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they were fulfilled; and therefore before that time, afforded no additional proof that a Messiah was expected. Of this nature indeed appear to be some of those Psalms' which are appointed to be used by our church on the great festivals; which though they are now understood to refer to the sufferings, humiliation, and glory of Christ, since the Scriptures have applied them to him, yet could hardly be considered as direct prophecies that there was a Messiah to come, had there been no other grounds, or evidence for such expectation.
But by this time the accumulated evidence to this purpose was become so strong, and the repeated prophecies concerning this future Redeemer were so generally known and believed, that from this period till Christ actually came, the expectation of that wonderful event seems. to have been universal among the Jews. Accordingly the prophets whose writings still remain, of whom there was a company and series towards the decline of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, often
refer to the coming of Christ, not as foretelling a new event, but alluding to one of which the hope was common to all the nation. Their prophecies however were not confined to this expected Redeemer, but foretold a great variety of events quite foreign to the present subject. Yet this, the most important of them all, is frequently alluded to in a secondary sense, while the primary one relates to something very different. And this has been often proved to be very consonant to the usual style and manner of those sacred writings.
ABOUT 180 or 190 years after the death of Solomon, and about 790 * before the birth of our Saviour, Hosea, the first of this succession of prophets, entered upon bis office in the kingdom of Israel. His manner of writing is reckoned particu
1900 wore hors soos * Primate Newcome. There is a great variation of opinion concerning the order of the Prophets with respect to the time in which they flourished. There is reason to believe that their proper arrangement may be as follows. Jonah, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, Joel, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Daniel, Ezekiel, Oba-, diah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. See Wells, Newcome, and Blairs tables. But the common Bible order will be followed here, only inserting the four greater prophets in their proper place.
larly obscure, and the subject of his prophecies related but little, and that very darkly, to the coming of Christ. Two passages only seem to refer to that great event immediately, though several others are quoted in the New Testament, as being fulfilled in Christ in their secondary sense *. The first of these is in the 23d verse of the second chapter, And I will sow her unto me in the earth, and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy, (Lo-ruhamah " not having obtained mercy” ch. i. ver. 6.) and I will say to them which were not my people, (Lo ammi “ not my people,” ch. i. ver. 9.) thou art my people (animni 4f my people,” ch. ii. ver. 1.) and they shall say thou art my God. .
Now these words are not properly a prophecy of the coming of Christ, but rather of the effects to be produced by his coming. And they are understood to refer to the calling of the Gentiles to the christian dispensation, who formerly were not the people of God.
* See Matt. ii. 15. Luke xxiii. 30, &c.
- And in this manner they are explained by St. Paul, Romans ix. 25, 26; and by St. Peter, in the 2d chapter and 10th verse of his first Epistle. This authority there fore must be conclusive, with regard to the meaning of the passage, however obscure it may appear; and this verse is the explanation of the marriage of the prophet, and the names of his children, in the beginning of the book, which were types and figures, of God's dealing with the Gentiles *.
The other prophecy of Hosea concerning Christ, is in the 5th verse of the 3d chapter. Afterward (that is, after Israel shall have been deprived of their kingdom, priesthood, and legal sacrifices, on account of their sins) shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their King, and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.
* Oseæ vaticiniis manifestissimum est, Messiam, non tantum Judæorum, sed et aliarum gentium magistrum fore. Grot. de Verit. Lib. y. 17.