« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
then disappeared. Thus every disappointment has reduced them to the necessity of lengthening the termination of the intervening period, one hundred years after another, to the present day : and, when the present dream has proved a delusion, (as it most assuredly will,) some other will be dreamed, to find a pretence for still lengthening the period; till "the Spirit of grace and supplica"tions" be poured out, and they "shall look' with penitent faith "on him whom they have "pierced," and crucified to themselves afresh," from age to age.1
But there is no grappling with a phantom, or grasping smoke: like the shade of Anchises, it eludes the hand of him who would seize on it, Par levibus ventis, volucrique simillima somno. A serious argumentative answer cannot be expected, and the subject is too momentous for any other. The passage may, however, remind the reader of the prophet's words: "They hatch cockatrice eggs, " and weave the spider's web :"-" their webs shall "not become garments." 2
P. 67. 1. 14. We know that Christ was born '910 years after David.'-' The Jews have a tra'dition, that in the last year of Darius (Hystaspes) 'died the prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
And from the same tradition they tell us, that 'the kingdom of the Persians ceased also the same 'year. For they will have it, that this was the 'Darius whom Alexander conquered, and that the 'whole continuance of the Persian empire was only 'fifty-two years. This shews how ill they were
Zech. xii. 10-14
2 Is. lix. 4-6.
'acquainted with the affairs of the Persian empire. ' And their countryman Josephus, in the account 'which he gives us of those times, seems to have 'been very little better informed concerning 'them.' (Prideaux.) They confound Darius Hystaspes with Darius Codomannus; though Xerxes, Artaxerxes Longimanus, Darius Nothus, and Artaxerxes Mnemon reigned between them. The Persian empire, from the accession of Darius the Mede, to the death of Darius Codomannus, continued for about 207 years. This occasions the great difference in chronology between Jewish and Christian writers, as to the times between the captivity and the coming of our Lord. But Mr. C. varies even from this, and is repeatedly inconsistent with himself. It is generally computed that David died 1015 years before Christ, and consequently was born 1085 before him; but this is of little consequence.
P. 67. 1. 30.
The placing of Adam in the garden of Eden.' As far as this passage agrees with the narrative of Moses, it is entitled to firm credence: (p. 67, 68 :) but it is intermixed with ' a few traditions' (p. 69. l. 3.) I do not indeed believe these traditions, yet they are not of sufficient importance to require any remarks. But the familiar, colloquial manner, in which the events recorded in the word of God, and inseparably connected with the present and eternal interests of the human species, are mentioned, cannot satisfy any serious mind, Christian, Jewish, or gentile.
P. 67. 1. 33. No angel could,' &c. This the scripture does not say. And God taught Adam
"the names even all of them. Then he proposed them to the angels, and said, Declare unto me the names of these things, if ye be true. They answered: Praise is thine; we have not ' knowledge, except as much as thou hast taught us. Truly thou art knowing and wise. And 'God said, O Adam, Declare to them the names
of these things. And, when he had declared to 'them their names; he (God) said, Did not I say ' to you that I know the secret of the heavens and the earth; and I know what ye do openly and 'what ye conceal? And, when we said to the angels, Adore Adam; they even adored: but Eblis (the devil) refused, and was lifted up in pride.' And Satan caused them to fall from 'paradise, and we said, Go down, the one an
enemy to the other.' (Koran, 2d chap.) Probably Mohammed derived his information from Jewish tradition; and he has added absurdity to it: but the coincidence is remarkable.
P. 68. 1. 33. Overcame Satan.' It is well that Satan, the grand enemy of all, is at all mentioned as to be overcome by man: but is this victory to be obtained by the power of Adam, or any of his fallen and sinful posterity? or by that of "the "Seed of the woman, who shall bruise the ser66 pent's head?" "The second Adam is the Lord
P. 69. 1. 9. THE LAW OF NOAH.' It may be proper here to make a few remarks on this supposed law of Noah: because many writers, Christians as well as Jews, have mentioned it, as an existing rule of duty: but where it is to be found in scripture they do not state. In fact, it belongs
to tradition: and, like the traditions of men in general, it" makes void the law of God," and at the same time disannuls the gospel. The law of God commands "us to love him with all the "heart," and "all men as ourselves." And the gospel calls transgressors to repentance, conversion, faith in the mercy of God, through the promised Redeemer, and obedience to the divine law, as the fruit of this faith. But what do these precepts of Noah require, in order to acceptance and future happiness? Provided idolatry, blasphemy, (a crime not easily defined with precision,) incest, (another ambiguous term, diversely explained,) murder, robbery, and theft, and eating the member of a living creature, be avoided; a man may be a fornicator, an adulterer, a liar, a perjurer, a drunkard and glutton, a malignant, envious, contentious neighbour, covetous, a tyrant in his family; and in short guilty of almost all kinds of ungodliness, unrighteousness, and licentiousness; besides sins of omission of every kind without exception: and all this without endangering his salvation! Future happiness, according to this law, is secure, even to such a character, without repentance, conversion, faith in the Saviour, mercy, or any benefit from "the cove"nants of promise." On the other hand, if a man have once committed idolatry, blasphemy, incest, murder, robbery, or theft; this law opens no door of faith or repentance; provides no refuge or redress; but leaves him under hopeless condemnation. It is not probable that all, perhaps any, of those who have spoken of this law, or these precepts, as actually given to Noah and his posterity,
meant the whole of this: but as the matter is stated, in this publication especially, these are the undeniable consequences of such a law given to men, by which the obedient, and none else, may obtain eternal life.
The third precept to appoint and constitute 'just and upright judges, that justice might be ❝ maintained and impartially administered to all,' could be obligatory upon very few, as few are concerned in the appointment of magistrates : and, if no other law, either from revelation or from man's reason and conscience, were in force, what could be the standard or rule of that justice, which was to be impartially administered ?-We may therefore conclude, that these precepts of Noah never were inculcated by God for the purposes here spoken of: though some things afterwards incorporated into the ceremonial law of Moses were previously obligatory, with respect to the atoning sacrifices, and the blood especially, "which is the life," and that by which the atonement was made. 1
We gentiles, however, have the less cause to complain of the Jews, in endeavouring exclusively to appropriate the blessings of the Messiah's kingdom, which they consider as altogether earthly;' while they allow us almost an equality, in those things which "accompany salvation with "eternal glory." And we would desire, in return for this liberality, to communicate to them, if possible, the inestimable blessings of the true Messiah's spiritual and eternal kingdom. "That
1 Gen. ix, 4. Lev. xvii. 10-14.