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judgment, they shall all be preserved by his power, through faith, unto salvation.
Thus have we seen God's sovereignty displayed in the election and calling of the Jewish people—his gracious power and love in their redemption from Egypt, and their establishment in Canaan; his jealous holiness in their separation from the other nations, and their subjection to a law which is holy, and just, and good; and his unchanging purpose, and his unfailing faithfulness in preserving them from their beginning until now, and dealing with them according to all his word of promise, or of threatening.
The same adorable perfections of his nature, and the same grand principles of his government, are manifested, as we have seen, in parallel events, under that more perfect economy of the Gospel, in which he reveals his name in cloudless and full-orbed glory. Thus, as a sovereign, he chooses a spiritual people. In his love and pity, and with great power, as a Saviour, he redeems them from sin, and death, and hell -leads them with miracles of grace--feeds them with the flesh of Christ guides them by his word and Spirit-bears with them in much long-suffering and patience, amid their ignorance, and rebellions, and backslidings-provides for them, even now, a better inheritance than Canaan, even the wine and milk of gospel blessings-defends them against their foes, while they are faithful in fighting the good fight of faith—and at last, in spite of their manifold infirmities and backslidings, for the sake of Jesus, the Mediator and Surety of his covenant, preserves them unto an incorruptible and eternal inheritance in the heavens.
It is the same glory which is discovered in both dispensations. In both, it is altogether Divine—and, whether viewed in the full effulgence of gospel day, or in the veiled and shaded twilight of Judaism, we have reason, as we behold, to adore, saying, “O Lord, who is a God like unto thee-glorious in thy holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders! Who shall not fear Thee, and GLORIFY THY NAME!”
THE CHRISTOLOGY: OR, THE DOCTRINE OF THE MESSIAH AS
UNFOLDED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES.
BY REV. MICHAEL WILLIS, D. D.,
MINISTER OF THE ASSOCIATE CONGREGATION, RENFIELD STREET, GLASGOW.
Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them, in all the Scriptures, the things concerning himself.-LŪKE xxiv. 27.
It might be interesting to survey the whole of that beautiful portion of Luke's narrative to which these words belong. Few parts of the New Testament exhibit more remarkably that union of simplicity and touching pathos which distinguishes a true narration of interesting occurrences, and which especially characterizes the Scripture history, whether of the New Testament or of the Old. But our principal business with these words at present, is to view them as suggesting an argument in unison with the title of this lecture; in which we propose to show that the Jewish Scriptures contain a great variety of intelligible. and minute references to the Messiah ; references so frequent, that we may justly say that the Old Testament is thoroughly pervaded with them, and so clearly unfolding the character of Christ, and the nature of his salvation and his kingdom, as to leave inexcusable those who reject the claims of Jesus of Nazareth, while they profess to take these ancient writings as the rule and reason of their faith.
What is declared by Luke here, concerning the tenor of the Saviour's conversation with the two disciples on the evening of the day of his resurrection, is in perfect harmony with many other statements, both of our Lord and of his apostles. “If ye believed Moses, ye would believe me, for he wrote of me," says he to the Jews of his own day. “Search the Scriptures, (meaning, of course, the Old Testament Scriptures,) for they testify of me.”
The apostle Paul declares that it is only because the veil remaineth on the hearts of Israel, that, when Moses is read, they do not perceive the glory of Christ.
Peter, in his discourses at Jerusalem, asserts that, in the events of his day, ancient predictions might be discerned to have their fulfilment: and refers to Moses, to David, and to all the prophets as witnessing to Christ. And in the first general Epistle by the same inspired writer, we meet with an important statement which warrants us to believe that ancient prophets foretold, even beyond what they themselves were conscious of or understood, the facts of both the humiliation and exaltation of Christ. “Of which salvation, the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto uis, they did minister the things which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into."
More illustrations might be added of the connection between the Old Testament and the New; and few things are more satisfactory to a Christian mind, than to discern the entire harmony of the predictions of the one, with the narratives and doctrines of the other. Nor is it more certain that the New Testament casts light on the Old, than that a minute acquaintance with the Old constitutes an excellent preparation for the study of the New.
With an Israelite, no doubt, the argument of this harmony or correspondence being the very thing to
be made out, it would be a begging of the question to argue, from the New Testament, on the assumption of its truth. It is necessary to take our arguments mainly from the acknowledged Scriptures of the Jews themselves, if we would convince them that Jesus is the Messiah. We must show that the notices of Christ to be found there, convict them of unreasonable prejudice; inasmuch as they lead fairly to expect such a Saviour as we, Christians, acknowledge to have come, and render it probable that we should find in the discoveries of the later dispensation, just such doctrines concerning salvation as the gospel of Christ and the writings of the apostles do contain.
We must, however, qualify this admission, respecting the legitimate mode of reasoning with a Jew, by one observation which we beg may be attended to. Besides that we are reasoning with Christians as well as Jews, to confirm the one as well as to convince the other, we must add that, even in reasoning with an Israelite, we ought not to omit those arguments addressed to that very class of persons, which are contained in the discourses or epistles of our Lord and of his inspired servants; arguments resting on the received and acknowledged principles of the Jewish people, and which, even while the question of the authority of the New Testament is held by the Jew in abeyance, it would be presumptuous in us, Christians who believe the gospel, to overlook, as if they were less pertinent or conclusive now than they ever were. While we are permitted doubtless to take a larger range, it would seem to indicate an unworthy preference of our own wisdom to the wisdom of God, not to take the benefit of those occasional illustrations of ancient Scripture, and exposures of Jewish misinterpretation, which emanated from the Divine source of all wisdom himself, or from men divinely taught and qualified to reason and expound infallibly.
A minute examination of the Old Testament Scriptures, were there time for it, would show that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy: even as the angel declared to John, when the apostle, struck with
his emphatic address, and contemplating with wonder the joyful state of things which he had announced, fell down at the angel's feet to worship. “See thou do it not, for I am thy fellow. servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." To this is all prophecy directed. This is the sum of the messages of all whom God has commissioned to declare his will. Of Christ do they all testify. To this one purpose is the commission of all of them directed-to manifest the glories of his kingdom.
It is very certain that the Jews, before the coming of Christ, gave this construction to their Scriptures. “ They even looked beyond the letter of their sacred books, and conceived the testimony of the Messiah to be the soul and end of the commandment. The spirit of prophecy was so firmly believed to intend that testimony, that the expectation was general, that some such person as Jesus was to appear among them, and at the very time in which he made his appearance. This is an undoubted fact, what account soever may be given of it: and so far evinces that the principle delivered in the words of the angel to John, corresponds entirely to the idea which the fathers entertained of the prophetic spirit."*
Even heathen writings of ancient date exhibit the traces of the doctrine of the Messiah, and show that the expectation, founded on the early revelation and promise of a Saviour to come, had been handed down from the first human family, through a long succession of ages. Though grossly and offensively corrupted, the tradition to this effect may be discovered in the ancient Hindoo books, in their doctrine concerning the incarnations of Vishnu, the second power of the Indian trimurti.
Socrates is represented by Plato as expressing an expectation that one should come from heaven to teach men their duty to the gods and to one another. Alcibiades asks, “When, Socrates, will that be, and who will be that Teacher?" “ He is one,” replies
* Hurd on Prophecy.