Page images
PDF
EPUB

it is entitled. By William Williams.

Sermons. is.

On Several Subjects; with Notes CriA Plea in behalf of a Christian Coun- tical, Historical and Explanatory, and an try for the Christian Education of its Appendix. By Charles Swan, late of Youth, addressed to Various Classes of Catherine Hall, Cambridge. 8vo. 10s. 61. Society. Abridged from the larger Work Jacob, or Patriarchal Piety. A Series of George Monro, M. A. 1711. 8vo. of Discourses delivered in St. James's 48. 6d.

Episcopal Chapel, Edinburgh. By Ed. The Hunterian Oration, delivered in ward Craig, M. A. 8vo. 108. 6d. the Royal College of Surgeons in London,

Single. on the 14th of February, 1823. By Sir Motives to induce Unitarian Christians Wm. Blizard, Koight, President of the to excel their Brethren ; preached at College, &c. 4to. 68.

Bury, June 19, 1823, before the AuA Letter to the Lord Chancellor on nual Assembly of the Unitarian Ministers the Nature and Interpretation of Un- of Lancashire and Cheshire. By George soundness of Mind and Imbecility of Harris. (2nd ed.) 1s. Intellect. By John Haslam, M. D. ls. The Early Success of the Gospel, an 6d.

Evidence of its Truth and an EncourageThe Valedictory Address of the So- ment to Zeal for its Universal Diffusion : ciety for Promoting Christian Knowledge, preached at Craven Chapel, London, delivered by the Lord Bishop of Bristol May 20, 1823, before the Home Misat a Special General Meeting of the So- sionary Society. By Ralph Wardlaw, ciety, June 13, 1823, to the Lord Bi. D.D. shop of Calcutta, previously to his De- Resignation to the Divine Will; occa. parture for India; together with his sioned by the Death of his Daughter, Lordship's Reply. 18.

January 6, 1823. By Thomas Langdon. A Treatise on the Patriarchal, Leviti- 18. cal and Christian Dispensations ; by the Preached in Lambeth Chapel, Juue 1, Rev. G. S. Faber, B. D. 2 Vols. 8vo. 1823, at the Consecration of the Right 11.1s.

Reverend Reginald Heber, D.D. Lord Reinarks on the late Count Volney's Bishop of Calcutta. By A. Bland WrightNew Researches into Ancient History; sou, M. A., Rector of Edlingtoa. 410. to which are added, General Remarks on 1s, 6d. Intidelity. By J. B. Emmitt. 8vo. 45. St. Paul's Views of the Christian Mi6d.

nistry : preached at the Parish Church of A Letter to Lord Liverpool on the St. Chad, Shrewsbury, June 12, 1823, Catholic Question, Clerical Residence and at the Visitation of the Venerable Hugh the State of Ordination. By R. Mitchell, Owen, M. A. Archdeacon of Salop. D.D., Rector of Freyerning, and Vicar of By Edward Bather, M. A. Vicar of Eastwood, Essex. ls. 6d.

Meole Brace. 18. 6d. An Account of the American Baptist Preached at Dudley, on the Death of Mission to the Burman Empire, in a Se- Viscount Dudley and Ward. ries of Letters to a Gentleman in Lon- Booker, LL.D. Vicar. 8vo. 1s. don. By Ann H. Judson. 88.

Preached in Bedford Chapel, Charlotte A Voice from St. Peter's and St. Paul's, Street, Bloomsbury, for the Benefit of being a few plain Words to the Members the Society for the improrement of Priof both Houses, on some late Accusations son Discipline, &c. May 25, 1823. By against the Church. By a Member of G. H. Law, D. D. F. R. and A S. Lord the University of Oxford. 8vo. 28. 61. Bishop of Chester. 4to. Is. 6d.

By L.

CORRESPONDENCE. Communications have been received from Messrs. Manning, W. Evans, and John Jobuston, and from M., ard Aliquis.

We admire Grapho's zeal, but he seems to overlook the virtues of candour and prudence. There is “ a time for all things," and surely nothing would be more injurious to the cause of Unitarianism than to take advantage of a public meeting convened on the principle of agreeing to differ, to obtrude that system upon the unwilling ears of Trinitarians. Not a little appears to us to be gained on behalf of truth, when the discourses of Unitarian ministers on the commou salvation, are heard by a mixed audience with approbation.

ERRATUM.
P. 382, col. 2, note t, for Ed. 6th, &c. read “ Ed, Sixti V. P. M. &c."

Monthly Repository.

No. CCXIII.]

SEPTEMBER, 1823.

[Vol. XVIII.

Mr. S. Freeman on the Prophecies of Isaiah, ch. vii.

Enfield, Of the latter, Pekah, son of Remaliah, Sir,

June, 1823.

was now king; and, in the 17th year IN IN the year 1788, at which time I of his reign, Ahaz, son of Jotham, suc

was settled with a congregation ceeded his father as king of Judah. of Protestant Dissenters at Honiton, This latter had for some time past in Devonshire, as their minister, a been governed by kings who, in the discourse by the late Dr. Blayney, the main, did that which was right in the learned translator of Jeremiah, on the sight of the Lord; but who, neverthesign given to Ahaz, Isaiah vii. 14–16, less, did not exert themselves to defell into my hands. I was just about stroy the high places on which the that tiine, or had just before been, people used, contrary to their law, engaged in drawing up for my own (as being nearer in their apprehension use à chronology of the Old Testa- to heaven, the habitation of their diviment history, so far as that alone nities,) to offer sacrifice and burn inwould carry me. In the prosecution cense to the hosts of heaven. It inay of this design I had been minutely be reasonably supposed that, on this comparing many passages of the pro- account, towards the close of the reign phets with others in the direct histo- of Jotham, (see 2 Kings xv. 37,) the rical books. My mind being then Lord began to send against Judah, full of the subject, I was dissatisfied Rezin, the king of Syria, and Pekah, with several things which were ad- Remaliah's son, king of Israel. Such vanced in the Doctor's discourse, and was the situation of affairs when Abaz penned for my own satisfaction the came to the throne of Judah. following piece, containing observa- Not alarmed at this appearance of tions on those parts of the Doctor's things, nor incited by it to turn unto sermon to which I felt objections. I the Lord and serve hin wholly, he was, as will be seen, not pleased with did worse than his fathers; he walked the double sense of prophecy, and in in the ways of the kings of Israel, and relation to that had prefixed to my made molten images for Baalim (2 essay a quotation from Cicero, “Veri. Chron. xxviii. 2–4). Then Rezin tatis cultores, fraudis inimici;' think- and Pekah having made all necessary ing that the double sense savoured too preparations, came up to Jerusalem much of the ambiguity of the old hea- to make war against it. They besieged then oracles, and tended but too plainly it, and routed the army of Ahaz more to sink the dignity of the former to a than once; but they could not overlevel with the baseness and duplicity of come him so as to bring him into the latter. If a performance that has subjection, or render him tributary to lain by me unnoticed for 35 years is them (2 Kings xvi. 5, 6, &c. 2 Chron. worthy of your attention, and suitable xxviii. 5—15, and Isaiah vii. 1). That to the purposes of your instructive Judah might be brought very low, miscellany, it is at your service. because of Abaz the king, who transSTEPHEN FREEMAN: gressed sore against the Lord, other

enemies were brought up against this On the Prophecies of Isaiah, ch. vii. people ; the Edomites and Philistines

Previous to the immediate conside- invaded the country, and carried away ration of the prophecy itself, and as captives (2 Chron. xxviii. 16–19). introductory to it, it may not be use. In the midst of his distress, instead of less to take notice of the state of turning to the God of his fathers and public affairs at this time, and to give seeking succour from him, Ahaz sent a brief historical detail of the events unto the king of Assyria to help him. then taking place in Judah and Israel. And to induce Tiglath-pileser to come

These had now subsisted as separate to his assistance, Le bumbly calls himkingdoms above two hundred years. self his servant and son, and sends

VOL. XVIII.

[ocr errors]

him a magnificent present of the silver tation of the prophecy, and as to the and gold which he found in the house meaning of what the prophet had deof the Lord, and in the treasures of clared. The variety of opinion and the king's house (2 Kings xvi. 7, 8). difference of interpretation arise from God is always gracious, patient and what follows from the 10th to the long-suffering. He is willing, before 16th verse inclusive. But the chief Ahaz absolutely and entirely casts difficulty lies in the 14th, 15th and himn off, by trusting in princes instead 16th verses. There is a general agreeof Jehovah, in an arm of flesh instead ment with respect to the explanation of the Most High, to try him, by clear- of the others, except so far as that ly manifesting mercy and love in the interpretation may be affected by the midst of deserved judgment. Hence, meaning given to the three verses just when Ahaz is alarmed at the tidings mentioned. that Syria and Israel are confederate “ Moreover the Lord spake again against him, God sends the prophetunto Ahaz,” or as it is in the margin, Isaiah to give him comfort, and con- and literally translated from the Hesole him with the assurance, that brew, And the Lord added to speak though Syria and Israel had taken unto Ahaz; be, at that time, after counsel against him, yet it should not having mentioned what occurs in the stand, neither should it come to pass preceding verses, continued to speak (Isa. vii. 2, 3, 5, 7–9). The head unto Ahaz, saying, as it there follows; of Syria is Damascus, and the head of or, if it was at another time, it was Damascus is Rezin; the head of nevertheless relating to the same Ephraim (or Israel) is Samaria, and things on which he had already spoken the head of Samaria is Remaliah's son to him, or to such as were in some (Pekah). Within threescore and five way immediately connected with them years shall Ephraim be broken, that it " Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy be not a people.” Such are the tidings God,” which it was then usual for of comfort which Isaiah the prophet men to ask and for God to grant, in brought from the Lord to Ahaz the confirmation of what had been deking-tidings which, had he believed clared by the mouth of the prophet; in God, would have allayed his fears “ ask it either in the depth or in the and filled his heart with confidence height above,” you are at liberty to

choose the sign from any thing on To this it is added, “ If ye will not earth, or any thing in heaven, according believe, surely ye shall not be esta- to what you may deem most convincblished”-an intimation this to Ahaz, ing and satisfactory to your own mind. that though such as is mentioned in * But Ahaz said, I'will not ask for the 16th verse would be the fate of a sign, neither will I tempt the Lord.” Samaria and Pekah and Rezin, yet he Not that he hearkened and readily bemust not thence indulge a confidence, lieved, without any such sign, what and rejoice in the expectation that he God had declared, and, therefore, did and his posterity would therefore be not need one for the confirmation of secure in possession of the crown and his faith, did he refuse to choose a kingdom of Judah. For though he sign ; but because he was an idolater, would be saved from the bands of his walking in the ways of the kings of present enemies, yet unless he be- Israel, and his heart being alienated lieved in the Lord, and turned his froin Jehovah he hardened himself in heart towards him, neither should he his iniquity, and refused to turn to be established: his security and confi- the Lord, and give ear to his words dence would be then of only short by the mouth of the prophet. duration. In a little tiine the Lord And he,” the Lord, or rather the would bring against him other ene- prophet by the command of the Lord, mies who should woefully harass him, (for it is said, my God,") said, and who shall finally bring him into Hear ye now, O house of David,” subjection, reduce his kingdom under of which family was Ahaz, hearken their dominion, efface all its glory, thou descendant of David unto my and carry aivay the whole strength of words. “ Is it a small thing for you the nation captives into a far country. to weary men,” by despising what

Thus far Jews and Christians are they say, and ill treating them for all generally agreed in their interpre- speaking the truth ; " but will you

and joy.

weary my God also," who has now connexion of the discourse, particuspoken unto you by my mouth, and larly from the striking expression of whose words you will not hear, but knowing “to refuse the evil and choose contemn? “ Therefore the Lord him- the good," that the same child is here self shall give you a sign :" though spoken of that was before introduced you are so perverse and obstinate in to our notice. See his Serinon, p. 5, your rebellion against God that you note. will not believe what he says, nor de- 1. If it be asked, in defence of Dr. sire a sign, when he calls on you to K.'s supposition, for what reason do so, for the confirmation of your should Isaiah's son go with him, since faith; yet so gracious and patient is without that supposition his presence he towards you, that he wilt himself seems to have been quite unnecessary, nevertheless give you a sign, perad- it may be replied, that for aught that venture when you see the fulfilment appears to the contrary, the prophet's of one declaration, you may be induced son knew already to refuse the evil to believe the other also, and thus and to choose the good ; and then the shall you save yourself and all your sign could not apply to him or he be house. “ Behold, a virgin shall con- the sign referred to in the prophecy. ceive, and bear a son, and shall call And that he was already sufficiently his name Immanuel. Butter and old for this, there is at least as much honey shall he eat, when he shall reason to suppose as the contrary. know to refuse the evil, and shall It is not said that the prophet should choose the good. For before this child take or carry this child with him. But shall know to refuse the evil, and to he and his son are commanded to go choose the good, the land that thou forth to meet Ahaz. And then, if we abhorrest shall be forsaken of both suppose him of such an age as to acher kings. But the Lord shall bring company his father, he might go with upon thee, and upon thy people,” &c. him, because he was training up to “ days that have not come,” &c. speak in the name of the Lord. Before I proceed to state what ap

2. According to Dr. K.'s suppopears to me the natural and most con- sition again, the sign promised to sistent interpretation of this prophecy, Ahaz could not refer to the birth of it may not be amiss to notice some the child, spoken of in verses 14, other methods which the learned have 15; but to the event mentioned in adopted in explaining it, and to men- the 16th verse, that before Sheartion the objections which appear to lie jashub should know to refuse the evil against them.

and choose the good, the land of It is a commonly received opinion Syria and of Israel which Ahaz abthat this prophecy relates to the birth hórred, should be left desolate of of our Saviour, and this opinion seems both their kings. The question will

o have been much favoured, if it did then return respecting the 14th and not even originate in the application 15th verses, What was the design of made of this prophecy to the birth of introducing the prediction of such an our Saviour, in the beginning of the event at this time? The only plausiEvangelist Matthew. Hence it has ble reason which occurs is this: the met with many and strenuous sup- Deity would hereby intend to place porters, who in various ways have de- the certainty of the event predicted to fended their cause.

Ahaz, on the same evidence or ground 1. It is supposed by Dr. Kennicott of belief with all the predictions and that the 14th and 15th verses contain promises given to ihe children of a prophecy concerning our Saviour, Israel as a peculiar and favoured and that the child spoken of in the people, and especially with those J6th verse is Shear-jashub, the son of which referred to the Messiah repeatthe prophet, who went with his father edly promised throughout the history by the command of the Lord to meet of this people. Thus he would diAhaz; see ver. 3. On what Dr. Ken- rect the attention of Ahaz to those nicott founded this opinion I know various prophecies and promises which not, not having had an opportunity of he had given in favour of that people, reading his sermon on this passage. and in relation to those events leading But, as Dr. Blayney observes, it seems on to that most important one of all, more natural to conclude from the the coming of the Messiah, which

For

had been then already fulblled or of in the 14th and 15th verses. were then coming to pass. From the this would involve in it the absurdity fulfilment of past promises and pro- so often objected on this passage, that phecies, that of those not yet accom- the event whose prediction was to be plished, and then being given, might confirmed, would precede that which be justly expected; and with abundant was predicted in confirmation of it reason might Ahaz therefore confide by several hundred years. The abin what God had now declared to him surdity of which is too palpable to in the 7th, 8th and 9th verses. need any illustration with a thinking,

But to this it may be replied, that mind, and to others it would be of we may very justly question, even if no effect to illustrate it. Such as we are not fully assured, that Ahaz wish to see this clearly set forth, may would not understand this prophecy consult Postlethwaite's Discourse on as referring to the Messiah ; and what this passage, Part 1st, as referred to impression could a reference to such by Dr. Blayney. It may not, howan event predicted, be expected to ever, be irrelevant to make a few make on a mind so estranged from general observations here on this subGod as was that of Ahaz? The birth ject. of the Messiah had never before been The purpose to be answered by a spoken of in such a manner, nor is sign in such cases was, to confirm the there any thing in the connexion of faith of the person to whom such a the prophecy which should direct the sign was given, and to establish the attention to that event. And if the credit of the prophet by whom the design of the Deity in delivering this promise was given or the prediction prophecy had been such as was just was foretold. The sign ought therementioned, it is very reasonable to fore, in the nature of it, to be adapted suppose that he would have spoken more immediately to strike the attenof that event in such a manner, as tion, more clearly to enlighten the should infallibly direct the attention mind and convince the judgment. of Ahaz to it, and prevent his mis- The sign given will accordingly be taking that reference, when we con- always found to have been something sider that this is supposed to be a which exhibited full proof and afforded testimonial that the prophecy of an clear evidence to the person addressed, event in which he was concerned, that he who could do, or foresee should certainly come to pass. what constituted the sign, must also

But farther, it seems not very con- be capable of doing or foreseeing that, sistent with the wisdom of the Deity, for the confirmation of the promise to suppose him making use of such or prediction of which the sign had means to gain the attention and faith been given; and that therefore the of such a character as Ahaz was, in prophet was deserving of full credit. what he might say. Ahaz totally But how this could be accomplished contemned the God of his fathers, by constituting as a sign of the cerand paid no regard to what had been tainty of a future event, the predic. actually done and promised to be done tion of another future, more distant by the God of Abraham, Isaac and and more astonishing event, it will be Jacob. He had no faith, he gave no difficult to shew, and it is impossible credit to any of these things. To to conceive. It is more distant in what purpose then, would it be to futurity, therefore less likely to be call his attention, especially in so foreknown: it is more remarkable in obscure and ambiguous a manner as its nature, therefore less likely to it must have been in this instance, gain credit. Nor is there any higher to the recollection and consideration authority or superior ability maniof such things, in order to confirm fested in the one case than in the his faith in what the Lord now de other. If Ahaz did not believe in the clared ? It should seem altogether former prediction of events regarding inconceivable and in vain. It would himself and bis family, it is not posbe unsuitable and consequently inef- sible that such a sigo should convince fectual to the intended purpose. him or so impress his mind as to as

It was said that the sign promised sure his faith. The same principles to Ahaz could not on Dr. K.'s suppo- which influenced him to discredit the sition be the birth of the child spoken first prediction, would induce him to

« PreviousContinue »