Page images



[ocr errors]

arguments only from the New Testament (though none can
better instruct us in the contents of the Old Testament than
Christ and bis apostles) we shall consider some' passages
the Old Testament, and free them from the misconstructions
of our adversaries. And first we have that swan-like song
of Jacob, Gen. xlix. 18. mit Tipynewy I wait for thy sal
vation, O Lord. The aged Prophet was now at the point of
death, and being full of the Spirit of God, he, in the midst
of his prophecies, in which he foretels what was to befal
his children and latest posterity, breaks out into these words ;
which were not spoken without the Spirit of God, so 'as,
with Smalcius, to be referred to a vain persuasion, nor pos-
sibly to be wrested to any other, but this spiritual and eternal

XVIII. Here again let a certain Jew put the followers of Socinus, if possible, to the blush: in opposition to whom we produce this paraphrase of the Jerusalem Targumist : “Our father Jacob said, my soul does not expect the redemption of Gideon the son of Joaz, that being only momentary; nor the redemption of Samson, because a transient redemption; but the redemption thou hast mentioned in thy word, or by thy word, which is to come to thy people, the children of Israel ; my soul, I say, expects this thy redemption." Is not this a very clear testimony of the most certain persuasion, and the fullest assurance of their salvation ?

XIX. Nor must we omit the celebrated passage of Job, xix. 25, 26, 27. wbere in very clear terms, he declares his belief of a future resurrection : "for I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he will stand at the latter day (over the dust) upon the earth. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God; whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another, though my reins be consumed within me.” On this confession of faith I would make the following remarks:

XX. 1st. That it is something very great that Job here treats of, appears both from the sacred loftiness and majesty of the style, and the preface with which he usbers them in; namely, his earnest desire, that these his words might be “written and printed in a book, and graven with an iron pen, and lead, in the rock for ever." And nothing was more becoming 'such a desire than the profession of his faith in the Messiah, and his hope of a blessed resurrection.

XXI. &dly. Job clears his innocence against the accusations of his friends, who condemned him as “ a wicked person,

a and one who did not acknowledge the strong God," Job xviii.


21., “I am so far, says he, from being such as you reproach,

fully represent me, that on the contrary, I am fully pos « sessed of the hope of the righteous, and know both God “ and my Redeemer, and expect greater blessings at his hands " than all the things of this world can possibly afford.” This indeed was far more powerful to silence the accusations of his friends, than if he had spoken of same extraordinary happiness in this life. ; XXII. 3dly. He speaks of a thing he was certain of, and which therefore ought to be bụilt on the infallible promise of God. But it does not appear, any promise was made him of being restored in this life to his former state. Nor are there any general promises, from which this could be certainly concluded. Nay, there are not a few things which persuade us, that Job had such expectation. For he wishes, Job vi. 8, 9, 11. and yü. 7, 8. that it would please God to grant him the thing he longed for, that is, death, and to destroy him. For, says he, what is my strength that I should hope out, or, what is mine eod, that I should prolong my life?"

XXIII. Athly. All the words of the text direct us to the blessed resurrection of believers in Christ. He speaks of his Goel, who, as the Redeemer of believers, and, as Theodotion translates it, their next of kin, had the right of consanguinity to redeem them. He declares, that he liveth, being the true God and eternal life, 1 John v. 20. And who has taught us to reason from his ļife to our own, John xiv. 19. “ Because I live ye

shall live also." Though he was really once to die, nevertheless he says, "I am he that liveth, and was dead, and, behold! I am alive for evermore," Rev. i. 18. And this is what Job adds," he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth (over the dust).”. After having triumphed over all his enemies, he will manifest himself in the field of battle, both alive and a conqueror; or, he shall stand upon the earth, or over the dust, the receptacle of death, as an enemy prostrate under his feet, as 1 Cor. xv. 26, 27. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he bath put all things under his feet." He considered this resurrection of Christ as an earnest of his owp. “ And though after my skin, worms destroy this body," which he pointed to with his finger, " yet in my flesh shall I see God," namely, that great God and Saviour

“ Jesus Christ,” at that time to be manifested in bis glory, 1 John ii. 2. Whom he was to see for himself, for his own salvation and consummate joy, in like manner also, as David foretold, Psal. xvii. 15. As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy like



[ocr errors]

ness." This vision therefore was different from that of which he speaks chap. xlii. 5, 6. Which affected him with grief, and humbled him to dust and ashes. Nor was it possible, but such a firm hope of so great a bappiness must excite an ardent longing after the enjoyment of it. And this is wbat he adds, my reins are consumed, that is, are wasted and languish through my longing, (see the signification of this word 73 Psal. lxxxiv. 2. and cxix. 81.) within me. In the same manner also as the apostle ardently longed “ to know the power of Christ's resurrection; if by any means he might attain unto the resurrection of the dead,” Phil. in. 10, 11. All these things most exactly agree with Job's design, with the force and magnificence of the style, with the whole tenor of scripture, and was it not for prejudices, could never be perverted to any other meaning.

XXIV. We therefore conclude in the words of Jerome to Pammachius, concerning the error of John of Jerusalem. “What is more evident than this prophecy ? None after Christ speaks so plainly of the resurrection, as he before Christ.”

XXV. Let us subjoin the prophecy of Daniel xii. 2." And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” On this place I observe these following things : 1st. That a general resurrection of all, and among these of the righteous to life eternal, can scarce be described in more evident terms. Indeed, under the New Testament, the Lord Jesus, speaking of this very piyatery, uses almost the very same words, John v. 28, 29. I appeal to any conscience, had Daniel been appointed to prophesy of the resurrection of the dead, whether he could have described it in clearer language ?

XXVI. 2dly. It is no objection, that Daniel says, many of them that sleep shall be raised. For, not to mention, that many sometimes signifies the same thing as all, (as Rom. v. 15. compared with 12.) it is evident, that Daniel divides the whole collective body of those that sleep in the dust of the earth into two classes, one of which shall rise again to life, the other to shame.

XXVII. Sdly. And this most august prophecy cannot be explained to signify nothing but a temporal and corporal de liverance from the oppression of Antiochus. For how did transgressors rise out of the dust after Antiochus, seeing they were then rather dead, and rendered contemptible? Por, during the life of Antiochus, they even flourished. And how were the pious and persevering delivered to eternal life, for


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

they all doubtless died again? Will you affirm with Volkelius,
that this is to be understood of those roho constantly adhered to
the law of God, and to whom that deliverance was to turn to an
eternal glory. Then, I say, we bave an evident promise of
eternal life in the books of the Old Testament, which is what
we contend for. But if we allow eternal glory to have been
promised to them, why not too the resurrection of the dead,
which precedes consummate glory?

XXVIII. 4thly. Nor ought it to be urged, that these
things agree not with the time, of which Daniel prophe-
sied, namely, the tyranny of Antiochus, and the deliver-
ance therefrom. For should we grant that Daniel speaks,
in the verses immediately preceding, of Antiochus, yet it
does not follow, that he could not in this speak of the resur-
rection of the dead. For, the Prophet was here shewing, that

God, after having displayed so illustrious an instance of his
glorious power, would proceed in the extraordinary deliver-
ance of his people, till all should terminate in the happy re
surrection of the dead. If you insist, that the things here
foretold, were to exist at that time, about which he had hither.
to been speaking, I answer first, that this is not in the text.
This verse, indeed, is connected with the foregoing by the
particle, and, where the words concerning that time are found.
But nothing is more frequent in the prophets, than thus to
join two things, which are to exist at very different times: of
which we have unexceptionable instances, Matt. xxiv. It has
likewise been observed by very learned men, that the particle
sometimes signifies at length, or afterwards. Secondly, It
may also be said, that tan nya denotes after that time :
as Josh. v. 5. Onxx3 signifies, after they came forth. And
therefore the promise of the resurrection ought not to be
thought a thing foreign to the times of Antiochus: because it
is certain, that they who continued stedfast in the ways of
piety, might comfort themselves by that hope, under all their
dreadful torments, as may be seen, 2 Maccab. vii. 6, 11, 14
and Heb. xi. 84.

XXIX. But nothing hinders us, with very excellent ex-
positors, to refer the things which Daniel prophesies of, to
wards the close of this chapter, to the New Testament An-
tichrist, or to the Roman emperors, subservient to Antichrist,
in promoting the mystery of iniquity. Cunradus Graserus
has very learnedly handled this sentiment in a peculiar trea-
tise. And thus the resurrection of the dead would be joined
with the destruction of Antichrist, as is likewise done Rev.
xx. 10, 13.

[ocr errors]


XXX. This being the case, we may justly be surprised that a person, in other respects very learned and orthodox in the main of this inquiry, could not find the general resurrection of the just, in the second verse, when he could find, in the first, the war of the English with the Dutch, of the Danes with the Swedes, of the Tartars in China, and of the Chinese in Florida, of the Portuguese with the Castilians, and a great many other things of a modern date. But let these things suffice to shew, that even under the Old Testament, eternal life was promised to believers.

XXXI. Our writers have distinctly answered whatever heretics have advanced to the contrary. The whole comes to this: when the apostle, Heb. vii. 6. calls the promises of the New Testament better, that may be understood in various respects : if referred to eternal life, it does not regard so much the thing promised, as the plainness and certainty of the promise, which is not now wrapt up in certain obscure words, shadows, and ceremonies, but distinctly proposed ; does not des pend on some uncertain condition, but in the fullest manner, is confirmed by the blood of the testator, as the apostle himself suggests, v. 9, 10.

XXXII. When it is said, 2 Tim. i. 10. That Christ “ hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel," it cannot be understood of the first promise of eternal life, unless any shall say, that it was not made before the resurrection of Christ, which is what is here spoken of. But none will say so. The plain meaning is, that the Lord Jesus being risen from the dead, shewed to the whole world, both Jews and Gentiles to whom the gospel was preached, that he was the true author of life and immortality : namely, that on his coming forth out of the grave, the light of this truth was very widely diffused, even among those who before sat in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

XXXIII. When the same apostle affirms, that our salvation at the first began to be spoken by the Lord,” Heb. ü: 3. it is clear, he speaks of the gospel completed, and of the Mes siah, the author of salvation, already exhibited; which gospel the Lord first published, with respect to the apostles, evangelists, and the other ordinary preachers that followed them. Por otherwise who can deny that Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, and Mary the mother of our Lord, and the angels who proclaimed his nativity, and the aged Simeon, and John the Baptist, were preachers of salvation before the Lord ?

There is certainly here a most egregious blunder in the author to whong Witsius refers.

« PreviousContinue »