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SECOND ADVENT, &c.
PART THE SECOND.
Predictions of the Second Advent in the Writings of the Prophets. I. The Prophet Isaiah, and his Cotemporaries; II. the Prophets of the Era of the Captivity; III. those who prophesied after that Event, to the Close of the Old Testament anon.
In passing from the age of the psalmist, we come to the writings of those emphatically called the prophets. But, before we proceed, let us recall to our recollection the oracles of which the church was already in possession, on the subject of the second advent; since, as we may reasonably expect, the Spirit of prophecy will speak in reference to these his former revelations. It was revealed to Adam, that one born of woman would “bruise the serpent's head;” though, like what might happen to a man in endeavouring to crush a serpent, he would himself be injured in “his heel.”* The next prophecy proclaimed the “coming of the Lord from heaven with his holy myriads,” to judge an ungodly race
* Gen. iii.
of scoffers, which should “be on the earth in the last day.”* The next prophecy, that of Job, enabled us to see how these two former oracles might relate to the same person: for this patriarch evidently expected, that the God whom he adored would, in the last day, stand up on the earth in the character of his “Redeemer;” that is to say, his protecting, avenging kinsman: “Of my flesh shall I see Eloah.” So that “the Lord from heaven” might be the “seed” of Eve.† From the oracles in the age of Abraham we learned, that the promised “seed" was to be his seed also ; and that in the increase and blessedness of his family, we were to look for the redemption of the world. We were taught, likewise, to fix our expectations on some future scenes to be displayed in the land of Canaan, in “a world to come,” of which his “seed” is to be “the Heir,” Lord, or possessor, with all the faithful. The era of Moses supplied us with prophecies, pointing out the connexion between the secular history of the descendants of Abraham, and the coming of the promised seed. Their national corruption is foretold, and their rejection in consequence, with the assumption of another people into their place, “to provoke them to jealousy.” At the same time, the character of their great enemy, and the enemy of all the people of God, is remarkably portrayed; and in the dreadful destruction of that enemy, which the Almighty had sworn, we were taught to see the event which would lead to Israel's final blessedness, together with the blessedness of all the nations of the earth. f There was, moreover, a strong presumption afforded, that this last enemy would be European.|| Manifestations were also made, at this period, of the symbol of the divine Majesty; the “Holy One,” amidst “myriads” of blessed spirits, was seen in glory: and it was declared, that he who had then given the law from Mount Sinai, would one day be King in Jeshuron, and “to him should be the gathering of the nations.”* The last era we considered, that of David, was particularly marked, among the different periods of prophetic revelations, by disclosing to the church the sufferings and humiliation of the Redeemer, before he should appear in glory. Now began to be more fully explained, or at least recorded, what the “bruised heel” of the woman’s “seed” symbolized: and we may add the bleeding victim on the patriarchal and on the Jewish altars. It was now discovered, that the promised “seed” would be found among men, “most poor,” and “most wretched;” that when he should be elevated to the throne of glory, he would be raised from the very “dust,” and from the “ashes” of the mourner; and that the redemption which he would accomplish among mankind would, in the first instance, be viewed in the character of a great moral revolution— the casting down of the proud and prosperous, the exalting of the meek, the lowly, and the afflicted, together with their still more afflicted Head. F This was wonderful to be told ! But the connexion of all this with the coming of the Lord from heaven, as the great avenger and victorious KING, was, nevertheless, clearly pointed out. He was to be “made for a little while lower than his angels.” He was first to be contemplated as a righteous and oppressed man on earth;f and then, for his meritorious obedience, to be raised from the depth of hell to the heights of heavenly glory, and from thence to come forth on the final work of redemption. * An interval was clearly pointed out between this period of his humiliation, and the season of his coming in his kingdom. During that interval he is described as sitting at the right hand of God in heaven, waiting till his enemies be made his footstool. t. In this high station, while the world below resounds with the mad triumphs of his enemies, and with the groans and complaints of his persecuted people, he abides as their High Priest above, where he realizes all that was typified in the Jewish tabernacle, and by its ceremonial observances; and when he has finished his priestly intercessions, and through his eternal Spirit has sanctified all the elect people of God, he will come again in glory, as the great “Melchisedec;” not only as “Priest of the most high God,” but “King of righteousness,” and “King of peace.”f This copious matter was to be the theme of many “psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs;” and was to make a prominent part of the solemn worship of his church, till all should be fulfilled: “as it is to this day.” Mingled with this subject, in the Psalms, we saw much concerning Israel's apostacy and punishment; their hatred and persecution of him that should appear to save them, “ the poor helpless man,” whose “hands” and whose “feet” they should “pierce.” We saw much concerning their recovery and restoration to their land in the last days; and that particular enemy, with whose destruction the final triumph of Christ's cause is ever con- . nected in prophecy, was particularly pointed out as “the
* Jude, 14. + Job, xix. 23. 1 Deut. xxxii. || Numb. xxiv. 24.
wicked.” In the last days, he enters the Holy Land by the north, and sweeps in the prescribed limits all before him, like a desolating storm and mighty inundation.* He becomes possessed of Egypt, and returns with his reinforced armies to that contest, in the midst of which the Almighty Conqueror appears. . The enemies of Christ are judged. + His happy reign, the theme of so many psalms, succeeds; the King of Zion reigns, and his kingdom, (though the land of promise is its particular site,) extends over all the earth. : He comes not alone, we remark also. A blessed company, compared, for numbers, to “the dew-drops of the morning,” are contemplated “on the holy hills.” These are evidently “the holy myriads” of former prophecies; “ the Lord is among them as in Sinai, in the sanctuary.” These were, like himself, once seen as poor, and weak, and afflicted, among men; but now they are exalted, to sit with the King Messiah on his throne;| to partake with him of the glories of his final victory over his enemies, and to be made “princes in all lands.” So much had already been revealed concerning the second advent, the events that in order of time would lead to it, and the glorious scenes that would follow. To the church, so far informed, we are to consider the prophets as sent to minister. . Isaiah, the first of these, was anointed to the prophetical office two hundred and fifty-five years after the death of David, at the eve of the dispersion of the ten tribes, and about a hundred and seventy before the leading of Judah captive to Babylon. § The writings of this prophet will require much of our attention; in fact,