Page images
PDF
EPUB

man, that he hath nothing in him- cious influences from God through self by nature; yet by grace he be- Christ into believers,—as a stream comes partaker of the divine nature, from a living fountain, and beams and so united to God, as to stand by from the sun. His power. This union is fully ex- 3. The third branch is, that there pressed, Col. iii, 3,—" Our life is is a superexcellency of the state un. hid with Christ in God;" and in der the covenant of grace in Christ, John xvii, 21–23,—" That they all above that under the covenant may be one, as thou Father art in made with Adam. For by virtue me, and I in thee; that they also of the Adamic covenant, men shall may be one in us ;—that they be one, be restored in soul and body to the even as we are one; I in them, and natural perfection which Adam had thou in me, that they may be made in the state of innocency. But those perfect in one." And the power under the covenant of grace shall grounded on this union is fully ex- have, superadded to this, a spiritual pressed, 1 Pet. i, 3 to 5,-“ Blessed and angelic body, whereby the Spirit, be God, that hath begotten us again instead of being hindered, shall be to a lively hope, by the resurrection aided. And besides the perfection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to of all their natural faculties, they an inheritance incorruptible and un- will have the perfection of all their defiled, that fadeth not away, re- graces. And whereas those only unserved in heaven for you, who are der the covenant of nature may and kept by the power of God, through will fall; those under the covenant faith unto salvation.” Thus, upon of grace never can again decline. the ground of union and interest Therefore never rest in any estate in Christ's resurrection, through but that of the covenant of grace. faith (a great bond of union,9) we If

f you

have that, you have the cream are kept infallibly, by the power of of all the covenants perfected and God, to that inheritance of glory; perpetuated in you, and so will conas that glorious inheritance is kept tinue for everlasting. Neither be incorruptibly and unfadingly for us. confident that thou art really parAnd then upon that union follows a taker of the covenant of grace,

until suitable communion : for as the thou art by it effectually endowed union is continual, so from thence with spiritual light and life to a flows a continued emanation of gra- sincere and inward holiness.

9 Ephes. iii, 17.

No. III.

THE TWO WITNESSES.

REVELATION XI.

Time, the surest interpreter of tiles into the society of the two Witprophecy next to God himself, has nesses. Thus we see partly already confuted the opinions of many con- the harmonious convenience of the cerning the Two Witnesses, and thesis. left others in hopeless darkness. I But some will ask, What necesventure, nevertheless, but with dif- sity is there to take in the believing fidence, to propose another inter- Jews ? I shall give three reasons in pretation. I confess it differs from reply.all I ever read or heard of : but on 1. First, it would be a wonder, this account I claim the more in- I think, to all intelligent readers of dulgence, as venturing on so lonely the Scriptures, if the believing Jews, a task to serve others.

who are brought in, throughout that I shall first set my view of it whole volume, as the PRINCIPAL holy before the Reader in the following actors, (more especially in that fushort thesis, or proposition, which ture glorious scene on earth; the I intend to discuss : viz. That be- Gentiles being mentioned only as lieving Jews, as well as GENTILES, accessories,) should not act a part from the time of Christ to his next also in the testimony of the two advent, may be of the Two Witnesses: Witnesses. Isaiah xiv, 1-3, sets who shall more especially give their forth the priority of the Jews before testimony in the troublous times of the the Gentiles, at the time of the relast days.

stauration of the Church ; inasmuch Now, if we mind the definite num- as the people chosen, are before the ber two; none can be more dis- strangers adjoined to them. Isaiah tinctly so than believing Jews and xlix, 22, 23, speaks more fully to Gentiles. And if we rather mind an the same point : " Thus saith the indefinite (i. e. a sufficient) number; • Lord God, behold I will lift up my there is no readier way to find such • hand to the Gentiles, and set up a sufficiency of witnesses, than to my standard to the people, and look among believing Jews and Gen- they shall bring the sons in their tiles. Yea, even if we hanker after arms; and the daughters shall be the opinion that the two Witnesses carried

upon

their shoulders. And are the Old and New Testaments kings shall be the nursing fathers, (though these were rather the matter ' and their queens thy nursing mowitnessed, than the Witnesses ;) or •thers : they shall bow down to thee, that magistrates and ministers are &ic.” The apostle Paul tells us the two Witnesses ; still the fullest plainly,a that we Gentiles are but witnessing to both Testaments, and a subrogated Church, placed for a the most magistrates befriending time in the room of the principal ; them, will be soonest found by the Jews being the genuine olive putting believing Jews and Gen- tree, and we the wild olive tree;

;

a Rom. xi, 11-33.

And many

they the natural branches,-we the Isaiah xxvi, 19,—“ Thy dead men grafted. “And if the diminishing shall live; together with my dead

of the Jews (saith he) be the riches body shall they arise : awake and * of the Gentiles; how much more sing, ye that dwell in the dust; for ' their fulness ?” So that our 'much thy dew is as the dew of herbs; and more' depends on their «fulness.' the earth shall cast out her dead.”

The notions, types, and allusions Ezekiel says ; " He said unto me, of Rev. xi, are not only all Jewish, prophesy upon these bones, and say (as are the symbols and types into them, o ye dry bones hear the throughout the book of Revelation;) word of the Lord; thus saith the but they are of such a character as Lord God, &c. Behold I will cause would seem to put the Gentiles to breath to enter into you, and ye shall their shifts to prove themselves to be live.& Daniel says, of the two Witnesses, if they deny that sleep in the dust of the earth the Jews to be of them. For here shall awake; some to everlasting we have the temple, the altar, can- life, and some to everlasting shame dlesticks, and olive trees ; concern- and contempt; and they that be ing which latter, St. Paul tells us wise shall shine as the brightness of plainly (as we have just seen,) that the firmament ; and they that turn we Gentiles are but the wild olive many to righteousness, as the stars tree, and the Jews the genuine one.b for ever and ever.”h And St. Paul:

There is also a plain allusion to If the casting away of the Jews Elijah and Elisha, (the former more be the reconciling of the world, particularly,) inasmuch as both these what shall the receiving of them be Witnesses are prophets ; they wear but life from the dead.i Surely sackcloth, or rough garments ;c fire these Scriptures cannot mean the proceedeth out of their mouths a- universal resurrection of the bodies gainst their enemies;d they shut and of all men, neither the general reopen heaven ;e and they ascend up surrection of the bodies of all beinto heaven.f The allusion also to lievers; for they expressly relate Joshua and Zerubbabel is apparent, particularly and closely to the Jews. throughout Zech. iv.

They signify, that the Jews, living 2. Secondly, there is a necessity (I at the time intended in those Scrijconceive) to takein the believing Jews tures, being in a dead estate,-that to be a part of the two witnesses; is to say, some of them dead in unbecause their lying dead under the belief and sin, and others, though pressure and conflict with the ene- alive in grace, yet in a state of dispermies of the truth, and anon THEIR sion, affliction and persecution, (ofrising again, in the way of conquest ten in the Scriptures compared to over those enemies, is as assuredly death,* as the rising from it is to prophesied in other Scriptures, as life ;)--the latter sort of them shall, the lying dead and rising again of at or before the fulfilment of the believing Gentiles is supposed to be former of these Scriptures, effectuprophesied in Rev. xi. For thus ally arise, and stand up out of the dust of their death-like miseries, to point in hand; it is prophesied by contend for the corporal and spiritual Isaiah, “ that the Gentiles shall liberties of the Church, against the carry the Jews into their own land, enemies of both. In which contest, upon horses, and in chariots, and though they may for a short time be litters, and upon mules, and upon as slain, by new calamities, on that swift beasts, and in their arms, and account; yet they shall recover, upon their shoulders, and shall bow conquer, and possess that glorious down before them, &c.”m But how restauration on earth, which is to can the Gentiles show the Jews that commence from the resurrection of great favour, till they find them in a all believers, both Jews and Gentiles. posture and forwardness to go? or

b Rom. xi, 11-33. c 1 Kings xix, 13 ; 2 Kings ii, 13; Zech. xiii, 4.

d i Kings xviii, 38; 2 Kings i, 10—-12. e 1 Kings xvii, 1; xviii, 42;. Jas. v, 17, 18, f 2 Kings ii, 11. 8 Ezek. xxxvii, 4, 5. h Dan. xii, 2, 3. i Rom. xi, 15.

* For misery see 2 Cor. i, 10; Hos. xiii, 14; Rev. vi, 8; 2 Cor. xi, 23 ; 1 Cor. xv, 31 ; Rom. vii, 24. For deliverance from it see Ps. Ixxi, 20 ; lxxx, 18 ; lxxxv, 6; cxxxviii, 7; Hos. vi, 2, &c.

That this is the main sense of the that high respect, till they see them aforesaid Scriptures, the Reader may first respect the Messiah, Christ easily gather by observing the con- Jesus? text, and noting what is put as the Another example we have from antithesis to that rising to life; viz. Daniel. It being revealed to that that state from whence they are Prophet," that at THAT TIME (meansaid to rise. Thus in Isaiah xxvi, ing the most miserable time of the it is from dominion under other Jews' desolation, described, chap. Lords to the ends of the earth,xi,) shall Michael stand up, the whither the Jews were scattered, great Prince, which standeth for without hope or help of deliverance.j the children of thy people ; and In Ezekiel it is from among the hea- • there shall be a time of trouble, then whither they were gone into such as never was, since there was captivity.k In Daniel it is from the a nation, even to that same time; invasion and tyranny of the Roman and at THAT

TIME thy people monarchy. În Romans it is from (Daniel's people) shall be delivered, the fall and casting away into spi- '&c. every one that shall be found ritual blindness.

• written in the book : for* many of 3. The third reason I shall urge them that sleep in the dust of the is, that the crisis or critical days, • earth shall awake; &c."-I say most nearly relating to the period of these things being revealed to Daniel, that witnessing, have their clearest one of two angels standing by asked calculations from the Jews appear the Lord, “ How long shall it be to ing on the theatre, and acting in the end of these wonders ?”—that is, that wonderful scene which inter- to when the wonderful rising of the venes between the witnesses lying Jews, and the wonderful troubles dead and the commencement of the ensuing, shall be on foot and be glorious restauration of all things. acted. For the angel does not So that the Gentiles necessarily mean the end also of all the said take their signal and watch-word troubles ; (as I shall presently show;) from the Jews, to march after them, nor does the answer mean so. The to their assistance; (I mean to fur- answer, according to our last Engther their deliverance and settle- lish translation, is, “ that it shall be ment;) as owning them to be the for a time, and times, and a half (or people of God by actual and effec- part, as it is confessed in the margin) tual vocation. For example, to the when he shall have accomplished to

[ocr errors]

j vv. 13-18.

k vv. 21 to end. 1

Compare chap. xi, latter part. m Isa. xlix, lxvi. * I have before shewn that the Hebrew 1 is often a causal.

end ;

scatter the power of the holy people, time of their scattering to that all these things shall be accomplish- rising, puts this question: "O my ed.” We may understand this an- Lord, what shall be the end of these swer tolerably as above; but better, things 7" (v. 8 :) which in effect is if we read it thus,-" That at a time, the same as " When shall be the and times, and part of time, having end of these things ?”—that is, if accomplished the scattering of the we may judge of the intent of the power of the holy people, all these question, by the bent of the answer. things shall be performed.” This For the answer is not of the quality reading is close to the words and of the end, but of the time of the phrase of the original* and in sense and to this effect:-“ that at is,—that at the expiration of the the expiration of 1290 days, (that term of many years, consisting of a is, years,) taking their beginning time, times, &c. wherein the Jews from the ceasing of the daily sacshall have been scattered, their scat. rifice, and the setting up of the tering now being accomplished, these abomination that maketh desolate, things, (viz. their wonderful rising (all three being to be taken in, to and troubles thereupon) shall be make a sure footing for the account) performed; that is, shall be upon shall that scattering be finished, and the stage of human action. By terminate in that wonderful rising which it evidently appears to us at and struggle.” (v. 11.) This makes this day, that whilst the Jews con- the second note, or mark of time, of tinue scattered over the whole earth, the glorious restauration approaching. (as we now see, and they themselves " And how long, (might Daniel daily confess,) nothing can be deter- yet inquire,) shall that troublesome minatively calculated by any, touch- time (whose beginning periods the ing the time of their deliverance; scattering) continue ?” The Lord nor done by us Gentiles in assistance however prevents this question by of their return. But when their himself stating in substance as folscattering is accomplished, (I say lows;—" that though the comnot their full deliverance, which fol- mencement of their rising and lowscertain years after,)--and which struggling shall be with unparalleled is accomplished when they arise, troubles, yet they shall not be any and strive against their arch enemy, thing like so long as their scattering, there is the first note or mark of but shall end in a blessed catastrophe; time of the glorious restauration the interval between both lasting in approaching.

all but 45 years :”+ for (saith the Daniel hearing all this, but not Lord) « Blessed is he that shall wait distinctly understanding hereby the and continue after the expiration of

* See the Margin. In the original is no it shall be,' nor when he;' and the word "and," next before when he,' is redundant. We have many examples of the like: as Amos iv, 10, “ I have made the stink of your camps to come up [and] into your noses.” So the Hebrew of Leviticus vii, 16, and Genesis xxx, 30. Lastly, for the two Infinitive moods (pas makan) it is a rule, that when ɔ is prefixed to the infinitive mood, importat significationem temporis præteriti, (as Ps. xii, 8;) and for the second infinitive, it is oft put for a noun,--dispergere to signify dispersionem. As for the signification of bo to perform, to be doing of a thing, before it is finished or ended, it is well known to every ordinary Hebraist.

+ Near about the space of time of the building of the second temple, (John ii, 20,) viz. within one day, which may alter one year.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »