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quently to the overthrow of the Jewish nation, “ till the times * of the Gentiles should be fulfilled.” (Luke xxi. 24). Our Lord's object was simply, we conceive, to teach his disciples not to identify with that tribulation his final coming in the clouds of heaven; to lead on their anticipations to a far more
glorious period, when they should indeed behold their Mas• ter and Lord on the throne of his glory, and themselves par' take of that glory."* With regard to the first train of events, which were to take place in the life-time of the generation to whom the prediction was delivered, a specific sign was given. " When ye shall see all these things,”—the predicted signs and visible presages of the approaching destruction, “ know that it is near, even at the doors." And it has been remarked, that the budding of the fig-tree might itself serve as a presage; for the siege commenced precisely at the same time of year as that at which the prediction was uttered-just before the Passover, when the fig-tree was putting forth its leaves. But, with regard to the final coming of our Lord, the subject of the second part of the prophecy, no specific sign is given. On the contrary, “ of ihat day and hour” (exxivms) when “heaven and earth shall pass away,” it is added, “ no “ man knoweth ; no, not the angels in heaven.”+ It is among the times and seasons which our Lord was not commissioned to revealf, which the Father hath “put in his own power." Do we ask why a sign was given in the one case, and withheld in the other, when, as it is argued, the presumed analogy would have led us to expect a similar signal? The reason is obvious. In the one case, a specific direction and command were connected with the specific sign; and it was requisite that they should know the day and hour in which immediate flight became necessary. In the other case, no specific duty is enjoined,
* Ecl. Rev. vol. xix. p. 224, where this remarkable chapter is considered more in detail.
+ In this interpretation, which the connexion, the emphatic pronoun, and the general sense alike demand and justify, we are supported by Lightfoot, Grotius, and other learned Commentators; and among others, we are glad to find this sense adopted in Dr. Valpy's Greek Testament with English Notes, a new edition of which is now on our table. To us, it has always appeared surprising, that this solemn declaration should have been supposed by any respectable commentator to refer to an event which was to take place in less than 40 years, and of which almost the day and hour had just been specified. Is it conceivable that the time of an event so circumstan. stantially predicted and so near at hand, should have been unknown to the angels?
So the best critics understand, Mark xiii. 32.
which would require a signal of our Lord's approach; and therefore, the direction given is, to “ watch” and “ be ready," as those “ who know not at what hour their Lord shall come.”
In the Book of Daniel, again, we have instances of both descriptions of prediction, the definite and the indefinite; the one of a temporary, the other of a standing and permanent interest. The prophetic interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream and that of the hand-writing, clearly belong to the former class. The greater part of the historic revelation falls under the latter description. But there is one very remarkable prediction, that of the Seventy Weeks, which requires distinct notice. In point of literalness and explicitness, it stands almost alone, and is clearly one of those predictions which was intended to be in part understood, and was understood, prior to its fulfilment. As a mark of time, there is every reason to believe, notwithstanding the critical difficulties which may embarrass the passage, that it was certainly made the basis of accurate calculation respecting our Lord's advent; and this fact furnishes, perhaps, the best reply to captious objectors. Gibbon, who seems to avow that he was one of those who neither under• stand nor respect the Mosaic dispensation and the prophetic style,' says, in one of his venomous notes : •If the famous prophecy of the Seventy Weeks had been alleged to a Roman philosopher, would he not have replied in the words of • Cicero, Quæ tundem ista auguratio est, annorum potius quam raut mensium aut dierum?'* The Christian Public are much indebted to the learned and ingenious Author of the fourth publication enumerated at the head of this article, for shewing, (though he does not allude to Gibbon's note,)that this pointless sarcasm is founded upon ignorance, not of the prophetic style, but of the Hebrew language. The word translated “weeks" in the Authorized Version, simply signifies sevens ; and it is a mere assumption, that the seventy-sevens spoken of by Daniel, would, if taken literally, imply sevens of days.
On this point,' says Mr. Maitland, I think that Christian writers have made a concession to infidels, which the Jews themselves do not ask, and which truth does not require. The Jews, however blind they may be to the fulfilment of this prediction, have never been wholly unacquainted with the language of the prophet, and the mode of computation and expression used by their own writers; and when these points are considered, perhaps the reader will agree with me, that there is no such absolute necessity for a mystical interpretation of the seventy weeks as he may have supposed to exist,' p. 5.
* Decline and Fall, c. xy.
He then proceeds to shew, that the Jews very rarely calculated by weeks or sevens of days; that the word days is, in almost every case, expressed, not implied, when weeks are intended; and that the very word which we translate week in Daniel's prophecy, is used by the Misnic writers to signify the * space between one sabbatical year and another. Among other passages, he cites one, in which mention is made of a work- man of a week, of a month, of a year, of a seven.' And he concludes that a Jew, not prepossessed on the subject, would naturally have supposed the Prophet to speak, not of sevens of days, but of sevens of years. To the use which Mr. Maitland makes of these observations, we shall advert hereafter. Our present object is to point out the literal and explicit character of the prophecy, so far as regards the date given. Whatever obscurity or uncertainty may be supposed to attach to the sacred text,* there is nothing mystical in the terms of computation, in which respect it stands in direct contrast to the other predictions in this book, as they are usually interpreted.
Explicit, however, as this remarkable prophecy is with respect to the time of Messiah's appearance, -and equally explicit are some of the most obscure predictions as to another mark, his lineage,-the full meaning of the revelation was not understood, and we should say was not intended to be known, until the event predicted, the cutting off of Messiah, had furnished the interpretation. We may then safely conclude, that the whole testimony of Scripture does not contradict, as Mr. Irving affirms, the position we have endeavoured to establish; namely, that there are prophecies bearing internal evidence that they were not given to enable men to foreknow future things, but that, after they were fulfilled, they might be interpreted by the event.
The inquiry will naturally follow : Do the unfulfilled prophecies of Daniel and St. John appear to be of this description, or do they not? Do they bear any marks of having been given to the Church as explicit revelations of future events, or only as general intimations, the meaning of which the events should reveal ? But it may not be unprofitable to institute a preliminary inquiry, as to the specific object for which the prophetic revelation itself appears to have been vouchsafed." The length to which this article has insensibly extended, compels us reluctantly to defer the consideration of these and some other points till our next Number.
• See Eclectic Review, Vol. xxvi. p. 246. Art. Stonard on the Seventy Weeks.
Art. II. Memoirs and Remains of Joseph Brown Jefferson, late
Student at Homerton College, and Minister at Attercliffe, near
student and bosom-friend of the Rev. Stephen Morell, of whom a Memoir was reviewed in our last volume. These two young ministers “ were lovely in their lives, and in their deaths they were not divided,” except by a small interval. Bound to each other by an ardour of piety and a purity of friendship of which this selfish world furnishes no redundancy of examples, they had cherished the wish to serve the best interests of mankind and the honour of their Blessed Redeemer, had it been his will, in some contiguous stations, where their studies and labours might have been reciprocally aided, where the frequent renewal of personal intercourse would have spread through the periods of absence a delightful excitement to literary pursuits and religious exercises, and where the usefulness of each would have been promoted by the varied talent of the other. Though congenial, they were not similar. While both of them were endowed with a remarkable singleness of heart and unity of aim in reference to the noblest of all objects, they possessed that diversity of mental character which was excellently suited to obviate dull resemblance, and to conduct to the same point by a beneficial difference of method. Both possessed simplicity, openness, and amiableness of temper, to a great degree; with that tenderness yet vigour of imagination which forms the music of mind. In readiness of invention, and in strong original powers of understanding, Morell stood distinguished; while the leading characteristics of Jefferson's mind were, susceptibility to the admiration of excellence, ardour of investigation, patience of studious labour, indefatigable diligence in amassing the materials of knowledge, and a happy faculty in disposing and applying those accumulations. In each, shone the best of all accomplishments, a conscientious devotedness of faculties, talents, and attainments, to the greatest end of human existence. Elevated piety was the temperament of their souls, and it modelled their entire character.
• Fortunati ambo; ci quid mea carmina possunt,
Nulla dies unquam memori vos eximet ævo!' Joseph Brown Jefferson was the son of a dissenting minister at Basingstoke, distinguished for the worthiness of his charac
Eclec. Rev. Vol. xxvi. (July 1826.) p. 56.
ter and the extent of his acquirements. This estimable man was a poet, an antiquary, an indefatigable labourer in all the fields of knowledge, a sound scholar, and a faithful Christian teacher. Many of his contributions appeared in the Classical Journal, the Evangelical Magazine, and other periodical works, besides several separate publications. It was to be expected that the son of such a father would be “ nourished up in the words of faith and sound doctrine,” and accurately trained in the elements of solid learning. The love of books, not a pedantic Bibliomania, but rational and practical, was indeed in him an hereditary passion; it marked his very infancy. Not only were his Latin and Greek studies well founded and conducted. but he was carried on, at a very early age, to a considerable familiarity with Hebrew, which, as the language of Revelation, was his father's favourite study. The Journals of his reading, found among his papers, actually begin before the completion of his tenth year, and it is delightful to observe that one of the first entries is a record of his commencing the methodical reading of the whole Bible. His religion was early formed and decided ; it was pure, humble, and practical ; and it was consistently maintained to the end of his life.
In January, 1821, he entered on studies preparatory to the Christian ministry, in the Dissenting College at Homerton. How conscientious and assiduous he was in the course of duty now before him, may be understood by the Distribution of • Time' which his Biographer has copied from his papers. • I. Study; 104 hours. In my Study..
.61 to 71. • 1 hour Ditto...do.
94 to 10 In Lecture.
9 to 94. Ditto...do....
10 to 124
24 do. %102 In my Study
3 to 5...
2 do. Ditto....do...
.6 to 9
3 do. Ditto...do
10 to 11
1 do. II. Recreation, Family Worship, &c. 61 hours. Matins, &c.
6 to 61
1 hour Breakfast
7 to 8.
do; Prayers ..
81 to 9
do. Walk, &c.
121 to 2
2 to 3
1 do. Tea
5 to 6 .... 1 do. Vespers and Supper ........9 to 10..... .1 do. III. Sleep; 7 hours.'
In an academical course, the two methods of improvement which the French designate by the words upprendre and s'in
do. • 4 do.