صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني
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EXPOSITION-Chap. VIII. Continued.

quin approach, enquire, as on a former occasion, "Who is this that cometh?" &c. It need not, however, be referred to the same scene: the wilderness here meant, may probably intend only one of the small wildernesses, or uncultivated spots, of which there were many in Judea, and some not far from the metropolis. These might, in the allegory, very properly represent barren and neglected spots within the boundary of the Christian church. The words "I raised thee," &c. are those of the bridegroom, reminding the spouse of her engagements to him by betrothment; and she begs (ver. 6.) to have a perpetual memorial in his heart. He then assures her, in return, (ver. 7.) that his love is as unextinguishable as it was unpurchaseable.


The spouse, in ver. 8. presents a petition on the behalf of a younger sister, not yet

marriageable, which Christian commentators in general apply to the case of the Gentiles, and ground here the calling of the Gentile church; and though some have objected to this interpretation, they do not appear to have supplied a better.

The bridegroom returns a kind reply: "If she be a wall, though low, we will raise her by " turrets of silver;" that is, give her a marriage portion, that shall compensate all defects: and if she be an unprotected virgin, we will enclose and secure her from every danger.

[to Gentiles.

kind of plantation, which the Hebrew would comprehend under the general nam of vineyard, which she here speaks of! hers, and from which she received a ce tain revenue. This falling into the ban of Solomon, upon his marriage, so years afterwards, he rebuilt the city, whi according to Reland, was called Gaz near Joppa. Now the object of ment ing this vineyard, (as at that time it bably was) seems to be, that its rev might be transferred to her younger si but this is offered only as a conjecture

To allegorize these vineyards, wit degree of propriety, is not easy; nor the genius of Bunyan, united to th ental literature of a Jones, be suffici open all the allegories of Scripture, out a degree of local knowledge, n attainable. It is therefore much be leave many passages in the obsc

which time has involved them, t make them more obscure by" word out knowledge;" at least by word out that knowledge which is indisp to their proper explication. The Se nave, perhaps, suffered more from termination of commentators to all difficulties, than from any otl whatever. There are mysteries ture as well as in nature, that tempt to penetrate only renders


The two last verses are, howe intelligible. In ver. 13, the chu dressed by her beloved as one lighted to " dwell in the garde mating not only commendation for rural employment and fe more especially a pleasure in n tivation. Schools for moral an instruction, are gardens of imm and when Christians are thus with children, companions or who listen to their instruction excited to inquire, "whether be so," and the beloved him to hear. "Cause me to hear i

The bride then turns his attention to herself: "I (was) a wall, and my breasts like towers:" that is, the Jewish church was, by the Spirit of prophecy, prepared for the coming of her Lord; then, says she, I was in his eyes" as one that found peace," or happiness. It was a time of love, when the bridegroom spread his skirt over her, and took her under his protection. (See Ruth iii. 9; Ezek xvi. 8.) At ver. 11. the subject again chauges, and this verse is supposed to be addressed by the spouse to the virgins, as the next is to the bridegroom himself; neither of them are easy of explication. The situaBut all which believers saw tion of Baal-hamon is unknown and the Messiah, under the Old unimportant; but what was the vineyard was at a distance. Like Ab of the bride? The sacred history informs saw his day afar off, and were us, that Pharaoh (her father) having pre- at the same time, they sighed Iviously taken Gezer from the Canaanites, ing, and, in the figurative and burnt it, afterwards made a present of which the spouse conclude

it to his daughter, the wife of Solomon. It is very probable, that after having burnt


their prayers hastened his
"Make haste, my beloved,

the city, and destroyed its inhabitants, like a roe, or a ying Pharaoh might have turned it into some

spicy mountains!"


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several ages, it was requisite that the original writings should be kept with the utmost care; but when the time was so near at hand, that the prophecies must be fresh in every person's recollection, or that the originals could not be suspected or supposed to be lost, the same care was not required, (Rev. xxii. 10.) It seems to have been customary for the Prophets to deposit their writings in the tabernacle, or lay them up before the Lord, (1 Sam. x. 25.) And there is a tradition, that all the canonical books, as well as the law, were put into the side of the ark.-Horne's Introd. (last Ed.) vol. iv. p. 146.

We here subjoin the following passages from other writers of eminence, on two important points connected with this subject:



as usual

،، There is a circumstance (says Mr. Murray) running through the Old and New Tes tament, which has puzzled many serious inquirers, owing to their unacquaintance with former manners: I speak of the mode of information by action. In the first ages, words were few, men made up the deficiency of speech by action, as savages are observed to do at this day: so that conveying ideas by action was as conveying them by speech. This practice, from its significancy and strong tendency to imprint vivid pictures on the imagination, endured long after the reasons for its origination ceased. It appears to have been confined to no parti cular country. The Scythiaus sent Darius a mouse, a frog, and a bird, which action spoke as plainly as words could do, and much more energetically, that he should fy with all speed to inaccessible fastnesses. When the son of Tarquinius Superbus had counterfeited desertion to Gabii, and had secured the confidence of the citizens, he sent trusty messenger to his father to know how he should conduct himself. Tarquin led hi into a garden, struck off the heads of the highest poppies in his presence; which being related to Sextus, he knew that he should take off the heads of the principal inhabi tants. Conformable to this usage, when Jacob feared the wrath of Esau, an ange wrestled with him: thereby signifying that his apprehensions were groundless, and that, as he had prevailed with a diviue Being, so he should be powerful over man. Con formable to this, Ezekiel puts on a yoke to represent the bondage of his countrymen and walks without his upper garment, to represent their nakedness in captivity. Com formable to this, Jesus Christ curses the fig-tree, to prefigure the fate of a people un fruitful in good works. Agabus binds himself with Paul's girdle, to prefigure the im prisonment of the latter; and a mighty angel, in the Revelation, cast a huge ston into the sea, saying, Thus shall Babylon be cast down, and found no more at all for ever. At other times this information was conveyed in visions, and not literally transacted as when Ezekiel is said to lie many days on one side; to carry a wine-cup to the neighbouring kings; and to bury a book in the Euphrates. The reader must own now that in this mode of instruction there was nothing fanatic; for fanaticism consists in a fondness for unusual actions, or modes of speech: whereas these were general, and accommodated to the ruling taste. If God spoke in the language of eternity, who could understand him? He, like the prophet, shrinks himself into the proportion of the child, which he means to revive."(Murray's Evidences of the Jewish and Christian Revelations, sect. 7. p. 85.)


The subjects of prophecy are various and extensive, indeed so much so, as has heed shown by Bishop Newton, that they form a chain of predictions from the beginning to the end of the Bible, and the world, but the grand subject of prophecy is the coming and kingdom of the Messiah, who was promised as the seed of the woman and of Abri ham, the son of David and of God. This is indeed the prominent topic of most of the found to refer to him alone; and others, though they may have a partial accomplishProphets now before us, and especially of Isaiah. Many of his predictions will be ment in nearer events and inferior circumstances, have in him their final and complete


the consideration of single prophecies, but from all the prophecies taken together, and "The argument from prophecy, (says the learned Bp. Hurd) is not to be formed from considered as making one system'; in which, from the mutual dependence and connexiou


of its parts, preceding prophecies prepare and illustrate those which follow; and these again reflect light on the foregoing just as, in any philosophical system, that which shows the solidity of it, is the harmony and correspondence of the whole; not the appucation of it in particular instances.

"Hence, though the evidence be but small, from the completion of any one prophecy taken separately, yet, that evidence being always something, the amount of the we evidence resulting from a great number of prophecies, all relative to the same des zu, may be considerable; like many scattered rays, which, though each be weak in itseif, yet, concentered into one point, shall form a strong light, and strike the sense very powerfully. Still more: this evidence is not simply a growing evidence, but is indeed multiplied upon us, from the number of reflected lights which the several component parts of such a system reciprocally throw upon each; till, at length, the conviction rises auto a high degree of moral certainty." (Hurd's Sermons ou Prophecy, Ser. ii. ¡

It is certain that the writings of the ancient Prophets were carefully preserved noc ing the captivity, and they are frequently referred to and cited by the later Propues... Thus the prophecy of Micah is quoted in Jer. xxvi. 18, a short time before the cart. vity, and, under it the prophecy of Jeremiah is cited, in Dan. ix. 2, aut to Propue generally in ix. 6. Zechariah not only quotes the former Prophets, i. 4., bu su their writings to be well known to the people, (vii. 7.) It is evident that Leta ver miah, Daniel, Zechariah, and the other Prophets, who dourished during to explevra, carefully preserved the writings of their inspired predecessors; for tum ver how musing rited and appealed to them, and expected deliverance from their captivity inter plishment of their predictions.

Although some parts of the writings of the Prophets are clearly in prax á mies instances occur in the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezeki, doua, aur Lease by far the larger portion of the prophetic writings are classer un bon Lou's the poetical productions of the Jews, and (with the excep

in Isaiah, Habakkuk, and Ezekiel, which appear to constitute comp

rent kinds, odes as well as elegies) form a particular species of par guishes by the appellation of prophetic. "The prophetic po

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Prelate, is more ornamented, more splendid, and mon tame tas
abounds more in imagery, at least that species of imagery.
is of common and established acceptation; and which, to miras
always preserved, is transferred from certain and define
and general ideas. Of all the images peculiar to the parasite my
introduces those which are taken from natural objec. aur satse
in metaphors, allegories, comparisons, and even in copio).
excels in the brightness of imagination, and in cicates.
consequently rises to an uncommon pitch of sublimity

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As it is well known the prophets did not live THE NOW I I books are inserted in our Bible, we shall here im respective dates, from Mr. Horne. The four grazie pe ; shall distinguish by putting their names in captai.

These Prophets, Mr. Horne remarks, mas

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1. Before the Babylonian captivity-uza Nahum, Zephaniah: For the history of tax perturbe and Chronicles.

2. During the captivity, in part or

and Ezekiel.

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