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come to him? Here then lies the only difference between us. They are in expectation that the Messiah will come to them; we, that they will come to the Messiah.
8. Suppose that there should be any particular promise or promises relating to the times and kingdom of the Messiah, either accomplished, or not yet accomplished, the full, clear, and perfect sense and intendment of which we are not able to discover; shall we therefore reject that faith and persuasion which is built on so many clear, certain, undoubted testimonies of the scripture itself, and manifest in the event, as if it were with the beams of the sun? For as such a proceeding, could arise from nothing but a foolish conceited pride, that we are able to find out God to perfection, and to discover all the depths of wisdom that are in his word; so, being applied to other affairs, it would overthrow all assurance and certainty in the world. What then we understand of the mind of God, we faithfully adhere to; and what we cannot comprehend, we humbly leave the farther revelation of it to his divine Majesty.
§3. (II.) We shall shew the perfect consistency of the promises referred to by the Jews, with the Christian religion.
First, then, they insist upon that UNIVERSAL PEACE in the whole world, which they take to be promised in the days of the Messiah. To this purpose they urge, Isa. ii, 2-4; "And it shall come to pass in the last "days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be “established in the top of the mountains," &c. We agree with the Jews, that this is a prophecy of the Messiah, and of his kingdom in this world; but we differ from them in the exposition of the "mountain of "the house of the Lord;" they take it to be mount
Moriah, we, the worship of God itself. And whereas both of us are necessitated to depart from the letter, and allow a metaphor in the words, for they will not contend that the hill Moriah shall be plucked up by the roots, and taken and set on the tops of other mountains they know not where, nor can they tell to a what purpose; so, our interpretation of the words, which admits only of the most usual figurative expression, the place being taken for the worship performed in it, on the account whereof alone it was ever of any esteem, is far more easy and natural than any thing they can make of the remainder of the words, supposing mount Moriah to be literally understood. And in this sense we affirm the first part of the prophecy to be long since accomplished, really and to the full. For,
1. The temporal outward peace of the world, (if any such thing be here intended) is not the principal part or subject of the promise; but rather the spiritual worship of God, which is evidently and openly fulfilled. That which is temporal, as to the times and seasons of it, is left to the sovereign will and wisdom of God for its accomplishment. Neither is it necessary that it should be fulfilled amongst all nations at once, but only amongst them who at any time, or in any place, effectually receive the laws of God from the Messiah.
2. That the words are not to be understood absolutely, according to the strictness of the letter, is evident from that part of the prediction in Micah, "Every "one shall sit down under his own vine, and under his "fig-tree," there being many, not only persons but great nations in the world, that have neither the one nor the other.
3. The Jews themselves do not expect such peace upon the coming of the Messiah. War, great and terrible, with Gog and Magog, they look for. But I say,
4. That Christ at his coming wrought perfect peace between God and man, slaying the enmity and difference which, by reason of sin, was between them. This alone absolutely and properly is peace. And where this is, no wars and tumults can hinder, but that the persons enjoying it shall be preserved in perfect peace.
5. He hath also wrought true spiritual peace and love between all that sincerely believe in him, all his elect; which, although it frees them not from outward troubles, persecutions, oppressions, and afflictions in the earth, and that from some also that may make profession of his name; yet, they having peace with God, and among themselves, they enjoy the promise to the full satisfaction of their souls. And this peace of the elect with God, and among themselves, is the real intent of this prediction; though expressed in terms of outward peace in the world.
6. The Lord Christ by his doctrine hath not only proclaimed and offered peace with God to all nations, but also given precepts of peace and self-denial, directing and guiding all the sons of men to live in peace among themselves; whereas the Jews of old had express command for war, and destroying the nations among whom they were to inhabit, which gives a great foundation to the promises of peace in the days of the Messiah.
7. Let it be supposed (though not granted) that it is general outward peace, prosperity, and tranquillity that is here promised; yet, even then, the precise time of its accomplishment is not here determined. If it be effected during the kingdom and reign of the Messiah
in the world, as we are given to expect, the prophecy is verified. Take then this prophecy in what sense soever it may be literally expounded; there is nothing in it that gives the least countenance to the judicial pretence from the words.
§4. The second collection of promises which is insisted upon, is of those which intimate the destruction of idolatry and false worship in the world, with the abundance of the knowledge of the Lord taking away all diversity in religion that shall be in the days of the Messiah. Such is that of Jer. xxxi, 34; "They shall teach no more every man his neighbor,” &c. Zeph. iii, 9; "I will turn to the people a pure "language, that they may call on the name of the *Lord, to serve him with one consent." Zech. xiv, 9; "And the Lord shall be king over all the earth," &c. But for the present we see, say they, the contrary prevailing in the world. Idolatry is still continued; diversities of religion abound; nor can the Jews and Christians agree in this very matter about the Messiah; all which make it evident, that he who is promised to put an end to this state of things, is not yet come. We answer,
1. That these things are not spoken absolutely but comparatively; namely, that in those days there shall be such a plentiful effusion of the spirit of wisdom and grace, as shall cause the true saving knowledge of God to be more easily obtained, and much more plentifully to abound, than it did in the time of the law; when the people, by an hard yoke, and insupportable burden of carnal ordinances, were but obscurely, and with diffaculty, instructed in some part of the knowledge of God. And that the words are thus to be interpreted, the many promises that are given concerning the instruction of the church, in the days of the Messiah,
and his own office of being the great prophet of the church, which the Jews acknowledge, do undeniably evince.
2. That the terms of all people and nations are necessarily to be understood as before explained, for many nations, those in an especial manner in whom the church of Christ is concerned; neither can any one place be produced, where an absolute universality is intended.
3. That the season of the accomplishment of these and the like predictions is not limited to the day or year of the Messiah's coming, as the Jews, amongst other impossible fictions, imagine; but extends itself to the whole duration of the kingdom of the Messiah, as hath been shewed before.
4. That God sometimes is said to do that, for the effecting of which he maketh provision of outward means, though as to some persons and times they may be frustrated of their effect, or genuine tendency, which the Jews not only acknowledge, but also contend for in other cases.
$5. These things being supposed, we may quickly see what was the event, as to those promises, upon the coming of the true and only Messiah; for,
1. It is known to all, and not denied by those with whom we have to do, that at the coming of Jesus of Nazareth, setting aside that knowledge and worship of God which was in Judea, a little corner of the earth, and that also, by their own confession, then horribly defiled and profaned, the whole world was utterly ignorant of the true God, and engaged in the worship of idols and devils from time immemorial,
2. Although the Jews had taken great pains, and compassed sea and land, to make proselytes, yet they were very few, and those very obscure persons, whom