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All this prophecy, whether of promise, or of doctrine, being consigned to one united record, the volume of the Prophets was added to that of the Law, and became the depositary of the best hopes of the people of God; a fund of instruction and consolation, open to all, but, no doubt, most resorted to by those who were of a temper to make the best use of every part of his revelation.-The same record which, to one age, was a preparative to the Gospel, became, to another, an evidence of its truth.
STATE OF PROPHECY FROM THE REIGN OF SOLOMON TO THE RESTORATION FROM THE BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY.
On the Pagan Prophecy within that Period, and its Moral Use.
UPON the whole of that branch of Prophecy which relates to any thing in the condition of Pagan States and Kingdoms, I shall speak very concisely; perhaps with more conciseness than the great extent of the subject may appear to admit. But it happens that many of the most eminent of the Scripture prophecies in this class, as those concerning Tyre, Babylon, and Egypt, and some others, by the ancient splendour of the states to which they refer, by the curiosity which watches the fate of great kingdoms, and by the collateral attractions of Pagan history and literature, have had, to a certain degree, the preference in the general attention, and have been advantageously set forth in those popular works upon Prophecy which are the most commonly
read: for which reason, in my survey of the structure of Prophecy, I may in this branch of it rely the more freely upon the stock of a received and known information. Another reason for some brevity in this line of my discourse is, that I shall have occasion to revert to some of the same subjects of Prophecy, in examining its Inspiration; and whilst they are brought forward in that second point of view, its form and character will partly be illustrated at the same time. On these grounds I shall confine and abridge my present remarks; the object of them being to shew, in one general view, the moral use of the whole of this branch of ancient Prophecy.
1. When prophecy began its communication to Abraham, he had discovered to him the remote judgment of God upon Egypt* and the Amoritest, and the nearer judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah. These were nations placed within his view, or connected with the future state of his family, the Hebrew people. The revelation, thus opened to Abraham, continued in its after-age to hold the same order: for the Temporal Prophecy continued to embrace the condition of the Hebrew Church and Nation, and the condition of other states and kingdoms, so far as the people of Israel were either affected by those other kingdoms, or were so placed as to see and understand the tenour of God's providence in
* Genesis xv. 14..
+ Ver. 16.
their history. "Shall I hide from Abraham that "thing which I do?" is the introduction of the prophecy which revealed to Abraham the doom of Sodom and Gomorrah. "Surely the Lord God will "do nothing, but he revealeth his secret to his ser"vants the prophets *;" this is the range of prophecy concerning his own people. "I have ordained "thee a prophet unto the nations†;" this is the mission of Jeremiah at the time when prophecy took its largest scope among the kingdoms of the earth, and God's Government and Providence were to be most conspicuously displayed in their rise and fall, their conquests and desolations. In the Mosaic æra the like union of the Pagan subject with the others may be observed; and throughout the one
Amos iii. 7.
† Jerem. i. 5.
See particularly the predictions of Balaam, which give an instance of this union. They include the Amalekite, the Kenite, and the Assyrian; i. e. some of the less and the greater states; and also some of the nearer and more distant events. Moreover, if the whole chain of Balaam's prophecy be examined, it will seem to comprehend 1st, the condition of the Hebrew people, their safety; their victories; their lonely and insulated character. 2dly, The rise and dominion of the Gospel; if" the Star and the Sceptre" be admitted to be the signs of the advent and religion of Christ, which is their most legitimate interpretation. sdly, The visitation of some of the heathen enemies of Israel. Thus it will comprehend the Hebrew, the Christian, and the Pagan subjects; and according to this view the constrained predictions of this perverse prophet will bear the greater testimony to the directing power of God, who put into his mouth every parable of prediction with a sense and import