Изображения страниц

"generation shall not pass till all these things "be fulfilled," especially answers the question, "When shall these things be?" that is, When shall these buildings of the temple be so entirely destroyed, that "not one stone shall be left upon "another"1 The answer, however, includes also the total subversion of the Jewish constitution, ecclesiastical and civil. It is also evident that, by" the coming of Christ," the apostles, at this time, understood his coming to judgment, which they supposed would be at " the end of the "world." Nothing could be further from their minds than the coming of the Messiah, in the sense of Mr. C. and of modern Jews: they believed that Jesus was "the Messiah, the Son of "the living God;" and consequently that, in this sense, the Messiah was come.-But, though Jesus did not see good, fully to rectify their mistakes on this head; leaving that to the times when the Holy Spirit should be poured out upon them; he evidently distinguished between his coming, in the power of his providence, to execute vengeance on Jerusalem and the Jews, and his final coming to judgment. The one was so connected with the destruction of the temple, that it may be allowed to be comprised in the words, "This generation shall not pass away, till all "these things be fulfilled." But of the other he says, " Of that day knoweth no man, no, not the "angels in heaven, but my Father only."2 If, indeed, we are called on to argue with Jews from

'Matt. xxiv. 1-3. Mark xiii. 1-4. Luke xxi. 6, 7.

2 Matt. xxiv. 34-37.

Mark xiii. 30-37.

the New Testament, we must explain one part of the New Testament by another: and no impartial man, reading the account of the three evangelists carefully, can doubt that the coming of Christ, in most parts of these chapters, is not spoken of as personal and visible; but he came by the Roman armies, the instruments of his avenging justice. "As the lightning cometh out "of the east, and shineth even to the west; so "shall also the coming of the Son of man be: for "wheresoever the carcase is, there shall the eagles "be gathered together." A Jew may consistently treat the whole of the prophecy as uninspired, and so as inconclusive: but he can with no consistency deny this to be intended by Jesus, in what he spake to the disciples. In the sense intended, he came about A. D. 71.; within considerably less than forty years after he delivered this prediction; and so before "that generation "was passed away." This, therefore, can prove nothing in the argument before us: for an entirely different subject was treated of.-Let it be noticed, that Mr. C., in order to render his arguments more plausible, selects two verses, one at the beginning, the other near the end of the chapter, omitting all that intervene; but the whole read together leaves a far different impression on the mind.

P. 29. 1. 6. When the Messiah,' &c. Answer: Where does the writer learn that, when 'Messiah shall come, all the sons of Adam will

'Matt. xvi. 28. xxiv. 27, 28, 30, 37, 39. Mark xiii. 26. Luke xxi. 30-36.

'be of one language?' Nothing is predicted concerning this in the Old Testament. The passage most like it runs thus, "Then will I turn to "the people a pure language; that they may all "call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him "with one consent."1 But not a word either precedes, or follows, concerning the coming of 'the Messiah:' and Christians expect that, during the days of the Messiah, (but long after his coming,) the prediction will have a most glorious accomplishment; and men "shall worship God,

[ocr errors]

every one from his place, even all the isles of "the gentiles."2 Thus all, both Jews and gentiles, shall serve the God of Israel, not as of different religions, but " with one consent;" not in one place, but "every one from his place."3

Mr. C. seems here, however, to allow that "the "times of the gentiles" may mean the times, 'when all of them shall worship the true God.' (1.8.) But this he afterwards disallows: All 'the gentiles will not worship the true God even 'to the last day.' (P. 89. 1. 21.)

[ocr errors]

P. 89. 1. 12. His coming was of no use,' &c. This assertion gives occasion to a very important inquiry; namely,


Mr. C. repeatedly asks the question, 'Of what use was the coming of Christ?' He here says,

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

'His coming was of no use, and therefore he could not be the Messiah.' And he subjoins, that his having taught multitudes the true 'worship' (which is supposing it to be the true worship') is a poor defence, and without 'foundation:' because Mohammed' established ' a new religion, &c.:' as if the true worship, and a new religion were equivalent!-We, erring, sinful, and self-flattering mortals are wholly incompetent judges of the plans, counsels, and purposes of the infinite, eternal, and only wise God. To this day, some parts even of the structure of the human body remain so little understood, that the most skilful anatomists differ in opinion as to the functions performed by them: and some have been tempted to inquire, Of what use are they? Yet God hath created them. If then we are so incompetent to understand the plan of God, in respect of our own bodies; how presumptuous must it be, to reject any part of revealed truth, because we do not see the use of it! or rashly pronounce it useless! I would recommend to all who venture on this kind of language, to consider well the texts referred to below. I might easily enlarge, but let this hint suffice. It is manifest that many things exist as the work of the Creator, of which we cannot perceive the usefulness and events occur, which we might previously have supposed would have been prevented. The very existence of sin and misery, which God, infinite in wisdom, and power, and goodness, could have prevented, yet did not,

[ocr errors]

'Job. xxvi. 14. xxviii. 28. xl. 8. Ps. cxxxix. 6. Isa. xl. 13, 14.

is one grand instance, equally conclusive to persons of every creed and nation, that man's reasonings and imaginations are in no degree the measure, or standard, of the works and ways of God. 1

The question, however, as it relates to the effects of the coming of Jesus Christ, admits of a satisfactory answer.

When Jesus was born at Bethlehem, the state of the Jews was extremely corrupt, according to the testimony of their own historian, Josephus ; and was daily becoming more and more so. This might easily be proved in various ways: but I question, whether the Jews themselves, considering subsequent events, will be disposed to deny it.

The nations of the earth were generally sunk in gross idolatry, sensuality, and every species of enormous wickedness. The speculations of the few, who called themselves philosophers, terminated chiefly in a sort of practical Atheism: and even their moral discussions had little effect, either on their own conduct, or that of other men. It would, indeed, be no laborious task, to prove from their own writers, that the apostle has by no means overcharged the picture of the gentile world, in the first chapter of Romans.

Now there can be no doubt, that great numbers of the Jews were awakened from their formal and vicious lethargy, by the ministry of John the Baptist, our Lord's forerunner, and by the preaching of Jesus and his apostles. Soon after the

1 Prov. iii. 5-7. Isaiah v. 21.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »