about the beginning of the winter of 1815, and from that period to the close of his life, he became encreasingly spiritual in his ministrations, or to use the language of the apostle, "as his outward man perished his inward was renewed day by day." His dependance upon God and

his unreserved resignation to his will were strikingly manifest in all he did and said; and one thing which forcibly struck us, as indicating the state of his mind and his apprehension that the time of his departure was at hand, was the tenor of the hymns which he generally selected for public worship. Dr. Watts's Version of the cxxist. Psalm, in particular, was at this time repeatedly chosen at the com. mencement of the service:

To heaven I lift my waiting eyes,

There all my hopes are laid:
The Lord who built the earth and skies,

Is ray perpetual aid.

This and the following stanzas, we have observed him to sing with peculiar energy; and even in conversation with his friends, the following lines were often repeated by him, and the last two lines in particular he would dwell upon with great fervour.

He guards thy soul, he keeps thy breath,
Where thickest dangers come:

Go and return, secure from death,
Till God commands thee home.

Another hymn that he frequently selected on these occasions was the 550th in Dr. Rippon's Selection.

Ah! I shall soon be dying,

Time swiftly glides away;
But on my Lord relying,

I hail the happy day.

The day when I must enter,

Upon a world unknown;
My helpless soul I venture

On Jesus Christ alone.

He once a spotless victim,
Upon Mount Calvary bled!

Jehovah did afflict him,
And bruise him in my stead;

Hence all my hope arises,

Unworthy as I am:
My soul most surely prizes,

The sin-atoning Lamb.

In singing these charming verses, we have witnessed not only the "trembling hand," but the quiver. ing lip and the faultering tongue; and could almost persuade ourselves that, while engaged in the solemn exercise, we saw the inmost recesses of the dear good man's


soul laid open to our inspection Indeed the words which compose the first line, were soon verified to the very letter in his case, as, we hope and confidently believe, the following lines of the same hymn also were: and, with thein we close this Memoir:

Then with the saints in glory,
The grateful song I'll raise;

And chimin my blissful story,
Id high seraphic lays.

And so, like a shock of corn fully ripe, having done his Lord's will in the church militant, both in the way of active services and of patient suffering, he is doubtless gone to join the general assembly and church of the first-born, in heaven, there to unite with them in ascribing " Blessing and honour, and glory and power, unto Him that sitteth upon the throne ;md unto the Lamb, for ever and ever." Even so, Amen.


"And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shall sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for ray name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son: if he commit iniquity, 1 will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak iiato David." 2 Sam. vii. 12—17.

These remarkable verses comprise the covenant of royalty which God made with David, when the latter purposed to build the temple at Jerusalem. There are three great radical promises in the Old Testament—That given to Adam, that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, Gen. iii. 15—That given to Abraham,


that in his seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed, Gen. xxii. 18—And this given to David, that God would setup his seed after him, and establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. These promises, and especially the two last, are, as it were, the text of the succeeding prophecies, and in the New Testament they are applied unto Christ, see Gal. iii. 8. Heb. i. 5. That the apostles were infallible interpreters of the prophetic scriptures, there can be no doubt. They were instructed by Christ himself, who expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself, Luke xxir, 27, 44, they had the promise of the Spirit to lead them into all truth, John xvi. 13. and God bore witness to the truth of their doctrine by miracles, Heb. ii. 4. But yet an enquiring mind will find some difficulty in understanding how, or by what rule of interpretation this last promise is applied unto Christ by the sacred writers, since it is frequently applied to the royal heirs of David, who were to succeed him on his earthly throne, and particularly to Solomon, see 1 Chron. xxii. 8—10. ch. xxviii. 5—7. 2 Chron. vi. 9, 10, 16. ch. vii. 18. ch. xxi. 7. Besides it is supposed that the objects of it may commit iniquity. Some perceiving this difficulty, have attempted to remove it, by alledging that God made two different promises to David; one respecting the Messiah, mentioned 2 Sam. vii. 4—17. and repeated 1 Chron. xvii. 4—15. The other respecting Solomon, recorded 1 Chron. xxii. 7—10. and often referred to in other places. But the arguments in support of this opinion do not appear to us to be conclusive. The words in 1 Chron. xxii. 7—10. seem to be only David's repetition of the promise in 2 Sam. vii. and his application of it to Solomon, to enforce the charge he there gives him; and as h "V

to the supposition of his committing iniquity, that is to be found in the promise which is supposed to relate only to Christ, though that particular cannot possibly apply to him.

We arc therefore decidedly of opinion, that the difficulty now stated can never be satisfactorily solved without admitting a double sense of prophecy, viz. the literal and mystical, or the letter and spirit. And though there are many prophecies in the Old Testament, which can apply only to Christ; yet there are several others as well as this which must be explained upon the principle above mentioned. This twofold sense of prophecy may appear at first sight somewhat suspicious, and tending to weaken the evidence arising from prophecy; but when properly considered, it will have the opposite effect. To evince this wonderful construction of prophecy, and open up the grounds of it, let it be considered,

1. That the Messiah and his kingdom were not only predicted, but prefigured under the Old Testament, both by persons and things. It is clear from the writings of the inspired apostles, that the Jewish economy was intended as an introduction to the spiritual dispensation of the gospel, in which it was to have its end and accomplishment. It was added after the promise of Christ made to Abraham, as an interim dispensation, until that promise should be fulfilled, and in a subserviency unto it, Gal. iii. 16—23. Its carnal ordinances were imposed upon Israel only until the time of reformation, Heb. ix. 10. and the end of its poedagogy was to bring them in due time to Christ, Gal. iii. 24, 25. The whole frame of the Jewish constitution of churth and state, which was established by the faithful ministry of Moses, was intended for a testimonv of those

things which were to be spokes after, Heb. iii. 5. and if we consider the nature of this testimony, wc shall find that it was chiefly typical, i. e. the Mosaic economywas designedly framed in such a manner as to exhibit the spiritual and heavenly things of Christ's church and kingdom under earthly figures and types. Hence it is termed the letter, the Jlesh, in distinction from the gospel which stands related to it as its spirit, mystery or antitype, 2 Cor. iii. 6. Gal. iii. 3. Accordingly we are told in general, that the law had a shadow of good things to come, Heb. x. 1. and the body or substance of that shadow is expressly declared to be Christ's, CoLii. 17. as he is also declared to be the spirit of the legal letter, 2 Cor. iii. 17. Nor is this only declared in general, but the apostle in his epistle to the Hebrews shews particularly how Christ was prefigured under the old covenant in his mediatorial character, priesthood, sacrifice, &c. ch. iii. vii. >:. His kingdom was also typified under that dispensation by the kingdom of Israel which was a theocracy; and consequently David and Solomon, who were made God's first-born, higher than the kings of the earth, Ps. lxxxix. 27. and sat on the throne of Jehovah over Israel, 1 Chron. xxix. 23. were types of him in his kingly office. This is the only reason that can be given why Christ is so often promised under the name David;—" They shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them." Jer. xxx. 9. see also Ezek. xxxiv. 23, 24. ch. xxxvii. 24, 25. Hosea iii. 5. The kingdom of David was then fallen down; but the kingdom of the Messiah is promised under the notion of restoring David's kingdom again;—" In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up th«

breaches thereof, and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old." Amos. ix. 11. Acts xv. 16, 17. And the peace and prosperity of his reign is often described by figures drawn from the reign of Solomon, when the kingdom of Israel was in its greatest glory. Jer. xxiii. 5, 6. Mic. iv. 3,4. with 1 Kings iv. 25. Farther, the angel foretelling the birth of Christ, says, " The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David." Luke i. 32. Now we know that Christ was not literally David; that the setting up of his kingdom, was not a restoration of David's earthly kingdom; and that Christ never literally sat upon David's throne: But when we consider the covenant made with David to which these prophecies refer, and that David and Solomon were types of Christ in his kingly office, and their throne and kingdom a type of his, we may easily see the true reason of this prophetic style whereby the latter is held forth under the figure of the former. But this leads us to observe

2. That if Christ and his kingdom were typified under the Oid Testament, by the whole frame of the Jewish economy, as now shown, then it will follow that many of the prophecies under that dispensation must have a double sense. For,

The kingdom of Israel was a theocracy, or government of God in a peculiar sense; and therefore its administration required an immediate revelation of the will of God their king, upon every important occasion, by the. spirit of prophecy. Accordingly we find that this government was attended with a prophetic dispensation. Some of these prophecies respected only the affairs of that people, and had their full and literal accomplishment among them. Others of them respected such of their affairs as had a typical reference

to Christ and his kingdom, and such prophecies required to have a double sense, because both the type and antitype were concerned in them. Thus the promise made unto David respecting the perpetuity of the kingdom in his royal issue, in its immediate and literal sense had a view to the earthly kingdom of Israel, and to Solomon and his successors on the throne,— to them it is applied at the time—for them it is pleaded, Psalm lxxxix. and exxxii.— and to them some parts of it can only apply, such as their supposed commission of iniquity, and their consequent punishment, 1 Chron. xxviii. 9. This is what we call the letter or literal meaning of the prophecy.

But then it is as evident, that this promise had a mysteryor spiritual meaning, which was the main and ultimate thing intended in it. Its first and immediate object was the type, as has been shown, and consequently its great and ultimate object in which it terminates and has its full accomplishment must be the antitype. But this sense of prophecy needs to be' farther confirmed. We have seen what the letter of this prophecy respects. Let us see whether prophecies as well as types have a spirit. That they have is abundantly clear from what the angel declared to John, Rev. xix, 10. "For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit ofpropheoy." Here we observe—That prophecy has a spirit, or mystical sense, which is its great and ultimate end and scope—That this spirit supposes it to have a letter or literal sense subordinate to the former—That the testimony of Jesus, or the gospel testimony respecting Jesus, is the spirit, or true sense, as well as the ultimate scope and intent of prophecy. This then is the principle upon which several of the prophecies of the Old Testament are applied unto Jesus,

though they had a literal respect in the first instance to the affairs of the Jewish nation; the spirit of them, and that which was mainly intended was the testimony of Jesus. In so far as these prophecies respected the type, they served the purposes of the Jewish theocracy—Their accomplishment in the type, was a clear proof of the prophet's divine mission to that people; and also a present pledge and earnest to the faithful among them of the accomplishment of the spirit of the prophecy in due time.

As to the promise under consideration, the spirit of it was evidently the testimony of Jesus, and was so understood by David who confessed that all his salvation and desire Were in it, 2 Sam. xxiii. The throne was never really perpetuated in David's earthly house. When David's house was brought low and at last deprived of the government, the prophets grew clearer upon this promise, Isaiah ix. 6, 7. Jer. xxiii. 5..7, Ezek. xxxiv. 23, 24. ch. xxxvii. 24, 25. Hos. iii. 5. Amos ix. 11. And the New Testament directly applies it to Jesus. Acts xv. 16, 17. Luke i. 32, 33. ver. 68, 69.

Upon the whole, then, it will greatly assist us, in understanding the prophetic writings, to keep steadily in view that there are three kinds of prophecies; the first are those which respected the affairs of the Jews, and are restricted entirely to that object. The second are such as respected the Messiah and none else. And the third are such as respected the types of the Messiah, and ultimately the Messiah himself; and of this last sort is the promise made to David, that "' when his days should be fulfilled and he should sleep with his fathers, God would set up his seed after him, and establish his kingdom—that he should build a house for the

Most High, and that Jehovah would establish the throne of his kingdom for ever"—A prediction, as we have seen, primarily pointing to Solomon and the temple which he erected in Jerusalem, but ultimately directed to Christ of whom the former were types, and only meeting its full accomplishment in him. Acts xiii. 34— 36. John xii. 34. Heb. i. 5.


"For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matt. v. 20.

Tuese words are part of our Lord's excellent Sermon on the Mount, which was addressed in a peculiar manner to his disciples who believed on him. In this discourse Christ delivers them the law, not in its letter as it w»s given to the typical Israel as a nation of this world, sanctioned with temporal rewards and punishments, but in its spiritual extent and perfection, as it reaches the thoughts and intents of the heart, and enforced by the eternal rewards and punishments of the life to come. It was in this spirit and perfection of the law that Christ fulfilled it for his people of all nations, and became the end of it for righteousness to every one who believetb. In this sense only does it suits his New Testament kingdom which is not of this world, in which mere outward sanctity will not avail, and where temporal sanctions can have no place. Having-redeemed his people from the curse of the law, he gives it to them as a perfect law of liberty, to be the rule of their conformity and obedience to him their king, and they shall be judged according to these his sayings at the last day. None can properly obey any part of this law

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »