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appeared to put away sin, by the sacrifice of himself; which phrase, says the Bishop, relates not to the end of the world, but to the preceding age's being ended. See Bishop Pearce on 1 Cor. X. 11.

It has been suggested, by an eminent Critic, that these passages are equally doubtful, as to their genuine meaning, as that which they are intended to support, and that therefore they cannot, satisfactorily, establish the meaning which is here contended for. But, if the current of the Apostle's argument be closely attended to; it will appear to be strongly in favor of this sense ; for his principal object, most unquestionably, was, to contrast the Mosaic and the Christian Dispensation against each other, with a particular view to draw a conclusion to the advantage of the latter, both in point of excellence and duration.

Of the superior excellence of the Christian Dispensation, in the estimation of the Author of this Epistle, some judgement' may be formed, from the magnificent description which he has given of the great founder of it ; in which he seems to have laboured for expressions, sufficiently strong, to express his sense of the value of it. chap. i. 1–5. God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake unto the Fathers by the Prophets, hath in these last days * spoken to us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of alli. e. of all former dispensations, by-or for whom he made THE WORLDS, or Ages-the same word used by St. Matthew ; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power,

* The last days, the last times, and the latter times, are phrases which are, generally, if not always, used in the Epistles, to denote the concluding period of the Jewish Economy: And it is a remark of Dr. Benson upon i John ii. 18. that " if the Apostle had said that the last day, or hour, of " the world was then just at hand, he had said what was not true.

We “ know that almost 1700 years have run out since, and that the last hour of as the world is not yet come.".

Mr. Pierce of Exon, on this passage, Heb. i. 1. says--- This, or the 6 like Phrase, is often met with in the Old Testament," to many of which he particularly, refers. " And,” he adds, “ the like we find in the New “ Testament also. Acts ii. 17. 1 Tim. iv. 1. 2 Tim. iii. 1. 1 Pet. i. 20.

2 Pet. iii. 3. These last days were, understood, by the Jews to signify “ the days of the King Messiah. And that this is the meaning of such

phrases, may easily appear to such as will consult the learned Mr. Joseph " Mede upon this argument, in his Apostasy of the latter times, chap. xi, “ xii, &c."


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when he had by himself purged.,our. Sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high ; being made so much better than the Angels, as he hath, by inheritance, obtained A MORE EXCELLENT name than they.

With respect to the duration of the Christian Dispensation, the same Writer, having quoted a Prophecy from the Old Testament, of a new Covenant which was afterwards to be established, meaning thereby the Christian Covenant, draws this conclusion from the abrogation of the former, chap. viii. 17. In that he saith A NEW COVENANT, he hath made the first OLD. Now that which decayeth and waxeth Old, is ready to vanish away ; plainly intimating, by this reasoning, that the New Covenant was not soon to vanish away. And this language perfectly harmonizes with that which is contained in Antient Prophecy; which constantly describes, either in express words--or in words to that effect, the kingdom of the Messiah, as an everlasting kingdom, and as that which shall not be destroyed—but be productive of the happiest effects upon the moral and religious condition of mankind.

But it may be observed farther that, if the passage in the Hebrews, quoted by Bishop Pearce, be examined with attention; it will of itself furnish no slight proof, that the end of the worldor age, can be understood only of the first coming of Jesus as the Messiah--or to speak more properly, to the end of the Jewish dispensation ; for the appearance of Jesus to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, no one can doubt, can only mean, his first coming—as the Messiah, and his dying upon the Cross, and is most clearly and accurately distinguished, by this circumstance, from his second coming, which was to be without sin unto salvation, and that at the day of Fudgment. This sacrifice, the Writer to the Hebrews says, was not like the Sacrifices which were under the law, to be repeated frequently-it was sufficient that it was made Now once, in THE

WORLD or in THE END OF THE AGE hath he, the Messiah, appeared to put away sin, by the sacrifice of himself. And, as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the Judgment--so Christ-or the Messiah, was once offered to bear the sins of many, and, in consequence of that one sin offering-to them that look for him, as he has taught all Christians to do, shall he appear, the second time, without sin unto salvationi M m 2






In the dther passage, 1 Cor. x. 11. to which Bishop Pearce Tefers--the Apostle Paul asserts, that the Mosaic dispensation had; a manifest reference to the Christian, Verse 1. All our the sea any he, were under a cloud, and all passed through

were all baptized unto Moses, in the cloud and in the sea. And did all tat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiri. "tual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ. But, say's the Apostle, with many of them, God was not well pleased for they were overthrown for their disobedience, in the Wilderness. Now, 'says he, these things were our "examples--or beacon's to the intent that we should not lust after evil things, as they alsó listed.

In the 8th and following verses, the Apostle 'enumerate's several instances of this disobedience, and then again repeats What 'he hảd before 'said in the 6th verse. Now these thing's 'happened 'unto them for examples, and they are written for our admonition, upon whom THE ENDS OF THE WORD are "come. As if he had said. If the Jews, 'under the Mosaic and more imperfect dispensation, did not escape the punishment due to their disobedience—still less reason could they have to expect to escape, who were under a more perfect one,

From these instances, it appears, that the phrase the end of the Jewish dispensation--or rather, perhaps, the last dispensation in which God should reveal himself to mankind, and as such, should not be neglected or misimproved—but thankfully and cordially received, and be productive of a conduct becoming its superior excellence.

It must indeed be owned that the same phrase is used in ·Matthew xiii. 39, 40, 49. and can hardly be applied to any other event than to the end of the world, in the strictest sense of the word ; but it is submitted to the judicious Reader, whether the instances produced from the Epistles will not justify the interpreting it differently in Matt. xxiv. 3. If it will 'hot-the only alternative is, that the Apostles may have thought, when they put 'the question, What shall be the sign of the end of the world ? that their Temple would not be destroyed but with the world itself. But our Lord, in his answer, confirms the prediction which gave rise to their questions, and tells them, thảt it would be destroyed in that generation!



Of the Meaning of the word GENERATION. I v

[T was observed in page 122, that the only possible objecto ascertain the meaning of the xxivth of Matthew, and the parallel chapters was, that the word Generation is capable of a very different meaning, and it is here proposed minutely to enquire, whether there is any solid foundation for abandoning the common acceptation of that word. This will be the more necessary, as Dr. Lightfoot appears, very properly to have termed it, “ The Gnomon,” or Index to those chapters, and as, till this matter is ascertained with some degree of precision, some doubt


still be entertained of the true meaning of those chapters.

Mr. Mede, in his reply to Mr. Hayn's fourth Letter, has observed, that the Greek word translated Generation, " signifies, not only Ætas, but Gens, Natio, Progenies, and so

ought to be taken ; viz. Gens Judæorum non interibit,

usque dum omnia hæc implentur. The Nation of the Jewis 56 should not perish, till all these things were fulfilled.” And a little farther on he says, “ No one can deny, but this is one of 46 the native notions of the Greek word translated Generation,

yea, and so taken in the Gospels, as in the foregoing “ chapter, Matt. xxiii. 36. Verily I say unto you, all these " things shall come upon this Nation. So Beza renders it 86 twice in the parallel place, Luke xi. 50, 51, and seven 56 times in this Gospel. Again, Luke xvii. 25. The Son of ** Man must be first rejected--Beza à gente ista."

A learned Writer, in a private letter to the Author, has observed, that the Greek word translated Generation “ cannot *** signify Age or the people of a particular Age, (in Matt. 66 xxiv. and the parallel chapters)-but-a Nation, Race, Fa“ mily,--or a certain description of people. Thus Psalm 66 xiv. 5. xxii. 30. xxiv. 6. lxxiii. 15. cxii. 2. So in the 36 New Testament, Matt. iii. 7. xii. 34. xxiii. 33. it is not 66. age of vipers--but a nest, a brood, a family, a nation of

vipers. In Phil. ii. 15. it is properly rendered Nation, as I think it should, in seyeral other places, or by some " similar word, as people, &c. Among others, Matt. xi. 16. 6 xvii. 17. Acts ii. 40.",

66 similar

This Writer having adduced these instances, says, “ Now " it being admitted that the word Generation here, in our “ Lord's discourse, (Matt. xxiv.), may mean the Jewish Nation-or people--almost every difficulty vanishes. This, " Sir, I think, deserves your very attentive consideration."

It will, perhaps, very much contribute to throw light upon our Lord's meaning in the use of the word Generation in the xxivth of Matthew and the parallel chapters—first to attend to the nature of the prediction which gave rise to this discourse ;-Secondly, to some particulars, in our Lord's answer to the questions of the Disciples ;-And thirdly, to the use of the terin Generation, in other parts of the Sacred Writings, and particularly in the New Testament; together with the design which Jesus appears to have had in view, in the fre. quent use of this term.

1st. With respect to the nature of the prediction which gave rise to this discourse—whatever ambiguity there may appear to be in the questions of the Disciples, in consequence of that prediétion—ihere certainly can be none in the prediction itself. No one can possibly doubt that it related to the destruction of Jerusalem, and to the destruction of Jerusalem_only. This event, it is well known, took place in the age in which this predi&tion was delivered—or in that Generation, in the common acceptation of the word, and consequently there arises, from hence, a strong presumption, that our Lord made use of the word Generation in that sense,

If again, adly, The question of the Disciples—When shall these things be? be considered in connection with our Lord's answer to it-the presumption that this was his meaning, will be rendered still stronger-for the rising of Nation against Nation—the preaching of the Gospelor good news of the Kingdom, i. e. of the Kingdom of the Messiah, and the seeing of the abomination of desolation-zare mentioned as particular signs of the near approach of the destruction of Jerusalem, and upon the last of these signs being mentioned the direction to the Disciples is given in the following unambiguous terms ;-Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. And having in the 29th and following verses, described the awful and desolating effects of these calami. ties, he, in the 33d verse, says,--When ye shall see all these

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