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number of eleet persons, which must be the necessary consequence of absolute predestination, and is expressly contradicted by sundry passages of Scripture.* The first prediction, relating to the Redecmer of mankind, is contained in those remarkable words of God to the
serpent on the fall of Adam; “ I will put enmity between thce and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it (or, rather, he) shall bruise tlaya héad and thou shalt bruise his heel :”” which evidendy implies the superiority of the seed of the woman over the serpent. As, therefore, the venom of the serpent lias diffused itself through the whole human race, and all have sinned, by parity of reason the antidote against its inalign in- : fincnce must extend its cfficacy to every descendant of Adam. But what can only be inferred hence by rational deduction, is more clcarly delivered in the next prophesy on this head, where God pronvises Abraham, c. xii. 3, xvii. 18, “in thy secd shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” And here it is proper to observe, that there were two covenants made withi Abraham: the one temporal, which respected him as the father of the Jews; the other spiritual, which related to that son of Abraham who was to be the saviour of the world and the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey hin;t and, for that reason, he took not on him the nature of angels but the seed of Abraham, who is the father of all those who believe in Jesus, the Lord.our Righteous:
For, as by the offence of one judgement came upon all men to condemnation, even so, by the righteousness of one, the free gift came
* 1 Joh. j. 2. " Ile is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours onlys, but also for the sins of the rwhole world.” - “Pro peccatis totius mundi, i. e. omnium hominum, quotquot sunt, fuerunt, aut futuri sunt, qui ipsum sequi volent, etiam infidelium, quantum in ipso est.” Tirinus, &c. See also my Remarks on the Articles, published in 1804.
+“ As two covenants were given to Abraham and his seed, one a temporal covenant; to take 'place, and to be performed in the land of Canaan; the other a covenant of better hopes, and to be performed in a better country; so are the prophecies, given to Abraham and to his children after him, of two kinds: one relative to the temporal covenant, and given in discharge and execution of God's temporal promises; the other relative to the spiritual covenant, given to confirm and establish the hopes of futurity, and to prepare and make ready the people for the reception of the kingdom of God. Sce Galat, xlii. 4." Bishop Sherlock's 5th Discourse.
upon all men nato justification of life; that, as by one 'man's disobe. dience many were made sinners, so, by the obedience of one, shall many be made righteous: and, where sin hath abounded, grace hath much more abounded. “ For, as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." There is no respect of persons with God, who will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth in Christ; and, as both Jeni's and Gentiles are all under sin, and it is one God and Saviour which shall justify the circumcision by faith and uncircumcision through faith, Simeon, confirming the promises made unto the fathers, announces the advent of the Messiah in these most apposite expressions, " A. light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glary of thy people, Israel :" the singular propriety of which comes inow under consideration. But, before I proceed, it may not be improper to remark that there is a very striking circumstance in the order of the words; for, though the Jews on other occasions had the precedence given them, as being the people of God and distinguished with particular privileges, Rom. c. ix. 4, here the Gentiles are placed before them, for which several reasons may be assigned. The first of which might be, to shew that in Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor Greek, but that all are one by faith in him, and thereby to remove that mistaken and inveterate prejudice entertained by the Jews against the Gentiles, as aliens to the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promisc. Another might be to correct a very dangerous error, at that time prevalent amongst the Jews, proceeding from a misinterpretation of the prophecies, that the Messiah was to be a temporal prince, and to subdue the kingdoms of the world : upon which mistaken notion, that delusive promise of the devil to Christ, during his temptation, was probably founded, “ All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” But there could not be a stronger proof that the kingdom of Christ was not to be of this world than this distinguishing declaration of Simeon, “ A light to lighten the Gentiles.” But a third reason for this preference might be, because thè promise of the Redeemer of mankind was made long before Abraham
and his seed had any existence ; for it commenced on the fall of Adam, Gen. iii. 15; and, sacrifices being then instituted, by divine appointment, to signify that without shedding of blood there could be no remission of sin, and to typify the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, he is expressly stiled by St John, 66 The Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world.” But,* by not attending properly to those notices which men had in the early ages of the world, they became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened, being alienated from the life of God, and worshipping the creature more than the Creator : so that the whole heathen world lay in darkness and the shadow of death, In allusion, therefore, to this miserable state of blindness and ignorance, their Redeemer is most aptly described, “ As a light to lighten the Gentiles," under which striking character he had been frequently represented by the prophets.
Balaam, who had the spirit of prophesy, foretels the coming of this illustrious personage in these remarkable words: “ There shall come a star out of Jacob,+ (Numbers xxiv. 17,) and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel :" which prediction has a great affinity to the words of the text and serves to illustrate the preceding observa:ion; and the first part, which refers to the Gentiles, had its exact completion when the Star conducted the wise men of the East to Jerusalem, and, standing over
* “ The bringing in of prophecy was not the only change in the state of religion occasioned by the fall. Sacrifice came in at the same time, as appears by the course of the history; and it is hardly possible it should come in, especially at the time it did, any otherwise than upon the authority of divine institution. It is the first act of religion mentioned in the sacred story to be accepted by God; which implies strongly that it was of his own appointment: for we can hardly suppose that such a mark of distinction would have been set upon a mere human invention.” Bishop Sherlock's 3d Discourse: see, also, Shuckford, Heidegger, &c. But Spencer maintains the contrary opinion: “ Primo, probare conabor, Abelem. Noachum aliosque Mose vetustiores, sponte sua sacrificasse, adeoque sacrificandi ritum non e præcepto aliquo divinn, sed instituto et arbitrio humano originem derivasse.” Tom 2, 1767. See farther, on this point, Miscellaneous observations, under letter S; where many of his singular notions are mentioned. † Stella.
" Per quam Christum, vel stellam illam quæ Magos ad eum adorandum adduxit, intelligunt fere omnes.” Masius.
where the young child was, discovered to them “ the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world;" who declares himself to be “the root and offspring of David and the bright and morning
The evangelical prophet, describing the blessed effects of the birth of the Messiah in respect to the heathens, expresses himself thus: “ The people that walked in darkness + have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” And, in two subsequent passages, c. xlii. 6, xlix. 6, to which Simeon evidently refers, he stiles him, “ A light to the Gentiles.” And the following part of the description is no less characteristical of this august person than the former; for, as he was to be " a light to lighten the Gentiles," so was he to be “the glory of his people, Israel." Which expression manifestly alludes to the divine Shechinah, or manifestation of the presence of God, attending the ark both in the tabernacłe and the temple, and is in sundry places of Scripture called the glory of the Lord, or, rather, of Jehovah. In Exodus, c. xl. 34, we read that the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle; and, in 1 Kings, c. viii. 11, that, upon the introduction of the ark into the temple, the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord. Whence St Paul, Rom. ix. 4, recounting the privileges belonging to the Israelites, saith, “ To whom pertaineth the adoption and the glory./!” But it is very observable, that, when the second temple was building after the return of the Israelites from the Babylonish captivity, and they were greatly dismayed in not having the appearance of the glory, Haggai is sent to
* Stella splendida et matutina; h. e. “Instar Luciferi prænuntius propinquantis solis, seu vitæ et gloriæ æterně; fons omnis lucis et consolationis; cujus luce tenebræ errorum et peccatorum fugantur; et quam sequi debetis ducem in tota vita." Paræus, &c.
in tenebris. '" Tenebras autem hîc intellige spirituales ignorantiæ, idololatriæ et peccatorum, ät tuin 'é foco parallelo, Esa. lx. 1, 2; tum Matthæi explicatione." Calorius.
Israel. " Messias gloria Israelis, quia, ex Israelitis natus, inter ipsos vixit, et gentes vocavit ad religionem Israelis, a quo salus ad omnes gentes dimanârit.” Grotius, &c.
et storía; i. e. 6 Agow, Skechinah, quæ erat majestas Dei, quâ habitabat in templo, vel habitatio Dei super arcam." Lud. de Dieu; see, also, Whitby and Taylor.
the rulers and the rest of the Jews, to encourage them in their undertaking by promising them, c. ii. 7, 9, that God would fill this house with glory, and that the glory of this latter house should be greater than that of the former. Which remarkable prediction of the prophet was eminently fulfilled in the inanifestation of Christ in the temple, who was the true Shechinah, or glory of his people, Israel, as St John most emphatically illustrates in the 1st chapter of his Gospel : “ The word was made flesh and dwelt among us,* (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." We see, then, that these words of Simeon declare the accomplishment of some of the most illustrious prophecies of the advent of the Messiah; well therefore might he say, in full assurance of faith, “ Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation."
From the foregoing observations I shall take occasion to shew, first of all, the obstinate incredulity of the Jews, both antient and modern; and, in the next place, the inestimable blessings we enjoy through the tender mercy of our God, whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us.
Had the Jews of old attended to the miraculous circumstances only which accompanied the birth of the blessed Jesus, they must have been convinced that he was the very Christ. That the Messiah was to be born about that time of a virgin,t and at Bethlehem, weré points
* Et habitarit in nobis. “Notandum voce oxyver (quæ eadem est, sono et significatu, cum Heb. 15w) alludi ad conspicuam Divinæ Majestatis præsentiam, quæ Chald, paraph. etiam dota : aut ad operationem singularem; quorum utrumque per saw (unde ausw) significari notant Hebræorum magistri.” Grotius, &c.
+ The first prediction concerning the Messiah is that remarkable one, Gen. iii. 15, where he is emphatically stiled, the seed of the woman. And, as Bishop Sherlock observes, “Since this prophecy has been plainly fulfilled in Christ, and by the event appropriated to him only, I would fain know how it comes to be conceived to be so ridiculous a thing in us, to suppose that God, to whom the whole event was known from the beginning, should make choice of such expressions as naturally conveyed so much knowledge as he intended to convey to our first parents, and yet should appear, in the fulness of time, to have been peculiarly adapted to the event which he, from the