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speaking of those times, are so quoted merely in compliance with a fanciful system of Scripture interpretation then prevalent amongst the Jews; we shall then, to say nothing of the pain of so judging of the writers of the New Testament, destroy a great part of our interest in the Old; we shall do away
with the harmony and continuity of God's several dispensations, and deprive Christianity of a testimony which Christ himself no less than his Apostles delighted in appealing to, as one of the most satisfactory proofs of its divine origin.
Now if, on the one hand, the applications of the Old Testament made by the writers of the New can be maintained as just and true; and, on the other hand, a principle can be discovered which explains them and warrants them; which takes them out of the range of capricious and arbitrary quotation, and enables us to read the Old Testament in the same spirit as the Apostles read it, and to apply safely and surely to Christ and Christian things passages which are not noticed in their writings; then it will be probable that the principle so answering all the conditions required is the true key to the difficulty, and
effens to hand ulud on.
Simile. p.51 - Solen? Az estallicking uctions li doneklo baut? ho deduen it at a nens Cenagens)
firma of Prophecy.
Vir ow all the Cofrecies we shall need no further evidence to convince us that it is so.
And if such a principle presents itself to us in the first place as the result of an a Meaning priori
' inquiry into the nature of Prophecy, Frewcomes to mee. and then when applied practically to the case
thos, our Author before us be found to solve its difficulties; then the double proof thus afforded would seem to be as complete as we can possibly require, and we cannot doubt that, reason (hiu2.9-19: and experience at once concurring in the same conclusion, that conclusion may command our assent as certainly true.
The principle here alluded to has been set forth in the two Sermons now presented to the reader. I have considered it during a period of
many years; and it has continually
incapable of weakening or disturbing the faith of any one, or of adding to the existing difficulties of the question. The publication of these Sermons therefore cannot, I would hope, do harm, even if it fails of doing good. Nay, I would even hope that it may do good, although the view contained in the Sermons should be ever so erroneous. I am quite unable to do justice to the subject of Prophecy; but I should be thankful if my errors, being at any rate harmless, shall provoke attention to the question, and excite some one to write upon it who may discharge the task more worthily. For that it does actually need to be set in a clearer light, and that the general understanding of the prophetic Scriptures is very imperfect, must, I suppose, be evident to every one.
The general principle of interpretation here maintained, that of an uniform historical or lower, and also of a spiritual or higher, sense, has been adopted by commentators in all ages of the Church, And I hope also that the more detailed points which I have tried to make out are not new, although I am not aware of having been led to them by any thing but a study and comparison of the
prophecies themselves. I have found with pleasure a great agreement with all the views contained in this volume, in Tholuck's first Appendix to his edition of the Epistle to the Hebrews. And in one of the volumes of the Theologische Studien und Kritiken there is a notice of a German work on the Psalms, where the application of the passages relating to God in the Old Testament to the Person of our Lord, is explained nearly on the same grounds as in the present volume. But the explanation was not suggested to me by that notice, but had long before appeared to me to be the true solution of the apparent difficulty.