« FöregåendeFortsätt »
and I will be your God.” Nay, the most express declaration in scripture concerning the salvation of the infant seed of believing parents occurs in a prophecy, which we are told, Matth. ii. 17–18. was verified in the slaughter of the infants of Bethlehem, and which is as follows, Jer. xxxi. 15–17. “ Thus saith the Lord, A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, and bitter weeping ; Rachel weeping for her children, refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not. Thus saith the Lord, Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears : for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border.” What can be meant by coming again to their own border," but obtaining eternal life in the heavenly Canaan, and this is called the “ own border," the lot of the inheritance of children of Rachel's, that were slaughtered from two years old and under. These were children of Bethlehemites, according to the flesh. But we have reason to hope they were children of believing parents. That the shepherds of Bethlehem were believers. " waiting for redemption in Israel,” appears from the angel's address to them, from their hearing, like John in Patmos, the worship of the innumerable company of angels, and from their subsequent behaviour.
“ UNTO You, said the angel, is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord, and this shall be a sign UNTO you.” The shepherds went to verify the sign. “ They
made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.” What spiritual men must they have been ! What a revival of the work of God were they the honoured instruments of producing in the city of David ! Surely the incarnation of Jesus was graced by the spiritual birth of many. And how often does it happen, that gracious visitations are, in the providence of God, preparatory for sharp affliction! It was no common trial that awaited those parents of Bethlehem, who could fondly tell that they had children born about the same time in which they heard of the birth of the Saviour, who was Christ the Lord. But if they had, indeed, committed those children with them. selves unto “ the child that was born, and the son that was given them,” (Isa. ix. 6.) their agony would admit of Divine consolation, even when the sword of the assassin was piercing their own souls.
We shall only add the hope of all the Israel of God, as described by Paul, and followed up by him with a triumphant hymn of adoring praise. Rom. xi. 25–36. " For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, (lest ye should be wise in your own conceits,) that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved ; as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer,
and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes; but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief; even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord ? or who hath been his counsellor? or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again ? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”
Many more points might be touched upon, all of which would contribute to throw light on the meaning of scripture, to confirm our faith, and to fulfil our joy. The subject seems, indeed, to resolve itself at last into this question, whether we shall maintain or
deny the unity of the work of God under different dispensations: the harmony of the scriptures of the Old and New Testament? But I have no desire to extend my remarks, in the way of debate. I bless God, that I have been permitted to prepare these pages for public inspection. I love not colloquial argument in private company. I am always glad when I can consistently with faithfulness, avoid controversy, in public preaching; but I have been called upon by circumstances, to lay my sentiments, on what I conceive to be a much perverted subject, before my brethren, and before the world. I would now commend what I have written, to that God whose truth I believe it contains. About the consequences of the publication to myself personally, I feel something, I hope, of that indifference which becometh a stranger and a pilgrim on earth. Should any reply to me, let them use whatever freedom they please with the man. The public will sooner or later perceive, that he may be very foolish and very sinful; and yet that his remarks may deserve to be examined, by comparing them not merely with the reply of an opponent, but with the word of God.
I doubt not, that some of my views will be questioned, because they are new.
Both friends and opponents may be stumbled at first, by my explanation of some of the terms connected with the subject. They will be ready to say, If this be just, why was it never thought of before? I answer, If the fact be as the question supposes, it ought not to surprise us, because the study of language is yet in its infancy.
The learning of languages in detail, has been the drudgery of schoolboys in all ages; and great have been the attainments of classical scholars in variously extended departments. But an enlightened investigation of the elements of speech ; 'a comparison of different tongues with one another; a tracing of the conformity of all the languages yet known, to the unity of a general language ;-a work so necessary to the knowledge of even familiar terms, and so conducive to the removal of error, to the establishment of truth, and to the general illumination of the human race,-is nevertheless to this hour an enterprise of such modern date, that the father of it lived within the memory of the present generation ; and the posthumous writings of the successor who surpassed him, but who was snatched so early away from our wonder and our hopes, are only beginning as yet to solicit the attention of the world to an opening field of most interesting inquiry.*
I have been told, that the public voice is generally against my etymological account of Bártw. This does not surprise me; nor shall I be surprised, if, after a time, the public voice should undergo a change. It would by no means be difficult to trace the word in question through many more languages than I have done, and to the effect of leading to the same conclusion. At present, however, I shall only say, that, if I have not been able to show that my theory is absolutely true,
• See · Horne Tooke's Diversions of Purley,' and · Murray's History of European Languages.'