图书图片
PDF
ePub

Moreover, with this expansion of the expression, an interpretation of the whole vision has been made out, by various authors, which all those who have paid most attention to the subject admit to be satisfactory ; whilst, if the new mode of limiting the expression to its smallest possible denomination be admitted, there is no interpretation at all pretended to be given; and every part of the vision which relates to the subdivision of the fourth empire, or dynasty, must still be future: for be it remembered, that Mr. Maitland does not propose an alternative, but attempts to destroy one system, not only without offering a better, but without offering any one at all. This position is perfectly novel, and directly at variance with every writer who has hitherto examined the subject. It also requires us to believe, that, whilst all the dynasties and systems which affected the church of Christ from the days of Nebuchadnezzar to the birth of our Lord, during a space of 600 years, were prophesied of, the church has been left for 1800 years without one glimmer of prophetic light to guide her, notwithstanding she is admitted to have been assailed with the most deadly foes that have attacked her since the Exodus; and the destruction of Jerusalem, the destruction of the Jewish polity, the rise and declension of Popery and Mahometanism, are considered to be events so insignificant and powerless upon the fortunes and destinies of Christianity, as to have been altogether unworthy of notice.

I subjoin an extract from M. Court de Gebelin's Monde Primitif, wherein he refers to a work of M. de Cheseaux, who has shewn that the numbers of Daniel contain a true cycle, and the only true cycle known. It was sent to the Christian Observer for 1811, p. 404, by Mr. Cuninghame; but this extract is transcribed from the original.

“ La découverte de ces cycles parfaits dont nous parlons ici, est consignée dans les Remarques Historiques, Chronologiques, et Astronomiques sur quelques endroits du Livre de Daniel, qui sont à la tête des Memoirs Posthumes de M. de Cheseaux, imprimés à Lausanne en 1754. Cet auteur, plein de genie et de savoir, démontre que les nombres prophétiques de Daniel, 2300, et 1260, ainsi que leur différence 1040, etoient autant de cycles parfaits; cycles qui font harmoniser tout à la fois l'année solaire, le mois lunaire, et le jour ; qui jusques ici avoient été cherchés en vain, et qu'on avait fini enfin par regarder comme chimériques ou impossibles; de la même nature, en un mot, que la philosophale et le mouvement perpétuel : il ajoute que ce sont les deux seuls nombres ronds qui fussent cycliques, et qui le fussent de maniére que leur difference fût elle-même un cycle parfait et l'unique. Il observe en particulier sur le cycle de 1040, qu'il est le plus exacte qu'on connoisse, et même qu'on puisse trouver, à moins que d'aller au delà d'un espace de tems

trois ou quartre fois plus long, que celui qui s'est ecouté depuis les plus anciennes observations jusqu'à nous : il ajoute qu'il est d'autant plus etonnant que personne ne s'en soit apperçu, qu'il suffisoit pour cela de comparer le livre de la nature avec celui de la révélation."

The author proceeds to say, that the manuscript containing these discoveries was submitted to the celebrated astronomers Cassini and Mairan, who could not disprove their truth ; although the last adds, with admirable ingenuousness, that he could not comprehend how and for what reason they were so truly contained in Holy Scripture.

As a subject analogous to the object of this letter, it may be interesting to some of your readers to inform them, that a learned and elaborate paper has been read before the Royal Society of Literature by Mr. J. Cullimore, in which he has proved that the true computation of time is contained in the original Hebrew, and gives a very satisfactory account of the origin of all the corruptions in the version of the Seventy, Josephus, the Samaritan, and amongst the modern Jews. The argument is partly derived from astronomical calculations, and partly from historical facts; and is of such a nature that it cannot be done justice to by an abridgment.

It cannot have escaped the notice of the most superficial reader of the Scriptures, that the chronology in which the fates of the Jewish people is written does not emanate from, or terminate in, any fixed event-such as the creation, deluge, birth of Messiah, &c.—but is composed of a series of seven, with their multiples. This chronology, if adapted to, and corrected by, a comparison with the periods of the Jewish feasts, would furnish a perfect interpretation of the dates of Scripture. I hope that some of your readeas will turn their attention and studies to this point. I am, sir, your most obedient servant,

H. D. August 2, 1830.

LETTER FROM A HEBREW FRIEND.

Sir,-A descendant of Abraham begs to be allowed to make a few remarks, through the medium of your periodical, which is so admirably calculated to enlighten the eyes of those who have the extinction of the Jews so much at heart. To support our cause, which you so warmly advocate, I need advance nothing beyond the plain words of the Jewish Scripture; and by that standard alone we must be judged. The all-spiritualizing Christians-perplexed, I presume, at certain unfulfilled prophecies, the study of which they think not worth their while-construct a certain theorem, upon the assumed fact, that, the Jews being so demoralized, so degraded, and so guilty a nation, cannot possi

bly lay claim to such glorious promises as are held out by the Prophets ; though they cannot deny but that with them Israel, Jews, and people of God, were synonymous names. It was of them that Moses, with his last breath, exclaimed, “ Happy art thou, O Israel! who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord !” It was to them alone that it pleased the Lord to send the various prophets, each with tidings of consolation and favour; such as: “I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions, for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins :" * Israel shall be saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation” (Isai. xliii. 25; xlv. 17). « Israel is holiness unto the Lord, and the first-fruits of his increase : all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them :” “ Behold, I will

gather them out of all countries whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place; and I will cause them to dwell in safety : “In those days, and at that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found ; for I will pardon them whom I reserve" (Jer. ii. 3; xxxii. 37; 1. 20). “Thus saith the Lord, Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come.” “ I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered ; and I will give you the land of Israel :" " And the nations shall know that I, the Lord, do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore” (Ezek. xi. 16, 17; xxxvii. 28). “In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David, that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the nations which are called by my name” (Amos ix. 11, 12). “At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you ; for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord” (Zeph. iii. 20). "In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold, out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you." The Lord also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David, and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, do not magnify themselves against Judah” (Zech. viii. 23 ; xii. 7).

Now I ask, wherefore do our opponents deem us so utterly unworthy, as that we should not have accomplished in us the above quoted and many more unequivocal promises ? Are not our calumniators quite as eager as our nation to pursue gain, though less excusable, in persons who are already endowed with

privileges, incomes, and titles? Oh, would they take example of us, whom they calumniate, they would understand better what belongs to humanity, and what is comprehended in filial, parental, and matrimonial duties: then, immoral libertinism, debauchery, adultery, murder, and other abominable crimes, would not so frequently be heard of. As regards the state of degradation we are in, it surely proves no more our culpability, than did the bondage of our fathers in Egypt. We, like them, may justly answer our oppressors, "Behold, thy servants are beaten; but it is the fault of thy own people.” On the other hand, were our degradation caused, as we often are given to believe, by a certain crime, which must have been committed between the 30th and 70th year of the Christian era (a crime far more grievous than all those of which our fathers had ever been guilty); then what reason can be ascribed for the sufferings of our brethren, who have never yet returned from the captivity they were sent into so many centuries before the said era, and who must plead an alibi to the crime imputed to them? Again : if our fathers through ignorance have done wrong, as appears from the prayer of the Sufferer; "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do ;” how can his blood be upon us, who must be considered both ignorant and innocent? Not thus has God decreed : “ The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers :

: every man shall be put to death for his own sin ” (Deut. xxiv. 16). Neither can we be accounted guilty for preferring the law of Moses to the Gospel, seeing that the contents of the latter-that convenient, that profitable faith-was never once even, unequivocally, mentioned throughout the Old Testament. As well might you endeavour to convince us that there was no God, as that we stand condemned for disbelieving that which he never charged us to believe. It is the Law with which the Book begins and ends. Of Abraham it is said ; “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken concerning him. God accordingly adopted his children as his people, solely on this condition : “ If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people” (Exod. xix. 5). Their legislator, after his frequent warnings to them of the consequence of the people's neglecting the covenant, settles all doubts, if there were any : "The secret things belong unto the Lord our God ; but those things which are revealed belong unto us, and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of the Law” (Deut. xxix. 29). The promise to the seed of David was, like

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

wise, because he, David, kept the Law : “Howbeit, I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, but I will make him prince all the days of his life, for David my servant's sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes” (1 Kings xi. 34).

Thus we find that every prophet, from the first to the last, was especially charged to remind them of the Law: the last words of the last prophet were, “ Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments” (Mal. iv. 4). We, therefore, as I have already said, cannot possibly be considered guilty, even though we were in error, by keeping closely to that law.

But if it be asked, If Israel be as innocent as is represented, is it consonant with the previous ordinations of God in the government of the world, to leave such an interval without the fulfilment of prophecy? I answer: “God is not a man, that he should lie ; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good ?” (Numb. xxiii. 19). “For I am the Lord; I change not: therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed (Mal. iii. 6). God's purposes cannot change; but that his promises were conditional, and sometimes delayed, if those to whom they were made rendered themselves undeserving, appears in many instances. Among the many,

, may be cited what took place with our ancestors who went out of Egypt. The land of Canaan, promised to Abraham (Gen. xv. 16), was again promised to his descendants, even after they worshipped the calf (Ex. xxxiii. 1); yet, for their frequent rebellions, was the fulfilment of this promise finally delayed to another generation (Num. xiv. 23). Nay, it even appears that it would have been withdrawn, or at least delayed for many generations, but for the intercession of Moses (Ex. xxxi. 10). In like manner, therefore, may the fulfilment of the promises respecting the restoration of Israel be delayed. We admit that our repentance has not been such as to hasten our delivery, having to expiate our own sins as well as those of our fathers since they became a nation. The Babylonian captivity was, according to 2 Chron. xxxvi. 21, alone to make good the Sabbatical years, as foretold by Moses, Lev. xxvi. 34 ; but the destruction by the Romans was at a period when their sins were at an end (Ezek. xxxv. 5); at which time they began to make reconciliation for all their iniquities, to bring in everlasting righteousness.

In conclusion: As we see the fulfilment of the promises, Lev. xxvi. 44, “And yet, for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor

« 上一页继续 »