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925 God's Arrow against Atheism and Irreligion.926 nute particulars, all of which taken which the Messiah was to come ; for together can apply to him only, of all that it is he that is meant by Shiloh, men that ever lived; and it is to be (Gen. xlix.) is admitted by Jews as noted, that to those who in different well as Christians: that by the contiages have assumed the character of nuance of the sceptre, or civil rule, in the Messiah, in order to impose on the tribe of Judah, to this given time, the Jews, not one of all those prophe- and its utter departure since, a comcies will in any measure apply. plete proof is afforded of the accom

And as the circumstances here re- plishment of the prediction, is what I lated, were pointed out to characterize mean to shew. the person of the Messiah when he

Hircanus, king of Judea, married should appear, so the time of that his daughter Mariamne to Herod; and appearance was not left unnoted. It being afterwards taken in battle by has been already said, that it was to the Parthians, an opportunity was be while the second temple was stand- afforded to Herod to procure to himing; Daniel prophesies that it should self the kingdom; which he effected take place under the fourth great mo- through the interest of the Romans, narchy, of which the prophet himself and by taking away the lives of those lived under the first: both these pro- who had a better right to it than himphecies must for ever fail of their self. This was the beginning of the accomplishment, if the Messiah be departure, which was completed when yet to come. But the famous prophecy the Romans afterwards made war on of the seventy weeks, contained in the the Jewish nation, and took away this ninth chapter of Daniel, is particularly and their place. Judea was trodden to our present purpose. "It will be down of the Gentiles, and in no corner acknowledged that the word hebdo- of the earth do we find the Jews living mada, signifying a week or seven, is in any state, except that of common sometimes taken for a week of days, citizens, subject to the laws and goas when Daniel says that he mourned vernment of a foreign jurisdiction. three weeks of days; but at other And at the time when this great event times it means a space of seven years, occurred, of the destruction of the which is called hebdomada annorum, Jewish political fabric, we may well a week of years; as in Levit. xxv. 8. suppose that all the civil records of where it is said seven weeks of years, the nation, and the pedigree of all the making forty-nine years; and that great families, were destroyed also; this kind of week is meant in this which marks the accomplishment of place, appears, not only by the admis- another prophecy given to the Jews, sion of the Jews, but also by the con- to enable them to recognize the Messideration that the second temple, and siah when he should come. The Jerusalem itself, were in building a Almighty promised to his servant considerable time longer than Daniel David to establish his throne over would otherwise assign for the appear- Israel, and to build up his seat to all ance of the Anointed One. These generations; and as in other places seventy times seven years, or four it was said that the Messiah should hundred and ninety years, within reign for ever over the people, the which the Messiah was to be slain, conclusion followed, that this expected þeing reckoned from the first year of personage, and the seed of David that Darius, when the decree came forth, was to be established on the throne for will extend to the eighteenth of Tibe- ever, were the same. rius Cæsar, the year in which Christ In order to evade the force of this, died-allowing him to have been cru- the modern Jews have referred the cified, according to prophecy, in the promise to Solomon, to whom it is in middle of that week. Omitting that no way applicable ; for he died in the week, in the middle of which he was ordinary course of nature, and thereto be cut off, we shall be brought to fore it is as applicable to any other of the commencement of the public exist- the kings of Judah as to him, even to ence of the Messiah, when in his the very worst of them; and that it thirtieth year he was set apart to his was regarded anciently in the same ministerial office.

manner as we are now considering it, -There is another prophecy, uttered appears from the words of the prophet by Jacob when about to die, that has Jeremiah, who, though he lived so a reference also to the exact time at long after Solomon, prophesies of

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the advent of this expected king as to be blessed in him, will not agree still future, (xxiii. 5, &c.)--Ezekiel with his being their conqueror by also, who wrote during the Babylonish worldly power; and their bowing to captivity, still speaks of his coming his dominion, and calling him blessed, in the character of the Jewish king; | is very possible, even according to although it is clear that from the what we see at present, in reference restoration of the people, to the final to the Christian ideas regarding him, destruction of their government by Finally, we would ask, what cause Titus, no one of the family of David can be given for the dispersion of can be mentioned as fulfilling this the Jews through so many nations, prophecy, unless it be the Lord Jesus. for so many ages? In ancient times, The destruction of the public registers when guilty of the odious sin of idolasoon after the birth of our Lord, when try, they were banished from their before this they had been so providen- own land only for the space of seventy tially preserved, seems evidently to years, during all which they were point out to us, that the object for favoured with the preaching of the which they had been preserved was prophets. Before the destruction of accomplished, and that henceforward Jerusalem, so far from being idolathey might be considered as useless. ters, they were zealous for the law; The various circumstances wbich were and so they have continued to the prophesied of the Messiah, and their present times. What other sins then, agreeing in the person of Jesus alone, worthy of more severe and permanent would lead us into too long a disqui- rejection, have they been guilty of, sition; but it is proper to notice one that they should continue to be a objection of the Jews, as it in fact scorn and reproach among the peoimbodies all they have to say in justi- ple? Their own hearts can testify to fication of their rejection of him as none, except it be the rejection of the their Anointed Prince.

Lord of life and glory. “His blood They allege that the Messiah must be upon us, and upon our children,' needs be a terrestrial king, reigning in spoken in the ears of Jehovah SabaJudea, and subduing by his power, oth, was the awful sentence that conall the nations beneath the sceptre of signed them to their long protracted the kingdom of Israel; and that what- | wanderings; from which they will not ever pretender to the office should fail return until they have acknowledged in this, thereby proves himself an Him.-- The Lord hasten it in his impostor. Whether ultimately the time ! kingdom shall be restored to Israel, It follows, then, if the law of Moses under the immediate dominion of was from God, as a Jew will not Jesus, is not the object of our present deny ; and if God by the same Moses inquiry. Our Lord seems to intimate promised to raise up another prophet, so much, and many prophecies bear to whom, in preference to Moses, they ing on this point, remain to be fulfilled: should hearken, which promise was but that this was not what the Jews changed to a command on the Mount were primarily taught to expect, as of Transfiguration,-it is our duty to the object of the Messiah's coming, is receive the revelation given by this clear from the prophetic passages in prophet, who is no other than the Son which these things are mentioned. It himself, as that only one wherewith could be to little purpose to the com- God can be well pleased. fort of Adam to inform him, that one small branch of his family should lord it over the others, under a glorious and mighty conqueror; though re

The subject continued against Infidels. garded as a deliverer from sin, which That the gods of the nations were he had just begun to feel the conse- demons, we have the testimony of an quence of, the promise was of the apostle ; and that these demons were utmost importance to him. His being suffered to exert an influence on the poor in the world, forsaken, rejected bodies and minds of their worshipof the Jewish chiefs, and finally being pers, appears not only from the acput to death, are inconsistent with counts given us by those whom Christhe idea of eternal and glorious world- tians believed to be inspired writers, ly government; his being a light to but also from the works of Heathens lighten the Gentiles, all of whom are themselves. Porphyry and Eno.

CHAPTER THIRD,

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God's Arrow against Atheism and Irreligion."

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maus have written on the subject of the world; for this Emperor becoming the Heathen oracles; the former pro- aged, took a journey to Delphos, in fesses to have gathered truly, without order that he might be informed who addition or detraction, the oracles should reign after him, and how affairs that were most famous before his should be conducted after his decease. time, with their false and uncertain Apollo for a great wbile would return events ; in considering of wbich, he no answer, although Augustus had sets down his own judgment of their been very liberal in his offerings; but power in prediction, thus: “The gods at last, as if compelled to utterance, foretel some natural things to come, Apollo replied: An Hebrew child because they observe the order of their that ruleth over the blessed gods, comnatural causes; but in those which mandeth me to leave this habitation, are contingent, or depend on man's and immediately to go to hell. But will, they have only conjectures, in yet do thou depart in silence from our which, by their subtilty and celerity, altars.” And even before this, the they prevent us; but yet they are declension of the Heathen oracles was often false, and deceive us in both publicly taken notice of by Cicero, kinds, because of the mutability of (Cicero de Divin. 2.) and therefore natural things, and of the will of could not proceed from the decline of man.” If we give credit to ancient superstition, and the detection of imhistory on this subject, we cannot posture, some have supposed ; help believing that some things were though even if it had, it would be a told by the ancient oracles, that were proof of the good which Christianity beyond the ordinary wit of man; but has done in the world; but oracles it is singular that the oracles which are recorded to have been silenced were of this nature referred to secret about the time of the advent of Christ, events that were passed, or were then before the light from heaven which hé in action; and that such things were brought, had illuminated the world ; capable of being revealed by demons, and as this was so conspicuous as to we may readily believe, both from the excite the notice of Pagans, it is circumstantial accounts of ancient clear, both that oracles had once been historians, and from St. Luke's narra- more flourishing, and also that some tive in the Acts of the Apostles, of supernatural restraint had been thrown the girl who was possessed of a spirit over them. And to illustrate this, it of Python, and by its assistance re- is reported, (Polyd. lib. 5. cap. 8.) vealed the nature of the Apostle's that when Jesus was in Egypt, in his mission.

infancy, all the idolatrous images of We need not be surprised at finding the city where he was, fell down of these spirits declaring the truth of their own accord. Other proofs of the God: “We know thee who thou art,” divine mission of Jesus may be drawn said one of them—“the Holy One of from the miracles which he was able God;" but lest the authority of the to perform. We observe of the porwriter who reported this should be tents recorded in ancient Heathen questioned by those with whom we writers, (men of the first-rate intellect, have to do, let us see the authority of and endowed with all the talents which an Heathen priest (Suidas in Thulis learning could bestow or strengthen,) et Porphyr. et Plut. de Oraculis) that modern discoveries in science who demanded of Apollo concerning have enabled us to explain them, or God and the true religion: to whom to discover their fallacy; but though he answered, "O thou unhappy the wonders related of Jesus are repriest, why dost thou ask me of God, corded by unlearned men, subjected that is the father of all things, and of to the same tests, they still continue to this most renowned king's dear and evince the power of him who wrought only Son, and of the Spirit that con- them, and the wisdom that selected taineth all ? &c. Alas, that Spirit such objects to work upon. The will compel me shortly to leave this miracles are too well proved to be now habitation and place of oracles.” questioned; the proof of them may be Another oracle to the same purpose rested on the authority of his enemies, was delivered to Augustus Cæsar, who did not deny them when they (Suidas in Vita Augusti, Niceph. lib. were wrought; and all the circum. 2, bist. cap. 17,) about the time that stances immediately spread Jesus Christ was about to appear in abroad, so that no new embellishments could have been added to them to | regard to this world, was indeed most make them more acceptable to the miserable. people : and more especially it is im- But whilst the doctrines of the portant to remember, that many of gospel are opposed to worldly mindedthe converts to Christianity were made ness of all sorts, they are well fitted to partakers of the same power of work- the actual state of human kind. No ing miracles; and that one at least, writings so clearly describe the nature and perhaps more, of those so endued, of God; in this respect the knowledge fell off from the religion they had em- of the wisest Heathens confessedly braced ; in which case the deception falls short of that of the Galilean must have been discovered, if any had fishermen ;-none so philosophically existed.

were

describe the nature of man,-what he The prophecies of Jesus are also is, and what he may be ; in this the evidences of his truth. The destruc- gospel is the best treatise on metaphytion of Jerusalem, the dispersion of sics in the world ;-none so clearly the Jews, their preservation as a dis- describe the nature of the spiritual tinct people until their future restora- world, in which we are indeed much tion to Judea, and to the privileges of in the dark; and yet when the revealthe favoured people of God—the ed account is examined by the light of treatment his followers should meet reason, it appears to be what reason with in the world, solely on account would not have discovered, but when of his name, different from what any discovered, it appears exactly such as people had ever met with in the world reason approves. The internal nature before, on a similar account; their of Christianity has always appeared preservation amidst their trials; and the most feelingly convincing proof of their final success in establishing the its divinity; and it is hoped, as the gospel in the world, are too extraor- subject involves everlasting consedinary to be imputed to his merely quences, that no one will reject it, human knowledge, and too well esta- until, with calm attention, he has blished as facts to be doubted; for directed his mind particularly to they are in truth accomplishing even the subject in this important point in our day.

of view. The moral character of Jesus Christ

( To be concluded in our next.) and his Apostles has never been ques. tioned, and therefore needs not be defended. But this is small praise. The sanctity manifested by them in all their deportment, was lively and active; and must be admitted to be of MR. Epitor. such a kind, as would belong to any Sir,- I beg to offer for insertion in messenger, whom God would select your miscellany, an extract from Dr. for such a divine mission. And the Plot's History of Staffordshire, a work doctrine corresponded thereto. It much thought of in that county. overthrows the kingdom of the wicked Dr. Plot was a remarkable comone, wherever it is preached; it re- pound of learning, indefatigablc restrains, and finally eradicates the evil search, superstition, and credulity. propensities of men; and teaches them The two former make his work valuto oppose those feelings, on which, in able, and the more so from its having a natural state, they are most inclined | acquired the stamp of antiquity; the to set a value; it is clear, therefore, two latter may serve to amuse. that in its original formation it was Though we appear to have done not intended to derive support from with witches, we cannot in vulgar the flattery it offered to human pas- ) opinion have done with fairies, not sions. And that it was equally ill having done with fairy rings, for I can fitted to minister to the grandeur, see one from the place where I now riches, or pleasure, of those who sit; and there are a number on the were its first supporters, appears other side of the house ;-I am beboth from its own essential doc- come cautious of ridiculing the notion trines, which they could not trespass of these appearances in old pasture without being openly convicted before lands being caused by the dancing of the world, and also from the melan- fairies, for I have seen some of my choly fate of these men, which, in neighbours look very grave upon my

OBSERVATIONS ON FAIRY RINGS OR

CIRCLES.

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Observations on Fairy Rings or Circles.

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attempting to do this ; and I would these, if large, are said to be the rather be thought a credulous hind in seats or tables of the fairy queen, who the vale of Trent, than a Carlile in presides at these assemblies. Fleet-street; and a belief in the noc

Thos. Bakewell. turnal revels of these tiny spirits may Spring-Vale, near Stone, be at least a harmless superstition. Sept. 5, 1822. The day has been, when many phenomena which could not be satisfactorily E.ctract, &c.—“And here perchance explained from natural causes, were by the way it may be no great digresasserted by the nurse and the priest to sion to inquire into the nature and be supernatural; and these, as pious efficient cause of those things we find frauds, were expected to aid the im- in the grass, which they commonly pressions of true religion. This day call fairy circles: whether they are is over in our land, and we are in caused by lightning, or are indeed the more danger of believing too little than rendezvouses of witches, or the danctoo much.

ing-places of those little pigmy spirits The phenomenon of what are called they call elves or fairies ?-and the rafairy rings, is, as I think, of easy ther, because, 1st, it is a question, persolution; they are no doubt occasioned haps by reason of the disliculty, scarce by a little brown fungus, of the mush- yet attempted; an lly, because I have room tribe, which grows in knots or met with the largest of their kind that clusters, and has the property of de- perchance were ever heard of in this stroying or greatly injuring the vege- county ; one of them shewed me in tative powers of the soil where it the grounds between Handsworth springs up, so that at one season of Church and the Heath, being nearly the year the place shall be quite brown, forty yards diameter; and I was told when the other parts of the field are of another by that ingenious gentleman green, and at another it shall be a (one of the most cordial encouragers dead heavy green, quite distinguish- of this work) the Worshipful Sir able from the other parts. This would Henry Gough, Knight, that there was not seem to merit particular notice, one in his grounds near Pury Hall, were it not that some of them are large but a few years back (now indeed circles with rims from one to three feet ploughed up) of a much larger size, he broad; but if the first cluster is of a believed nearly fifty, whereas there round form, which we may suppose are some of them not above two yards the most common, the increase would diameter; which, perhaps, may be naturally take the circular figure. 1 nearly the two extremes of their magobserve in lands which are partially nitude. grown with rushes, that the tufts are “ Nor is there a difference only in generally round, from their increasing the exient of their diameters ; they equally on all sides from the centre: varying also in divers other respects, but as the fungus I have mentioned though not proportionably so much; can only vegetate on one spot for a for I have always observed, that the given time, the centre of the first rims of these circles, from the least to cluster dies, while the spawn or roots the biggest, are seldom narrower than are continually increasing outwardly, a foot, or much broader than a yard; till a well-defined rim is formed; as some as bare as a path-way in many much of the inner edge dying annually, parts of them, others of a russet singed the soil being exhausted, as the in- colour, both of these having a greener crease into a fresh soil on the outer grass in the middle, and a third sort edge : so that we may judge of the of a dark fresh green, the grass within length of time the land has been in being of a browner colour. Those of grass, by the diameter of the circles, the first kind are seldom less than five they being in general of the same size or six yards in diameter, and the in the same field ; and it may be pre- other two of various magnitudes; and sumed, that the fungus had its com- all these again as well imperfect, as mencement soon after the land was perfect ; some of them obtaining three laid down for grass. I must not forget parts of a circle, others being semito mention, that on the outer edge of circular; some of them quadrants, and the rim, and where the soil is the others not above sextants, of their restrongest, a few mushrooms will fre- spective circles. quently spring up of the eatable kind; “ Now that wizards and witches

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