Page images

in consequence of that belief conquered, and were admitted to their various lots in Canaan.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The parallel between the earthly figure and its substance above, is closely dwelt upon, and in appropriate language, by St. Paul, in Heb. iv. 2. "For we have had a report made to us of a good land, as well as they'; i. e. a heavenly country is notified to us as well as the earthly had been to them. "But," adds he, "they did not credit the report, and therefore never became, in the first sense, the sanctified people, or those Israelites who who were set apart to the rest of Canaan.

The announcing this subject of peace, is termed good news, and was ever a pleasant object to the pious under both dispensations. Of this, Messiah appears as the dispensator, where St. Peter tells the house of Cornelius the Centurion, Acts, x. 36. "The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, announcing the region of peace (dia tou Jesou Christou) of which Jesus Christ is the foundation. He is the Jehovah of all; i. e. who will verify this name, as to his future appearance, to people of all nations who look for him.

It is not to be denied but that this setting apart takes place in a partial degree in this life. Naming the name of Christ, they are thereby set apart to him: so the children of Israel, by their believing Joshua, became candidates for the promised land, before they left the wilderness.

As the supreme Jehovah calls us to depart, and to come out from the unclean thing; and as this unclean thing partly exists within us, it follows, that the command is not completely obeyed, until we are set apart by death to the mansions of Paradise.



The Day-Star.

And we have a more sure word of prophecy, to which ye do well to take heed, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts. 2. Pet,

1. 19.

THERE is here two periods distinctly marked,

the one beginning as the other terminates. The the first extending through the time that is to be given to the propheticos logos, or scheme of Scripture prophecy, which is represented as a light shining in a dark place. The other beginning when the day dawns, and the day-star arises, which is itself antecedent to, and to be succeeded by the brightness of the full day.

It may be imagined that by the day-star arising in the heart, nothing more is meant than that manifestation which Christ gives of himself to the soul. But it is evident from the apostle's mode of address, that this had already taken place, as they were now attending to the sure word of prophecy, as the continuance of this exercise was recommended, not as the means of their conversion, but as placing before them what they had farther to expect, and this, during the period they should be in the dark place. It is plain, that


by the dark place is meant the world; and by the light shining, must be some clear information given in the prophets respecting the state of souls after death.

- The day-star was a remarkable appellation given by Jehovah to Messiah, in allusion to the office which he was to exercise, and which in the book of Revelation Messiah gives himself. The Hebrew Tzemek, is translated by the Seventy anatole, and by the Vulgate Oriens, the Rising. In our version it is the branch. Of these two renderings, the first claims the preference; for two reasons, 1st, that it is so rendered in St. Luke, chap. i. 78. 2d, that Messiah calls himself the bright and morning star. It also has its synonyme in Isaiah, chap. Ix. 3. and the same station is assigned to it in that world, that is assigned to the Lamb in the new Jerusalem. In both places the nations are said to walk in the light of it. Rev. xxi. 24.

It appears that this appellation had got abroad, probably by means of the Septuagint version, among the nations, and by them was variously understood. Suetonius, a Roman historian of the same century, took it in the common acceptation, as denoting the eastern quarter of the world, and said that it was generally understood "as being an old and rooted opinion, over all the East, that it was in the sybilline oracles, that at


that period some coming from Judea should rule the world."*

Tacitus, a cotemporary historian, nearer the truth, viewed the word as a proper name. His words are," a persuasion prevailed in many, that it was contained in the antient books of the priests, that Oriens, or the Rising, would at that very time become powerful, and that some coming from Judea would be masters of the earth."+ It is rather remarkable, that the very time to which he alludes that of the destruction of Jerusalem, was the period at which the Oriens visibly displayed his power, in subduing the nations to the obedience of the faith.

Since the world began, Messiah has appeared under different characters, and suited to the different prevailing dispensations of his church. During the ages preceding his incarnation, he was termed "the Angel in whom Jehovah put his name. The angel of his face," who calls himself Js.63.9 Jehovah, and to whom, as we see in the case of Moses and Joshua, divine honours were paid-honours which created angels, so far from demand

* Percrebuerat Oriente toto, vetus & constans opinio esse in fatis ut, eo tempore Judæa profecti rerum potirentur. Suet. in vita Vesp.

+ Pluribus persuasio inerat, antiquis Sacerdotum litteris contineri, eo ipso tempore, fore ut valesceret Oriens, profectique Judæa, rerum potirentur. Tacit. lib. 5.

« PreviousContinue »