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and darkness rest upon the future. We must die, we must rise again with enlarged and renovated faculties, before we can thoroughly comprehend the government of the moral universe, which is thus but partially revealed to us in Scripture. The Revelation, which I have been endeavouring to illustrate, is the beginning of the golden thread, by which we shall be enabled, when we inherit our immortality, to trace the whole labyrinth of the plans of God. The eternal contemplation of our Jehovah, and the perpetual improvement of our reason, as well as our exemption from the possibility of evil, are among the noblest of our anticipated privileges hereafter. The best and greatest of our present privileges, is the power of securing the expected happiness of the future, by our right use of the mercies of God, in this stage of our existence.
Whatever may be our discoveries of the government of God, or whatever our loftier or more devotional feelings on the perusal of Scripture; yet another point remains to be considered, before we can thoroughly understand the primary meaning of the sacred writings. We must never forget, that they were addressed to the ancestors of that wandering people, whose dispersion among the nations is a perpetual, visible demonstration of the accomplishment of prophecy, and of the truth of Christianity. Jesus and his Apostles were Jews. They conversed with, and lived among, and appealed to, Jews. To have been understood by the people to whom they spoke they must have adopted the idioms, language, proverbs, and modes of speaking then in use. Their conversations would have been filled with allusions to the events, circumstances, manners, modes, customs, &c. of their day. To understand the New Testament thoroughly, therefore, we must endeavour to comprehend the sense in which the language of the Evangelists was understood by the people of their own age ; and the requisite explanations can only be afforded by the Jewish writers. The classical writers, in many respects, are of little service.
Though the works of Raphelius, and of innumerable others, who have illustrated the New Testament from these beautiful sources of criticism, are abundantly useful, they have not rendered that peculiar and more essential service to sacred literature which has been effected by the students of the Talmudical writings. The learned Baptist Dr. Gill, Schoetgen, Wetstein, Lightfoot, Drusius, and others, have contributed much more effectual aid to our right interpretation of Scripture (y). Though the Talmuds abound with fables and absurdities—though the follies and conceits with which the Jews, who refused to embrace Christianity, began to crowd their books, at the very time when the beautiful day-spring of the New Testament Scriptures began to scatter the darkness of mankind,-may be considered as the beginning of their predicted judicial blindness, these books still illustrate the language of the Old Testament. They contain many vestiges of the ancient spiritual interpretations (2). They explain the antiquities, allegories, mysteries, traditions, &c. of the Jews, which are alluded to in Scripture. Though they were written at a later period than the books of the New Testament, as I have shewn in my concluding note to this work, they were compiled in the apostolic age, or in those
(y) Postquam ab adolescentiâ meâ persuasum habuissem, Græcos Scriptores mihi diligenter perlegendos esse, eum quidem in finem, ut inde mihi plurima, quæ ad N. T. illustrationem facere possunt, adferrem ; attamen illis bene multis perlectis, ipsâ rerum experientiâ didicissem, non tantos eorum fructus, quantos animo præceperam; quia probatissimi quique Scriptores Græci tanto seculorum intervallo a N. T. auctoribus distabant, ut vocabula tantum, non autem integræ sententiæ compositio et ipsius linguæ antiquæ genius, convenirent, adeo ut N. T. stylus ab ipsis Vet. Græci, vix intelligeretur; de aliis mediis circumspicere cæpi. Missis ergo ad tempus Græcis, ad Hebraica accessi, et majori quidem fructu, quam putaveram, &c. &c. &c. Surenhusius ap. Schoetgen. Horæ Heb. Pref. sect. iv. (2) Attende Lector, says Schoetgen, et observa reliquias veritatis apud veteres Judæos. Prius illud effatum Servatore nostro longe fuit antiquius, adeoque iis verbis poterat Judæos convincere, jam adesse tempora Messiae, dum dictum illud ad tempus præsens adplicat : idque eâ præcipuè de causâ, quia omnia Messiæ criteria, de quibus antecedentia consulantur, isto tempore aderant. Schoetgen. Horæ Hebraicæ, vol. i. p. 113.–See on this subject the whole of Schoetgen's Preface to the first volume.
which immediately succeeded it, when the traditions of their ancestors were most venerated, and when the storms which desolated the country attached the compilers most fondly to the very words and phrases of their learned Rabbis (a).
Impressed with such considerations, I have sometimes availed myself of these sources of illustration. Though I may appear to have wandered too far from the strict performance of the task which I had assigned myself-the arrangement of the New Testament, I would not refuse myself the pleasure of perusing, and incorporating in my notes, many of the principal remarks of the learned and laborious Schoetgen. It is indeed to be regretted, that the works of this divine are not sufficiently appreciated. He was imbued with the true spirit of theological criticism. Undertaking his work in the fear of God, and with a sincere desire to serve the Church, he never commenced his diligent reading without fervent prayer that his exertions might be useful.' Firmly convinced of the inspiration of the New Testament, he had no hypothesis to serve--no theory to defend—no novel nor ingenious paradox to assert. Knowa ing that some degree of reputation would follow his diligent researches, he guarded himself carefully from vanity and self-conceit; and rejected much of which the benefit was equivocal, lest the reader should imagine he desired only to display his learning. He apologises for the very appearance of affectation, when his discussions might be thought unnecessarily prolix. Every where acknowledging his obligations to Selden, Wagenseil, Braun, Witsius, Vitringa, Edzard, Lightfoot, and others, he still confesses the possibility of erroneous conclusions, and his utmost care to avoid them.
(a) I entreat the attention of the theological student to the Preface to Schoetgen's Horæ Hebraicæ, which is now before me; and to Lightfoot's Works, of which a new edition is just completed, as well as to Wetstein's New Testament. The honour of opening to the world the fountains of talmudical learning, I rejoice to say, belongs to one of our own countrymen. To use the quaint expression of Schoetgen, nisi Lightfootus basset, multi non saltassent.
His language is perspicuous, rather than elegant; and his great work will ever be esteemed by all who desire to understand fully and satisfactorily the peculiarities of the New Testament. I trust that some theological labourer will soon devote himself to the task of explaining the whole of the sacred volume, from the same sources, which so much amused and delighted Schoetgen, Selden, Lightfoot, Drusius, and Gill.
In selecting notes from these sources, an additional interest was unavoidably excited for the wonderful people, to whom so much of our Scriptures was addressed. To them many notes are exclusively written. Though various circumstances persuade me, that the mass of the Jewish people is altogether indifferent to the exertions which many benevolent and good men are daily making on their behalf,though they at present despise, for the most part, the idea of a spiritual Messiah-we who are Christians well know that Palestine is the land of Emmanuel. We know that the Most High so continues to govern the nations of the world, that their power, and wealth, and greatness, whether they arise from good polity, from war, or from commerce, shall all tend to the accomplishment of his prophecies. Of the unfulfilled prophecies of God, the most splendid, the most numerous, and apparently the most easy of execution, are those which relate to the Jews. They will again plant the vine and the olive upon their native hills, and reap their harvests in the valleys of their fathers. The history of the future age must develope the means by which this great event will be effected. We know not whether they will be þorne back to Palestine in triumph in the ships of a powerful maritime nation : (and if so, may God grant that England, and not America, nor Russia, nor any other power, may be so honoured by the Almighty)—or whether in their behalf the age of miracles will return, and a great simultaneous effort be, therefore, made in their favour, on the part of the sovereigns of Europe-or whether, by the exertions of
pious individuals, the mass of the community will be so leavened, that all people shall unite to restore them to the Holy Land. We know not, whether they shall obtain their political re-establishment from the confederated rulers of the great Republic of Europe-or by an easier devotion of that wealth which is daily making them the principal agents of the commerce of nations, purchase the right of the soil from its present feeble and divided possessors--or whether the future agitations and contentions of sovereigns, may render it desirable that an important boundary power should be reestablished in Palestine; and a formal surrender of their territory should be therefore made to their nation; as in times past the policy of Persia restored their ancestors to Jerusalem, in consequence of its defeat by the Greeks; and of the treaty which forbade the Persians to come within a certain distance of the coast-or whether they will be restored to their own now unoccupied, uncultivated, unregarded land, the central spot on earth, where the metropolitical Church of God may be most suitably established (b), and
(6) Mr. King's remarks upon Palestine, considered as the centre of the millenian empire of Christ upon earth, are highly worthy of notice.
“ How capable this country is of a more universal intercourse than any other, with all parts of the earth, is most remarkable, and deserves well to be considered, when we read of the numerous prophecies which speak of its future splendor and greatness ; when its people shall at length be gathered from all parts of the earth unto which they are scattered, and be restored to their own land. There is no region in the world, to which an access from all parts is so open. By means of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, there is an easy approach from all parts of Europe, from a great part of Africa, from America by means of the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, and the well known roads from thence; there is an approach from the rest of Africa, from the East Indies and from the Isles ; and, lastly, by means of the Caspian, the lake or Sea of Bayhall, and the near communication of many great rivers, the approach is facilitated from all the northern parts of Tartary. In short, if a skilful geographer were to sit down to devise the fittest spot on the globe for universal empire, or, rather, a spot where all the great intercourses of human life should universally centre, and from whence the extended effects of universal benevolence and good-will should flow to all parts of the earth, and where universal and united homage should be paid, with one consent, to the Most High; he would