is, wherein may be found the pathos and sublimities
of religion in a strain not to be surpassed in any
part of the Old Testament; the book of Deutero-
nomy. This book embraces a rehearsal and repub-
lication of the law by the great Prophet of it him-
self; with a survey of the wonders of Egypt and
the Wilderness; the past acts of God's mighty arm,
working in terror and in mercy; the stipulated bles-
sings of obedience (which I may call the Mosaic
beatitudes); and a terrific insight into the future
plagues of his apostate people. Of the majesty
of the book, and the impressiveness of it in these
particulars, a calm and deliberate perusal can alone
convey any just idea. Nor are the signatures of
authentic truth and inspiration less stampt upon it.
But here also may be traced the progressive scheme
of Scripture. For this very book, if I mistake not,
might, in its doctrinal character and use, be set
above the simpler and earlier promulgation of the
law as recorded in Exodus. And next, though in
sublimity it be inferior to nothing in the Prophets, it
may be ranked as only approaching to the practical
standard of faith and personal obedience, exhibited
in the doctrines, promises, and precepts of the
of the pro-
phet Isaiah. The considerate reader will judge
whether this account of the expansion of the divine
law by the later prophets be not a just one. If it
be admitted, one use and intent of their mission will
be better understood; and the remote members of
revelation will be seen to compose a consistent

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whole, not by uniformity, but progression, every part of it silently advancing toward the spirit and perfection of the Gospel.

III. In the last place, the Prophets, beside their communication of doctrine, had another, and a practical office to discharge, as pastors and ministerial monitors of the people of God. To shew “Jacob his transgression and Israel his sin," was a part of the commission they received. Hence their work to admonish and reprove; to arraign for every ruling sin, to blow the trumpet to repentance, and shake the terrors of the divine judgments over a guilty land. Often they bore the message of consolation or pardon; rarely, if ever, of public approbation and praise.

The integrity and fortitude wherewith these holy men acquitted themselves of this charge, is partly known from history, which recites the death of martyrdom which some of them endured. But it lives also in their own writings; not in the praise of their sincerity and zeal, but in the faithful record of the expostulations and rebukes which they delivered in the face of idolatrous or oppressive kings, a degenerate priesthood, and a corrupt, rebellious people. Magna fides et grandis audacia Prophetarum" is their just panegyric*. But in this service they betray none of the spirit of turbulent

Hieronym. in Ezek. p. 143, Vol. v.


and fanatical agitators, men who step out of order to make the public sin their field of triumph, but a grave and masculine severity which bespeaks their entire personal soberness of mind, and argues the reality of their commission. Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, are all eminent examples of this ministerial duty. And if St. Paul could And if St. Paul could say of Holy Writ, that it" is profitable for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness," as he speaks of the Old Scripture, so to no part of it does that idea more fitly belong, than to the admonitory homilies of the Prophets.

From this particular service of the Prophets results a testimony to their Mission. First on their own part. Whatever proof men could give of integrity in their pretensions by willingness to suffer, that proof they gave. The Prophets, like the Apostles, were confessors and martyrs. No confederacy of interest, none' of favour, can be imputed to them: Priesthood, Kings, and People, all equally fell under their reproof; and they were persecuted by all. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! thou "that killest the Prophets, and stonest them which "are sent unto thee;" this is the opprobrium of that infatuated city: but it is the crown and glory of her martyr Prophets. Next, an equal testimony results on the part of the Jewish people, their persecutors. When we consider the austerity of rebuke addressed by these men to the people of Israel and Judah, and the unfavourable light in which

their national character is represented by them, almost without an exception, there is no room to think that public vanity, or public credulity, meant to preserve in such writings as theirs an advantageous history to recommend either people in the eyes of the world, or that they could gain by having it believed or by believing themselves, that they had had prophets among them. But the words of the Prophets are said to have been "graven on a rock, and written with iron." Had they not been so written and engraved, by an irresistible evidence of of their inspiration, how could they have withstood the odium and adverse prejudice which they provoked? How could they have survived with the unqualified and public acknowledgment of their inspiration from the Jewish people, who hereby are witnesses in their own shame; and survive too with that admitted character, when every thing else of any high antiquity has been permitted to perish, or remains only as a comment confessing the inspiration of these prophetic writings? And the stress of the argument lies in this; that these writings were not merely preserved *, but adopted into the public monuments of their Church and nation; strange archives of libel to be so exalted, if their authority could have been resisted. But the Jews

* It is obvious to remark, how the equal preservation of these vituperative parts of the prophetic writings helps to accredit the faithful transmission and authenticity of the entire text of prophecy.

slew their Prophets, and then built their sepulchres, and confessed their mission. There is but one rea-: son to be given why they did so, a constrained and extorted conviction. But such was the promise given in hand to the Prophet. "I do send thee "unto them, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus "saith the Lord God. And they, whether they "will hear or whether they will forbear, for they "are a most rebellious house, yet shall know that "there hath been a prophet among them *." Or more explicitly: And "when this cometh to pass, lo "it will come; then shall they know that a prophet "hath been among them." Here we have the explanation of the fact. The actual fulfilment seen, of what their Prophets had foretold, convinced that most unbelieving people; a people to whom their Pagan judges, looking at them and their religion from a distance, and with the fallacy of their own superstitions at home before their eyes, gave a name for credulity; but whom their own interior history shews to have been governed by a very opposite genius, in a slowness and reluctancy of belief, which stood out against the authority of their real prophets, (as against the other divine guidance they had,) till a feeling experience brought them to reason. This" credulous" people "mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, " and misused his Prophets; till the wrath of the


* Ezek. ii. 5.

† Ezek. xxxiii. 3.

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