« PreviousContinue »
the M. E. Church. That of the Wesleyan connexion will only be alluded to." Well, the latter is frequently, very frequently referred to. But where is the M. E. Church, South? If boyish recollection is not considerably at fault, there is a technical phrase, frequently used on the turf, in regard to an unfortunate racehorse, in a certain condition, which places him nowhere." Is this the position in “Methodism,” to which the author assigns the whole Southern Methodist Church ?
“ The Methodist Episcopal Church,” and “ The Wesleyan Connexion,” by all fair interpretation of language, embodies, according to our author on Methodism, the whole of Methodism. And if the Southern Methodist Episcopal Church, with its four thousand ministers, and over hali a million of members, is not utterly extirpated from the pale of - Methodism,” it is because Mr. Inskip has failed in his undertaking.
In fact, it is remarkable, that a book should be published in the year 1851, bearing the imprint of “Cincinnati," with the broad, philosophic and. ecclesiastic title of " Methodism explained and defended,” by a man of at least very fair capacity, as a writer ; a work which claims to be “a book for the times,” and is designed to be read by the world, should studiedly, almost to the very last inch, in all his discursive researches and explorations over, into and about the entire region of Methodism, maintain a profound silence, or affect an utter ignorance of the very existence of such a departinent of the Methodism of the world, as the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. This, it is said, with an emphasis, is remarkable. There is not an allusion, in the most distant manner, to the existence of this great and powerful, integral division of the world's Methodism, in the book before us from beginning to end, except a bare allusion, once or twice in some of the last pages, when absolute compulsion made it imperative, in speaking of statistics. If it is spoken of more than twice in the book, it has escaped our notice.
These views of a book, (on a most important subject,) one which is by no means insignificant, and which claims to be popular, and which no doubt is, are given in the frankness of Christian liberality and independence. Simple truth and fairness are intended, and it is believed, the amplest justice is maintained.
By the Rev. T. V. Moore, Richmond, Va.
There is perhaps no part of the Bible about which ordinary readers have so little distinct knowledge as the Minor Prophets. Their brevity and obscurity demand an amount of study for their comprehension that few are willing to give, and hence they remain to many scaled books. The ordinary commentaries do not furnish a remedy for this difficulty. The purely critical expositions are too jejune for a heart that longs to reach the spiritual aliment that lies wrapped up in these sacred words; whilst the more popular commentaries are too superficial to satisfy one who thinks closely, and desires to understand exactly the meaning of the Spirit. If it were possible to combine the critical accuracy of the one, with the spiritual unction of the other, the result would be a style of exposition far more gene rally useful than either, adapted alike to the wants of the ministry, and the people. Having felt this want ourselves, we propose to make an effort to supply it, as far as one of these prophets is concerned, and if we fail to meet the exact demands of the case, we shall at least suggest the mode in which those demands ought to be supplied by others.
The critical aids to the understanding of Zechariah are not very many, or very valuable. The attention of scholars has been so much directed to the larger books of the Old Testament, that this, in common with the other Minor Prophets, has received but little investigation, compared with its importance. The older commentators, such as Luther, Melancthon, Vitringa, Venemra and others, are inaccessible to most students, whilst the more recent, such as Blayney, Newcome and Henderson, are not satisfactory to ordinary readers. C. B. Michaelis and Hengstenberg are the most satisfactory that we have seen, but the one is too concise and the other too diffuse for ordinary purposes. Rosenmüller has copied Michaelis almost verbatim, except the sentences that contain some piety, without a word of acknowledgment, so that his exposition is nothing less than a plagiarism of the worst kind. Hengstenberg is decidedly the most able interpreter that is accessible to ordinary students, and to him, more than to any other expositor, are we under obligation in our studies on this prophet.
The name Zechariah (remembrance of Jehovah, or one whom Jehovah remembers,) was common among the Jews, as appears from the fact that four others besides the prophet are mentioned in the old Testament. Like Jeremiah and Ezekiel, he was a priest as well as a prophet. In the prophecy he is called the son of Barachiah, the son of Iddo ; whilst in Ezra 5:1, 6 : 14, he is simply called the son of Iddo. From this fact it has been inferred that he was not the grandson of Iddo, but his son, and that Iddo and Barachiah are names for the same person. But the fact probably is, that his father died when he was very young, and therefore in the priestly genealogy he was reckoned as the son of his grandfather, a reckoning, which the flexibility of all terms of relationship among the Jews, made not uncommon.
Of his personal history we know but little, except that he entered early on the discharge of his prophetic duties, (ch. 2 : 4.) Some have supposed that our Lord referred to him in Matt. 23 : 35, when he speaks of Zechariah the son of Barachiah who perished between the porch and the altar. But there is no evidence whatever that this prophet thus died. There is a Zechariah, who died in this way, mentioned in
2 Chron. 24 : 21, to whom it is much more probable that the allusion is made. He was it is true the son of Jehoiada, but aside from the fact that double names are mentioned in the same way elsewhere, as in the case of Hobab; the inore familiar name Barachiah might readily creep into the text from the margin to take the place of the less familiar Jehoiada, or to define the name Zechariah that was perhaps left without any patronymic. The reason for referring to him is found in the arrangement of the Hebrew Old Testament, by which 2 Chronicles is the last book in the volume, thus making Zechariah the last martyr of whom they would read, as Abel was the first.
His family seems to have returned from Babylon with the first expedition in the reign of Cyrus, and as this was eighteen years before the date of the prophecy, in which he is expressly called a young man, he must have been very young at the time of his return. He had seen the arresting of the erection of the temple by the successful machinations of the Samaritans in the Persian Court, and the depressed tone of the national character during the time that followed this arrest. He had witnessed the growth of that selfish greed for their own individual interests, and their neglect of the interests of religion, that was so mournful a characteristic of this period. He had also seen the creeping feebleness with which the work of rebuilding the temple was undertaken and prosecuted, when the edict of permission was again issued, by Darius Hystaspes. Now as the temple was to them the grand symbol of revealed religion, indifference to it was an undoubted symptom of backsliding and spiritual declension. It was therefore necessary that they should be stirred up to the discharge of their duty as to the temple, and awakened to a proper estimate of that great plan of mercy to the world, of which the temple and the theocracy were but symbols, in order that their zeal might have at once a right motive and a right direction. Hence Haggai was first raised up to rouse them to activity in building the temple, and two months later Zechariah followed to take up the same theme and unfold it
yet more richly to the minds of the people, by connecting the poor and passing present, with the magnificent and enduring future. The scope of the prophecy then is to produce a genuine revival of religion among the people, and thus encourage them in the right way to engage in the rebuilding of the temple.
The prophecy consists of four parts: 1. Introductory, ch. 1:1-6; II. Symbolical, ch. 1:7 to the end of ch. 6, containing nine visions ; III. Didactic, chs. 7 and 8; and IV. Prophetic, ch. 9 to the end.
Our limits will only permit is to discuss the introduction and some of the visions, deferring the rest of the book to some future occasion. We shall first present a translation of the passage from the Hebrew, and then endeavor to develop its precise meaning and force.
I. INTRODUCTION. Ch. 1:1-6.
1. “In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of
JEHOVAH unto ZECHARIAH, son of BerECHIAH, son of IDDO, THE PRO
PHET, saying, 2. Angry haih Jehovah been toward your fathers with (great) anger. 3. Therefore say thou upto them, thus saith JEHOVAH OF Hosts,
Return ye unto me, saith JEHOVAH OF Hosts,
And I will return unto you, saith JEHOVAH OF Hosts. 4. Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets cried sayiug,
Thus saith JEHOVAH OF Hosts ;
doings ; But they did not hear, they did not attend unto me, saith JEHOVAH. 5. Your fathers, where are they?
And the prophets, do they live forever? 6. But my words, and my statutes, which I commanded my servants, the
The general meaning of this exordium is, God fulfilled all his threatenings to your fathers, therefore beware lest by dis