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of wrath,* (ch, vi.); and, is empowered to foretel the establishment of the Jewish government, under the MESSIAH; and to crown the representative of CHRIST, (who, should be both king and priest) with the emblems of civil and religious authority united, ver. 10-15.
To the captives from Babylon, or other professors of the Hebrew religion, who pharisa:cally observed solemn fasts, without true contrition, the prophet recommends judg ment, mercy, and compassion, (ch. vii. 9, 10); and then, addressing himself to the Jews, he promises a return of righteousness and favour to Jerusalem; assuring them, that the mournful fasts with which they lamented its destruction, should be converted into cheerful feasts; and, that the church of THE LORD, should be enlarged by the accession of many nations, converted by means of the Jews, ch. viii.
The twelfth verse, of the eleventh chapter of this book, which exhibits a prophetic description of some circumstances, afterwards fulfilled in our Saviour, appears to be cited by St. Matthew, as spoken by Jeremy, (see Matt. xxvii. 9, 10). As this, and the two preceding chapters, which are connected by a kind of continuation, have been thought to contain some particulars more suitable to the period of Jeremiah, than to that of Zechariah, or to the design of his appointment, some learned writers have conceived, that they were written by the former prophet; that, they differ in style from the eight first chapters, and, that they have been accidentally transposed, or joined to those of Zechariah, from similarity of subject. Other writers are, however, of opinion, that St. Matthew, in the place referred to, might allude to some additional prophecy of Jeremiah; or, that the name of Jeremy was improperly added, or substituted by a mistake of the copyist of the Gospel, for that of Zechariah. These writers maintain, that the chapters
* The chariots and horses, probably, represent the Babylonian, Persian, Macedonian, and Roman Empires. The two brazen moun tains, may signify God's immoveable decrees. Gray.
concerned in this enquiry admit of a construction perfectly consistent with the time of Zechariah; that Zechariah in them, describes the conquest of Damascus, Tyre, and Sidon, and the cities of the Philistines, as effected by Alexander, (ch. ix); the victories of the Maccabees over the troops of Antiochus, who was of Grecian descent; with future successes to be obtained, by conversion to the true God, and deliverances similar to those from Egypt and Assyria, (ch. ix. 13; x. 10, 11); that Zechariah, then angry at the little effect produced by his endeavours, denounces the future destruction of Jerusalem, its temple, (ch. xi. 1-3) and lofty houses; and, represents himself as breaking in vision the symbolical badges of his pastoral office, and, as assuming" the instruments of a foolish shepherd," to foreshew the cruelties which should be exercised by wicked rulers, (ver. 15-17) interspersed with, and adumbrated by which temporal promises and threats, are prophecies of CHRIST; who is spoken of in the most striking manner, as with respect to his lowly entrance to Jerusalem upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass," (ch. ix. 9; Matt. xxi. 2-9); and his being valued at thirty pieces of silver, which is typically foreshewn in a visionary representation (ch. xi. 12 13; Matt. xxvi. 15; xxvii. 3-10.)
The twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth chapters, contain prophecies which refer entirely to the circumstances of the Christian dispensation. They begin with the assurance of some final victories to be obtained over the enemies of Jerusalem; they describe the restoration of the Jews, their conversion and bitter compunction for having pierced the MESSIAH, ch. xii. 10; their admission, by baptism, to the privileges of the Gospel covenant, ch. xiii. 1; and their deliverance from the delusions of false prophets. Zechariah then reverts to foreshew the dispersion of CHRIST's disciples, (ch. xiii. 7,) and the preservation of a small remainder of his converts, whose faith should be tried in affliction. In the last chapter, he represents the destruction of Jeru
salem by the Romans, and, the final and triumphant establishment of the righteous kingdom of CHRIST, who should be king over the whole earth." See Gray's Key to Old Test., p. 496-503.
16. MALACHI. The last of the prophets, began his ministry, B. C. 436, nearly a century after Haggai and Zechariah, and, in the time of the government of Nehemiah, whose reform he assisted by severely reproving the vices of the day, scepticism, infidelity, a disregard of God's ordinances, and consequent falling into immoral practices and and vicious courses. "He begins with declaiming against the priests for their profane and mercenary conduct, and the people, for their multiplied divorces and intermarriages with idolatrous nations; he threatens them with punishment and rejection; declaring that God would " make his name great among the Gentiles, for, that he was wearied with the impiety of Israel; and thence, the prophet takes occasion awfully to proclaim that THE LORD, whom they sought, should suddenly come to his temple, preceded by that messenger, who, like an harbinger, should prepare his way; that THE LORD, when he should appear, should purify the sons of Levi from their unrighteousness, and refine them as metal from the dross; and then "the offering of Judah," the spiritual sacrifice of the heart, should "be pleasant to the Lord," as was that of the Patriarchs, or their uncorrupted ancestors, and that THE LORD would quickly exterminate the corruptions and adulteries that prevailed. He proceeds with an earnest exhortation to repentance; promising high rewards and remembrance to the righteous in that last day, when THE LORD should select to himself a peculiar treasure, and, finally, discern between the righteous and the wicked, ch. i, ii, iii. He concludes with another assurance of approaching salvation to those who feared God's name, from that" sun of righteousness,
which should arise with healing in his wings;" and render them triumphant; enjoining, till that day, an observance of the law of Moses; till the advent of Elijah the prophet, who, before the coming of that "great and dreadful day of the Lord, should turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers;' who should produce amendment in the minds of the people; ch. iv. Thus, Malachi sealed up the volume of prophecy, in the description of that personage, at whose appearance, the Evangelists begin the Gospel history." See Gray's Key to Old Test, p. 508, 510,
NINTH AND TENTH PERIODS.
With Malachi, had ceased the spirit of prophecy, (as predicted by Micah iii. 6, 7, above 200 years before) just about the time when Philosophy began to flourish in the Greek schools; to the latter, we may partly direct our attention for the four centuries immediately preceding the birth of CHRIST, in order to convince ourselves that the world by wisdom, knew not God; * that, without His revelation, though "ever learning," the wisest were "not able to come to the knowledge of the truth." They could neither discover the cause of evil in the alienation of man's heart from God, nor its cure in unbounded submission to him.
The origin of Paganism has been traced to the apostasy of Nimrod, see p. 223. It would far exceed the limits of this work to describe its various ramifications, through Sabism and Magianism, which overspread all the nations
The idolatry of the world was divided between two sects, the worshippers of images who were called Sabians, and the worshippers of fire, called Magians. The true religion which Noah taught his posterity, was, that which Abraham practised, the worshipping of one God, the supreme Governor and Creator of all things, with hopes in his mercy through a mediator: for, the necessity of a
of antiquity, up to the time at which we are now arrived; yet a retrospective view of the heathen mythology, from
mediator between God and man, was a general notion, which ob. tained among all mankind from the beginning; for, being conscious of their own meanness, vileness, and impurity, they could not conceive, how it was possible for them, of themselves alone, to have any access to the all-holy, all-glorious, and supreme Governor of all things. But no clear revelation being then made of the Mediator, whom God had appointed, they took upon themselves to address him by Mediators of their own choosing. And their notion of the sun, moon, and stars, being, that they were the tabernacles or habitations of intelligences, which animated those orb in the same manner as the soul of man animates his body, and were the causes of all their motions; and that these intelligences were of a middle nature between God and them, they thought these the fittest beings to become the mediators between God and them. And, therefore, the planets being the nearest to them of all these beavenly bodies, and generally looked on to have the greatest influence on this world, they made choice of them in the first place for their godsmediators, who were to mediate for them with the supreme God, and procure from him the mercies and favours which they prayed for; and, accordingly, they directed Divine worship to them as such. And, here began all the idolatry that has been practised in the world. They first worshipped them per sacella, that is, by their tabernacles, and, afterwards, by images also. By these sacella, or tabernacles, they meant the orbs themselves, which they looked on only as the sacred tabernacles in which the intelligences had their habitations. And, therefore, when they paid their devotions to any one of them, they directed their worship towards the planet in which they supposed he dwelt. But these orbs, by their rising and setting, being as much under the horizon, as above, they were at a loss how to address them in their absence. To remedy this, they had recourse to the invention of images; in which, after their consecration, they thought these intelligences, or inferior deities, to be as much present by their influence, as in the planets themselves; and, that all addresses to them were made as effectually before the one, as before the other. And this, was the beginning of image worship among them. To these images, were given the names of the planets they represented, which, were the same they are still called by. And hence it is, that we find Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Apollo, Mercury, Venus, and Diana, to be first ranked in the