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beginning of the gofpel-difpenfation to the day of judgment. It proves an index, by fhewing the general order of events, and their relative. fituation to each other; fo that, when an event is introduced in the Old Teftament prophecies, in a detached manner, not connected with what goes before, or follows after, we are enabled, by the aid of the Apocalypfe, to refer it to its proper place, in the series of events.
The feries of events is carried on in the Apocalypfe by seven feals opened in their order, feven trumpets founded in their order, and feven vials poured out in their order. The feven trumpets are the evolution of the feventh feal, the feven vials are the evolution of the feventh trumpet. The feventh vial introduces the Millennium, from which period the afpect of the church and the world is uniform until the day of judgment, except a fhort interruption by Gog, at the close of the Millennium. Now, as every remarkable event yet to be accomplished, is referred in the Apocalypfe to fome one of the trumpets or vials, to the duration or clofe of the Millennium, the place of fuch event, in the ge. neral order of events, is known, and to that place it may be referred, wherever it occurs.
Again, the Apocalypfe not only fhews the general order of events, but by using the expreffions of the Old Teftament prophets, refers the reader
reader to particular paffages, where the fame event is treated of more fully. Thus the "wine prefs," mentioned Rev. xiv. and xix. obviously refers to Joel chap. iii. which treats of the fame event. And the army of Gog, Rev.xx. is a reference to the 38th and 39th chap. of Ezekiel. However, it must be acknowledged, that the expreffions of the Old Teftament prophets are fometimes ufed, on account of a fimilarity in the events, though they are not the fame. This part of the rule, therefore, is not decifive, unless upon examining the paffage referred to, it is confirmed by the coincidence of fome of the rules which follow.
New Teftament Interpretations.
SEVERAL paffages of the Old Teftament prophecies are quoted and explained in the New Teftament. Every paffage of this kind I confider as a key to open up the whole fection of prophecy connected with it. Thus, Isaiah lix. 20. "The Redeemer fhall come to Zion, and turn
away ungodliness from Jacob," is quoted by the Apostle Paul, Rom. xi. 26. and applied to the converfion and restoration of the Jewish nation. Hence I infer, that the former part of the
chapter represents the fins of the Jews in their prefent difperfion; and the following chapter, which is evidently connected with it, fhews the glory of their church after their conversion to Christianity.
All Chriftians muft allow, that this rule is well founded, because the Spirit of God is the best interpreter of his own expreffions; but few, if any, in their comments upon Scripture, have been directed by it, as they ought.
To give an instance, in the cafe of a propliccy already fulfilled. In the 28th chapter of Isaiah, are two verses, quoted and explained in the New Teftament; verfe 11. is applied by the Apoftle Paul, 1 Cor. xiv. 21. to the gift of tongues in the apoftle's days; ver. 16. is faid to fignify, that the kingdom of Chrift should be established, in defiance of the Jews, who rejected him; Eph. ii. 20. and 1 Pet. ii. 4, 5.
Now, all the commentaries I have seen apply the whole of the chapter to the state of the Jews in Hezekiah's time, and the invafion of Senacherib. They allow the New Teftament interpretation to be true, only in a secondary fenfe; the confequence is, that the interpretation of the whole chapter does not hang together, but is perplexed and contradictory; whereas, if the quotations from the New Testament be confidered as a key, and the chapter from
the 7th verfe downward, be applied to the times in which our Saviour appeared, the perplexity is removed, the interpretation appears connected, and every expreffion of the prophet has been fully verified by the event.
If ver. 11. fignifies the teaching of Senacherib's rod, how does that agree with the doctrine taught? To whom he faid, This is the reft "wherewith ye may cause the weary to reft, " and this is the refreshing, yet they would not "hear; ver. 12. Was it to offer reft that Senacherib invaded Judea? But was not this the defign of the apostle's miniftry, to point out Jefus as the Meffiah, whom the prophets foretold, their fathers expected, and in whom their fouls fhould find reft and refreshment? The addrefs to the rulers, ver. 14, 15. if applied to Hezekiah's time, fuppofes a faction in oppofition to his government, which the hiftory of these times does not warrant; whereas, without fuppofing any thing, but what is on record, the addrefs is perfectly applicable to the rulers of the Jewish nation in our Saviour's time. They derided and rejected the Saviour, to ingratiate themselves with the Roman people, the great deftroyers of mankind at that period.
let him thus alone, (fay they) all men will "believe on him, and the Romans fhall come
"and take away both our place and nation ;" John xi. 48.
In ver. 18.-22. it appears, that the covenant of the rulers, with the deftroyers called Death, ended in the deftruction of the rulers, and the utter defolation of their land. Was this the end of Senacherib's invafion? Did it not iffue in a glorious deliverance? But every part of this description was fully verified by the Roman difperfion.
State of the Jews.
THE hiftory of the Jews is more or lefs mingled with the greater part of the Old Teftament prophecies. They are fometimes represented as in a ftate of difperfion; at other times, as reftored to the favour of God;-gathered from among the nations ;-brought back to their own land; or as enjoying all happiness in it.
Some one or other of these circumstances annexed to a section of prophecy, at the beginning or end, or blended with it throughout, fhews, that the events contained in that fection of prophecy shall be contemporary with the state of the Jewish nation represented.